When we were kids growing up, our parents would often tell us, “Today’s struggle is tomorrow’s success, so work hard now to relish the juice of victory later.” I’m not sure if most of us remember this life-changing lesson, but I’m pretty sure T.N. Alagesh did.
T.N Alagesh is a New Straits Times journalist who was honoured at the MPI-Petronas Malaysian Journalism Awards in Kuala Lumpur on November 30th, 2021.
The honourable guest of the event, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, presented him with a mock cheque for RM 10,000. His story, “Teacher Sam vying for Global Glory,” earned him this huge cash prize as well as a trophy.
Alagesh and his wife regarded it as a double celebration because the day he received the award was their ninth wedding anniversary.
T.N. Alagesh, also known as Alagesh Theruvarul Nathan, was an ex-paper boy before venturing into the world of journalism, according to NST reports. In 2007, he used to deliver newspapers in his mother’s Perodua Kelisa in Ketari, Bentong. That’s when the New Straits Times called him for an interview for a journalist position.
Alagesh, who was 26 at the time, recalls borrowing a pen from a fellow interviewee to fill out a form in the waiting area and feeling nervous about being grilled by editors Joseph Soosai and the late K.P. Waran.
Fifteen years ago, he had no idea at the time that he would become Pahang NST’s lead journalist.
Alagesh emerged here as a result of his consistent hard work and determination. On November 30th, he received the Malaysian Press Institute-Petronas journalism award for excellence in news reporting for his inspiring stories about Samuel Isaiah, a Pekan teacher who taught Orang Asli students.
Not only that, but Alagesh received an honourable mention for the prestigious Kajai award for the Samuel Isaiah series, a teacher who sacrificed a lot for Orang Asli students to which he was made a finalist for the Global Teacher Award.
Alagesh stated that he was taken aback by the national award because he believed the other nominees had stories with a broader reach.
“As a reporter doing stories on Pahang, I always felt state recognition was as far as I could go. But I am grateful as this means we can aim higher with human interest stories about people, their problems and experiences.”
The 41-year-old thanked his family, especially his wife, Dr. S. Bavani, as well as colleagues, bosses, and former Pahang NST bureau chiefs such as Shahrum Sayuthi, B. Suresh Ram, Alina Simon, and Nik Imran Abdullah.
Hamzah Jamaluddin, former Pahang NST bureau chief, praised Alagesh stating he was a hardworking journalist who championed the plight of ordinary people.
Hamzah told NST;
“He gets things others normally don’t see, such as how bauxite mining in the state has affected ordinary people’s livelihood and the environment.”
According to NST, this year’s Malaysian Press Institute received a total of 228 entries from various media companies. Petronas has been the major sponsor of the awards since 1994. The award ceremony was originally scheduled for the middle of the year, but it was postponed due to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO).