Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Talents and gifts

Time: 00:20

For once, there are a few things I wanna put in today.

Okay. If you haven't read my previous blog, please, do so. For some unknown reason, I cared about William enough to maintain contact with him by sending him a couple of SMSes, asking him to let me know if anything good turned out from the coverage he'd been given. He did message me today saying some people want to meet him but when I asked him how was the meeting, he didn't reply. I didn't prod though. I hope it didn't turn out badly for him. He's had enough.

About this blog-switching thing...I've been given some flack (and amazement) from people about the fact that I've put in effort to copy-and-paste 4 years worth of blogs. Some wondered why did I bother. Truth is, I didn't really read my older blogs from when I was 17, 18. There was a time long ago when I was embarassed to look at my own credits, my own words, my own bylines. Like I'm almost ashamed because I've bared myself and my writing to the world. I'm not sure how to explain that, it's an almost innate sense of shame and insufficiency, like, I'm not good enough, y'know? Before the reassurances start pouring in (I know I have lotsa good friends out there who believed in me) I guess all along I do know I am okay at this. At writing. I am constantly surprised to find out words do not simply string together and being able to spell do not come from looking at the words enough times - the very thing I've been doing for years. And I personally feel four years worth of wearing my heart on my sleeves' too good to be forgotten. To me, It'll be a waste to erase the records of my life.

Some people can paint, some people make beautiful music, and others yet can craft beautiful things out of nowhere, some other people can run and swim but I...I can string words together. And I'm at peace with the fact that I cannot draw a straight line, much less a straight stick figure. But I can put words together. The only self-doubt lingering in me is that..."But mom, so many people can write. What makes me special?" Til this day, I still downplay what I can do (and try not to reveal what I cannot). I don't want to turn out to be one of those people who have maybe a little talent and then toot their horns loudly everywhere only to be taken down a peg or two ...self-praise is no praise to me.

I've told an editor before, my shyness is an obstacle in being a journalist, indeed, I'm a writer more than a reporter. He told me what I already knew - that in order to be a good writer, one must know and have seen a lot of things so that one can put in depth and perception in one's writing. Eloquence and profoundness do not just appear out of thin air.

I'm not one of the most patient people on fact, exasperated friends of mine would probably tell you I am freakin' impatient. When I say "go!" I really mean go, and I hate waiting for anyone to dawdle...and I am still learning to not feel annoyed when lunch is beckoning and someone is bound to say "wait, ya...wait..let me finish this.." I would sacrifice better quality to speed of which I write my articles, check and send in so that I can be done and get out fast, which I realise is not the best way to write because I've left out vital facts and screwed up before. Like, I've written a long-ish article last night and quickly sent it in so that I can go home before midnight and today on the way home after work, I realised I omitted some stuff which will otherwise make that article even better. I swear, I'm going to learn to be a little bit more patient and detailed while writing my stories.

I had a 6pm assignment yesterday at the Australian High Commissioner's Residence and I was there an hour early to avoid the city centre congestion. Sitting at the kitchen watching the cooks prepare food, I watched the front gates from their vantage windows and saw people started pouring in. The gathering was for the 60th anniversary of a nursing scholarship set up by WWII Australian prisoners of war who were captured and imprisoned in Changi. It is in memorial of fellow soldiers who did not return home. They also wanted to thank the people of Malaya for helping them and risking their own lives while doing so. I went there intimidated (all these big, white people from the Australian High Commissioner! Me, a small minion of an intern of a reporter!) and not sure what angle I should approach from the story when Vivienne Pal, a reporter from Metro section, told me I could interview the two PoW who was there. One of them is 86, the other 84.

I was so humbled. And honoured. I wonder what is it like to be in their shoes, serving during WWII and being captured by the Japanese and incarcerated in Changi. What is it like to do bitter, forced labour at the Burma-Siam railways. My generation who knew nothing but peace and MTV and nothing else at all...that, and a few other things too long to write here is quickly becoming a turning point.

A fuel, a re-focus and a motivation for me to the right thing for me. I realise how influential the media can entire nation reading about things I've seen and wrote about...and my feelings about human rights. I can't wait to go back to school, finish it, and embrace what my future will bring me.

I think I might have found my aim in life.

Have I written half a novel here? Opps.


dhmn69 said...

Good blog post.. I read it through the end, so it wasn't that bad a novel :P

melia said...

I'm proud of you. x) And so darn glad that you finally can see what you can do now. I can't wait till I find meaning and aim in my life.

You go girl. I got your back. x)

loopy said...

I can totally relate with not being able to read your own work. I felt the same way initially, and sometimes still cringe when I chance upon my earlier work.

They somehow sound so pretentious... Maybe it means something, lol.

Glad to know you're still tracking William's story. Let us know on your blog if something good turns up.

jonoave said...

Oh wow, this post hit a little close to home too. I'm graphically and artistically-challenged. The only artsy thing I'm relatively good at is writing. Nothing Pulitzer-winning, but hopefully sufficient.

And you're right on about cringing on past posts. I'll go like, "What was I thinking?!" or "Do I actually write like that??".

Sigh, human rights? Complicated stuff built upon basic principles. I wouldn't be suprised if more than half of our policy makers don't fully understand the how rights come about and the harm principle. But do let us know how's it going for that William chap.

Cheers and take care.