My name is Chester Chin Zhao Liang.
Chin being my family's surname and Zhao reflects the order of generation which I'm born into my family of Hainan descent. Liang here literally translates to "good virtue" in Mandarin.
Or at least that's what I'm told by my parents anyway. I wouldn't know because my command of Mandarin is limited to 60 seconds conversations with the local Chinese hawker who sells Hokkien Mee (spicy prawn noodles) at the coffee shop by my house.
As for Chester, well my parents have always wanted their children to have an English name to reflect the increasingly Westernised culture (apparently 22 years ago, nobody would have guessed that China would go on and become a potential hegemonic force today).
My name's oxymoronic nomenclature aside, I grow up in a relatively typical Chinese family of the Taoist persuasion. Meaning here I'm more superstitious than I am religious. I burn religious paraphernalias during the Hungry Ghost Festival mostly to avoid supernatural sightings instead of appeasing some divine entity.
I led a pretty nomadic life during my formative years due to my dad's work obligations. He's an army officer with the Malaysian Armed Forces, so he's posted to different places within the country every few years or so.
That said, I didn't pick up journalism because I wanted to cover war-torn countries due to my father's military background. The reality is not that romanticised.
The simple truth is I like writing, and I like the prospect of how a 1000-word piece could make a substantial change to society. Be it about a report on Aung San Suu Kyi or a feature piece on New York's Fashion Week, there's always the potential of an impending revolutionary discourse with the written word.
No issue's too trivial when it comes to journalism because the people who do it, did it in the pursuit of passion and veracity. I guess that's why I decided to enrol into journalism school back in 2010, to harness that ability to be a medium of truth and social movement.