I was stunned to hear the announcement. “The Media Award goes to Rosemarie John and Joseph Ellis.” As we walked up to receive our awards from the Minister of Multicultural Affairs, Rachel Stephen-Smith, my mind was blank and Rosemarie’s eyes were a mixture of joy and disbelief. I think we were both simply awestruck. The winners in the other categories were all outstanding persons and to be counted among them was humbling…
We have won several awards in the past but this one was truly special. Winning this award never entered our minds because we never thought we would even make the nominations. An Australian Government Award is not something that we dared to dream of winning. And so, when our names were announced, we were dumbstruck.
This win has rekindled an old memory. The year was 2008. On an insipid afternoon in the monstrous metropolis of Jakarta, Rosemarie made a decision that changed the course of our destiny. She decided to stop looking for a paid job and pursue her dream instead – which was to write. And she decided to write for free. And she followed that decision with dogged determination. She poured her sweat, blood and money and toiled hard to hone her craft.
I will spare you the intricate details of this story for another time. But today I must look back and ponder on what made us start our blog. What were our strengths and shortcomings? She was an Aerospace and Defence Journalist who wrote articles on warplanes and missiles, and I was just a an inspired follower who believed in her passion and my only achievement up to that point, besides being an editor for my college magazine, was being a story teller whose only audience were five-year olds from my neighbourhood. That afternoon, this was our conversation…
Rosemarie: I want to write and I will do it for free.
Me: Great, I will edit. Let’s do it
That was it and from the next day she stared looking for opportunities and it came sooner than expected. We took up a stint of writing free articles for an embassy event. We received a pat on the back of appreciation from the good man who commissioned us to write. So, the seed was sown for the blog to be born a year later.
While I went to work, Rosemarie sat assiduously for eight hours or more everyday learning how to create a blog by watching YouTube videos, reading articles and experimenting on various free platforms. We wrote on our travels, restaurants, weekend outings and even recipes. We had two readers, my mother-in-law and my mom. A couple of months later, we noticed that we had reached fifty readers. We were so elated that we celebrated, felt humbled and continued to put in more hours. We still remember that feeling.
Today, we felt that way again. As our names were announced and after the euphoria of receiving such a prestigious award settled down, the journey that we started eight years ago has come full circle and our labour has borne fruit. This award is not only our reward but it’s an incentive to carry on with a greater sense of responsibility. We will continue to write well-researched articles and showcase the positivity in all things we write about because we truly believe the world is a much better place than what people project it to be.
What are the ACT Multicultural Awards?
The Awards acknowledge the efforts of an exceptional group of individuals and organisations from across Canberra who serve the multicultural community each and every day.
In the news:
- Awards praise Canberra’s multicultural community – City News Canberra
- 2016 Multicultural Canberra Awards – Sydney Morning Herald
- Awards highlight the best of Multicultural Canberra – Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA | Media Releases
- 2016 ACT Multicultural Awards – The Canberra Times
Thank you note: We would like to thank our readers and our family for their support and a special thank you to our nominator and Rosemarie’s colleague and boss for being present at the awards. Thank you for capturing these moments for us, Heather.