Monday, April 22, 2024
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Speaking with style

Rokiah Mahmud

Muhammad Iqbaal Syakib bin Haji Suhib was recently announced the champion of the National Speech Competition 2023 organised by the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) held in conjunction with Brunei’s 39th National Day celebration.

With the topic Hati Budi Melayu: Calak Bangsa Budiman, Muhammad Iqbaal Syakib scored 93.5 per cent from a panel of three judges, beating the four other finalists.

In an interview with the Bulletin, the champion explained that for the art of pidato or public speaking, one needs to have knowledge and information on the topic given or chose to deliver.

“To have a good pidato script, we need to have resources, conduct research, collect data and choose words to emphasise or deliver the emotions and style.

“We cannot carelessly pick any word, because some will be appropriate in writing but will give a different meaning when projected through public speaking.”

An i-Ready officer at the State Judiciary Department, Muhammad Iqbaal Syakib said it was his first time winning the competition, having previously been a finalist and being placed third.

Minister of Education Datin Seri Setia Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh presents the prize to National Speech Competition 2023 winner Muhammad Iqbaal Syakib bin Haji Suhib. PHOTOS: ROKIAH MAHMUD
Muhammad Iqbaal Syakib speaks to the Bulletin

His victory earned him a BND800 cash prize, a plaque, certificate and books published by DBP.

“Initially I decided not to participate in the competition, as last year too I did not sign up and took a year-long break,” he said.

However, driven by passion, a dream and missing the scene, Muhammad Iqbaal Syakib decided to join the competition on the last day of registration.

“I missed writing scripts, doing research, finding facts and so on, and therefore, I decided to try my luck this year,” he said.

He added, “Especially after participating in the International Malay Language Public Speaking Competition for the Prime Minister’s Trophy in 2021 in Malaysia, I gained much experience not only from my own research, but through knowledge I acquired from other participants.”

On challenges he faced during the competition, Muhammad Iqbaal Syakib said both national and international competitions have their own stakes.

He said from the preliminary round up to the final stage, one needs to focus on memorising the script, ensure all facts and data used are current and relevant, opt for the right word for the right context and expressions, avoid repetiton, understand the audience and, most importantly, express one’s heart and soul.

“When I am on stage, I imagine portraying myself as a character. You need to make people listen to you, determine what you want to deliver, impact the audience not just in terms of vocal projection, but also use language that will level-up your performance,” said Muhammad Iqbaal Syakib.

On his training, he said, “I have to manage between my daily job and training.

“Usually before the competition day, I seek assistance from my mentor, lecturers and those who have experience in the same field.

“This year, I did it all alone because I wanted to be out of my comfort zone by challenging myself to do it alone. It took me two months to prepare, from searching ideas to looking for suitable references and resources and collecting data.

“I also referred to the judges’ comments regarding the usage of the correct Malay language grammar, styles, adding on some heavy words but not so much that would make it hard for people to understand what I was trying to convey.”

He added, “Even though I am not a language expert, I put in efforts to learn and do a lot of reading. It helps you to get ideas on what topic you want to write.”

The National Speech Competition serves to empower the Malay language, especially through youth participation.

The competition also serves to strengthen proficiency in the Malay language through the art of pidato so that it can play a significant role as a way of communicating and expressing knowledge.

It also aims to cultivate a sense of patriotism, expand and strengthen knowledge, usage and proficiency of the Malay language.

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