Who would've known a person's middle name would have so much influence on one's life? "Choy Lin", my mother explained to me, in Chinese means: to go on and on, or to persevere.
It didn't take long for my mom and dad to realize their daughter indeed did "go on and on" ....in the form of .... talking and asking plenty of questions! I'd ask Popo about her secret to living a long life, how my aunties made pork tofu or jai and what kind of bait did my uncles use on their fishing trips.
I remember writing about what I discovered in mini-newsletters and then passing them out at the next Lum or Wong gathering. Once I saw the joy on everyone's faces and the happiness they felt having their stories told, I realized, I wanted to tell meaningful stories that would make a positive impact wherever I went.
At Seattle University, I was often seen lugging around a video camera and tripod gathering stories and spending late nights in the editing lab. After four years of journalism coursework and newsroom internships in Washington State and Hawaii, I got a taste of real world journalism in Guam, where I covered my first major story.
I uncovered health hazards at a popular restaurant and earned my first professional news award – "Best Spot News" as a result of the exclusive investigative report. Working in such a small market, I learned to be a jack-of-all-trades – write under deadline, edit, produce, report and anchor the news.
It was a lot of hard work, but the valuable experience I needed to become a better journalist.
After two years in Guam, I came back home to work at KGMB 9 News and in 2001, moved to KHNL and K-FIVE. My reporting in Hawaii earned me three more awards for "Best General News Story", "Best Series Reporting" and "Best Feature Story". In 2008, our news coverage won a prestigious Emmy award for "Overall News Excellence" and this year, Hawaii News Now was awarded four coveted Edward R. Murrow Awards by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).
I feel lucky to have been able to cover a number of important stories through the years like the October 2006 earthquake, the arrival of President Barack Obama in Hawaii and the February 27th tsunami.