It was not much long ago when Maldives had their first television which was in 1978. Much younger than it was as compared to Malaysia which had its first television in the year 1963 (Latif 2005). Since my family is back home in Maldives, I decided to interview a local. To be specific I interviewed Ms. Adelle Soo a staff at INTI College Subang Jaya.
She said she remembers the television coming into her house when she was a little girl and she remembers the black and white and soundless movies being played. Back then there used to be no sound effects to the television, and the audience had to read the subtitles to understand the movie. She also added that there were very limited screenings back then as compared to nowadays.
She carefully narrated how her mother being typically Ceylonese (Sri Lankan decent) disagreed with the idea of television because it was very expensive and was a “devils tool” to keep the family members from talking to each other and reduce family time. The notion however was rebutted by her dad who was more of a modern man who liked the idea of change, and was happy with the idea of a change in the house environment. After a few initial weeks of quarrel, they finally got a TV set. Adelle and her sisters used to love watching the shows played on TV.
A few years after the initial TV came out, the colored TV arrived in Malaysia, which according to Latif (2005) is in the year 1978. And this time, Adelle said that her mother was the one who personally went to the store to get the colored TV. While the emergence of colored TV boosted the sales tremendously in Malaysia, Adelle and her sisters got attached for cartoons. She clearly remembers how she watched The Little Mermaid, Bambi and Cinderella in full color. Apparently Disney had a tremendous part of her childhood, and surprising enough Adelle immediately confessed that she secretly likes cartoons even until this day. So I guess the love towards cartoons will not fade away no matter how old you become.
Sometimes I wonder what it was like to live before the age of the television. Adelle said that she was quite young when TV first came to Malaysia so she grew up accustomed to watching TV during play times. I remembered a conversation I had with my mother once about life before TV, and I remember my mother saying that free times were spent going outside and playing with the neighbor’s children and making new friends every day.
I guess I will not be able to imagine a life without TV, since I grew up with TV being a part of my life. It really is something growing up with characters on TV being your close friends who teach you the meanings in life.
Latif, MPBA 2005, ‘The use of electronic media to gratify cognitive needs among the semelai heads of households in Tasek Bera, Pahang’, Universiti Putra Malaysia, pp. 1-25, accessed on 26 August 2015, http://psasir.upm.edu.my/5881/1/FBMK_2005_20%281-24%29.pdf