Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Annus Horribilis

At lunch today one of my colleagues remarked this year was unfolding into a bad one.

The winter storms, Lhasa riots, a crash involving two trains and now the earthquake.

We quietly concurred.

It's the second day of national mourning and it's pretty depressing since the government has mandated no kind of entertainment be allowed. That means no TV commercials, no music, nothing other than earthquake news, all the time.

Broadcasters are finding it difficult to fill the airtime.

China Radio International's English station has had to replay interviews and shows over and over again. And some of the repeat segments include denouncing Tibetans.

China Central Television shows hosts in dark suits and show non-stop coverage of past rescues, as now it's about recovering bodies than finding people alive. There were also repeats of yesterday when people across the country stood in silence for three minutes.

There was a shot at Zhongnanhai, the government compound, where senior government leaders wore dark suits with white paper flowers pinned on their lapels and bowing at an angle.

The footage has gotten so repetitive that people don't bother watching much anymore. On the bus ride home, hardly anyone was looking at the TV screens since they'd seen those pictures already -- all day yesterday.

One more day, and then hopefully we can move on and be a bit more optimistic about the rest of the year. After all, we're hosting the biggest international event in China's modern history in 79 days...

1 comment:

ks said...

just the same as cnn was broadcasting the crashing of airplanes into the trade towers in new york during 911. there are just that much footage to fill the air time. why is it that so many calamities happening in china? what comes around will come around. perhaps there has been a lot of unresolved spirits existing in the other domain from previous dynasties throughout thousands of years of chinese history. they are seeking some form of revenge?