By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
“When is she going to retire?” people often ask my staff members.
Yes, my competitors would love to see me disappear. But it would be a loss for the community if we were to vanish. The question of when is not up to me. If God continues to give me, my family, and my staff the gifts of health, energy, passion, and most important, enough business to sustain us, we will be motivated to run the papers for many more years. However, if God decides it’s time, I will be content with where we’re at.
My friends have a different perspective. “What are you going to do next [for the community]?” They know that I have too much energy to retire.
“You always have good ideas,” one said.
I am not the only person who has great ideas. My staff members are some of the most creative people I’ve worked with. We collaborate and build on each other’s ideas. People come to me with problems. My job is to provide solutions and win-win projects for everyone involved.
So why do people come to us and not other community newspapers?
We get things done, period. We have a bold voice. We are not afraid to be honest. We are open minded and always look at things from diverse perspectives. But without the newspapers, organizations, communities, our readers, and our advertisers, we are nothing.
You guys are the ones who shape my future. You are the ones who drive my passion.
Why my passion is still alive
I don’t do it for the money.
“Your business can bring you fame, but not money,” my friends have often said. I have reconciled with the fact that it is hard to make money in this field. But as long as we can pay our bills, I am happy.
If fame is not what I am shooting for, what is my reward?
“The journey is your reward,” said the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, who was quoting a Chinese proverb.
My journey is exciting. It presents more challenges than I could ever have imagined. This is a place where I can achieve and contribute. This business really has had an effect on the Asian community.
“Your newspaper tells the mainstream about us,” said Al Sugiyama, a community activist. “It shows what the Asian community has done, who are the leaders, our hopes and dreams and accomplishments.”
Looking back, I can see many things that I have accomplished through the newspapers. They’ve given me a platform to write, influence, gripe, exchange views, and build bridges for the voiceless.
Where else would I find a job where I can learn every day? Where else would I get to do something new and feel the joy of my experiments?
Many of my experiments belong in the events category. The difference between organizing events and publishing newspapers is in participation and observation. Reporting is about observing. The Lunar New Year kids’ parade/costume contest was about participating. It was not just fun for kids; it was fun for me too. It made me realize the precious bonds we create between kids, their parents, and their grandparents, promoting awareness of Asian culture.
When I was little, I did not receive a road map for my life, not from teachers or my parents. I had no clue that I would publish newspapers. There was nothing in my family background that prompted me to start newspapers.
My family was poor, and no one expected a girl to carve out a path in those days. No girl predicted that her life would be interesting, meaningful, and full of achievement, or that she would grow up to be a community leader.
I would not have been able to blaze the trails if my parents had not permitted me to come to America and venture out on my own. They gave me an everlasting gift: the freedom to thrive and reinvent myself from a scared, clueless young girl into a strong woman with the convictions to do good in a strange land.
My story reflects what is so amazing about this country — an immigrant with humble beginnings can make things happen for herself and for others.
So the passion I carry with me reflects how I want to live my life — to serve and be grateful that I can serve. I hope I have answered your question. (end)
Stay tuned for part three of this series next week.
Save the date for our 30th anniversary celebration on Oct. 18 at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel.
Assunta Ng can be reached at email@example.com.