noor farhan

Short of hearing Farhan ‘live’ on radio, this is the only other proof we can offer you that he actually works there. ;p (Photo 1 courtesy of Farhan)

If you happen to catch the sports news on news radio 938LIVE and hear the voice of Noor Farhan, well, I’m just so happy to say, I know that man.

The first time I met Farhan was on October 31st, 2009. (Yes, I take notes of when I meet people. I’m creepy that way.) He walked through my front door for a REDaction! orientation, the Red Sports volunteer programme which I run a few times a year.

After getting to know him better, I thought to myself: “Boy, this fella sure can talk non-stop!” So I can truly say, Farhan was born for radio. 😀

Jokes aside, Farhan impressed with his command of the English language. He wrote well and understood instinctively how to convey the drama of sport. When the 2010 Youth Olympic Games rolled around, his name was one of the first on my team sheet.

So Farhan, from all of us in the Red Crew, congratulations on finding a ship to set sail in for your next phase of life. 😀


NOOR FARHAN — in his own words

“I studied Communications in SIM, Graduated with a B.A. in Comms in the middle of last year. University life was great, met lots of interesting people and learnt many things that put me in good stead in the working world.

I used to study Chemical Engineering in SP, but that didn’t work out well for me as it did not suit my strengths. Since poly, I felt I could do much more than crunch numbers and learn science. I yearned to express myself freely with words, get to know more people and do things that did not involve the use of a calculator.

I just hated the number-crunching I had to do in my 3 years there. The course was not a good fit for me, but I guess I stuck through it because I did not want to be a quitter. And so, I endured the mathematical hell that was poly and graduated with a diploma, nonetheless. By sheer force of will.

It was painful, but I’m proud to say I did it.

Then National Service came and went. I got to know lots of very interesting characters in the army, and did lots of manly stuff in there, all in the name of the country. Haha, but I guess tales of the army life don’t belong in Red Sports. Times were tough and although I opted out of Command School, life in an infantry unit as a combat “chiong sua” medic was great, nonetheless. I actually enjoyed enduring the army life compared to sitting through 3 years of doing engineering maths.

But that’s another story for another day. 🙂

And then I remember ORD came, and it was time to plan my next move in life.

I tried to re-explore the science/maths career again, much like how my poly peers were doing. One of my best mates in poly then got a job in ExxonMobil, drawing some 3k plus a month. (He’s getting married in June this year). And another was pursing a Chemical Engineering degree in Australia. (He has since graduated, but absolutely hates to the core his job as a plant design engineer).

There was a University fair a month after my ORD. They were inviting poly grads like me to study in Australia, so I tried my luck and applied for a place in University of Sydney.

I remember one of the professors there glancing at my transcript and going, “Nope, we can’t have you in our school. You’re too weak.” One of the most lasting memories I’ll ever have in my life, in fact.

It was quite a downer, that episode in my life, but I refused to complain and whine about it because it’s just not my style to rant. I prefer doing something about it.

And so armed with whatever little work experience I had and my half-arsed diploma qualifications, I applied for work in a job agency and got a place as a lab technician. But alas, the work inside did not satisfy me deep down. I knew it was not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I left after a few weeks on the job.

It was then I had a hard look at my life. It was quite a low point for me then. Everyone else around me already seemed to know what they wanted to do, already got a place in a university, already got a well-paying job. They had it all figured out. And what did I have? Absolutely nothing. Still, I refused to cave in and be a bum for the rest of my life.

It was then I decided something had to change. Fast.

It took quite a bit of soul-searching and decided that life was just too damn short to be feeling like this. What was I good at? Really?

I took another hard look at my childhood and what did I remember?

I remembered the good times I had reading books, newspapers, watching television.

I remembered avidly following the Malaysia Cup on TV.

I remembered how quickly I learnt to read and write while I was in kindergarten.

I remembered the joy of learning English in primary school, and how much I dreaded Maths assessment books.

It was then I decided to pursue what I loved most — the English language.

And so I went to SIM with a good friend of mine and applied for a degree course in Communications, offered by the University of Buffalo, State University of New York. Their entry requirements weren’t at all strict, so I figured I had the best chance to enter there. But the only thing that could be a problem was the $56,000 in school fees for the 2.5 years of study there.

My mom didn’t like it one bit, my dad thought it was a waste to pursue a field that had poor monetary and career prospects. But for once in my life, I stood up for what I knew I wanted. I tried their way of “good career prospects” in poly and I ended up miserable as hell. It’s time for my way now.

