Monday, May 31, 2004

Ta Alip Daa!

Tada! My article got in on time!

Today I came into the office a bit late - last night I had a cuppa session with my sis and her gang of funnymen, went back late, slept late, yada yada. I quickly scanned for any story on the free copy of newspaper that has my byline, but I didn't see any at first.

It turned out that I was checking last Thursday's CT, while today's CT has been snatched away from my table by someone who thought I was still outstation. I went to see the Ed and asked him if everything's alright with the story I sent - he said it's alright and went on to flip through today's CT (he was the one who took my copy) and showed me the article.

There it was. On the last page. At the last column. It has my byline on it.

I quickly read it. Yup, it got chopped down to half as usual, but in terms of content, not as much as I thought it would be.

I asked the Ed if the story is alright or what, and he said it's OK. Then he asked if I can come up with another story to make the sponsor of the event happy - sure I can, I said, but I didn't say anything about the lifestyle piece that I'm supposed to hand in as well.

I guess that's the best I can do so far. I'm a bit shwalzermacky cause it was printed on the last page - but that's due to my quite late submission, remember, I only got the story in way after lunch time.

And I'm a bit shwalzermacky cause the long story I wrote got chopped down to half so it became only a quarter page thing - but that's cause most of it were about the CDMA technologies, which happens to be 60 percent of what was showcased during the event; totally irrelevant to the local interest.

I think I still don't have the nose for news. I still think I need some kind of guidance on how to do good live reporting.

I was hoping this live reporting assignment would give me some indication on whether journalism is my thing or not, whether I'm getting better or worse, whether hands-on training and as-you-go-you-get-the-experience kind of thing would be good enough to make me a good enough reporter.

Right now, I don't think I can make much of a conclusion. But right now, I don't think I'm a good enough reporter at all - but that's not to say I don't want to become one, or that I have given up on becoming a good journalist.

All I'm saying is that perhaps on certain assignments, like live reporting on a technology showcase-type of events, I still need some kind of coaching...

Sometimes I wonder, would a career change do me good..?

Friday, May 28, 2004

The real ta alip kot

Right now I'm waiting for a reply from the Ed if my article's received and whether it is good enough for publication or else.. I sent it at about 5PM and it's 5:48PM - no reply yet...

The event was a total havoc for me - there were so many bigshots ready to talk, and I have not evenone question for them - that was how bad the three plenery sessions were this morning. I just froze like a maggot on a split jambu.

There were people talking in different languages - journalists asking questions and sounding really smart and savvy. Me, I tried to record some quotes and scrambled to find an angle for my story.

After lunch (veggie, veggie, veggie) I finally got a bit more courage to approach them and got a little bit of information that would make my story a bit different from others, at least I hoped it would be so. Talked to a couple of good looking executives who treated me like a princess, saying that anything I ask they'll be happy to answer (and by the looks of it they didn't even mind me writing so slowly on my notepad, in fact slowing down as they answer too).

At 3:15 I walked back to my room cause the Internet connection at the conference area was bloody slow (and they call it broadband!). As I walked back my head went spinning for an idea - but I still don't know what's good to report - told myself to calm down and get a grip: I can do this!

In the room I stripped (hey, not all the way la but whatever that's slowing my creativity process... if any went on at all..) and launched my laptop and got on the intranet webmail, desperately skimming through all the materials I've collected and scrutinizing my really bad handwriting, trying my best to come up with a story.

I guess due to the pressure of deadline, I managed to come up with a readable piece. I took Faizal's advice to go easy on the figures, but I could not do away with lots of jargon - hey, it is a telecommunications technology showcase that I am supposed to report about, no?

Anyway, did a check (just spelling lah, no cross-opinion thing or anything intelligent) and mailed it. Switched on the TV and waited...

Still waiting...

Grr... I'm hungry - maybe I should just go to the nearest McDonald's outlet...

This photo is taken by a counterpart of mine (Hong - could not thank him enough as he helped me a lot on this assignment) using a Panasonic Lumix camera (my sis') yesterday. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Ta Alip Kot

I can't sit still today - firstly cause the new fans we got are freezing me to death, secondly cause the press kit on a technology event that I'm supposed to attend tomorrow has not arrived into my mailbox yet.

The press kit issue is the scarier part - no, not like Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam type of scare, it's more like oh-no-I-don't-have-professional-training kind of scare. So I might as well admit it - I'm the reporter who have been spoiled by press kits.

I learnt IT in college and U, I may know the technology, but reporting about it is a different ballgame. Granted, I did study some writing courses in MCC - hey, here's a shoutout: thanks Mr Mustafa for an interesting English 111 class.

Mr Mustafa gave me a B something for a paper I wrote - it was about how cancer spread - yeah, boring topic, but lots of materials available. I may have more interest in topics like Bermuda Triangle mystery or Malaysia-Singapore relationship post-1960's or something more motivating to research about, but I'm not the type that would go do something tough and enjoy it.

I'm the kind of person that likes to wear selipar jepun, you know, the type of shoes that you won't have to bend down and fuss with to wear. If you've been reading teen-mags/chic-mags, you'll know that people who wear slip-on shoes are said to have fear of commitments, hardship, and anything that's remeh (tedious).

And I am that. The worse part is, I went on to become an IT journalist.

Many IT journalists I've met have said this: IT journalists has got to be among the most pampered among the lot - we get invitations to events (99% at hotels, clubs etc), we show up (register at the separate media booth), get press kit (ooh, lovely photos too, no need to get photographers), attend the Q & A (what's new about this product?), eat and be merry (what? Popia itik? Can lah) and even get door gifts (weird, weird, weird stuff)as a motivation to quickly write and submit the stories.

So far writing stories has been like the English 111 class' assignments - betul, or I would not have survived! Formula: the who-what-where-when-how plus some insights (insight could be anything: trends, previous product comparison, lesson learnt, bla bla bla) equals to something you can submit to the Editor.

The hard part would be weaving up the story into a readable piece worth reading. Like a song arrangement, you want the story to have some "feel" in it, you want it to be appreciated and understood.

Another hard part would be the starting sentence - the attention grabber, the one that tells pretty much the whole story, the one that will affect the reader's knowledge, the one that give evidence to whether or not you're a good journalist.

So here's the point to all of my ramblings above: I've never done live reporting before. And I'm supposed to do one tomorrow from a place I've never been to before - sure there's a media centre, but what if it is full and by the time I get to a PC or a cable to connect my laptop time's running out and I end up sending a lousy piece for the Ed?

The PR girl said she'll send me a press kit on the event, but it has not arrived, so I'm a bit at a loss, and I got a feeling I might succumb to panic soon. It's not that I'm hoping to be so spoonfed that my whole story would be based on that press kit (no sir, we IT journalists don't do that!), but at least the press kit would give me some ideas for an angle for the story I'm supposed to submit at lunchtime tomorrow.

Ish suspen betul la...

Oich! It came! It came! Aiya, I must have been blogging too long not to notice the incoming mail icon appearing! OK lah, I got a story template to do, so ciao...

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Once you know how to ride a bike...

Highly strung. That's what my sis likes to call me when I get irritated about stuff. Lately (these past three days or so) I've been exactly that.

About a few minutes ago my boss said something that is not supposed to affect me much - just reminding me about something that I forgot to do. You know what, all these while I never forgot to do this one little thing, but yesterday I did for the first time, and today he's making a bit of fuss about it.

He said it's something that many of us forgot to do, so he's just remindin'. I wanted to scream back: Hey wuss, I've been doing it everytime except yesterday so gimme a break!

But the moment I thought of a nicer way to say that, the next thought that entered my bloody fuzzy brain was: It's just not worth it.

So I said thanks for remindin' boss, I'll be sure not to forget it next time.

Then it occured to me that, hey, I managed to stop myself from creating a scene over nothing. I know well enough already that it is not worth my saliva to do such thing. I know well enough that had I screamed the "Hey wuss..." line, it would have gotten me a longer time in the boss' cubic.

