History on television

Photo credits to universityymca

Photo credits to universityymca

Being able to discuss this week’s lecture with my mother and the insights to the first television bought in her childhood had been indeed enthralling. According to her, the first television was purchased in the 70’s by a relative of theirs, living-next-door. Though she was only 7, she remembers vividly her neighbours, varying from race and religion, whom use to flock over to her uncle’s place just so they could get a glimpse of entertainment during the night. The neighbourhood which ran on an average wage including my grandfather who was a gardener to the District Officer could have never afforded a television though it would have just cost them RM500 approximately. However, this uncle of theirs who wasn’t married and had lived alone was able to purchase one and he didn’t seem to mind sharing it with a large group almost everytime.

The thing about people then, they never really had sources like youtube or even the internet to manual them on how to adapt around the usage of technological devices that came along. Older men and women never really knew how to operate the television which had been bought for the first time in Kg. Atap. Merely, they would just instruct someone else to govern over the television. Since my mother had been the closer member of a family and eldest among the children, her uncle would always allow  her to operate the television which usually was done manually without a remote in-hand. Her role in that spatial was to adjust channels according to the programmes and their showing times, while making sure the television was off when it is not made in use. Programmes like P.Ramlee’s movies, Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman were among the crowds favourites then. Though the shows appeared were in black and white, she considers those RTM’s programmes way better as it always projected slots for general viewing. This had also created a family loving environment for the neighbourhood present there.

Adding on, she mentions how men usually sat with other men on seats provided, while women and children placed themselves on the floor. The communal gesture here for people to arrange themselves instinctively like how they normally would in an elevator can be seen as the crowd gathers to watch television at her uncle’s home. Somehow, this alters the area to become  a public space from a private one. In fact, television programmes such as boxing events featuring Mohammed Ali and combat movies were also watched engrossed by women and children.  Fewer channels and choices of movies had provided a more ubiquitous community where people watched films and listen to multilingual scripts. Unintentionally, these audience had themselves adopting new cultural overviews while studying technological revolutions which eventually impacted them in managing their space overtime. Even so in a journal, it comprises how public areas are usually formed- people make place, more than place makes people. Hence, how my uncle’s home become one for the public.

Photo credits to Richard Sutton

Photo credits to Richard Sutton


Kremer, W. 2012,Why do we behave so oddly in lifts?, BBC News Magazine, accessed on 17/8/2014,


Worpole, K., Knox, K., The social value of public spaces, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, accessed on 17/8/2014,



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