The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

I wonder whether the marketing execs who work at TV stations ever bother watching their own channels. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but on the occasions that I do, it’s nice to have a reasonably decent experience. However, I feel insulted each time I sit on front of the TV, and it’s not solely due to the utterly putrid quality of programming.

I own a wristwatch. Several of them. And a clock. And a mobile which features the time. I’m sure most people in this country invested in some type of time-telling machine before they invested in a television. Yet, almost every station in the country assumes that we need to be told what the time is every thirty minutes. Why? It serves absolutely no purpose for the viewers. The worst thing is, any and every programme is interrupted at all the wrong places just to tell us the time (which we already know). I’ve seen American Idol interrupted mid-song, which is just plain ridiculous. I do realize that stations need to find means of earning revenue, but a little bit of sense needs to go into the planning.

Almost as bizarre are the constant news updates. If there is a bomb, a tsunami or some equally great catastrophe, I perfectly understand why any programme will (and indeed, should) be interrupted in order for us to be informed. But when there is nothing particularly important to tell us, do we really need to have ‘news updates’ every hour, informing us about an accident in Argentina (yes, I actually heard that) or that Marion Jones has started serving time? Most of the crap we see as news updates can wait for the main news bulletin. A station cannot be CNN and NBC at the same time, and it’s a pity they don’t realize it. Seriously – these updates serves as nothing more than bathroom breaks. I don’t want to know about accidents in Argentina, snow storms in Siberia or even who left the UNP, especially every 60 minutes. The saddest thing, I don’t think any of us even remember the sponsors of these numerous, completely unnecessary breaks.

Of course, it is impossible to do a post on Sri Lankan television without speaking about the absurd programmes on air. The quality is so low that if you took a video camera and blindly shot 22 minutes worth of footage, it stands a strong chance of being better than the local fare. On teledramas, the production quality is pathetic, as is the acting and directing. The script is almost always conspicuous by its absence, as is sense, a storyline and a coherent plot. There are several stock stories (numbering about ten) that are rehashed 200 times over. How do people watch these? Last but not the least, we have the Takaran Depaya by Sirasa. Cheap Indian melodramas and even cheaper imitates; one gets a headache just looking at those garishly made up women. In fact, most Sirasa programmes are utter rubbish, being a poor copy of Western or Indian material.

The fact that despite all this, people in this country still watch television says a lot about the sorry state affairs in this country.

I’m particular about how people behave when they are in my car. Specifically, they MUST wear their seatbelts, and they MUST always, always lock the door. Personally, I don’t think that this is too much to ask. Which is why I’m surprised by one of my classmates, who makes an almighty fuss each time I ask him to lock his door. Apparently, I’m being paranoid. Maybe I am, but hey – it’s MY car. I get to set the rules. Besides which, if I’m being nice enough to drop people right to their doorsteps, I fail to see why they need to fuss about such simple instructions.

Last Wednesday evening, I was dropping this guy home, and he actually refused to lock the door, giggling like a 10 year old. I had to pull over, reach over him, and lock the damn door. I’m so tempted to stop giving such people lifts, but I know that if I do that, I’ll end up turning into the bitch with the car who is too proud to help others out.


Onto more annoying stories of passengers. On Saturday, I was traveling to Fort for some work after class, and one of my classmates asked me if I could drop him off at the railway station. I agreed. Then he said that he needed to pick up a parcel from a cousin at Liberty Plaza, and if I could stop there for 5 minutes. Nice girl that I am, I said ok.

Now, the background of this guy is that he lives in Matale, and was in England for the last 3 years or so, and only comes to Colombo for the weekends. Now I’m cruising down Galle Road, and as I’m passing Majestic City, he starts frantically waving. “You’re passing it! You’re passing it!” he screeches. “Passing what?” I ask. Liberty Plaza, says he.

I had gathered that I was traveling with a nitwit, and had done the necessary lane changes. Fortunately, the road was mostly empty. My blood however, had already started boiling.

“XYZ, this is Majestic City. Notice the big letters saying Majestic City on the sides?”

“Anh…Majestic City, Liberty Plaza…what’s the difference?”

By now I was ready to push him out of the moving car. “Difference? Difference? How about them being two different locations in two different parts of town? Or the fact that if my reflexes were any slower, I’d have to drive back the half the length of Colpetty to get you to where you wanted to go?”

“Well, I’m not familiar with Colombo and I don’t have to be. I don’t live here.”

Because I knew my temper so well, I held my tongue. If you’re asking people for favours, I think firstly, you need to be clear on what you’re asking for. Especially when you want to be dropped off somewhere. Secondly, you need to have zero arrogance. At least have the courtesy to say sorry. Grrrrrrrrrrr

I never knew it was so difficult to be a nice person.

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Be true to your heart, and true to your conscience.

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