Monday, September 27, 2010

Cable tv killed 1Malaysia

This tear jerker is still talked about in my family,
we sing the theme song's refrain now and then
I'm just gonna put this idea out there that with the advent of cable tv our experience of other ethnic cultures was suddenly very limited. 

Remember when the only thing showing on the telly on a Sunday afternoon was a Hindi movie? My family spent many hours enjoying Hindi and Tamil movies together. Then 7 o'clock swung around and it was Cantonese drama time. Tony Leung crying over Dodo Cheng's comatose body in the hospital. Leon Lai breaking some girl's heart. 

We live in the era of customization and only see and hear the things that we want. We subscribe to the Astro channels that we feel comfortable with, naturally: the Chinese watch NHK, the Indians stick to Vaan, etc. Our only common tv experiences are Star World, ESPN, etc - the English language channels; but even then not all Malaysians watch these.

Meanwhile, the internet which has the ability to provide us with information that is otherwise unobtainable is often used in a way that divides people further and reinforces prejudices:
“The most striking power provided by emerging technologies [is the] growing power of consumers to ‘filter’ what they see.” (Cass R. Sunstein)
"...it’s possible to spend hours surfing without ever entering new waters." (Elizabeth Kolbert writes, in this fabulous New Yorker article)
When I moved to Singapore to study, my teacher told us to write about our childhood for an assignment. I wrote about growing up on Hindi films and she found that hard to believe. At that moment, I was so proud to come from a country where, back then at least, the races shared the same tv shows a lot more. 

Oh well, at least we are still as enthusiastic about each other's food as ever!

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