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It's true.. Before waltzing into my new job, I came with an open heart. Not much expectations. Of myself or of anyone. And not really ...

Work can sometimes be incredibly lonely

It's true..

Before waltzing into my new job, I came with an open heart. Not much expectations. Of myself or of anyone. And not really knowing what would lie ahead.

I just knew that at the end of each day, I'd like to end my day well.

But of course, I don't achieve that feeling all the time. Sometimes, happy and elated at achieving my first milestone or even the slightest task. Like just last week I produced my first ever story for SG Night Fest. Or other things like being sent out for breaking news. It's adrenaline-pumping and very exciting.

Then there are some days when I make mistakes or worse, have miscommunication with my colleagues.

Sometimes I think that work is never tough. Once you've mastered the ropes, getting from point A to B is easy. So it is never the work that is tiring - it is the people whom you've to deal with. And that's where it gets tricky.

Being the new person around, making mistakes is forgivable but patience wears out quickly in the newsroom and there are a lot of times when I feel the need to prove my worth, and maybe even fight to show that I am capable.

And being new, my social circle hasn't formed yet. My colleagues haven't grown to know the person that I am and neither have I... I don't know whom to trust, and whom to confide in. When I need to ask for help or simply have someone to talk to, it is quite difficult. I know there are one or two of my workmates whom I can rely on, but the relationships aren't as deep yet. There are things... that I simply can't talk about.

So... I do feel quite alone at times.

I tell myself that things will tide over. And trust will build overtime.

Yet, a part of me thinks that this is what work is. It is the nature of work. It isn't like school where all colleagues can be friends. There is a certain degree of passive-aggressiveness and over-politeness. They are things that can't be overcome even with the grace of time. It is what it is.

I suppose this is my transition to the real world and my ideals are put to the test. There isn't space to be vulnerable - because not everybody appreciates it and not everyone wants that in the workplace. It's about getting the job done and ensuring that each has their own backsides covered.

That's what makes it difficult.

In my new workplace, they know me as "the one who came from the Current Affairs department". And they'd always ask how's it like over there. I tell them that I actually prefer my work now compared to back then. However, the one thing that I like back where I was, would be the network formed over the years with people I've come to trust. I feel absolutely at home there with colleagues whom I can definitely say, are my friends. Whom I can call on, even for personal matters. Who without a doubt, would also call on me should they need help.

It isn't the same now. Here, I'm always on my tippy toes, unsure of what's expected of me or the intentions behind what's being said.

So whenever I see my previous colleagues walk by, my face would awash with signs of glee.

Yet.. if you asked me if I'd like to return to my old place, I'd say no. Because it is comfort. And I think I tend to get complacent when there is comfort. It is only when I have a mammoth task ahead, do I get my game on.

I feel lonely now. And I'm glad I'm aware of how I'm feeling because... it might affect my work later had I not been.

One consolation is knowing that I'm not alone in feeling alone. A quick google search and out came articles from Harvard Business Review, Guardian and Huffington Post that talk about how work loneliness is a real issue out there.

That even though the office is bustling with activity, people can feel very lonely as well because of the inability to connect in a place where we spend most of our day at.

Well, what I can do now is to focus on my potential for doing great work and at the same time, continue being my optimistic self. To come to work not knowing how my day will turn out and still be unafraid of being my best self. Because I still believe that in time to come, people will see me for who I am.

All I need to do is to show up. And that in itself, is a courageous act.

Just opposite the Istana With no real intention at all, I happened to walk by the Istana today,...

Renewal

Just opposite the Istana

With no real intention at all, I happened to walk by the Istana today, and I decided to drop a message.

And as I was walking towards the guarded area, which led to the station where all the cards and gifts were laid, I met with the little scene above. I dunno what the picture means or the motivation behind it, but it gave me a little sorta feeling that I can't explain. Something about the state flags, and our foreign workers still tirelessly milling and tending to the flower patches. Maybe from India, maybe from Bangladesh? They seem oblivious to the event taking place over at the Istana. And the sun was beating down on them.

I dunno. They were just random thoughts but I still felt something. Maybe it was the golden light that shone, making it all fairy like.

Or maybe it was because right before that, I randomly stepped into a quaint chapel along the way while I was walking from Clarke Quay.




Needless to say, I stepped inside. I mean, I am an explorer overseas and I am an explorer at home.

Maybe it was a certain mood that followed me.

And it was a mood that I carried the past few days.

I think from the time Schooling won our first gold, to the moment when PM Lee gripped the rostrum during NDRally and the passing of our former President, I felt a little shift in me.

Perhaps, they're signs that things are changing. A cycle of renewal. The old making way for the new.

And I believe that I am part of that renewal. Singapore moving, changing, evolving and heading towards something new and uncertain. Slightly unsettling, yet at the same time, ever so exciting.

Gives me a lot of energy and motivation to do well in what I do.

Last night, I was at work when Mr SR Nathan's passing happened. There was a bit of chaos in the office as my boss was trying to get everything into order - to ready the public for the big news to come. Reporter was deployed to the scene. Others stayed back to initiate support. Everybody's adrenaline pumping. Atmosphere slightly tense. It was quite inspiring actually to watch my colleagues in action... though some were complaining that they had to work into the night.

Then there was me, a newbie amidst the fray, waiting with bated breath for the news anchor to go live on air.

Finally the press statement from the Prime Minister's Office came in,

and it was the moment.

Lines were delivered,

people were tuned in,

then a quiet sadness slowly enveloped the country.


And in that instant, I knew why I do what I do every day.

This video. This man. This year's Olympics. So much inspiration. I think Schooling's w...

It's what you do in the dark, that puts you in the light



This video. This man. This year's Olympics.

So much inspiration.

I think Schooling's win has really set the precedence for many big things to come for our country. To not just punch, but whack and explode a ceiling and do things that has never been done before - this is what will wake people up and prove that there are dreams and aspirations worth pursuing. Institutions and corporations are going to give more support for goals that weren't cherished before.

The cynics, who stand on the periphery to snarl and scowl, shall now cower and hide. For the man in the ring who fought bravely and valiantly has emerged triumphant - very much to the skeptics' dismay, but to the delight of many others who know what the fight is worth.

I remember watching Germany win the World Cup last year and wishing for a day when my own little country could rejoice in something as delightful as that.

The day has come, and indeed, Singapore rejoiced and is still revelling in the spirit of the win.

I'll remember this day for many years to come - when my mother was jumping up and down and I was shouting in the living room.

Gold.

Amazing how sport can unite a nation. And that's what I love about the Olympics. Every four years, emotions run high and the thirst for gold is almost tangible. We cry for both the winners and losers, in victory and defeat, through joy and hardship. It represents the very human spirit.

I think it also represents the very best of us. The road is long and hard, but keep at it and I think surely, the world will see, know and feel what is already in us.


Argh, that video truly hit all the right notes. The music, the natural sound, the CINEMATOGRAPHY and the final message. Captivating and thoroughly moving. Always makes me feel like moving my butt and doing what I really should do when I see this man go through all that shit. Wondering why I'm even just watching something through a small screen.

What. Am I waiting for?

I haven't been able to talk about my new job at CNA after so much backlog and being so busy on w...

Ready to take on the world! (lessons learnt while makin mistakes in the newsroom meeep)

I haven't been able to talk about my new job at CNA after so much backlog and being so busy on weekdays.

The last two weeks were my first weeks on the job at Singapore Desk in CNA and it's been crazy but a whole lot of fun!! Crazy in a sense that... I'm always on the edge because in the newsroom, everything's in a rush. When it's the 9pm news on Channel 5, things aren't fully ready ya know? It's like... producers and editors are still in the midst of getting news packages up. For example, if a particular news package about "new cycling routes in Pasir Ris" is lined up to air at 9:15pm, I can still see the journalist in the editing suite doing up the package with the video editor at 9pm and rushing to get it done to have it up on time at 9:15pm. And then if it doesn't make it, it gets pushed down to 9:20 or 9:25pm. When this happens, people are shouting in the newsroom because bosses are unhappy that it got pushed down and that kinda thing.

So it's an absolute mad rush!!!

For now, I'm tasked to write the news stories that the news anchor has to say and I also write the 'breakers', which are the short lines that the presenter says to tease the audience on what's "Coming Up Next" after the break. And I don't get assigned the job till really late at maybe 7pm or 8pm and it's crazy because I have to read through the scripts that the reporters have written to get a gist of their stories and quickly write something. Not only that, I've to quickly edit some of the videos and then run up to the video editors to make sure they get to the studios on time.

MY HANDS LITERALLY TURN ICE COLD whenever I do this.

And my heart goes bu-dum-bu-dum. It's crazyyyy.

Guess what? These are the simpler things to do in the newsroom already. So just imagine when I have to get out there, write a story and come back in time to edit everything to go on air. Conferm heart attack yo.

And that was what happened to me last week on Day Three of my working day. DAY THREEEE only. I barely learnt the systems.

But I was the only one available in the newsroom and my boss was like, "Alright, you're gonna have to do this story". It was a story on a dog disease called Leptospirosis that went spreading at a dog daycare centre. So I had to go down at 5pm. Conduct the interview, get my answers, come back, script, and edit. I was going NUTS!!! 

