Move over Greeks. The Big Fat Wedding is happening now, and in Asia. If there is oneevent in a lifetime when families let go of their wallets and inhibitions, it is at thewedding. The heady mix of traditional rituals with what they see on the big screen tellsus something about a cultural melting pot. Why is the seating arrangement at Chineseweddings in the Western banquet style, while the food is always typically local? Why aresome families choosing to forego inviting everyone they know, rather fly a smallernumber of guests to an intimate seaside resort for the big day? To find answers, weturned to wedding planners. Get a sense of the color and flamboyance in the first issueof this year.We then get up close and personal with village folks. Even as the wave of migration fromrural to urban areas continues unabated, the majority of Asia’s inhabitants live invillages. But they are no longer isolated: mobile phones, television and bettertransportation means they are well connected with the city. That has changedeverything: their expectations, what they want their children to be.The discontent with politics and national leadership is a recurring theme. It is makingpeople angry and tense. India’s Outlook magazine brought out a special issue called ‘TheAge of Rage’ this month. Should businesses be wary of the angry customer? They should,because he or she is no longer going to accept shoddy products or broken promises.Wassup is an early warning system of consumer sentiment, so be mindful of what wereport.Plunge right in. At eighty-two pages, this is our meatiest issue ever.
14 countries.20 correspondents deeply immersed inpopular and leading edge culture bring youCultural Insights that will make a world ofdifference to your business SOUTH KOREA BANGLADESH PHILIPPINES SINGAPORE INDONESIA SRI LANKA THAILAND MALAYSIA PAKISTAN VIETNAM TAIWAN JAPAN CHINA INDIA
contents Look who’s talking:Meet the Wedding PlannersKnowing me, Knowing you: Village folks Movie of the Year Rage against Waiting list Tense about Favorite Green Brands
Look who’s talking …PAKISTANWhen it comes to weddings in Pakistan, there is one thing that isguaranteed: Couples will go all out to make their fairytale weddingmixed with tradition come true!According to Jalal, a renowned Pakistani wedding planner whoworks for the famous J&S event management company (thecompany has planned weddings for the rich and famous as well asconcerts for international celebrities such as Edward Maya andBryan Adams) a good floor plan, event manager and location arecrucial to making a wedding one that is memorable. Weddings inPakistan usually last for four days and are one of the most importantevents for families.All eyes will be on the bride, which means a lot of money is spent onwedding attire that is decorated with traditional and very intricateembroidery and beading from top to bottom to ensure she looksnothing short of a royal Mughal princess. The father of the bride isresponsible for the cuisine, which typically consists of elaboratespreads of scrumptious desi dishes ranging from biryani and kormato modern fusion and Mediterranean fare. Each event has up to sixmain course dishes. While Pakistani weddings typically have threemain functions, they now also include bachelor and bacheloretteparties as well as qawwali night and a post-wedding brunch.Throughout the lengthy affair, the mother of the bride plays apivotal role. She is tasked with adorning her daughter in up to fourexpensive and exclusive jewelry sets. Jewels are also exchangedbetween the families at each of the five wedding events. The groomalso takes part in the glamour with his wedding attire costing around$2,300. The bride’s wedding clothes usually run between $3,000and $5,000.With so many decisions to be made about decorations, location andactivities, more Pakistani families are investing in wedding plannersfor help. To save money, more Pakistani newlyweds are opting to goto the Far East on honeymoons.
Look who’s talking …SINGAPOREAn interview with Deirdre FooTHOUGHTS ON MODERN WEDDINGSFor many young Singaporeans, their notion of a wedding is a lotmore Westernized, but we are often held back due to Chinesecustoms.For us, the 100 table banquet is unnecessary. Our wedding shouldbe about the people who truly matter. But it’s a tough battlebecause being Asian, we will always try and respect our parents’wishes.MUST HAVESYour own personal touch. Weddings tend to be rather cookie-cutter and commercialized so it was important for me to inject myown style into the wedding. From personalized, hand-writtenplace cards to the bonnataires that don’t have flowers.LOCATIONIn terms of locations, I’d say the more unique the better. Butmost importantly, pick a place that means something to you as acouple and that feels instinctively right – not by the availability ofa hotel ballroom.WHAT’S INThe releasing of balloons/lanterns is quite a big thing, as arephoto booths. The general trend is to involve your guests in ameaningful way.HONEYMOONSMany couples these days are into short honeymoons – possiblybecause of work constraints. It really works out though! I have afriend who did her honeymoon over 2 years but she got to go to 3different countries and kept her post-marital bliss for a lot longer.COSTIn Singapore, it ranges from $50,000- $80,000 – depending on thenumber of tables at the banquet. 8
Look who’s talking …MALAYSIAMeet Ratna Rashidi of Perfect Day Planner Ratna Rashidi(http://perfectdayplanner.blogspot.com/); a wedding plannerwith eight years under her belt in the industry. She typicallyplans weddings for Malay couples, and her clientele can bedivided into three groups: yuppies, or young urbanprofessionals who lead busy lives leaving them with little timeto plan; motherless grooms, who need a feminine hand; andfamilies for which this is the first wedding, and require herexpertise. Akad Nikah; the solemnization ceremony in a Malay wedding.Her clients usually engage her services for one or more ofthree ceremonies important in Malay marriages: theengagement ceremony; the akad nikah, or solemnizationceremony; and the wedding reception that follows the akadnikah. On average, her clients will spend only about 20,000MYR (about $6,300) on their weddings, preferring to splurgeon their honeymoons instead. Typically, the cost of thewedding is split between the bridal couple and their parents,with the couple footing the bill for smaller items such asinvitation cards and wedding favors, and their parentscovering the bigger costs, like the ballroom and catering.According Ratna, there are two trends influencing Malaysianwedding customs today. One is the influence of Westernwedding culture – while the traditional customs are stillimportant and included, Malaysian weddings are increasinglyincorporating Western touches into traditional customs. Forexample, despite Malaysia’s hot, humid and capriciousweather, garden themed weddings are extremely popularamong couples. Western influence is also evident in thebrides’ gowns. Increasingly, some Malay brides will forgo thetraditional Malay dress for a Western wedding dress, or theywill incorporate Western bridal styles, such as the color whiteand more risqué designs, into the traditional Malay dress. Traditional Malay dress in the style of a wedding gown and a Western style wedding gown.The second trend Ratna noticed is the increasing desire forcouples to create weddings that reflect their personalities.One example involves a groom and a drum instructor giving adrum performance during his reception. In the past, weddingswere almost solely dictated by what the couple’s parentswanted. However, now couples are asserting more say increating the kind of wedding they want – they feel that theyhave a right to since they are also financially contributing.Ratna believes this desire for a more personalized wedding isborn out of a desire to stand out from the rest – by creating awedding that is memorable and better than others’. “There’san ‘I want to do better than the Jones’ mentality,’” Ratnaexplained. 9 Garden themed wedding decorations.
