A Love for Malay

A Love for Malay

Tuesday, 01 December 2015

Media Type
NIE News March 2015

By: Associate Professor Hadijah Rahmat, Head (interim), Asian Languages and Culture Academic Group

Dr Muhammad Ariff Ahmad and his wife, Madam Sarinah (seated, right and middle respectively) cutting yellow glutinous rice on his 90th birthday together with Assoc Prof Hadijah Rahmat (second row, centre), Dr Saeda Buang (second row, left), Mr Haji Wan Hussin Zoohri (standing, extreme right), Chair, MAS Endowment Committee and other members of the Committee

For the first time in Singapore, an endowment fund was set up at the Nanyang Technological University to support research in Malay Studies. The Dr Muhammad Ariff Ahmad (MAS) Endowment Fund is named after the prominent 90-year-old literary figure. Its objective is to recognise and pay tribute to Dr Muhammad Ariff Ahmad for his great contributions and achievements. Dr Ariff, an educator, author and community leader, was awarded Singapore’s highest literary honour, the Cultural Medallion, in 1987. He has dedicated a great part of his life to Malay language and Malay teachers’ education. He spent more than 40 years teaching Malay in primary and secondary schools before moving to teach trainee teachers at the then Teachers Training College (TTC) and Institute of Education (IE). He served at IE for two decades before retiring in 1979.

The Fund aims to encourage new research and development in the areas which MAS has always been actively involved in his life. Mainly the Malay language, literature, culture, and its role in education in Singapore and the region. The fund is administered by the Malay Language and Culture Division, Asian Languages and Cultures Academic Group at NIE, NTU. Mr S. R. Nathan, the former President of Singapore, is the Patron for the Endowment Fund. Since it started in 2009, it has collected S$512,000 amount of public donations. With 1:1 government matching, the Fund has reached more than S$1 million, its initial target.

On 10 December 2014, the fund raising committee announced that the MAS Postgraduate scholarships and research grants were initiated under the Endowment Fund. The MAS Postgraduate Scholarship and MAS Research Grant are dedicated to generating further Malay language, literature, education and culture corpuses by inviting applicants who are pursuing postgraduate studies in the relevant fields, and researchers who are embarking on academic explorations that elevate Malay cultural studies to cross-cultural and international discourses. The details of the scholarships and research grant and applications are available here and here. Applications are open now.

This article first appeared in NIE's quarterly publication NIE News in March 2015.