KUALA LUMPUR: Artiste-turned-academic Soo Wincci advises anyone interested in the arts industry to equip themselves with the right skills and knowledge in order to plan out their careers well.
"I always tell students to continue their studies overseas. The situation has changed. Previously, people went overseas to get their degrees, now, many get their masters instead.
"When we have knowledge, others will not be able to easily take advantage of us with the current systems in place. Certain celebrities here are not too familiar with contracts and just sign on the dotted line for any agreements.
"Most contracts only benefit one party. When asked about royalties and other rights, most are not addressed. That is what troubles me.
"That is why our artistes are poor. They have talent but no knowledge or strategies. How are we going to monitor these industry people?" she said in a recent news report.
The multi-talented 37-year-old associate professor at Universiti Teknologi Mara's (UiTM) Faculty of Music in Shah Alam added that Malaysia really needed professionals who could change the landscape of the local arts industry.
"Most of the students in the arts field are crazy for glamour. When they become famous, they stop their studies right away. In foreign countries, students are not allowed to do this. Their visas will be blocked if they don't complete their studies.
"The local arts industry not only needs talented individuals but those who can also bring about change for the better. The old ways don't work anymore. This is why our industry is regressing.
"With the upcoming economic crisis just above the horizon, our situation will just get worse. This is the reality," she said.
The former beauty queen who is also a music producer explained that she had not given up on trying to better the local arts industry.
"I also have to have the spirit, faith and determination. If I did not return to Malaysia, how else could I even try to help in bringing about the change?
"At least I can now train the PhD lecturers on improving our systems and save our local talents. I don't want our industry to continuously regress seeing how other countries are seeing theirs develop.
"We cannot just give up. If we do, who is going to help our industry? It's really tiring but this is for the coming generations," she said.