Before I went out for the interview, I was damn scared coz I was clueless as to what to do. I even went to the toilet and told the cleaning aunty who is the sweetest old lady you can find in Mediacorp and told her, "Aunty... 我很怕 leh" - Aunty... I am damn scared leh.

But she said, "不要怕。你去问其他人。他们会帮你的。” - Don't be scared, ask others, they'll help you.

Indeed, I went to Kimberly Spykerman, a reporter, to ask her, what in the world I should do. And she helped me along with the necessary steps. Thank God!

By the time I was done, I returned and had to start scripting. But I hadn't written a broadcast script in ages and I was trying to perfect it, YET THE CLOCK WAS TICKING. It was 8pm and I hadn't started editing the package. 

Someone behind asked, "are you done with the script?"

When I shook my head and said no, my editor yelled, "YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT FOR THE 9PM NEWS"

That made my heart race and pound like speedy gonzales bro. I said to myself, alright, you just gotta submit whatever you have AND RUNNNNNNNN.

Run lola, RUNNN.

In the end, luckily I had an intern with me who had already learnt the ropes two months in (compared to my miserable three days) and led the way together with me. We finished it in the end, although not on time, but we still DID ITTTTT. Whoop dee dee doooo.

The post-mortem that came out the next day by my bosses was "Good effort on the package - done by an intern and a newbie" HAHAHA. No prize for guessing who the newbie was hahahaha

So yeah. It really is quite insane. 


A few lessons I've learnt on my first two weeks on the job:

1) Be gentle on myself 

Throughout those two weeks, I've been thinking to myself, will I ever get it? Will I ever be good enough?? Because it has been quite a steep learning curve. And my writing just seems so bad, and I realise I'm not sharp enough with my news angle. My writing gets rehashed so much by the editors that I sometimes wonder if I even need to write anything when my bosses probably will do a better job at doing it on their own hahaha. 

But I've been trying to be gentle on myself. That I can afford to make mistakes now because I'm new. I will just have to get up every time I fall. And that, this is necessary. I'm not out to impress anyone. I'm here to learn. And learn, I shall. 

In time to come, my writing will get better, my news sense will sharpen and I will be good to get out there and rock the show.


2) Don't be afraid to ask

As I learn, I must must MUST not be afraid to ask questions. Because a mistake is more costly when others find out that I hadn't asked and made an assumption on the way things should be done. 

And it's not just my colleagues.

My newsmakers as well.

If I need to call to clarify something, I MUST ask. Otherwise, there will be a shit storm awaiting in a not-too-far distance. And before I know it, I'd be covered in excrement. Hahaha let us not go there eh?

Coz you see... one of the "goals" that my bosses set out for me was, "Zero Errors". Their tolerance for factual errors is excruciatingly low. In fact, they have no tolerance for it. There is a white board in the middle of the office that counts the number of factual errors made. And it scares the living daylights out of me. Ok lah, dramatic a bit. But seriously, I thought to myself... Isn't it inherent for humans to make mistakes?? This is going to be tough man.... 

But I understand. This is the newsroom. People rely on us for information and we must disseminate that information accurately. We can't afford to make a factual error. Otherwise, our credibility goes down the drain as a trusted news source and our name as a reliable broadcaster goes out the window.

As much as I think this will be a tough thing to do, I will do my best. Every job has its challenges, I'll take it on and still give my all.


3) Staying Human

With that said, I will always try to remind myself that I am also only human and I will do some things wrongly. BUT I have to be accountable for my mistakes and correct them when necessary. There will be the desire to fault others and not take the fall, but I will, and must live with integrity. 

So solemn, this is the real world eh? Sometimes I think the world takes things too seriously also. But oh well, let's deal with it the best way we know how.

Not just that, I also will need to remember that the stories I tell should be humanised and respected with dignity. 

My newsmakers are human and cannot be treated as "means to an end". Even with such a crazy work environment, I will put their stories out there because their stories help paint a bigger picture. Not simply because I have to get my work done. I think it's easy to act this way due to the nature of our work. But I will constantly remind myself to stay rooted to what I hold true.

Which explains why, even though it is a chore to stay up late to pick up guests for interviews for the 10pm show - and I have to stay till 11pm - I still like doing it. Because I get to talk to my guests and it's always lovely to talk to people from different walks of life - artists, psychiatrists, digital company directors - I always get a kick out of it. I love to greet them when they arrive and send them off at the door after their interviews are done. It's almost like a visit to my home haha.

My colleagues don't really like doing this though, I guess because they have to banter with them and also well coz, they have to stay in the office late into the night. 

It is work to them, but fun to me. I hope that spirit doesn't die out too quickly!


