Growing up in a traditional Vietnamese family, becoming a journalist was never really an option.
When I was younger I wanted to be a policewoman, that was the first ever dream job of mine. As I grew up I decided policing wasn’t really my thing and that I wanted to be a teacher.
I stuck with the idea of teaching for a couple of years for many reasons – I wanted to make a difference in peoples lives, being a teacher you had great holidays/breaks and it seemed like a pretty chilled and cool job. But one of the main reasons was because my parents wanted me to be a teacher. Being a doctor or pharmacists was out of the question, so teaching was the next best thing to my parents.
One day I was sitting in front of the TV with my mum folding towels when TV show “Getaway” came on. I was folding a purple towel when I looked over to my mum and said “Mum, that’s what I want to do. I want to be on TV and travel for work.” Mum laughed and said something along the lines of “ha-ha if you can do that, I’ll be very happy for you”. Don’t get me wrong, my mum is very supportive of me, but during that time you never heard of an Asian journalist or presenter. Mum was being realistic.
I’m glad mum said that to me, because that was the trigger that drove me to do journalism. At first I just wanted to prove, not only my parents but the whole extend Nguyen family wrong – that Asians can be journos/presenters. Once my cousin told me I’d have better luck being a prostitute than being a journalist. But now, I love my life. I’m obsessed with News and love where I’m at.
I recently had to little cousins come up to me and say “When I grow up, I want to be a journalist just like you Chi Han.” That melted my heart. I’m so happy and excited that my younger cousins can dream big and think outside of the box and not have people constantly being negative about it.
My advice to you kids, dream big – that’s the only way you’ll ever be happy!