Take me back to Thailand.
At least there, the buses played Western movies, regardless of how crass (Terminator Three was particularly popular whilst I was there in 2005).
In China, different rules apply. Maybe it is because tourism is catered towards a domestic market, or perhaps, that they believe their own movies are of a permissible standard. Indeed, the ones which I have been exposed to are professional productions, replete with suspenseful scores, climatic sequences and astute directing.
The problem however is that the Chinese media always appears to be imbued with a strong sense of nationalistic self purpose.
Most buses, even the small and scarcely functioning ones, are equipped with a television screen. Excluding one, all six other buses which I have boarded (I am omitting local journeys), have played the same movie, presumably about the Sino-Japanese war.
It is graphic; unsuitable even for the experienced. The Japanese are portrayed as ravaging vultures. They are virile, sadistic and malevolent. Never do they smile. Words depart their lips in monotone, staccato syllables.
The Chinese troops on the other hand are endearing. They often falter (in one scene a novice throws a grenade at his own company), but that only exposes how human they are. Tears are perennially welling up in their eyes. Camaraderie abounds, as they resist the Japanese tyrants.
Similarly, in Xishuangbanna, the television in my room contained the CCTV football channel. The premise? Simple. Football matches, 24 hours a day.
The games were divided into two categories. The first was from the German Bundesliga which was about as enthralling as watching the Home DIY channel, on repeat. The second was more interesting . China, of course, has no footballing accolades, so the Chinese national football team never featured. Instead, the Korean and Japanese football teams were in regular rotation. Only, the games which were shown were ones where they were obliterated by better rivals; 4-0, 5-0, 7-1.
Thus, if China cannot prevail, watching their
rivals neighbours fail is the next best form of recompense.
Regardless, this was ineffably more interesting than the dynamic and innovative coverage on, I think, CCTV-5. No Japanese, no Koreans, no war, no football. What could possibly fill the void then? Why nothing other than full live coverage of the Olympic torch relay. If unadulterated pleasure could be presented on a television screen, then this was it.
The point of this? It interesting to see how nationalism is perpetuated in China.
So, now, I am finally a convert.
Give me a People’s Liberation Army uniform. I will don the cap and pillage the Japanese.
-Pepexing, Champion of the Workers