Nessa
Anwar

Multimedia Journalist, CNBC

“I've felt too young, too brown, too inexperienced, too small, too preoccupied to get things done. I've turned down opportunities because I didn't feel intelligent enough, brave enough or sure enough in my abilities. Up till today, a story sometimes seems too big, too far fetched, too out of reach for me to write about. I wish I could say some magic formula helped me get over it, but there is none. If women like Saadia Zahidi, Sonia Sotomayor and - closer to home - my own friends could admit to having imposter syndrome, I'm in good company. Because they admit to having it, and still kick ass at their jobs anyway. And that's the stuff you can actually control: loving what you do and being absolutely ace at it.”

As long as people want to read what I’m writing, use my writing to bolster their understanding of a certain topic, or experience a new perspective, I consider that a grand success.
I’m a multimedia journalist focusing on business and geopolitics, so I write and make deep-dive videos about all things money. And some of the most exciting movers and shakers of money come from the tech sphere, from the big names, the start-up players to the ones diversifying their applications. You can say that I stumbled into writing about it, but didn’t take much to get hooked. Technology has such a massive orbit, doesn’t it? When you’re witnessing firsthand the amazing concepts and solutions people are innovating, you can’t help but want to find a way to share that with the world.
This might seem cliché but definitely my own imposter syndrome. I’ve felt too young, too brown, too inexperienced, too small, too preoccupied to get things done. I’ve turned down opportunities because I didn’t feel intelligent enough, brave enough or sure enough in my abilities. Up till today, a story sometimes seems too big, too far fetched, too out of reach for me to write about. I wish I could say some magic formula helped me get over it, but there is none. If women like Saadia Zahidi, Sonia Sotomayor and – closer to home – my own friends could admit to having imposter syndrome, I’m in good company. Because they admit to having it, and still kick ass at their jobs anyway. And that’s the stuff you can actually control: loving what you do and being absolutely ace at it.
Loneliness. How much I find myself enlightening members of the public of the existence of Malay women in general. For example, having to be the one to educate countless local public relations representatives that Malay names are patronymic and that my name isn’t actually Anwar. Microaggressions are everywhere, not just in the media industry, and sometimes you’re the only one who can speak up there and then, to exemplify some form of the ‘Model Minority’. Because the other people who can actually do it with you are a little further away. More times than I care to admit, that gets a little wearing.
You can never be a quality journalist if you don’t consume the work of other journalists who came before and stand alongside you, so start loading your social media feed with people who are more informed, intelligent and funnier than you. It won’t happen by osmosis, but somehow, one day, it will rub off on you. Also, you’re going to be reporting outdoors under a tropical sun more than you think, so don’t skimp on the sunscreen!
If I’m still alive, for sure I’ll still be writing for a living in a lovely home office that I designed from scratch. In what respect, in what industry, in which craft, using what laptop, that I have absolutely no idea. But I’m completely raring to go.