Wednesday, May 10, 2006

One goodbye, one good luck

This is not a craft post.

But since a blog is used for expression at times...

It's a post about work, destinations, journeys and ends.

I was away in Indonesia, and didn't know it, but my colleague (for the sake of respect, I'll offer him his initials ZY, though he is well-archived in Google searches) and photographer passed on after a heart attack early this month. I only found out when I returned. He was about a year to retirement and worked at at the same place for some 32 years.

He worked hard, he was always on time (which was a wonder considering he never drove and always used a bus or some form of cheap public transport). He was generally courteous and cheerful, though there were journalists who scorned him because of his thick Northern accent, which was quite intelligible. Unfortunately, they didn't really see past that, and a scruffy exterior, that he wasn't a bad guy and he always delivered the goods (something journalists themselves cannot always boast of).

We worked together, on and off, for seven years. I can't say we were best friends, and there were times when we got on each other's nerves (like bargaining for a time for him to upload photos), but he was still a professional. I still remember the time he abandoned all nerves (or sense!) and jammed his Canon EOS against a Siberian tiger's cage. The tiger already didn't like him and made to pounce, and I yanked him back by the collar in time. Or ZY would've been semi mince. I wasn't very happy at that, in fact, I was quite mad at him. But he delivered a shot of the great cata so clear and stunning, that a lot of people still think it is that of a stuffed model.

There were also many other times when we had to work in the middle of nowhere, and thanks to his 30-something years of experience, got us out of the boondocks and back to the office. So in a way, I will miss him. ZY was a quirky soul who was just more often than not a little bit misunderstood. He leaves a wife and a son and daughter.

Today, I learnt another colleague -- and another photog. -- would be leaving us at the end of the month, for greener pastures. He's going for a job in Singapore, and I wish him the best because he deserves it. Another quite quirky one. But incisive, intelligent and not afraid to show it. Something which a lot of people (journalists, that is) often forget that photographers possess. I do wish they were more appreciated. He told me while we were doing a shoot at Starbucks.

After that, he accompanied me to the pet shop and helped me pick out some new fish for my tank. In a few weeks, the only contact we'll have is likely via e-mail.

I look back at them, and at my own life. ZY worked all his life, and he didn't even reach retirement age to enjoy the fruits of his labour. This other bloke looked for something he wanted, reached out, and grabbed it. Where am I at this juncture?

There's some element of regret here, and I know what it is, and what how all of us should ideally live our lives -- without regret, because you never know what happens tomorrow, or even the next minute. We take for granted the things we expect each day. We forget ourselves for the sakes of others, or we remember it, and look for what's more out there.

Maybe in some funny way, these two workmates taught me something more than just learning how to be a better writer.

No stitchy progress today. I have a deadline to meet tomorrow. And my supe is a totally nasty nutcase.

No comments: