I feel tempted, oh so tempted, to just post my CV here. But no.
I batted off the typical Asian community scepticism of surviving as a journalist whilst welcoming typical Asian respect for journalists – they expect all of us to be beaten up, packed off to jail under some obscure Sedition Act or found dead – to finish a diploma then advanced diploma in journalism at a Malaysian community college at the height of the recession.
Then I promptly joined a small fortnightly publication focusing on small and medium enterprises. This gelled very well with my refusal to specialise purely in business or political news, as SME reporting was a nice non-offensive balance of both.
Now I am in Cheltenham finally, after years of putting off completing my Masters in Journalism at the University of Gloucestershire. And I find the the Malaysian and UK business and political climates eerily similar.
I can boast of attending a protest rally in Malaysia and getting tear-gassed for it. But it’s not fair to those who think I did it for the shining twin journalistic beacons of truth and fairness. I finally got to taste tear-gas and walk all over Kuala Lumpur (as public transport was halted) while being paid. The cheapskate in me leaped for joy.
She (yes she’s a she too) was ecstatic when I finagled a trip to Hong Kong for what may have been a dull financial and private equity forum, but ended up being an eye-opening visit into the tensions that test the massive rich-poor divide in the island. Meeting journalists from business desks all over the world while chatting with World Food Programme representatives and hearing Taiwanese and Shanghai-based businessmen accuse China officials of corruption was such icing on the cake that I was positively diabetic by the end of the week.
Rubbing shoulders with Islamic leaders, NGOs, bankers and free trade zone operators at another forum was an awakening for this non-religious cynic. I started noticing professionals who could have easily hauled ass out of tight situations to greener pastures, instead stay on to build communities and support local businesses under oppressive regimes.
I don’t know what the future holds for me, as I scramble from class to class, fit in assignments, juggle freelance SEO writing – all while looking for a writing internship. But I do know that this space is great for posting assignments, something I stopped doing for 3 years when I was busy chasing news deadlines instead.
The exhilaration is over, but excitement still bubbles under the surface.