Who is she: Biogirl MJ
Science can be a hard topic to digest and understand at times, but that’s where content creators like Biogirl MJ come in to help make the jargon a bit more palatable. The former teacher made the leap into full-time content creation on her YouTube channel Just Keep Thinking to encourage people to just keep thinking about science and nature.
1. What are some of your hobbies?
Exploring nature and wildlife is definitely one of the hobbies that I will sustain for the rest of my life – I am pretty much obsessed with any plant or animal out there and I am always on the constant lookout to see what’s around me! I also like to eat as well and I often visit various buffet restaurants to check out their food menus. I do enjoy singing karaoke with my friends, especially since I was in choir and acapella groups during my academic days!
2. What is the last movie/TV show you watched, and did you like it? Why or why not?
I just finished watching all 4 seasons of Stranger Things in a row and I can see why it was touted as one of Netflix’s best shows. The mix of action, thriller, drama while in a very slice-of-life school setting makes it enjoyable and relatable to anyone who is watching it. Also, the show makes nerds and geeks look super cool and as a self-proclaimed nerd myself, I concur with that haha! 🤓
3. What is your favourite food spot in Singapore, and what do you like about it?
Mitsuba Japanese Buffet at Clarke Quay Central! I celebrated all of my birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions with my friends there for the past 2 years as it is by far, the most value-for-money Japanese buffet that I have ever visited.
Image credit: Eatbook
Each time I visit another Japanese restaurant, I will regret almost immediately because I will instinctively compare it to Mitsuba and the winner is crystal clear (this is not a sponsored answer btw).
4. Three words that people use to describe you:
Passionate, Bubbly, Energetic
5. Three words you’d use to describe yourself:
Positive, Dynamic, Animated
6. Who are some other content creators that inspire you?
For my Science content, one of the earliest content creators that I binge-watch frequently even up till today would be SciShow, Atlas Pro and Kurzgesagt on YouTube! SciShow dissects even the simplest of science questions into fascinating angles, Atlas Pro dives deep into questions with well-researched answers that are not so straightforward, and Kurzgesagt is one of the best channels out there that really use high-quality animations to explain difficult, thought-provoking Science questions.
Entertainment wise, I absolutely love Sya from SGAG and Andrew Oppa on TikTok! Their humour is on another level and it simply blows my mind how their content is so original and genuinely entertaining without being cringe or going for low-hanging fruit jokes. That’s true talent that I find extremely valuable, and you really don’t get to find it easily in people.
7. What kickstarted your passion for science and wildlife?
My passion for Science was ignited when I received my first mini encyclopaedia from my mother when I was only 5 or 6! I remember reading the book almost every single day until it was all worn out and just being in awe of what I am learning from it.
Image credit: Biogirl MJ
My love for wildlife was kickstarted separately during my Junior College days, where I attended a 3D2N camp at St John Island’s with my school and I explored various ecosystems on the island and discovered all the local flora and fauna we have.
8. What is it that you do at Just Keep Thinking?
I am the co-founder of the channel, Just Keep Thinking, along with my partner, Raye, and together we share Science and Nature knowledge in a light-hearted and bite-sized manner through our infographic and video content on various social media platforms.
9. What inspired you to start Just Keep Thinking? Why the name “Biogirl MJ”?
I’ve always felt that there was a lack of communication between the general public and the scientific community – we’ve had our local wildlife since Sang Nila Utama saw a lion tiger – alamak – and yet the general public knew nothing about our natural heritage then, so it was an issue that was ringing at the back of my mind.
The idea of a channel was actually sparked by my co-founder, who was filming me chirping away Science facts on his GoPro while we were on a holiday one day, and we realised that our creativity and ideas for a social media channel aligned with each other, so that’s when we decided to start Just Keep Thinking (as a side project initially), and the rest is history!
Image credit: Biogirl MJ
The name “Biogirl MJ” was given by my co-founder actually – it wasn’t my idea at all haha! My specialisation is in Biology and MJ is my name, so I guess the name “Biogirl MJ” has a certain ring to it that makes the character more relatable and friendlier to people! 😂
10. How do you manage your day job and Biogirl MJ content?
Previously, I was still working as a Science teacher in a private tuition institution while handling the channel and it was really a period of minimal social interactions and sleepless nights, as I can only work on the channel content after I have completed the tasks for my day job.
Not surprisingly, as the workload for the channel increased, I was having trouble handling the responsibilities for both jobs and I had to make a decision to commit to only one. Now I am working on the channel full-time, so I am giving in my all to this!
11. What was the most memorable moment of your content creation career?
I think it was when I received my first-ever “fan mail” from a young boy – messaged by his mother – and he actually filmed his own “Just Keep Thinking” episode at Singapore Botanic Gardens after following the channel since the very beginning! His mother was conveying to us how much he had grown to love Science and Nature, and how he was inspired to be like Biogirl MJ.
It really made me tear up because I never knew my content could have such an impact, especially on our younger generation. I was really proud that we could present social media in an educational yet entertaining manner at the same time.
12. Which video has been the most fun for you to film?
The most fun video that we have filmed would be one of earlier episodes on the soft-shell crab farm! I had the rare opportunity to get down and dirty into a dug-out mud pond full of freshwater prawns – the ones used in prawning – and harvest them with my bare hands.
It was tiring and I was covered in mud by the end of the day, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would probably not get to enjoy for the rest of my life. It was also one of the “DING” moments when I genuinely realised how fun content creation could be, and the opportunities that I could potentially have with Just Keep Thinking.
13. Which video are you the proudest of?
I am really proud of the video we did on the Covid-19 vaccination, where we simplify how the vaccine works using a combination of greenscreen effects, animations and various analogies so that the audience could understand it.
It was a period where there was still a lot of misinformation and fear-mongering spreading about the vaccination and we really wanted to let people understand the science behind the vaccine to dispel the rumours and fake news. The video was received positively and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback as to how we managed to convey the science in a manner that people could understand easily – which is what Just Keep Thinking is all about!
14. What is one fun fact about wildlife or science that has surprised you lately?
Did you know that centipedes can not only walk on land, but also swim in water? I’ve actually seen an Asian Forest Centipede literally scuttling across the water surface – not even swimming – to get to the other side of the grass patch right before my eyes.
Centipedes do give a nasty bite so we try to avoid them as much as we can, but realising that these many-legged critters can cross over water bodies and reach you really freaked me out at that moment LOL.
Image credit: Biogirl MJ
Apparently there has been a study published in 2019 that showcased the adaptive locomotion of the same species of centipede in the water, and it was a new wildlife fact that blew my mind, because now I have to be extra cautious around it.
15. Have any fans come up to you IRL? What was it like?
Oh yes, haha! I was very surprised that I even had “fans” to begin with, as we were not as big as some of the other local social media channels out there, and I’ve never seen myself as an “influencer” or a public figure, so it felt a little weird. Sometimes, people can recognise me even without wearing my iconic black spectacles!
But it was always a pleasure meeting them, especially when they share with me how much they love our channel’s content and how they have a new perspective on Science and Nature in Singapore.
16. What are your top 3 tips for being more considerate about our environment?
- Ask yourself if you really need the items you are about to take/purchase
- Volunteer for a beach clean-up session in your community
- Be aware of greenwashing by companies that claim to be environmentally friendly
17. What is one environmental or scientific issue you wish Singaporeans would care about and why?
This is a no-brainer: Climate Change of course. It may seem that it is the number one issue our society is most concerned about at the moment, but I have really delved deep into this issue and what it means to be truly sustainable, myself included.
Many conglomerates, organisations and institutions are jumping into the sustainability bandwagon, but how many are genuinely committing to go green? Or are they just in for the hype, to gain some profits, to “tick off the checkboxes” because the government says we should do so?
I think understanding the science behind the issue and being aware of the facts from fads is a significant first step for anyone in their sustainability journey before one moves on to taking concrete actions – if not, once the “hype” dies down, so will their motivation to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, and that’s not sustainable – geddit? 😂
18. What are some misconceptions people have about the wildlife in Singapore?
That we don’t have “wild” animals and we only have the domesticated ones or the ones in the zoo. I realised that the general public kinda knows or has an inkling that Singapore does have animals, but people are typically shocked to find out that we have quite a number of wild animals living in our forests and even urban areas.
Estuarine Crocodiles in Sungei Buloh, Black-tipped Reef Sharks in marine areas, and even Reticulated Pythons in our HDB longkangs are all wild animals that have been around since the days of Sir Stamford Raffles – who owned a Sun Bear during his time by the way.
We just didn’t notice it and we didn’t have social media back then to highlight the existence of these animals. Even the current presence of our Smooth-coated Otters is sometimes mistaken as a “new” wildlife when they have always been a part of Singapore’s landscape in the past. They actually went extinct locally for 30 years or so before reappearing.
So yes, TLDR: We were a forested island way back in the past, and we’ve always had wildlife around.
19. Any exciting projects in the works you want to share with us?
Image credit: Biogirl MJ
As Covid restrictions ease and public gatherings are more or less permitted, we are definitely looking to expand into more physical activities such as launching more outdoor adventures, workshop activities, and also merchandise! Many projects are still in the midst of discussion but we are always open to new ideas and opportunities!
20. What is one piece of advice you’d give to students/fresh graduates who are pursuing a career in the science industry?
Always open up to new opportunities, even if it is out of your comfort zone. Most people don’t actually have occupations that are 100% related to what they have studied, and frankly, most people don’t get their “dream jobs” as well. But that does not mean that you won’t be able to have a fulfilling career.
As you grow older, you will find that your interests and values may shift slightly, and as more industries start to appreciate multidisciplinary expertise and skills, expanding your experiences in various fields can prove to be more advantageous. I never expected to become a Science teacher after studying 4 years of environmental biology, but I enjoyed and loved my job so much, and I realised that I can share that passion for nature to my kids in my own way as well.
Every “failure” is a learning experience, and an opportunity for your personal growth that is part of who you are as a unique individual.
This post is part of our larger feature on content creators. If you’d like to be featured, or have a nominee in mind, please drop us a note at [email protected].
Cover image adapted from: Biogirl MJ