Monday, September 27, 2010

What to Do 'bout the Big O?

I got another day of reporting yesterday! It started off with an outdoor presser held by ADQ-leader Gerard Deltell.  It was a surprisingly cold morning, everybody’s teeth were chattering in the hub. Deltell’s opposing the $300-million budget being considered for the Olympic Stadium’s roof replacement.

He argued that we’re still losing money through the stadium so rather than waste any more of tax-payers money on the Big O, the public should get to chime in on what its future holds through a parliamentary commission.

Studies indicate it would cost $700 million just to dismantle the Montreal landmark – not that people would consider that an option now, would they? I asked locals in downtown what they foresaw for the future of the stadium but many could care less. Some said the roof should've been replaced yesterday, others want money-spending on the stadium to end and be invested on other things like health care.       

Anyhow, the stadium’s in urgent need of a new roof.  In 2005 it collapsed under the weight of heavy snow and has torn several times since. Let’s see how much longer this debate continues...      

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Postcard from Rajasthan

I'm sharing a photo I took of a man playing a traditional Indian instrument for passers-by in Rajasthan. It was in front of one of the many forts I visited, the name of which I can't remember at this moment. It'll come to me...

It's one of the photos I'm showing for my upcoming exhibit. I'm content with the way most of my shots have turned out from the trip. I only started playing around with the camera last year - I never would've guessed that I'd enjoy snapping photos this much and would actually become good at it. 

I wasn't allowed to touch the camera growing up because my hands had a tendency of trembling - my attempts were a waste of some quality film rolls. Thank goodness for the digital age, it's allowed me to practice a lot!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When the Kites Come Down

Another photo I'm quite delayed in posting. I had written about the terrible Amdabadi traffic I was stuck in when I was rushing to catch my train to Mumbai. It just happened to be the night prior to the January kite festival; people were swarming through the markets to buy the best kites out there. The festival being held to celebrate Uttarayan, the welcoming of the sun god, was pure madness.

Anyway, this is the aftermath that was left in the city in the weeks that followed. The place was a complete mess. Wildlife officials were against the festival all along. They claim it's dangerous for wildlife; 1,500 birds get injured from the sharp kite strings that tug through the winds each year.

I think the tradition is here to stay though. Children look forward to the festival all year long - many adults are fanatics of it too!   

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bangkok's Sukhumvit Night Market

Alright, so this is a bit delayed but as promised, here are a few photos from my week spent in Bangkok, Thailand. I got A LOT  of retail therapy - the temptation's immense with malls there only closing at 9pm.

Near the end of my stay I killed a few hours at the Sukhumvit Night Market on Soi 38 which is open from 6pm to 1am. I bought loads of souvenirs, enjoyed bargaining, and took some great photos! I regret not buying more but I was running out of Bahts and valuable space in my suitcases!

There were aisles and more aisles of clothes and souvenir items to browse through. I definately built up an appetite there - it's quite easy to forget how much walking you're doing through the maze of items. Fortunately there were endless stalls of food and bars on the other side of the market.  It was a social hub for tourists and locals eager to get to know one another.

More photos to come!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Brunch at the Grange

I had a wonderful tapas-style brunch this morning at Grange Restaurant in Old Montreal. I went to do a video interview with one of the restaurant co-owners for my friend's very popular blog ( It went pretty well - we had some great cappuccino, food and conversation.  

The restaurant-lounge only serves brunch on Sundays but it's becoming quite popular, so they're considering serving on Saturdays as well.  Their slow-food concept was inspired by New York brunchers who make a day out of their brunch outing.  The owner wants foodies to sit back, relax, have a mimosa, share some great food and spend quality time with their company.

He says their McGrange Burgers are the most popular item on the menu; some even order it in the evenings but unfortunately it's only on their morning menu. I personally can't forget their mouth-wateringly delicious Belgian waffles! What an experience!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Funeral for Two Brothers

September 11... guess it was a fitting day for me to cover another funeral. This time it was for two brothers - Jean-Guy Roy, 59 and Richard Roy, 46.  It was sad - that's what I told the week-end producer when he asked me how my report went. His reply, "Which funeral isn't sad?" All funerals are indeed sad, but the context behind this one particularly struck me.

