原來不是TVB的錯 It's not TVB's fault

已很久沒有看港劇的我最近愛上看《心戰》。劇情故事大綱大可 refer to 無線的 website。但無可否認,那奇幻又複雜的人物角色,意想不到的劇情及較有格調的拍攝手法都是我追看的原因。

個人比較喜歡看一些比較新鮮,有些天馬行空但又要用點腦筋的電影電影節目。近十多年來的TVB師奶劇令我節省不少看電視的時間,令我在工餘時可多做其他有更建設性的事情,如看看書,看看外國的有高水準又不把我當成白痴的電視劇(如 FringeTrue Blood 等);閱讀一下外國及內地的文章,甚至返學,又或者溝吓仔咁。

今晚又看過了一集,劇情已進入最後高潮。看過了 MyTV 的網上重播候,在期待看下一集之際,無聊的click進觀眾討論區,看看其他人的留言,發現以下者一段:

『心戰幾時先做完呀?』
  -「一到9:30我就要息電視或轉台,我怕我個心魔想打爛部電視,其實生活壓力咁大係唔係應該拍D輕鬆劇集呢?」

第一個反應是:唔係呀Fa!咁難得無記有套好嘢,你竟然唔珍惜重要佢快啲做完?我個心魔想打爆你就真啦!到時呢間多年佔用我哋大氣電波嘅無記播翻啲低B師奶劇,你唔好出黎嘈生哂囉!You bloody ask for it!

但再想深一層,該觀眾的留言也未嘗毫無道理。返工受老板氣受啲客氣已經夠辛苦,做足十幾粒鐘得雞水咁多,仲要被迫扣起MPF俾基金佬銀行賺,剩餘的人工不知還夠不夠交租供樓還是養妻活兒,夜晚得少少時間,諗嘢?真的不想再用腦了,寧可看看無聊電視,進入無線的那個沒有住屋問題,沒有無錢只有爭產,沒有醜人只有不夠瘦的人的電視異度空間,嘻嘻哈哈逃避下好過。明天一覺醒來,還是要重新振作,回到無間地獄。

可能這都是地產霸權野的禍。如果不是樓價暴升,百物騰貴,大地產商壟斷,政府官商勾結,不建公屋居屋,我們也不會花全副精神時間去工作,炒股炒樓,為的只是揾得一蚊得一蚊。我們沒有精神生活,甚麼文化藝術,理想,forget it。無錢就連住都無得住啦!

七、八十年代的香港,創意最蓬勃,那時香港大部份人住的是廉價的政府津貼房屋,很多現在最出名的創作人都是在那環境下成長。那個時代大家不用擔心住屋問題,不是說那時代的人不上進,而是很多香港人都不像現在的人那麼貪心,不會奢望要有極豪華的住處,一家人開開心心住廉租屋沒有問題。物質生活未必富足,但精神生活就十分富有,餘下的時間可想多些奇怪的事情。屋邨長大的小朋友是最有創意的,因為無多餘物資,要玩就要用想像力,最緊要是有其他小朋友跟你一起玩。

現在當然不是這一回事。要發展文化創意,必定要先解決貧富懸殊及超高樓價的問題,要不然香港只會有無記的師奶劇,因為無論戚其義及其班底拍得多好,也是徒然,因為根本唔會有人有閒情逸緻去細味劇集的美學創意,仲要揾錢交租呀大佬!

可能就正是這個原因,政府遲遲未發新的免費電視牌照,因為要先建公屋居屋才談文化創意。


It's been a while since I last fell for a local TV series. This time it's TVB's Master of Play. Starring veteran Adam Cheng and Moses Chan (Hong Kong's hottest TV star at the moment) the plot is an unusually complicated one. Adam Cheng is a veteran stage actor, whose young daughter Tansy was kidnapped and went missing when she was little. Cheng has never ceased his search for his beloved daughter for the past 25 years or so. One day, Cheng encounters a girl who reminds him of Tansy. But this girl turns out to be the younger sister of Chan, a magician who hides his schizophrenia – which gives him four other alter egos – from almost everyone. As the story goes on, with a number of bloody murders jammed in the middle, it turns out that Chan is somehow related to the kidnap of Tansy 25 years ago.

These complicated characters, the complex plot and the unusual story telling, intrigue me and keep me glued to the TV screen a few hours a week. I'm always a fan of stories that are out of the box. But of the past decade or so, the quality and creativity of TVB's dramas have been so low that I have skipped most of them and spent my free time on things that are more meaningful, like reading, watching foreign TV shows that do not treat its audience like idiots [such as Fringe and True Blood], going back to school, or even meeting boys.

Having finished another episode tonight on TVB's online portal MyTV, I clicked on the discussion forum out of curiosity. And then I found the following message from an audience:

“When will Master of Play finish its run?”
-- “Every night at 9.30pm I have to either turn off my TV or change channel. I'm afraid that one of my alter egos would emerge and smash the TV. Our lives are stressful enough. Shouldn't [the TV station] be producing light-hearted series to lighten up our lives?”

My first reaction was that: Are you nuts? It's once in a blue moon for TVB to produce a good drama series. Not only do you not appreciate its efforts but you want it to be over ASAP? I think it's my alter ego that wants to smash you instead! By the time when this publicly licensed TV station returns to producing stupid dramas, you don't have any right to complain, because you bloody ask for it!

But on second thought, this audience member is not entirely wrong. Just imagine, working 12, 13 hours a day is hard stressful enough, and you are only making peanuts! After getting your salary deducted to pay the MPF [Mandatory Provident Fund, a government scam forcing us to invest in our retirement plans that in fact benefits the banks not us], you aren't sure if the sum left is enough to pay the sky high rent or mortgage or support your family. Within those very few hours left at night, why do you still want to use your brain? Most people would rather escape from the harsh reality by tuning in those dumb downed housewives dramas, which feature a world that has no housing problems, no poverty, no ugly people. Because when you wake up the next day, you go straight back to hell.

If you ask me, I'd blame it all on property hegemony. If it wasn't the case, we don't have to spend most of our salaries on rent or mortgage, and we don't have to suffer from high prices at supermarkets, food chains, public transport and even public utilities that are monopolised by major property developers. If the government wasn't secretly striking deals that benefit the major property developers and stopped supplying public housing, the rent wouldn't have gone up so drastically since the handover 15 years ago. Our full-time salary is not enough for us to make a better living – we must squeeze our energy to engage ourselves with speculative activities from stock market to property market just to make money. Spiritual life? Creativity? Forget it! You are about to become homeless.

Hong Kong was at its creative peak back in the 1970s and 1980s. It was also the times where most people in Hong Kong relied on public housing. A lot of the best directors and creative leaders came from that background, not because they were poor, but because they lived in the times where they did not have to worry about not having a place to live or not making enough money to pay the exorbitant rent. Hong Kong people weren't as greedy as today. Many could deal with living in a shoe box with the rest of the family - it was more important to be happy at heart than buying happiness with cash. While there was no immediate rush to make money just to pay rent, people had a lot more energy to think about something else – and think out of the box. Kids grew up at public housing were the most creative – they were poor and they had no toys to play with. What to do? They had to create their own games to play.

Of course there was the urge to make money to improve the living environment, but there was no rush, and it was possible – you could start with public housing, and then took one step at a time.

But such miracle doesn't happen in Hong Kong any more. If the government is serious about developing culture and creativity, the first problem they must solve is the huge income gap and the sky high rent. Otherwise no matter how hard some TVB producers are trying, no one will be bothered to appreciate their dramas with their brains -- they have to make money to pay the rent for Christ's sake! 

Perhaps this is exactly the reason why the Executive Council is still holding its decision to grant the new free TV licences – the government needs to reactivate the supplying chain for public housing first before talking about cultivating creativity. 

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  1. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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