Reporters on the Job

Serenaded on the Job: Staff writer Scott Baldauf first heard about the UN program to polish the business skills of Indonesian women who are tsunami survivors at a press conference. A few days later he followed up with a visit to their classroom in Banda Aceh (page 4). "It turned out to be the first day of class and they seemed excited to have 'the media' - me - in attendance. I don't know if they do such things every day, but about half way through the afternoon the teacher announced, 'let's take a break and sing to our guest.' "

At that point, the women stood and unabashedly sang two or three folk songs to Scott, who was surprised and a little embarrassed to suddenly be the center of attention. "It's not what I'm used to when I'm in an Islamic culture. Most of my reporting experience has been in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where music is considered un-Islamic because it takes your mind off of God," he says. "But their voices were lovely. A gal close to me was harmonizing. Clearly, this was not unusual for them. It felt as normal as entering a Southern Baptist church, where singing is part of the tradition."

He adds, "It is the first time I've ever been sung to while reporting a story."

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David Clark Scott
World editor

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