4) Knowing when to say HELL NO!

Since I'm a newbie, I tend to agree to do any stuff that's thrown at me. Also willingly, coz I want to learn as much as I can. But I think, in time to come, I need to learn how to reject work from colleagues who pass theirs on to me. 

Otherwise I'd drown. And die. And the fault is on me. Because I didn't know how to say no.

And also because I didn't....


5) Know how to ask for help

That's one thing I realised in the newsroom. I cannot, I absolutely CANNOT, work alone. 

Every day, I'm asking for help. Every day. Not just because I'm learning. Or because I'm new. My colleagues who have been around for two years are constantly relying on each other for help - be it transcribing interviews or simply swopping shifts. 

It's crazy. And I'm the sort of person who likes to depend on oneself first before considering help when it comes to doing things. So... this is actually really tough for me. But I gotta learn to open that mouth of mine to ask, ask, ask.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm burdening the people around me with my countless questions, oh dear lord!


6) Don't burn bridges

People, once again, are the most important assets in my career. Love it or hate it, working with people - I gotta deal with it.

I have to work with them - all the way from colleagues to newsmakers - even with MY OWN FRIENDS.

Because everyone around me said I'd lose my friends one by one as I embark in my career and this line of work coz I'd simply have no time for them since my working hours are odd.

But I think that... it's essential to maintain my friendships and it ultimately boils down to better time management. It's possible I believe.

Afterall, I realised after working for two weeks, that BECAUSE I work, ALL THE MORE I need my friends. I yearn to socialise. I need a life yo.


7) Keeping wkw connections close 

Almost a day hadn't gone by the past two weeks without me meeting a wkw connection one way or another.

In my second week at work, I met a senior called Luo Er who was a wkw senior two years above my batch and she taught me sooo much. I believe it was the wkw connection that I found endearing because it screams FAMILIARITY. And we could talk about things that we had both been through in school like exchange, modules that we had taken before.

It helps.

And my goodness, PR FOLKS. So many juniors I had met. And just on Friday I met a senior working in PR as well.

He emailed me saying, "It's empowering to work with wkw people".

Indeed, it really is. I thought his sentence encapsulated what I felt. I suddenly saw the light, and how everything finally connected.

School life was important.


8) What I studied in school mattered

Remember what I said about the steep learning curve? It'd have been steeper had I not been to a communications school. I took all the modules relevant for Broadcast Journalism and it is freakin useful. Although I had forgotten a good amount of stuff I learnt heh, it's the basic newsy language that I caught faster than if I hadn't been to wkw.

From what went on in the TV studio, to scripting in the systems, to video editing packages, everything I had learnt was put to my advantage in this new environment.

And I am ever so thankful for that.

Thankful for my education :-)

I guess it was good to know what I wanted to do earlier on in life.

----

I'm learning loads. By the second week, I somehow got much more confident because I got used to how the system worked. And I think once that gets out of the way, I will be able to take on more projects. And I'd be a whole lot more confident in producing stories that I want to put out. 

One step at a time, I tell myself. Baby steps will get me further for longer. 

Another thing I tell myself is this line that I saw somewhere, "It's not about impressing anyone, it's about growth" And that's true. I don't want to do what I do to impress others. I don't want to pressurise myself and use my work as a yardstick to prove to others that I'm worthy. Instead, I want to use my work as my own yardstick for the improvements I can make for myself. It's about growth.

And it's easy to just say that, I know. But I must constantly remind myself so that it becomes second nature. At the same time, I must be open to feedback. Feedback from bosses. Because that will keep me engaged with my work. What people say matters as well - I can't live in a lonely bubble of self-improvement and achievement. I need to find that fine balance. That's how I will continually grow throughout my time in Channel NewsAsia. And I want to keep learning and growing. 

Remember, remember, it's all about the process, never the result. And I will try to live my life in that manner the best I possibly can.

Sure, it'll be hard. And sure, I will fall. But I know there will always be people around me, I daresay even my own colleagues, who will help guide me through this. 

Most of all, my work to put out stories is what's most important. Nothing else matters, as long as I keep at it.

I hope in time to come, I can always return to this post to remind myself on what's important. When I'm still sane and starry eyed. When I still see this world as a bloody beautiful place to live in haha. When the world doesn't seem like it's ending just yet.

Go Si Hui!

---

Some pictures from NDP Preview last week with performances that I felt was so apt to my life right now~

It was about the future of Singapore, and well, I saw it as my future ahead too heh : )

The future is beaminggg!
Our futures look oh so bright too!
Suxin just left her job at Keppel and her first day on her new job is tomorrow. We're both entering a new phase in our lives and I can only wish us both the best : ) Friends go the distance together~

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