It’s the last day of the work year, and for someone who…
..for someone who isn’t allowed to take photos in many of my workplaces, I’ve done okay in accumulating enough to compile this photographic review of 2012 in the life of an international court reporter, AND crash our downloads while I upload them.
Messiest courtroom of the year: UNICEF arbitration. Have a look at this joint. I know they have the weight of a coalition of nations’ hopes for peace and advancement on their collective shoulders, but come on. Tidy desk, tidy world!
Stamps in the passport:
Korea. Liveblogging all of the pickles. And this was actually in Gangnam!
Japan. Good morning, Osaka!
Also, eating all of the pickles.
Singapore. Paintswatch building* (*Sir Paintswatch, an early administrator who came over on the ship with Governor Raffles).
Best things that happened when I got a LightSpeed:
Cross-legged steno thugging!
Handbag steno thugging!
The thing is flat and looks good!
But unfortunately, the worst thing – it had too many untrustworthy technical problems, and now the closest I come to using it at work is appropriating its tripod for a small handy desk. Therefore, most expensive (US$3,200) StableTable in the world in 2012:
But shit it’s handy.
Best Post-it seen in the public gallery:
Biggest regret: not buying a can of “THE PUNGENCY” because I didn’t know how to work yens.
Emotion experienced daily in peak hour at North Point MTR station: a unique mixture of claustrophobic panic and expat rage.
Court building failsigns:
(Danger – Emergency Door. Entrance With Promise.)
(ENERGY SAVING: Always keep window closed.)
(The window is open. That’s both funny AND energy wasting).
(Strictly Prohibited – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc.)
Most star- and nerve-studded event: live-captioning the annual Asian Film Awards to the big screens.
Pairs of glasses purchased: 2, in the styles of…
(a) Buddy Holly
and (b) Sarah Palin.
The thing is, I CAN almost see Russia from here.
Great shots taken from the International Arbitration Centre:
The High Court. It’s the lack of natural light that’s really motivating. Or is it the all-encompassing pine. Like being smothered by a pillow made out of a 1980s holiday cabin.
Kids raised all the while: 6
Number of lunchbreaks: about eight, including this one in Statue Square.
Most to-the-point sign seen in outside-court protests (see point C – right on!):
Chair from hell:
“Sat” in this thing for a four-week arbitration mid-year. It had a max loading of about 40kg so I kind of hovered above it, squat-toilet styles, for the entire case. Super unrecommended by occupational therapists.
Amazing shots taken from depositions:
Percentage of afternoons I’ve had to resort to Diet Coke: at least 90.
Best school holiday activity:
(also, biggest inkjet fail).
There are two possibilities here. Either he will become the youngest ever steno, and I will be feted as a revolutionary educationalist; or he will become completely confused about phonics, forget how to read and write, and my husband will never talk to me again. Swings and roundabouts. Or should I say SWEUPBG/Z/SKP/ROUPBD/U/PWOUTS.
The little one wasn’t interested at all. In fact she was scared. Is it because this machine is four times as old as her?
Or maybe she’s just got her heart set on becoming the cutest arbitrator in the world.
Amount of mornings at Starbucks or Pacific Coffee: all.
What it’s all about. Two weeks of flat-out research and stroking equals this rather disappointing pair of binders.
Best/handsomest (and free!) tech guy. Also good for nightly debriefing and cooking of wheat pasta and growing basil to put on the pasta. Also, my love.
Trying, and failing, to incorporate more briefs.
Doesn’t really matter though. Accuracy AND a ridiculously high (“inefficient”) stroke count – the best of 50% of the worlds!
Most civilised being waiting for the minibus to work: this cow (far left).
Most pronounced facility disappointment: witness (“lunch”) room in the District Court.
Best facility surprise! Lunch room at an ongoing inquiry. This thing is fully occupied every day by Kim, me and our seven imaginary friends.
Just outside the door is a couch we’re probably going to push in early in the new year. Out of shot we also have some shelves. Every day we’re going to bring in one thing, like a kettle, a microwave, a bar fridge, sets of bedding, a TV. The Department of Justice is gonna open the door at the end of the hearing and be like “Er why is this break-out room a fully self-contained apartment?” This is what happens when you don’t usually have an office or anywhere to eat your lunch. You get a taste of what it would be like, and you’re browsing the IKEA catalogue for reasonably priced floor lamps.
Best law firm advertising.
Best time of the travelling reporter’s day: eating room service in the bath while reading a book, obviously. Second-best: Skyping with the two loveliest bozos in the world.
My last job of the year has turned out to be the biggest: Commission of Inquiry into the Collision of Vessels near Lamma Island on 1 October 2012. As well as being the most emotionally fraught, it also involves the largest number of witnesses, a 1,200-word job dictionary after just seven days of hearings, getting relentlessly photog-ed every morning by the newspapers, and the steepest incline to get to a workplace.
Which is basically the opposite of what you want when you’re about to get papped by the entire Chinese media.
This is the job that makes you ring up and check on your husband and kids three times a day, and keep tissues under your keyboard. I feel nothing but honoured to be covering this inquiry. Our transcripts are up every night at 7pm on the Commission’s website for interested Hongkongers. I’ll be there until the end of March and I fully expect my PB to drastically improve by at least 5%. I’m fit like that. (Pretty much exactly like that.)
2013, what you got?