Wednesday 10 January 2007

To Kill A Love

Do you ever feel that sensation? If you are a reporter like us, you will experience it when you read the article by another reporter, usually a very successful and famous one, and the product sucks. Something like a mixture of envy, annoyance, and sadness will touch your heart, occupying your mind and mercilessly breaking your wish of peace. I did not tell you, Ha Son, that when you rang me up half way through the TV show “Integration Night” (what a translation for “Đêm Hi nhp) produced by VTV, saying, “Sister, I really think we can do better than what they are presenting to us,” you almost moved my tears. At the very moment, I saw in you my former image, childish and naïve, feeling the desperate need to do something better, and, at the same time, knowing well that we can never have any chance to do it better. Or, more exactly, we are simply not allowed any chance, however slim it is, to do what we desire. Any kind of competition with VTV, the monopoly, state-owned TV empire, is incredibly ridiculous. No matter how dumb their products are, as viewers we have to accept them (in fact, there’s no other choice for TV viewers), and as reporters we are naturally asked to learn from them with respect. What we should repeatedly tell ourselves is ‘Hey, you can’t do what they have done, right? So the best solution is to shut your mouth up. Any kind of comment is undeniably the manifestation of arrogance and envy.”

So it grieved me much whenever I watched a successful TV reportage by VNN TV. I will never forget, and very few viewers I think can ever forget, once they have watched, what you have done with all your love. “The Modern-time Herald of Our Precint” [1], “I Go Buying Purple Hearts” [2], “Game Theory in Rubbish Dumping” [3], “APEC Volunteers, the True Hidden Beauty” [4], “The Untold Story of APEC Drivers” [5], etc., the reportages “that will go down in history” as we often joked. Don’t say we are haughty fools. We may not have been highly qualified journalists, but our love was true.

Who knew how much energy we spent on those products? Who knew how much love and belief we laid on them? Who felt our love? Who imagined how we produced those reportages under such poor circumstances, with all the love our heart can hold for journalism, for truth, for beauty, for good, and above all, for a better life?

No one did. But that did not matter much to us, because we did our work just for love. There was, at least in our heart, a struggle against lies, hypocrisy, and social corruption. (In the end, we ourselves became victims of evilness.) But unauthorized VNN TV was not VTV, the huge monopoly, and would never have any chance to become one. So, Ha Son, though I told you, “OK, honey, things will be all right. We will try harder and do better,” I must confess now that what I said was just to console you. Actually I just wanted to say: “Don’t ever love anything too much, dear, as long as you stay in Vietnam.” I saw in you the fire that can someday transform you into a successful journalist, and I was scared that you will get burnt instead.

So we just can swallow our pain, collegues. Without freedom (and of course, a state of law), fair competition and development is something utopian.

Foot notes:
[1] Mõ phường thi hin đi (Ngc Anh - Bá Trường)
[2] Tôi đi mua thu
c kích dc (Ngc Anh - Bá Trường - Xuân Huy)
[3] Lý thuy
ết trò chơi trong chuyn… rác (Hà Sơn - Bá Trường)
[4] Tình nguy
n viên APEC - v đp tim n (Hà Sơn - Công Sơn)
[5] Lái xe APEC, chuy
n bây gi mi k (Tiến Cu - Công Sơn)

Although I guess you will never be granted any official press card to be recognized as reporters, I still think of you as true Vietnamese journalists. Always do I, my very dear journalists.

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