This week, the Q&A is from Bertha Chin, the Head of our E-Team. She has been with Caleb’s Hope for over three years now and makes sure that everything based online is running smoothly, whether that’s our main site or our various social media outlets. Born in the Malaysian part of Borneo, a University Lecturer, and always a Sci-Fi fan; I’ll let her explain more about herself and how she got involved with Caleb’s Hope…
How did you first hear about Caleb’s Hope, and how did you get involved?
Lisa posted a notice on the Battlestar Galactica blog, along with pictures of some of the cast for the Nyara photo shoot. I was intrigued by the jewellery, so I clicked on the link to learn more. Consequently, I was at a Battlestar Galactica convention in London that same year a few months later and got the opportunity to ask Tahmoh Penikett a few questions - one of them was on CH, and he spoke very highly of Holly and the organisation and urged people to find out more if they could. And then Holly’s email came asking if I was interested in volunteering, and the rest is history!
What is it about CH that drew you to the organisation?
That we actually want to go out of business. So many charity and non-profit organisations have no clear exit strategies, and it feels like they’re hampering growth and development rather than encouraging them. I found the emphasis on empowering women through sustainable job creation very positive, and felt that it was vital in today’s society. When I started volunteering for CH, I was getting disillusioned with young people, particularly in the UK, given that I was teaching at an inner-city London university and watching young girls getting swept away with the concept of temporary fame and earning the quick buck that reality TV and tabloid culture love to promote - CH made me pause; the lives and experiences of the women reminded me there’s so much more out there that I need to think about and take stock.
What is your fondest memory of volunteering for CH so far?
Getting to know an incredible bunch of people, particularly Becky, Nicky, Holly and Lisa, and in the process, having them remind me constantly of who I am and what I can be and achieve is an incredibly powerful feeling.
Is there a particular project which has captured your interest over your time with Caleb’s Hope? Why?
Nyara, because it was what drew me to CH in the first place, and I have a lifelong love affair with beads (especially coming from Borneo, where beads have always played a big part of my cultural life!)
What has been the most enjoyable aspect about your work so far?
I’m learning new things and challenging myself everyday on the job. It’s exhilarating!
Do you own any NYARA jewelry? What does it mean to you?
I have 2 Nyara necklaces, and I plan on owning more pieces in future. It’s become my go-to jewellery pieces now whenever I’m going out with friends because I feel it’s become a big part of who I am.
(For those who have been with Caleb’s Hope for an extended period of time) What is it that has encouraged your continued support?
It’s about the bigger picture - I know I’m making a difference, no matter how small a part I play. But more importantly, it’s also about learning: from the women, from the people I work closely with, from other organisations, from the people we encounter - the list is endless, and for an academic, that possibility of knowledge is just too enticing!
What is your favourite childhood memory?
Roaming the neighbourhood and climbing trees with my best friend (who, incidentally is now a professional golfer) - he moved back to Germany after 3 years but those were some of the best years of my childhood!
What are your top ten favourite films?
In no particular order, and I’m pretty sure this list will change 15 minutes after listing it: -
Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Return of the King, In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express, (500) Days of Summer, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Bladerunner.
Where is your favourite holiday destination, and what special memories do you have from there?
Switzerland. Reading Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood on the balcony of an inn in a small village in the middle of German-speaking Switzerland where my only view is the Alps, a field filled with wildflowers with the sun shining, and the gentle roar of a waterfall in the background - doesn’t get more magical than that.
If you were stranded on an island and only had five personal items with you, what would they be and why?
Can I have one of Doctor Who’s sonic screwdrivers? No? Fine. A machete, heavy-duty Swiss army knife, tarp, suntan lotion, a couple of good books….unless I discover a mysterious monster or a hatch - sorry, island = LOST.
What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?
Geeky answer: call Mulder and Scully.
A geekier answer: offer myself up to the aliens to be abducted. I don’t like zombies. Aliens and vampires (and NOT the sparkly kind), I can deal with. Zombies, no.
Have you supported any other charities over the years?
They’ve mostly been animal-related (RSPCA, WWF) or medical research (mental health, stem cell research). The Trevor Project. The occasional clicktivism.
If you have to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
It’ll probably be sushi. I can live on Japanese cuisine for a prolonged period of time.
When you have time to yourself, what things do you like to do to relax/unwind?
Massage at a good spa; sit under a tree, preferably near a beach/river/lake
Claim to fame?
Being co-admin with Lisa at Tahmoh’s website.
Everywhere I go, people always assume I’m Japanese, and would proceed to speak to me in Japanese even though I don’t speak a word of the language.