//
you're reading...
Big Issue Australia Magazine

Letters To Me Mum 01 Everything’s All Write


Dear Mum

Sorry I haven’t written for a while. OK, so it’s been three years. This is just a short note to let you know where I’m up to with things.

As you know, my injury has stopped me from getting a lot of jobs. That narrow-mindedness really makes me mad. Well, now I have a job with The Big Issue magazine as a journalist. My rehabilitation case worker told me this is unrealistic. “It’s a very responsible job,” he told me, “your injury will stop you from doing it properly.” Typical public service thinking. Many would say disability is a prerequisite to being a journalist. Ask anyone who’s ever been interviewed.

So I’ve taken the job with the magazine, despite my rehab worker’s protests. His tests show I would make very good junior records clerk. In fact, that was all I should think of doing. After all, the tests couldn’t possibly be wrong…

The magazine seems to like what I have written so far, and want to hone my writing skills. It seems like a better option than filing and sealing envelopes. And I certainly don’t want to be back living on the streets like I was six months ago. That was before I started selling The Big Issue up here on the streets of Brisbane.

Anyway, I’ll tell you about today, my very first press conference. I went to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting on avian flu, attended by over 100 experts from the Asian and Pacific region. I was proudly wearing my collar and tie, and the $10 black, pretend-leather shoes I’d bought from Red Cross this morning. I stood smugly among my new-found media colleagues, waiting anxiously to hear the booming tones of Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, fearlessly asserting Australia’s leadership on the world stage, in the fight against bird flu. I was a little disconcerted that there were only about 30 or so people there, but noticed I was early. Mental note: media people arrive late.

I saw about two hundred more media people, presumably coming to join us. Great. This was what being a media person is all about. The crowd. Screaming out probing questions. Trying to get the truth from the scheming politicians. They walked straight past us, eyes bulging, tongues hanging out. They were on a single-minded pilgrimage to free drinks and beer-nuts at the Melbourne Cup gala, elsewhere in the building, courtesy of some government department or other. No time to ponder this. The press conference was about to begin.

We were herded into the special press-room, reserved for we media people. Of course, all the experts had long gone. Maybe they were at the Melbourne Cup function, too. Oh well. I settled into my chair, in the largely-empty room, right behind a famous TV reporter from one of the major networks. The feeling of pride swelled in my chest again, being on the same mission as someone so famous. Next to him was another well known reporter, from one of the big papers, in Sydney or somewhere. I’d seen her picture many times.

My ears strained to hear their conversation, and, hopefully, get an insight into the world I’d desperately sought to join for so long. To see how famous journalists behave, and give myself a model on which to mould myself. The TV reporter spoke: “I hope this bullshit doesn’t take too long. There’s a Melbourne Cup do on upstairs.” OK. I’ve got the picture now. A horse race is far more important than millions of lives at peril.

The Foreign Affairs spokesman, conducting the press conference, was a Mr Doug Chester. Mr Downer apparently couldn’t make it. During the questions, Mr Chester had stated that at least one country planned to withhold anti-viral from the general population, as healthy personnel were needed to keep essential services operating. That’s when it happened! The room became charged with electricity. Everyone was suddenly sitting up straight and alert, all wanting answers. I felt the excitement in me reach a peak, and scanned the room, in marvel of the reactions of those I considered “real journalists.”

The newspaper woman wanted to know which country it was. Mr Chester preferred not to say. He seemed agitated, his eyes blinking rapidly several times. The TV reporter then asked the question he had been waiting to ask. I thought it was the most important question of the entire conference: “Is it Australia?” Chester’s press secretary then called a close to the conference, and the question remained unanswered. It was all over.

The other journalists got into their corporate cars. I caught the bus, and read my notes on the trip back to the office, formulating a story in my head. I just hoped I could get it right. Big Issue had given me a new start in life, and I wanted to create a good impression with my first story. I felt very confident.

Even though the horse I backed ran sixteenth in the Melbourne Cup.

Original story published in Big Issue magazine 2006

 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 15,050 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Cadence Column: Asia, January 17, 2022

Cadence Column: Asia, January 17, 2022

China is illegal. The US Department of State even says so. France even reports as such. This won’t exactly improve friendly relations across the Pacific. It’s actually a much larger step to an all out conflict. Just over a year ago, November 2020, Western allies declared that China’s 1984 treaty with Britain, the basis for […]

India’s offensive against China should be in the grey zone 

India’s offensive against China should be in the grey zone 

Grey zone is not a fixed concept but a hypothetical place between peace and war. While I was writing this article, a never heard of development was taking place in the Indian state of Punjab. The Indian Prime Minister was stuck on a bridge for 20 minutes since the highway was blocked by the protesters. […]

Cadence Column: Asia, January 10, 2022

Cadence Column: Asia, January 10, 2022

Lithuania has become the “Taiwan of Europe”. Since WWII, Americans never again struggled with the concept that a problem abroad is a problem at home. This is how we Americans can vote to interfere around the world that we know so little about. We think every squeal from another continent indicates a personal assault on […]

Is China ready to host the Winter Olympics?

Is China ready to host the Winter Olympics?

Chinese officials have promised that the 2022 Winter Olympics — to be held Feb. 4 to 20 and followed by the Paralympics March 4-13 — will be a “safe, streamlined and splendid” global event. But that won’t be easy. With less than four weeks to go, China is struggling to enforce its strict zero-covid policy […]

Crystal Gazing 2022: India and The World 

Crystal Gazing 2022: India and The World 

If we thought 2019 and 2020 presented uncertainties then 2022 is here to surprise all of us. It could be remembered as one of the most complex, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous years in the recent past. COVID-19, oil crossing $100/barrel, Iran-US nuclear talks, Iran-Israel tension, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, cryptocurrency, and militarization of outer […]

Japan looks west to guard against a rising China

Japan looks west to guard against a rising China

Japan signed on Thursday a new security treaty with Australia, a fellow middle power that is similarly aligning against an increasingly assertive China. The blandly-branded Reciprocal Access Agreement, which was signed virtually by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, marks the conclusion of a process that started in 2014, when […]

Cadence Column: Asia, January 3, 2022

Cadence Column: Asia, January 3, 2022

Taiwan is on the rise. With chip shortages, stock is booming. You know how graphics cards are astronomically high? A lot of that money is going into Taiwan. Meanwhile, China found an excuse to order a real estate developer to demolish 39 freshly, new-built “luxury apartments”—something about the building permit being illegal and violated zoning. […]

Cadence Column: Asia, December 27, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, December 27, 2021

Japan is on the scene in the Pacific. While Japanese athletes will attend the Olympics, Japanese officials will not. China doesn’t want Japan to “politicize” the games. But, consider 2008, the one-hour opening ceremony about nothing but China’s history, with President Xi marching in to a one-world dream at the end. For Beijing, hosting the […]

Cadence Column: Asia, December 20, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, December 20, 2021

The US is hitting China hard over treatment of Uyghurs. Nearly all imports from Xinjiang will be banned. At the same time, the US bolsters the call to bolster Taiwan’s military defense. However, Taiwan has the seeds of the same tyranny; it just doesn’t materialize into anything alarming because Taiwan remains small. The most obvious […]

When India goes to war with China 

When India goes to war with China 

It is an open secret that China challenges everything India sets its eyes on, be it cooperation with Quad partners (the United States, Australia, Japan), international organizations like United Nations, WHO, or designating a terrorist organization. India, a Quad member and a close ally of the United States, has become the biggest eyesore for China. […]

%d bloggers like this: