January 16, 2006

The TV at the Beijing hotel where we are staying tonight has about 45 channels. Most are Chinese, of course, and it seems as if you can find counterparts for every sort of channel you find on an American cable system, including game shows, soap operas, music videos, movie channels, and so on. There are a few English-language channels, including CNN World, ESPN (I couldn’t figure out if it was the regular ESPN or some sort of international version), the Discovery Channel and HBO. Biggest surprise so far was to find a movie called Six: The Mark Unleashed on HBO in English with Chinese subtitles. There is a very strong message in the film regarding eternity and how to be prepared for eternity. Readers of this weblog will note that I am now using a circumlocution to express what I mean. There are times when that is a good idea, and this is one of those times. Before we made this trip, a friend reminded us about the importance of using circumlocutions in explaining things in China. In any case, I was surprised because HBO is one of the earliest channels on the system and the film contains a clear message. We do live in amazing times. I believe it is allowed because the film is considered science fiction. I would say it is a fictional account of things that will actually happen someday.

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