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I'M NO TRUMP, SAYS BATTLE-HARDENED MISS U SPONSOR CHAVIT SINGSON


FEBRUARY 3 -Luis "Chavit" Singson, a larger-than-life Filipino tycoon who has brought the Miss Universe pageant to Manila, has much in common with the man who owned the franchise two years ago: U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Both men are immensely wealthy and are immersed in politics. Both have a cologne named after them. And, in their own countries, both are synonymous with a globally televised beauty contest that has often been buffeted by politics. Singson, a provincial police chief who survived bloody gunbattles in a family feud and then became a governor, however says he doesn't see himself as a Trump in the making. "We're very different," Singson said in an interview at his Manila mansion, its walls hung with photos of him posing with wild animals he has hunted and killed. "I'm going to give away my money. I don't think Trump can do that." Singson's LCS Group of Companies said it has paid $13 million in a one-off deal to bring Miss Universe to the Philippines, where the contest will be held on Monday morning to cater to Sunday night TV audiences in the West. It will be carried on the Fox network in the United States. READ MORE...

ALSO: Lucky teen bags Miss Bulgaria’s evening gown


FEBRUARY 3 -Every girl wants to feel like a princess on her prom night, but one Filipina will be more than that: she'll be a beauty queen. A 15-year-old student is now the proud owner of a Sherri Hill dress previously owned by Miss Bulgaria 2016 Violina Ancheva during the 65th Miss Universe competition. Ancheva earlier called on Filipinos in need of a prom gown to write her a personal message. She planned on giving her Miss Universe evening gown as a present. How she chose whom to give the dress is a mystery for now, but she kept to her promise and passed the gown to its new owner: the daughter of single mom Issay Gallano. READ MORE...

ALSO: Chavit: PHL can host Miss U again next year, gov't financial help welcome


FEBRUARY 3 -Businessman and former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson on Thursday said that the Philippines could play host to the Miss Universe pageant next year. Singson told GMA News' Balitanghali that Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart extended an invitation and opened the possibility of staging the pageant in the country again. "Sinasabi naman na kung gusto raw natin," Singson told GMA News' Lars Santiago. He added, "We have to assess everything. Depende sa development ng buong mundo." Singson said that if he were to invest in the 66th Miss Universe, he would welcome financial help from the government. His group reportedly spent some $15 million to stage the pageant. READ MORE...

ALSO Through the Looking-Glass: A news executive looks back at three decades with GMA


FEBRUARY 3 -On January 25, 2017, Kelly B. Vergel de Dios retired after more than 33 years with GMA. She joined the broadcasting company as a news writer in 1983 at the age of 22, and worked her way up to become the Assistant Vice President for the Administrative Division of GMA News & Public Affairs. At her retirement party, she was lauded by fellow media luminaries, including news anchors Mel Tiangco, Mike Enriquez and Tina Monzon-Palma and GMA CEO Felipe L. Gozon. Vergel de Dios wrote this piece in 2010. “The time has come,” my editor said, “To talk of many things: Of news – and scoops – and career moves – Of jobs that count – not whims”  And why you ought to stay in print and write Instead of chasing dreams.”  - adapted from Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and The Carpenter”  I lost my editor to cancer in 2002, exactly 19 years since I moved to Manila and the television network where I still pull a regular shift. And exactly the same age when I started working part-time in his daily newspaper while pursuing a course in the hometown college that my late father did not allow me to pursue at UP Diliman because we could not afford it. I was crushed when E. Rene R. Fernandez took me aside while I was poring over galley proofs one day to tell me: "You have to leave the city and go work in Manila.” It was about two months after my graduation and I was cooling my heels waiting for better times to happen when we had the talk. “Are you getting rid of me?” I asked him in the straightforward manner he preferred. “No, I just want you to realize your full potential. There’s nothing more for you here.
Lastima tu,” he’d explained in Chabacano. CONTINUE READING...


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I’m no Trump, says battle-hardened Miss U sponsor Chavit Singson

MANILA, FEBRUARY 6, 2017 (GMA NEWS) Published January 27, 2017 12:28pm - Luis "Chavit" Singson, a larger-than-life Filipino tycoon who has brought the Miss Universe pageant to Manila, has much in common with the man who owned the franchise two years ago: U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

Both men are immensely wealthy and are immersed in politics. Both have a cologne named after them. And, in their own countries, both are synonymous with a globally televised beauty contest that has often been buffeted by politics.

Singson, a provincial police chief who survived bloody gunbattles in a family feud and then became a governor, however says he doesn't see himself as a Trump in the making.

"We're very different," Singson said in an interview at his Manila mansion, its walls hung with photos of him posing with wild animals he has hunted and killed. "I'm going to give away my money. I don't think Trump can do that."

Singson's LCS Group of Companies said it has paid $13 million in a one-off deal to bring Miss Universe to the Philippines, where the contest will be held on Monday morning to cater to Sunday night TV audiences in the West. It will be carried on the Fox network in the United States.

READ MORE...

Singson, long-time governor of the northern Philippine province of Ilocos Sur before handing over to his son in 2013, amassed a fortune through agriculture, mining and transport. He hopes the beauty pageant will boost tourism and banish ugly headlines about his country's bloody war on drugs.

"We might lose a little but it's good for our country, good for our business," he told Reuters. "This is the best vehicle to promote the Philippines."

Even so, says Singson, his deal with the Miss Universe Organization, which Trump part-owned as recently as 2015, almost fell apart after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June.

Duterte launched a campaign against drugs that has since killed about 7,000 people, mostly users and small-time dealers.

When the United States expressed concern about the campaign, Duterte denounced then President Barack Obama as a "son of a bitch." Soon after, Obama scrapped planned talks with Duterte on the sidelines of a regional summit in Laos.

All this unnerved the Miss Universe organizers and the contest was on the verge of cancellation, said Singson. The organizers declined to comment on Singson's version of events, but said a solution was eventually found.

Singson supports Duterte and the anti-drug campaign and says the Philippines is "much safer" because of it.

In 2015, U.S. broadcasters NBC and Univision ended their association with the Miss Universe contest after Trump, then campaigning to become the Republican Party's presidential candidate, called some Mexican immigrants "rapists."

Miss Universe returned to haunt Trump's presidential campaign last year, when Hillary Clinton criticized him for making derogatory remarks about the weight gain of a past winner, Alicia Machado.

Politics and pageants

For Singson - better known by his nickname "Chavit" - the pageant is a high point in a picaresque career. He also believes it is a shrewd investment.

Singson plans to expand his airline, Platinum Skies, which currently has four 32-passenger Dornier aircraft, and his bus company to capitalize on what he hopes will be a post-pageant surge in tourism.

Tourists are already visiting the Philippines in ever-greater numbers, particularly from China.

The Miss Universe contest will be a huge draw in the Philippines as well, where such pageants are closely followed. Imelda Marcos, the widow of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is a former beauty queen. So is Duterte's long-time partner, Honeylet Avanceña, a nurse and businesswoman.

Philippine police officer Sofia Loren Deliu, known as the "Beauty Queen Cop," reportedly joined Duterte's security detail after participating in the Miss Earth contest.

One Manila congressman has urged Duterte to declare Monday a national holiday so that more people might watch the pageant. The reigning Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach, is a Filipina.

Animal Welfare

Over the decades, Singson has promoted many politicians, including boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, now a senator.

Singson has also helped topple others, most notably former President Joseph Estrada.

In 2000, Singson revealed that he handed over millions of pesos from an illegal numbers game to Estrada and his associates, accusations that eventually led to Estrada's ouster and conviction for corruption.

Singson said he has survived six ambush attempts by a private army run by his cousins. Sixteen enemies died in one shoot-out, he said, and a 2003 film called "Chavit" - which he co-wrote - suggests he picked them off one by one.

Asked if that was true, he said: "I don't know. It was an exchange of gunfire. I had to defend myself because I was ambushed at the time."

Singson travels the world to hunt big game, an expensive hobby that might horrify many of Miss Universe's 86 contestants who profess, in their official biographies, a passion for wildlife conservation and animal welfare.

He said an elephant he shot in Zimbabwe cost $150,000 "just to kill," and tens of thousands of dollars to stuff and ship to his museum in Ilocos.

Displayed at his Manila mansion is a bloodstained shirt. Singson said he was wearing it when enemies threw grenades into a party he was attending in 1972, killing 11 people and wounding many more.

"Luckily I was dancing with a fat lady," he said. "She absorbed all the shrapnel."

The woman died in the attack, Singson said. — Reuters


Lucky teen bags Miss Bulgaria’s evening gown Published January 31, 2017 9:04pm

Every girl wants to feel like a princess on her prom night, but one Filipina will be more than that: she'll be a beauty queen.

A 15-year-old student is now the proud owner of a Sherri Hill dress previously owned by Miss Bulgaria 2016 Violina Ancheva during the 65th Miss Universe competition.

Ancheva earlier called on Filipinos in need of a prom gown to write her a personal message. She planned on giving her Miss Universe evening gown as a present.

How she chose whom to give the dress is a mystery for now, but she kept to her promise and passed the gown to its new owner: the daughter of single mom Issay Gallano.

READ MORE...

In her social media accounts, Gallano posted photos of her daughter in the two-piece blue gown that Ancheva wore during the 65th Miss Universe pageant, which was held at the Mall of Asia Arena on Monday.

"Thank you so much Miss Bulgaria. You have a beautiful heart. We wish you all the best. God bless you and your family," she captioned.

She was also able to take a selfie with Ancheva during her meeting with her at Conrad Hotel, Pasay.

Ancheva may not have won the Miss Universe crown, but she has won hearts with her generous gesture—just like her compatriot did last year. — Jessica Bartolome/BM, GMA News


Chavit: PHL can host Miss U again next year, gov't financial help welcome Published February 2, 2017 7:00pm

Businessman and former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson on Thursday said that the Philippines could play host to the Miss Universe pageant next year.

Singson told GMA News' Balitanghali that Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart extended an invitation and opened the possibility of staging the pageant in the country again.

"Sinasabi naman na kung gusto raw natin," Singson told GMA News' Lars Santiago. He added, "We have to assess everything. Depende sa development ng buong mundo."

Singson said that if he were to invest in the 66th Miss Universe, he would welcome financial help from the government. His group reportedly spent some $15 million to stage the pageant.

READ MORE...

The 65th Miss Universe grand coronation event was held at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 30, but the candidates were flown to different tourist destinations in the country like Vigan, Baguio, and Cebu for ancillary events.

A number of candidates were also treated to a luxury yacht trip to Tagaytay aboard the MY Happy Life, which Singson purchased for P600 million.

After the initial announcement that the Philippines would host the pageant, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said that the government will not spend a single centavo on Miss Universe. —Aya Tantiangco/JST, GMA News


Through the Looking-Glass: A news executive looks back at three decades with GMA Published February 2, 2017 3:41pm By KELLY B. VERGEL DE DIOS

On January 25, 2017, Kelly B. Vergel de Dios retired after more than 33 years with GMA. She joined the broadcasting company as a news writer in 1983 at the age of 22, and worked her way up to become the Assistant Vice President for the Administrative Division of GMA News & Public Affairs.

At her retirement party, she was lauded by fellow media luminaries, including news anchors Mel Tiangco, Mike Enriquez and Tina Monzon-Palma and GMA CEO Felipe L. Gozon.

Vergel de Dios wrote this piece in 2010.

“The time has come,” my editor said,

“To talk of many things:

Of news – and scoops – and career moves –

Of jobs that count – not whims”

And why you ought to stay in print and write

Instead of chasing dreams.”

- adapted from Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and The Carpenter”

I lost my editor to cancer in 2002, exactly 19 years since I moved to Manila and the television network where I still pull a regular shift. And exactly the same age when I started working part-time in his daily newspaper while pursuing a course in the hometown college that my late father did not allow me to pursue at UP Diliman because we could not afford it.

I was crushed when E. Rene R. Fernandez took me aside while I was poring over galley proofs one day to tell me: "You have to leave the city and go work in Manila.” It was about two months after my graduation and I was cooling my heels waiting for better times to happen when we had the talk.

“Are you getting rid of me?” I asked him in the straightforward manner he preferred. “No, I just want you to realize your full potential. There’s nothing more for you here.

Lastima tu,” he’d explained in Chabacano.

CONTINUE READIN....

At the time I had just won a national competition for on-the-spot essay writing and was following in the footsteps of two elder brothers who had chosen to pursue careers in the local media: Michael—desk/editor/news director of the local news TV program The Zamboanga Journal and desk editor of the regional paper Mindanao Today, and Edgar—TV news anchor and FM-radio jock on FUBC 9.

As for myself – I had the singular credit of being the only female reporter/inside-pages editor of a daily newspaper with the widest circulation – The Morning Times – while still in college! I was cool with that because it meant not being required to wear the school uniform the entire week.

A typical day would have me rushing to meet my noon deadline at the paper – eat lunch on the run and be in school for my first afternoon class at one. I lived on Cloud 9 bars and blitz torte cakes from a café round the corner from the paper for the two years that I pounded the beat.

The deal I struck with my father was that I would quit the paper if my grades dipped so I just worked doubly hard so I wouldn’t have to: spending all my free time in the library to research papers, work on assignments, finish production scripts in the wee hours of the morning, complete my thesis by candlelight while my classmates were juggling boyfriends, joyrides, parties.

It was my own special heaven.

I covered city hall and the great mayor Cesar Climaco, wrote in-depth stories on social issues, subbed for male colleagues on the police beat from time to time, and hung out with my college buddies on weekends.

The year was 1983 when I bought a one-way ticket to the City of Man with the remnants of my essay-writing prize money trying my luck first at RPN 9 (where my kababayan Edwin Fargas was news director), then NBN 4 (where Jess Matubis, Rudy Aquino offered me an “in-between” job), and finally, GMA 7 (where THE Tony Seva was News Director at the time) – the closest to my cousins’ apartment in Kamias.

My male colleagues in Zamboanga had strongly discouraged me from pursuing my plan to work in Manila. You’ll never make it there, they’d said. Between a promdi and a graduate of a reputable Metro Manila university, you wouldn’t stand a chance, they’d warned.

But I was never one to shy away from a challenge so, armed with 100 mimeographed resumes and 100 ID pictures I had made with the last of my savings and my portfolio of published newspaper articles and letters of recommendation from my editor and publisher and the good mayor in hand, I set off. My poor father never knew of my plans till the eve of my departure. If my sister Melisse – who had landed an MBA scholarship at UP – were not traveling with me at the time, he probably would have never agreed to let me get on the plane at all.

Contemplating the distance to Port Area where the newspaper offices were from my cousins’ place in Kamias, and my diminishing finances, I had to make a major decision: it was either get a job with a television station in the neighborhood, or return to the old hometown.

I almost took the job that Jess Matubis and Rudy Aquino offered me – writing sports for radio (“in the meantime, while waiting for a slot to open in TV news”) – until I happened across a GMA 7 ad in the yellow pages of the phonebook. I sent off a handwritten application letter and one of my mimeographed resumes to the GMA 7 newsroom with a silent prayer, and a couple of days later – news cameraman Boy Sonza would personally deliver then news director Tony Seva’s reply to my application with instructions that I present myself at his office at one p.m. that very same day.

Colleagues honor Kelly Vergel De Dios on Jan. 25, 2017 at her retirement ceremony at GMA. In 1983, she bought a one-way ticket to Manila to try her luck in TV news. The rest is history. Barbara Marchadesch

ADS and I eyed each other warily from opposite sides of the room on our first meeting. I handed him my portfolio. “How much of these are your own work? How much your editor’s?” he’d asked. “They’re all mine. Verbatim,” I’d answered. He guffawed. I looked him straight in the eye and told him: “You don’t have to take my word for it, call my editor. His name and number are on my resume.” He was all intimidating but I refused to give him the satisfaction of seeing me flinch even when he muttered under his breath: “Ang yabang naman nito.” I got the job. He said he thought I was feisty but I, I liked to think it was my portfolio of front-page headline stories that clinched it for me.

I started as a news writer for News at Seven and The 11:30 Report on June 10, 1983. In between I wrote hourly bulletins for WLS-FM and took turns with the others in the production team to help Tina Monzon-Palma man the desk. For six months I worked without pay – was engaged as a talent on my 7th month and paid retroactively for my first six months on the job. For the six months I didn’t get paid – I lived on Storck candies and ate just one meal a day – dinner at 7 p.m. — by which time I’d be literally cross-eyed with hunger! Sometimes there’d be “communal” food in the newsroom, turon from Tony Seva. Stale pizza. Snacks courtesy of cameramen (mostly Nap Pineda) who knew of the newbies’ situation or I’d get sent out to cover a news conference or two where lunch would be served.

I survived the heartbreak of the November 14, 1984 assassination of a dear father-figure – the staunch Martial-Law critic Mayor Climaco — and the shock of the August 21, 1983 assassination of Ninoy Aquino as a literally and figuratively hungry newswriter. I carried only 117 pounds on my 5’8” frame and owned and wore only two dresses on my field assignments: my graduation dress and baccalaureate-mass dress (something frilly from Loalde) but I loved my work so much not even my colleagues’ sniggering behind my back at my motley promdi wardrobe could dampen my spirits.

It was an exciting time to be working in television news. It was the tail-end of martial law and I was grateful for the breaks I was given by my new mentor. I received the news of Mayor Climaco’s death while manning the desk. I learned of Ninoy Aquino’s shooting-death upon returning to my room in Teachers Village from mass at Sta. Cruz. During the campaign period for the 1986 Snap Elections, a colleague – Veronica Baluyut – and I would interview President-elect Noynoy Aquino and his sister Ballsy and pore over family albums at their Times Street residence while a very young Kris sang Top of the World minus-one in the background. Veronica would eventually land an interview with Cory Aquino as she wrapped up her miting de avance on the eve of the snap polls. It cost her three straight nights of staking out the Aquino residence on Times Street. She got her interview at around 4 a.m. as an exhausted Cory came home from her provincial sorties. We would air the same interview over and over again the day Cory was formally installed as President after the 1986 People Power Revolution ousted Marcos.

I remember Tony Seva yelling at me from across boxes of stale pizza and beer bottles in the newsroom one heavy-news day: “May balat ka ba sa puwet? Dumating ka lang dito ang dami-dami nang nangyari!” The news staff at the time comprised of Tony Seva as News Director, Tina Monzon-Palma as anchor and desk editor, Raffy Marcelo as managing editor and anchor, Ricky Mendiola and myself as writers, Vic Garcia as on-air director, Boy Simacon as floor director, Khorrie Mendiola as production assistant and chargen operator, Steve Serna as audio-visual manager, Debby Arzadon and Riz Chan as graphic artists and Lita Evidente as Tina’s executive secretary.

Field reporters included Rey Vidal (+) – Justice, Jun Bautista – Batasang Pambansa (+), Tony Lozano – Malacañang, Jimmy Gil and Pert Franco (+) – Western and Northern Police, and Jackie David – features. Jessica Soho would join the lean and mean team in late 1984 as a general-assignments reporter before landing the plum military-defense beat.

Back then, covering the news was considered almost a sacred privilege: colleagues had to do with minimal logistics; hitching a ride on military planes and helicopters, using their own funds for food and sending back video material through returning colleagues or the foreign press in town on special assignment. Jun Bautista covered the 1990 Baguio earthquake much like Jackie covered the Ilocos Norte shaker in 1983 – living only on saltine crackers and faith.

I had my share of dressing-downs from the boss-man: once when my cameraman took one too many personal side trips and we missed Jaime Laya’s presscon of what I would learn the next day was to announce the peso devaluation of 1983 (“ba’t ang tanga tanga mo?” he had ranted). I offered no excuse for having been outscooped, just took out my frustration on the tiles of the female comfort room while vowing to never put myself in that predicament again. One thing about ADS, he was as generous with praise when you did good work so I’d lived to learn another day in life’s hard school.

When I was new, the newsroom only had two white Volkswagen Brasilias that would drive reporters to their assignments in the morning. Getting back to base was the tricky part if the cars were on an errand elsewhere: you could either take a Love Bus, hitch a ride with Tina if she was headed to base from where you were, or flag down a jeepney.

I remember returning to GMA from a Makati coverage once, balancing a stack of KSP-60 u-matic tapes on one arm and hanging on to a strap in a Love Bus with the other, in a mini skirt and heels! Just one of those things that come with the territory. A hazard of the trade.

Picture this similarly difficult situation: you need to reach a crew to send to the site of a big breaking story – but your two-way radio is on the fritz, you can’t reach the team on the phone at the site of their last assignment, and the Brasilias are under repair. Just days before, in a heavy downpour, one Brasilia was inundated by floods at the Senate parking lot and you get a call from a cameraman saying the flooring gave way in the other (“kita na po namin ang kalsada sa ilalim, lumulusot na po ang aming paa!”) or – this call from yet another cameraman the week after – “ma’am, nauna po yung gulong sa Brasilia papasok ng Wack Wack.” (I envy the Japanese their mad room…)

I remember being driven to a news conference in a hotel and asking the assistant cameraman to drop me off at the curb two streets away: "Lalakarin ko na lang.” In a business where appearances are equivalent to corporate image – it does not help if you arrive in a car with masking tape round the door handles and part of the windshield. This was in the mid or late 80s when the Brasilias had seen better days.

I also like to regale our present-day reporters with stories of how we used to cover elections in the 80’s: we’d team up with citizens’ band radio enthusiasts and volunteers from GMA subsidiaries, rent equipment and lug our ration of juice in doypack stand-up pouches (Zesto!), liver-spread (Reno!) sandwiches and boiled eggs. Those represent our only food provisions for the entire day but no one ever complained even if the juice was as warm as the insides of the rental vehicle left baking in the height-of-summer sun and the eggs and sandwiches, cold and hard. We had fun on the job anyway and became fast friends with our temporary team mates – much like what our remote-teams declared in their status on Facebook following Eleksyon 2010.

