Seona Smiles is a part-time columnist for the Fiji Times, lives in Suva, probably still works at the USP, has an Indo-Fijian extended family, writes very funny short stories and her column in the paper about the ups and downs of daily life in Suva are sometimes hilarious. Here is a sample:
Where is the remote control?SEONA SMILES
Sunday, September 14, 2008
WE have this TV dish that lets us watch more television as if it was necessary or desirable. We got it during the recent bout of sporting plague known as the Olympics, so we could watch something different, or even more sport, as it turned out.
We got the dish off a chap who sort of left it on the roof and gave us the electronic box. He'd probably had enough sport during the previous Olympics and was glad to see it go. Just plug her in and push the right button on the remote and away you go, he said.
Not. Problem one, the aged television we had would not connect. I like my TV small and discreet, not a focus of the household, however popular the medium.
But like computers, once you get one you are tied to the cycle of new and improved programs that do not connect with the quite workable, effective and useful equipment you already have. Someone you work with or who lives in the household gets the new and improved version and you all have to follow or be marginalised along with horse-drawn trams and hand-operated washing-machines. So the satellite TV dish project went on hold while I resisted buying a new goggle box.
Needless to say, I lost, and one day I came home to a bright new monstrous screen leering from the corner of the living room. Whoopee!
When I stopped feeling overwhelmed by the electronics, I quite liked being able to see people's faces clearly and notice subtleties of colour, such as green (as opposed to greenish red) grass and yellow (as opposed to reddish brown) flowers.
It was nice to discover that not all news presenters are Martians with bright red complexion but they do have a lot more spots and wrinkles than I thought.
Now we could plug in the box but couldn't get the satellite channels to show, no way. Obviously, we needed the man.
You can't just look in the yellow pages for "man to fix the TV dish", it is going to be under some other obscure listing that I won't possibly be able to think of. So we had to find a friend, who knew a chap, whose brother-in-law had a business, that dealt with TV stuff.
He was off work but told us about the other person and gave us a telephone contact.
It was one of those you ring and ring and finally a voice says "you have reached the telephone of Mumble, please leave a message after the beep and he will do his best to get back to you as soon as possible" next year.
Much to our astonishment, the man called, and not long afterward, turned up. Nothing to it, he said of our TV problem.
Three hours and a foot through the roof later, there were only a few little difficulties left to overcome. We could have settled an hour earlier for 27 channels in Portuguese, several in Italian and a couple in French but we felt we should at least have something we had a fighting chance of understanding. The man duly twiddled the dish and we now have many channels in Chinese, some in Arabic, an excellent channel in English with an Arabic accent, a German channel, a French cooking channel, something really weird with an American accent, the fashion channel, a channel that speaks no known language but sometimes bursts into English, and several Hindi channels that are strong on soapies and religion.
The poor man had to keep going to the internet to checking the settings. I thought we could have some quite interesting channels but the so-called Head of Household stopped me from plying the man with liquor and he packed his pliers and went home.
We have only one remaining problem. Where oh where did we put the remote control?
I'm getting tired of watching the wonders of the Chinese business scene in Mandarin.