Currently, among overseas TV dramas China has imported, about one-third have come from ASEAN countries. A large number of entertainers from ASEAN countries are involved in Chinese TV dramas and variety shows each year. Meanwhile, ASEAN countries have also become important markets for Chinese TV shows.
On May 13, 2014, Chinese TV drama “Journey to the West” (version 1986) was aired during the prime time at Channel 9 of Skynet, Myanmar’s largest private TV station. The play was broadcast in Chinese with Myanmar subtitles and two episodes a day. After “Mr. King’s Happy Life” was imported by state-run Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) in June last year, “Journey to the West” has become the second Chinese TV drama which was introduced into Myanmar.
The influence of “Journey to the West” (version 1986) is far and wide.
As Chinese people moved southwards, the story “Journey to the West” has spread to Southeast Asia and become well-known. Some scenes in this TV drama (version 1986) were shot in Thailand. It was then broadcast in Thailand and Vietnam and received pretty good feedback from audiences.
Liu Xiao Ling Tong, the Chinese actor who portrayed Monkey King in this TV drama is quite famous in Southeast Asia. From May 21st to 26th, 2014, Liu visited Yangon, Naypyidaw, Mandalay and Bagan of Myanmar, and was received and appreciated by Dr Sai Mauk Kham, the First Vice President of Myanmar and U Wunna Maung Lwin, Myanmar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. His fans meeting caused a stir both in Mandalay and Yangon. As many fans claim, they don’t treat “Wukong” (the Monkey King) as a foreigner but a part of the life of Myanmar people. Liu Xiao Ling Tong belongs to the world. People of the whole world love him and thank him.
In recent years, “Chinese Wave”, which is mainly represented by China’s TV dramas, has quickened steps to catch up with “Korean Wave”.
Sule Street, where most of Yangon’s theaters gather, will soon exhibit Chinese movies. At the end of September of 2013, Chinese film “Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon” (3D version) was released simultaneously in Myanmar.
As early as February 2010, Chinese Spring Film Festival was celebrated in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Four Chinese language films, including “Cape No.7”, “In Love We Trust” and “The World” met the audience in the Philippines.
In Vietnam, China’s news with Chinese subtitles is broadcast every day on TV stations. The popular Chinese TV series, such as “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” and “Princess Pearl” are also well received by Vietnam’s audiences.
In Thailand, some China’s TV dramas like “Chinese-style Divorce” earned good ratings. Also, Chinese idol dramas are popular here. A number of Thais, especially young people, are fond of discussing Chinese dramas and worshiping actors in the play. Being obsessed with theme songs of Chinese dramas, some even start to learn Chinese language.
Chinese TV series “Startling by Each Step” and “The Legend of Zhen Huan” are also very popular in Myanmar. Nicky Wu, Cecilia Liu and Sun Li, who starred in these dramas, have won the hearts of Myanmar admirers.
The popularity of Chinese movies and TV dramas in ASEAN countries has speed up the exchange and cooperation of movie and TV drama’s production and filming between China and ASEAN countries.
Since the 1980s, associations of broadcasters between China and the Philippines have frequent contacts through mutual visits of delegations. Every two years, dialogues and exchange activities have been conducted between China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and Malaysia’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture. In 2008, the large-scale documentary “Nourished by the Same River” was jointly filmed by China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and then broadcast in these 6 countries, initiating the new model of radio and television cooperation between China and ASEAN.
Metro TV, the only TV station to offer Mandarin news in Indonesia, has maintained close partnership with China Central Television (CCTV). Also, media companies from Singapore often film documentaries and movies in China.
On April 3rd, 2014, the first China- Myanmar jointly-shot 42-episode TV series “Legends of Song and Dance” premiered in Yangon, Myanmar. It reproduces the pomp of cultural exchange in Southern Silk Road some 1,200 years ago and the historical ties between China and Myanmar.
On May 15th, 2014, the launching ceremony of TV series “Maritime Silk Road: Legend on Sea Way” was held in Nanning (Guangxi), which would be co-operated by China, Vietnam and Thailand and shot in 6 ASEAN countries.
On May 29th, 2014, the signing ceremony “Love of Luang Prabang”, the first movie co-produced by China and Laos, was held at China-ASEAN Expo Cultural Exhibition. The movie follows the love story between the youth of China and Laos, records the most genuine affection between the peoples of the two countries, and also exhibits the cultural landscapes and long history of Luang Prabang (Laos), Nanning and Guilin (China).
Culture is interactional. More Southeast Asian dramas are seen in Chinese TV screen as well.
During the prime time in CCTV-8, Philippine TV dramas “Ikaw ang Aking Lahat” and “Pangako” were replayed for several times. Thai TV dramas are also introduced into China and other countries. “Kaew Lom Phet”, “Proong Nee Gor Ruk Tur” and “Jam Loey Rak” have attracted a batch of loyal Chinese fans.
At the beginning of 2014, Thailand produced a new TV series - “Full House” (Thai Version), in which Mike D. Angelo co-starred with Aomiz Sucharat. Hot discussions were triggered both in Thailand and China. And this TV drama even got higher praises than the original version. It can be said that“Full House”(Thai Version) is as popular as “You Who Came from the Stars” (South Korean TV soaps) at the same time slot.
As one of mass cultural carriers close to people’s life, movies and TV dramas not only provide people with sensory entertainment, but also deliver diverse cultures of different nations. As the exchange and cooperation of movies and TV dramas between China and ASEAN countries become more frequent, cultural exchanges and integration are also constantly upgrading. Compare to other silent ways of communication, movies and TV dramas add fascinating audio-visual enchantment to China-ASEAN cultural exchanges.