Signing Off







Cat Socrates



Tell us more about what you’re doing now and how you first got into it.
I work as a news reporter and I love to draw in my free time. I’ve always loved to draw but I stopped for awhile when I graduated since I was busy looking for a job. Recently, I picked it up again ever since the pandemic since there’s nothing much to do. I’m hoping to venture into tattoo illustrations too. Though I don’t have any tattoos of my own as of now, I would like to give myself one in the future.

As for how I got into reporting, I was writing for the arts section for my school newspaper in college, and that sparked my interest to become a reporter. I also did an internship with a local newspaper in my hometown back in China, and it was really interesting, so that’s how I started on this path.

What’s something you enjoy most about your work? Is there anything you would change about the industry?
I love how I get to learn about different things—one day I could be writing about artificial intelligence, and the next, I’m covering a piece on a union strike, for example. I get to understand the workings of a lot of different things and I also get to meet a lot of new people.

One thing I’d change about the industry is that I would like to have more people in it. I think in general, the news industry is pretty understaffed. It’s really hard to sell news for money, because people are used to getting it for free.

What’s the most interesting story you’ve covered?
I once wrote a piece on facial recognition for animals—mainly cows, donkeys, and horses. There are a bunch of companies doing that in China, so I wrote about that, and it’s really interesting to see how they tell different animals apart from their 斑点, which are the spots and marks on the animals’ faces. Usually, this technology is used for insurance purposes. Farmers would buy insurance for animals so that in the event that their livestock die, they get insurance payouts. But in China, sometimes farmers might not buy insurance for all their livestock, and if an animal that isn’t insured dies, they’d still just claim the insurance. So these insurance companies need to make sure that they can verify the identity of each animal in some way.

Is there anything that you’d like to say to your past or future self?
It’s interesting because my surname is Wang (王), and one of my social media accounts is called 小王对老王说, which literally means young me saying things to old me. I guess I use that social media account as a way of talking to my future self. There’s nothing in particular that I would say, but I guess I would want to go back to my past self so that I can travel more, before the pandemic (laughs).

Where would you want to travel to?
I would probably want to travel back Wuhan, which is the hometown that I grew up in. I was already in Singapore when Covid first got detected in Wuhan, so I would read the news about ambulances going around the empty streets, and I even remember reading about this person who jumped off a bridge because he couldn’t get treatment. It was so surreal because all those locations were familiar places that I personally knew and that I’ve been to. So when I went back last year, and saw these places, everything sort of acquired a whole new meaning.

My favourite place in Wuhan is north from the famous Yangtze river bridge, where there are one or two bridges which are at parts of the river that aren’t that well-developed. I like places that have a bit more of a wilderness element to it, and are not as man-made or well-maintained.

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