One of the reasons I ended up in Trinidad was because, while I was working as an audience researcher at the UK Guardian, an e-mail arrived in my inbox one day from an irate anthropology lecturer, t
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Goodbye, old friend
It was with a heavy heart that I wrote this column. The week began with the gut-wrenching news that an old friend and my closest colleague in the media, Bisoondath Rampersad, had passed away. To everyone he was known simply as “Ram.”
When I began my media career at what was then Trinidad and Tobago Television in 1991 he was the first person I interacted with. Ram was there as I sat dumbly in front of the editing machines, not having a clue about what to do with them. Most new employees were treated with suspicion or disdain by more experienced staffers. Ram, however, saw me treading deep water and volunteered to help me make sense of this completely unfamiliar technology.
This was the beginning of a partnership and friendship that would endure for many years. We were paired up on every manner of assignment. Were it not for Ram I would have floundered hopelessly in this new, hostile world of broadcast journalism.
Always willing to impart lessons plucked from his quiver of vast experience, I still recall one incident where I thought his advice was peculiar if not foolish and was immediately punished for my scepticism. Ram warned anyone with ears to hear: “When you go on assignment, don’t eat de people food.”