Life without TV

By Aneesah, 28 Jul 18

I thought I would write this so that my future self can remember what life was like ‘back then’ — because who knows what else will change in 10, 20 years?

Background story

The husband and I grew up with TV like most of our generation, but the habit stopped when we went to university in the UK. As students on tight budgets, ain’t nobody gonna pay for the annual TV licence (it is mandatory there) so alhamdulillah, the habit stuck even when we returned to Malaysia.

Today, our house has no TV, and the same with my mum’s house. I feel like this is not as uncommon as one might think — I know some families have TVs but without the service, and I also know that the quality of local entertainment isn’t much to shout about, so perhaps we’re not missing anything after all?

Then… what do we do with our time, without a TV?

1. We use a projector

Ha!“, I hear you retort. 😛 We are not at all anti-entertainment — even though I think we did go through a time of not watching movies or much else… but honestly it felt too extreme and like we were missing something. So a couple of years ago we bought a second-hand projector from and have it plugged into an old laptop at home. [Edit: we have since also purchased a Chromecast so there’s no need for the laptop anymore.] Mostly the kids and I watch animated movies on it, sometimes a few times a week if Abi’s having a busy schedule!

Our projector + speaker setup. The box underneath hides a multitude of cords!

2. We work on home improvement

I’m pretty big on keeping things clean and organised, keeping systems working, and sticking to SOPs around the house. So we do a lot of DIYing, fixing, making, rearranging, budgeting, spring-cleaning… An example would be the laundry situation I’ve written about. The yard and store room also always need work done on them!

3. We read books

The kids have their books, I have my stack of books (I just happen to read more than one at a time), and then Abi and I go through books together too — these tend to be Islamic-themed, like on Hadith or the Seerah. I find that on weekends or weeknights, when we’re just chilling and not really doing anything, it’s become a habit to grab the current book we’re going through and cover a small sub-topic. It’s a slow process to finish a book, but very doable, inshaAllah!

4. We have other hobbies

You know about mine — reading, sewing, making (eg. photobooks), sketching, designing, blogging/writing… I don’t pretend to be able to do much of these anymore, but when the chance comes, I grab it! Abi has his calligraphy to practice, is learning coding and also likes sharpening the kitchen knives (I’m not kidding). We’re also getting into new ventures like gardening and woodworking (so far we’ve made simple wall shelves — aiming for a porch bench soon!).

DIY hanging shelf for our internet equipment

5. We go out

Having kids requires going out (haha I sound like such an introvert). Since we live in a small village on the east coast, our options are usually:

  • the beaches
  • the playgrounds
  • a select handful of places to eat
  • the library
  • the one and only mall
  • the neighbouring towns and cities (some are an hour++ away)

The good thing though is that traveling around here doesn’t involve any traffic, mashaAllah. It’s just long, scenic rides and we get to talk or listen to something on the way and back.

The baby loves sand

No TV, no problem

If you’re interested in the effects of TV on children, one book that mentions this topic is Toxic Childhood — an important point that I can remember is the influence of marketing: I forgot that TVs have so many commercials!

I think having a fast internet connection is a pretty good alternative to a TV. There’s always online news and YouTube when you need them. And I’m actually very glad I’m left out of certain trending dramas/pick-up lines/news items/dances/[insert other ridiculous issue here] by not having a TV. It is the age of information overload and not knowing can be a good thing!

The TV-less living room is their play area

Till next time. :dance:

What do you think?

I think...