I, the self-appoint immbecile, had thought twice.

I guess you know you've grown up if you think twice before you do anything. Judging from how fast my thinking twice took up, I'd say I must have been doing it for some time already - it's like riding a bicycle, once you know how to do it, you'll only do it faster...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Gals that make the world go round..

.. and one of them was Helen of Troy (previous to her fled to Troy she was also known as the Helen of Sparta).

Note: If you've not seen the movie Troy yet, stop reading now, cause this post is a spoiler.

Knowing how I truly despise sad-ending movies, I can't believe I was game enough to go watch Troy, that film with Eric Bana (played the part of Hector, eldest son of Priam - king of Troy), Brad Pitt (Achilles - lord of the Myrmidons, the greatest band of Greek soldiers), Sean Bean (Odysseus - king of Ithaca), Orlando Bloom (Paris - gosh, what a wussy name, what a wussy character - I'll call him Wussy Paris from now on, as far as this posting goes) etc.

Notice that all the big names mentioned above are males, cause that's what the movie is about - males who loved, be it women, be it power, be it glory; and the war that they see as a solution to gain what they love.

What's the name of the actress who played the part of Helen (of Troy, previously Sparta)? You know what, I don't remember. Cause to me Saffron Burrows who played the part of Hector's wife, Andromache, was more memorable (then again, it's could also be so cause I saw Burrows in that almost B-grade ikan yu gone berserk flick called Deep End, which spooked me off seawater for months).

So Wussy Paris's love for Helen got two nations into a war (yeah, I'm gonna follow suit and mention that it is the fault of "Helen, whose beauty launched a thousand ships" too - hey, that's quite a feat, though I'm not sure good or bad). So wussy was Paris that his brother had to finish the challenge he issued to his lover's husband.

Potrayed by Brian Cox, Agamemnon's love (greed, rather) for power led him to sacrifice his great Greek army into battle over "his brother Menelaus's honor". A husband's pride - yep, what a good excuse to go to war - well they did say that Troy is a big whacked tragedy.

Achilles's love for glory got him to go to war for a beastly king - ending up killing the great Trojan warrior Hector over his nephew Patroclus' (Garret Hedlund - I remembered cause he's kinda cute) accidental death. To top it all, because he wanted o save his "love" Briseis (Rose Byrne), he perished under Wussy Paris' arrows to his back and heel!

Man, I just can't get over how wussy Wussy Paris is. In fact, I didn't really mind that Troy is a sad-ended movie. I minded more because the character Paris is so bloody wussy. W-U-S-S-Y.

It's a downward transition for Bloom, who played super-macho-archer-swings-270degrees-up-a-horsie elf in Lord of the Rings trilogy and daredevil son of a pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

But there's lots of cool scenes aboard Troy: the part when Priam entered the tent of Achilles undercover, the part when Eric Bana and Brad Pitt got into a one-on-one battle, the part when the Myrmidons took over the beach of Troy (really cool!), the part when Agamemnon called for his great warrior but Achilles was still in bed..

The part I hated most also happened to be Bana-Pitt showdown, cause you can't blame any of them for engaging in that battle. They could have conquered the world together, but thanks to Helen they were put into conflict by the ties they served.

Ok, OK - go see the movie, it'll be worth your RM10... Don't cry, it's just a movie... though it was inspired by the Iliad, and there must be some truth in Homer's words..

Friday, May 14, 2004

Moi croissant is getting berried

I was talking to a colleague - just to divert her away from the topic of company restructuring I blurted out something I'm currently not feeling peachy about.

I must have said what I said too quickly, cause when her attention snapped she quickly inquired:

"What? Did you say your croissant is getting berried?"


"No lah! I said, my cousin is getting married. Aiyo.."

"Ooh, sorry, I know you're a fan of Peter Mayle* and all, but to talk about croissants getting berried is a bit too much, I should think."

