Post from Kuching – 2011 Teachers Day

This year’s Teachers Day celebration would be held in Borneo Convention Centre, Kuching (BCCK) on the 16th of May 2011.

BCCK at night

As usual my team was entrusted with the tasks of recording the event and all the sub events held in conjunction with the celebration. Preparation have already started since late December last year. Since the event is going to be held across the South  China Sea we do not have the luxury of transporting our OB van as the cost is too prohibitive, we had to hire crews from a third party via BCCK and the main organiser, the Sarawak State Education Department. We also had to hire third party to handle the recording of the Debate and Forum which are held separately on the 14th and 15th respectively. Fortunately the state Government readily agreed to absorb the cost for the state dinner which is scheduled to be held tonight. The organiser called it Majlis Berambeh. To those who are not familiar with the local Sarawak Malay dialect, “berambeh” roughly means to visit one’s family and gather  everybody over meals and have a good time overnight.

If you had not notice, trailers reminding us of the Teachers Day had been aired on our local tv stations. We made those trailers many weeks ago and they had to go through various filters before being approved. You would not believe the amount of work we put up to do those 30-second or 2- minute clips. Had we  outsource the production, it would easily costs the Government a few hundred thousands ringgit!

Dealing with external parties  across the ocean can be quite worrisome. We had our first meeting with them yesterday, and thankfully they are quite professional apart from some some strange character generator machine that they are using that caused a lot of extra hard  work from our people.

The main problem is time. Ideally we would like to have at least two days to familiarise ourselves with the equipment and the hired hands. Unfortunately the convention hall is only available after the dinner tonight. That means we can only practice tonight and tomorrow morning before the big event tomorrow afternoon. Whatever it is, not risking possible last minute hiccup, the organiser decided to have the full dress rehearsal this morning. We had to lay the cables and plant the cameras amidst the dinner tables and chairs. BCCK had provided us with a control room and a gallery for the audio equipment.

Having the event in Kuching also means that we cannot afford to bring our full crew. The boss decided we came without the usual entourage of 35 crew. We had to make do with a meagre team of 14 people plus the hired hands. Many had to multitask and do something they are usually do not do. My fervent hope is that nobody freezes out or commit grave error tomorrow. I can see  our producer’s eyebrows are getting more and more furrowed.

The laying of cables, planting of cameras and sorting of graphics were done by 1 am last night. even then not everything is is place. We are yet to try the cameras and the audio. We’ll try to sort that out before the rehearsal starts at 8.00am this morning. There is always a last minute addition and deletion or rearrangement of event. As it is, we were told that  they’ll be a 10-minute PM’s personal message to be delivered somewhere. We have not been given the tape, that a cause for concern.

I am praying for the best as we troop off to the rehearsal in one hour’s time. So far no major disaster hopefully it stays that way. It is exciting but I am getting a tad too old for more heartache. We have taken all the possible risk management tricks in the trade to ensure everything run smoothly. Happy Teachers Day.

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