How soap operas influence life in Asia


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Violence have spread out in Cambodia after a famous Thai actress, idolised by a large part of the population in both Thailand and Cambodia, said that Angkor Wat should be returned to Thailand. Let's try to understand the role of TV in SE Asia.

Soap operas' role in Cambodia violence

"People in countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam watch more television than in almost any other region in the world, with the exception of parts of the Indian sub-continent."

Almost every Thai on the streets of Bangkok can recite a long list of dramas that are currently on television or have recently been shown and the main story line.

The plots are often very simple and written to appeal to a mass audience; often depicting a struggle between the rich and the poor, good and evil.

It's interesting to see these people's appoach to television :

"There are repeated cases of actors who play the villains in these dramas who are [verbally] abused and even attacked because of their character's actions in the show rile the audience and they take it out on the actor."

Bangkok market sellers even threw eggs at the actress who played the part of the woman who persecuted Suvanant's character.

Importance of TV in SE Asia :

"The role of television personalities in South East Asia is far greater than their equivalent in Europe and the US,"

"Market research shows that especially in the Mekong region, TV stars endorsement are essential to sell consumer products like cosmetics, drinks and so on."

Ms Suvanant is also highly visible in the advertising world, with millions of billboards featuring her for soaps and cosmetics.

Governments, development agencies and civil society groups all use television and film personalities to get their messages effectively across to a mass audience.

A few months ago the United Nations programme for combating Aids - UNAids - announced that mixing HIV prevention messages with serial dramas was a proven model for combating the growth of HIV infection.

And here is the actress whose untactful comments sprakled the revolt. She surely is cute :

I'd like to add here, that these comments were actually part of a script for a series she was playing in 2 years ago.
It was not her personal opinion.

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