Today was the first official working day of the new Malay Mail!
That's because the last two days we had a retreat/gathering/team-building at Port Dickson - and what an activity-filled two days it was. Although it was pretty hectic and tiring, overall, it was pretty fun and interesting, but a bit of information overload!
More on the trip later... It was quite a different sight as I entered the MM newsroom today. Well, almost half the old staff were gone - either left through VSS (Voluntary Separation Scheme) or been transferred to NST. There were some new faces - including some transferred from other departments.
The MM team consists of just about 60 or so of us - including editorial (news, lifestyle, entertainment, sports, subs, artists) as well as photography, marketing, advertisement, circulation etc.. And now we all sit together in one newsroom! Kinda cool and convenient.
The launch date has been delayed again apparently because to fit in some advertisment campaign. Anyway, the trade launch is now been fixed on May 19th, at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The first issue will be Weekend Mail on May 20-21. Yeah, it will be a five-day paper and a weekend paper (in the Edge type of white paper) covering both Saturday and Sunday.
The prices remain the same - ie RM1 for daily and RM1.20 for weekend.
Earlier, I thought I would be able to relax/take it easy these two weeks but this is not the case. We have to produce shadow papers daily from tomorrow and then the deadline for the first issue of the papers is drawing near!
Now, the trip... it was a case of `work hard, play hard'.. or maybe `play harder!' Since we arrived at lunch time on Tuesday, we had a ice-breaker/introduction and briefing by both NSTP and Media Prima bosses. It was already evening, when were divided into groups to be given an presentationt! It was like a mini-skit or performance but each group was given different `assignments'.
So everyone was busy preparing/practising until our BBQ dinner - which we had indoor due to the drizzle. Our group was to sing a P.Ramlee song in Kedahan English, whatever that is! Since I had no idea how to sing it, was given the task with the other girls in my group to do the 60s `agogo' dance. Kinda pathetic the way we danced!
Some group's presentation was utterly hilarious and I almost died from laughing! The men `sacrificed' to show off various part of their anatomy.. One group presented an informercial for body-building - and had their guys stripping off their tops to show off their biceps, abs and backs, and one even pulled down his pants (of course he was wearing his boxers). There was also some crazy skits and a catwalk.
But the most uproarist of them all was the last group. Their given theme was `belly dancing' but itthe dancers were the men! With their shirts all tucked up revealing their bellies (in some cases very round ones), they shamelessly gyrated and swayed their hips, with the `come hither' look in their eyes. Although it was not a pretty sight, but it was totally hilarious and every one laughed so hard.
Must give it to the boys for being so sporting!
We had karaoke - but it was more like a performance as everyone watches you. And of course yours truly lived up to her reputation and was the only female who sang. :p Next was dancing time! Didn't intend to dance at first but then the real hot music - a mix of hip hop, dance, pop and house - was getting infectious and a few of us just danced away, and drank away, till mid night when we celebrated a colleague's birthday.
A cake fight broke up and I quickly escaped.. some of the carzy ones carried on to party away either in or by the pool. Heard a few actually slept only at 4am! I went to bed around 1am..
The next day was a FULL day. We looked at the mock copy of the new paper, and then divided into groups for `building blocks'. We had to rewrite a story and create the whole page as it would appear in the new paper.. then followed by more talks on the production and marketing side of the paper...
My brain was getting quite clouded by late afternoon.. and we finally finished at six-ish, leaving the place in a drizzle and got home past dinner time with my stomach growling..
Indeed through the trip, we all got a much better understanding of the paper and hopefully it had also brought the team closer together. Though not everyone has total confidence in whether the new paper will work, but we are in the same boat and i know everyone will give it a shot..
The optimist in me is finding this quite exciting really.. :)