Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Amenity: Reality TV Redefined

Last week I stayed in a four-star hotel in Manado. After enjoying a huge dinner, I spent several minutes lazing around in my room, switching TV channels. Saw II was on one of the channels--people vomitting blood. Switch. Indonesian News channels showing dead bodies. Switch.

Suddenly, channel 25 caught my attention. The screen only showed one particular scene. And a familiar one at that: the hotel lobby.



I couldn't believe my eyes. It's a direct feed from the hotel's security camera! And before I could really chew it, I switched to channel 26 and whoala!--another direct feed; showing the swimming pool!

What is this? Voyeur Channel?

Maybe the management intended to include this as a special service. All they needed to do was putting a brochure in every room, saying, "Dear Esteemed Guests, should you expect a company, ask him to wait in the lobby. Let him wait a couple of minutes. If he picks his nose or scratches his crotch, be advised to wear gloves before meeting him downstairs."

What? Did I use the channel to view the pool the next day? No. I'd seen all the other guests during breakfast. Them in swimwears? I'd rather watch Saw II.

13 comments:

mina said...

hotel mana tuh, man. aku pernah menginap juga di sebuah hotel lumayan, di tepi lautnya juga. dan juga ada channel TV yang menunjukkan secara live keadaan di lobby (dan ruang makan yang ada di lobby juga). agak tercengang juga hihihihi.... tar mengingat-ingat dulu nama hotelnya.

isman said...

I suspect it's the same hotel, Mina. Lemme jog your memory: four star hotel, starts with an "R"?

therry said...

Why is it that your life is so interesting?? LOL.

Did you mention this strange phenomenon to the hotel staff?

isman said...

That was the problem. I kept forgetting. I really wanted to know what was on their mind. Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

So what? This has been there since many years and nobody has felt the need to complain. Who cares, unless you want to hide that you walk through the lobby with some "funny" companian. But hide from whom?

isman said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for explaining that the reason is our general lack of respect towards other people's privacy.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but you act as if the camera was placed somewhere hidden in your room which is clearly not the case. It's the lobby view camera and doesn't even have anything to do with a security cam. You can watch the lobby from your room or you can go down, sit there, have a drink and watch what's going on. There is nothing secret shown there. I really don't get your problem.

Ackmali@ said...

hi... stepping by on my evening blogwalking...
hm... really? just wondering whether other channels maybe described some rooms on that hotel??..

isman said...

That's exactly it, Anonymous. You don't find it as a problem. On the other hand, I do. If I watch people on the lobby, at least they know I'm there, watching them.

isman said...

They didn't go that far... yet, Ackmalia. :p

pj said...

Mr. Isman

Its been so long.

This proliferation of public monitoring is getting disturbing. I mean google has their street cam and there is talk of a bylaw in jakarta to register users of i-cafes (don't know how they do this but anyway). Whats going round in my head is this: how much would your behavior change if everything you did was recorded and subject to showing up on somebody elses website?

JBrag said...

I'd rather say that it is a safety precaution measure as to monitor your toddler

isman said...

Yes it has, Mr. PJ. In the long run, probably won't look much in the surface. People might look as if they'd adapted to the idea. But that's if we use a myopic view of things.

On a broader scale, I think it'll cause a shift in society's behavior. Because the borders of privacy have been breached. I am no expert in anthropology, so I can't theorize or cite an example on what might happen. But I, as an individual, can say that constantly feeling watched won't do good to my stress level. Heighthened stress level in many individuals at the same period of time and location? Probably not good as well.


Oh, you can use it for a lot of things, JBrag. It'll still be a breach of privacy.