Taufik Rosman was presented with the award for his contributions to Wikipedia over the years.
A local teacher was recently awarded the Wikimedian of the Year award. Taufik Rosman was presented with the accolade for his contributions to the Malay edition of Wikipedia at the award show this year in Singapore.
The accomplishment makes him the first Malaysian to ever bag the award since it was established in 2011. The Universiti Sains Malaysia graduate was ecstatic to have earned the title, especially since he has been a fan of Wikipedia’s accessible nature.
Speaking with Free Malaysia Today, Taufik revealed that he was first drawn to the site when he was 13. He had realised that there were not many entries on the Malay edition of Wiktionary – the dictionary counterpart to Wikipedia.
This, therefore, inspired him to include Malay words on the site. And eventually, this gave him the idea to also spread the word of Malaysian culture on Wikipedia.
“Usually, what I translate is related to culture, both Malaysian and cultures from abroad. I’ve translated articles on Japanese and Maori culture among others, in the past,” said Taufik.
He was also recognised for his efforts to spread knowledge of Malaysian culture at this year’s Wikimedian of the Year award.
Taufik, however, is aware of the public’s perception of Wikipedia. Since anyone can edit the information on the page, he realises how the public questions the page’s credibility. To which, he replies by noting the various sources that Wikipedia cites for its points on the page.
“Most people have been told that Wikipedia is unreliable, and I mean, it is. You cannot cite Wikipedia but all Wikipedia articles have sources and citations – which you can find at the bottom of the article,” Taufik argued.
The sources, according to him, make the articles reliable. Hence, he calls on other Malaysians to join in on the effort to contribute their thoughts and knowledge about Malaysia to the website.
“I guess I can say each one of us knows something about the world. If we all could gather in one place to add this knowledge online, it would make information about our country Malaysia more accessible.”
While locals, especially youngsters may not be sure of their knowledge, Taufik still believes sharing is the way to go.
“I would love to see the Malaysian public having this culture of free knowledge. Having people share knowledge with one another is quite beneficial because it shows that Malaysians care about providing knowledge for free and making it accessible,” he concluded.
More about the Wikimedian of the Year
The Wikimedian of the Year is an award that is dedicated to honour great contributions to the Wikimedia (Wiktionary, WikiCommons, and Wikipedia) movement.
Established in August 2011 by co-founder Jimmy Wales, they select and honour recipients at the annual awards show called Wikimania.
Prior to Taufik, no Malaysian has managed to bring home the accolade. Previous title holders had been from countries such as Ghana, Arab, and the United States.
Thus, Taufik’s win marks a monumental moment for both Malaysians and individuals within the Wikimedia community.