Saturday, November 8, 2008

Abducted From The Frontlines

Photo: Courtesy of CBC
Current Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada / 42° 19′ 60 N, 83° 1′ 60 W

As a world traveler, I never like to believe that life is as precarious and unpredictable as it may be. Fate or destiny, whatever you call it--to me, there's a plan. But after reading the headlines today, I am reminded at just how quickly plans can change. Our lives are always changing; sometimes, it happens overnight. All it takes is the blink of an eye, the pull of a trigger--or a simple hello to someone you've never met.


I was twenty one when I first started at CTV News in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I was offered the job after returning from a two month assignment filming in Southeast Asia for my final thesis. Not knowing how I was going to start repaying my student loans, I took the job two months before graduation. On March 13, I left behind the metropolis of Toronto and headed for the rolling plains of western Canada. I received my degree by way of a Fed-Ex envelope, folded and crumpled.

Alone and deprived of a regular life, I found refuge in my work. From one shoot to the next, one chaotic deadline after another. The more I saw, the more I wanted to see. Television was my life. And that's when I met Mellissa Fung.

I was working for CTV, a private Canadian broadcaster. CBC was our competition, and Mellissa was their up and coming reporter. Two very different broadcasters with variable angles to the stories we covered. But beyond the media realm, in many ways, we were very much alike--fresh out of college, worked in Toronto, in debt, and new to the television world. There was no place we wouldn't go. Sure we were enemies during ratings season, but when the On Air lights went off, the team work and friendship we shared was unlike any other. Regardless of the logo on our shirts, we were family. And for that, I am thankful.


I learnt of her abduction on the same day she was released.

Understanding the grave nature of her situation, the Canadian media agreed to a voluntary blackout of the story--never leaking it to the public. The media's blackout of her ordeal saved her life. It allowed negotiators to talk freely without having the added pressure of an international media buzz. An industry usually divided by rank and ratings came together to save one of thier own.

Welcome home, Mellissa!

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in Saskatchewan.
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1 comment:

DUTA said...

I must say, I'm impressed with the way you're narrating things. It goes well with being a photographer.