Hong Kong TV is rubbish

27 Jun

tv setI sometimes catch myself longing for the good old days. I know everyone does but it always comes as a bit of a surprise as I was adamant at the time I bloody hated it. The days when Geordies formed the creative heart of our nearly teams in Italia 90 and Euro 96; when summers in the garden lasted forever; when tea was always on the table when you got back from school; and, quite frankly, when life was something that would probably take shape once all the laughing had finally stopped…

Back then I watched an inordinate amount of telly, due in no small part to there being no internet, and therefore no internet porn, available, and the remembrance of TV shows is usually all it takes to kick-start another nostalgia fest. I especially loved the public service adverts of the 70s and early 80s.

As Charlie Brooker has pretty much dissected these to within an inch of their lives I won’t revisit old ground, suffice as to say these sometimes sinister, sometimes hilarious pieces of inter-programme fluff were the backdrop to my early yoof. They have pretty much disappeared from our screens in the UK, aside from the odd warning on Scotch TV about indulging in too much offal, heroin and Buckfast, but the same is most definitely not true in Hong Kong.

Now I hate to use the term ‘Nanny State’, but the public service adds here do a disservice to the intelligence of the public. I cannot imagine, for example, why one should need reminding about leaking air conditioning units, illegal ‘temporary structures’, the dangers of letting your kids watch TV unaccompanied by an adult, or why everyone should THINK TWICE before “authorising others to handle their London gold account”. Even an ad warning of the dangers of ketamine – possibly valid – ends up straying into hilarity as the kids who takes the evil horse tranquiliser is depicted wetting himself on a merry-go-round. Brilliant.

Other broadcasting gems include one ad purporting to show parents the right way to pay for their child’s education – ie not to a dodgy looking geezer claiming to represent a school you’ve never heard of and carrying a bag marked ‘swag’. Or how about that old classic, unlicensed columbaria fraudsters? Yes, apparently part-time crims are lying in wait at your local cemetery to sell you plots to place your dear departed’s ashes which are not theirs to sell. Seriously. There is a TV ad for this!

Being as I have the cheapest TV package available, I am treated to the wonders of Pearl and ATV here in Hong Kong, which means re-reruns of Desperate Housewives and CSI interspersed with desperately bad Chinese shows translated into halting English such as Ramble Round the Southern Guangdong Green Way, or, one for the kids, Ming the Minibus. And Monday night wouldn’t be the same without Korean Hour, sponsored by the Korean Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry. Bring it on.

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