Monday, April 14, 2014

Growing Up With Black and White Television


Growing up in the 60s and 70s, it was considered a luxury to watch television, let alone owning one.  Going back sometime in the mid to late 60s in MacPherson estate where we used to live, I still remember only one household owned a precious black & white television then.  Ours was a typical one-roomer type of flat that faced each other along the common corridor.  Life was tough for all but it was a close community.

Our neighbour was kind to let us watch the TV program together.  Most of our doors were never closed and as kids, we used to play and run along the common corridor.  It was noisy but nobody complained.  When it was time to watch, our neighbour would open their door and welcomed us all in.  The whole hall would be filled with children and adults and everyone was so glued to the television set.  One of the most popular TV programs was the Cantonese show from Hong Kong.  I can still fondly remember characters like Chan Poh Choo, Siew Fong Fong, Lie Kei, Sum Tin Har and Fung Po Po, among others.  Even Cantonese opera show was popular too.  There was this Lam Ka Sing who was a female but played mainly male role.  Chan Poh Choo was my favourite as a child and still is (sheepishly).  The hall was small but it was packed to the brink.  Everyone of us really enjoyed watching and laughing together.          

Few years later, my family managed to scrimp and we finally became the proud owner of a 24-inch black and white television.  We were one of the few in our neighbourhood to own a television.  Like what our neighbour used to do, we opened our house door for our neighbours whenever a program was to be aired.

Gradually, many household could own a television and watching as one small community slowly faded off.  There was no common antenna to plug in and each household was required to erect own antenna out from their kitchen balcony.  Soon, the entire block would have antennas sticking out from the balconies.  Ours was on the second floor of a six-storey block.  Sometimes, we could not get clear vision.  Someone could have dropped something from above and moved our antenna which was quite common.  We had to use a bamboo stick to poke at their antenna while one person will standby inside to shout back once the vision was clearer.  Recalling back, it was quite comical.

Thank you black and white television for all the fond memories during my growing up years.


    

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