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   One unusual aspect of being in Hong Kong... (December 9, 1986)

One unusual aspect of being in Hong Kong was not seeing Mr. Rajiv Gandhi on local television. In some five days of careful viewing of late-night news, both in English and Chinese, Mr. Gandhi appeared only once and that. I suspect, was by accident. I spotted him briefly, in one corner of the screen, looking on as Mr. Mugabe and some other unidentified African leaders were conversing.

But for this one glaring shortcoming, which Mr. Sharda Prasad may take note of, the news coverage was good, much better than any ever seen on Doordarshan. But then any TV satation whose news is a little more than a man and a woman sitting side by side and reading bland statements from placards (one placard per item, three items by the male reader, then three items by the female reader, then back to the male reader) would be better than Doordarshan.

The Hong Kong readers read the news from a tele-prompter, staring you straight in the eyes like so many Dolly Thakores. And there were very few fancy accents to deal with.

The visulas came from all over the world. A mid-air collision some-where in California, Prince Charles in Chicago, Col. Gaddafi in Harare, whispering into the mike, a major fire somewhere in Norway, a meeting in Beijing.

There was a lot of local coverage, and coverage of events in China, which now in Hongh Kong is almost local. And the big news, both on TV and in the press, was the trial and conviction of a local millionaire businessman and prominent member of the Hong Kong society, who had been detected bribing jockeys and fixing races over the last several years.

The man was dying of cancer, had probably weeks to live, and his lawayers argued that he had been fixing races to help him friends make money, not himself, for him it was an adventure. The judges rejected this argument, though they gave him a suspended sentence, considering his illness and imminent death.

Television did it well, covering his comings and goings from court, driving away in his chauffeured Mercedes, a frail old Chinese.

The other programmes were not up to much, but the Chinese language sounded interesting and pleasant to the ear. And all the American movies had Chinese sub-titles.

It was also interesting to view the Chineses models in the advertisements, selling furs, perfumes, automobiles, restaurants. The ad. Films were much more professional than their Indian counterparts. But that is understandable…how professional can you get to be selling Parachute oil and Godrej refrigerators!

It was interesting. But it is nice to be back home again and seeing the familiar Rajiv Gandhi programmes on Doordarshan.

 
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