The Competent Communicator Certificate: An Enlightening Experience

Speech festivals. Debating competitions. Public Speaking Competitions. A part-time job as a Public Speaking Trainer. And finally a Toastmaster.

Few weeks back, I completed my final speech on my Toastmasters Competent Communicator Manual. It took me ten months to complete all ten speeches – and it’s been an incredible journey. Going back to the days I first started debating, I’ve learnt so many topics, so much about other people, and more importantly about myself.

There are countless reasons I’ve fallen in love with public speaking and I want to continue practicing it and teaching it to the world.

 Storytelling – your story

The right plot, character development, a climax and a resolution is the key to a good story.

Growing up and working as a journalist, work was always about writing stories. Storytelling is great, but it’s always about someone else.

What about that story you have for yourself?

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In Toastmasters, I realized it wasn’t just Obama that lived through his parents’ divorce to understand the troubles of immigrants. Everyone has their own story – whether it’s divorce, friendships, relationships, health, the list just goes on.

What matters is you make it out strong, and learn from the experience. It shapes your values in life.

Everyone has their own story at Toastmasters, and listening to so many great people inspired me to share my personal stories. To share how these stories make me the person I am today.

It’s reluctance that pulled me away from personal topics in the past. The impression that people wouldn’t care to listen. But the heartwarming culture of Toastmasters opened me up. My inspirations convinced me that everyone has a story – and it’s always worth telling (no matter what the editor says!)

The Path to Progress – The power of reflection and positivity

If you’re a fan of self-help books, you’ll know a common tip is to write yourself a daily journal to reflect on progress in different aspects of your life. In Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Covey talks about how a journal of your thoughts, experiences, and insights promote mental health as a way of “Sharpening the Saw”.

Although I love writing, I don’t always have time to write a daily journal, which is why public speaking has given me a chance to reflect on the experiences that mattered most and turn them into scripts, into speeches that share an important message and reflect positivity.

We don’t go through happy times all our lives, but it’s about how you reflect on the experience and what you take home. I like to challenge myself to always take home something positive from any experience, no matter how bad it goes.

In line with my speaking goals, this reflects through setting myself a goal of my speech having a positive message, a call for action. As a result, I’m drawn into seeing the glass half full, seeing my experiences of the past as a contributing factor to the young leader willing to conquer the world today.

I’m reflecting on my past experiences to draw out the positives while sharing motivational messages with the audience.

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You speak your heart out under pressure

Do you ever come across those movie scenes where you’re the climax of the film, two “friends” are about to say their goodbyes when suddenly they admit their love for each other? Or someone’s about to die, and suddenly the kiss happens, and there was this connection all along. Oh Hollywood (and Bollywood these days too!)

You speak your heart out under pressure.

Of all the ten speeches I had to deliver, a few were emergency speeches. Not that I was pushed on stage to deliver a 7-min speech, but less than 24 hours for a heads-up ain’t easy.

But there was a unique beauty of the talks. A few more ums and ahs, but I noticed myself bringing in more fresh ideas, creative use of metaphors, more interactions with the audience, and most importantly, pure purpose.

During one of my emergency speech topics “The Perks and Pitfalls of the name Joy”, I recall unexpectedly going into how I believed my name “Joy” was a link to my purpose in life.

My speech outline was just a pros and cons list of the name Joy. I swear. Great to have a name which features brands, short and easy to remember. Yet a victim of “Joy To The World” drama during Christmas season.

But it poured out beautifully. A story of how my parents came up with the name, and how I wanted to live up to the expectations of the name.

“Staying happy, spreading happiness, and being a joy!”

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When we draft speeches, we’re often filtering out what sounds good, considering what the audience “might want to hear”. Sometimes the beauty of speech lies in giving your heart a chance to speak out for itself.

Leadership in disguise- you stand for something

In debate, I was always taught I have to squeeze all my arguments and rebuttals into the speech time limit and recite it as fast as possible. The motion was given, no questions asked.

Public speaking is the total opposite.

It’s about impact. It’s about what your audience remembers from your speech. It’s speaking up what you stand for.

One of my most memorable speeches was titled “The Power of the Phonecall”. It reflected my personal experiences, keeping in touch with my friends through phonecalls in early adolescence. But when that stopped, even though I tried Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it.

Nothing replaced the beauty of verbal communication.

“In phone calls, you get to hear someone’s voice and the emotions infused in it. The giggles when one of you tells a joke. The silence when your friend is going through a rough time and needs a shoulder to cry on. The pause when you both are thinking of a good conversation topic to keep the phonecall going.”

I realized it wasn’t just a speech topic, but an opinion I stood for. And although there’s no non-governmental organization allocating budgets to promoting phonecalls among millenials, I know it’s a practice I’ll continue with the friends that share my beliefs.

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Public speaking – investment advice from an expert

One of my favourite Youtubers is Thomas Frank, or “College Info Geek”. He runs a website, Youtube channel and podcast dedicated to helping students. He also comes on the “Listen Money Matters” Podcast from time to time.

Thomas has some excellent tips on productivity, studying, managing finances, and even public speaking – but one particular piece of advice I remember well from a podcast about investing was the value of self-investing over any financial instrument you find in the market.

Making yourself stand out from other candidates in the market. Dedicating yourself to learning a new language, coding, or amping up your public speaking skills means a higher-paying job, and better career prospects over time.

“There’s no better form of investment than self-investment.”

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My International Women’s Day Role Model – Blogilates

Jan 1: Cassey you want me to do this for 45 seconds? Don’t be crazy!!

Jan 15: Okay 1 min 15 seconds I got this.

Jan 31: Wooh I just completed my 2 min plank!

I grew up a chubby kid. I made the bold decision of being a vegetarian when I was a kid, to follow my family’s beliefs with regard to not harming animals. But HK has always been a food paradise. I’d savour different cuisines, sugary drinks.

I didn’t care too much about weight until I became a teenager and started feeling insecure about my body. I grew up in a classroom full of skinny kids that went to McDonalds at least three times a week. I hadn’t gone in months but my body didn’t show it.

At the age of 14, I discovered my love for dance and Pilates. In celebration of International Womens’ Day today, I’d like to share the story one of my favourite female role models; pilates trainer and online entrepreneur Cassey Ho, known for her Youtube channel blogilates.

I stumbled upon Cassey for the first time in my Youtube feed. I used to be a huge nigahiga fan back in the day, and his “Clenching my Booty” video had just come out around the time.

It was Ryan Higa’s first visit to Hong Kong, and he featured some of his fans in the video.

This 14 year old kid I was back in the day, so convinced my birthday wish of being featured in his video would come true, I watched it multiple times. And maybe…it was a catchy song…

One day, a workout video named “Clenching my booty” came up on my feed. Lol how did fitness and the act of holding back nature’s call add up?

It was eventually a pilates workout that focused on tightening one’s glutes.

I tried it out. Even though it was a beginner’s workout, I felt my glutes that night. But more than anything, I felt emotionally energized that night. I’d never seen an instructor so jubilant in her training, so motivated in her inspiration.

I started trying out more of Cassey’s workouts and reading her blog. And in the six years I’ve known her, she’s taught me so much, outside the world of pilates.

For starters, life isn’t about competing with others, it’s about competing with yourself.

When I joined the gym in Hong Kong, I expected to finally begin a comfortable exercise routine after years of sedentary studying. My first day at the gym was a yoga class, yin yoga to be specific. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard but many people associate being Indian with being a yoga superstar. Well, that’s not me.

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When somebody associates being Indian with an unquestionable love for curry and expertise in yoga

I hadn’t stretched in a while and I had trouble touching my toes. People from different corners of the room began staring at me, and I was starting to feel uncomfortable. Like I had to meet a certain standard, like I had to compete for the most flexible student in the room.

But whenever such situations come to me, I remember one of Cassey’s most important messages; life isn’t about competing with others, but about competing with yourself. It’s about becoming that best version of yourself, being a better person than you were yesterday. Be it with fitness, career, or even studies.

Today I can touch my toes, and although I’m not a skinny model, I’m working towards the best version of myself.

I still love my body, and I love myself for embarking on this wonderful journey.

Cassey always tells her Popsters it’s important to smile through your challenges.

Cassey’s workouts are never easy. If you think I’m lying, go try one tonight. When your muscles are sore, it can be hard to put on a smile. But Cassey never fails, and her optimism snowballs.

“IT ISN’T PAIN POPSTERS, ITS JUST LACTIC ACID BUILDING UP” is one of my favourite quotes. A quote I can translate into different contexts of my life, especially when I’m feeling sad about something. “JOY IT ISN’T DEPRESSION, ITS JUST PART OF LIFE”

When you don’t label your toughest times as painful and torturous, you’re making the experience much easier to get through.

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Just stretch those cheeks out a little, and show off them teeth. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile 🙂

I admire Cassey’s entrepreneurial success story. She’s not only making Youtube videos. She blogs, she designs fitness clothing and yoga mats for her fans. She works on diet and exercise plans, and has sold books and DVDs. Currently holding 4 million subscribers, she’s also done several collaborations with other Youtubers. Also been interviewed by Forbes for being such a successful entrepreneur.

Cassey originally had her route for medical school planned out. But it wasn’t her passion. She enjoyed fashion design. In college, she worked very hard to keep her grades up, and pilates was the one thing that took her mind off stress.

She convinced her parents that she wanted to be a full-time pilates instructor as her channel took off. Alongside uploading videos, today she’s gathered an online community of fitness enthusiasts, she designs and sells fitness clothing and equipment and has her fitness DVDs available at Target.

Today she’s combined her passion for fashion and fitness and become a social entrepreneur, leading the #1 female fitness channel on Youtube. And I thought I wouldn’t be able to combine writing and public speaking for the perfect career, the two crucial elements of communication…

There’s no dream too big.

Cassey’s blog posts and social media feeds also focus on the whole picture when it comes to health. Mental and social health matter just as much as physical health, and she always tells her Popsters to watch out for stress.

Cassey, I don’t know if you’ll read this someday, but this International Womens’ Day, I would like to truly thank you for being a great inspiration in my life.

Growing up in a competitive place like Hong Kong, it’s easy to give up and frown upon life’s failures. But you encourage me to not just push myself athletically, but in many different aspects. You encourage me to believe that anything is possible. And I’m sure so many people around the world feel the same.

Happy International Womens’ Day!


Check out my Toastmasters Speech about Cassey!

Love in all its forms – Barfi!

Hide-and-seek with the cops to escape robbing a bank. A see-saw ladder scene knocking a police officer off. Impressing a girl with sole use of body language.

If you’re a fan of Charlie Chaplin, Barfi! is the movie for you.

Barfi is set in the 1970s, revolving around the life of a mute and deaf Nepali boy, Murphy “Barfi” Johnson (Ranbir Kapoor)

Raised by his dad alone, Barfi is known as a troublemaker around the hill-station. The story begins as he falls in love with a girl named Shruti (Ileana DCruz). Already engaged, Shruti’s marriage is due in three months and Barfi is left heartbroken.

Barfi’s dad falls ill and the witty lad has to raise money for his father’s treatment. After a failed attempt at robbing a bank, Barfi begins planning to kidnap his autistic childhood friend Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) to get a cut of her grandfather’s fortune. He then discovers Jhilmil is already being kidnapped and must rescue her from those after her grandfather’s ransom.

Barfi assumes responsibility for his childhood friend and the two form a unique bond, getting through many difficulties despite their disabilities. The story spices up when Barfi meets a married Shruti six years down the line, dissatisfied with her husband. Lost in romantic recalls, they discover Jhilmil missing and either have the choice of enjoying a long-dreamed relationship to themselves or embarking on a tough journey to find Jhilmil.

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A mix of comedy and romance, the movie has a beautiful message about love and its different forms. “Barfi” is actually the name of a famous sweet, Indian confectionery, and it truly reflects the Barfi’s personality in this movie.

The film flows smooth with melodic tunes, explaining why the movie has won many music awards. Not to mention, the cinematography captures the charming atmosphere of Darjeeling in the 1970s.

Not a film to be missed.

Bollywood Movie takes on Aging Population: Piku

Ever since I’ve come back from Manila, I’ve taken up the pledge of watching more movies. And I finally took on a movie the Bollywood’s been screaming out, Piku!

The film revolves around a single daughter Piku and her aging father Bhashkor. Juggling the title of a young architect, Piku can’t pursue her career or love life, catering to her father’s constant bowel and respiratory troubles round the clock.

Bhashkor convinces Piku to take a road trip from Delhi to Kolkata, and the owner of the local cab company has no choice but to drive the duo himself, given none of his drivers are willing to endure Piku or Bhashkor’s bowel business. Bachchan returning to his hometown for filming was a big story for Times of India.

Relating to the large audiences, Piku offers quirky glimpses into the daily troubles of an Indian household, with subtle hints of romance in Piku’s love life. Padukone is praised for a strong feminist character in the movie, making her own life decisions and serving as breadwinner of the family.

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At the same time, the movie touches on the social issue of aging population, testing family bonding in an age whether responsibilities of our elderly are being handed over to the government.

The strong relationship between father and daughter is reflected well by Padukone and Bachchan, where both portray a stubbornness and can never reach a consensus in arguments. Despite so, deep down, a strong bond of love exists where Piku is willing to go all out just to take care of the old fellow.

HKU-Common Purpose Leadership Development Program 2017

Waking up to a rooster in the morning. Four hours in traffic for a 40-min journey. Wifi speeds that require 3 hours to stream a 1-hour movie.

My first impressions of cultural immersion in Manila.

In June, I joined a month-long leadership program in Manila, co-organized by the University of Hong Kong and Common Purpose. The program was split into two sections; the first two weeks building on teamwork and leadership, along with site visits to understand social issues in the Philippines. The final two weeks included an internship to a local organization in Manila.

The first two weeks gave me many insights into leadership and communication. Plus, the site visits around Manila were very eye-opening.

Manila gave me a chance to look at different areas from the lens of a first-world country and third world-country. Some areas especially rich and posh, others in extreme states of poverty.

Our first site visit in Manila was to the slums in the Baseco area, Manila Bay. The slums were adjacent to Pasig River, once known as a popular transport route for the Spaniards. Due to industrial development, the river became very polluted. Fish masses migrated and today ecologists say the river is ‘unable to sustain life’.

The river lets off a stench on site, which can be smelt from many of the slums in the compound. Rehabilitation efforts from non-governmental organizations and the private sectors have slowly brought out improvements, yet there is a long way to go.

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Trash washed off the coast of Pasig River
The locals we interviewed struggled with monthly income, given a lack of government regulations on employment and insufficient education to take up Metro Manila jobs. “Becoming a janitor requires two years of college education.” Said one of the locals, still grateful that slum kids got access to primary and secondary education for free

Many of the mothers sit and peel garlic to earn for their families, yet don’t receive much value for their work. “For 15 kg of garlic, a woman has to sit and peel for 8-10 hours. And she only receives 80 pesos.” Said one of the NGO staff giving us a tour, adding that a portion of the income is also sent back to family members in the province

80 pesos? That’s not even 15 HKD. In Hong Kong, you can’t even get a meal with that amount.

But one thing I noticed was that even though people weren’t exactly rich, they were always still happy.

Religious communities in Manila play an important role in building community spirit. The Baseco church was broken down multiple times, in events such as typhoons and floods, but residents always persisted in building it back, brick by brick.

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Religious communities actively take up rehabilitation projects in the Philippines
Some of the workshops we attended gave me useful insights on communication and training, something I’ve been interested in as a future career. An effective communication tip I still remember was a smart technique used in cracking up a good conversation.

“Be into gossip. Tell your interviewee they have a nice sense of style.” said the speaker, explaining how it makes an excellent conversation starter in the context of an interview

My 2-week internship was at the Oscar M. Lopez Center, a privately-funded NGO looking at the use of science and technology to improve climate change adaption and disaster risk management efforts in the Philippines. I was given a chance to meet many inspiring leaders passionate about climate change.

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Many climate change leaders shared their insights on the importance of persistence, communication and integrity in leadership
During the weekends, I’d take time off to explore sights in Manila and try out new things. In one month, I visited a trampoline park, did laser tag, went on a banana boat, tried out flying fish, went rafting, visited waterfalls and rode on a Filipino tricycle and jeepney, and had some of the best (and cheapest) falafels in the world. All for the first time.

 

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When I have a long day, I sometimes blog about my experiences before going to bed. It’s sometimes a beautiful experience that I want to translate into words when it’s fresh in my mind.

Here’s an excerpt from my day at Laiya beach, Batangas.

“Today was an interesting day. One I never thought I’d see, not from the eyes of Joy two weeks back.

I headed off to the Batangas area of the Philippines, south of Manila to a near beach. The initial expectations were pristine beaches, coconuts and sandcastles. Yet we came to Laiya beach for water sports.

My first step into the sand was welcoming, unlike the glass chips off beer bottles back in Hong Kong. Walking towards the waters in the midst of warm sand felt relaxing, an occasional foot reflexology massage with rocks on the sand. The sea temperature neither too hot nor cold for the weather.

In line with my pledge to step out of my comfort zone, I took on Banana Boating and Fish Flying.

Banana Boating and Fish Flying are similar concepts. You are put onto inflatable boats of different shapes, attached to a speedboat in front. Holding onto the boats, your goal is to stay on these boats as long as possible.

Banana Boating is the easier route, because movements generally happen left and right, and you can clearly see the speedboat direction and project your strategy to stay on the boat longest. Flying Fish adds a vertical element, and it’s simply easier to fall in.

I took on both, proud to be one of the first few to fall in.”

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Pristine beaches off the coast

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Unlike Hong Kong, in Manila, you don’t worry about stepping onto glass bottles on the beach!

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Flying Fish!
Towards the end of the program, one of my friends came up to me and asked “What have you learnt about yourself in the past month?”

Having gotten a “you look tanned” from almost every person I’ve been catching up with in Hong Kong, I’m so tempted to put “sunscreen doesn’t work on me” on top of my epiphany agenda. But immersed in deep conversations with myself over my true identity, I picked out few more important insights I gained.

In the past one month, I’ve learnt more about myself as a leader, and experienced different contexts to practice leadership.

As a leader, I’ve seen myself work with different groups of people in this program. It was much easier to be a leader back in high school, because not many people were eager to take up the responsibility. In addition, we all came from similar backgrounds and communication was almost never an issue.

This program was a chance to communicate with people across cultures, with different academic backgrounds and walks of life in general. One of the youngest in my team, I didn’t picture standing up as a leader as first. But I was glad I didn’t let age become a barrier and saw it as a chance to build on my leadership skills, something I’ve always been passionate about improving, anywhere I go.

I’ve always been curious about ‘inspiration’ under the category of leadership. Growing up, I would take up the role of leader in many group projects. But my teammates weren’t inspired or galvanized to do work. They did it for the grades, and only listened to me because I was good at delegating tasks based on my teammates’ strengths and weaknesses.

I admire Michelle Obama and how I wish someday I could use the power of tools like writing and public speaking to compliment leadership, and galvanize change. But being such a young leader, I don’t see how I can inspire others.

I was lucky to meet an inspiring leader in the midst of the program; a climate change leader I interviewed brought out an interesting message on inspiration in leadership.

I quote, “Inspiration is a combination of three Greek words; ‘logos’, ‘pathos’ and ‘ethos’. Three things matter in inspiration, namely, whether you deliver the right words, how you deliver those words, and whether you believe in what you say.”

In other words, someone with the right message, an aspiring delivery and that lives what he preaches will make a powerful, aspiring leader. A famous saying goes, “Be on fire with your message, people will walk 1000 miles to see you burn.”

Throughout my time as group leader, I’ve tried my best to deliver the right messages with aspiring delivery. I’ve noticed moments when my team didn’t necessarily do too well, or isn’t in the mood. Yet I’ve tried to use the right words to cheer them up, with creative ways of delivery. A good example was singing “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley when groupmates were exhausted.

In the context of group work, one of my core values is teamwork, and everybody getting a voice. I’ve tried to practice this through taking time to listen to everyone in the team. Despite the rush of time, I always stuck to my values of everyone getting a voice, whether it was a simple waiting for a nod of approval from every groupmate before we jumped into a group activity.

I realize I’m not in the “world leader” context to inspire others into believing in womens’ rights like Michelle Obama. People aren’t going to tweet out my words if inspired. But I do notice subtle responses of appreciation, much like the many anonymous ‘Thank You notes’ I received on the day before our internships began.

Common Purpose introduced us to a “Core and Flex” concept towards the beginning of the program, asking us what values and principles we held strong in our core. At the same, what aspects of ourselves that we adapt to differing circumstances. In other words, the flex.

I realize I have values such as vegetarianism and animal rights strong in my core, principles that I don’t let go of regardless of circumstances. But I’ve had lots of chances to expand my flex in this program. I am sometimes scared of water sports, but I took on trying out Flying Fish, with an intention of simply having a good time with friends.

More than learning about myself, I really cherish the friendships I’ve made along the way.

For me, opening up to a group of people has always been an obstacle in forming friendships. Away from home for a month, in addition to the context of Manila which required me to be with a group whenever I travelled, I was forced to spend more time with students and I opened up to a group of friends.

I am so grateful for the wonderful friendships I know I’ll cherish for life. I’m grateful to the Common Purpose team and the HKU team for organizing this program.

And Hong Kong, I’m grateful for your high-speed trains and wifi speed. I’m not going to be complaining anytime soon.

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Political Journalism – what’s the pull?

This weekend, the Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Elections threw light on the city’s struggle for democracy. The Elections came after a series of political events calling for genuine universal suffrage, including the 2014 Umbrella Movement, two young lawmakers being ousted from their seats in the 2016 Legco Election and countless protests over the past few years.

The event reminded me of my true love for political journalism – watching leaders make a difference in the world.

I currently study journalism at the University of Hong Kong. I have had a passion for writing since high school, and I recall visiting protest sites during the Umbrella Movement, fascinated by artworks and the many peaceful means HongKongers used to call for democracy; from posters all the way to designated areas for “mini-umbrella orgami classes”.

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Students gather to show their support for the movement
The Umbrella Movement sparked my passion for journalism – seeing Hong Kong people have so much hope and passion for something they believe in, while using creative, peaceful ways to do so. The CE Elections were a nostalgic touch to those days.

Saturday saw a mass-scale protest against the current electoral method. Such came after the government’s controversial constitutional reform proposal was rejected by the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo), leaving Hong Kong’s old system back in place where the candidate is selected by the Election Committee that lacks broad representation of local views.

Without police permission, Saturday’s protests began at Causeway Bay as political figures gathered, shouting “We want genuine universal suffrage, not a small-circle leadership election.” Momentum picked up slowly as the marching began.

Police warned protestors of the consequences of the demonstration, displaying signs “You are in breach of the law. You may be prosecuted.” But the protestors carried on, booing the police.

The march along Hennessey Road led towards Wan Chai, followed by a turn into Central Plaza. Few creative signs were held up, while some were brought back from the Occupy Movement.

(Fun fact: I’ve always wanted HK to have a museum of Umbrella Movement art. I think its one of the very few themes in art the city needs to be proud of)

At Central Plaza, few stalls were set up, along with a stage where leaders took turns to speak out on the importance of genuine universal suffrage to Hong Kong.

I didn’t stay too long, because the march was a real workout; running from the front to the back of the crowds, clicking photos for social media and journalist assignments. But I know many stayed till late that night, and looking at the situation on social media, I really admire those that stayed to prove their point.

The next morning was ballot counting. In other words, the official day for the winner to be announced.

I was at the gym when voting took place, watching interviews as I strode on the treadmill.

The room froze when votes were being counted. Everyone had eyes on the election. I saw a gentleman lifting weights, but he froze (with weights in the air) as the ballots were being counted. As a journalist, I wanted to take out my phone and grab a shot for Twitter.

But, I respected the gentleman’s privacy and dug up the closest possible photo on the Internet.

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Cool, huh?

Carrie Lam won with 777 votes, despite being the city’s least popular candidate. It was upsetting for many locals – who showed support for John Tsang, former financial secretary, who led public opinion polls.

Although Hong Kong didn’t win its favourite candidate, I believe the political system isn’t going to give up. Everyday I read inspiring stories of people who believe in the idea of genuine universal suffrage, and they say they’re not going to give up no matter what.

I enjoy political journalism for many reasons; shaking hands with celebrities, trying to draft a script for a political comedy show monologue because you have the facts. But more than anything, the subject excites because I admire watching leaders take action when they believe in something.

