Personal Growth

My Travel Essentials: Yvonne Lim

Personal Growth - January 2016

Ever eager and adventurous, Yvonne Lim has turned her innate curiosity into cross-border opportunities as a journalist. She started reporting in Malaysia until 2013, moved to Thailand for Asia News Network, and had a stint at a Singapore daily. Today, she is news assistant for CNBC Asia's The Rundown show.

Yvonne's Travel Essentials
Yvonne's travel essentials for her life as a journalist across Southeast Asia

Journalism to Yvonne is what the microscope is to the scientist - the profession allows insights into her world. She now better understands her identity not simply as a Malaysian, but more as a Southeast Asian. Though the region is commonly seen as a collective, she has come to note subtle but distinctive cultural differences that either unite or divide neighbourly ties.

One example is the treatment of transgender persons. When Yvonne was in Pattaya covering the Miss Tiffany's Universe pageant, she witnessed the celebratory tone in which Thai society accept transgender people. Then she met transgender Malaysians who revealed harsh discrimination back home, where prostitution is one of very few jobs made available to them.

"Whatever your views are, they're still fellow human beings. What if they're brilliant or talented? Why can't they be engineers or lawyers? Why do we have to marginalise so much that the only option is prostitution?"

Conscious of the bigger picture, Yvonne's current job in business news was a deliberate choice.

"During my field-reporting days, I felt like I saw only a side of the world. Say what you want, the world runs on money. CNBC trains me to see how that happens. Then when I go back to human-interest stories, I can use whatever I've learned to enhance them. "

Outside of work, Yvonne loves to go scuba diving. She's travelled across Southeast Asia, and finds the seas give deeper meaning to the pursuit of the unknown and feared.

Wherever she is, Yvonne lives to the hilt. Her essentials speak of constant movement, but also hint at past defining experiences.


In Switzerland, shoes are given to a baby to celebrate new life. When Yvonne moved to Bangkok, a Swiss friend gave her the keychain to mark the new journey. She has attached it to her keys ever since.


Yvonne still appreciates pen and paper in documenting her life. At the end of each year, she goes through a "Life Audit" to see how her annual life theme carried through. Last year was "Change"; this year is "Holding On".


This keeps the SIM cards from the three countries Yvonne's lived in, and the Philippines. Since she travels often, it's important to have them on hand. The Thai card doesn't work anymore, but she cannot bear to throw it away.


Yvonne has her own diving suit and mask. One memorable dive was at Ko Phi Phi. She swam through the corridors of a sunken US navy ship, reliving history and imagining ghosts of the past.


The cap points to the Singapore Exchange (SGX), where CNBC Asia's studio is. It also references the bull-and-bear market trend. As for the laptop, Yvonne declares the MacAir "the best thing a journalist can have. It's light and efficient."


The zebra sticker is from Yvonne's godson. She goes home every month to see him. The phone itself is an essential tool she can't imagine anybody let alone a reporter living without it.


The comb is from a market in Bangkok, which became a solace from work-related stress. She likes it because it doesn't cause static.