Like Father, Like Daughter

Abdul Razak (G.Dip.Mass Comm.’02) and his daughter Natasha (CS’20) spur each other on in their pursuit of similar aspirations.

Razak continues to be a daily inspiration for his daughter, Natasha, who wishes to delve deeper into the field of public relations, a practice he is in. PHOTO: BERTRAND TEE

Razak continues to be a daily inspiration for his daughter, Natasha, who wishes to delve deeper into the field of public relations, a practice he is in. PHOTO: BERTRAND TEE

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As the director of public relations for the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Abdul Razak (G.Dip.Mass Comm.’02) fondly recalls how his oldest daughter, Natasha (CS’20) used to get excited seeing him on television engaging the media on SCDF-related matters.  As Natasha grew up, Razak would share more about his job with her, which planted the seeds for her to follow suit in the field of communications.

After junior college, Natasha took up an office job while waiting to enter university. During this period, she quickly realized that a desk-bound job was not for her. Having witnessed her father being constantly on the move as a public relations practitioner, she knew she wanted to have a similar career. She then decided to pursue her undergraduate degree at WKWSCI.

This was a familiar route. Razak enrolled in the graduate diploma program at WKWSCI in 2001, when he obtained a sponsorship from SCDF. While he had obtained a law degree from the University of London in 1994, he credits WKWSCI for sharpening his communications skills, which has helped him carry out his job more effectively.

“Law teaches you to be objective and sharp, but communications taught me more than that. It made me more mindful of my target audience,” he said.

The 48-year-old added that he particularly enjoyed engaging with his professors — especially Senior Lecturer Dr. Mark Cenite — during in-class discussions at WKWSCI. “I was very vocal in class and was constantly challenging him,” said Razak.

“He (has shown) me that if you really have passion, you will never grow tired of what you do even after so many years.”

Natasha Abdul Razak

Natasha said that her father played a pivotal role in encouraging her to enroll at WKWSCI. “As I am not really outspoken by nature, my dad often reminded me that going to WKWSCI would help shape my public speaking skills, which is necessary for the line of work I am aiming for.”

For the 19-year-old, it was also her father who honed her language skills and developed her flair for writing. Razak used to coach Natasha the English language since she was in primary school and was “particular about it.”

“Choice of words was something I would always jump at when teaching Natasha because it would affect the nuances of the language,” said Razak.

Natasha feels fortunate to have a father with extensive expertise in the field she wants to pursue, as she gets to witness first hand how real life issues are being handled, while engaging in intellectual discussions with her father.

“He constantly encourages me to think of the reasons behind why he and his team crafted social media statements in a certain manner. Sometimes, he would also make me think of how to respond to messages from the media before showing me the way it should be,” added Natasha.

The first-year student, who wants to pursue both public relations and journalism, values her father’s words of encouragement.

“It is not all about academics, but also your attitude. Each submission you give must always be your best because it is not going to be easy,” said Razak.

Natasha, in turn, supports her father in his civil defence efforts by being part of the Civil Defence Lionhearter Club in Nanyang Technological University, which Razak currently oversees. Launched earlier this year, the club aims to equip individuals with skills in times of emergencies.

Looking ahead, Natasha hopes to emulate her father’s skills and values in the field of communications.  

“He (has shown) me that if you really have passion, you will never grow tired of what you do even after so many years.”

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