Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A 'Date' With A Cosmonaut-In-Waiting

I met Major Dr. Faiz Khaleed two times for his story. The first time was at his office in Putrajaya and the photo shoot subsequently took place at the park in KLCC.

This is one chap who really knows how to live life! He is the happiest person I have come across. Attribute it to youth, to a life unfetterred by the shackles of commitment, credit it to his very playful nature....I could go on and on. But nuff said, I was reenergised with the positive vibes emanating from his aura!

For this story, I did a walk and talk session with him. From his office, we drove over to Alamanda and talked about what he liked to do on his off days as we strolled by the shops. This method of interviewing is a test of one's memory and strictly not recommended if you're covering something that is out of your field. In this case, I could do this with Faiz because I was familiar with his topics of interests, namely video games, movies and other fun stuff.

The method to employ here is to treat the whole session like a date, to throw away the nerves and to just go with the flow. Play a little, make room for grave topics but time them well. Use your eyes to gage the subject's reactions to the 'sensitive' questions and try never to reach for your pen and notebook because it will break the subject's rhythm.

Mentally, this is a restful way to go about a story because it doesn't feel like work.

It was Faiz's personality that made it work so well. He was very obliging, very himself (he even had time to flirt with a group of blondes at the next table!) and extremely flexible.

Herein, I must mention that this innocent-looking boy-next-door has enough mischief in him to create mayhem!

He deftly maneuvered us to Secret Recipe, constantly tempted me into biting into his cheese cake (I didn't yield), made assurances that a once in a while indulgence was fine and repeatedly chastised me for not eating.

"What? You don't eat? Awww..." he constantly went.

Anyway, wait till he gets to turn 37. Let's see if he still has the appetite of a horse then.