As a TV reporter and sometimes-anchor, I get a stalker here and there once in a while. But as a reporter, I also become the stalker sometimes too. This time, my target was the Minister of Health, Yaung Chih-liang. He announced his resignation Monday and did not answer questions the media had. So Tuesday morning, I (along with reporters from all the other TV stations) was sent to “welcome” him to work at the Department of Health at 6h30 on Tuesday morning. He slips in the back door, has a private meeting and interview with the print media and slipped out again. TV cameras only caught glimpses of him, but no soundbites. It was cat and mouse all day at the DOH. Very tiring. Very boring. Very annoying. We all went back empty handed.
So the next day (on my day off which I cancelled), I was sent to “say good morning” to him outside his apartment, also at 6h30, also along with my colleagues from other TV stations. The big temperature display on the building across the stree above the billboard read “8C.” Someone spotted him around 7h15, walking in one of the nearby alleys. We all sprinted over and chase him down. “I have nothing to say, I have nothing to say,” he said. After a few back-and-forth’s, we let him go. Well, at least we spotted him and got a “I have nothing to say.” Lousy, but better than nothing.
About 30 minutes later, he reappeared, this time out of nowhere and he walked right in front of line of cameras pointed at his front door. He said, “Are you guys ready? Are you ready? I’m going to talk.” What a relief! We can finally get out of the cold and go back to the office with a story! Or so I thought.
“To the owners of the TV stations: you send these ladies and gentlemen out here before it’s even light out, in the less than 10 degree temperature, with no place to even sit, to try to get a boring old man to talk. Don’t do this. No wonder none of them are getting married and having children,” he more or less said.
Then he turned right around and walked inside, leaving all of us with our mouths open, speechless and shocked.
It was a slap in the face for the management at TV stations. He was so right. Fantastic thing he said, but no good for our story on his resignation, so we still couldn’t leave.
The third time he appeared, he didn’t come out of his front door - he came out of the underground car park. Someone spotted him, shouted, and we all ran and chased him down again. This time he said what he told the print media yesterday, and he got in a car and left completely. So we finally left.
But it was far from over. Until he faces us and answers questions, we’re just going to keep getting sent to stalk him - from his home to his office and to wherever he goes. I hate it. It’s part of the job, but I really hate it.
So I was expecting to get sent out there at 6h30 again the next morning.
Thank god he held a press conference in the afternoon to say that he will still report to the President on 17 March and that he will decide what to do after that.
At least we know he’ll be around ‘til the 17th, and that he might change his mind about quitting.
Being stalked and stalking someone - I don’t know which I hate more. This job is less glamorous than it seems. But I wore a long, shiny beige coat with a big, full, fur collar that morning. At least I do the dirty work in style.