Every two weeks, Tuesday deadline night was often long, torturous and sleepless.
Somehow, it also seemed like a family reunion, with pizzas or Indian curry, daal,
chapatis and yogurt available for everyone.
After the meal, I would crash on torn-up pillows on the rattan couch. Hungry mosquitoes
would take turns biting me while I was waiting for Venerable Matt Grainger and Jason
Barber to edit my copy.
Matt and Jason would retreat to their respective computers with a bottle of Red Bull
or M-150-the sickly-sweet, caffeine-rich Thai drinks-and a glass of ice each by their
sides. I called the stuff 'brain-stoppers' for their power to keep you awake while
your brain was already literally switched off. I really don't how it worked for those
two Kiwis, but they needed the juice to power themselves up so they could go through
the night and finish the paper. Packs of Marlboro Lights were also always on hand.
Damn, the power is off! Daung, the guard, rushes to turn on the generator in the
back yard. And here comes the blaring noise. I hated it so much.
Then we would disperse in the morning exhausted, leaving behind ashtrays full of
cigarette butts for Phean, the maid, to look after. At home, my clothes and hair
often needed a super wash in order to get rid of the cigarette smell.
But we would come back fresh to start a new edition, with solid stories ready to
shake the Kingdom. Then we would go back again to that Tuesday night, which became
a vivid icon in my countless memories during my four-and-a-half years at the Phnom
Penh Post. It's there where I learned to shape my career.
Tuesday deadline night was a cycle of resilience on which the Post has been built
to rise to its eminence today. Just keep up the good work!
Munthit was a reporter from Nov 1992 through Apr 1997. He now works with the
Associated Press in Phnom Penh.