Lim Cheng Hoe at work in The Star's former HQ in Section 13/6, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Two-time Star2 editor Lim Cheng Hoe looks back on how he tried to sweeten up the features and lifestyle section.
Arguably the longest-serving editor of Section 2 – he was in charge for almost 10 years over two stints – Lim Cheng Hoe has overseen some of the pullout’s most significant milestones.
Currently a senior editor on the news desk, Lim joined The Star in 1985 as a reporter in Penang. He was drafted into the Features desk in 1994 as a senior writer to assist then-acting editor Gilbert Yap. He was eventually promoted to deputy editor under June Wong, before taking over as acting editor in 1999 and subsequently becoming the editor in 2002.
“To be honest, June’s shoes were quite big to step into. She already laid most of the groundwork and revamped the section, so all the infrastructure were already in place,” he thinks back.
During his run, he tried to make the Features pullout less serious. “I wanted people to have more fun with the section. I also tried to change the mindset of the writers, to get them to be less heavy in their approach, and have more fun with their stories,” he says. “I wasn’t trying to dumb it down. I wanted it to complement the serious stuff in the main paper – the dessert to the main meal.”
A new parent at the time, he also pushed for Family and Parenting sections to be mainstays in the pullout.
He was transferred to the news desk in April 2005, but returned as Star2 editor in 2008. In 2011, the company embarked on a convergence exercise and all three lifestyle pullouts – Star2, Star Weekender and StarMag – were merged into one main Features Central desk.
“That was one of the biggest challenges – pulling together three families and managing a pool of 50 people. I certainly don’t miss that part of the job!” he says. “What I miss is the camaraderie – working with a group of fun people and having fun with what we were doing.”
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