“It's very simple – just stick to what you’re doing and get rid of the noise around you,” said Richard Quest, providing sound advice on how journalists should do their jobs without being distracted by the brouhaha surrounding a news-breaking event.
The famous CNN anchor of Quest Means Business (and presenter of business show Quest Express), knows only too well how tales and truths can often mix to derail the train of thought of journalists, having himself been in the “trenches” of newsworthy situations, the MH370 tragedy being a prime example. He accepts that reporting in these pressure cooker situations can be daunting, but insists, “we have to just get on with it”.
Quest documented his thoughts on Malaysia’s darkest hour in aviation history in his book, The Vanishing Of Flight MH370: The True Story Of The Hunt For The Missing Plane, which came out last year. Today, his professional opinion is perfectly aligned with his personal one: “I am more convinced than ever that it was some form of technical fault. I can’t put my finger on what it was, but I have some theories,” said the 55-year-old, adding that based on evidence, what’s glaringly clear to him is, pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had nothing to do with the plane’s disappearance.
The British-born international business correspondent is in Malaysia to film a special 30-minute programme on Malaysia’s economy, titled Made In Malaysia. He sees the country’s financial standing as a recovering one, given the dotcom boom and bust of the late 1990s.
According to the qualified lawyer (LLB (Honours) degree from Leeds University), the half-hour special will highlight the changes and transformations taking place to improve Malaysia’s economy, especially in the digital economy, pharmaceutical, agricultural and financial services sectors. “I am certainly not trying to define the Malaysian economy. All I can do is, bring an experience from having travelled, seen and experienced economies. And from my perspective and certain amount of knowledge, this is what it looks like,” he explained.
As a Westerner with a keen interest in the eastern part of the world, food would seem like a logical temptation to endear the country to him. But contrary to popular speculation, it’s the people who have bowled him over. “I like the people. Malaysians are friendly and charming. People here are informed, they are interested ... it’s an educated country,” he observes.
However, there is a local delicacy, which he admits, he needs to man up to sample – the king of fruits, the durian. “I’m a wimp. I have looked at, got close to, but just haven’t managed to (eat it). But I’m going to have to do it,” he revealed, not fully able to suss out what has kept him at bay thus far. How that trial-by-fire pans out is anybody’s guess.