A pleasant surprise came in my inbox yesterday. Shortened and edited for privacy, here it is:

I have always wanted  to tell you this but never wrote to you earlier: I have read your book Behind the Shining Resume and I must say that I absolutely love it!

It touched a chord in my heart, I couldn’t say that I understood what you went through but we are former students of Keat Hwa and I could empathize with you. Bravo for coming out with such a wonderful book!

I’m currently working at [mainstream paper] and I’m glad that you also did journalism. I’m not sure if you have checked out the local news on Wednesday but the nation was gripped with shock at the news of a 17-year-old girl who committed suicide in school. We are currently writing a follow-up story for this issue and I hope that, maybe, you can share your story and experience of how you cope with your condition. Well, with more people coming out to speak about this issue, there will be more awareness on the mental health of students. I lost a childhood friend who took his own life after suffering from depression late last year. It was very, very painful.

Do not worry, you will be given anonymity in the story. Just let me know if you are interested k, we are working on a very tight deadline and I hope to hear from you before Thursday evening. Just drop me a line and I will get in touch with you by either e-mail or phone alright? Between, are you interested to work in the newspaper? We have an opening at the education desk, come back to work here lah, let me know and you can write to my editor (it is very exciting to be a journalist!). Okay, thanks a lot. Hope you had a great Chinese New Year 😉

 

Out of the hundreds of Keat Hwa graduates I know, this person would probably be the first journalist I’ve come across. I didn’t know TESL was a pathway into journalism in Malaysia?

Anyway, too many suicides in the papers lately. I hope what I share can help a teensy bit.

Sometimes I do really ask myself whether I’m doing the wise thing, but I’ve just never been one to care too much about how talking about it will hurt my employment chances.

Hmm. Should I consider working at the education desk, you think? It’s something I’m really concerned about, but mainstream media means government’s mouthpiece.

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