Post-interview epilogue

By TAY TIAN YAN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily

To many Chinese Malaysians, Khairy Jamaluddin does not seem to command a good image or respectable popularity. Many seem to grumble mentioning his name.

To interview a person like this would require me to get psychologically prepared. If it is not properly handled, the readers may think we have compromised on our stand, or just try to please the person we interview.

Nevertheless, where journalism is concerned, anything that fetches some journalistic value, creates impact on our society (positive or otherwise), or triggers the interest of readers, must be pursued, interviewed, and comprehended.

This is part of the functionality of journalism: to provide the information the readers want so that they are better equipped to pass their own judgements.

Of course, journalists must also have sobre minds, rationality and independent thinking, as well as the ability to accurately and professionally express and handle the issue in question, instead of being dragged along in the nose.

Especially a smart politician like Khairy Jamaluddin, who is always prepared to show his best side.

This is a kind of political marketing which Khairy is well accustomed to, and will perform at his utmost.

"An outstanding interview is not about what the interviewee has said, but what the reporter has asked.

From the professional perspectives, we must not elate Khairy, nor take the opportunity to demonise him. We must restore his nature, explore him, and make him show his true self.

Techniques and preparatory works are of utmost importance in this respect.

A senior journalist who won a Pulitzer once said, an outstanding interview is not about what the interviewee has said, but what the reporter has asked.

A tactfully posted question makes it impossible for the interviewee to evade or be pretentious. No matter how he bends his angle, he will not escape from the readers' scope of vision.

So, when talking with Khairy, we got our focus right and cited actual instances and then pursued what we want. We tried not to let him obscure our focus, and got him to speak from his heart.

That is why we have recorded the entire process in a Q&A format.

While reading Khairy's replies, the readers should also carefully study the purpose of we forwarding the questions.

We told him very frankly that everyone remembered his past, and how others thought of him. Perhaps this has made him somewhat unhappy, but those were the facts, and he has to be accounted for what he has done.

As for whether he really wants to change, we have yet to see from the following two aspects:

Firstly, he used to think of ascending to the top by some short cut. The power has come to him too soon and somewhat blurred his vision. The key now lies in whether he has learned a lesson and would revert back to the normal growth chart.

Secondly, if the macroscopic political environment develops healthily, the people will reject opportunistic and radical politicians. This will bring these young politicians back to the right track. Otherwise, they will just change their colours again.