For somebody who, as a basic rule, never plans for their future further than fifteen minutes ahead, Edward Ngai’s schedule is pretty crowded.
Between school, swimming, working for the Ministry of Environment, and participating in the organization of a youth model UN conference, he manages to squeeze in time for what he calls his two passions: journalism and his work for Catching the Spirit, a series of environmental stewardship camps for youth.
Needless to say, he’s one busy guy, which is why I was thrilled to get the chance to sit down and chat with him on air for out August 30th show.
Considering his lengthy resume, there was lots to go over. Edward’s passion for everything he does was pretty clear, but so was his down-to-earth approach. In fact, while waiting to go into the studio, he repeated many times that he didn’t feel his achievements were any more remarkable than other youth he knows.
We started off the interview talking about journalism. After writing extensively on his own free time for what he dubbed his imaginary newspaper,Edward recently began writing for the Vancouver Observer, an online news source he describes as, a pretty fantastic, hyper-local blog. Entirely online, the VO features an assortment of articles from a variety of independent journalists. “They’re really willing to foster young journalists,” says Edward.
His writing can best be described as honest. When I asked him how he prevents bias from entering his stories, he laughed, and let me know, “No, I certainly do let my own opinions interfere.” He then pointed out a sticker at the Co-op station, reading “wealthy media, poor democracy” and explained that, more than bias, that was what worried him about the world of journalism.
Edward was equally enthusiastic about his second passion, environmental stewardship and the Catching the Spirit camps, where he’s a peer leader. The goal, he says, is simply to make sure that the youth leave at the end of the day thinking about their actions in a way they didn’t before.
Between his work with Catching the Spirit and at the Ministry of Environment, Edward easily falls under my definition of an environmentalist, but, as he explained on air, he doesn’t think of himself that way. “I don’t see myself as an environmentalist so much as just someone who is in tune with what he’s doing to the environment and how to get other kids involved in the same thing”.
When, I asked about his future, Edward laughed and explained his no-more-than-fifteen-minutes-ahead planning policy. Regardless of where he goes, what he does, and how little he plans it out, I think it’s safe to say that Edward Ngai is going far.