Look who’s talking … SRI LANKA Nelunika Wejeshijnghe (aka Nels) has always been into party planning with her cousins and friends for fun. For every occasion - Christmas, New Years, birthdays - Nels and her gang were busy planning parties. That soon took a back seat when she started working. During her account management sting at Ogilvy Sir Lanka, Nels got a real taste of events, thanks largely to her client Ceylon Tobacco Company. At the same time, her cousin began managing a wedding magazine business. He wanted to expand his business to include wedding planning and other wedding-related events. Nels leaped at the opportunity. Over the next 18 months, Nels ended up planning around 15 weddings. “Wedding planners have been around for some time. We’re the latest entrants,” said Nels. According to her her busy schedule as a wedding planner, such professionals are becoming must-haves at weddings in Sri Lanka. “Of course, its still skewed towards the urban affluent class,” she said. Not surprisingly, considering the average budget range is between $10,000 and $20,000. According to Nels, the important aspects of a wedding are the venue, the designer of wedding clothes and wedding brands. What brands couples use at their weddings indicate social status. “Hosting a daughter’s wedding at the Hilton says a lot about the father of the bride. Attending a reception at such a venue also helps the invitee make an impression among his or her social circle,” she said. Plus there are added benefits such as great service, food and accessibility in terms of transportation. 10
Look who’s talking …“Local clients always play it safe when it comes to venues. They’d prefer an enclosed space to avoid risksof bad weather and also other associated benefits, which you get from a hotel. Whereas expat clients arefar more adventurous. That’s also because they bring foreign friends in town to attend the wedding, sothey would much rather prefer a beach wedding than a wedding in a hotel.”“Who dressed the bride, who did her make-up… are the most discussed topics among the women inviteesat a wedding,” Nels said. With many weddings being covered by popular media, these elements becomeextremely important.Similar to weddings in other cultures, Sri Lankan weddings today are less about tradition and more aboutcelebration. “Gone are the days of unending Poruwa ceremonies,” Nels said. “People just want to have aball.”Honeymoon planning is not as important for wedding planners. “Honeymoon destinations are often givenas a surprise gift to the newlyweds by friends and relatives so they decide themselves,” she said.On a more philosophical note, Nels says that being a wedding planner can be a thankless job andfrustrating at times. “There are clients who have already decided what they want. They just want theplanners to execute. And then there are those who simply treat you as their secretary, only wanting youto coordinate meetings and negotiate rates. No input on anything else. But there are clients who comewith an absolutely open brief. They just give you a budget and ask you to organize something that peoplewill talk about and remember. These are also the people who print the names of the wedding planner onthe invitations. What better way to advertise ourselves! And when they start the wedding celebration,they first thank the wedding planners. It’s icing on the cake,” she said. 11
Look who’s talking … VIETNAM This is Thuy, a busy professional and the official wedding planner of her own wedding this year in Vietnam. Her wedding was held in Vietnamese tradition: a ceremony at home with family followed by a reception at a local well-loved restaurant. Both families were heavily involved in the day’s preparations. The traditional ceremony invites the groom’s family to bring several gifts to the bride’s family covered in a red cloth to express their desire for the bride: a roast pig, ao dai, gold rings, gold jewelry, money, wine, tea and fruit. Both parents invite their guests to a dinner and celebration in the evening to toast the new couple. The Traditional Ceremony The Banquet However, like many modern brides in Vietnam , Thuy wanted to do something less formal and in her own taste and style, deciding to have a separate party just for friends after her wedding day with family. This took her over the usual $10,000 budget for a wedding, but with memories she can look back on worth so much more. 12
Look who’s talking … TAIWAN Wedding planners, also called a bride secretary in Taiwan, have to know both the traditional customs and whats trendy so they can make the bride’s dream come true and satisfy the needs of the parents. Lucy has been a wedding planner for about 4 years. She says that the job is not as fancy as it may look: “Most people think all we do is have parties all the time, but they do not see the preparation and trivial aspects behind the job.” A wedding costs about NT$1 million~NT$2million, the price includes the process of getting married, the wedding banquet, and wedding photos. The expenditure can usually be balanced out by receiving the traditional red envelope, which contains monetary gifts from wedding guests. However, if a couple wants a dream wedding, they have to shoulder more of the cost. For example, some brides like to plan their weddings Western style at a manor during the fall season to get the look of weddings seen in the movies.“Brides of this generation take more control thanbefore; they will tell us what their ideas are, or even thedetails of the execution, so sometimes you will see thatthe invitation is designed by the bride,” Lucy said.However, in order to increase the value of a weddingplanner, Lucy likes to plan some activities during thewedding, such as inviting male guests to come on stage,but not to throw and catch the bridal bouquet butcauliflower. Of course the man that catches thecauliflower is terribly sad as he’s the next in line.Except the funny parts, Lucy says wedding planners alsoedit a video for others to share the memories of thebride and groom. “It usually touches everyone becauseyou can see the bride and grooms family and friends”. 13
Snapshots from a Taiwanese weddingThere are usually wedding photos and a guest book to share their happiness. Photos by Lucy 14
It’s popular now to have the wedding ceremony outdoors, especially in fall. 15
Snapshots from a Taiwanese weddingBrides in Taiwan often have the 3 different looks through the wedding day: theinvitation,the show up, and escorting the visitor out, while the groom will haveonly one look because men are not the point (as we know). 16Photos by Lucy
Also, it’s common to invite friends to sing a song or play music in Taiwan becausepeople think it is a way to express their blessing. 17
A Chinese groom is picking up the bride at her family home Chinese wedding cake with the “double happiness” symbol on the top The new couple’s friends are “disturbing the bridal room” byChinese wedding photography Friends at the new couples house to “disturbing the bridal requesting the new couple and playing games room”A Chinese wedding in hotel 18Wedding reception in a five star hotel The tea ceremony
Look who’s talking …CHINAVivian Lee is a 29-year-old independent wedding planner in Shanghai. She has been trained at WeddingsBeautiful, an American association of professional wedding planners that provides quality education to aspiringwedding planners worldwide as well as issues professional certification to qualified wedding planners. Vivian hasbeen working in the industry for 3 years, she is very happy to share some of her knowledge about modernChinese weddings with us:A wedding is one of the most important and significant ceremonies in Chinese culture. Average Chinese couplesare willing to spend more on weddings compare to their Western counterparts. More importantly, an affluentChinese middle class is growing in big cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, therefore, thecost of weddings is increasing steadily in those cities. According to Vivian’s previous experience, the averagewedding budget in Shanghai is between 150,000 yuan to 250,000 RMB. Some couples who are from wealthyfamilies or make decent incomes even spend up to 400,000 RMB because their families want to show statusthrough wedding.Modern Chinese weddings in big cities, such as Shanghai, are combinations of Eastern and Western cultures.Chinese traditional weddings are rich with symbols, traditions and rituals. However, many of them have been lostover time. They are practiced in family beliefs and respect to committed marriage relationship. For instance, thechoice of the wedding date is very important, some couples or their parents will ask astrologists to study theirbirth date and birth time to choose a date that is considered lucky. For example, a date with even numbers isconsidered luckier. In China, there is an old saying that “good things come in pairs.” Chinese wedding ceremoniesare usually scheduled to begin on the half hour because it is believed that time is on the upswing then.There are also many cultural symbols that appear with weddings. The symbol of “double happiness” may be usedon invitations, decorations and cakes. Tea ceremonies are also popular. The original way of the tea ceremonywas conducted for the bride to privately serve her own family before the wedding ceremony and for thenewlyweds to serve the groom’s family together following the marriage vows. However, many Chinese coupleswho adopt this custom in modern weddings only have one tea ceremony with both ceremonies present, whichusually takes place after the end of the marriage ceremony.Modern wedding receptions usually take place in four or five star hotels. A wedding host will lead the ceremonywith activities including introducing the couple, having the couple’s families give a speech, creating games for anew couple to play in front of all guests, announcing marriage and the tea ceremony etc. This is followed by abanquet that serves Chinese food and alcohol. New couples have to go to each table to toast their guests. Atmost modern Chinese weddings, the bride wears three different dresses during the ceremony. The first is theWestern style white wedding dress during the wedding ceremony. The second dress is a traditional Chinesewedding dress that is used at the banquet. The last dress is called the bride’s going away dress. At night, thecouple’s friends will visit the new couples house to “disturb the bridal room” by asking the new couple to playgames, which ends the wedding day.A large percentage of Chinese couples prefer using wedding planning companies or wedding planners becausethey are able to come up with more ideas. They save time and make sure everything goes smoothly on thespecial day. Must-haves for Chinese weddings include engagement rings and wedding bands, weddingphotography, wedding cars, ceremony and banquet, wedding host and wedding gifts.Today more and more Chinese couples want personalized weddings in China and abroad. One emerging trendare destination weddings since a large number of Chinese female celebrities who recently married haddestination weddings, such as Barbie Hsu. Popular honeymoon destinations are Sanya, the Maldives, Bali, Spain 19and Thailand.
Look who’s talking …INDONESIATJAN ING ING,THE MOTHER WHO PLANNED HER DAUGHTER’S WEDDING“Finally comes the day when my daughter is getting married. It’s a mixed feeling between excitement andworry. The biggest worry that comes to mind is about the new life she will have.”An Indonesian with a Chinese background, Tjan’s planning starts with choosing a good date for the wedding.Traditionally, the good date will impact the life the couple will have in the future. It was decided to have it afterChinese New Year since it’s considered bad to have it before. Tjan then planned to leave other decisions to thecouple, but, being a mom, she was actually involved in everything from deciding the gown, the color theme,invitation, decoration and the cuisine.Required activities are Sangjit and Tea Pay. “These arethe Chinese traditions that we should keep,” she said.Sangjit acts as a traditional proposal between the twofamilies. The groom’s family comes over to exchangegifts with the bride’s family. The gifts are traditionalclothing from top to bottom, and for the groom, theyhave to bring two red envelops of money called “UangSusu” or in English, “Milk fee”.The bride’s family is supposed to receive both envelopsand return the bigger one to the groom at the end ofSangjit event to show that “you don’t buy my daughter,you just pay a respect to me for raising her.”The Tea Pay is when the couple pays respect to the elders, and when the family wishes them a happymarriage by giving the red envelop “Angpao”. “I did it when I got married too,” said the mother of three.For the reception, “She [the bride] wants the color theme to be black and gold, and I’m trying to be moremodern and agree to that, but I think there should have been at least a little bit of red [Chinese traditionalcolor for marriage] or pink,” said the mother who eventually ordered peach-colored flowers on every diningtable at the reception.They are having the reception at the RitzCarlton Hotel in Jakarta, with 60 dining tables.Sit down receptions are becoming common inJakarta. People are trying to invite fewerguests, making the ceremony more and morepersonal instead of having a standing buffetwith a thousand people. 20
Look who’s talking …The reception starts with a jazzy orchestra, which finally welcomes the two families and the couple. Thesefamilies are the celebrities of the night and sit at a special dining table on the stage, facing the guest tables.“It’s a little awkward when you’re put under the spotlight and people are observing you, what you wear topdown, but I can still enjoy the dinner and champagne.”On the menu, there must be shark fin soup and bird’s nest. These are the traditional celebration cuisines forChinese. “So out of all the 10 cuisine we have, we have shark fin soup as one of the appetizer, then we mix itwith Indonesian foods like Bangka noodles because the groom’s family comes from Bangka, and we also havepasta and steak because the couple loves it, then we ended it with bird’s nest and chocolate cake as dessert.”As always, there are toasts, the wedding cake cutting and a little bit ofvideo showing the morning church ceremony and Sangjit. For the coupleand their friends, they have the after party with hard liquor and livemusic. “My husband also had drinks with his business partners. He saidthere is this guy who got drunk and slept on the table for a bit and theyhave to bring him to the room. They also took a photo booth picturetogether,” she said as she shows the picture. “We planned on the budget to be under 2 BILLION RUPIAH in total for the reception - Sangjit, gowns and all. But it ended up to be 2.5 billion Rupiah at the end. It’s very costly we thought, all that money for just 2 days, it’s a waste of money. But at the end, I think it’s worthwhile. It’s a once in a life time event for them, and I don’t want people to remember that “Han’s and Lilie’s wedding was the one that the food doesn’t taste good or the event is very unorganized.’ It has to leave a good memory in other’s minds as well,” says Tjan. 21 The father of the bride on the top left, accompanied by his business partners from China at the after party.
Look who’s talking …JAPANMarch 2011, the month of the devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan. The cataclysm changed people’sview towards their lives, and to many, it provided them areason to seriously think about their future. Manyrealized the true importance of their partner. Many realized that there is more to life, choosing to move on bythemselves.Either way, one big key word that has come up in 2011 was “KIZUNA” (bond) between family and friends.KIZUNA was chosen as the word of the year for 2011.KIZUNA Wedding is now the big trend in the wedding industry, says Kei Yamamoto, a wedding planner in Tokyo.Many couples who come to plan their wedding often mention that they have decided to have the weddingbecause they want to express their gratitude to their parents. According to Zexy, the biggest wedding planningcooperation in Japan, the top three reasons why people have wedding parties are 1) To express their appreciationto their parents, 2) To make their parents happy 3) To express their appreciation to their friends and relatives. Thistendency seems to have increased post 3.11.Kei says that activities which involve parents to participate in the wedding has increased. In addition, so has thetradition of the father of the bride escorting the bride into the church (venue). Activities such as mother of thebride placing the bridal veil and parents or siblings escorting the couple out of the wedding venue is becomingpopular. Another activity is the candle relay where all the participants relay the candle light to the person sittingnext to them. Once all the candles are lit, they blow the candles, making a wish.The average expenditure per wedding has increased in 2011 (it has been constantly increasing in the past 5 years)and this trend is predicted to increase.Despite the recession and despite the disaster, or because of the recession and the disaster, people acknowledgeand treasure the importance of bonding with people. 22
Look who’s talking … “Being a wedding planner requires me to wear several hats. You have to be part-psychologist, life coach, personal assistant and friend.” – Pat Pastelero According to Pat, the challenge lies in helping the bride always see things in perspective. The term “bride-zilla” is often the norm than it is the exception. Years ofPHILIPPINES working with brides has been instrumental in managing last-minute glitches and coming up with solutions onIn the business of weddings, the Philippines is a prime the spot.market for designer dresses, elaborate flowerarrangements and professional videography. Gaining Being a wedding planner in the Philippines is a lucrativeclients has less to do with marketing and more to do business, especially since women nowadays get marriedwith referrals from people within the business. mid-career, which makes it difficult for them to be very hands-on with their weddings.Pat Pastelero started off as a florist in 2008, cateringto offices, luncheons, and events. Her business However, success depends on the network you’ve built.Spruce Floral Designs, enabled her to grow a network Brides are not convinced by advertising, but theof happy brides, designers and wedding suppliers recommendations of people they know and trust. Forwilling to refer her. Not too long ago, she decided to now, she is working on weddings of close friends.branch out to wedding planning, at the request ofsome of her clients who appreciated her impeccabletaste, keen attention to detail, and professionalism. BANGLADESH In Bangladesh, more people are turning to wedding planners to help organize their special day. So much so that it could be considered the next big trend in the country’s wedding industry. What should wedding planners offer to their clients here? There are key components, including special “Dala” decorations, stage decorations and “Rasam” functions. Must-have trends for brides include an elongated Rakhi ceremony, which is the entrance of the bride in a Palki or some other extravagant vehicle to showcase her beauty. Massive, glamorous centerpieces at dinner tables are also popular. Couples prefer to have an open location rather than a community center. Such open locations enable the bride and the groom to have more luxurious ceremonies. Activities at the wedding include small plays where the bride and the groom along with their families act out the story of how they met each other. Weddings are done with a carnival theme with many stalls offering food and other activities. The themes are very flamboyant, some are more Mughal focused, often with very bright colors. People don’t usually have traditional biryani cuisine but rather different types of food. More attention is given to the clothing worn by the bride than the groom. People prefer more gaudy dresses with heavy embellishment work. Popular 23 honeymoon destinations include Thailand and Bali.
