mohammad syafi bin dato seri palawan haji awang halim

2021 IOTM - Syafi's Podcast
00:00 / 31:38
Syafi Halim 8.jpg


Syafi Halim, 21, is the Creative Community Nominee for the February Inspirasee of the Month. He is a student under the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, majoring in Design Creative Industry.

Being a UBD student reminds him of his youthfulness as he feels old when surrounded by older people on set when working on his projects. When he is around his UBD peers, he feels rightfully 21 and thinks it is important to enjoy youth with people your age. In his first year, he realised attention was drawn to him. Hence, he tried to not think of his outside persona and tried to be Syafi. On campus, Syafi would cover his face by wearing a mask and a cap, hangs out with a handful of friends while still maintaining good relationships with his classmates.

He started UBD in 2019 as a Mathematics major, only recently changing his major to Design Creative Industry (DCI). He has always been interested in filmmaking, and started his journey with posting Youtube videos in 2018. He started becoming the Syafi Halim when he enrolled in UBD. Before that, he was just a normal person. He finds his growth surprising. Some people don’t realise that he is still a rookie in the industry. While some people thought he left UBD after changing his major to DCI. He finds it quite troubling to balance maths and film at the same time as these two things are on a different spectrum. It is also due to being involved in major projects every semester. Although it is part a struggle he had to deal with, he is privileged to have the ‘almost’ dream life right now at 21. It is also a challenge to be 21, a student, a friend to his friends and a son to his family. Instead of doing maths and filming, he ultimately changed his major to DCI as it aligns side-by-side with filming. He turned in some of his outside projects as his assignments which benefited him a lot.

Syafi Halim began his journey being a Youtube video creator posting fun skits. It stemmed from his interest in film making whereby he had to appear in front of the camera instead of a separate actor. Youtube was something he started to try to find something he can latch onto while hanging out with his friend. What started as a hobby became bigger than he expected it to be. The bigger it got, the crazier the content went. He is not proud of some of his contents, but it was part of his journey which made him the person he is today.

Simpati was released in 2019 on Syafi’s youtube channel where he got constant and high praises and recognition. Syafi admitted to have a big ego so he tends to push compliments away to ground himself. Even so, Simpati was a short film that he is genuinely proud of. The video was produced for his MIB assignment where his lecturer praised the short film to be a film school production. Syafi told his project members to treat every project and assignment as a competition. Try to have fun with it while striving to be better. A person will not improve as a being if they keep settling for satisfactory results. When someone try new things, they will learn more about themselves as a person and discover their own capabilities. At the age of 21, he strives to improve both as a filmmaker and as a person. He witnessed a lot of UBD students that are scared to step out of their comfort zone and thinks it is regretful. While working on the Simpati project, he was surprised to see 5 members out of 14 people in his MIB group being very committed. It was a fun experience and he was sure that his team members enjoyed the project as well.

Syafi thinks his greatest strength is his curiosity. His eagerness to improve and curiosity of the world is what saved him from straying behind as he needed to try harder. He is a curious mind and a hard worker. If he’s not curious, he won’t work hard.

Syafi is curious most about human emotion. He grew up without feeling a lot of sentiments. He always had trouble with having a romantic relationship or a close friendship because he finds himself naturally emotionless. Hence, it made him more curious on how to be more caring which lead him to put the emotions in his scripts and films. A lot of viewers feel a variety of emotions while watching his films. However, Syafi himself does not feel emotions so he is very curious about human psychology.

Syafi is currently working on around 3 projects. The main project he is working on is with Progresif Media to create a zombie series called “Kitani.” Brunei is yet to be bombed with a zombie production. When he was 14 years old, the movie Yasmine came out and he was amazed that the movie was produced by a local filmmaker. He aspires to be that person for the 14-year-olds today. He strives to make things that people are amazed by and can have emotional attachments to its characters and storylines.

Aside from filmmaking and video creation, he is genuinely intrigued by physics. Physics is something that he feels personal with. As kids, the only thing that they had was curiosity such as their interest in dinosaurs, planets, etc. As teenagers, they think of the smaller picture instead, like getting into a relationship which was kinda ironic. In high school he did not enjoy physics as much as he enjoyed it as a kid. However, now his interest in physics blooms back and additionally, sports. Syafi likes a Japanese scientist, Michio Kaku, who listens to him talk and watches his lectures in his free time. However, majoring physics in UBD is another level of intellect and passion. Syafi thinks he enjoys physics as it is a form of distraction. Unlike most people that watch movies as a distraction, Syafi has an occupational habit that stops him from enjoying movies. He analyses them and comments on the technicalities. On instances when the storyline is bad, he would leave the cinema, which is a waste of money. Hence, he watches lectures that talk about physics instead of movies.

