In my last posting, I wrote about our preparation for the gathering of 20,000 teachers to meet the PM. Despite acute shortage of time we managed to get the equipment in and the video clip was finally ready by 6.30pm. We even managed to embed the PM’s latest budget speech into the clip – fresh from the oven – he spoke at 4.53pm and by 5.30pm we already had the 2011 budget video truncated and embedded into video clip.
The rehearsal went on well, even it was the first time we are using the spanking new RM11mil OB van. It was a real unforgettable experience. Our producer deftly barking orders to the asst. producer and the crew, it was just like in the normal studio gallery. The rehearsal went three rounds and all seemed to be in place. Even the problematic sound system provided by the Jabatan Penerangan seemed to be working. But we did not have much time to properly test various parts of the system.
Today, the actual day, unfortunately our old foe Murphy and his well hated law decided to come and pay us a visit. It started with the attendance which dipped well below the expected 20K. By 8.45am half of the stadium still stood empty. We had to repeat our Guru Pedalaman and Menjengah Tabir Besi clips to keep the crowd occupied. By the time the PM walked into the Royal Box, only 14K teachers had assembled in the stadium. The place was full but not brimming as we had anticipated. Things were still under control until it was time for the PM to make his eagerly anticipated speech. I noticed that our video clip had a false ending resulting in audience applauding too early before the clip actually ends. But that was a minor glitch compared to what happened soon after. Midway through the PM’s speech, the asst. producer’s voice crackled through the system complaining that there was too much echo on the podium where all the dignitaries were seated. The sound was loud but untellingible. They were double and triple echo sounds bouncing off each other. Desperate attempts by the audio technician in the OB van to control the audio was fruitless. The main audio which was under the control of the Jabatan Penerangan has gone haywire. The big shots could not tell what the PM was talking about and they could not discern the poem so emotionally delivered by the reciter. Come to think of it, maybe that was the reason why the PM spent a bit of time scrutinising the texts of the poem when it was later presented to him as a souvenir. He could not hear them properly when they were recited. He had to read it. It was disastrous. The DPM was not amused. The Deputy KPPM who was also the organising committee chairperson was furious. Her whole reason for choosing the venue was to avoid this sort of problem but unfortunately it still happened. She was tearful. I was fearful. It was a typical case of “kemarau semusim terhapus dek hujan sehari”. I am sure this story would be repeated many times in future meetings. It felt like a knife piercing your heart and the knife is twisted every time the story is repeated. It is going to be painful.
To cap it all, the anticipated benefits (or goodies as the teachers union people like to call it) supposed to be announced by the PM never materialised. He simply gathered his speech texts and said he will discuss the goodies with the Finance Ministry, the Public Services Department and the DPM and make the necessary announcements later. A sense of emptiness can be seen in faces of the teachers.
One good thing, the main section of the stadium where most of the teachers were seated, opposite the main stand, was not affected. They can hear the speech and the poem quite clearly.
And I must not forget to thank the crew plus the video production team. Bravo guys, too bad about the poor sound system blighting the good work done. As I said before, people only talk when something goes wrong. Be prepared to explain in the post-mortem meeting. Just goes to show, when you get a 75% discount in the audio system, you justly got a 75% discounted audio performance. Maybe we should engage Penerangan system for open space programme not for closed door event. They did their best, but the best was not good enough in this case. Bury our heads in the sand guys!