Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Falkland memories..

The pinnacle of my career as a reporter..
I joined a training programme at the oldest newspaper in the country in hope of improving my written English.
Prior to that, I spent a few years working as a photographer.
The foray into reporting was purely an attempt to better myself.
After going through the selection process: theory and practical, I was accepted as a rookie reporter.
And like anyone who is fresh, I started right at the bottom.
My break came in 1998 when I did a series of feature stories on 'recession proof' careers.
I toured the entire East Malaysia and later, hopped onboard an LNG vessel from Bintulu in Sarawak to Tokyo, Japan.
And just when I thought it was over, I was later assigned to accompany a solo sailor who was on his maiden voyage from Perth to Port Klang.
The assignment was to interview him and join his voyage from Port Klang to Langkawi where he had set up a shore base.
In the months that ensued, I picked up where most of the prima donna reporters had left of, filing in daily takes on the sailor's progress report. 
I made good money by filing-in the stories and earning overtime.
All this came to a halt in April, 1999.
The sailor's boat, a 50-foot ocean racer was knocked-down three times while he was crossing the Southern Ocean.
He made a jury rig for the boat and was towed to the Falkland Islands. The rest was history.
Back in KL, I was mourning the sudden demise of my overtime.


With my former colleague Karim Mustaffa in Brisbane, Australia

A lucky break..
The Government, led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad back then had made an announcement.
It was a bold move to fly a Hercules C130H-30 transport aircraft with a crew of 20 from the 20th Squadron's airbase in Subang Jaya to the Falklands.
Back in the office, there were a lot of debate.
And despite all that, I was selected to cover the delivery of a spare mast, satellite communication parts and other equipment to the sailor.
And the rest was history. I traveled the world on the C130 in 18 days.

On a volcano crater in Rapa Nui, Chile
Port Stanley, Falklands

Near a minefield in the Falklands
Personal enrichment
After the Falklands stint, I went on to tour Europe.
My dream of seeing the world was complete.
I became contented with my work and slowly made it up the ranks.
A year after the mission to the Falklands, I came to know of a book deal.
Two female reporters were sent to interview the sailor for a hardcover book project, detailing his voyage.
At the same time, I was told by the then Group Editor of the daily to write an account of my journey to Falklands that never saw print.
It didn't really bother me much.
But the part that sucks was the fact that the book was published and I wasn't even given a complimentary copy..hahahah!
I knew that at the time, the head honcho was a bigot and still is.
But it was no loss to me. 
I never even saw the book.
Two decades as a journalist has taught me much. That respect is earned and humility is the road less traveled.
Such are the principles that I still hold closely to my heart..
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