Look who’s talking … SOUTH KOREA Eunkyung Chang, Director of Design Wedding (www.designwedding.net), is a veteran wedding consultant with more than 15 years of experience working as a wedding planner. She is now focusing more on new business development, training and recruiting staff. This veteran wedding consultant said the current Korean wedding market is undergoing big changes from many perspectives. Let’s hear some major trends and interesting points of latest Korean wedding culture from her.How does a much wedding cost?Per couple, it costs approximately 70 to 100 US grandincluding all wedding ceremonies, furniture,honeymoon and other related expenses (this excludeshousing). One interesting old Korean traditionalwedding culture in Korea is money gift for theceremony, which can cover a guest’s meal for wedding.What are the most popular locations?The majority of Korean couples are married in awedding hall, which is a wedding exclusive venue. Somevery devout Christians or Catholics will not use such What kind of food is served?facilities. More recently, the convention halls ofrenowned hotels have become one of the popular After wedding ceremony, guests are guided to awedding venues. And the wedding hall interior style is banquet hall where different types of cuisine awaitsunder transition, from Baroque elegant style into more them. There are three main types of wedding cuisine.modern and simpler one. One is Korean cuisine, the second is more Western and the third is a typical buffet style. One interesting meal inAmong some very high society people, very luxurious Korean weddings is a warm noodle traditionallyhouse weddings for a very small number of guests (less believed to imbue the newlyweds with a long and happythan 100 ) are preferred as being very private and more marriage. This dish is still one mainstays of Koreanflexible time management. weddings. 24 27
What do the bride and groom wear? Look who’s talking …Generally Korean couples have a Western-style weddingceremony. No wonder the core of the ceremony is a dress!Every bride has a fantasy over her own dress for one singlespecial day for entire of one’s life. That’s why the wedding dressis worth more than fuss about.One big change for wedding dresses over the last decade is thatEwha Women’s Street, a once popular place to buy weddingdresses, is not as popular among couples anymore. Now, thepreviously up-market dress shop street Cheongdam has becomethe most popular shopping area now for wedding attire.Preferences for wedding dress have also changed. After one topKorean celebrity wore a dress from Vera Wang, many Koreanwomen started to shop for imported designers. Another changeis that Korean males are now more involved in the decisionmaking processes. Men’s clothing is also more important thanbefore. More grooms prefer custom-made tuxedos withluxurious materials from designer brands rather than ready-made ones. Where do they go for their honeymoon? Interestingly, the top priority of Korean couple in selecting a honeymoon destination is a location where there are not many Koreans. However, due to their time limit (average Koreans have maximum only 7 to 9 days off for a honeymoon), long flights and high costs, the majority of couples choose to go to South East Asian countries. If the couple has enough time and money, Cancun, Tahiti and Bora Bora are also preferable destinations. More couples are also aware of branded resorts, such as Banyan Tree or the Four Seasons, for example. Sometimes these resorts matter more than the destination itself. Any other trends? A decade ago, it was not difficult to see a wedding reception where the friends of the bride and groom party with each other after the wedding. Now, as couples become more economically conscious. they are having fewer extravagant banquets. Friends also do not want to burden the couple as they know they will have to reciprocate in the future. In short, young Korean couples tend to be more individualistic and also Western in terms of the style of their weddings. They do not want to place too much burden on others. It is likely the worldwide economic downturn is one of the key influencers of this trend - 25 27 28 weddings are becoming more realistic and mature rather than overly romantic and expensive.
Look who’s talking …INDIAMeet Varun Raj and Smriti Chabbra. They are a Smriti’s wedding was originally budgeted at INR 8lakhsnewlywed Indian couple who planned their own but they ended up spending INR 12-15 lakhs. Thiswedding with necessary approvals and requests from spillover was mainly due to accommodation of guestsfamily and friends. Like many other young couples, at the venue. “We selected a destination wedding,Smriti and her beau wanted their wedding to be which shot the budget by 30%,” the couple said.different. Different today means how the wedding is Must-havesdone and/or where it is done. Food : Most important. That’s what most peopleThough Varun is from Mumbai, his family is settled in attend weddings for. Good food. Offering 3-4 differentDubai. Smriti’s family is in Chandigarh. Usually, couples kind of cuisines is the norm. Indian and Chinese usedopt to plan their wedding in the same or one of their to be must. Italian and continental are the new musthometowns. haves. Besides these, many people choose to alsoHowever, they chose to have a destination wedding in keep some dishes that are popular from theGoa, which is a seaside destination in southern India. community they belong to.They said they chose Goa because there is a beach, and Venue : The grander the venue, the better the imageits closer to Mumbai than Chandigarh and Dubai. It’s of the financial stability of the families involved.also cheaper than Mumbai and has a certain romantic Second to that is the convenience of the venue innostalgia for them since they frequently vacationed terms of proximity to the main roads, facilities andthere. They also wanted more friends to attend their residence of both the families.wedding rather than only old relatives!“Destination weddings are popular. And most of themare planned on beaches or palaces,” says Divya Tejujawho works with the wedding planning team at acompany called Percept. Besides Goa, Jaipur is apopular destination for those who seek grandeur intheir wedding. 26 27 28 29 30