The father of the two men found the dead bodies in their St. Jude home last Sunday. Jean-Guy Roy's health was deteriorating; he died of natural causes. Richard Roy was living with Down Syndrome. His elder brother was his full-time care-taker. Upon his death, Richard was unable to take care of himself - he died of starvation. Their bodies were found in an advanced state of decomposition.

It's a story of loneliness and societal neglect. So much could've been done to prevent this tragedy from happening. Some who knew him said Jean-Guy didn't have time to look after his own health, he was so busy looking after his brother. He couldn't read or write and relied heavily on welfare. He was afraid to ask for help out of fear of being seperated from his brother once people would learn of the conditions they lived in.

Who takes care of the care-givers?

One mourner got it right. She said it's all about people helping people, be it friends, family or neighbours - it's what we need more of.      

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Painting Found!

I can breathe again. After coming across the painting my tiny little niece decided to gift it to her Mother without my knowing! I can't be angry with her; I'm flattered that she liked it that much!

Painting Gone Missing!

I'm pretty vexed right now. One of the painting's I had completed last week has disappeared. It was of a little girl sitting on a see-saw with a background filled with intense colours. Not to sound immodest but it was brilliant. I had left it aside to let the paint dry and when I went back to get it it was no longer there. Wish I had at least taken a photo of it. Good-bye my beautiful piece of art...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Funeral for Rejeanne Pelletier-Charette

My assignment on Saturday was to cover a memorial service that was held for Rejeanne Pelletier-Charette - an 82-year old Sherbrooke woman who was murdered mid-August allegedly by a 16-year old run-away boy.  Witnesses say the boy was going door-to-door asking people if he could use their phone.

There were over 400 attendants. She had quite a large extended family and was an active church and community member. Like the rest of the reporters there, I needed to get clips from mourners who knew Pelletier-Charette and wanted to comment on their loss. Of course no one really wanted to comment. It's one of those moments when people despise the media and think all journalists are cold-hearted gossips.

Fortunately I did find some people who were willing to give a few words after the service about their loved one. Many said she was a remarkable, young-at-heart, kind spirit. 
I've covered a few funerals in the past. The hardest was covering two babies that were allegedly murdered by their father one Winter; the man was apparently distraught over his divorce. Some mourners from that funeral swore at reporters and cameramen. I felt like scum.  You could see the heartbreak on people's faces, they were devastated and understandably so. But an assignment's an assignment.

This job can be desensitizing. It's usually at the end of the shift that the effect of the day's unravellings start to sink in...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Art in Progress

I'm nearly finished with this piece I started working on last month.  I've changed the colour of the text since my last entry about it. I'm liking it more now; just have to add a few finishing touches to it and I'll be done!

I worked on this a few weeks after returning from my India trip. It took me half an hour.

I've never done a piece like this ever. It's very unlike me, I think that's why I love it so much! I can't seem to figure it out.

This is a newer piece of mine, a work in progress. At the moment I'm just planning to add more petals to the background. But I may end up doing something totally different depending on the day and what frame of mind I'm in.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Colombian Woman Being Deported

Another difficult day at the station. I did a follow-up story on the Colombian woman facing deportation. The judge made his decision today - the mother of two has to pack her bags and leave on Thursday. It was heartbreaking; the cameraman and I were with her as she got the news.

She says her cousin and uncle both were killed by a paramilitary group and her life could be taken next if she heads back. Her 10-year old daughter's terrified of going there, in the anxiety of it all she's bitten off much of her nails. 

An insider at the courthouse told me the number of deportations from Canada has increased during the past few years. There are a lot of injustices going on but people aren't getting the chance to tell their stories because they're being deported even before getting the chance to speak. The Immigration Board's become more rigid and doesn't give individual cases enough thought. One man speculated that staff-members are afraid of being more fair out of sheer fear of losing their jobs.

Anyway, I had to rush with my script once we got back to the station. The pack required quite a bit of tweaking by the producer. A colleague suggested I try to speak more 'naturally' during my voice-overs, and should sound less like I'm reading off a script. I was also asked to remember to write along to my pictures, since we ran out of  visuals at certain points during editing. So much to think about at once! Which is hard to do when you're also counting down the minutes.

The good news is I found a gorgeous dress to wear to a wedding reception I'm heading to tomorrow. I'm missing the actual wedding though, because I'm getting another day of R E P O R T I N G!