SPD Aspiration Award 2015 winner Muhammad Diroy is an aspiring graphic designer who is expected to graduate from Temasek Polytechnic’s (TP) School of Design this year. We caught up with him at ‘The Design Show 2015 – A Brave New World’ this week where his final-year project was showcased.
UPDATES (U): How has your life changed after receiving the SPD Aspiration Award 2015?
Diroy (D): My life has changed quite a bit. People are more caring towards me and I feel that they now view people with dwarfism in a better light. I have received requests on social media asking for my advice and thoughts about my journey. There is this one parent who has a young child with dwarfism. He found me on social media and asked for advice. I’m really glad to be of help. It’s good to make people happy, but it’s better to help people make themselves happy.
Diroy in a photoshoot after an interview with a local Chinese newspaper
U: What have you been busy with?
D: I’ve been busy with my final-year projects. I’ve also been doing some research on equipment useful for my design work. I want to make the best use of the grant from the SPD Youth Aspiration Award.
U: This is your last year at TP. How has the whole experience been?
D: No words can fully describe all the things that I have learned in TP, which is practically my second home now. Other than learning to use the design software and the how-tos in design, I have also learnt many soft skills in communication and presentation. I saw my own personal growth in confidence, positivity, discipline, responsibility, respect and more.
I was lucky to have the support of many good friends. Life would not have been the same without my classmates. I am glad to have the strong support of many good lecturers, especially Mr Lee Wei Lieh and Ms Patricia Tan, who never stopped encouraging me to push on and never give up in life.
Diroy with Mr Lee Wei Lieh
Diroy with some of his classmates and Ms Patricia Tan (in spectacles)
U: Run us through your final year project
D: My project, ‘The Making Waves Series’, takes the form of five books which provide general tips and advice to people in overcoming their disabilities and challenges.
One of the things that held me back for many years was the fear of failure and the general lack of self-confidence. I have put a lot of effort in working on my self-confidence and self-esteem over the years. I still have those fears, but at least now I know that I have the inner strength to break through that wall of fear.
This is also one of the reasons why I chose a topic on motivation. I hope to use my personal journey in dealing with the challenges I face from my disabilities to help other people who have disabilities to feel motivated and aim for their own form of success. This publication will also enable people without disabilities to have a better understanding of the challenges that we face.
The theme and motif of the wave in the ocean is highly symbolic and meaningful to me. In itself, it can be interpreted as eternity as its movements never cease. It can also be seen to be temperamental as waves sometimes surge with a powerful force and at other times gently laps the shore.
I feel waves in the oceans symbolise the power of nature at work. We can see them as the potential of strength which we can mimic, or conversely we see them as symbols of adversity that we want to overcome. As such, I believe wave patterns and crest formations can be used to signify human behaviour and emotions. For people with disabilities, I believe these waves will be of more significance to them.
U: Any feedback on your work over the 3-day event?
D: Yes, quite a few of the visitors asked me about my project and after I explained my work, they gave me positive feedback. Most of the visitors liked my portfolio too and they said my designs are very clear and bold, something that they are looking for.
Diroy with one of the many visitors at his section at the event
U: What do you plan to do in the near future?
D: I plan to find a job in graphic design and branding. It will be where I can find career satisfaction and job stability. Love what you do and do what you love.
Meanwhile, I will also continue to upgrade and perfect my skills through a lot of practice.
We wish Diroy all the best in his upcoming endeavours.