Daman Beatty Producer Surrey604 Strengthening Diversity
Daman Beatty Producer Surrey604 Strengthening Diversity. The headline says it all. A man with a vision and a mindset working towards and for the city of Surrey while representing its diversity and culture. A caucasian man walked in a Southasian Fashion Week media preview is not very unusual. But then he introduces himself as Daman a producer of Surrey604. His name Daman which is very Indian grew my curiosity and I wanted to know more. So here is an interview with this mystery man Daman Aka Day-min.
Daman is a very Indian name. Please reveal the mystery behind your name to start with.
Yes. It’s funny. Great question! Where I come from in small-town New Brunswick, the name is extremely rare. Here it’s common. In Surrey, people are surprised to discover I am white after seeing my name, which is even spelled the Indian way. I didn’t even know this until I moved here.
In my case, “Daman” (pronounced ‘daymin’ not ‘dahh-men’) was the last name of my maternal grandmother’s cousin, Ronnie Daman. German origin. My Mom liked the name. I’m mostly Irish though.
It’s unrelated, but in Germany years ago I discovered the word ‘Damen’ means ladies and ‘Herren’ means men’s. I was in a Frankfurt café and got in trouble choosing the wrong restroom. I mean, it had my name on it! Besides, the men’s room said ‘Her’ and the ladies said ‘Da Men.’ Which would you pick?
You are a producer of Surrey604. Please tell us the motivation behind the page and how did you come up with the idea.
Around 2010, my wife Fatima and I were living in Yaletown. We were looking to invest in real estate and discovered Surrey was about to boom. A good place to invest. I was apprehensive about moving here, to be honest. I didn’t know anything about Surrey aside from all the jokes and news coverage. It had a bad rep and it was worse back then. Although her parents immigrated from Fiji, Fatima was born and raised in Surrey, worked in Surrey and all of her friends lived here too. We made the move.
At the time, especially during the Olympics, we saw the rise of many local blogs, particularly in Vancouver. Nothing like that really in Surrey. Fatima had experience in communications and working at the CBC. I myself was always a creator. I studied digital media, photography, web, and video production through my career, and had my own personal blog. I quickly discovered all of the cool things about Surrey and began featuring them on my website. It became apparent that a blog dedicated to living in Surrey was something we should do, and Surrey604 was born. We felt that we could also help to change those negative perceptions. In large part, I think we have. And the city itself has grown and become so much better as well. Although frankly, there have been some setbacks lately.
Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up and what was childhood like?
I’m a Maritimer. I grew up on a farm in a small village in New Brunswick. My Dad was a professor but loved to farm. The place was the opposite of multiculturalism. There was literally nobody but white people. I can’t think of any other race that lived there whatsoever. Not until my teens, we moved to a larger town where we had two Indian kids in my school and one black person. No Asians. That was it. So different than Surrey. I love the diversity here.
I had a wonderful childhood though. Grew up on the farm. Beachfront property. Lots of lands to roam freely. We had horses, cows, pigs, all of that. Rode horses on the beach. Dogs, puppies, and piles of kittens to play with. Barn cats. I’d come home from school and find new batches of kittens in the barn all the time. When I was really little, I’d play with them like GI Joes. Poor things.
Surrey604 is a magazine representing the City of Surrey. Why Surrey?
As I mentioned, we began as a blog highlighting Surrey, evolving into a magazine. Recently, we have seen so many shifts in the news and concerns from our fellow Canadians, and those here in Surrey. We have found ourselves as a lifestyle, art magazine feeling the need to grow and address topics more relevant to the voices we hear around us. We’ve felt obliged to speak up and offer a much-needed perspective from within Surrey towards these issues and the changing times. One contributing video journalist and producer, in particular, Desire Amouzou has played a key role in this effort.
You are a husband and a father. Please share how did you meet Fatima and tell us about fatherhood.
We first met way back in 2005, at dinner through a mutual friend. Fatima is the best thing that ever happened to me. A dedicated mother and a truly incredible person full of wisdom, kindness, generosity, and love. She is also a gifted writer and poet. I am just a really, really lucky guy.
There is a long and complicated yet magical story about how we actually ended up together but that’s for another time. Haha. As for fatherhood, I honestly never pictured myself as a father. More of a fun Uncle. It came to me later in life. When you’re with the right person though, it all falls into place. And thank goodness. It is amazing. I love being a Dad. These kids are hilarious too. We all have so much fun together.
How do you manage work being the father of two beautiful girls? Does it get tough sometimes?
Work is important, but I make family a priority and manage my time and choices accordingly so it hasn’t been overly tough. I’m not going to be that guy who regrets that he spent all of his time working and missed those precious moments. You have to be efficient. I’m there. I’m involved. We balance it well. It is a luxury I don’t take for granted.
Your job seems to be 24/7. Please share what does a normal day look like for you?
I try to have a solid breakfast in the morning and fit in a workout daily, whether it is running, biking, lifting weights, or doing yoga. A healthy body breeds a healthy mind and provides that energy and positivity you need to work creatively and effectively. Plus, I just like to stay fit.
With Surrey604, I spend a lot of time communicating with content creators, supporting clients, and working on the next stories and projects coming up. There is also a lot of time spent working with my web developers. It is a website, after all, and is constantly updated and improved.
What is the goal for the next few years for yourself and Surrey604?
We are approaching Surrey604’s 10-year anniversary so we will have to do something special to reflect on how far we’ve come. It all started as a fun way to connect with our community. We have shared so many great stories and met so many wonderful people along the way, including yourself. I really want to say thanks to our community and loyal followers for sticking with us and supporting us all of this time. We will continue to share your stories and support the community. We’ll be here for you.
How are you managing your work-life during this pandemic?
I’m lucky everything I do can, for the most part, be done online. Work-life balance has been greatly improved, being ‘stuck’ working at home gives me all the more time to be with family. It’s kind of funny, we all hang out together while I work, each doing our own thing. My girls are at the right age that it’s manageable. If they were slightly younger it would be impossible to get anything done at all. The timing was right.
Few words for your readers.
We are working on some big stories and exciting new content right now, including some fresh upcoming documentary video series. I can’t wait to share it all. Stay tuned.
Keep in mind we are still a grassroots independent media outlet and we do support community. Reach out if you are interested in media and want to get involved. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org – we are always looking for contributors in writing, photography, video, social media, and podcasting. Or if you have a story to share or an upcoming community event you can submit those directly for publication for free, here: http://surrey604.com/submit
Follow Surrey604 online at Surrey604.com, on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter.
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