Malaysian Student Loh Yit Choy: A Rising Star in Journalism


On November 4, the 11th Fan Jingyi Journalism Education Award ceremony took place at Tsinghua University, where Loh Yit Choy, a graduate student from Fudan’s School of Journalism, was honored with the Journalism Student Award.

Yit Choy, pursuing a Master’s degree in Journalism and Communication at Fudan University, has engaged himself in journalistic practices across various media platforms such as Caixin and Jiemian, two of China’s most influential digital media agencies specializing in financial and business news, contributing to over a hundred news pieces, including in-depth reports and short video news. He also held positions as Deputy Director of the Administrative Operations Center of Fusion Media, a video studio run by the current students in the School of Journalism, and Vice President of the Fudan University Malaysian Students Association (Malaysians in Fudan, MIF).

During his tenure at the Fudan University Malaysian Students Association  (Malaysians in Fudan, MIF) in autumn 2019, Yit Choy spearheaded the “Foreigners at Fudan” short film competition. This initiative facilitated collaboration between international and Chinese students to produce short films, earning the team the 33rd Fudan University Guanghua Self-Reliance Award in the Overseas Style category.

The award committee of the Fan Jingyi Journalism Education Award praised Yit Choy, stating, “As a Malaysian international student, Yit Choy not only speaks up for the Belt and Road Initiative on the international stage, but also reports the stories and news happening every day across China. He was engaged in discussions with filmmakers from various countries along the Belt and Road during the Shanghai International Film Festival’s ‘Belt and Road’ Film Week. When Beijing saw record flooding this summer, under the guidance of his supervisor, he reported the aftermaths and rescue efforts at the earliest time, and that report was put on the cover of Caixin Weekly. In the ‘Foreigners at Fudan’ short film competition, he utilized videos as a medium to promote cross-cultural exchanges among students from different countries. From the perspective of a Malaysian student, he narrates Chinese stories and conveys the voice of China, articulating his stance through a series of well-crafted works.”

In the interview with Fudan University Media Center, Yit Choy attributed his success in receiving the Fan Jingyi Journalism Education Award largely to his stewardship of the “Foreigners at Fudan” short film competition in 2019. Want to know how the competition actually happened? Come and find out what was behind the curtain.


How did the Malaysian Students Association (Malaysians in Fudan, MIF) come up with the idea of holding a short film competition?

Yit Choy: At that time, I served as the Vice President of the MIF, responsible for internal affairs. Committed to promoting the lives of foreign students at Fudan University, we organized various activities including team-building events, spring and autumn outings, orientation sessions, academic exchanges, and career development. Before, in 2018 and 2017, we had debate competitions. However, in our year, we thought of making some changes, so our President proposed trying something new. Some proposed producing short films, considering the prevailing trend of video-centric content.

It was the first short film competition the Malaysian Students Association (Malaysians in Fudan, MIF) ever held. Did you turn to anyone for help?

Yit Choy: When we were at a loss, we discovered that the School of Journalism’s Fusion Media had project funding to support students. I found this organization open-minded and willing to assist with students’ various journalistic attempts. Fusion is an organization primarily composed of broadcasting majors. So I discussed the short film idea with a Director of Fusion. He agreed to give it a try. That’s how we started to work together. And this successful collaboration later also made me determined to join Fusion Media.

I heard the competition was initially limited to Fudan’s international students, but later Chinese students were allowed to participate as well. Why was that?

Yit Choy: Our initial focus was solely on making the lives of international students on campus more meaningful and fun, so we were kind of stuck in this mentality that the competition should open only to international students. But soon we realized it didn’t have to be so rigid. Even the competition’s organizing committee comprised Malaysian students and Chinese students. At last, we decided to set the rule that one team can have up to 8 members among whom there should be at least 4 international students. We hoped for Chinese students’ participation. And I’m glad it worked out.

How did you get the message about the competition out?

Yit Choy: We noticed the Fudan University Student Union would usually place tabletop signboards in campus cafeterias for their events, so we followed suit at first. But that was not enough. We created a WeChat group QR code for participants to assemble their teams themselves, putting up quite a few of these in each cafeteria, and people were really interested. We were not prepared for that. Some members soon reported to me that the WeChat group we created was full. So eventually we put the first 200 people who signed up for the team-assembling program in one group chat, and the rest in another group chat. Later, we upgraded our strategy by creating different QR codes for different campus cafeterias. That turned out to be much more effective. Also, we put up banners to promote the competition across the campus and an easel in the international students’ dorm building.

Did anything interesting happen during the competition?

Yit Choy: In the end, we gathered around a dozen teams of a total of 112 people from over 20 countries. Our effort was recognized by the International Students Office which decided to fund the prizes. One film left a deep impression on me. It was about a love story. They went to the length of putting in some voice acting to create a sharp contrast to the characters. The characters spoke in a Taiwanese accent, but they got someone with a Northeastern accent for this love story, and they eventually won the first place.

After sharing the stories behind the competition, Yit Choy told the reasons of him leaving Malaysia to pursue study at Fudan University in Shanghai.

What has attracted you to Fudan?

Yit Choy: I arrived in Fudan 2018 for my freshman year. I was primarily attracted by the “2+2” program featuring general education and specialized education, plus personalized learning. I aspire to work in journalism, but I wanted to learn something beyond this field. I think it would be beneficial for me to learn international politics. China’s development has been very impressive and an increasing number of Malaysians were coming to study at Fudan.

How’s your study of journalism at Fudan?

Yit Choy: I’m currently participating in a practical project regarding the fast-moving consumer goods industry, and the knowledge I gained from studying other disciplines in Fudan proved quite useful. I really love Fudan’s general education courses. In the freshman year, most courses I attended were not that closely related to my major. I remember then I attended some sophomore-level courses from the School of International Relations. Now I’m also working as a teaching assistant for a required course of the undergraduate journalism majors to help younger students solve their academic problems. In this process, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of how journalism works.

What have you learned from the experience as a journalist?  

Yit Choy: During the Chinese New Year this year, I talked to several cinema managers and to discuss the recovery of their schedules. And the first time I worked on a ‘Belt and Road’-related project was five months later, through which I got chances to directly interview various film practitioners including the directors and managers in Film Business Department. Real interviews differ significantly from what was taught in class where every interview was carefully prepared and followed a certain procedure. In reality, it was about getting to the essence of the issue. In such settings, you often only have five or ten minutes since those film practitioners are always tied up; time is limited. You have to quickly get to the main points. This profession is full of challenges but really rewarding. My coverage of the Beijing flood made me realize that what I was doing might seem small, but it could influence people in a way that can significantly change their lives.