Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Legendary Photographer

Yes, I am a photographer for The Malay Mail.
In fact, I'm a journalist too.
I'm a photo-journalist.
Two things strung into one, and they say it's rare.
There's a staff photojournalist there too, but she's a hag, if I do say so myself.

One day, during an assignment, I got chased away. By a pack of angry bus operators.
Now people, I'm trying to help you out.
I'm not from Harian Metro trying to dig out some dirt on you.
I'm from The Malay Mail, trying to find the cause of why you guys got stranded without a proper terminal.
But one middle-aged lady scornfully came up to me and said with utmost evil, ''Kid, scram, we don't need nosy photographers like you from Harian Metro to make us look bad; we're already in a bad spot here,''

Indignantly, I tried to protest, ''I'm not--''

With a growl, the ugly lioness menacingly said, ''Scram or we'll beat you up,'' she signaled other ugly lions and panthers (boars too, I think) and what was I suppose to do?

Yes, I ran. I caught up with my partner reporter and said, ''DUDE, we need to get out of here--''

''What? I've had a nice interview with these stall traders here--''

''The bus operator demons are after my BLOOD!''

He nodded wisely, pulled out the keys to his Kancil, and said, ''Understood. Let's roll,''

Back in the sanctuary of The Malay Mail's HQ, we told our tale to our Editor. When the scene of the attacking bus operators was mentioned, the Editor laughed.

I was wide-eyed. Dude, if I stayed longer, the operators would've run me down with their mammoth-buses.

And he spun his own tale, of a former photographer -- a girl -- fresh from UiTM, who defied the laws and took some illegal pictures, got caught, but with some magic and charm, got away, clean. Front page material, baby.

''Now her name was Hani -- no, not the Hani you know now, another Hani (there was another photographer Hani) -- yes, she was aggressive, vivacious and seductive when she needed to be. I remembered her as so. Very small, petite, one might say, and she could crawl through the smallest spaces in which big-sized people'' -- he looked at me, but then tactfully looked away in a flash -- ''couldn't fit through. Any photography assignment which required stealth... dear Hani was the one for it!

''A few years ago, KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) bought these new train engines, claimed to be used for the public. They were bought, but never used due to some undisclosed reasons. They were kept in storage, but KTM denied so and so. Millions of RM spent on these train engines, but was never seen or heard of.

''So The Malay Mail got itchy. We wanted pictures... but of course, we couldn't get them legally. So then we got a tip off about the engines' location. We couldn't get in-- so we sent Hani.

''Hani, bless her, she crawled under the rusty gates and climbed through a hole in one of the warehouses. And snap-snap-snap she went when she found the missing engines. But alas, it didn't go well for her. She was caught by the guards while she was trying to leave!''

My partner and I gasped. For dramatic effect, of course.

''With her cute over-sized eyes and quivering lips, she said, and she really did say this, ''Please, sir, I'm a UiTM student, I didn't know this area was off-limits, if I knew, I wouldn't have taken pictures of it for my final semester project! Please sir, I'm so, so, so very sorry!''

''And would you know it, the guards let her go. Melted their hearts, she did. She came back to the office, joyous with her victory and submitted the photos. Next day was a field day for us. How did The Malay Mail get those photos? Well, as we told our competitors, it was a trade secret; our legendary photographer, Hani.''

The Editor finished his tale with a smile. ''Now, Amirul, I expect you to show the same commitment as Hani did. Though I suggest you don't pull the Puss'n'boots mushy stare move like Hani did. You'll get an angry mob if you do that. When worse comes to worst-- run.

''Other than that, good job, both of you. Nice photos.''

Legendary photographer.
What a thrill!
If only I could meet her!
The courage!
The deception!
And she's cute!
I'll live up to your standards. Or maybe be better than you!

We'll see.

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