Reporters on the Job

HIGH TEA OR RUGBy?: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf says his own personal highlight of the India-Pakistan summit (this page), was talking his way into an exclusive "high tea" party held Saturday night at the home of the Pakistani high commissioner in New Delhi. But this was no mere tea party. It was the place where the Pakistani president would meet with Kashmiri separatist leaders, the so-called All Parties Hurriyat Conference,along with members of Indian high society. But the presence of the news media turned the tea party into "something closer to a rugby scrum, with President Musharraf serving as the ball," says Scott.

After holding private talks with Kashmiri leaders, Musharraf entered the party surrounded by three rings of burly security men, linked arm in arm. This circle was surrounded by journalists holding television cameras, boom microphones, and notepads. "As the media swarm circled, elbowed, and shoved its way around the room, elegant ladies in gold-edged saris scattered with their plates of vegetarian canapes, and a gorgeous eight-foot floral arrangement of orchids shuddered violently and then crashed to the ground. Poor Mrs. Musharraf got the wind knocked out of her and had to be carried from the room," says Scott. "It's all rather exciting to watch," quipped one retired Indian general. "Is this what you people do all day?"

HOSTED BY A TALK SHOW HOST: Shai Oster was surprised when he first met radio talk-show host Hu Xiaomei (page 7). "She picked us up in a gold Honda. Not many people have cars in China," he says. As they were driving around, she got a phone call from a friend who had just left her husband. "Hu's voice dropped an octave or two as she consoled her friend. It was the same voice and demeanor she uses on the air," he says. But Shai didn't spend much time admiring her technique. "I was more worried about whether we were going to crash, as she kept driving and counseling at the same time."

- David Clark Scott

World Editor

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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