ST's Young Journalist of the Year 'hated reading newspapers'

ST's Journalist of the Year Christopher Tan and Young Journalist of the Year Chua Siang Yee on March 23, 2017.
ST's Journalist of the Year Christopher Tan and Young Journalist of the Year Chua Siang Yee on March 23, 2017.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - When sports reporter Chua Siang Yee was in primary school, his mother would lock him in a study room at home on a weekly basis, and force him to read through newspapers like The Straits Times and The New Paper.

She was Chinese-educated and did not speak English, but wanted her son to have a good command of the language.

Mr Chua, 27, said he hated it at first as it felt like punishment but grew to like it, especially the sports pages of both ST and TNP.

"It struck me that maybe I can do this as a living because it's something that I enjoy and I thought I could be remotely decent at it."

Mr Chua did not disappoint his mother. After an internship with TNP in 2010, and completing a degree in communications at the University at Buffalo, he joined ST's sports desk in 2013.

On Wednesday (Mar 22), he clinched the Young Journalist of the Year award at the Singapore Press Holdings's (SPH) annual awards ceremony for its English, Malay and Tamil Media Group.

One of his biggest scoops was a report on how Singapore might not be able to catch the Rio Olympics last year live on television since the deal made was only for delayed telecasts. Following his story, a deal was inked that allowed Singaporeans to witness swimmer Joseph Schooling make history by winning Singapore's first Olympic gold medal.

Mr Chua was also part of an ST team - comprising colleagues from the digital, sports and photo desks, including assistant sports editor Rohit Brijnath and correspondent Jonathan Wong - that won the Best Cross Media Story of the year for their coverage of Schooling's victory.

Mr Chua, who also won a Story of the Year award by the Singapore Swimming Association last year (2016) , thanked mentors at the sports desk for their guidance.

"All I did was work a little bit harder...a lot of times I benefited form knowing the right people, finding out more, and getting both sides of the story," he added.

"It can be disheartening when we get stonewalled, but (being a journalist) is also about overcoming these setbacks and finding different ways to get more information."