Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21 – Being able to sing in seven different languages is a gift and no easy feat, but Yayasan Sime Darby’s (YSD)’s first ever Sudirman Scholar can do just that – and more.
Hailing from Sarawak, Wong Kie Ming, 23, has a deep passion for music which led him to pursue a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Music at the University of Malaya.
YSD, in collaboration with The Actors Studio, had offered this scholarship to commemorate 25 years since the passing of Malaysia’s beloved icon Dato’ Sudirman Arshad.
YSD chairman Tun Musa Hitam said he hopes the Sudirman Scholarship will not only keep the legend’s name and legacy alive, but also inspire a new generation of artistes such as Wong.
“Wong hails from an underprivileged family but has been blessed with genuine talent and intelligence that cannot be ignored. YSD has been supporting students like Wong who deserve an opportunity to overcome their disadvantages in order to attain a better future for themselves.”
He added, “I am happy to announce that the Sudirman Scholarship 2017 is awarded to Wong, because he radiates enthusiasm and spirit in singing. He is a talent I believe that embodies the very traits of a great artiste and I have no doubt that he will make us all proud.”
Wong had impressed his lecturers at the University of Malaya with his amazing talent and they decided to select him for an exchange study trip to Yeungnam University in South Korea. He currently holds a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.54.
The multilingual Wong is the youngest of four siblings and works part time to support himself and his mother, who is a homemaker.
He is currently pursuing a major in opera singing and hopes to further his studies by obtaining a Master’s Degree in the same field. Wong can sing in English, Malay, Chinese, Italian, German, French and Latin.
The Sudirman scholarship is the brainchild of The Actors Studio’s Co-Founder and Executive Producer, Dato’ Faridah Merican and the Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Joe Hasham OAM. They believe they have found the right candidate in Wong.
“After several rounds of interviews and auditions, we finally arrived at a unanimous decision on the first recipient of the Sudirman Scholarship. Thanks to the generosity of YSD, a student now has an opportunity to become an exceptional vocalist, just like the late Dato’ Sudirman himself,” they said.
Wong expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to pursue vocal studies as it was his dream to travel around the world and sing.
“Receiving financial aid from YSD will lift the weight off my family members, who have supported my singing journey thus far,” he said.
The Sudirman Scholarship Fund 2017 is worth RM25,000 a year, awarded to one recipient to pursue a three-year undergraduate programme in vocal studies at a selected public university in Malaysia.
YSD has been offering scholarships to underprivileged students since 1982, with a total of RM248.4 million worth of scholarships and bursaries awarded to 3,208 deserving Malaysians and students from countries in which Sime Darby operates, to pursue higher education at selected local and international universities.