Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why kakireka? Part I

(published with permission)
Dear Kenneth,
Hi. I was really glad that I stumbled upon on the internet. I am certainly quite impressed by the initiatives taken to form talks/forums such as 7:21. It was with pleasure that I realized you are the co-founder and that you previously worked at O&M as I did a short stint there as an intern during my undergraduate study in 2004. I am a Malaysian currently doing my MPhil/PhD in Graphic Design in UK. Unfortunately, I am not sure of how much I can do to help as I am not in Malaysia, would certainly be an active participant if I were in Malaysia! Also, I am hoping that we could have a discourse and probably an interview later on as I am interested in your direct experience in this field, as well as your perspective on the perception and practice of graphic design in Malaysia, as part of my research. Thanks so much, in advance, I am looking forward to contacting you for any insight and advice you would be willing to share. Meanwhile, I would constantly keep up with the site. Thank you for your consideration. Regards, Debbie

(kakireka reply)
Hi Debbie,
well met indeed. sorry i dun remember if we crossed paths in O&M but i left end of 2004. which dept were you in? kakireka needs more people like you to provide some food for thought and academic insights into why what we do matters to who how when. As design practitioners, we often get caught up in our own client's self-serving world of sell sell sell and neglect the social aspects of the creative power we truly possess. One of the objectives of kakireka is to buildup a repository of public discourse and research into local design history, methods, culture, best practices, etc. We welcome any researcher to publish their papers/ prelim. findings on our site. Heck, we might even help facilitate your research by giving you access to our readers/members if you want their opinion or other support (case-by-case basis) online or offline during one of our live events.
It's a crying shame that till today, 50yrs of merdeka, there can't be found any substantial (published) research on malaysian DESIGN history (compared to arts & craft), as Irina, our exco member cum Masters student researcher from UiTM can attest to. With no discernible history to relate to or learn from, it is no wonder young designers generally lack a sense of pride in their chosen profession. Survival in the industry becomes a personal battle against other competitors /designers. Dog eat dog world. price cutting counter-measures. Or who has the better skill, the latest software weapons, etc. We are like designer mercenaries. Next, we enter & win creative industry awards to show off we're the best... NOT to learn from each other. There are so many stories of fresh graduates who get disillusioned and quit the profession within the first year of graduating. To break this pattern, we have to build a sense of community where we must help each other if we are to grow professionally. And to be open to new ideas, new collaborations and experimentations of new techniques, new fundamental practices that may make us grow to be a better person as well. So, welcome again to kakireka. We're, in turn, also interested in your progress and future research contributions on "the perception and practice of graphic design in malaysia". Do share with us your insights. May I know what's your thesis/research about? cheers, Kenneth


Victor said...

I agree with kenneth, malaysian designers need to be made aware of each other through a community, not only as a way to learn from other's experience, but also to protect each other - in honest speaking, designers in malaysia are often overused, and underappreaciated for their effort.

melissa said...

"It's a crying shame that till today, 50yrs of merdeka, there can't be found any substantial (published) research on malaysian DESIGN history (compared to arts & craft)..."

Agree with you there, Kenneth. Maybe that is why we do not have our own 'Malaysian design identity'...we do not have much references of our design roots - and I'm quite sure we have plenty to discourse on our design heritage...which seems to have been lost...and like you said NOT arts & crafts...but purely DESIGN.

A lot of designers (myself included, I have to admit) have been 'borrowing' and adapting infuence and inspiration from other countries...which is good and bad. In my opinion, good because we need to keep to international levels, but in a way bad because - what distinguishes us?


Debbie said...

Hi, I would like to include part of the comment that Melissa added here in my writing. How can i reference this please? Thanks.