Look who’s talking …ActivitiesMehendi : Earlier both families would have a separateMehendi party for their respective relatives. But now tosave costs, many functions and puja ceremonies, likeMehendi, are combined functions.Before and after party : The party before the wedding isusually termed as a cocktail party where rings areexchanged. The after party is more of a youngsters partywhere the couple can now celebrate the wedding withoutany ceremonies involved.Music : A good DJ and dance music is an integral part ofevery wedding. Everybody tries to get into clothes thatallow easy maneuvering and bold dance moves.Performance : A group from both sides of the familiesperforms a skit about how the couple met, eccentricities ofeach – the bride and groom, the crazy families comingtogether. It is supposed to be humorous at the expense ofboth the families and creates an entertaining spectacle forthe entertainment of the outsiders. The two groups practicethis performance for a few months before the wedding withthe help of a choreographer.DécorDrapes instead of traditional heavy flowers. Earlier theseating arrangement would be like in a theatre, with a stageand everyone facing it. Now , the preference is for roundtable setting. The hanging out area is separate from theeating area.Favorite honeymoon destinationsWest India: GoaSouth India : KeralaNorth India : Shimla/NainitalOverseas: Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and SriLanka arepopular destinations because they are affordable andadventurous. Plus it is not too difficult to acquire a visa. 27 28 29 30 31 32
Knowing me, knowing youRural Pakistan is an emerging market that comprises67.5 percent of the country’s total population. Smallvillages exist in clusters where the main source ofincome is derived from farming and raising cattle fordairy products. Key challenges faced in rural areasinclude sanitation, education and health facilities.Sewage systems usually consist of small wells that arebuilt outside of houses. Few villages havegovernment-funded schools, which means parentsinterested in educating their children have to sendthem to cities that are often far away. Males tend tobe sent away for high school while females onlycomplete primary school. Villages have fewgovernment or private hospitals, which means healthservices and information is mostly spread through so-called Lady Health workers who go from door-to-doorin selected communities.Strained finances, security of elders and strong values of sharing have nurtured a tradition of joint householdliving in villages. This sometimes leads to family disputes over distribution of wealth and disputes betweenwomen living in one household. Religion dominates the lives of villagers and religious festivals are of vitalimportance. The most popular festivals include the birthdays of Sufi saints that are commemorated throughexciting, colorful festivals called melas. During these festivals, everyone comes together to showcase theirindividual flair for creativity via folklore, folk music, traditional food as well as crafts such as embroidery, stitchingand pottery. Numerous vendors sell different wares. Young men take part in activities such as the wrestling sportcalled kabbadi.Behind the colorful lives of rural villagers, are strong undercurrents of conservatism. Arranged marriages areubiquitous. Women are restricted from going out in public alone. There is shocking gender discrimination andlimited educational opportunities for females. Yet those living in rural Pakistan continually hope for a betterfuture. They want access to clean drinking water and other basic infrastructure. That the health risks they face ona daily basis go away with better hospitals and more doctors. They seek empowerment - empowerment ineducation, entertainment, vocation, freedom of expression, finances or simply access to basic utilities. In the faceof continual hardships, Pakistan’s rural population is inspirational. They are genuinely warm and hospitablepeople who are always smiling and forever hopeful. Diana’s approach to life is simple. Why fuss about things when you can just “be happy”? She strongly believes in taking things easy and bearing no ill will towards others. Despite the rising cost of living in Singapore, she appreciates the governments small effort in trying to ease the burden on the lower economic strata but feels it is barely enough to make a difference. At home, she often prefers to veg out on her sofa and watch her favorite Tamil cartoons, instead of using her computer. “When you go online, you have to read this, read that, click here, click there. I rather just watch cartoons on TV – it’s so enjoyable and always puts a smile on my face. When you watch movies, sometimes you get sad also – what’s the point?” Her love of the telly has Diana lusting for her next home furnishing purchase – an L-shaped couch with a reclining back rest!
Knowing me, knowing you Her son Adam, in the living room Safida and her dadSafida, who is 31, lives with her parents and her four- Safida’s biggest challenge is having to travel around onyear-old adopted son in a hilly Malay village in Kuala her wheelchair. She contracted a fever when young andLumpur called Kampung Palimbayan. The village is gradually lost control over her motor abilities. Thesituated close to the city centre and, as a result, many limited infrastructure and facilities available for thedevelopers flock to the village to set up retreats for physically disabled makes it hard to earn a living.people looking for a quick escape from the city. Currently, when she needs to travel, her parents have no choice but to carry her down the steep stairs of herThe village isn’t your typical village scene as community home. Their health is her biggest worry, especially withties are not very strong, perhaps due to the close the strain of transporting her to work and backproximity to Kuala Lumpur. Safida commutes to the city everyday. However, thanks to technology and her goodto work. She works from 8 in the morning until around 6 command of English, she has found a solution - anat night as a secretary/ receptionist at an oil and gas online English tutoring job which will give her thecompany situated 45 minutes away. She earns RM1500 freedom to work from home.(US$476) every month. Her parents sell nasi lemak (ricecooked with coconut) every morning at the local market She hopes the government will be more supportive ofand run a small catering business. On a good day, they their community and provide more job placements andmake RM200 (US$63). They have a comfortable life with facilities for the disabled. Despite her challenges, shetheir combined household income. Her home is simple has never given up and plans to set up a school afterwith all the basic amenities. She has a car, two televisions she moves back to her dad’s hometown in Perak whereand subscribes to cable TV and wireless internet. The there is a stronger knit of family and community tofamily loves to watch Masterchef Malaysia together as support her.her parents love to cook.Safida isn’t the typical village folk either. She’s more techsavvy than most and uses an Asus laptop to update herblog (www.girlonchairblog.blogspot.com), a Blackberryphone to connect with her friends and also teaches herson to type and use the internet using an Android Tablet.She says, “There is no limit when it comes to educationthese days” and hopes that she can prepare him tobecome someone useful like a doctor or a pilot who isable to take care of the family. Her son speaks Englishand Malay and goes to an established English medium 30Smart Reader Kid preschool.
