Tuesday 24 January 2017

More than just a voice: Juanita Melson remembered

It's interesting how something can snowball.

So I was working in the newsroom on Sunday night and one of the stories fell through. We had an empty page to fill.

I meekly asked one of the editors whether she knew about Juanita Melson, who had died on Thursday, but it hadn't been reported.

Melson was the voice of the MRT for many years and gave a number of well-known radio DJs a boost early in their careers. (I found out about her death from DJ John Klass's Facebook post.)

I suggested to the editor that we could do a story about Melson to help fill the page.

A reporter was assigned to write the story and it came out yesterday in The New Paper.

Since then, others have picked up the story.

And today, she is on page 1 of The Straits Times.

The paper called her "iconic MRT announcer".

As saddened as I am about her passing, I'm heartened she's getting the public recognition she deserves, albeit posthumously.

And all because a story fell through and a page needed to be filled. It's interesting how something can snowball.

In my Facebook post about her on Saturday, I called her the "original voice of the MRT" to differentiate her from the current voice on the MRT.

But according to the reports, she voiced the MRT annoucements only from 1996 to 2008. The MRT started operating in November 1987. Assuming there were train announcements back then, Melson couldn't have been the "original voice of the MRT".

I apologise for the error.

But of course, Juanita Melson was more than just a voice and I'm fortunate to have met the human being behind the voice.

The "iconic MRT announcer" told me she liked this song: