1992

About Mum

I was born in Davao City, the Philippines in 1962, the second of six children. I grew up in Manila, attending the Jesuit university Ateneo de Manila. I have a degree in Communication because I could not decide whether to become a film-maker or a writer. The decision was taken out of my hands by events leading up to the People Power Revolution of 1986. I was in the right place, at the right time to become a journalist.

Becoming a foreign correspondent 1984 to 1989. My first employer hired me because of my ignorance. The Special Edition was one of the only newspapers set up to oppose dictator Ferdinand Marcos and they needed writers who were not under the influence or the pay of the corrupt regime. The Special Edition out- sold the daily broadsheets because it published what others would not print. I cut my writer’s teeth mocking Imelda Marcos and being teargassed regularly at opposition rallies.

I met my English husband in such a rally a few days before the fall of Marcos. He was one of the 30 or so foreign journalists who arrived in Manila for the People Power revolution with a notebook and left with a bride. It was he who taught me how to become a foreign correspondent and I was soon writing for Asia Magazine (Hong Kong), Newsday (New York), The Toronto Star and The Yorkshire Post. My big scoop was getting into North Korea just before the South Korean Olympics.

London, UK 1989 to 1993. When we moved to London, I did a stint of subbing before becoming the one-woman-bureau of Inter Press Service (IPS), the third world news analysis agency, writing about UK news from a third world perspective, a job that helped me get to grips with UK lifestyle and culture.

I decided to become a stay at home mum in 1993 after the cot death of my second son.

Productive Procrastination, 1993 to today. I write for my three children Nicholas, 12; Jack, nine; and Mia, four– as well as the gaggle of boys and girls in our neighbourhood who sometimes appear to be permanent members of our household. Being a mum has been wonderful. It helps that I really do love children and I love their company.

It is housework I have no love for, and to procrastinate, I get involved in elaborate projects such as editing a pan-European glossy magazine for Filipinos living abroad called Filipinos In London (1984-1986). I have also designed newsletters for our local primary Yerbury School and University College School’s Junior Branch. Indeed, one of my projects is a how-to book on making a photocopied newsletter. I have written several picture book texts, finished one novel for children and am 8,000 words into another. I call it Productive Procrastination.

Candy Gourlay

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