I got really hyped during the US Elections (no, I’m not a fan of Trump). America was divided at the time, but it was amazing to see how different leaders spoke out for a better America. A huge fan of Michelle Obama since I was young, and an aspiring leader in my career, Michelle’s speech vouching Hilary shook me to the emotional core. I saw the power of public speaking in spreading positive messages.

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Who doesn’t love Michelle Obama?

I now teach public speaking as a part-time job because if I want to make a difference someday, I see the power it has in communicating and making a difference.

The United States may do it through persuasive public speaking. Hong Kong likes mass movements and creative art. In the political world today, we see political news left and right – but the way these leaders bring the divided together is this young leader’s biggest inspiration in the world of political journalism.

The perks and pitfalls of the name Joy

It’s almost Christmas season in Hong Kong, and I’ve been hearing “Joy to the World” in almost every mall I visit. I’ve always found the song annoying, because almost all my friends sing it during Christmas.  A clear con of having the name “Joy”.

But that got me thinking, an interesting idea for an article would be sharing my experience with such unique name. And that’s why, in this blogpost: The Perks and Pitfalls of the Name “Joy”

People NEVER forget your name

I’d like to come clean about how I’m not good with names. It takes me time to remember peoples’ names- especially if we’re talking about a really big group. But because my name is so simple and sound, people never forget “Joy”.

It comes across as awkward when people remember you at an instant, but you’re still trying to connect the dots about where you met this person.

But that’s not the worst part.

Teachers are an important part of why a name like Joy isn’t always good. You know how teachers sometime drop the idea of scolding or punishing a student if they don’t remember the kid’s name.

Joy is so simple, my teachers never forget me. My teachers always know when I miss out on an important assignment or pull a prank.

Plus, during the first few classes, when teachers are trying to remember all the students’ names, they usually pick someone whose name they remember, and I’m usually that person.

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Christmas Carol Season

I really enjoyed Christmas in my early years, and I still do. Fun fact; mall-hopping to check out Christmas decorations is a must on my to-do list. But there’s one thing I do not like, and that’s singing along to Christmas carols.

And there’s one song that never fails to come up in a party: Joy to the World. Every time people sing the song, it’s like they’re coming closer to me just to make sure I listen and never forget to sing along. I have heard the song enough to say I probably know the lyrics by heart.

But if listening isn’t bad enough, I have to smile every time it’s sung at a party! #givemeabreak


Disney’s Inside Out

I’ve got loads of cousins – both older and younger. Many young, baby cousins often visit me during the holidays, and whenever I’m introduced as Joy, the subject of “Inside Out” comes up.

“Joy, how did you run Riley’s brain headquarters?”, “Joy, did you have fun roaming around Riley’s brain?” and worst of all “Joy, why doesn’t Riley like broccoli on her pizza?”

Serious interrogation, and coming up with answers to suit kids’ needs ain’t easy.

Let’s just say I’m glad they hadn’t heard of the movie Joy.

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It rhymes!

I’m a creative person when it comes to projects. When my family members celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, a simple card isn’t enough. I seize the chance to try out something new.

In the past, I’ve made videos, family-themed mini newspapers and parody resumes. Every once in a while a poem goes along with the project, and the word “Joy” rhymes with so many other English words. Really helps when you’re trying to draft up a good piece.

Brands all over the place

One of the coolest things about being called Joy is how lots of brands love to take your name and add it into their businesses. Till date I’ve seen “Joy Cuisine”, “Joy wraps”, “Joyakkulas” (a jewellery brand) and even “Joy and Mario”!

I’m actually on a pledge to improve my social media skills as a journalist. And in Hong Kong, that means being more active on Instagram. These joy brand photos make great Instagram post.

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“Too bad I always though Luigi was cooler” would make a great caption..

Joy’s full of joy

Everybody goes through at least one emotional rollercoaster at some point in their lives. I know I’ve gone through loads till now.

As someone called Joy, I like to convince myself it’s my role to spread joy and happiness around my community, and someday around the world. Not only is it a form of giving back, but it gives me a reason to stay positive and jubilant to make my life joyful.

Joyful Joy’s got to be full of joy, right?

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