Hey guys! I have some very exciting news!
I got an article published on BBC!
Yep, that BBC. It’s a writeup on the stigma against dark skin in Malaysia. You can view it here:
IS THAT AWESOME OR WHAT?
Sorry I’m shouting; I’m just so excited 😀 Granted, that was published like a week ago and I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to blog about it, but… still excited. 😀
I guess it’s every writer’s dream to be recognised for their work, and having been told before that I don’t write as well as my colleagues (I used to work in a newspaper), this is a huge achievement for me.
Anyway, the story of how this came about – last year in September, I wrote an article on fat shaming, which I put up on my rant blog and shared on my personal Facebook. It was picked up by a friend who works at a viral news portal. He asked permission to feature it. I said okay and it went ‘viral’, so to speak. The site has since closed down (I guess they weren’t making enough money to sustain?), so I can’t link it to you guys, but you can read my original version here: badwithchopsticks.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/thin/ I felt encouraged reading the comments: readers sharing their own experiences and how they know it shouldn’t get them down, that they related to my quest for a healthier life that not necessarily involved taking insults from people who knew nothing about the struggles I go through everyday.
The writeup was viral enough that I received an email from a BBC correspondent in Singapore, who said she loved my style and tone, and wanted me to write a separate piece on a similar issue (since they can’t reuse the one I already wrote). I was beyond excited, and decided to write about another topic besides fat shaming that has bugged me a lot growing up – stigma against dark skin. Those who know me in real life will know that I’ve never had the prized ‘fair’ complexion, which is prized as a beauty ideal in my community.
I admit, it was harder for me to write an article when I knew such a reputable organisation was asking me to – what if they didn’t like it? I held back a lot, as opposed to how I would normally sound (blunt, lol). There were a couple of rewrites with exchanges that lasted several weeks; and then I didn’t hear back from them after Chinese New Year in January.
Assuming that they had scrapped the idea, I put it out of my mind. After all, having gotten an email from them was already a very happy occasion for me – it meant that they valued my writing, whether or not my article gets published. I know my parents never liked me picking journalism as my major, and throughout my course and career they have (perhaps subconsciously) indicated their disappointment. Deep down inside, I struggled: I wanted to be a filial daughter who can make my parents happy, but if it meant sacrificing my own happiness to pick something they thought was a ‘good’ career (like accounting, or engineering)… I couldn’t live with myself. So I followed my heart.
Getting published wasn’t really the issue. It was the recognition that I am actually, you know, pretty good at what I’m doing.
Fast forward a couple of months and I got an email from the same correspondent, with a link. It was finally out! I proudly shared it with my parents. While they did not lavish praise, I could feel their quiet approval. Which means the world to me. I believe in my own writing abilities, but sometimes you just need a booster now and then, you know? xD
Let me know what you guys think of the writeup! I’d love to hear from you 🙂