Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Filling in time

I had caught up and run out of podcasts from ABC RN, Joy Melbourne and Absolute Radio. Panic!!! I have nothing to listen to while I while away my idle time at work. Let me look at the BBC.

Like you foreigners can't watch our ABC from overseas, nor can we we watch the BBC here via the internet. But you can listen to our Radio National podcasts, as we can listen to podcasts from the BBC. I downloaded a few I liked the look of and they fantastic. Oh that our ABC had the resources of the BBC.

I heard this not so long ago and I believe it. Our Radio National is very worthy. Worthy does not make money nor make huge radio ratings, yet for its tight audience, it is an absolute treasure. It was suggested that perhaps it should be for the chop, yet then happened podcasting. Radio National's wonderful programmes that are sprinkled throughout a week, where you may or may not be able to catch them are suddenly accessible  at your personal convenience. The point that podcasting saved Radio National may or may not be true, but I download heaps of podcasts from RN and heard programmes that I wouldn't have listened to when they went to air or even the repeats.

One thing R and I used to always try to catch in pre internet days from Radio National was the late
Alistair Cooke's Letter from America.

As I said though, the BBC is wonderful. I listened to a few, around twenty minute podcasts. Twenty minutes is brief by our standards, but their brevity makes them very bite sized.

I learnt about:

What it is like to be a Catholic in the Royal Ulster Constabulary of Northern Ireland. The force has another name now and is no longer purely a protestant force from England.

The English language in Malaysia? They are dropping it in schools now, in favour of Chinese. They are seeing their bread buttered by a different country. Meanwhile, kids are bussed across to Singapore to learn good English.

Yet Vietnam is taking on the language of their defeated enemy. English is the be all and end of languages in
Vietnam. Forget their former colonial master's French language, forget their funded Russian languages. The most precocious twelve year old Vietnamese lad  spoke American English very very well. He is teaching his mother English, but she is not a good student.

The native peoples of Canada are heavily addicted to a prescription drug called oxy... something. It rang no bells for me. How they deal with, how they cure the addiction, how they treat people and how they get it.

If you are a homosexual in Turkey, you can get a pink certificate and don't have do your national army service. Showing a photo yourself having sex with another man is the easiest way. A photo of you kissing another bloke or a photo of you in drag or if you are effeminate, you are home and hosed. Yet you may well be homosexual and don't quite want to make pornographic pictures, or personal ones, and you are not effeminate and don't do drag. What to do? The army medical people will decide. Men being men, things happen too. In the Turkish army, if you the passive person who is caught in a compromising position with another male, you are considered gay and you get he pink slip. If you the top person in a sex act, you are labelled a deviant and subjected to army discipline. So many are caught, it is perhaps not such a big deal for them.

Whatever, in Turkey, whenever you go for a job, your discharge from the army and the reason will be visible to your prospective employer will be visible. Absolutely horrid for gay bois from little Turkish villages who have close knit family circles.

The BBC is not like our ABC. The BBC is stuffy and very conservative and I haven't forgiven them for not allowing our ABC to cover the last royal wedding in a lightly satirical manner.  But still, the BBC makes wonderful programmes. And then there is Al Jezeera, but that is a story for another day.


  1. I subscribe to the BBC World Service program 'Witness'. A new program every day, only 8 minutes long and I learn all sorts of fascinating things. I also subscribe to 'Click' a program about technology, also interesting but I only understand about 60% of it.

  2. Anonymous9:44 am

    The BBC Learning English website is also very good. They have loads of stuff to download. I use it primarily for my students but I learn things too - and not just about English! V.

  3. For the first five years of our marriage, Joe and I were the Travelling Australians Abroad. We lived in Israel and Britain, and travelled in every country in between. The one constant in all that time was the BBC... which was broadcast everywhere, even in Greece under the hated generals.

    For years after being back in Melbourne, I continued to rely on the BBC. Now I don't, but after midnight, our own News Radio goes full time onto the BBC anyhow.

  4. Victor, I don't know the programme, but I will check it. ABC has a tech programme but I think it is only a podcast. It is quite good.

    V, again I say, what resources the BBC has compared to our ABC. Btw, is there a publically funded broadcaster in Japan?

    Hels, its World Service was so well respected, especially in comparison to Voice of America. Radio Australia does a good job on tiny funding.

  5. The 'oxy' is probably oxycodon or oxycodin which is a powerful painkiller and much favoured in Hollywood.
    Alex O'Loughlin, Oz star of Hawaii Five 0 has just been in rehab for this addiction.

  6. That's it Jah Teh. Must be like vidocain.

  7. There are far too many programs to choose from on BBC (and I am quite annoyed at the closed ecosystem) when it comes to classical music - given that train rides in Singapore are far too short to enjoy a full hour of RN podcasts I tend to cherry pick the stories I want to listen to.

  8. Anonymous3:32 pm

    Yes, NHK is the Japanese equivilent of our ABC or the BBC. V.

  9. Love the BBC as it's a direct and easy source of info for us, but you've now tempted me to search out the RN podcasts too.

  10. Michael, are you bragging about Singapore's very efficient public transport? Plenty of time on Melbourne's public transport to listen to a one hour podcast. I just looked at a list of the BBC podcasts and chose what sounded interesting. I think there were about 175.

    Good V. And I hope as independent but something niggles at me that it might not be.

    Kath, RN might not produce a lot, but they are pretty high quality. You can pick up the dedication of those who make them.

  11. They're addicted to oxycontin/oxycodone. Snorted it has an effect like heroin and it is highly addictive. I am currently taking it for pain relief, orally however!

    I heard that report the day I was prescribed it and though uh oh!!

  12. Thanks Fen. Better I don't have any with my addictive like personality.

  13. I loved reading your news report.

    Besides not being able to do army service, what is the general attitude towards homosexuality in Turkey?

    I'll have to go look that up.....

  14. Dina, I understand officially it is ok and legal. But out of the big cities, very hidden and socially not really tolerated.

  15. "If you are a homosexual in Turkey, you can get a pink certificate and don't have do your national army service" why is this so funny?

  16. Not funny MC, but how you get the pink certificate is certainly odd and frankly an abuse of a person's rights.

  17. Anonymous11:52 am

    andrew you CAN watch bbc tv if you get a vpn...google it, i watched series 2 of silk last night, here the abc is up to ep 2 of series 1. yay!

  18. Anonymous11:59 am

    i use http://unblock-us.com/....i watch hulu in usa, bbc in uk and listen to usa radio, a lot of which is geographically blocked

  19. I didn't mean it was funny - I meant the opposite sorry if it came out wrong