I WAS WATCHING the international TV news the other day when I realized something huge was missing: there was no mention of the Eastern half of the world, home of 60 per cent of the world’s population.
A Malaysian friend watching with me agreed this was odd, and added that she’d been at a meeting of members of The Meeja, a shadowy international group of data-dealers whose mission is to shine the Bright Light of Truth and Justice into dark areas, preferably if celebrity cleavage is located therein.
At the time, a rainstorm had caused an ancient tower in China to tilt perilously over a school.
Discussion: Should the story be covered?
Naah, it’s in Asia, they decided. “AND it lacked a cleavage angle,” she said.
Meeja professionals instead printed a news-in-brief paragraph and a tiny picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, thus leaving lots of room for really important items such as: “[Celebrity Name] Stuns Beachgoers By Regaining Pre-Baby Bikini Bod,” a dramatic follow-up to the previous week’s mega-scoop, which was “[Celebrity Name] Stuns Beachgoers By Failing to Regain Pre-Baby Bikini Bod.”
Meanwhile at the wobbly tower, Chinese officials snapped into action to issue an announcement saying (this is not a joke) no immediate action could be taken to stabilize it because “several departments are involved”.
This is OfficialSpeak for: “It’s not my job to catch falling buildings.”
They looked blank.
I showed them the Guinness Book of Records listing of Mr Kitagawa as the man responsible for 232 number one singles, some of which were almost, but not quite, listenable to by humans with functioning aural cavities.
TRY IT YOURSELF. Sneak the term “world’s greatest sea disaster” into the conversation and then count the seconds before a writer or consumer of The Meeja says the word “Titanic”, a sinking in the Western hemisphere in which 1,500 people died.
Most know nothing about worse accidents in the Eastern Hemisphere, such as the sinkings of the Dona Paz (4,000 dead) and the SS Kiangya (3,000 dead).
I ONCE SPENT several months as a young reporter in an Asian suburb of London. I’d regularly call the big newspapers to sell them scoops. “Father-of-three dressed in drag gets foot stuck in bucket in girls’ locker room,” I would say.
News editors would ask: “Does he have black hair?” Stories about Asians were automatically rejected.
PERHAPS THE most overlooked Asian tale of all is that of the original Leaning Tower of China, which nobody has heard of, possibly including people who live in it.
Huzhu Pagoda in Tianma village near Shanghai is about 100 years older than the Leaning Tower of Pisa and leans at a much steeper angle (6.87 degrees off centre against Pisa’s 3.97 degrees).
And it is WAY more visually dramatic, having that “just about to crash and explode into a million pieces” look that Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan have in the early hours of Sunday mornings.
I urge the Chinese authorities to publicize this amazing structure.
Yes, build a cleavage enhancement centre for female celebrities right under it, in the line of danger.
It’s Asia’s only hope of getting into the international press.