2 1/3 years ago I found out that Soap Operas are Soap Operas, even in China

Today I finished the twin scrapbooks about my trip to China.  The little girl my friend and her husband adopted is turning 4 in a few weeks, so this will be a nicely timed package for her family.  Usually my blog is something I mine for scrap book pages and photo selections, not to mention practicing writing as close to daily as I can manage it, sometimes about curtains, but today I’m going to mine the scrap book for a blog post:

Soap Operas are Soap Operas, even in




Friday, October 12, 2007


My Friend and I had agreed before we even met up in Detroit, that I would take naps in China, as I was 5 months pregnant, and sleepy even without jet lag. So, I got to hang out alone in the hotel once in a while, and sometimes, I just couldn’t sleep. So one afternoon, I skimmed the channels. Discovery was showing re-enactments of the Jonestown massacre, no thank you, there was business news on BBC world, no thank you, (and coverage of Benezir Bhutto’s return to Pakistan, where a bomb would raise the travel alert for us on our return trip, and another would kill her a few weeks later), and then there were the Chinese stations.


Apparently, there was soon to be an action show, or movie with little boys looking admiringly at Chinese police repelling down an apartment to get the bad guys, that advertisement kept coming on. But the soaps were interesting, not that I’ve watched American soaps much, at least not the day time ones. One had a beautiful brave lady in ancient clothing feeling the forehead of a little boy in an ancient house. Hmm, I thought, she’s going to save his life, Channel click.


Now we were with a cadre of soldiers on a grassland. A tired looking captain tried to organize his group, when a pretty girl soldier with red bows in her braids harangued her companions and got them re-enthused. Hmm, she’s going to be the love interest, I wonder if they’ll kill her off so he can keep on being the slightly sad captain in all the episodes? Channel Click.


Back to the brave ancient lady, now she was carrying the little boy on her back through circle gates, carrying a huge paper lantern. She caught herself against a wall, leaving a bloody hand print (do brave elegant ladies always bleed when they are rescuing children in B movies?) She got the little boy to the apothecary’s shop in time to…you guessed it… faint! Oh this was fun, who needed sub titles.


The next day, I was not tired, so I picked up laundry at Jennifer’s and bought some fabric. I arrived during the soaps. The shop girl reluctantly left her grandmother in front of the TV, it was the grasslands, this time the captain looked worried. A little boy came in, the grandmother told him to shh. He sat down to watch the show. I predicted that the pretty girl would get killed off. “I hope not,” said the shop girl, cutting my fabric with pathetically blunt scissors, “I really like her.”


I do too.” I said, “But if they let the captain get married, it will change the whole show.”


The grandmother told me to shh, I think, she spoke Chinese. The little boy gave me the eye.


We watched the show. The wonderful girl was being held captive by some Afghan looking people in a market place. Her comrades looked ready to rescue her, she saw that they were about to sacrifice themselves, when her captor made sudden move and she stopped him somehow, dying bravely. They didn’t actually show her dying bravely, they showed the captain looking agonized but dutiful, then the cadre holding a patriotic funeral.


“How did you know?” asked the shop girl.


“They always kill off love interests in our shows too.” The grandmother shushed us again, the next show was coming on.


Soap Operas are soap Operas, even in China.



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