by Hanz E. Pramana

IT’s a great experience to watch how an old timer carrying out his job works. The person concerned is James Ritchie, a 68 years old veteran reporter from The New Sarawak Tribune in Kuching, Sarawak.
Joining me in the learning experience is my old colleague Deo, who is journalist of a newspaper with economic issues based in Jakarta the capital city of Indonesia. We accompanied Uncle James around Kota Pontianak on motorcycles so that he can feel the heart beat of the largest city in the island of Borneo.
But James, wearing black singlet, slippers, waist pouch and shorts, was in the best of health.
What is the difference between you and the new set of journalist? James said, that you have to be down to earth and be close to the grass roots to be able to communicate with the people so that they will trust you and give you a good story.

In this modern era, he still uses a ballpoint and piece of paper to write his notes, has two old little digital camera (when the young use digital long shoot camera), and he also uses an old monochrome hand phone that only can send SMSs and phone calls. His list of contacts is written on old brown envelope.
“I don’t use the smart phone,” James told me with smile.
We start our exploring by visiting Flamboyan Traditional Market. This place is not far from the hotel. James in his typical style, would stop, take pictures and chat with the people. Deo record that moment by his expensive smart phone.
We continue our trip by visiting The Seng Hie port which according to the legend was visited by the famous Chinese traveler Admiral Cheng Ho. We met two persons, Bujang and Usman at the “kedai kopi” (coffee shop) beside the port. We learnt about the history of the port and how the “kapal layar” boats build during the Dutch regime ear now fitted with engines.

Near the port is an old Catholic church—Gembala Baik—which was built in 1932 by missionaries from Holland. We met Father Leonard Nojo, who gave us a tour of the church and the premises.
We then visited the replica of “Rumah Betang”—a place where the Dayak of Kalimantan ones met annually to celebrate the Gawai “Naik Dango” in April. Currently the “Naik Dango” celebration is held at the “Rumah Radakng” not far away.
Together with James--a multicultural man--we ate from the same plate of rice and shared a bowl of ”sup babui”, showing that all three of us represented a group of journalist from two countries who are able to share our experiences, for the good of all reporters.
Not a daily routine for Deo and me but so precious and experience!

Pontianak, August 2017