Tuesday, 22 July 2008

High tea with Hello Kitty

(via 吃喝玩樂@Lica)

Never say never. I thought I would never go into a Hello Kitty cafe, but I did last Saturday. I like Hello Kitty and I like pink, just not all at once. My coworker thought I needed some cheering up and decided to bring me there. I'm pretty sure she enjoyed it much more than I did. She wasn't as crazy as some of the girls that were there, taking pictures of Hello Kitty everything with their digital SLR's. The only picture I took while I was there was of her taking a picture of the Hello Kitty-shaped icing on her cheesecake.

My concerned coworker wanted to let me know some things I haven't realized about myself. Here is an hour's content in bullet points.

1. Putting my energy and effort in media is a waste of my skills and talent.
2. In moving ahead in the game, I'm zig-zagging, instead of going straight.
3. I have no talent in reporting.
4. I'm probably not going to make it, because I didn't explode into stardom the first time I appeared as anchor.
5. My assignment editor and chief editor think I am one big headache that the MD has given them, because my Chinese isn't perfect and I'm not as familiar with Taiwan, its history, its culture and its people.
6. My assignment editor and chief editor won't accept my ideas because they don't believe that I can come up with anything good, because I'm just a foreigner.
7. The MD's been trying to get rid of me all along by making me a reporter and making me anchor Taiwanese news.
8. I'm not breathtakingly beautiful and I am not irreplaceable.
9. I'm approaching my 30's and I should face the fact that chances of succeeding are very slim.
10. As long as the MD is who it is right now, I won't have a future at FTV.

She said she was telling me this because she cares about me, and she knows that her telling me this is like how the more my parents tell me the road I'm walking down is bad, the more I will go against what they say.

This coworker was a good reporter. She is hosting a show at FTV these days in the regular programming department. She has good observational skills and made good reports (fast paced, funny, to-the-point) when she was in news. However, I'm not so sure about her conclusions here. And the way she said these things really made me feel like I was talking to the cat from hell over Hello Kitty desserts. I believe that she means well for me, but three days later, my blood is still boiling.

Every time I talk to her and I'm at a low point, she pushes me even lower. But thanks to her, it often gets so low that I begin to bounce back again.


Snowdrops said...

Ohmigod, what can I say, she makes my blood boil too! If a colleague made similar comments to me I probably would need superhuman strength to refrain from throwing the Hellokitty cake in her face. (That is, if we have Hello Kitty cafes here in Ireland!).

Is this colleague "breathtakingly beautiful" and NOT approaching 30 herself? It sounds far more like she's being jealous that you got to anchor Taiwanese news when she feels that you are "not as familiar with Taiwan, its history, its culture and its people" as she herself presumably is. I actually think the fact that you've had an international upbringing is your biggest strength, since it allows you bring a unique perspective on Taiwanese affairs over and above a person whose horizons only stretched to the confines of the country of their birth.

Also, I wonder what her definitions of "making it" and "moving ahead in the game" are. I'm not familiar with the Taiwanese media environment of course, but is "exploding into stardom" on first appearance as an anchor the equivalent of "making it"? Are all journalists a failure if they don't become overnight media stars??? What about developing into a real professional and gaining the respect of intelligent viewers, does that not count as "making it"?

Her ideas about media and being a reporter seem rather superficial to me (the assumption that a female journalist's talent should be judged primarily by her looks would have been just laughable misogyny rather than plain sad if it hadn't come from an actual female "journalist"). I, and I'm sure many intelligent viewers in Taiwan, would be grateful that there are still reporters like you in the media and that not everything is overrun by the likes of her.

So I'm just relieved to read that you said in the end: "thanks to her, it often gets so low that I begin to bounce back again." Keep your chin up Michella, you are doing good work and your audience are grateful for your perseverance in upholding proper journalism in spite of all the constraints and snide remarks that you face.

Betsy said...

I'm sorry you had to sit through that. You have more grace than I ever would in this situation.

Who says someone like you can't make a difference in the Taiwanese media. Who says you have to be a certain mold to "make it" in FTV, or any media for that matter.

Keep your chin up and I say anything FTV throws at you will just make you a better person and more successful in your chosen career.