Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yvonne and I

"Yvone who?" you ask. Yvonne Ridley, that's who.

"Yvonne Ridley who?" another ask. Sigh...

Hang on, I'm in two minds already. Should I continue writing this, I would have to put my silly mug up for display. Hmm...let me just 'lat tali lat tamplung' with myself awhile.

Ok, I lost.

In May 2006, the Islamic Information Services, together with Saba Islamic Media, organised the International Islamic Fair at PWTC, KL. The fair showcased a host of Islamic products from several countries in an effort to promote products which are suitable for the muslim community worldwide. Apart from that, seminars were also held as well as an Islamic concert featuring some international astistes including Sami Yusof (if my mind serves me right). For the seminars itself, several big names were invited to speak which, among others, include : Tun Dr. M, Dato' Mustaffa Ma, Ustaz Nasharuddin, and Yvonne Ridley.

As I was then still a volunteer with wtv8, I negotiated a deal with IIS: allow wtv8 to shoot some footages and make several interviews. In return, wtv8 will give a copy of all raw footages to IIS for their disposal. Alhamdulillah, they agreed. And soon, there I was with a colleague with our newshound equipment. Nothing so grand as most of the money for the equipment came from a single well-wisher with the rest chipped in be the members of the wtv8 team.

My colleague - Wak Kasiran - and I, did turns being the cameraman. As for the reporting, interviewing, driving, PR, and even equipement handling, most mostly handled by this wanna-be reporter, that cakapaje bloke, that is.

It was our 2nd major assignment. The first was in February which was Kongress Ekonomi Nasional 2006 held in Subang Jaya. But then, the whole team plus some extras were there. This time, it was just the two of us.

The 1st day went fine. We even managed to join Tun's Press Conference, mingling with the big boys of media. Cakapaje even managed to throw in a few question, though the rest of the media team did not take it kindly. Oh well, what do you expect from a couple of 'bidan terjun' journalist.

On the 2nd day however, I stuck to my guts ( and thick hide) to hound Yvonne Ridley for an interview. Though the international media has played her interview numerous times, this was a first for wtv8!

For our purpose, we were given the exclusive use of the VIP Room. Or so, we were told. But halfway through it, a rather noisy lot entered the room and had Yvonne quite bemused.

A lady reporter from an Islamic magazine asked permission to join in. I didn't mind. To be honest, I was getting some butterflies in my tummy then. I mean, there I was, a wannabe journalist, trying to interview an internationally reknowned journalist from UK; just what exactly WAS i thinking of when I requested for her time? But as it was, she was kindly accomodating and we managed to wrap it up within the hour.

Now, for those not very familiar with Yvonne, kindly permit me to bring you slightly up-to-date.

During the Toliban rule of Afghanistan, Yvonne and several of her colleagues sneaked up the border from Pakistan, to make a reporting on the 'evil' regime. They were caught and held in a prison for a period of time. They were later allowed to go - with apologies from the government! They were thought to be spies! When the Toliban realised they were not, they were given safe passage to the Pakistan border. However, prior to their capture, they found out some interesting facts:

1. Yes, the Toliban did not allow women to go to school. But, they also did not allow men too! The country was reeling from the effects of infighting between the various factions and situation was quite chaotic; all schools were closed - male and female!

2. The women of Afghanistan were treated equally in accordance to each faith.

3. The Toliban were not barbaric and cruel. In fact, throughout the captivity period, the Tolibans were kind and polite.

Before her release, Yvonne made a promise to the Toliban that she will study the Quran. Though it took her a while keeping to the promise, she did so and soon after became a muslim on her free will and 3 years after release in the safety of her country of origin, England.

Sometime later, Yvonne performed the Haj. Now, her exact statements here was something that astounded me:

"I was in my hotel room when the azan was said. Knowing I was already late, I rushed down the hotel into the streets to head towards the mosque. The street was already packed with people with the same intention, and we all jostled one another to get ahead. As we neared the mosque, the Takbir was heard. Immediately and all of a sudden, all those jostling people including myself, stopped in our tracks and began standing in line for prayers. I looked around in total amazement and wondered alone: This (muslims) has got to be the most disciplined army in the world!"
The interview ended soon after that and wtv8 played it for a whole week - minus the statement above as the person who edited it could not make heads or tails of the content...sigh.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. My reason for writing this - apart from wanting to share the experience - is that I have just only received the still photographs. That's my mug up there, mind you. Wanted to put it below, but just did not come out that way...sigh


Esah GRO said...

You have Mat Salleh parentage don't you? You look a bit girlish but very Mat Salleh, especially when you are wearing that Afghan head-dress that looks like a tudung.

Have a good day then, sweetheart.

cakapaje said...

Sure I do. I think one of my Javanese ancestors must have that name: Mat Salleh.

Esah GRO said...

Sweetheart... you didn't get the joke, did you?

cakapaje said...

Actually, I did....but you did not get mine :)

Or, perhaps we did not get each other's.

Kak Teh said...

I interviewed Yvonne once and heard her talks everywhere...kalau demo, dia laku sangatlah - cakap sana sini. Di sini, orangtak berapa impressed dengan dia. and kalau you tengok Islam Channel, I think she is better off as print journalist, not as a broadcaster.

cakapaje said...

Hi Kak Teh! Hmm...I have to agree with you there. Biasanya journalist ni semua camtu le. I hear Robert Fisk pun lagu tu. Now, that's another one I sure would like to meet...hehe.

Anyway, tak sempat jawab email Kak Teh lagi, I was studying - jap je - kat Russel Square.

Anonymous said...

Selalunya org yg boleh menulis takleh deliver as clear as apa yg dia tulis...begitu juga sebaliknya...

Nevertheless, journalists and broadbasters complement each other...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, spelling error, "broadcasters" not broadbasters...

Macamamana buleh silap daaa...isk

cakapaje said...

Hi Anonymous,

Broadbasters pun, broadbasters le :)

Why don't you use a real name? Bukan nya saya nak gigit kepala sampai tanggal! :)

麻辣鴨血Maggie said...


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