I decided to wear a skirt to office today. I don’t know, random statement.
We hung out around the computer terminals at Newsdesk again today until Yvonne said four of us would be divided into two groups: one group would follow her to a press conference by Datuk Michael Chong, the other would follow another senior journalist named Wani to a Deepavali open house where we will supposedly meet the president of MIC, Dato’ G. Palanivel. We drew lots and Min Hui and I got Palanivel whereas Paik Suan and Claire got Michael Chong.
We left Menara Star with Wani in a cab at around lunchtime. To be honest, we had no idea where we were going and had assumed that it would be a political press conference. Hence, we were genuinely surprised when Wani gave directions to the cab driver to set off for the TNB Headquarters in Bangsar. It appeared that we were attending a Deepavali open house organised by TNB. The hall in which the open house was held was huge and took us by surprise the moment we stepped into it. There were about 50 tables and stalls full of marvelous Indian food outlined the hall. Despite the fact that we already had lunch at the cafeteria back at Menara Star before this, Min Hui and I couldn’t resist ourselves and went for another round, and a huge round at that. If Min Hui was around right now she’d know all the names of the dishes we had but she isn’t so let me just say that the food was heavenly. Free, good Indian food, now where else on Earth can you find that?
With our stomachs full to the brim, we were given tasks by Wani to interview several retirees who were invited to attend the function. Again, butterflies started fluttering in my stomach but as it was with the previous ambush-interviews, I put on a smile and approached this one retiree named Ismail Omar who was the ex-Deputy Chief Engineer of the company. All the retirees were extremely friendly and even quite adorable. Most of their answers to the question “How do you feel being invited to return to such events despite the fact that you’re already retired?” were “I feel happy because it’s one of the few times I get to meet my old friends and colleagues, to see how many are left every year. And I find out that the crowd actually gets smaller every year!”
The second task Wani gave us was to interview several orphans who were invited to the event, during which they were given Deepavali angpaus (Deepaus? Valipaus?). I interviewed two 13-year-olds from the At-Taqwa orphanage/kebajikan centre about how they felt coming here, what they planned to do with the money they received etc.
After we were done with the orphans, we had a brief interview with the Chief Executive Officer of TNB, Dato’ Sri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh. He was a friendly person and answered all our questions quite enthusiastically. By the time it was time to leave, I was already exhausted. Ah, the life of a journalist.
(“What happened to Palanivel?” Well, Palanivel’s mother passed away the day before so Datuk S. Subramaniam attended the event instead. We didn’t interview him though because he didn’t make a speech as we had initially expected.)
When we returned to Menara Star, I started on the report on the orphans and Min Hui did the one with the retirees and when we were done, we sent them to Wani. Paik Suan and Claire returned a little later than us and we found out that they’d gone to a real press conference (with huge cameras flashing every now and then and reporters jotting down notes at tables provided) and they had to write their reports on the event, too.
One more day until I can say “TGIF!”