The more I listen, the more I think that most people’s lives are like those of television shows. The drama of it all… seriously, if I don’t know better, I would have thought they are the scriptwriters of a few major television hit shows! Hmm…
My work does not only revolve around teaching and writing. Active listening is also an integral part of my job. It is interesting to listen to other people’s stories and experiences when they decide to open up. It helps me understand the persons they are and to identify the root of their rather… dramatic lives.
For those who need a little persuasion, I would ask questions pertaining to their likes – of books, music, TV shows and movies. The answers were always close to my prediction… They were the products of what they read, listen and watch.
No matter how hard we try to deny the impact of the arts or the media have on us, they are just about everywhere, and with the latest technology, there is just no escape! Unknowing to those clueless on how to control the mind (and the subconscious), all the data (messages) definitely gets through regardless how vehemently we negate its effects on us. (Check out the media effects theories like The Magic Bullet, Agenda Setting, Cultivation, Media Dependency among others)
On the Surface
Just look in the mirror. From head to toe, we are the products of consumerism. Aren’t the ideas originated through the arts and the media? The hairstyle, the clothes, the accessories… Aren’t they reminiscent of something you watch on TV or someone who you idolized? Taylor Swift? Selena Gomez? Hehehe… That would be just on the surface…
Scratch the Surface
“There is someone who is jealous of my husband. He said the soles of his feet are especially painful when he wakes up in the morning. I bet there is a voodoo doll of him and that someone…”
Well, that was early one morning and I had just arrived! I asked the reason for her claiming so and the reply,
“This morning the man on a TV show listed all the symptoms suffered by victims of black magic…”
Okay… for the record, the husband is a pensioner, in his late 60s who is suffering from chronic diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure for about 15 years. When asked about his sugar level and blood pressure readings, the wife fell silent. That was early this year and now with proper medication, diet control and a more selective TV viewing, his health is under control. (I am thankful that the individual is no longer seen on TV!)
“I am so sorry! I hope you are okay! She is being her. I am so embarrassed! Her sisters are all well mannered. I do not know where she learns to be rude and her words…”
Her daughter was just 8. She was throwing tantrums with ‘fantastic’ vocabulary in someone else’s house! She spoke in an American English accent with a heavy Texan drawl. It was interesting to me as I had never encountered such brash and outspoken (verbally rude) Malaysian child before – not in a stranger’s house, okay?
I just smiled and asked whether she had been brought up overseas. Interestingly enough, she had never been out of the country and they have always been living in that particular town (not KL, PJ, Bangsar, Penang or even Kuantan!).
I had to cut short the makan-makan session to just observe the girl. She was quiet because she got what she really wanted, the TV remote! I sat there with her and watched with her for the whole hour. During commercial breaks, she re-enacted the scenes, close to 75% accuracy! I was amazed and realized how quickly children absorb the things they watch! … and I worry about the kinds of data (messages and values) from all the shows that seep into our children’s Minds (and subconscious), if left unchecked… She was the proof of my worry…
I casually mentioned my observation to her mother and she added that her daughter would watch that particular channel all the time, by herself. It came to a point that the family had to buy another TV set and subscribe another cable package for others to watch other programs on other channels. I was like… okay… and I left it at that. I had not seen the family ever since and I really hope that everything works out fine with them— of course, to their liking.
I am not against any kinds of arts/media, I am just trying to illustrate the impact it has on our own well being. Children especially, are the most vulnerable. Their gateways are wide open and they just absorb all that they hear, watch and read; everything—the good, the bad and the ugly and store them in their Minds (subconscious) for later use (it can be much later…).
Girls: “What, you do not watch Friends??? Why? Desperate Housewives??? No way! Come on, no one is here, only us… of course we won’t tell!”
Girl: “It is okay. I don’t watch those shows. We are still at school and the ratings show they are meant for adults. Plus I don’t think I would enjoy them. Call me when the show is over. I will be in my room”
That was years ago when both shows were hits. What of the girls now? A few are married with kids of their own. From afar, I observe them till today… Their lives are indeed exciting… full of dramatic moments! Pre-wedding anxieties that manifested into very vocal pre-wedding fights, wedding day quarrels, honeymoon crisis, in-laws skirmishes, and the list goes on till today. I am beyond surprise now as I have grown accustomed to them all. Well, it is like watching a remake of the shows that they watched, Asian version! Hahaha…
What of the girl? She is just enjoying life as she sees fit! She is happy and single. She travels. She goes to the art galleries and museums. She tries new things! She is always nice and pleasant to everyone including strangers. More importantly, she buys me great coffee whenever we meet! Hehehe…
The Mind is The Diamond! Hence, let us all be smart and selective in reading, listening and watching to safeguard our Mind. A pristine and intelligent Mind would always oozes out goodness, serenity and happiness!
For you reap what you sow…
Seeds… Sow… Germinate… Harvest… Reap…
p/s: In loving memory of Prof. Musa Bin Abu Hassan who taught me humility in the academic world. May you rest in peace.