Should I become a journalist?

By SGjapanophile

Hi there, I know that my moniker might suggest that I am one of those 'carefree' youths easily found in the newest generation, but truth be told, I am indeed serious about certain matters that plague our society.

I hail from a small southeast Asian nation called Singapore. For those who are acquainted with my country, I am certain that you are familiar with the economic successes that my government has reaped through their extensive and through governing of her people and her resources. I must admit that it truly is a marvel that my country managed to dig out of her dilemma as a barren newborn country with a relatively uneducated populace to become one of the biggest players in the global market in just a mere 50 years.

However, there are some aspects of the government that I am not satisfied with. Strongly.

My government has earned a notorious reputation for her overwhelmingly restricted press freedom. The only newspapers produced in the country are state newspapers, their content are filled with nothing but articles that praise the effectiveness of our government. Absolutely no criticism or even commentaries on the governing of our country can be found in our local newspapers. If any, there are followed up by a overwhelmingly strong argument in the same article.

Ever since from a young, tender age, I always loved reading. I can recall fondly of the nostalgic days during my early secondary school life, a time of my youth where I spent my days reading Star wars and Warhammer 40k novels, immersing myself into a fantasy where I was part of their universe and lead the heroic adventures that I could only dream of. English was always my favorite subject to study; it gave me free space to express my thoughts and ideas in me.

But as I began to mature and developed a keener sense of my surroundings, I realized how blind I was to the faults of my government, that numerous people of Singapore still suffer through in spite of them not having to.

It's a common sight to see here in every neighborhood elderly people in their late 60s or 70s going around to passerby-s selling packets of tissues at severely low prices so that they can scrap by some change to feed themselves (begging is a criminal offence in Singapore). The native Malay community are subjected to prejudice in the form of being denied of certain military positions simply due to their religious beliefs as Muslims. It is also not unheard of for Malay and Indian Singaporeans to face discrete social discrimination (of course, this was never a recognized issue). LGBT members are often met with active persecution by the bulk of society, being shunned from them and ostracized simply due to their differing sexual orientation. Our own government even supports the actions of our fellow Singaporean citizens, stripping LGBT member Singaporeans of their basic rights such as being allowed to form relationships and adoption of children. And the list of flaws I can find in my government and our country goes on.

And I was not only awakened to just the local issues but to the global ones as well. Not too long ago, I've read that the wives of Muslim terrorists based in Iraq were subjected to the death penalty, or at least a life imprisonment, regardless of their situation they were caught in. Each of them were given just 10 mins to plead for their lives in court. They were denied a proper trial by any standards (in Singapore, you get at least a 2 week long trial for your crimes).

Imagine this; you were married off to the local engineer in your town at a tender age. And he's an complete arse and a sorry excuse for a husband and father: he beats you and the children relentlessly for the slightest of inconveniences. He hardly ever spends any quality time with the family. And he has absolute control in the household. You have no say at all. Then on one fine day, he decides it's one hell of a brilliant idea to join the local ISIS militia to engage in a 'heroic' firefight with a passing military patrol. Of course, you have no say at all but you try to convince him to abandon the foolish idea. And for your display of affection, you get another black eye and spend another night with an empty stomach.

These women had absolutely no power at all, they were denied of it at birth. They couldn't do anything at all but they were still judged to be equally guilty in supporting the radical beliefs of ISIS. And because of the Iranian government beliefs, these victims are now being made to walk on death row, waiting for their turn to have the hangman's loop hung around their neck.

And it's not just this one case that i'm aware of. I've heard of the Rohingyas and their violent oppression that they experience in their homeland, of the inhumane conditions they live under supported by their government (it's ironic that the Buddhists are the ones that are doing the killing in this case). I've also heard of the extreme contrast in terms of treatment that women in India receive in comparison to men. I have heard of the inhumane treatments that communists in Singapore received from our ruling PAP government during their internment at their allocated detention facility. This list of what I find horridly wrong goes on and on, especially so for the Japanese despite falling in love with their culture.

And so I am inspired. Inspired to report these stories for the public to know. Most of society are decent and follow a set of moral beliefs, I know that for sure. If I were to just educate them on what's going on at this end of the world or even in their own country, I am certain that something will happen. People will be disgusted just as I was. People will want change. A single voice can be easily muffled, but how about the entire collection of your citizenry? And I just love writing. It comes so naturally to me. Words just fall into place when I type, and I can most easily express myself through this medium. For me, it's the best way for me to fight for these people if I can produce strong enough journalistic reports.

I am sick and tired of people doing nothing but hearing people say things like " Oh, i'll promise to pray for their souls" or "There's nothing we can do". That's just pure horseshit if you ask me. I don''t want to be just another observer, I want to actually do something. I want to rid them of their plight! Sure, you might say that's just the youth in me talking, and maybe it is, but that's my mission anyway.

And I want to document the various cultural practices and their lifestyles before they finally dissolve into history. As we spiral into a age of unparalleled globalization, it is unremarkable that we begin to lose a sense of our identities little by little. If these practices cannot survive in the face of rapid change, then we could at least preserve them for the generations after us to know what it was like before their time, to remember where they come from, who they are and how they got here.

But there's a couple things i'm afraid of. I've read that journalists can end up having their lives cut short because they dug too deep into a topic. I've heard that local governments can do horrible things to journalists if they pushed too far. I know that journalism doesn't pay too well for people in their industry. And I know that journalism is a very taxing career. Is it true that being a journalist has a high turn-over rate? Should I expect a wave of disappointment if I enter journalism?

So should I take the gamble and go for it? Should I jump into this? I'm at one of the crucial turning points of my life and from here I can decide whether to enter journalism or into a completely unrelated industry. I'm not a bright kid by any degree so I can't account for every factor I should, so please do raise any concerns that I should consider.

Thanks for reading.


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