Sunday, August 12, 2007

Reconnecting With My South East Asian Roots

Ravishing Thai Beauty, Aom Phiyada (centre)
I have recently started reconnecting with my SouthEast Asian roots...I have always been more interested in my East Asian roots, being half Taiwanese (my dad), and though I majored in Asian Studies for my Arts degree, i must say, my area of specialisation and knowledge has always been more East Asian than Southeast Asian. Of cos, after visiting Bangkok last year for the first time, I instantly fell in love with it and Thai culture and not to mention Thai men!! Gosh, they are like soooo cute man...and so that experience did make me more proud of my SouthEast Asian roots.....i mean Thailand is just north of Malaysia.....however my big interest and pride in my SEA Roots came this year when i discovered Thai Tv Dramas (lakorns) and a bigger impact was actually my finding out about Filipino Entertainment!!! Wow! The Filipinos really are damn good at their entertainment scene and I just love many of the filipino dramas and movies....and i discovered that filipino men are so handsome too! What a revelation....And so the twin impact of my recent liking for Thai and Filipino stuff (and also more longstanding fondness for Singaporean TV dramas) has really made me more in tune with my SEA roots and made me appreciate more of my SEA heritage...

Below are some drama;movie intros and pics of my fav stars from Thai and Filipino entertainment:

Kaew Tah Pee (2006): (Thai Drama)

I just fell for Tik's looks after seeing abit of this Thai drama...he is sooooo handsome and cute and in epi 6 when he reveals his chest and is topless(you can see the scene below in one of the photo clips) i was like soooo oogling at his body...However i couldn't finish this drama as i just got so pissed at the script people for making his character in the drama so unbearable.....I mean i am so glad that i am not that shallow, i stopped at epi 6 as i just can't stand his character EVEN IF he has a super to-die-for body. I mean in the drama he was treating Cherry like shit but she still plays the all-understanding girl who puts up with it all...i think the scriptwriters are living in the stoneage in the way they made Cherry's character the all-sacrificing gal who silently endures all the shit that men give her....i just couldn't stand it but I still do Like Tik's look...he's SEXY.

Other Thai Dramas Currently Watching: Oum Ruk (2006) and Hua Jai Chocolate (2006)

Above and Below: Tik Jesadaporn Pholdee and Cherry in Kaew Tah Pee which was shot in Paris.Now, it may come as a surprise that i am kinda addicted to Filipino entertainment recently given how the Phillipines is really not well known to the outside world besides being full of slums and poor, where Filipino maids come from and having Muslim insurgencies in the South...but i just love their stuff... i mean the quality of the dramas and movies as well as numbers is simply astonishing..they are sooo in front of malaysian entertainment and even dare i say Thai entertainment. Although Thai movies are arguably the most popular films out of all the other SEA nations and having the most publicity, i seriously think Filipino films are better in terms of their range as well as the drama genre ones....sadly, you can't watch filipino stuff outside the Phillipines and I've never heard of a Filipino movie or drama being screened anywhere else in Asia unlike Thai horror films and comedies which are quite popular and are screened in cinemas throughout Asia. Further, I was very surprised at the number of gay-themed films found in filipino cinema and they are all quite positive too which is something which amazed me given that i had a previous filipino-chinese reader tell me how bad and stereotypical filipino gay films were and also the Phillipines is a deeply Catholic nation but after I watched some of the gay-themed mainstream films, I was like " What the heck was my fil-chi reader talking about?!! The filipino gay films are really really good and they are not biased against homosexuals at all, in fact i find them quite realistic and positive in their portrayal of gay men and gay relationships...i'll introduce some interest in Filipino stuff has also improved my image of the Phillipines, I now see a different side to the Phillipines besides and beyond the more negative images that I used to hold before..

Above: Zanjoe Marudo
Below: Zanjoe Marudo in sexy pose

Dennis Trillo: One of my fav pinoy (filipino) stars...he is filipino-chinese i think...look at that sexy look...also notice the picture below, i mean when i first saw this i was like 'how erotic' and i actually did alittle analysis of why i found it erotic.....the answer: look at the way he is 'holding' the 'eggbeater' and how he is naked behind the bowl...remind you of something else? or am i just too dirty minded? hehehe...

Dennis Trillo...Gwapo talaga....:)

I've noticed alot of the pinoy male stars are in various stages of undress and frequently pose extremely sexily in various sexual poses in ads,etc...if they did this in the American, Taiwanese, Chinese or Thai entertainment scene, people would most commonly associate it with being gay or trying to get the gay market, i am wondering if the filipinos see it that way? I mean you seldom see mainstream male stars in Hollywood or the Chinese entertainment scene wearing so little and being willing to pose in such sexy poses! Some examples below (rem, these are mainstream actors, NOT some gay porn filipino actors or professional gay magazine models!!)

Above: The magazine above is a male photographic magazine sold in the Western countries or Chinese-speaking areas, a magazine cover like that could ONLY EVER BE a gay one....i am just surprised it could be marketed as a mainstream one in the Phillipines..doesn't it look like the Asian version of DNA?

Below: Pics of one of Filipino entertainment's currently most popular star, Alfred Vargas. Some of the photos are really and i mean seriously targeted towards gay men...i mean especially that pose of him lying on the bed with his legs spread out...and also the one of him with his underwear and you can see his package is 'unnaturally large and positioned abit too perfectly'..if you know what i mean..

Gay Thai and Filipino Films:

This is a special section on SEA gay themed mainstream movies ( as usual i won't be dealing with the independent gay ones which no one but the gay community knows about)

There are too many but i'll just list some, more info can be obtained on specific films by leaving a comment in the comment section and i'll provide more information on a film or by performing a google search yourself!

Thai Films:

Iron Ladies (2001)

Iron Ladies 2 (2003)

Me....Myself (2007)

Filipino Films:

Mano Po 4 (2004)- This comedy film revolves around a pinoy chinese man and his three wives. His son is a closet gay and in one scene in the trailer he does a drag rendition of Deng Lijun's 'Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin', where else but in a Filipino movie?!

Mahal Kita/Aishiteimasu 1941 (2004)-This film was the breakthrough film for Dennis Trillo and is the gay version of upcoming Ang Lee's spy thriller romance 'Lust,Caution'. Dennis Trillo plays a cross-dressing gay spy whom is with the resistance in Japanese-occupied Phillipines during WW2. He attempts to seduce and kill a Japanese general whom has occupied their town but falls for him in the process. Dennis won many awards for his role. gay cross-dressing spy whom has a female best friend (judy ann-santos) and attempts to seduce and kill a japanese general in wartime japanese occupied territory? Once again, only in Filipino cinema!!!! This is why i love pinoy gay films:)

So Happy Together (2005)-Kris Aquino in this film about a gay man and his best female friend whom they met at Manila's gay pride parade and their life and love.

The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveras (2005)-Philippines' entry for the Oscar Best Foreign Language Film.

Manay Po (2006)- Presented on Mother's Day last yr in cinemas in the Phillipines, labelled a 'Mother's Gay Movie'. Revolves around a mother and her three sons, all of whom may be gay. I found this far superior to Rice Rhapsody which had a similar theme and storyline.

Zsa Zsa Padilla (2006)- About a gay queen beautician whom transforms into a female superhero at night to fight a man-hating evil villain.

There are really many many more but i can't list them all and some are well known artfilms like Masahista (The Masseur) which I have not mentioned as they have provocative sex scenes.

Above: Angel Locsin, the top female star in the Phillipines currently and Filipino-Chinese as well I fact, i find it kinda strange that almost all of the top stars in the Phillipines are either those with Caucasian blood and look American-Filipino (i'm thinking of Richard Guertisze, Sam Milby, and Gerald Anderson) or those with Chinese blood and look either mixed or pure Chinese ( examples incl. Toni Gonzaga, Christian Bautista, Angel Locsin, Dennis Trillo, Alfred Vargas, Kris Aquino,etc).. i think it has to do with the (somewhat unhealthy) admiration for fair-skinned and the novelty status given that most filipinos don't look like them and are more dark-skinned. This is the same with Thai stars as well, so many of them look Eurasian or pure Chinese and not like the Thai people we know of! ( I'm thinking Ken and Anne in Oum Ruk...which i am still watching...and Tik i am sure has Chinese blood in him as well, you can easily tell by the features..)

I have provided some trailers below so enjoy!

IntEresting CLIps on YOutube and VeOH: You Are The One (Filipino/2006) One of the Best Romantic Films I've seen in 2007...what i liked best about this film is that the characters were very believable and had flaws...they weren't made out to be perfect and had their own insecurities,etc..definitely one of the best filipino films i've seen. You are the One The Making(Part One) You are the One The Making(Part Two) You Got Me! Trailer (Filipino/2007) Gigil Trailer (Filipino/2006) Mano Po 5 Gua Ai Di Trailer(Filipino/2006) Official Site With Theme Song MV:
This is the 5th series in the Mano Po series of films about Filipino-Chinese and their lives. Moments of Love Music Video/Trailer (Filipino/2006) Additional Info:
I like the tagline: She lives in the past, he lives in the present, ..can love defy the bound of time?
In a sleepy lakeside town, time curves for two people to meet and part. In the end, all that is left are their Moments of Love. ( I Love this ad, It has a really witty and interesting concept!)

I managed to find some websites that have online Thai and Filipino TV Drama and movies with English subs BUT I couldn't find Mano Po 4, Aishiteimasu 1941, So HappyTogether, The Blossoming of Maximo...if there are any filipinos out there who have these films WITH ENG SUB, could you kindly upload them on veoh or youtube and let me know in my comment section, I would really really appreciate it!! Salamat po in advance...


hari deepak said...

nice post ...the way you described the male nude models was hilarious.....iron ladies is something about transsexuals right?

by the way is your mother thai then?

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

hari deepak: You deleted your own post again! I had to delete it again...i mean you don't have to be so careful, it is really very tiring to keep seeing deleted comments. Also why do you have the tendency to always ask irrelevant questions and wrong assumptions?? I mean assuming my mother is Thai is just so my profile pls...also i would rather you not leave comments anymore considering how u keep doing these things although i nicely tell you in the pass...i hope i am not being too mean nor straightforward...feel free to keep visiting though:)

hari deepak said... only interest was in political issues related to east asia....also i did not see the tag malaysian/taiwanese....since you talked so much about thailand movies i thought you had some thai roots...i will stick to china law blog or something.....but since i am leaving all i wanted to say was why do you have such strong biases towards my opinion gay haters are wrong,similarly persons who perpetrated the nanking atrocities are wrong....but at the same time the way you hate all japanese because of the atrocities perpetrated by a few people is irrational...and why are you encouraging anti-japanese sentiments in young chinese...i mean what if it leads to race riots in don't care right...however many japanese are killed by chinese it is justified because their ancestors perpetrated nanking massacre.....similarly it is wrong to discriminate against gays but mardi gras is an aberration,to encourage philistinism is not justified....My opinions are only against your views...All the best for your career in law...i will never post again...i don't think it would be necessary......see you

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

hari deepak: I'm sorry you feel that way, as usual you do not read my post carefully. I don't hate all japanese nor do i encourage pedastery. See ya.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

Readers: How come no comments?!! Isn't the introduction on Thai and Filipino entertainment interesting? Or is no one interested? I'm sad...sniff sniff..

gorgutz headhunter said...

Thai and Filipino entertainment industry definitely exist and are substantial,But they pale in comparison to the Hong Kong industry on the financial front. I do not think any Filipino or Thai stars you mentioned can match the charisma of actors like andy lau or tony leung or takeshi kaneshiro for example.The reason being hong kong industry has a lot of financial muscle behind it's productions. But they do not madly advertise themselves like bollywood though. And Yes of the recent asian movies i think even you would agree that south korean movies are technically superior in special effects and innovative storytelling(The best example being one of the movies you mentioned in your previous posts taegukgi).

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

GH: Definitely Agree! But i still think thai and filipino actors are cute:):)

gorgutz headhunter said...

I posted this here because i was not sure if you would read comments posted on your earlier posts.

Hello you profile says you are a practising law student, but only recently read your old post which describes you completing law and being appointed as a solicitor. First of all congratulations for becoming a lawyer. Lawyer in australia wow!!! Your parents must be really proud of you. Your english seems to be very very good(almost westernized english) and at the same time you seem to be proficient in japanese and mandarin(considered by some as the toughest language in the world). Also i have heard from my limited knowledge that english is a weakly right branching language whereas japanese is a left branching language. Would it be very difficult for a person who has done english as his first language to learn japanese or mandarin.

Are normally taiwanese as good as you are in english. Anyway i always repected taiwanese for their hard work. Just look at the kind of corporations taiwanese americans started, Jerry yang cofounded Yahoo and jen hsun huang co founded NVIDIA. Also taiwanese companies like ASUS are so much ahead of comparable chinese companies.

Were you a topper in your class by any chance?

Also now since you are a lawyer it would be nice if you could post a wider variety of topics on international issues(for example recently infamous virginia tech massacre) which you find interesting. You are restricting yourself too much to either ww2 comfort women issues or lesbian/gay issues or east asian movie issues. Anyways just a suggestion. Take care.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

GH: Well, Thanks for reading but i only post on issues which interest me and so i don't think i am limiting myself at all. In fact, if you have a look around, most blogs don't post on issues and topics as wide as i do and REALLY limit themselves to only one topic or country...which is perfectly fine of cos since everyone has their own niche interest. As for my English, you'll be surprised how many people have the same level or an even better English level than me.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Weng Lopez here, Filipino from Manila, Philippines.

Much appreciate your writing about South East Asians.

I also admire your tackling interests and current issues/events at your own pace.

