There is always a time in our office that we won't be doing anything particular (or perhaps just waiting for the client to call our attention to a critical bug). And this day might be categorized as such, save for the business emails I had to read and send.
So this particular afternoon as Tan was prowling the office grounds, which isn't so large to prowl on, he was standing behind me and saw what I was doing --- reading my mail. I noticed him hovering and asked why. He motioned that Art was using his PC and sat down on the vacant seat beside me. Out of nowhere, he popped the question: Why is it that watching anime is perceived as negative compared to watching the news?
I was baffled. Tan doesn't resort to this kind of conversation. I cajoled him that he might have ill feelings with the news since he likes anime. But he persisted. He seemed serious.
So we delved into the issue. Yes, I agreed that if I were looking at what others are doing at work and found one watching anime, it would impose a negative impression. But if I saw one watching the news instead, it would seem okay. Nevertheless, Tan said, isn't it they're doing the same thing actually because they both are whiling away time? And again, I said yes. A difficult matter indeed.
With the little entrails of brain I still have, I further sought for an answer. This is what I got: News is not entertainment. Therefore reading the news isn't as bad as watching anime since one does not seek entertainment in the former, but information. Ah, I was quite satisfied with what my li'l brain coughed up yet Tan wasn't. He cannot accept it because what if one isn't really into news? What else will you do?
More discussion ensued (for a few minutes) and we caught Nhut's and Chen's attention. The two girls were also amazed at Tan's question and tried to bring home the same point I had. Watching anime is meant for enjoyment while the news is not. (Except if you're morbid and likes the increase in our crime and mortality rate.)
However, in the end, we agreed that indeed both acts should have the same impact --- not working while office hours --- and should therefore be seen similarly. Still we understand that that is not what is generally conceived. Here we insert the famous line: Life is unfair.
I even thought of an analogy of two students, one reading the newspaper and the other reading a comic book. Most people will perceive that the one reading the news is likely to be more intellectual than the one reading the comic book. Yet that should not be the case.
So what do we do with this discovery?
We conclude that if the boss is around, watch the news instead. Otherwise, switch to anime.