For your information, Peter Mayle is an English author whose first work I got to read was an entertaining autobiography/travel and restaurant guide/cultural study of the south of France, titled A Year In Provence.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a light reading, but let me warn ye this: anyone on diet, stay away from his books (which also include Chasing Cezanne, Hotel Pastis, and Anything Considered). The way he describes the French cuisine, without fail, will generate your appetite.

To get an idea of his writing style, imagine stuff like murder, theft, romance, adventure, even the French postman being linked to a specific French food item - some literally, at other parts figuratively.

But in case you're looking for new materials to read, do try any of Peter Mayle's novels and have fun reading a reserved Brit man's take on the spontaneous French lifestyle.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Talking in whispers

I'm back at the office so soon! Did I mentioned I was in office on Saturday to work? No? Well I did, and it was a real waste cause not too much got done.

That Saturday after that futile attempt at work, I went for a movie with my sis cause by that time she's up. Then we checked on our cousin who got knocked down by a Kancil a fortnight ago (we've been checking on her regularly since at Damansara Specialist Hosp cause she needed us to make sure none of her three BFs come to visit her at the same time - hey, that's what cousins are for!).

Back at work today - people are still talking in whispers, and I (wasn't eavesdropping, mind you) heard several names being mentioned more than once. Whoa, has anyone been selected for the deployment yet?

Man, I wish the management will just do it! The silence is destructive - it's demotivating a lot of people from doing their job, and some had to suffer more at other people's expense.

For example, throughout last week I've been assigned to a number late eve/night assignments - seems like I've been getting more assignments than usual cause some people have reduced to saying no in order to manifest protest to the upper level. With the special project my team had to do, my schedule's gone awful - like bad cholesterol filling up the arteries - I suffered backlog in terms of the usual workload, and tension rise.

Outside work I don't get to see anyone else much except my sis, cause by now our schedule seems to run parallel - we're nightowls, and we only get see other nightowls. When you only get to relax and unwind during ungodly hours, you can't see the usual crowd like your friends - and you began to realize that they've got a life - and you don't.

On the other hand, I'm beginning to have more sense of belonging with my colleagues (hell, being on the same boat). Many invited me to share the "news" they caught from the current grapevine - realiable or otherwise is besides the point - the point is knowledge sharing is done here, mate.

And I sing, que Sara, Sara...

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Till the 17 names be revealed

The buzz word in my office right now is "redeployment". Everyone I talked to (mostly the staff under the sector I'm attached to) is thinking the silver bullet is coming their way.

Some think so because they're new, ala LIFO gitu you know? Some are hoping for VSS to be issued. Some are already thinking about which desk they'd prefer to be moved to.

I was thinking if I get to be one of the 17 people targeted for redeployment, I'd probably ask for sports desk or travel desk or something along that line. I don't think I'd mind being redeployed, despite the recent happenings.

When I said recent happenings, I'm actually referring to the past assignments that came my way these past few weeks. Most of my assignments now are events that has to do with mobile phones or telcos.

In fact there is that one assignment which required "a writer who knows mobile phones" and the Ed said I must go cause I'm the one who fits the bill - so this is what it feels like to be recognized - a specialist writer I'm on my way to be... Wow..

I was walking on cloud nine after receiving the assignment.

For a couple of weeks, at least. But now I feel like a balloon all deflated, like a boat ride that came to an end, macam buaian putus tali err.. izzit buaian or wazzit a kite yang putus tali? Anyway like dat lah.

And I'm not the only one. The rest of the gang in the team and sector can't seem to go about their daily duties properly too. After all, the latest rumour has it that the bulk of the redeployed staff will come from my sector - reputedly the most non-performing sector in the subsidiary.

The thing is, had the management be a bit clearer on how the selection process would be or what the redeployment process will be like once the 17 names-list is released, we would not have wasted our time gossipping about this.

The 17 names-list should have been released yesterday, yet today the notice board is still empty, save for that faxed ad from some Singapore tour agency and the Domino Pizza leaflet...

And I can't finish all these articles...

And my deadline was yesterday...

And the Ed is walking towards this direction...