LAST_UPDATEMon, 25 Jun 2018 11pm

Young Shoe Entrepreneur Uses His Craft To Unite M’sians

This year is a seemingly challenging one for our country, both economically and politically. The general election which has been much-speculated since 2017 will be called this year, ahead of the end of Barisan Nasional's (BN) five-year term this June 24, 2018. And as every election season, in addition to parties waging wars against one another, the atmosphere turns unpleasant when racial tensions flare-up, especially on social media, mainly for political gain.

But in these tumultuous times, one young man aims to uphold the nation’s unity in diversity. Muhammad Noor Hilman, or known as Hilman, the son of a former security guard, learned about unity while pursuing his secondary education at the Royal Military College (RMC), as he built close-knitted friendships with individuals of various races, up until this very day.

In my previous article, I highlighted that Hilman is the founder of Hilman Authentic, a high-quality local brand of footwear that is modern and elegant. Hilman Authentic had successfully marketed thousands of elevated shoes, designed for user’s height to be increased up to 7cm and to improve their back posture as well – making his designs unique from other shoes currently available in the market.

Aside selling office and casual footwear, Hilman also produces Kevlar Tactical Boots, a purpose-built footwear, equivalent to the renowned Red Wings brand used by oil and gas (O&G) companies. Kevlar refers to a high-grade para-aramid synthetic fibre that is used in making bulletproof jackets due to the strength of the material, withstanding high impact.

As an advocate of peace and national unity, now, Hilman has collaborated with local artist, Izzati Suza, to produce limited edition shoes with designs that revolve around the different races as well as traditional games in Malaysia – and only 600 pairs are available.

"I am saddened by the diminishing ties between the different races and religions in our country. That's why I took this initiative to create the limited edition Hilman Authentic - Izzati Suza footwear collection in hopes that it would bring about harmony among Malaysians."

"I sincerely hope that my small contribution in creating these limited edition shoes to restore national unity will rid all the prejudice that surrounds us and that our youths will be united in the spirit of 1Malaysia," Hilman expressed.

Echoing Hilman’s sentiment, the reality is that Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural country. Hence, there is no doubt that unity in diversity has to be preserved here. And we need to further protect this peace we have now among our nation and not let the sacrifices our forefathers made go to waste, seeing that there are even mono-ethnic countries that have had endless wars among one another, or are segregated by North and South and East and West.

In this day and age, we are beginning to see many individuals becoming more vocal without thinking about the implications of their words and actions towards others – and equally driven by emotions, in defence, the offended party will react negatively towards any accusations. Such situations would certainly cause friction between the races because it’s only natural as human beings that we are fragile creatures and there’s so much that we can tolerate when our patience is tested to the limit.

The Inter-racial ties among those living in Peninsular Malaysia particularly, is unlike how it used to be once upon a time. These days, we often come across statements or published writings via conventional media or social media that are a threat to our nation’s unity. Racial polarisation is also unfortunately widespread and this is quite alarming.

Misgivings among our society is apparent as racial unity is considered extinct in the people’s minds – it is as if we are only united when it comes to food and sports. For example: Ali still loves char kuey teow and tandoori, while Ah Chong needs his dose of nasi lemak and roti canai. Ali, Ah Chong and Muthusamy all show unwavering support to our badminton ace, Datuk Lee Chong Wei. But are these two aspects alone enough to unite us as a nation?

On social media, we often see the bigoted Malays condemning the Chinese and the Indians. Similarly, the prejudiced Chinese and Indians mock the Malays. And sadly, such racism, whether involving a party or an individual, is a regular occurrence.

Be it gossip or slander, such things easily go viral and disrupt the minds of the rakyat – when in fact, our real focus should be on things that are more beneficial for all of us, like supporting the developments and aspirations of our country instead of selfishly thinking about ourselves and our families.

While this is an area we are evidently lacking in especially in the Peninsular, if such cases ever occurred, they are usually reported in Sabah and Sarawak. Having said this, it feels as if the tolerance among the multi-cultural communities over there is much better than here in the Peninsular.

Seeing as this issue is often raised by our leaders and are targeted to the youths who will welcome the 2050 National Transformation (TN50), hence, answering this call, Hilman decided to use his interest and knowledge in shoe-making to his advantage, making it his platform to encourage unity among youths.

As such, Hilman’s latest design is more inclined towards the youths as he aims to create opportunities for the younger generation and inspire them to showcase their hidden talent. And for him, his product is more than just about making profit, but instead about encouraging youths to use their creativity and be more daring in putting their talent to good use for a better future. His vision is also one that is in line with the government's aspiration to create future leaders and future economic drivers.

As a young man himself, Hilman chooses to be more engaged with the youths, often inspiring them to put their energy and great ideas to use. He believes that youths need more exposure to grow and learn, because this in turn will give them more opportunities to make a better living for themselves. This was the very reason why he decided to collaborate with Izzati Suza. Hilman Authentic's limited edition shoes can be purchased online at http://hilmanauthentic.com/ or via social media on the brand's Facebook and Instagram page.

With his latest design, Hilman hopes that youths will be more bold and daring to develop their talent, and never be afraid to dream big in chasing their ambitions. Congratulations Hilman! May you have continued success and continue to inspire the youths!


Johari Yap
Chairman of the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA), Kelantan Branch