With high cost of making movies, the coming of digital technology is very welcomed here in the Philippines. It has opened more options for Filipino filmmakers to do their art. I'm both amazed and proud that in spite of everything, I know of at least three annual local film festivals for independent filmmaking.

There is also mainstream festivals like the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). MMFF regularly starts December 25 to January 1st week, exhibits only Filipino-made films produced and chosen for festival. The Mano Po series is one such film , that it's like a franchise (Mano Po 5).

To help you find more info and videos, please type in "ZsaZsa Zaturnnah", "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros"or "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (original Filipino title).

"Ang Kagila-gilas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah" is first an award-winning comic book written and created by Mr. Carlo Vergara. Then it was adapted for the theater as a musical comedy by CCP Tanghalang Pilipino, then to "ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh". Ms Zsazsa Padilla is the Filipino actress-singer in the title role.

"The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros" is the first movie from the Philippines to participate in Sundance's World Cinema Competition (Dramatic Category) in 2006. Same director Mr. Auraeus Solito was again invited this year 2007 to exhibit his film "Tuli" (roughly translates The Circumsicion) and to participate in a panel discussion entitled "The Burden of Representation." [Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 21, 2006, "Only in Hollywood" column of Mr. Ruben V. Nepales. Incidentally, I kept that copy for sentimental reasons. I met Auraeus years ago while doing theater with University of the Philippines Dulaang UP. From time to time, I would hear from friends news about what he's doing :)]

I'm familiar with the general impression of Philippines and Filipinos abroad. Admittedly some of it are not good like the state of poverty and lack of better job opportunities.

How I wish they could all do their work here at home. Alas no, so they do what they can.

Leaving the comfort of family, friends, the familiar, Filipinos take jobs abroad, like domestics & wait staff in service sector, and shipmen, nurses, doctors, teachers, engineers, etc. in other sectors. What income (US$7B in Jan-June 2007) they remit to their families fuels the economy to keep our country going. We call them OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and they are our heroes. Eight million of them at least.

Re Filipino guys, I have to share with you that just today, I flipped through the Cosmopolitan Magazine Pinoy Edition, the Cosmo Men and Centerfolds 2007. Confirmed not just cute, hot too. Try Dingdong Dantes, Derek Ramsey, Jon Avila. Alfred's there too.

I came across your blog while searching for use of phrase "Filipino chic". I clicked on your link to check the context of phrase.

It also interested me to read your background in art and law. I haven't read all your posts but maybe you could refer me to an earlier post on this topic.

Maraming salamat din po,
Weng Lopez

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

Weng Lopez: Hello Weng. Thanks for your thoughtful comments!! Yeah, the movies you mentioned i know about already and actually mentioned it in my post already. I am desperately searching for those films online, would you happen to know sites online where they are available for d/l? Or do u have any of the films and can upload them with eng subs onto youtube or something? cos i really want to watch it!!! And also i haven't written much on SEA at all so this is kinda my first post besides introducing my hometown of Penang before.
PS: are you a guy or a girl? cos u said u were looking for 'filipino chic' which would seem to indicate that u r a guy but then u read women's mags and call the male stars 'hot'...haha...i'm prob being too nosy!:)

Anonymous said...

Hi! I encountered your blog accidentally while searching Oom Ruk online.
I am a filipino-chinese(Fei Lu bin hua qiao) living in the Philippines. To make the story short, I am chinese by blood, but I am born and raised in the Philippines.

I want to say thank you for appreciating and praising Filipino movies/ entertainment. Even Quentin Tarantino visited the country months ago. Actually we have lots of tv series, which are aired everyday. I think you can also avail the TFC(the filipino channel) in Australia. I hope you can also visit the Philippines, I tell you we have one of the best beaches in the world. :)

Thanks! Xie Xie

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

anon: Thanks for ur comments, i would love to visit the Phillipines one day!!!

Anonymous said...

hello i have read your article and it is quite interesting! about the part why filipino's have so many half celebs is that Philippines has been white washed being in spanish rule for 300 years and 100 years of american rule, i myself is spanish, american and pure filipino i have to say Philippines has a diverse culture so you wont be surprised if some or many Filipino's look half and etc.'Quite interesting having spanish, american, chinese, mexican, other south american countries and etc. in our culture and people.
thanx 4 the great read again

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

anon:thanks for your thoughts:)

seph said...

Wow! Reading your discussion on asian films interests me a lot.. I am a Filipino but I love Movies and dramas from other asian countries such as Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and China. I'm not saying that I don't like movies from my home country, but, compared with the other countries, it's just different. The other asian movies have a different attack and perspective when it comes to film making, I just can't specifically point out what it is, but whatever it is, it bring a different feel with respect to their movie, which makes me love them.