Why is respect at the centre of my work?
I grew up being told to respect people for who they are and what they stand for. Giving and receiving respect is at the core of my culture. In my profession, I practice it by not being a jerk—being courteous, understanding and pleasant to work with. Often, that's viewed as being 'soft' or 'easy to bully' but I think as humans, respect for each other, despite differing views and perspectives, can lead us all towards a more civil society.
How do I try to bring diversity to my writing?
As a person of colour and an immigrant, I am very conscious of who is represented in the media and whose voice is the strongest. Journalism, for all its merits, can have a big say in whose voices get platformed in the media stage. In my work, I try to provide a voice to people from marginalised or under-represented communities as much as possible. I also recognise how perspectives from people from different geographies, genders, racial and economic backgrounds, and cultural identities enrich my story and the power I often have in helping these voices shine.
Why is strenghtening relationships important to me?
As humans, forming relationships is innate to us. In my work, I love to build relationships with my sources by communicating with them the way I work. I believe that leads to trust, and a sense of comfort in sharing their stories and lived experiences. I treasure having such conversations as part of my work, and love it when sources come back to me telling me what they thought of how I represented them in my work.
How do I build communities?
Many mentors, peers and readers have shaped my career as a science writer and journalist and I am immensely thankful to all of them. As a way of paying it forward, I have been open to mentoring aspiring science writers and sharing my experiences, learnings and knowledge with others. I also run a virtual co-working space for other science writers. It's all in the spirit of building a community that I can rely on.