He is not sure how he balances his activities as he is even thinking of getting a Personal Assistant. However, one thing he makes sure is clear to not do is procrastinate. He needs to do the assignment as soon as possible. Because if you leave an assignment for tomorrow, there will be more assignments piling up. He exclaimed, “Work today, less work tomorrow.” For someone who has a lot of things going on, he needs to do things as soon as he can. No matter how he spends his time, he makes sure to not miss any deadline.

His career is one big priority. Syafi wants to make more jobs for Bruneians, so for his current project “KItani”, he employed around 60 people. He wants to help the unemployment rate in Brunei. And also to inspire the 4-year-olds, that they can do things they want and pursue this lifestyle. He confidently hopes that in the next 20 years,  there will be a stable income in a private film company.

Another priority of his is to grow as a person and to be a good brother. Syafi grew up being bullied, so he always had the compassion and sympathy for his younger brothers. His brothers are nerds that like to talk about science and have quizzes on the dinner table. During his Youtube days, he sometimes started his morning thinking that he was the most hated person in Brunei ; most of the hate came from Reddit but going out to spend time with his little brothers made him feel decent. He likes entertaining his brothers when they come to his room and talk about ironman. It’s important to let people be who they truly are. 

If a person is bad today, just let them be. There will be consequences, and they will learn. That’s what he believed in. He hopes that his little brothers will become good people.

Syafi thinks he doesn’t like attention, but his friends argue otherwise. He doesn’t like going out, he likes being in his room, doing work. He doesn’t fancy going to events, meeting new people, and being social. He is not an attention seeker. However, when he started Youtube, he craved attention. But after getting a lot of attention, he wanted it to stop. There were instances where people violated his privacy and took pictures of his house or when he was hanging out outside. Sometimes, people just want a life and not a camera on your face the whole time.

He started making a name for himself at 19, and as a hopeful youth that would take any projects with any payment, he came across some people who are older than him took advantage of his enthusiasm. One of the biggest struggles in the industry is to gain respect. Thankfully, people are respecting him now for his projects and not see him as a 21-year-old youngster. Another hurdle he had to overcome working in the industry is to read people and avoid backstabbers. The creative industry is a dangerous place for someone who is very sensitive. People may stab your backs for fame and money. Reading people was what he learned the most and struggled with. Syafi avoids drama when he can, but being strongly opinionated and having the tendency to say things when he is unhappy, brought him some drama.

Syafi has a strong support system and people that grounds him as a person. He thinks that a support system is very important. But sometimes support systems can be toxic as well. He crossed path with some people that pretended to support him only to be happy when he fail that, and successfully managed to cut off. It is  a struggle to find the right support system but he had come a long way. It is important to have a support system that helps you succeed, and not just those who slightly keep you back on your feet but don’t bring you up.

Syafi’s goal is to create more jobs in Brunei in the creative industry to provide stable jobs. Although thinks he is still young, naïve and inexperienced in the working world as he hasn’t worked a real job yet in the creative industry, it is his way to stay humble and to know that there are a lot of things and obstacles to make his goal happen. He hopes that the people that can make a difference, to make the difference for the people instead of just making a difference for themselves. Solving the unemployment problem in Brunei would help the coming generations and he hopes to be able to achieve that. However, he can’t do this on his own and he needs 10 to 15 other people that are as passionate and committed to the cause. Every big goal needs a group of people working together. As much as you are talented or hard working, nothing can beat teamwork.

Syafi Halim is a youtube persona that people got annoyed of but Syafi is a person that is still trying to learn about things and is constantly improving.

To all UBD students, do not be afraid to try. He remembered when he was afraid to try and he was never happy. Do things for yourself and hopefully it will create a snowball effect that effects other people. The key to satisfaction for your life is to do things for yourself and not being told what to do. Although the assignments may be heavy, think of it as our responsibility and choice of choosing the module. The lecturers are there for guidance. Do not complain about the lecturers, as they are trying their best. As a student and a person, we need to try our best to strive for your dreams.

”Keep your mental health good!”