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Published: Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 12:21:27 PM

My unforgettable baptism of fire

The Star reporter K. Rajan (second from left), seen here with the StarSport team, hopes his first SEA Games assignment will make him a better journalist ... and a better person. - The STAR

The Star reporter K. Rajan (second from left), seen here with the StarSport team, hopes his first SEA Games assignment will make him a better journalist ... and a better person. - The STAR

NAYPYITAW: When I was told a couple of months ago that I’d be covering the Myanmar SEA Games, I felt a tinge of triumph – not to mention a little apprehension as well.

For me, it was like I’m finally joining the “big boys club” in the StarSport desk after two years.

The 27th edition of the biennial Games is my first SEA Games assignment and, armed with my mentor Eric Samuel’s tons of advice on what to do and expect in Naypyitaw, I was really looking forward to the experience.

It didn’t took me to long to realise the magnitude of the task involved in covering a multi-sport Games.

My baptism of fire came when I was assigned to cover the official Opening Ceremony of the 27th edition of the Games at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium on Wednesday.

Armed with the information given by my seniors the night before the ceremony, I set off to the Main Press Centre (MPC) in Nyapyitaw to collect my tickets as early as I could.

In fact, I was the second person to collect the tickets – though I had a tough time convincing the official in charge to hand me the tickets as my name was not on the media list.

Okay, phase one completed.

We were then told that the shuttle bus to the stadium for the opening ceremony will leave at 2pm. So, I got started on the second phase of my plan: get the programme list for the opening ceremony.

I was lucky again as I managed to get the programme quite early, giving me ample time to file my other stories and draft my opening ceremony piece before boarding the shuttle bus to the stadium.

I then left the MPC to board the bus but was told there would be a delay. There was nothing I could do but wait. Finally, after a two-hour delay, I reached the stadium.

After going through the tight security checks, I made my way to the media area. That was when reality hit me. I was told by the Games volunteers that the WiFi had been shut down and the stadium’s press centre closed for the opening ceremony.

That didn’t make sense, but who am I to argue with them?

So, I did what I thought was the best option. I decided to head back to the MPC and cover the opening ceremony from television, which was aired live on a local channel.

I managed to strike up a friendship with a Singapore journalist, who also was trying to get back to the MPC. We managed to reach the MPC around 7pm, missing almost 70% of the ceremony. (Maybe that’s why my article didn’t see print.)

Anyway, the first week of my first SEA Games has taught me a lot. I’m sure it will only make me a better journalist – and a better person.

Tags / Keywords: SEA Games, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, Myanmar

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