What’s ISIS up to? Have there been any terror attacks lately? What is the progress of the Zika virus? What are the poll numbers saying about the upcoming American elections? What about transportation disasters? Natural disasters? What’s up with Beyoncé and Jay-Z? Who has Jimmy Fallon had on Late Night recently?
I can answer none of these questions.
I’m very aware that I’m totally unaware of what is happening in the world. This is because I’m been living in a bubble for over 3 months now.
I am not now, nor have I ever been, a news junkie. However, for the most part, I’ve been on top of the news all my adult life. I usually have good knowledge of what’s happening in most areas of the world. In fact, I’m an avid BBC World News listener when I’m driving so I’m usually aware of whatever the news media deem is the important stuff to know about what’s going on in the world. I’ve even been known to binge watch CNN when important stuff is happening (like the US elections; disagree all you want but what happens in those elections affects just about every country on Earth.). And while I’m not a big watcher of news programmes, I used to watch the local news a few times each week, just to stay abreast of what was up around me.
Clearly, I consume most of my news by listening to and watching it. I’ve never been a fan of the newspaper (I scan the headlines and that’s it) and if I subscribe to news magazine curation apps like Flipboard, I open them maybe 2 or 3 times for the year. I very rarely read my news. I do read articles on topics of interest to me, but I just don’t keep up with the news in this way.
I haven’t watched a TV since I left Jamaica back in January. There was a TV in my hotel room in Tanzania but I was hardly there and it was in Swahili so what was the point? And there was a TV in my hotel room in Penang but it was in Malay so what was the point? Besides all this TV that was available in other languages, I’m not a big TV viewer unless I’m bored (which I try not to be) or have allowed myself to become addicted to a TV show (which only happens every couple of years…Game of Thrones!).
There’s also been no radio in my life for 3 months. I tried to listen to the BBC World Service online for a few days while I was still in Aceh but the slow wifi made it pointless so I gave that up. The same goes for other online news radio or videos that I could listen to or watch – slow wifi is so annoying that I really can’t bother to wait while the sound file or video buffers and loads and buffers some more and loads some more and…well, you get the point. Unless it’s a 2 minute video clip, I don’t bother.
I know there are numerous online news magazines but honestly, I know myself well enough by now to know that I’m not going to read them. Believe me, I’ve tried. News is just not my preferred reading material and I have found it impossible throughout my life to force myself to read anything; unless it’s for a class, I just can’t do it.
This is why I now live in a bubble. Seriously, I don’t even know what’s going on in Indonesia, much less further afield. My anam cara, sister and a couple of other friends keep me updated on the important news items from Jamaica (like general elections and Zika virus); I watch a few one minute videos clips from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Facebook every couple of days just because they’re so darn funny and they keep me abreast of the comedic happenings in the American elections; and Yahoo! News gives me breaking news on my phone every few weeks, like when Alan Rickman died (Professor Snape, nooooooo!!!). That’s it. That’s all my news.
I feel like my life in Indonesia is a slice out of time so I take my news on a need to know basis. That’s OK. For now.