I should have known that buying a good camera would make me the official cameraman, just as if expensive equipment gives skill. Of course, since I have the best camera of all the Senior Couples and all the young missionaries that I know of, I volunteered to take the pictures for the Zone meetings and senior couple arrivals and departures. Every now and then, I have been asked to take pictures at some special function, such as when a dignitary visits and has a meeting.
So, it happened again. About two weeks ago, Sister Kohl asked me to accompany them to the LDSC Ceremony on Wheelchair Distribution to Persons with Disabilities by Latter-Day Saint Charities. Her intent was to have me take photographs of the dignitaries as they interacted with the disabled Khmer who received the wheelchairs. She was asked to send pictures of the event to her supervisors in Hong Kong that might be used in some future church publication.
This morning when Julia and I were picked up to attend the ceremony, Elder Kohl handed me a paper that listed the visiting dignitaries along with the text of his talk where my name was listed as “Mr. Robbin Tuck Family History Office, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. I should say that my name was almost listed because they added an extra ‘b’ to my name, probably caused by Robbin Henderson having been the previous LDSC Missionary. It was too late to complain so we simply moved forward as if my name had two ‘b’s in it. But, having my name listed meant I was a dignitary and had a special seat reserved for me on the stand. Fortunately, I wasn’t special enough to have to give a talk.
So I sat on the stand, stood when my name and title were read and listened attentively as the speeches were delivered. After ten minutes of Khmer that I did not understand, listening attentively became most difficult. But I did fulfill my assignment by taking pictures before and after the ceremony. Sareth, the Kohl’s driver took several pictures during the ceremony, so we had complete coverage.
The real visiting dignitary was H.E Sem Sokha, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation. As he spoke, I gather he departed from his prepared notes to give a political message on behalf of the ruling party, because he stopped looking down at his notes and waved his hands a bit. (I think “H.E” means “His Excellency”.)
Following the Ceremony, we followed H.E Sem Sokha into the factories that actually build the wheelchairs that are given out, which provided several opportunities for photo ops.
This wasn’t something I would have ever imagined doing when starting the mission.