December 8, 2009

The Art of Interviews

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 11:10 am

As i was conducting my routine exploration of the inter-web in the office today, i stumbled upon this video. An interview with M. Ravi, a human rights lawyer who most recently, managed to obtain a stay of execution for this boy. Look past the torrid English and woeful presentation and interview skills of Mr Chia Ti Lik and listen to Mr Ravi.

As interested and concerned as I am with the state of politics and the justice system in Singapore, I must say, I’m not convinced. Not because the message wasn’t strong. I’m not convinced because of the way the video was filmed, the questions were posed, and the manner at which the conversation was carried out.

Compare that interview with this one between FEER and the legendary J B Jeyaratnam, whom i miss dearly. The first major difference is J B himself. No one could ever come close to J B when it comes to passion, conviction and charisma. Not your fault Ravi.

Second difference is that FEER’s interviewer did a better job. I cannot, for the life of me, stand to listen to the American accent (it doesn’t sound serious at all), but he was confident, well-prepared and always on hand to launch spontaneous questions. Mr Chia, whom, make no mistake, is quite a remarkable individual, sounds and looks like he’s reading off the script. Interviews are excellent tools, and for them to work most effectively, they have to be carried out extremely well. From a neutral standpoint, Chia’s interview with Ravi is poor, unimpressive, and I dare say that even people who are politically aware will be bummed to have wasted almost 10 minutes of their time.

J B’s interview however, and I may be slightly biased, was captivating. Especially at 2:19, “… and that’s why Jeyaratnam has to be destroyed”, and he flashes that smile. I watched this 8 minute video twice. J B’s knowledge and presentation is flawless, and the interviewer does a great job of keeping the conversation flowing. It may have that same, low-paced flow to it. But the content is what’s really worth noting.

Still,  I applaud Mr Chia for his efforts, past, present and future, and Mr Ravi for his stance on human rights and his work. Both of them are incredible human beings who will prove to be instrumental in the shaping of our nati… count… cit….. island state. For now, I await the final verdict on Vui Kong’s (the boy mentioned above) case, which should be going on now. Will the legal system once again prove itself to be what it is; clumsy, cruel, and completely void of reasoning, or will Anti-Death Penalty Campaigners get what they want?


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