Black Tie next year. Thank you for all the warm regards and wishes in relations to the National Press Club's inaugural awards nite. It went better than I had expected, thanks to the hard work of my Exco and the exceptional organizational skills of Lazarus Rokk and Nisha Menon. They forced me to dress up for the occasion and the first thing the Prime Minister said to me as he got out of his Perdana was, "I almost didn't recognize you". Well, I almost didn't recognize myself.
Bloggers had a table for themselves. Why not? Bloggers had been frequenting the NPC at Jalan Tangsi before they turned into bloggers. Some of them have stopped coming to the Club because they suddenly must eat and drink only with like-minded people.
Some of the bloggers who attended the do last night:
Picture from OutSyed The Box, here, who had an interesting observation about the recipients of the Journalist(s) of the Year - P. Gunasegaran from the Star and Zaini Hassan of Utusan Malaysia. Yes, not everyone agrees with what Guna and Zaini write but these guys continue to push the envelope despite the pressures from all sides. Guna was already a senior business reporter when I joined Business Times in 1985 and Zaini is a few months my junior.
VK Chin, whom we picked for the Lifetime Achievement award, braved poor health to be with us last night [VK Chin is no stranger to all of us ... The citation read out last night by Ewe Jin]. I had the privilege of covering Dr M's visit of South Korea with him some 20 years ago! On that trip, I remember a Malay-language newspaper editor bought a mighty expensive silk black tie because he wanted to attend a "Black Tie" dinner that was part of the PM's itinerary. We didn't attend that dinner, of course, because none of us had a tuxedo!
Back to last night's event, Big Dog was blogging from inside the hall as Najib was giving his speech, beating the journos to the news. His posting PM Najib: Be my partner to help transform Malaysia probably inspired this former Jalan Tangsi regular's ranting Be my partner ... Urrgghhhh!.
For the benefit of those who were not there at the dinner, the PM wasn't reading from a prepared text when he talked about latitude and space for Malaysian journos, about being partners, and about the media's social responsibility. I believe Najib went off-the-cuff to respond to the points I made in my speech -- about journos pushing the envelope and getting sued and harassed with police reports, about his promise to give latitude to the media, and about us expecting him to "walk the talk" as he marks his first anniversary in office on April 3.
Journalist Kugan won the New Media award for his blog here. For this inaugural award, our search is confined only to the telco sector. The Rookies of the Year was an easy decision - the young Bernama TV team that covered the international convoy to Gaza won it hands down.
Lat won the SM Nasimuddin 1Malaysia Award. Most fitting.
Anugerah Legenda Media went to the late A. Samad Ismail. Three times an ISA detainee. Bertahun-tahun dilokap orang, Oh Malaya ... True journalists are a dying breed, I said (quoting Rizal Hashim) in my speech .. The great ones are dead.
Read also a posting by a blogger who once worked under Zaini, here.
The Star's Najib: Press and government relationship critical