Year in career: 2012

It’s the last day of the work year, and for someone who…

sorry, WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

..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.

WHOOOO!!!!!!!!

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:
Philippines.  Jeepney!

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

(JOKES)

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?

31 Comments

Filed under steno

31 responses to “Year in career: 2012

  1. Jenny

    Didn’t know your transcripts were up on website every night – that’s fab, government transparency at its best! I will try to sample The Pungency on my holiday to Japan in Feb, and try to smuggle you a can ;-)

  2. Kim and I got a shock too when we found out on about day 3 ;)
    You must try The Pungency and report back! I can’t even imagine what the flavour would be. Pungent obviously. Pungent sweaty sock?

  3. Meridith C

    I’m currently in school to do what you do. Well, maybe not around the world. ;)
    It was absolutely thrilling to read your blog, inspiring to see your stats, and amazingly entertaining. Nice to know that if you decide to retire, you can become the next Erma Bombeck.
    Keep on making us look great out there! We need more like you.

    • Meridith, that’s really about the nicest comment in the history of this blog :) And I’m so excited to find out about Erma Bombeck. Had only heard of the name, had no idea what she did. Man I hope I can become her one day! She made bank! ;)
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Good luck with school! Feel free to PM me anytime with steno questions!

  4. You sure have some hard office desk chairs! Looks intolerable for 7 hrs. per day, etc. Does your job require any bilingual fluency in English & Chinese?

    I was a law librarian for over 8 yrs. of my career, with several years at Ontario courts — High Court (Court of Appeal) and others. Court cases do highlight sometimes the worst of humans, the tragic or just sad.

    • Hi Jean. There isn’t a bilingual requirement because the hearings are still in English (though often many witnesses require interpreters). I am about halfway to Cantonese fluency though and it really does help have a better understanding what everyone’s talking about during the breaks, and clarifying interpretations etc. Yes, you can get the best, worst, most exciting and definitely most boring in court :)

  5. Bee

    Wow! What an awesome year in review in pics! Some of those signs were certainly interesting, like the Emergency Door Entrance with Promise. Promise of…rescue? And maybe this is a stupid question, but they don’t really allow cows on buses. Right?

    • I think “Entrance with promise” is a mistranslation of “permission”. It’s a magical translation error :)
      I guess if a cow actually tried to get on a bus, the driver would just let her on for incredible ingenuity. I’d like to think so.

  6. Wow.
    I remember being on your blog before, when you wrote about learning Cantonese. I was already impressed then, but to be honest, I had not taken the time to read all of the “about me” then…
    Anyway, wow.
    What an interesting and amazing job. How do you do it all?
    It also brought back memories of what I wanted to be when I grow up ;)
    I was totally set on becoming a translator in the European Parliament in Brussels, but my parents were totally against it, so it never happened (long story).
    All the best to you and your family in the New Year! I’m sure it’ll be ass-kicking for you!

    • Hi Kerstin. Thanks for the nice comment :) Yes, it’s an interesting an amazing job and I LOVE IT! I also want to be an interpreter one day. So I totally understand your dream of working in Brussels. How could your parents have objected to that? What an awesome job!
      Anyway, all the best to you and yours too :)

  7. Love the year in review! Your job sounds like it has some very cool perks, though maybe it’s just the fact that you live somewhere very exotic to me. Not being able to sit properly on a chair for an entire day is completely insane…but I bet you have quads of steel!

    • Alas, TriGirl, I don’t have quads of steel at all! They were constantly a-tremble during that job. Unfortunately any enforced weight-bearing exercise accidentally involved in my work is cancelled out by the millions of Coke products consumed during said work. Ah well.

  8. This was so interesting – thanks for sharing your work year.

  9. The Sarah Palin joke make me laugh out loud! :) What a busy year you have had!!

  10. How fascinating. I love hearing details about jobs and lifestyles I don’t know much about. Very cool that you get to travel like you do. I am also fascinated with that machine! I always wondered how in the world those things work. Very nice retrospective :) Oh, and you have a gorgeous family!

    • They are a nifty little gadget! Basically it’s based on phonetics. Instead of spelling things out, you “stroke” (any number of fingers being used at the same time, like chords on a piano) the sounds you hear. It’s complicated. I love it :)
      Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas!

  11. Seriously. I am so impressed that you did all this AND raised six kids. Amazing! And I vote for the Buddy Holly glasses. :)

    • Oh Angela, I love that you really think I raised six kids. Only two of them are mine. The other four are the daughters of our “domestic helper” (live-in maid), who were staying with us for six weeks earlier this year. So now you see now only did my husband and I only raise TWO kids, we did it with a live-in maid. We have more adults in our house than kids. And I assure you it’s still a pigsty and we eat macaroni out of a box many times a week. “Success”! ;)

  12. This is such a cool post. Love seeing all the places you have been over the year. Also, I love the Buddy Holly glasses. Definitely an awesome look for you.

  13. Thanks for sharing all of the photos! One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to actually get my passport. Your post has reinforced my goal ;)

  14. iasoupmama

    Such a cool way to sum up a year! I love it!

  15. Wonder why I hadn’t been seeing any blogs and just realised that I’ve become unsubscribed. It was great catching up with your year in review. I’m going to try to take more “interesting” pictures this year also. That shall be my resolution (that’s an easy one!) I’m well on my way to losing weight (down 38 lbs currently) and I’ve quit smoking already, so a resolution to take more pics seems not too onerous! Hopefully I’ll get to see you in person in 2013.

    • Hi Lisa,
      Another reason could be that I basically wrote about two posts in the last few months of the year ;)
      Interesting photos is an easy resolution! Do it! By the way, down 38 POUNDS? That is unreal!!!!!
      Yes, looking forward to hopefully seeing you soon.

  16. Pingback: Reporting in India | Jadeluxe

  17. Pingback: Year in Career: 2013 | Jadeluxe

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