Sumanapala Knowing me, knowing you Paddy field worker Anuradhapura He is also happy that the road to the village is now paved and wider and that the government is giving fertilizer to farmers at cheaper prices. But there are still problems. It is hard to get good prices for paddy harvests, for example. Yet, overall, the eldest son says he believes the future of his children will be brighter and better than his - better socially as well as economically.Sumanapala is a rice paddy cultivator fromAnuradhapura, in Sri Lanka. Rice paddy cultivation isthe staple of this economy in addition to Chena, orvegetable, cultivation. He works nearly 16 hours a day,his time divided between paddy fields and the Chena.He rarely travels outside the village, but when he does,he takes a bus.Sumanapala has a large family with four children. Hisparents’ generation had families with as many as 10children. The smallest son is in grade six and studies ata local primary school run by the government. He has asister who just completed her O/Ls and his currentlyhoping to enroll in a computer class in their town. Thiswill likely place a strain on the family’s budget, butthey have decided it is necessary for the child. Akira Wakabayashi moved to Kagoshima prefectureSumanapala has never touched a computer, but his (southern tip of Kyushu, Japan) in 2007. He wasyounger daughter will need the knowledge to find working in Fukuoka city (a big city in Kyushu) as asuccess in the future. His eldest daughter and eldest computer engineer for 10 years and decided to moveson never learned how to use a computer. Now the to a rural place with his family to lead a self-eldest daughter works in a garment factor. The son is sustainable, simple life. He now manipulates an axin the army. instead of a computer. He built a house and cultivates vegetables.Sumanapala’s home is sparse. It has a few old, woodenarm chairs and a table with a few chairs where the He has a mobile phone for an emergency, but does notfamily gathers for meals. He has an old black and white have TV anymore. If you live in Japan whether rural ortelevision and a radio, which is youngest son wants to urban, things you can get, watch or hear are not soreplace with a model that has color. Sumanpala says different. Same national TV shows are available,he could find a better use for the money, hoping to nationally standardized education systems are equallybuy a small tractor that he could use to plough other available, Any fashion items or gourmet dishes are allfields and earn extra income. one click away.He says there is really no use for a better TV as he only However, there is an increasing number of people whouses it to watch the news and a few random drama wish to lead a simple life. They choose to live in theprograms. His youngest son likes to watch cartoons. scarcity of things. Mr. Wakabayashi believes that ruralThey have no landline but instead a mobile phone, living can give a rich experience not only to him and hiswhich functions as the home phone. It was purchased wife, but also to his children. He says “now weby the eldest son who says he is relieved the war is appreciate every single thing around us that we used 31over. to take for granted. It is a joy of life”
Wang Dong and her daughterSamsung desk computer mixed with parts ofother brandsUnknown brand air conditioner 32 Skin care and laundry products
Knowing me, knowing you Wang watches TV and uses her computer after work at home for an hour or two. National news and local news are her favorite content. Wang’s most often watched channels are CCTV 13, the Liaoning provincial channel and Liaoning local channels. The motivation of watching TV is she wants to know government’s policies and whatWang Dong is a 34-year-old rural doctor who lives in happened around herLinhai, a county level city in China’s Liaoning Province.Inspired by her friend’s parents, Wang decided to study She also likes reading her friends’ diary at their QQmedicine at Linghai Hygiene School when she was young spaces. It is the main way for her to understand what’sand has received her professional certificate. Wang’s going on with them, what do they worry about andhusband runs his own shipping business, and they have what are the things they are happy about. She alsoa 12-year-old daughter. Both Wang’s parents and her reads newspapers at work and especially focuses onparents-in-law are from and now still live in the recruitment information.countryside. Wang and her husband make around 2,500 yuan perWang’s family used to live in a one-story house that is month. She thinks their income is not high enough andmade of red bricks. They had to sell it since the land was the “comfortable life” has not yet arrived. “If I see a bagneeded by developers two years ago, and their old that I like, I cannot buy it because I cannot afford,” shehouse has since been knocked down. They bought a said. Wang also dreams of traveling. But she doesn’tnew apartment by using the money from selling the old have the money. The only place that she has travelled toone. Wang’s family moved into the new apartment two is Qianshan mountain in Anshan, the same province thatyears ago. It is in a newly built brick blocks on the edge she currently lives in. Wang is not a sophisticatedof the city. People living in the neighborhood are also consumer for fashion and beauty products. She mainlyfrom rural families. There are very few cars parked in purchases low-end Chinese skincare brands such as Dathe neighborhood, and those cars that are there are Bao. However, she desires to go to a beauty salon sinceentry models. Some families with ground floor flats her girlfriends who are able to afford to go are usingeven keep the habit of rural lifestyle, growing their own direct-sale cosmetics and skin care products bought atvegetables on the first floor. that salon such as Chedoven.Wang’s apartment has 2 bedrooms and 2 living rooms. Wang worries about inflation. She thinks the inflation inThe overall feeling of the living space is simple and the past few years is making things more and moreminimal, but bright. The dining room, kitchen and unaffordable for average people like her. When I askedbathroom are decorated in a green color. All big ticket her how she deals with inflation, she replies that theyitems in Wang’s apartment were mostly purchased from “eat less meat”. “I only make 33 yuan per day, but thelocal private shops through friend’s recommendations. meat (pork) price is now 17 RMB per half kilogram, so IThey are currently using home appliances, including a have to look for discounted meat from supermarketSamsung desk computer mixed with parts of other everyday,” Wang said.brands, a Panasonic TV, a Royal Star refrigerator and anunknown domestic brand air conditioner. Wang prefers However, Wang still feels optimistic about the future ofjoint venture brands because Chinese brands are still in her family. She thinks the government will launch betterthe process of learning advanced technology from policies that are going to benefit more people. She alsoforeign brands, but most of the time she can only afford believes her family will be able to have a “comfortabledomestic brands. She also uses Nokia cell phone. life” because they will work more and work harder. 33
