Thursday, May 24, 2007

My day

When ever I meet people, the usual questions follows. You know, like where are you from?; What do you like?; What do you work as? The last question always makes me cringe. I hate telling new people I meet what I do. Not that I hate my job, it's just that it's tedious explaining to people who have no clue of what I do what it is exactly that I do in my job.

If you tell someone that you're an accountant, civil engineer, cowboy, astronaut, surgeon... most people already get the idea because they would have a pre-conceived stereotype of what that person does. They would have already known someone who is in that line of work or at least seen it in fiction, whether in TV or read about it.

When I tell someone who has no inkling of what I do, the first reaction is, "oh, that's interesting". That's usually my cue to cringe and edge away. Then they start to ask, so what do I exactly do at my job. I tell them the generic crap, "oh, I do research; find guest for the show; edit visuals, go out on assignments; write scripts". Then they start to build their own pre-conceived stereotype from there. The next thing they say is "oh, so you must meet a lot of famous people. Do you know so-and-so?". At this point, I usually try hard not to roll my eyes. I hate it when people just assume its all about the glamour. Okay, here's the fact... I probably know so-and-so but I don't want to tell you because I don't like telling other people about their private life.

Occasionally I make the mistake of saying, "yes, I know so-and-so". Then then immediately ask me to verify what ever rumour they have heard about the person. Most of the time I say I wouldn't know if its true... even if I knew what was really going on. I'm not comfortable talking about someone's private life with someone I know for less than 15 minutes.

Since they can't dig any dirt up on so-and-so, then they go on to dig about what I do at my job further with questions like, "oh, so how do you find guests for the show? How do you decide what topic is discussed on the show?". Well, here's the tricky part. I usually give the standard answer "oh, I do a lot of research by reading the newspaper". The truth is... I call anyone I damn well please... most of the time anyway. Nothing goes as planned.

Take today for example. 2 hours from the show, I find out my main guest weren't coming to the show. Normally I would have freaked out but I'm used to the stress already. I flipped out my handphone and called 'someone'. I explained to them we have an opening on the show and if they would like to explain something to the viewers. So far, most of the people I have called in this situation have said yes.

I work with a lot of NGO's, especially feminist groups (hey, it's a women's talk show!). If you ask me, my interest are in civil liberties, consumer rights, justice and helping people. As a gatekeeper, I feel it's my responsibility to help people. Most of the time, I take risk putting guests on air other producers are too afraid to put on air. Yes, I'm brazen in approaching sensitive issues but my obligation to justice is bigger than my fear of the reprecussions.

On the rare occassion, I do fashion, health and gossip just because I need a break. I personally prefer doing current affairs topics. Like today, it was going to be about the launch of a new movie but since there was a major screw up and no one informed me until 2 hours before the show they weren't coming. I thought screw it, today I'm going to go all out on consumer rights and talk about the rise in prices of daily goods.

There were a lot of people out there that were pissed with the rise of daily prices. The sad part was, most of the consumers just grumble about it without taking much action as there is little that can be done. Boycotting an essential item you need doesn't work. Heck, I tried boycotting petrol because if the Iraq war and that just made my life hard. Now I strike a compromise and only use Shell instead of Esso. I don't use Petronas because their fuel and benefits isn't as good as Shell. Also, Petronas is biased towards non-bumiputeras so screw them. When was the last time you saw a non-bumiputera Petronas station owner?

The past two days I've been reading the book, "May 13, Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969". I when to Borders at The Curve and the lady at the counter gave me a meek smile and said the book was banned. I told her it was not banned and I walked over to MPH. They didn't have it on display but when I asked the lady at the counter, she fished one out from under the counter. I asked her why it wasn't on display, she said it was too controversial. I felt like I was buying a pirated DVD... wooo, how exciting!

The findings of the book, if true, are quite shocking. I can see why the government is considering banning the book. After reading it, I felt jaded. All the stuff I have known about the history of Malaysia, our forefathers... they were all glossy cover ups of the gross injustice they have committed. It was like reading an alternate history of Malaysia. Here we are, almost 50 years since our independence and now I hold in my hands a book telling me these guys that were supposed to be heroes were just... power hungry men.

At first I was angry... very angry. It took a lot of the Buddhism in me to put things in perspective. First of all, this all happened 38 years ago. Most of these guys are dead. Secondly, a lot of the testimonials are from foreign diplomats and foreign correspondent. It's all their perception and hear say. They don't provide an overall picture of what truly happened, although it is an eye opener to finally have an account of what happened. Look at what happened in the Iraq War. Most of the initial reports done by the western diplomats on what was going on ground in Iraq was wrong. Thirdly, I'm a Buddhist. I shouldn't hold a grudge. Buddha says it's like holding a burning coal waiting to trow at someone you hate. Maybe I should drop kick the coal at the person's head instead!

So that just leaves me jaded at all these Merdeka celebrations when the government refuses to investigate one of the most painful moments in Malaysian history. The way our forefathers are potrayed at their almost God like status makes me cringe now. Yes, they brought me where I am today... but they also did a lot of injustice to me.

So what can I do? Well, don't hold a grudge and think of the greater good... but I tell you, it's not easy to forget when those in power have the ability to repeat the same mistakes again.

Anyway, today I took pictures with two of my hosts on the set. This would be the last time I'll get to take a picture of this set. Damn, I've never liked orange and pink!

Azizah and Wardina. One of them has the most 'plastic' camera smile.

Raj, me, Azizah and Wardina. I always thought this color scheme makes me feel agitated. Too warm.

I have a plastic smile too! Look at this two ladies, it takes 1 and a half of makeup to get that results!

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