Last week was one of my busiest work week yet.
I was on the morning shift, that means I’m usually up by 4 am and I get to the office by 5 30 am. The plus side is I get to go home by 1pm and have the rest of the afternoon free. But I had an article to submit to Focus Malaysia (am freelancing with them – I’ve missed writing!!) last Tuesday and hence I spent Mon & Tues afternoon working on the piece. This is despite me having allocated the weekend crafting the structure and flow of the piece. This story required slightly more time as more homework needs to be done (than usual).
On Wednesday, I attended the first day of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2016 in KL. Got a call early in the morning from a colleague asking if I can do a cross-over – to give a run-down on what to expect from the event. I was only about to leave house, and I ended up parking my car at one of the roadside, and did the call… live. Braced through the horrible morning traffic for an hour and a half. I really dislike driving to and fro KL during peak hours.
I spent the entire day at the forum. I loved it – the energy, being on the ground, having the opportunity to speak to various honchos in their respective expertise. I mean, when else do you get the chance to meet and say hello all these people at the one same time? Arrived home about 8pm and consolidated my takeaway points into pages after pages.
Went to office at 5 ish am the next day (Thurs) and dived straight into writing my news bulletins AND cutting + editing the clips from people I’ve spoken to the day before at the forum. Literally working to the very second and minute. Used the clips for my FIRST LIVE current affairs show. What a whirlwind 3 hour morning it was – I didn’t know how I pulled through with my thoughts in the studio, but I did. Left for WEF (afternoon session) after, and repeated the same thing for Friday morning. I did my phone interview for Market Watch on Fri afternoon with a throbbing headache. Realized my week started from 4am and ended at… 9 ish pm?
This reminded me of this one week at The Edge. It happened two years ago, but I can still remember it so very clearly.
Basically, I had 2 Billion Ringgit Club (BRC) stories + 2 weekly stories + a fixture to complete that week – on top of other miscellaneous commitments. I submitted my first BRC story on Monday, attended the BRC dinner that night. On Tuesday morning, interviewed a company (HeveaBoard); and submitted my second BRC story in the evening. On Wednesday, did a fixture (Insider Moves) and boy did it take longer than expected as it was my first time doing it; I also had a formal lunch meet-up with a company that day. Turned out I couldn’t get much from the company just yet (I was hoping to use that for my 2nd story of the week). Thankfully, a scoop came up last minute in that afternoon itself. But first, I had to finish transcribing my interview on Tues (took me an hour plus). On Thursday, started writing, finished, and submitted my Tues interview. Did background search on the scoop I heard. Started and finished that second story on Friday just after lunch.
Thinking back, it really is not so much about the writing bit that took up my time. It’s the careful forethought behind it and ensuring each piece is the best that I’m able to give – within a tight stipulated time frame. And lunches to me are not just lunches, it requires prior homework – of reading up on the company and the industry – to be done. If I don’t know what’s old (i.e. what’s been reported etc), how can I know what’s new? Or what to ask? If it’s worthy to be a news piece?
As that week ended, I remember telling myself that: If I can take this, I can take on anything. The next task will be easier. And true enough, it is. Tough times build character and the ability to grow.
In both instances above (radio and print), I experienced the same thing – you don’t quite know how you are going to pull through, but you did anyhow. I mean, you know you will pull through, it’s just how you choose to take on the process of it. You can choose to be impatient, frustrated; or you can choose to take it on calmly, tackling things properly one at a time (I italized ‘properly’ bec I don’t want to be doing it for the sake of it). Admittedly, I still allow frustration to get to me at times, but I’m slowly learning to not let it control me.
Anyway, in the spirit of writing… Here are the three articles I’ve written for Focus Malaysia so far:
- Wanted to interview Bison more than a year ago when I first heard about its listing plans. I was with The Edge TV then and the company’s prospectus was not approved by the SC yet. The moment I heard of the company venturing into Myanmar – its first overseas venture – I immediately texted the MD, Mr Luk Dang.
I have followed up with Mr Dang easily 5 times over the year. We were glad to be able to do the interview in the end (think he was relieved to be able to grant me an interview… hehehe). He’s such a humble and down to earth man I think every CEO should aspire to have this trait.
2. Menang Corp was flagged out to me – that the company has undervalued assets in its books, and with a new management in play, things could turn our interesting, depending on how it chooses to drive the company forward.
I also wrote on Ann Joo Resources; positive horizons ahead as it rides on expectations that steel demand will recover in second half, steel prices have bottomed last Dec, and its continuous cost efficiencies efforts.
I am immensely lucky to be able to have tried print and web journalism, broadcast (video), and now radio… but I suppose, writing will always be my first love.
Instead of thinking it as a separate entity altogether, I believe they all are inter-linked and are complementary to one another. Yes, they require different skill sets, but the foundation of journalism remains: accuracy, perspective, context, breadth & depth (depending on which medium), objectivity.