Myanmar, military and mystery - 3
I met the general secretary at breakfast and felt like a Class 6 pupil saying "present, sir" on roll call. I had gone to Yangon on his invitation. Later I was asked to come down to the lobby to meet him. There I met my other team members, a father-son duo who were to head the media team and do the page making respectively.
We were briefed about our role and the gen sec's expectations, which made it clear that he was ambitious as well as a control freak. He wanted a newsletter a day and press releases. The editor-in-charge, who I thought was a real professional, told him his gmail was blocked. In the days to come I learnt that he was a a glib talker, but a useless sucker when it came to work.
My first assignment was to get a pre-conference quote from all the malloo church leaders about their expectations from the conference. I dont remember interviewing anyone after my journalism student days. Anyway, gathering courage I walked over to a handsome tall Bishop across the room. He was happy to give his views which I recorded on my new phone (getting familiar with a new phone on such a crucial day was a headache). He gave me his blessings and prayers, something that saw me through that week.
I spoke to a few others during their registration and lunch hour. It took some patience to get a few words from the octagenarian head of the Marthoma church. Thanks to the intervention of the gen sec, he spoke a few words after his meal. Anyway, the brief chat was enough to get an acknowledging smile from him each time he saw me. And once the quote came in the newsletter, he thanked me as he passed my table at the venue (adding mischievously that I had written according to my imagination). It also made him readily agree to a photo together on closing day, holding me in an affectionate hug.