marcel barang

A fool and his TV are soon parted

In English on 15/05/2010 at 11:55 pm


Back to monitoring the latest craze in town with the old Sony set and its six Thai channels, only two of which (TV Thai and, a distant second, MCOT) offer a creditable coverage of current events, as opposed to the government’s NBT’s noxious and shameless brainwashing and the brainless trash peddled round the clock by the other three and, most hours, by all of them.

The wonderful, 42-inch flat screen brand-new TV set with access to a hundred-plus channels which I got working on Monday and which already failed me on Day 4 (for lack of instructions when the internet sneezes that the guy who set up the satellite connection had to come and show me how and put it down in writing), is now incapacitated until at least Monday.

The fault is entirely mine: this evening, I felt like checking whether I could adjust the format of the picture on the screen and, fool that I am, decided, as I couldn’t find the command on the remote, to reverse to Factory Settings – and got the frozen message ‘Please wait…’

It took me a good half hour of deep thinking to remember that … there were in fact two remotes. I had used the remote for the receiver, not the one for the television set, and in the process erased all settings for the satellite connection.

I just called the technician, a very helpful man, to tell him to enjoy his Sunday if he can while his friends are being gunned down in Ratchaprasong: I’ll do without access to those hundred-plus channels for a day or two as penance for my own crassness.

After all, I’ve done without them for over six decades. And out of that cornucopia, only a very few are worth my attention anyway. I need no dharma channels or royally sponsored education ones and Chic Channel isn’t half titillating enough.

Indeed, I wasted hours on consecutive evenings trying the find a sports channel that might have a minute or two to report on the day’s Giro, cycling being the only sport in my blood since childhood: I hate all other sports and find most of them dead boring. So I was dead bored. Serves me well, I suppose.

I also waited hours trying to generate any of the news broadcasts the charge sheet of TV5 Monde claims are programmed. Instead I was treated last night to a debilitating longish ‘adventure’ story of couples of farangset backpackers on the road to Peking, where just about everything was artificial and childish. At least, this silly drama drew out of me smiles of derision between sighs of exasperation.

Meanwhile, I was thinking ‘Seh Daeng, c’est dingue’. Should I, I wondered, write an ode to that macho fool, whose sudden demise had me envious: I’ve often caught myself thinking I’d bless whoever would shoot me dead and spare me old age and decay and the attending disgust. But then, on second thoughts two days later, the mother is still in a coma, and I wouldn’t wish something like this to delay my parting.

So let’s in the meantime enjoy life and its many oddities.

A moment ago, a typical Thaiglish glitch caught my eye on TV: those busy soldiers were busy hanging onto the barbed wire coils they have liberally uncoiled across many roads in town the warning: LIFE FIRING ZONE. How do you fire a life? This was a hyphen close to a cute witticism; except it was live bullets they were warning about and peddled.

And from The Nation online I get this definite statement on the gist of these life-firing times:

The poster reads: ‘Meet the only new experience you can find in Thailand’.

PS: So caught up have I been lately in the outrage out of doors, without leaving my cell where I beaver away on a book about dogs in between TV shots in the eye, that I failed to notice and duly celebrate on May 12th the thirty-second anniversary of my constant non-immigrant presence on sufferance in Thailand. It took a vegetarian dinner the next day with former bestselling author Christopher New and his wife at their place by the Chao Phraya river to make me aware of it post facto. The same event next year will mark half a lifetime spent in my adoptive country, if I –or Thailand – last that long.


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