Does a barber trust someone else to cut his hair? Does a surgeon allow anyone else to operate on him? Well, some one has got to do the job. And yesterday I allowed myself to be interviewed by someone else.
So, what was it like to have the microphone shoved into your face?
If truth be told, I’d rather be the one holding the microphone, the one behind the camera, the one calling the shots, but sometimes you do find yourself on the other side of the counter.
My fear of this role reversal has something to do with what happened some years ago. A colleague was doing a programme on food, glorious food around the world for the BBC World Service. I don’t know how I ended up as the expert for Malay food. Thus I rambled on about this and that and said I do make a wicked meal of mee goreng. To which he drooled: Oooh, will you marry me?
And my quick retort: Then you know what you have to do, don’t you???
We both laughed, he understood my message and I waved him out of my office with a warning: Edit out the last bit!
It was during lunch time, at the BBC canteen, while I was tackling the greasy fish and chips when I heard the proposal, loud and clear through the radio in the canteen.
Needless to say, fish went cold as all eyes were on me.
Once, I was back doing the rounds and I did no less than seven interviews; radio, tv and newspapers. I didn’t hear any feedbacks on the ones that went out on Radio Brunei or SBC but I did get some on the one Zainal Din Zainal did with me. Let me rephrase that, Zainal did the interview while I laughed throughout the live broadcast.
Not a good publicity for someone trying to sell the Malay Service of the BBC. But if you know Zainal Din, you’d be having stitches and rolling on the floor as well. Actually, I was trying to find my way to the studios of Selamat Pagi Malaysia, when Zainal hijacked me into his studio. And out of habit, I took off my earrings to put on the headphone. The interview started and ended with those earrings on him..and I tell you, he looked a sight! But Hajjah Wan Cik Daud saved my reputation and did a proper interview on Selamat Pagi Malaysia.
The one hour phone-in programme with Azizah Majid of RTM Penang was quite hilarious as well. It went something like this:
AM: Apa yang membawa Kak Teh balik ke Penang ni?
KT: Mmm, bagi saya, orang pertama yang saya cari di Penang ialah mamak mee goreng. Dia selalu surung kereta surung dia pukoi 12 tengah hari dan park depan Ho Peng. Lepaih tu, pukoi 5 pulak. Kali ni balik, tak jumpa dia pulak.
That spurred on several callers to jam the line.
Caller 1: Laaaa, mamak tu, awat tak kenai. La ni dia stesen belakang Hong Kong Shanghai bank tu!
Caller 2: Ish, buat apa nak makan mee mamak. Mai Kak Jah nak ajark nak buat macam mana.
Sound engineer in studio: Ish, apa Kak Teh tak habark Kak Teh suka mamak. Saya pun mamak.
With live interview, things can either go drastically wrong or you can let the adrenalin flow and enjoy it.
A friend and I did a cookery programme for Channel 4. We were supposed to make Laksa Johore with ingredients that’s only available here in London and I think we did pretty well. I keep getting calls from all over the world, people who saw me cooking and just couldn’t believe their eyes “Who are you trying to kid?You don’t cook. Your kitchens are in Malaysia Hall, Nahar and Mawar!” Very cruel friends I have.
Because this programme was shown world wide, I suddenly became a celebrity chef…well, to some. I was at a foodfair in Birmingham, where Chef Wan was also attending.
Just as I entered the huge hall, two American chefs rushed to me, calling “Chef Wan, Chef Wan!” At first I ignored them and then realised that my nametag says I am a Wan, and proceeded to show them to where the right Wan was demonstrating his skills.
“No, Chef Wan! We saw you on TV, making laksa….” Oh, me God or Ma Grandma as Pok Ku is wont to say. I have put Laksa Johore on the world culinary map now!
I wonder if barbers are fussy about how their colleagues cut their hair. Don’t let colleagues with grudges do it.
Anyway, when I do do give interviews, I can’t help but look out for certain basic things – basic do’s and don’ts. “Errr, do you want to check level first? What about the background noise? Don’t you want to test the white balance? Whaaaat? You don’t need cut aways????”
Aaah, yesterday, I was more relaxed, answering questions in the kitchen. But I do hope she edits out the last sentence too.