killing time

December 27, 2008


Of the quartet at the table, 3 are left-handed if you include yours truly, the partly reformed lefty. The odd one out was Kenny, the Hong Kong born multi-discipline artist.


It reminded me of how I was the odd one out at our family dinner table when I was little. There were 10 of us sharing a square table back then, and a left-hander wasn’t exactly the best partner in synchronized eating with chopsticks.


We were having brunch with chopsticks at a restaurant next to my office in Shanghai when design guru Sean told us how his dad bought their first black-and-white television after noticing him and his brother watched a neighbor’s TV from a distance with a pair of binoculars and took pity on them.


Kenny recalls how his family filed a complain after failing to see any color on their family TV soon after HKTV started broadcasting in living colors, only to be told that it doesn’t work that way, that you first need to get a color….


The first TV in my family was a hand-me-down black-and-white given to us by a friend who had recently switched to a colored set. To make sure we’re up to date with the latest technology we soon affixed a tri-color filter to the screen, and lo and behold….


Teresse was sitting there stuffing her face with fried radish cake and listening to us talking old time; she is too young to have seen the world in black and white.


She was lucky we didn’t go into the radio days.


I was watching Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion the other day and I thought of my own radio days…unlike the gospel-compliant APHC, the ICI herbicide sponsored traveling radio shows of my pre-puberty days were saturated with dirty jokes that I now suspect were designed to spur the birth rate among the poor farmers who constituted a large majority of their listeners.


Unforgettable were the neighbors sitting around our Philip’s radio like cavemen would sit around a bonfire.


A lot of those people are gone already.


Including my grandpa, grandma, uncles, aunties, cousin…


They are long gone like the traveling radio shows.



Photograph by Ralph Gibson




3 Responses to “killing time”

  1. fargo said

    lots of fond memories..

  2. i wish my dad had kept the black and white tv set. it would have made an interesting talking point in any drawing room.

  3. youtiup said

    i can tell lotsa stuff about you!

    you want motorola atur mobile set for your ziggy?
    i can arrange :)

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