Ericka Jo • almost 10 years ago
TELEVISION CHANGED MY LIFE
I grew up in a small village on the Island of Palawan, Philippines. We had no electricity, and, of course, no television.
My aunt, whose family was better off than mine, had a television. A few times my sisters and I went to her house hoping she would let us watch it with her. But, she slammed the door in our faces, called us beggars, and told us we were smelly children. We stood outside her house and watched her tv through the window.
When I was twelve, I vowed that I would work hard and buy a television of my very own. In 2001, I made good on that vow. I bought a 14 inch Samsung.
Although I wanted a television for entertainment, little did I know it would chart a course for my life. Watching programs with English subtitles helped me learn basic English, and eventually become fluent in it. Soon, I began watching educational programs, especially shows about fashion, art, and history. The education that started with television led to a career as a fashion photographer in the United States, where my husband and I own a photography studio.
In time I bought a larger television for my mother and father in the Philippines. They had one of only a few tv's in the village where they live. In 2009, I went home to visit them. At about 7:00 P.M., my father began setting up chairs in our house, and I wondered why he was doing that. Within a few minutes I knew, as people from all over the village began arriving and sitting down until all of the chairs were taken, and the room was full of men, women, and children standing. Outside a crowd looked through the door and the windows. All of them had come to watch our television as though they were at a theater.
As I watched what was going on, my mind was drawn back to the time when I had to watch television through a window. I remembered the sadness I felt as a child trying to watch tv through a window, and the pain of being called a beggar. This time it was different because my parents wanted to share their television with everyone. There were no "beggars," and no "smelly children." Mother and father welcomed everyone into our little home - and they did it almost every night.
At home in the US we have an enormous television in the living room, and smaller ones throughout the house. For those who have never known life without television it is easy to overlook the fact that so many do not have that privilege. Millions of children in remote villages all over the world feel the same about tv as I did. I wish I could buy one for all of them. Perhaps a television would change their lives as it did mine.
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