Lucky for me, they agreed to pay for my university education. It was then I learnt that it pays to grow a spine. No more letting other people decide for me what I want to do with life.

And the rest, as they say, is history. University life was very meaningful for me. I learnt so much there as well and got to go to Thailand too because of some of my work for Red Sports.

About a year into university it suddenly dawned upon me that I had no work experience in my field of study, media industry or otherwise. All I had was my crappy post-poly life that I so badly wanted to forget.

I trawled the net for internship positions, and that was when I found the REDaction page. You guys were looking for enthusiastic writers to report on local sports. I used to play floorball for SP. I’m a big sports fan myself and so, I felt that it was a good fit for me.

And the Red Crew, you guys are one of the awesomest bunch of people I’ve met. I am really fortunate to get to know and work with you guys. I never really told anyone this, but I always made sure I put a bit of my soul into every article because I really enjoyed writing for Red Sports. I never felt happier being able to write for a cause and express the excitement and joy that sports brings.

Granted, I’m still not the best in terms of sports writing and there are better writers out there. But I made sure I made up for it with enthusiasm and energy.

And so the articles piled up — floorball, football, volleyball, you name it. Been there, done that. 🙂

My most memorable time in Red Sports? Why the YOG of course! Where the general public saw Vivian Balakrishnan’s reported waste of 400m dollars, I saw some truly remarkable youth sporting action. Being part of the REDcrew tirelessly churning out reports of our young local athletes in action was one of the best times of my life. I had no complaints at all performing this labour of love for the sake of news.

For once, I got to know what a Media Centre feels like, what a press conference feels like, and what free ‘makan’ feels like. Plus, rubbing shoulders with established local and foreign media there, it was absolutely fascinating stuff for me. Heck, I did not mind doing all this for free because I simply enjoyed what I was doing.

It was then I realised this was where I truly belonged.

Right here in the media industry, at the forefront of the latest happenings.

And that’s exactly what I’m doing here at 938LIVE. But instead of the internet, I’m doing broadcast right now. I just had a show on Sports Zone yesterday with football guests talking about the latest in the footballing world. In the show, I have to ask questions effectively such that they won’t give one-word answers and and use the rest of the time creating dead-air.

It was just one of those moments, me having to deal with the broadcast console (the MCXV system), watching the clock, and making sure the guests kept talking about their subject matter. Lots of multi-tasking to do for this 5-month-old radio sports rookie.

I was beginning to clam up like a ‘kan-cheong’ spider while thinking of my next thread of conversation.

Then I remembered one of the session in Les’ house during his introductory presentations for Red Sports. For some reason, I remembered Les talking about the 5 Ws and the 1 H. I recalled how to ask open-ended questions using Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. The basis of journalism.

Okay, it’s time for me to talk to the guests now. My co-host Ewan Mah was doing a fantastic job of keeping the show going like a pro. But he needed back-up, as the energy was starting to dwindle. The thread was on the LionsXII and the M-League adventure. Still got 10 minutes to kill. Time to step up.

“So Sasi (R.Sasikumar), What do you think about Singapore’s LionsXII project so far? I mean they’ve just come back from a win, back-to-back, sold-out home games and the Malaysia Cup fever seems to be back as well. But what is your take really, on the whole thing?”

And just like that, a good sub-topic to attack. Even had our other guests chipping in about the need for our local league to be given priority and also had a caller calling in to air his view about the need to raise the standard of the S-League.

I think we exceeded our show slot by 2 minutes yesterday, I can’t be sure. 😉

I absolutely love my job in radio news right now and I look back on what I’ve gone through with fond memories. I’m still not the best in what I do yet, but I intend to use the next few months to sharpen my skills to be really be up there with the best.

I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.” — NOOR FARHAN, 938LIVE

noor farhan

Farhan (left) interviewing Zainudin Nordin, the FAS president, at a recent press conference for 938LIVE. (Photo 2 © Les Tan/Red Sports)

noor farhan

Farhan (left) playing a pick up game of street basketball with Screws, another volunteer, during the Red Crew orientation. (Photo 3 © Tan Jon Han/Red Sports)

farhan at YOG wrestling

Farhan interviewing Singapore’s wrestler, Kester Leung, during the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. (Photo 4 © Les Tan/Red Sports)

noor farhan

In one of those rare moments, I found past and present Red Crew members all in the same place at an FAS press conference (left to right): Amir Yusof, Noor Farhan, Kenneth Tan (who has a writing gig with (Photo 5 © Les Tan/Red Sports)