#IamBeyondStories | How many of us have the courage to pursue what we truly want in life?
Most Chinese-Filipinos can relate when saying that from childhood until growing up, their parents have already set out the blueprints they have to follow– from pursuing a business degree to marrying into a Chinese family.
Brave Chinoys of today beg to differ though, as the culture of going beyond the traditions is spreading among the community. More and more Chinese-Filipinos see themselves bravely set aside the norms in pursuit of their own passion, as is the case for radio DJ Ysa Chong, who followed her heart in pursuing a career in the media industry.
Going outside the comfort zone
As in most Chinoy households, Ysa’s parents expected her to pursue and land a job in the field of business, medicine, or law. She was a political science degree major in De la Salle University-Manila, and was on her way to becoming a lawyer when she began to be more interested in communications. However, since shifting courses was not an option, her college years became a balancing act between trying to graduate and pursuing her interests and passions.
Aside from these expectations, Ysa, like most Chinoy women, is expected to simply marry into a Chinese family that would provide for her. But with firm belief in her own capabilities, she made sure not to depend on anyone except for herself for financial stability. “I’m happy having my own money, and knowing that no matter what happens, I will always be able to fend for myself and secure my own future,” Ysa shares.
All these prejudices on pursuing a “safe” and “comfortable” life—be it in choosing a career or partner—didn’t stop Ysa from pursuing her dreams of being a voice talent.
Pursuing passion over following traditions
Ysa started pursuing radio, hosting and singing during her freshman year in college. For years she would learn and improve, taking in even unpaid jobs just to get an experience on the field. She would audition and would get one rejection after another.
Of course these trials would leave her broken. There are times when she wanted to fully give up but Ysa tells us “the pull of wanting to succeed was strong. I just wanted to prove to myself, more than anybody else, that I had the potential at least. So, I kept trying again, and then trying something else,”.
Fast forward to today, Ysa is living her dreams of being a radio announcer and a basketball courtside reporter– dreams which she’s had since high school. She has also done hundreds of voiceovers for different projects including radio and TV commercials and hosted numerous events in the last seven to eight years.
In 2019, Ysa was also able to fill the role of one of the few female volleyball coliseum announcers, including a stint for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which was something that never even occurred to her that she could do.
“All of these I never even imagined possible, but now I’m living out my dream/s. If I had at any point given up on and refused to go beyond myself, life would’ve been completely different,” Ysa reflects.
Ysa shares that it’s about time that Chinoys break the usual norms and freely discover their passions and dreams. She also realizes that a Chinoy’s talent would further grow and flourish only if we stop giving importance to other people’s perception, especially within the Chinoy community.
“I am beyond the stereotypes and prejudices expected in being a Chinoy woman, and I intend to go beyond more borders in the years to come. My life story has always been about perseverance and going beyond borders, so I really want to be able to inspire people with my story. That courage to take leaps of faith can get you far,” – Ysa Chong
Follow Ysa Chong on instagram @ysachong_voiceovers and @ysachong to know more about her career as a media practitioner.
To hear more stories like these, tune in to CNN Philippines every Sunday at 8pm as CHiNOY TV once again presents inspiring stories from season 2 of Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart. With replays on Wednesdays at 8pm on CHiNOY TV’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel, and Saturdays at 6:30pm on CNN Philippines.
Do you also have an inspiring story that goes beyond the usual norm, culture and stereotype? Share your story with the community: https://forms.gle/AXYGcnKLZ8qbRDiTA
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