Saturday, 12 August 2017
History repeating itself (UK / China)
I was doing a Skype lesson with Ed in Shanghai. He’d chosen an article which was an interview with an American CNN journalist who had covered the 4th June 1989 Tian’anmen Square Incident.
At one point in the interview, the journalist was talking about the difficulties they’d encountered broadcasting live. The Chinese government had clamped down on live satellite broadcasts the day after Gorbachev left, so they had to do them via the telephone. The video tapes had to be smuggled out of Beijing to Hong Kong or Tokyo, to be broadcast from there, thus incurring a lapse in real time of a few hours.
It was when we were reading this bit of the article that the sound quality on Skype started to experience trouble, so I suggested that we use FaceTime. The sound quality was good on FaceTime but there was no dialogue box for me to send the text over for Ed to read and translate. We resorted to me sending the text to the dialogue box on Skype for Ed to read, but using FaceTime for the verbal element of the lesson. Then Skype wasn’t transmitting the text I’d inputted into the dialogue box, so I had to use FaceBook Messenger for that.
It suddenly occurred to me that we were experiencing the same thing as the CNN journalist back in 1989, having to use different modes to send material out.
Spooky or what?
(UK / China, 2017)