"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get". I never thought I would use this cheesy and cliche quote, but it perfectly describes my experience working at Young Post.
Yesterday was the day that all local school students were waiting for. The announcement of their DSE results. But for an international school student like me, it was just another gloomy day. Except this year I’ve been assigned to cover the day’s events with the other SCMP reporters.
This was not just another event I had to report to, I was working mainly for the all-important, serious looking reporters in suits based in a high-security fortress that they call an "office". I felt like Jack Bauer from 24, with a torrent of messages hitting my phone and people entering updates into the system quicker than America can print money. Prior to the event, we were all given a 13-page document with a whole list of numbers and addresses for high-performing schools as well as a contact list of every reporter covering the day.
The day began early as I rushed to the MTR station even before most people woke up. I braved the strong rain and wind as I darted across the marble floor of the building, frantically trying to find my way around the gigantic complex. I was first directed to a school far off in Kowloon. Unfortunately, I couldn't find my way to it and the cab driver refused to drive me to the school. Knowing that I was not able to make it to the intended location, I was quickly redirected to another school to support another team of journalists.
Because of the harsh weather and the busy, rush hour chaos, I arrived at the scene fashionably late and joined the reporters just when they were packing their gear and rushing to their next location. Fortunately, this time the company was kind enough to arrange a car to transport us to the next location but again, we arrived later than the other journalists.
Normally, I would be going to a school to learn from others, but this time, it was different. I was there to report and inform the public of the time and effort top-grade students have put in to achieve what they have. We were soon ushered into the small room to conduct interviews with the top students at the school. All of the reporters were huddled together and moving over each other like a bunch of ants fighting for food. Flashes were firing continually and the shutters sounded like gunfire. But as soon as the second student arrived, there was a sense of empathy across the room.
Tsang Tsz-kwan might not have gotten the best grade, but she was capable of achieving an extremely good grade despite being legally blind and hearing impaired. It was a story that really touched me. How she was capable of doing so well despite her difficulties in life. How she persisted in her studies and gained a higher grade than most of her "able" peers.
Finally, after a long morning in the field, we returned to the far and mysterious office hidden in Causeway Bay. We had a brief meeting on the angles that we were going to take on and the roles of each reporter. I occupied an empty desk space, accompanied by hundreds of miniature figures and plush toys that were left by its previous occupant. I procrastinated for a while but I soon realised the importance of my task of aiding the other reporters by providing them with my part of the story.
Overall, it was quite an amazing experience to be shadowing the reporters at the news desk for a whole day - understanding the chaos and huge amounts of work that needs to be done within an eight hour day. It was really not what I expected to go through during my time as a cadet, but it was definitely a thrilling day.