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Feature: TV programs uncover Chinese society for Kenyans
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  • http://english.dbw.cn   2015-03-06 14:01:40
     

    Sometime in early 1990s, Chinese kung fu movies were all the rage in Kenya and Jackie Chan, a super hero. Then it all fizzled out as Kenyans embraced British and Mexican soap operas in late 1990s.

    However, Chinese movies, including kung fu, are making a comeback in the East African country, thanks to digital migration, and with them are the Asian nation's soap opera, documentaries and news programs.

    "Some of the Chinese TV programs I have repeatedly watched are news on CCTV and kung fu movies. I like the news because they give me insights about Africa that I cannot get from Western media conglomerates," Hillary Wechuli, who works at a manufacturing company in Nairobi, told Xinhua.

    To watch the programs, Wechuli said he had to buy a pay TV set- top box from Chinese firm StarTimes.

    "I spent about 22 U.S. dollars to get the gadget, which was going at an offer. I then pay subscription fees of about 11 dollars every month," said Wechuli, adding that the gadgets and the fees are affordable than the rest in the market.

    Stephen Ochieng, who sells set-top boxes of StarTimes in Nairobi, said the pay TV decoder has become one of the most sought after electronic gadgets in Kenya as citizens seek to migrate to digital broadcasting.

    "The price of our decoders and the low monthly charges for pay TV services are our major strength," said Ochieng. "One gets to watch a variety of programs that include news, movies, sports and documentaries, once they buy the decoder depending on their bouquets."

    The company, which launched business in Kenya in 2012, is charging subscribers from as low as 0.05 U.S. dollars per day while the decoder is going for 2.2 dollars as long as one buys a bouquet of 17 dollars.

    Other things making Kenyans buy the decoders which give them access to Chinese TV programs, according to StarTimes, is that they get after-sale service, access help from the company's call center 24 hours and the gadgets come with a one-year warranty.

    Ochieng, who himself has a StarTimes decoder at home, said the popular Chinese programs Kenyans watch on the decoders are also kung fu movies and newscasts that give them a glimpse into what is happening in China.

    "Kenyans still have good memories of kung fu martial arts movies which they loved many years back. They are one of the channels our customers love," he said.

    For Mary Kinuthia, a mother of two and a primary school teacher in the capital, her favorite Chinese program is a soap opera that runs on Kenya's national broadcaster KBC.

    "I just love it. I tune every Monday to watch the program that has been translated into Swahili. For me, it is amazing how the Chinese actors talk the language fluently," she said, adding that her expectation when watching the program is to get entertained and learn things about the Chinese culture.

    "One of the things I have learned is that they eat using chopsticks, and then young women are also struggling to get good husbands as much as we do here in Kenya," she said.

    Wechuli, who finds Chinese programs informative, said, however, that sometimes he is put off by their contents. "For newscasts, I enjoy watching them because they are broadcasted in English, but when it comes to movies, the main thing that puts me off is the translation since the programs are done in Chinese."

    "You have to keep on looking at the translations at the bottom of the screen, which means you cannot enjoy watching the acting because your attention is divided. They should be done in English for international audiences," said Wechuli, though he added that he has no problem with kung fu movies as they can be understood without translations.

    He observed that besides translations, there are also some cultural barriers that make the programs difficult to understand. "However, I have come to understand this is part of the Chinese culture," said Wechuli, adding he has learned from the programs that life is about sharing.

    In Nairobi, Kenyans can also access other Chinese TV programs on the streets of the capital and market places.

    At Muthurwa market in the city center, Chinese movies translated into Swahili and other mother tongues by Kenyan artists have become crowd pullers, with many people turning stalls where traders screen the movies to attract customers into open air theatres.

    Author:    Source: qq.com     Editor: Yang Fan

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