Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Melting Pot Malaysia

Has anyone noticed a slew of foreign television programs coming to our cable networks lately? Since I was hit by a spell of sheer ennui last night - and since there was nothing particularly tantalizing on the other channels, I surfed through several of the aforementioned foreign channels to get a taste. To my astonishment, we not only have Middle-eastern pseudo-belly dancers and Venezuelan viragos raging at each other, we also have teary-eyed Filipinas and squabbling Taiwanese families.

Seems like we are truly becoming quite a cosmopolitan place. If I hadn't gotten a clue from the veritable United Nations roster of names that comes through the hospital admissions, I'd have gotten that just from the sheer variety of channels that we have here. Wouldn't surprise me if we suddenly had a channel catering solely to the wandering Inuits.

What amuses me about the channels is the surprising lack of subtitles. Always makes me wonder how the regular Malaysian viewer is expected to understand what exactly is going on - or have all my fellow Malaysians suddenly turned into multi-lingual geniuses ( fluent in Tagalog, Thai, Portuguese, Arabic etc. ) when I had my back turned? Surely the channels aren't broadcasted solely to cater to the foreign workers? Although I'm sure we have some genially benevolent bosses around, I seriously doubt that the average salaried foreign worker would have satellite dishes installed in their cramped cellblocks - not to mention that it would seriously interfere with the makeshift shower that they've installed just outside.

I could write a whole article about makeshift open showers and hot, half-naked foreign workers but I won't - since I'm trying to maintain some semblance of decorum.

Vietnam beef!
Just imagine me under a shower...

So while watching a sentimental Vietnamese tearjerker, my father and I started making up wild stories for the tragic family - in lieu of having the true subtitles to guide us in our interpretation. Yeah, it's obvious where my wacky reprehensible sense of humour came from. So the simple conservative Vietnamese family drama ( at least that's what I was cheerfully informed later by Big Bicep Barry, a surprisingly cunning linguist ) soon turned into a heaving emotional pool of licentiousness, homosexuality and murder as the protagonists wept and wailed over their torn ao dais.

Barry : It was a story of a son finding his long-lost parents.
Paul : Seriously? I thought the guy was having an affair with an older ailing woman and his slutty sister was sleeping with the lecherous neighbour.
Barry : It's not Wisteria Lane.

Thought I liked my version better. Maybe that's why they leave out the subtitles.


nyonyapenang said...

woei, don't push too hard la. putting bee-em subtitles to english movies oso give big headache ledi.

William said...

If it ain't Wisteria Lane, is it Liberty Avenue?

Maximus Leo said...

Why am I not suprise?? The supposedly cosmpolitan Malaysia but with a tinge of eccentricity and close/narrow minded politicians/policies. Well at least the programs do tell us that all is not bad eh?

If you were the guy in the pic...man I will pack my bags and move to Malaysia :-)

Sue said...

*Still imagining the Asian hottie under the shower*

Shigeki said...

I always thought Malaysia is quite cosmopolitan. I mean English is widely spoken there, no? Tokyo is so not cosmpolitan in that arena...

That guy is very hot. I love everything about him.

ikanbilis said...

thanks to those shows, i can understand Latino spanish very well (they're different from Spain's spanish and not Catalan at all) i can converse in Indonesian, understand little of Cantonese, Philipino and Japanese as well and catch few arabic words(not really).. *giggles*

i get annoyed with those broken subtitles in Astro now. they're all dumb. not even accurately translated and i can survive watching english shows without subtitle for sure!

hrugaar said...

Gotta love those Inuits (yeah, I have met some, in Greenland).

Probably most of the fun of foreign shows without subtitles is making up your own plot, heh.

Still not convinced that Barry is really interested in cunning linguist-ics. ;oP

suituapui said...

U really tell it as it is, man! "Teary-eyed Filipinas and squabbling Taiwanese families" We seem to get that on TV all the time...and Korean ghosts too!

QuaVadis said...

You said it right on the button there Paul, there's nothing more amusing that trying to figure out the storly line when there's no subtitles (then again Malaysian Subtitles are so dumb that the story can be totally out of whacked by the time you read it..but that's another matter all together)

Speaking of Ghost stories as mentioned by STP, I recall my sis will actually turn down the volume when watching Korean Ghost stories and sit there in silence watching the movie and it made me laugh like mad when I saw her cringing at the horror scene in total silence from the TV

vink415 said...

that guy is Minh Tri. Married w/ kids. Living in the States but currently making some movies in Vietnam now.

Ban said...

Mmmm, hot shower guy...

Las montaƱas said...

wow ikanbilis! wats next to learn? russian? LOL. And you can differentiate Spain's spanish vs latin am spanish! tats might good.

I used to briefly watch a few of those taiwanese tear-jerkers. Oh my! everything also cry. become stoned and immune now.

envy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I wonder what Filipino program was on. That guy is hot and very inviting. After seeing lots of white guys around, I crave for Asians. :-)

savante said...

True enough, nyonya.

Wish it was LIberty Avenue , william!

If i were the guy in the pic, you'd see far more pics of me in the blog, ian. And possibly nekkid too.

I am imagining that too, sue.

It is pretty cosmopolitan and we have alls orts here, shigeki.

Shocked that you understand Spanish, ikanbilis!

You met Inuits in greenland, ru?!

Yeah, forgot about the long-tressed ASian demons.

True, sometimes the subtitles are so silly that it's actually far more amusing reading the subtitles.

Minh Tri, vink415? Shall check that out.

Agreed, daniel/

Never knew you were such a softheared guy, las montanas.

So do I, mark.