Thursday, June 11, 2015


In my past life as a freelance writer, I've been through a wide scope of assignments - product reviews, lifestyle pieces, copywriting (consisting of only a sentence or two), event write-ups, interviews, and more.

Getting free products and attending exclusive events are always fun, but nevertheless interviews are my absolute favourite. Being paid is a bonus ; the real value lies in receiving invaluable insights and sharing amazing journeys from various people I admire greatly - and that opportunity in itself is truly humbling and inspiring. 

However, my most memorable interview was the one I did as part of a college assignment - my first interview ever.

It was in Mr K's class that we received an assignment to do a background feature story on a significant figure in the media industry in Malaysia. They could be from any aspect of communication - photography, film, broadcast, advertising, public relations, marketing, journalism, etc.

I chose someone who had founded one of the first community-based digital social media advertising agencies in Malaysia (maybe its no coincidence that 5 years down the road since then, my fulltime job today revolves around digital social media?) and got the go-ahead of approval from my lecturer.

Now, it was on my end to craft the interview and arrange the meeting. Coming up with questions to interview him was the easy part, but it was tricky getting hold of him or his PA.

Emails with a suggested time and date to both his personal account (which I had managed to find on the net) and company account both went unanswered. Messages to the PA and company receptionist were futile as well.

I decided to just pop by the office and try my luck. After all, the worst that could happen was 'No.' 

The office was located in the heart of KL, on Level 10 of an office tower. Clutching my camera and files, I stood in front of the lift and pressed the 'Up' button.

The lift pinged and the doors opened to reveal your typical morning bunch - a couple of middle-aged guys in collared shirts and slacks, a young girl holding a Starbucks frappucino, a janitor, a courier boy.

I stepped in and hit a big round button with the number '10'. The doors slid shut.
More people piled in on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

On the 4th floor, a guy carrying a duffel bag wearing a polo shirt and jeans stepped in.

Standing behind him in that crowded lift, I only had a brief glimpse of his side profile over his shoulder - but he looked familiar from photos of articles I was poring over the nights before.

" Tim! " I exclaimed. 

Long story short - I got my interview.

That day, I learnt some very important lessons.

   People will not take you seriously unless you take action to show them your sincerity.

   Not getting an answer does not mean no. 

   There is no such thing as luck, only preparation meeting opportunity. 

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