Monday June 18, 2012
Finding her voice
By CALVIN YEO
MY FM radio announcer Amelyn Bong feels that she is so blessed and loved that her hard work is appreciated by her listeners.
A graduate from Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, Amelyn makes it a point to travel to at least two countries every year just to unwind after all the hard work.
Despite her fame, Amelyn is still single although she confesses that there are some guys who have a crush on her.
But, beware guys! This talking machine says she could be quite stubborn and hard headed at times, though overall, she’s a responsible person.
“Amelyn’s Fantasy World” goes on air every week day from 1pm to 4pm on 96.9FM.
The following is the excerpt of her interview with The Star.
Question: What made you join MY FM as an announcer?
Answer: When I first performed on stage, I was merely five years old. At such a tender age, I had already started to sing and taken part in story telling competitions. When I was in my teens, I participated in public speaking, debate and poetry recital competitions. I also became emcee for my school events. With all these exposures, it has become something quite natural for me to appear in public. And I have always wanted to be a radio announcer. After few years working as a journalist, I decided to pursue my study in Taiwan. So I decided to take up a course on radio and tv broadcasting.
How do you feel working as a radio announcer?
To me, I found the “voice” to be a very powerful and wonderful tool. Even without visual, you can create a theatre of the mind. Radio played a very important part in my life when I was growing up, as we didn’t have the Internet or social networking sites then to keep us entertained like we do now. Radio is where I got to listen to the latest songs, listen to the announcers and keep posted on what’s happening. Till today, I absolutely love it. So today, as the very first MY FM Kuching announcer, I feel very fortunate. I’m proud to be part of Malaysia’s No.1 Chinese radio station. It’s a great achievement for me.
You seem to be a celebrity to your radio listeners. What is your feeling every time your fans come up to you for your autograph or just to greet you?
I don’t feel like I am a celebrity at all. But I do really feel glad if my listeners recognise me in public and request to have a photo taken with me. I don’t know how to express this, but I’m really thankful to those who have always been supportive of me. On my birthday last year, some listeners secretly got together and threw me a birthday party. And this is awesome.
Do you enjoy your current job?
Very much! Every day is refreshing and challenging on MY FM. It may seem glamorous to meet and interview artistes and celebrities, but there’s more to it than just talking and taking pictures with them. There’s research and execution to be done to deliver the best to the listeners. I’ve been very fortunate to have personally met Y2J, Wilber Pan, Anthony Neely, and also the local band mates of Remnant and Slap. I really love my job.
How did you get into your current job?
When I first heard that MY FM would be setting an office in Kuching more than a year ago, I decided to send in my application. However, there was no response from them. But, I did not give up. Few months later, I heard that MY FM was having a walk-in interview. So I jumped on to the opportunity and gave it a try. During the interview, I talked to MY FM’s Content Manager, Roland Lee for nearly an hour and it was just so comfortable. Two weeks later, I received a call and I was hired.
Before you got into the radio station, what were you doing?
A lot in fact. I was a journalist, a publicist, a teacher and a copywriter as well as producer.
Can you tell us about your background?
My parents are both retired and I have five siblings – one elder sister, two younger sisters and one younger brother. I am the second eldest in the family. My eldest sister moved to Singapore after she finished her secondary school where she now works as a teacher. Since she is away from home, I automatically take over her role as the eldest in the family, taking care of my younger sisters and brothers, and also my parents.
What type of person are you?
I am a typical Sagittarius. I like freedom because I need it. I am a fast learner and I like to help people. At the same time, I am very stubborn and I don’t simply listen to advice. I must say I am also quick tempered. But having said that, I must say I am very responsible, too.
What have you learned from being a radio DJ?
I have learned to become more organised. My job has taught me interpersonal skills, especially how to express myself in public. I am Chinese educated and prior to joining My FM, my command of other languages, especially English was poor. But now I get the opportunity to work with people from diverse background and that has improved my command of English. Due to the nature of my work routine, where I have to work even on weekends and long hours too, now I tend to treasure spending my time at home with my family when I am off duty.
How do you juggle your time?
Compared to our counterparts in the peninsula, I must say we have more quality time here. Like other industries, we also have peak and non-peak seasons and most of the time, we can rest during weekends. But when the peak season comes, we really don’t have days off and the working hours will be extended too. But luckily, the working environment is full of fun, which makes our job enjoyable and we never feel bored or mentally exhausted. So far, I don’t have any problem with my time management. I still live a normal life where I can go outing with my friends and do my leisure activities. I keep it a point to reward myself after all the hard work by travelling to at least two countries a year.
Apart from being a radio DJ, you also appear in functions as master of ceremony. What are the differences between a DJ and MC?
Most of the people would say that the difference is that DJ is hiding behind the microphone while the MC needs to face people. But nowadays, DJ also needs to appear in public. So, the difference is more on the presentation.
As a DJ, you talk as a friend, not announcing. When we hold the microphone, we are supposed to talk to people, meaning our listeners. We share the information, music and everything in life.
As a function MC, you need to take the lead. People in the room are listening to whatever cue or things you say. And MC needs to respond very quickly, because no matter how well planned the function is, there are always some unexpected changes. This can be learnt over time. But the similar part is, both the DJ and MC have to be well-prepared. Some people think that we are only the so-called “talking machine”.
The truth is only a well-prepared DJ or MC can make the show a success. The preparation is to equip yourself with any information related to the show, latest news, etc.
What must one have to become a DJ? Is it more of a talent or skill?
It is the attitude. DJ is a profession, but some people may feel that it is a glamour job where a DJ can meet a lot of artistes. A lot of people I met told me that they wanted to become a DJ, but the problem is a lot of them can’t tell me why they want to become one. To me, attitude is very important because one must be willing to learn and improve and at the same time take the necessary initiatives.
Besides good attitude, I do believe in talent. Skills can be acquired and improved over time if one is willing to put extra efforts. But when it comes to adaptability and quick response, these do not flow in everyone. There is a Chinese saying that opportunities always go to people who are well prepared.
Can you describe your work routine? How different is it compared to other jobs?
When we are on air, there are also other things that we have to do such as updating all the snippets, ex Palace snippet, Gotcha of the day, promotional audios and double checking the song list and commercials daily. On top of that, we also have meetings to attend. I knock off at 6pm every day.
Are you a talkative person? Has your profession changed your character or is it character that brings you to what you are today?
I am not really a talkative person. I like to observe things and I am more of an inquisitive person. If you don’t ask, you will never know why. But I do like talking to the people I care about. I have many stories to tell and my friends always enjoy what I say or share with them. I like to bring joy and happiness to the people I care about because I want them to be happy.
Can you tell us about your school days?
I was quite active during my school days. I was involved with the school orchestra. I also represented my school in debate competitions. When I was at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, I was the president of MCU Taipei Malaysia Students Club. My course mates and I were quite active in movies and MV shooting for our assignments. I also joined the TVBS college news competition. I did my internship with Radio International Taiwan.
Last question. Are you seeing anyone now? Do fans come to you and show their affection to you?
I am currently still unattached. No doubt there are some guys out there who have come to me and declare their feelings. But I guess that is normal. But so far, I have not come across any fans of mine who have crossed the so-called border. I am so glad that people recognise my efforts, my talent and the things I have done so far. I feel so loved and blessed.