I would be at the office early in the morning and reluctantly knock off work at sign off, eager to pore over the wires and go over the day’s haul of stories and video. I remember standing in the middle of EDSA waiting for the first sign of the courier’s motorbike as he roars down the highway with the tape of the day’s biggest foreign stories, fresh from Hong Kong.

In those days, live reports meant fresh from the field or annotating your raw footage on the set with Tina because there wasn’t enough time to edit your package before airtime.


MIDNIGHT STORIES Dolphine’s tales Published October 2, 2015 9:56pm By KELLY B. VERGEL DE DIOS, GMA News It's back! Midnight Stories will be posted every evening of October to celebrate the month of ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. Here's our second installment. Enjoy! I met Dolphine Emali Wasike in 2008 when I attended a six-week course in The Netherlands. I believe she was the first friend I made at the Institute—or, being kindred spirits, maybe we found each other.

Days off (when weekend newscasts were introduced) meant from morning to 4 in the afternoon Sundays. I still wonder how we found time to squeeze in barbecues at Tony Seva’s house on Saturdays, going to the cinema, church and bookstore with friends from work and later sharing dinner boodle-fight style in the newsroom with plenty of steamed rice and plump tomatoes and a small jar of crab aligue.

Somehow budgets were stretched until the next paycheck with an Aristocrat barbecue-and-java rice dinner and a trip to Fiesta Carnival Cubao thrown in for good measure twice a month.

We were all friends although there were fights with a lot of yelling and throwing of rolls of teletype paper at each other in between newscasts. Quarrels were miraculously fixed before we went on the air. We were like a noisy Italian family who sat down to eat together at the end of every successful special project (elections mostly). The food may be as simple as a couple of litson manoks bought from the Andok’s outlet at the corner, pansit and rice — but everything tasted wonderful when eaten in the company of good friends.

We had book clubs, birthday clubs, potluck Friday clubs even before they became popular or were featured on Oprah. The late Elmo Valera would cook prawns thermidore and his famous steamed fish with all manner of dressing, I fixed chili con carne as would Raffy Marcelo, and we’d swap recipes. They’d tell stories of notable people and events they’d interviewed and covered and we’d share reviews of the movies we’d seen, books we’d read.

We’d play music or dance in between and after work and somehow the work always got done. I learned how to appreciate fine wine courtesy of male colleagues – on the job! – and watch blue movies courtesy of the video editors without squirming.

But as the newsroom grew and new facilities and equipment were acquired, the things that made a newsroom the noisy, colorful and fun place that it was were slowly eased out in the name of progress.

First to go were the food, drinks and the smokes. The singing and dancing were now considered loitering and horseplay and against house rules. The food, drinks and smokes were deemed ruinous to the equipment and all accoutrements of an electronic newsroom.

As I sit in my antiseptic cubicle and take in the white noise, I can’t help but pine for the old days when I’d be sharing the airspace with the ping of a typewriter’s carriage release lever, the clacking of the wire service machines, the mindless chatter of television monitors, the ringing of a bank of phones, the squawking of the two-way radio, and a transistor blaring the latest breaking news.

If I sit really still with my eyes closed and strain hard – I can almost hear their echoes.

So I thought I’d be writing for National Geographic by age 30. That I’d travel the world with my Nikon and find good stories to tell.

I may have taken a different path from the one my editor thought I should have taken but I do not really believe I would have had it any better if I chose this way or that. All I love are here and will go on when I leave.

I have told some good stories in my time and I have helped others tell theirs, giving them my words to use when theirs ran short. Never expecting to get any credit and in most cases, getting none.

I have taught those who came after me not to enable monsters or allow colleagues to sit on their laurels and become couch potatoes. That they should always be at the top of their game, keep themselves relevant and never stop learning.

I have done all I can here. They now know all the rules by heart.

Some may choose to keep their nose above water. Some, not.

I have seen enough of the world and have my pictures and journals to help me remember when my mind starts to forget.

I have come full circle and I’m raring to go again.

But this time around I think I’ll follow my own counsel and go where my dreams take me.

To learn to be me by myself.

At my own terms.

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the Stream – lingering in the golden gleam – Life, what is it but a dream?”

- Lewis Carroll (Through the looking Glass)


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