Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Everyday People
Throughout my life and partly due to the nature of journalism, I've seemingly been a magnet for nutzoids and the downtrodden, as well as downtrodden nutzoids, and this week has been no exception.

Where to start? Maybe with the phone calls from readers who see my byline and say "Justin Mitchell ... Hmm... If I rearrange the letters it spells: Justice Nth Mill or Lunchtimes Jilt or Lichen Jilt Smut. I'll call him for Justice, Lunch or to see if he can help me Jilt that Smutty Lichen who has been making my life unbearable."

No. 1 was a Filipina named Wilma who called to say that her diplomat fiance has been beating her and forging diplomatic relations with women other than her. I asked her if she'd filed a police report and if she needed a phone number of a shelter for battered Filipinas and Indonesians. No, she hadn't. She wanted me to write a story. No, wait. She didn't want a story. She just wanted to talk. Her ex-husband, a former editor at The Other English Language Paper, had advised her not to go to the press. On the other hand...So it went. I adopted my best crisis counselor voice but lost heart after she told me she still "loved" her assailant and hoped they would reconcile.

No. 2 was an email from a Texan in Guangzhou. She's a teacher at an international school who says her "human rights have been violated" becauase she wasn't paid her holiday wages for the summer of 2005. She has contacted her senator, as well as the State Department, the US counsulate about this outrage and now she was hoping that I would expose it. I begged off politely but she's persistent. The last e-mail I received suggests a covert lunch in Hong Kong with the promise that she has "shocking" details of corruption and scandal at the school. She can't tell me more via e-mail, however, because a "mysterious virus" that she believes was "injected" into her hard drive by "persons unknown" is forwarding all her e-mails to "covert agents who wish to destroy her."

Then there's the New Zealand guy who has been sending me fragmentary e-mails from Yangshuo that read in part: "we have had other spiritual action to remove the demons from the hotel."
I was wondering where your newspaper got its stories from. Whatever happened to the fine old journalism tradition of getting drunk and making it all up?
Would that I could. Would that I was at the moment...
I'm still waiting to see my emails on that list...
Waitaminit! There's corruption in China?

I think I met the Texan twice when she was in Shenzhen. I must say, we got along famously. Don't worry, she can take care of herself.
u r a tabloid writer after all.
Hu JinTao and George W Bush are alien twins working on behalf of a galactic covert intel organization.
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