PETALING JAYA: The Soo Ewe Jin Scholarship has struck a chord among advocates of moderation, a campaign that celebrates the nation’s strength in diversity.
The scholarship has received strong support from three prominent Malaysians – Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar and Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi – who were all writers for The Star’s Moderation book.
Published last September, it was one of the final projects Ewe Jin – who served as the book’s editor – undertook before succumbing to cancer two months later.
The three consider him a “fellow champion of moderation” and have pledged support to the scholarship, set up in Ewe Jin’s memory.
Idris, who is Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) CEO, remembered Ewe Jin as a man who was authentic and sincere, and had spoken a lot about life with maturity of thought and perception.
“Whenever we met subsequently, we continued our conversation about life.
“In dealing with his illness, Ewe Jin kept a positive outlook and was always grateful for life’s blessings.
“I could sense that his faith in God continued to blossom. Whenever I read Ewe Jin’s column in Sunday Star, again and again, I could see the man in his writing.
“He steadfastly looked at the positive things in life, big and small, rather than dwell on the negatives.
“I think that is the measure of the man,” he said.
Johan, who pens the column The Bowerbird Writes in The Star, said he was brought up in a multiracial and multicultural construct, just like Ewe Jin.
“Like him, I believe our strength as a nation is our readiness to accept differences, for our diversity matters to us.
“I am honoured to be part of the Moderation project, the book that he edited.
“I hope this scholarship will inspire aspiring and budding journalists. The spirit, tenacity and fortitude of Ewe Jin will live on,” he said.
Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM Dr Shad Saleem remembered Ewe Jin as a man who had great maturity and restraint, qualities he admitted were rare in an editor.
“Though he has gone, his virtues and memories of him as a scholar and as a person who saw the best in others will remain.
“I hope this scholarship will open doors otherwise closed for students, and that even after his death, Ewe Jin will continue to mould lives.
“I believe that is a great achievement,” he said.
The book Moderation features 28 essays on the concept of moderation in Malaysia, written by prominent Malaysians and journalists.
Ewe Jin was best known for his Sunday Starters column that touched many with its message of compassion, kindness and charity.
The Soo Ewe Jin Scholarship was set up on April 7 in his memory, and will sponsor one undergraduate every year for a Bachelor in Communications (Journalism) degree at Universiti Sains Malaysia.