-Because writing can change lives
One hot summer afternoon in 2007, I was walking back from a Chinese wet market when I heard heavy footsteps trailing behind me. In less than a minute, I forced onto the ground. “Give bag,” he shouted. Luckily, my shouts were heard by the market vendors and my attacker ran off. When I got home and retold the story to my mother, she clucked her tongue in disapproval and asked me why I had risked my life for a bag that held less than 11 dollars. Still numbed from the whole experience, I replied, “It had my journal in it.”
I knew I sounded foolish but in many ways, the journal was my life. Growing up I lived in Subic Bay, a rural town situated in between a jungle and the Pacific ocean. Because the town was three hours away from the nearest city, I learned to keep myself entertained without video games and Barbie dolls. I started writing about my adventures of being chased by the very same sly monkeys that frequently stole from our mango trees in that same diary. I scribbled short stories about the family of wild boars who—despite their massive size—skillfully slid under our protective fence to feast on my mother's sweet corn.
Years later, I continued keeping the journal. When I moved to Guangzhou, a cosmopolitan city in southern China, I began writing about everything from my visits to the local market that housed a wild assortment of animal parts, to the austere Buddhist temples that smelt strongly of incense, to even the frail and old men who played mahjong with such skill, intelligence and calculation. Writing also gave me comfort; after my father died, writing in my journal allowed me to express my sorrow and accept the harsh reality.
I am a person who has experienced loss, joy, pain, sorrow, anger, jealousy and happiness. And I am a writer. Writing can give people the strength to overcome the obstacles of life. Whether I chose to be a serious journalist or an editorial writer, or even a children’s author I know that my writing will affect others no matter what.