ATV - Asia Television Limited

Quack quest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 November, 1998, 12:00am

Our reliance as a community on traditional Chinese medicine to cure many minor ailments means that what is almost orthodox here is wildly exotic elsewhere.

That is not to say there are not many problems with the way the practice of traditional Chinese medicine is regulated locally.

A couple of years ago, unqualified practitioners gave patients a toxic root called gwai kuo, instead of a similar looking one called wai ling sin.

But there is far more research and voluntary schemes to regulate the practice than there are for the other myriad alternative treatments springing up across the SAR.

Claire Penketh goes deep into what she calls the urban jungle tonight on The Pearl Report (Pearl, 8pm), to find out a little more about the clinics opening up in business districts, offering many kinds of cures for stress-related conditions bought on by all those shrinking profit margins.

There are some who are new to the business - and business it is - and some who have been talking total nonsense for several years.

One of the better-known local alternative practitioners wrote a curious and extensive piece for a local parents' newsletter on what to do when a very small child gets a fever.

In the following issue, there was a strongly worded rejoinder from a conventionally trained nurse urging all parents to utterly ignore previous advice because it could very possibly kill their children.

There is a kind of poetic justice in all those powerful financial gurus, who persuaded very humble people to put their life-savings into the fail-safe bonanza that was the Hong Kong stock market, being equally duped by a load of quacks in white coats waving potions and magic prods and pumps.

ATV's scheduling department has been in such a whirl this week that it has been hard to keep up, and we apologise for getting some of the listing information for ATV World completely wrong earlier this week.

The information we have for this evening is that the main movie will be Jennifer Eight (World, 9.32pm), a film with impeccable acting, directing and writing credentials that would be as good as the sum of its parts if only it were shorter.

Written and directed by Bruce Robinson (Withnail And I), this is the kind of winding thriller that changes its mind at least twice about who the bad guy is.

Andy Garcia is the hero, a freshly divorced police officer looking to settle down in his old town, with his old partner and brother-in-law, played by Lance Henriksen. He has hardly been back five minutes when he finds a bag full of body parts and mere seconds pass before he realises these are the body parts of a blind woman.

Someone has a thing about killing blind blonde women, and Garcia is the cop who wants to find out who, especially after he meets a particularly ravishing blind blonde, played by Uma Thurman.