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This gifted 24-year old Malaysian got a partial scholarship to get into Tisch but…
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This gifted 24-year old Malaysian got a partial scholarship to get into Tisch but…

by Deric EctAugust 4, 2016

…he is still in need of financial assistance! Ladies and gentleman, this is the lovely Raziman Sarbini and he is enrolled in this year’s Master of Fine Art program at New York University‘s world-famous Tisch School of Performance Art.

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Who is Raziman Sarbini?

Perhaps the best known of younger dancers in the performing arts scene, this 24-year old comes from a humble, farming family in Limbang, Sarawak. Raziman describes his mother as a “tough, wonderful lady” who rides a motorbike, taps rubber and cuts trees for a living, while his father is 75 and not fit for work.

Raziman’s the first and only one out of eight siblings to attend university. But he also thought of himself more of an athlete rather than a dancer, until a change of heart after finishing secondary school. Today, he is a principal dancer for the acclaimed Aswara Dance Company and an award-winning performer!

Sometimes, I think that I’ve not done anything. And yet when I think of where I came from — knowing nothing about dance — it has been an unbelievable journey.

— Raziman Sarbini, 29 July 2016

This young man slayed during his time at ASWARA (Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan). He received a Second Class upper Bachelor of Dance (Performance) Honours and was Best Dance Graduate of 2015, having performed and choreographed in many of the academy’s productions.

But his biggest achievement? Probably bagging five gold medals at the 2012 World Championship of Performing Arts, or a second prize at TDS Solo Classical Ballet Competition — tremendous for someone who only started ballet at 20!

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You can get a better sense of Raziman through this piece from The Malaysian Reserve, but we first took notice of him at MyDance Alliance‘s excellent Tepak Tari last year.

He went on the appear in notable recent productions such as JFKL (Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur) and Un Yamada Dance Company‘s One Piece, as well as Joseph Gonzales‘s Becoming King: The Pakyung Revisited.

What does Raziman need?

In order to get his MFA from Tisch, Raziman needs appoximately RM620,000 (or US$150,000). Can you also imagine that the same sum five years ago — remember the days before 1MDB — would have cost RM450,000?

His family however cannot provide him with that kind of money. Even during his time at ASWARA, Raziman found work to support himself while studying while also receiving help from his siblings.

Raziman’s quote covers his tuition fees and living expenses over a two-year period. His tuition alone comes up to US$108,000 over four semesters, but he is budgetting US$15,000 for accommodation. Thankfully, the young man also obtained a scholarship from Tisch worth US$15,000!

Whatever’s left after all that will be his startup fund to help him survive in New York and immerse himself in his studies while he slowly gets on his feet and supports himself.

How can you help Raziman?

After placing an open call for funds on his Facebook page last Wednesday, Raziman scored support from friends, some of whom spread the word. Collections have begun trickling in, but he’s still a long way from his goals.

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Basically if you want to help this bright talent, just make a donation of any amount into his account.

Name: Raziman bin Sarbini
Bank: Maybank
Acc No: 161024472008

And if you want to do even more, scroll down to the very bottom and call up the guy who’s helping Raziman reach even more people in this endeavour.

Why help Raziman get into Tisch?

How many Malaysians do you know are in established professional dance companies internationally? Raziman seems to know something about dance that most of us don’t; he’s gone far as Malaysia’s surprise dance prodigy and we have the power to help him go even further.

Malaysians like Mavin Khoo have international careers. Some others like David Lee in musical theatre. I dream of doing it. The program will say “Raziman, born in Limbang, Sarawak, Malaysia”. How amazing! The great thing is I am also trained in traditional dance so I would like to create more awareness over there. I want to share the beauty of Malaysia.

— Raziman Sarbini, 29 July 2016

Sending Raziman to New York is giving him an opportunity to work with the world’s bests (he’s hoping to score classes with Ohad Naharin or William Forsythe) and hoping he’ll become one of the greats and make us known for all the right reasons someday. You’l be helping out a fine, young Malaysian gentleman we feel would be a risk-free investment based on his track record and his outstanding learning ability.

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So pendek cerita give to Raziman, give to the country’s reputation and future in dance and performing arts.

We rest our case for now and hope you pitch in towards this cause. Let’s continue grooming more honest, talented Malaysians and potential leaders because God knows we need them now more than ever.

And tell your friends too, because Raziman must start his classes at Tisch on 6 September 2016.


Make a donation to Raziman bin Sarbini and also leave him messages of support on Facebook. Remember that every little ringgit goes a long way! For all related enquiries or offer of support, contact Taufiq Nazarudin at +6012 7900 799. All pictures sourced from Raziman Sarbini and ADC Malaysia.

About The Author
Profile photo of Deric Ect
Deric Ect
Deric is contributor and former managing editor of The Daily Seni.
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