Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Cultural Differences

In Australia we have a television station called SBS, which stands for "Special Broadcasting Service". This station has a charter of being a "multicultural broadcaster", meaning that its programming is supposed to appeal to ethnic minorities. (SBS is owned by the government, and is funded by a mixture of taxpayers money and advertising). Sometimes this is quirky - we get subtitled Argentinian soap operas, giving us an insight into an enormous pop cultural world that people in the English speaking world generally do not see. Sometimes it is things that British people might find ït curious that the "multicultural" word applies to. SBS shows enormous numbers of soccer matches. People of English ancestry in Australia tend not to play soccer, but people who belong from ethnic minorities often do. Certain things about its programing are simply good - SBS has far more international news than any other Australian television channel. And SBS also shows a better selection of foreign language movies than any other television station I have ever seen.

But these too can be quirky. For instance, I just turned on the television. SBS was the first channel that came on. As it happened, I got a Japanese movie starring Takeshi Kitano. He said something in Japanese. The subtitle (rather intriguingly) translated this as "That was my best blowfish". I didn't get the context. Was the blowfish a pet? Were they eating fugu? What exactly makes a particular blowfish the best?

I suppose I should watch the whole movie some time.

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