An interview with SY Phang
How did you become involved in communications? Why is it important to you?
Mass Communication was my major in university. Since my graduation, I have been involved in print media, specializing in company newsletters, corporate publications and marketing communication materials. I didn’t get to do broadcasting, which was my first love, so I stuck to print until social media came along.
You attended the Design for Magazines conference in 2003. Take me back to that conference 16 years ago. How did you hear about the training and why did you attend?
I heard about the conference from another Christian. I love meeting Christians in the communication industry, especially those coming from different countries and cultures.
The conference held in Malaysia the second training event MTI conducted in Asia. Was it important to you that the training was available close to home?
Yes, it was important to me as I was looking for such seminars in Malaysia. It was only because I found such seminars useful that I was willing to spend money traveling outside Malaysia to attend more MTI courses in Slovakia, Los Angeles and India.
How did the conference/training impact you personally?
The women’s magazine conference in Slovakia in 2005 had the greatest impact on me. It was exciting to meet women from different countries and to find that we shared common concerns about raising our families and our contributions to our communities.
What touched me most was the Eastern European Christians’ commitment to publishing despite financial constraints. That was both an encouragement and rebuke to me. I was humbled that women from Eastern European countries were full of faith in publishing, even though they were so limited financially. It was a rebuke to me that given the resources in Malaysia, I dared not venture into publishing on my own.
Did meeting with the Eastern Europeans inspire you to dive deeper into publishing?
Publishing has always been my passion. But I am a coward when publishing on my own, as I know how expensive it can be. However, I helped revamp Asian Beacon which involved changing the editorial direction, design, and marketing strategy of the magazine.
After the redesign process, I left Asian Beacon to attend to my business. My calling is to the marketplace, where I can incorporate kingdom values in the publications I handle. Since then, I have helped clients and friends publish several books.
Is there a need for more magazine publishing training in Malaysia? What do you see as the next step for Malaysian Christian publishers?
Definitely, there is a need for magazine publishing training. There is a lot of duplication and waste of resources in the Christian community in Malaysia. I wish they could all sit together, outline their target audience, and be more strategic in their publication ministry—as well as online social media ministry.
SY Phang is embarking on a new direction in her freelance business after three decades in the print media. She is working with corporate and community partners to create an eco-system in which mums (and dads) on career breaks can be empowered to work part-time and flexible hours. She encourages freelancers to collaborate in teams for co-working and co-childcaring purposes.