#Asia Love wins: An e27 writer grapples with reporting tech amidst Orlando tragedy


Go home early tonight


Last night, while I was sitting down in my room trying to focus on reporting a news story with a deadline for this morning, a man walked into an American gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and murdered 50 people.

The tragedy will go down as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of a country known internationally as being a global leader in mass shootings.

It is also my home country.

Which is why I found myself in an awkward position last night — trying to do right by the company I was reporting and yet dealing with the reality that I was no longer in Singapore.

Physically, of course I remained. But mentally, I was in Orlando, Florida; Bozeman, Montana; and Chicago, Illinois. I was back in Oakland, California — a city I love more than anywhere else in the world — remembering when, in 2012, a man, angry about his personal failures, executed seven of his university classmates.

But I write for e27, a tech media outlet, and it is both my job and my responsibility to report about the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia, which has little to no baring on the events in Orlando.

Plus, as callous as it may sound, this was an American tragedy, and the world is full of calamity everyday, all across the world.

Which makes everything more frustrating because I have a unique skillset (I write all day, everyday) and an understanding of cultural nuance that, to be blunt, regional news outlets will inevitably offend as the commentary rolls out over the next few days.

With the blessing from my boss, I’m just going to say a few things, and hopefully they can be applied to your personal journey as a startup Founder, employee, investor or curious reader.

What I saw last night — from American friends, family and social media — is an immensely sad country. Asia does not, and it would be unreasonable to expect it do so, fully understand that at this point in history American morale is approaching all-time lows.

If the country was a company, employees would be leaving.

It is a simple fact that guns have been part of American history since inception, mass shootings have not — and yesterday it seemed the public was less concerned about legal regulation and more apprehensive that something has broken. That the country has lost its way.

When regional pundits and opinion makers inevitably use this tragedy to admonish the Western way of life, keep in mind, in this moment, nobody could hate us as much as we hate ourselves.

With that context in mind, hopefully the following advice can be useful to our lovely entrepreneurs.

Go home early tonight.

The startup grind is both a beast of necessity and a point of pride. We work long hours and put pressure and stress on those we care about (and, more importantly, those who care about us). But not tonight. Take an evening, start the week off right, take a break from the industry.

Be nice to your mom. Buy your significant other a gift. Kiss your kids.

Give up your seat on the train. Hold the door. Thank a colleague. Call a friend.

If you have it in you, tell a stranger they look nice today.

We all fall victim, myself very much included, to the hustle. We get pushy, needy, grumpy, entitled and prickly.

We forget the person on the other end may have something far more important than business on their mind, and that maybe, just maybe, they could use a gesture of kindness.

I will conclude with a tweet, not from an American, but a Brit. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who in one hashtag summed it up better than I did in 600+ words.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

The post Love wins: An e27 writer grapples with reporting tech amidst Orlando tragedy appeared first on e27.

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