Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Tube


I flicked through the channels from one to the next. Each press of the button on the remote brought with it further groans, internally at least. None of this is truly getting my interest. Somehow it feels like the more we have, the less we have. A reification of paradox more concrete by the day.

I catch a quick flick of Hugh Jackman, though. This is good, I thought to myself. I always have time for the Jack Man, and I always have time for X-Men. I am eager awaiting the next installment, which is already released as it is. Days of Future Past seems to be an interesting combination of many of the best things from the X-Men films.

He was being interviewed by Jaymee Ong. She's a lovely looking girl, and host of the show Ebuzz. Recently, Jackman and a few of the others stars of the show made their way down to Singapore for the film's premiere, and she managed to snare the job of chatting with them about the film.

The conversation ambled on comfortably enough, with a few witty remarks exchanged here and there. That's to be expected, though, since the majority of these film stars have learned to do these things very well (though probably none as well as Mila Kunis saying she'll go to a Watford football match. That was golden).

Peter Dinklage was up next, and a similar process was repeated. The third interview was most interesting, though, for it was with Fan Bingbing, the Chinese actress. I immediately watched with greater interest, the hair at the back of my neck metaphorically standing.

She asked the question in English, and Fan responded in Mandarin (possibly; my brain can't really tell apart the differences as accurately as I really want to). The next moment was interesting, for it was a reaction shot of Jaymee, and though she was still smiling, she seemed incredibly uncomfortable. I don't know what she was thinking at the time, but I'd hazard a guess she thought about how she probably should have picked up a language a lot closer to home.

I wondered whether she was brought up somewhere overseas or something, or maybe she was simply surrounded by non-native languages that helped code her understanding the world. Simply put, if you're going to be surrounded by English or by Mandarin or by Bahasa Malaysia…what are you going to do?

The pie, however, was completely splattered on my face after the event, as I Googled a little more to find out about her. As it turns out, she was born and bred in Australia, before moving to Singapore to find fame and fortune (so to speak; I've never heard of her). As such, it is reasonable to expect her to not know Mandarin or any of the other Chinese dialects.

This, then, is the lesson. It is incredibly difficult to judge someone based on what we may or may not think their race is or is not. It happens almost naturally, perhaps a lot more than it should do, but it does happen. In many respects, there is nothing wrong with judging in that regard, but we should realise that such impressions and judgments should also be highly contextualised and fluid.

The tube, then, is probably what I should get. Being without television for a long time has changed my viewing habits, ensuring that while I paradoxically watch more television shows, I was watching only the things that I wanted or needed to watch (some for fun, some for work). My ability to recast my own thoughts and ideals about modern day society is therefore more limited than before, cutting off a lot of the potential food for thought at its source. For example, I am no fan of such celebrity-driven channels or shows, but every once in a while, getting a peek into something we are not all that familiar with may help to broaden our horizons.

The broadening of horizons. There are many different ways of doing that. One can be by way of shifting into new positions, taking up new perspectives on the same thing. Another is to go beyond, to travel into the unknown; our scope may still be identical, but, aimed as it were in new directions, we're looking at new things. Probably the best thing to do is both, or perhaps there is a fourth, more nuclear option as yet unconsidered.

Things change. Perspectives change. People change. Times change. The television, the tube that helps to reify, solidify and deify certain perceptions into strong and concrete stereotypes, may yet be our savior in that regard.

Anyways, sorry Jaymee.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Possibly the worst blog I have ever read. I know Jaymee personally so I have the right to correct you and say her father is Chinese and her mum is Australian. She does speak many languages other than English and even has a young daughter who speaks English and Mandarin. Why would you spend so much time and be so concerned about a facial expression? You've just written a bunch of crap judging someone who you don't even know based on the way you read an expression. Pathetic

Fikri said...

"You've just written a bunch of crap judging someone who you don't even know based on the way you read an expression. Pathetic" We all do that to a certain extent, don't we? :) Thanks for reading and backing up my points!

Sarah James said...

Well said. This blog sounds like it was written by a judgmental idiot. Jaymee is a beautiful and intelligent woman.

Sarah James said...

This blogger is a judgmental idiot. Jaymee is a beautiful, intelligent and successful woman and shouldn't be judged on a facial expression.

Sarah James said...

Well said. This blog sounds like it was written by a judgmental idiot. Jaymee is a beautiful and intelligent woman.

Fikri said...

Hi Sarah,

I fear your comment and its tone suggests that you might have missed the point of my post. Perhaps you might want to read it again, because what you're saying proves my points exactly.

Anyways, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. :)

Hamo said...

Thoughts of Wisdom my arse. Worse than the Architect in the Matrix 2. Convoluted, pretentious and incredibly pointless.

Fikri said...

I can't be responsible for your inability to follow the argument and comprehend the points presented, Hamo. However, I'd be more than happy to clarify and discuss whatever issues you may have with my writing, if you are able and willing to express them. :)