A Wave of Hokkien Dramas

I remember the days when movies from Hong Kong used to be the rage. That must be in the 80s when tabloids and newspapers reported that movies from Hong Kong were wowing the world and the phenomenon was dubbed the Hong Kong Wave or something like that. Then, came Mel Gibson's Mad Max movies and Times magazine reported the arrival of the Australian Wave. Later, in South East Asia and elsewhere, there was an influx of romantic series like Winter Sonata and Autumn in my heart and we have the Korean Wave. I don't know if people see this as another phenomenon: Hokkien or Minnan movies have never been popular but recently, Malaysian TV has been deluged with so many Hokkien serials from Taiwan. Hokkien series had appeared in local TV in the 80s. I remember one featuring an old lady called Ah Pit Poh and that must one of the worst series I have come across! However, for the past two or three years, Hokkien series featuring beautiful, talented actor and actresses and a strong storyline have suddenly appear in TV and they have wowed local audiences. The first one that really attracted me was My Way and later there were others like Love and The Sun Rises from behind the Mountain. Except for The Sun Rises from behind the Mountain, most Hokkien series I came across are ridiculously long, running over hundreds of episodes. A popular one The Spirit of Love , currently shown in Astro TV, runs over 600 episodes and still manages to keep its audience and one ridiculous teacher I know will make a point to catch it at all cost and he even harbours dreams of acting in The Spirit of Love II, that is if there is a sequel! Talking about the idiot box making an idiot of us- I wonder if audiences in Indonesia will undergo the same phenomenon. While Indonesian Chinese have reputedly lost their Chinese tongue, in Jakarta, just this August, I was surprised to see in TV, a Hokkien series featuring Pai Bin Bin...

Hokkien Stars: From left, Chang Hsiu Chin, Wang Shi Xian and Tsai Chiu.

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