Friday, December 4, 2009

The Joys Of Asian Cable Television

I watch golf tournaments where none of the players make me feel particularly bad about my own golf game. Nobody makes those magic shots like Phil M. or Tiger, nobody’s putting for eagle, no! There’s lots of, oops! bet you wish you had that one back! Good luck finding that one! and the every popular, put a little too much on that one, didn’t we!

One good thing: I get to watch Japanese war movies glorifying the WWII Japanese soldiers and sailors. They don’t show those in America! I enjoy the old Thai movies too, from the old days, like the Seventies. Boy, if you think Thai people are poor now, just watch these guys and girls follow a buffalo around a wet field. Like grainy old home movies, 16mm probably, lousy sound, natural or available light, but great stories and powerful historical documents.

There’s always lots of fascinating sports that I know nothing about. Rugby, and Rugby League, which I’m given to believe is a completely different thing, and Cricket, what they’re doing out there I have no idea, except that they have some kind of bat, and they’re trying to hit the ball, after that it all goes dark. Aussie Football is a trip, but there’s surprisingly little of that, I wish there were more. Badminton is cool, and there’s always Ping Pong, very entertaining, at least if women are playing.

I get a French channel, TV5 Monde or something. The depressing thing is that after five years in Thailand I can better understand spoken French than spoken Thai, unless the Thai person speaks very slowly and talks about familiar subjects, which never happens on television. And I never studied French, or even particularly cared for the sound of it, and I have only my fabulous English vocabulary and two years of high school Latin to assist me, but honestly French has a familiar ring to it now, after five years of listening to Asian languages, and Spanish is positively homey, I wish I had a channel for that.

I thank God on a regular basis, and take it as proof of a benevolent God, that I do not get Fox News. I sometimes stay at hotels that have Fox News, and even limited exposure threatens my health.

CNN Asia is full of local news, China and so forth, and mercifully short of the details of American politics, although I do enjoy Larry King sometimes. The BBC is erudite and somewhat droll, but not always to my taste, me being a tattooed OG hooligan and all, and knowing nothing about the British system of chartered accountancy.

Thai television is full of soap operas, too many to count and difficult to distinguish from one another. Everybody is rich, everybody is beautiful, everybody is either very, very good or very, very bad. In other words, they’re a lot like American soap operas, except that there’s like fifty of them, and they’re on all day and all night. (A couple of them are Korean, probably the same ones that are on in Los Angeles.) Thai news programs cannot really tell you anything, this is Asia, they could be sued for libel if they told you anything. There’s a show like “The View,” with four beautiful Thai women who get very serious about whatever it is that they’re talking about, you couldn’t tell by me. There’s an entire channel dedicated to the Royal Family, and they are kept busy detailing the day’s appearances and dedications, and the health of the King, whom I love, ask me about it some time. There’s a channel for the Red Shirts, and a Channel for the Yellow Shirts, those are fun, monochromatic fun, polarized politics at it’s color-coded finest, makes me feel right at home.

My own cable is pretty good for movies, all things considered. It’s HBO and their etceteras, and I also have MGM and Turner Classic Movies. There are lots of lesser movie channels in Asia, and I see them when I travel, and you can’t believe the movies that they dig up to fill their schedules. Fifteen minutes of who-done-what-and-ran six years ago is enough to make me thank my lucky stars.

All of this treasure cost me over two thousand Baht a month, about sixty dollars, which is a lot of money to me, and a fortune to most Thais, but without it I’d be back to watching VCD’s dubbed in Thai because real DVD’s in English are too expensive. So it’s all good.

No comments: