#PowerSquad: Jemimah Wei

This overachiever is so young - and so wise

She teaches English Literature to an undergrad class at Nanyang Technological University, she's a Clicknetwork TV host for reality show Hype Hunt, an ad-hoc emcee and a digital writer for clients such as Nikon and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation. Oh, and Wei is pursuing her Master’s degree in creative writing, too.  

How much time do you devote to social media?

I'm always on it… it's become second nature to me now to just pull out my phone and Snapchat something, or post something on Instagram. It’s my companion to everyday life at this point. But I try to be as real as possible online; my Snapchat photos are of me working in my rented office, and I try to paint as honest a picture of life as it is.  

What do you like about your social media outreach?

Getting constructive criticism and discussion on issues. I’m happy to be proven wrong all the time too, because it helps me evaluate where I stand on issues, and define my perspective on things a little clearer each time. So, you know, for example. I don’t care if you like my dress or not. But I do care about what you think my dressing represents, and how it is affected by and in turn affects the way pop culture has shaped the way we react to things. 

And what about things you don’t like about it?

I’m only 23 - I’m still figuring things out! So it really, really bothers me when people take my word as deed, especially the younger ones. But it’s a fact that there are a ton of people out there who are watching me, so I think it’s important to be responsible about what you say, how you act, and what you do.

A lot of young people are growing up in this culture of social media, where they watch these Instagrammers and reality TV stars do all these really glamorous things, and they think that this is what life is supposed to be about. And they aspire to these Kardashian-esqe living conditions, which to me is not an aspiration at all. Brunching all day and taking pretty photos of your clothes is not what life is all about.

Don’t get me wrong - it’s great, and if you love doing it, and can afford it, sure. But we’re not saving lives or fighting fires, you know? And it always blows my mind when people don’t realise that most of what they’re seeing online isn’t what these people do all the time. It’s probably only 20 to 30 per cent of their time - the rest is spent either at their jobs, school or whatever it is their other life-calling is. 

Do you feel what you do is enriching or inspirational?

I would say what I do is very curious, even to me. I don’t know if it’s important in the same way that being a doctor is. Don’t get me wrong, I work very hard. But I always wonder about how meaningful it all is in the long run. So I suppose because it doesn’t have any intrinsic value that’s tied to it, the task of creating something meaningful and enriching is shifted to the independent, which is me.

The same goes for any creative, or freelancer, I suppose. No copywriter is going to save the world. But they can make it a little more pleasant for us to live in. This is something I grew up repeating to myself. 

What have you learnt about the way social media works?

You have to create your own meaning; I think you create your own challenges too. The social media landscape is so new that there’s really no precedent for it, no road map as to what your next target should be, what you should do next, what standards you should hit. And so the onus falls on you to challenge yourself every day, to keep creating better work, and to try and be a good person in a way that honours the way your parents brought you up.

Photo: Kelvin Chia

For more Living stories, head here. Or check out Girl We Love: Angela Lee and 3 Free & Fun Ways To Work Out In Singapore

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