|Nisar Keshvani is 25 years old and lives in his
native Singapore. He is the editor of fineArt forum, an online magazine
that allows him to focus on some of his interests, including new media
technologies, media convergence and Web content. He has been a journalist
with the (Singapore) Straits Times and writes for several online publications.
At an early age, Nisar discovered that he had a talent and
passion for writing. As a student in Singapore, he worked as a correspondent
for a Filipino trade publication, co-directed two award-winning
short films with his brother, which were awarded the Special Jury
Prize in the 1993 and 1994 Singapore Short Film Festivals, and he
was production co-ordinator for Singapore's first feature length
film. At the age of eighteen, armed with a Mass Communication diploma,
he went to work for a telecommunications firm in Vietnam.
Upon his return to Singapore, Nisar enlisted for National Service
and joined the Police Force. After basic training, he was posted
to write for their in-house publication - Police Life. Nisar was
keen to study Journalism but since the course was not available
locally, he managed to get a bursary to study the subject at Queensland
University of Technology, Australia. He took a short multimedia
and web design course, and decided to work on Communique Online,
the school's publication. For his final-year project, he worked
as co-ordinator of this e-zine. For the first time, Nisar and other
students transferred radio and television news stories produced
for a local community station onto the website. The project was
so succesful that it won two best publication awards from the Journalism
Education Association of Australia.
After his degree, Nisar thought it was time to return to Singapore.
But fate had something else in store for him. "I had completed
my final projects, when my supervisor asked me about my future plans,"
relates Nisar. "The supervisor was working on a large-scale
research project, and asked if I could develop a website. He also
encouraged me to consider post-graduate studies. I told him I would
love to pursue a master's degree, but was concerned about financing
it. Imagine my surprise when, a week later, he offered me work as
a tutor and resident Webmaster!"
The rest, as they say, is history. Nisar's masters thesis consisted
of research on Singapore and Melbourne's national newspapers and
how the Internet has affected journalistic work practices in 2000.
He presented conference papers based on his findings in Melbourne,
Singapore, Brisbane and Sydney.
Meanwhile, he lectured about online journalism at QUT and taught
students web design and Internet research skills. He also became
the editor of fineArt forum, a not-for-profit online news service,
dedicated to providing information to the global arts and technology
community. The year 2000 was particularly thrilling as he reported
on the Sydney Olympic Games and interviewed several athletes.
Besides being active professionally, Nisar has contributed to the
Jamat, first in Singapore and then Australia. He was appointed as
the Malaysia/Singapore Graphics Coordinator last year and Youth
Coordinator for the Brisbane Jamat. And he still remembers the 1991
Al-Ummah Camp he attended in Bangladesh, as "one of the best
experiences I've ever had," and which he found invaluable in
helping him define his identity.
Nisar is excited about the Internet's potential, as he explains
excitedly, "it's amazing; where once we took weeks, or months
to send a simple message overseas, today it can be done in a matter
of seconds! Wouldn't it be wonderful to set up a network for Ismailis
globally? Just imagine talking with a fellow in Tajikistan, and
learning about their culture first-hand!"
So what are Nisar's plans for the future? He is not certain, but
says he would like to use his skills for the benefit of others.
"Perhaps," he says, "to combine my interest in the
media, Internet, and education, and introduce our community to technology's
potential." Clearly, the Jamat has a lot to gain from his experience
and communication skills.