Knowing me, knowing youIt is not an easy job to be an over-60 year old female “I don’t agree that this is good for kids, but it’s true iffarmer in Taiwan, but Mrs. Chen does not take the you study in the city, you have more chances to studycultivation as a dirty job. Instead, she is thankful that at a better college and get a better job,” she said.nature can give her and her family such a beautiful lifewithout the pressure form an urban lifestyle. Although she can only see her grandsons about 3 to 5 times a year, she keeps in contact with them through“Although there are no such fancy entertainment as in the use of a mobile phone, and recently her sonthe big city, we still have lots of fun on any normal recommend that she should have a computer so theyday,” Mrs. Chen said. can visit more frequently via webcam.Mrs. Chen likes to sing with her relatives and friend. “I have learn some computer skills through theThey will have a gathering twice a week at a local KTV. Township Office, but computers are not practical toRecently she likes to invite people to her place me. However, I recently have wanted a smartphone,because her husband bought her a karaoke stereo set. especially since the Elder Farmer allowance has been“Of course I am very happy, and I look forward to raised to NT$ 7,000 per month in 2012,” she said.singing with my sons and grandsons in the comingChinese New Year,” she said. Generally, Mrs. Chen is satisfied with her life, and welcomed the youth back to the rural life. “Maybe youJust like the rural people go to city to pursue a better can’t get wealthy, but you can enrich your life here.”life, Mrs. Chen’s son also as a job in Taipei where hischild can attend a better school, which means thestudents have to study 10 hours per day. 34
Knowing me, knowing you Maria is a 32-year-old living in Deli Serdang, a second-tier city near Medan, North Sumatra in Indonesia. She is the mother of a 7-year- old son. Maria is optimistic and tough. Even with rising prices for food and other basic goods, she still manages her family’s needs by working as a high school teacher in the morning and as a private teacher twice a week in the afternoon. Her husband works for a manufacturer in Medan. While life seems slow in her small city, things continually move faster with technology - TV, internet, mobile phones. Family drama, music shows and infotainment are her favorite TV programs, but her attention is frequently diverted to her mobile while she watches television. She constantly chats on Facebook, updating her status and posting photos. “The government is busy with their own concerns. They don’t think of us, their citizens,” she says. “Politicians are busy creating their good images. Political parties race to get our hearts by doing social activities. I only care about my family life - how to run it well, make sure my child gets a better education. I hope we can buy our own house next year and no longer live in my parents’ home.”Taju Sarker, who is also called Tajuddin, is a painter who lives inrural Bangladesh. He also works as an electrician and earns a salarythat is slightly higher compared to others in his village. His incomehas increased recently as more people in his community arebuilding their own homes, which means they need to hire apainter.In his home, he has a television, a transistor and other home appliances. He has no clear idea of any majorpurchases he would like to make in the future, adding that he would rather save his money than spend it on anyone particular item.Tajuddin has two sons: One is 7 and the other is only two. His eldest son attends a school located at the end oftheir street. The family watches mainly Bangla movies on TV as well as dance shows - apparently Hindi TV danceshows are a big hit in the villages. None of the family members have ever used a computer. But there is a mobilephone repair store that just opened right next to their home. They have gone to this store to watch its ownerwork on a computer. When asked whether the government is doing enough to help the nation’s poor, Taju said:“I do not care as long as I live well and my children grow up well, I am more than happy. I do not care what thegovernment does.”He owns two mobile phones, which his children use to talk to their relatives.Tajuddin said he did not want any photos taken of him or his family. He insisted it was better not to take any 35photos because his house was being renovated and his wife was not present. He said he did not want to sendout an “unfinished” photo of his life for the world to see.
Knowing me, knowing you Eugenio, who lives of North Luzon in the Philippines, learned farming from his father who learned farming from his. He spends everyday tending to his vegetables as it is the main source of income for his family. Everyday starts early at 430am and the rest of the day is spent instructing his employed workers hands- on or conversing with agricultural specialist on different crop issues.Eugenio seeks to improve his farming practice to remain competitive in the market. He makes sure to establishclose relationships with his buyers and sees to it that they get the consistent quality that they have come toexpect from his produce. His years in farming taught him that reputation of his produce is valuable in gaining andmaintaining buyers. He knows that his chosen livelihood requires daily personal attention. Because of this, herarely goes on holidays. In fact, the first time ever he rode a plane out of his province was last December 2011(which was partly also for his business). He takes pride in his respected vocation but does not wish his children toinherit it. Under his management he strived to grow their family’s farming livelihood so that, unlike generationsbefore them, his children can go to college. This way, they can have a more prosperous life without having to toilunder the sun. Phuong is a Vietnamese housewife with 2 children under 10 years old who both go to public school. Her life is non-stop work with both her weekdays and weekends being filled work in the fields or chores in the house. Her husband works as a building assistant and lives away so that they can earn more money for the family. Her life is becoming more difficult with the increasing price of necessities such as fuel, water, and electricity, hoping that the government will have new policies to support their lives and control price fluctuations. Her reputation is important to her and while money may be tight, she doesn’t want her family to ‘lose face’ so she still has goods in her home such as a TV, motorbike, CD/VCD player and electric fan. Phuong’s main form of entertainment is chatting with friends or watching TV for normally 1-2 hours/day during lunch, dinner, or relaxing at the end of the day. Computers aren’t something she feels she needs to buy or have in her home yet: she believes that because she has never needed one before, her money will be better spent on other products more essential to her family’s lifestyle like her mobile phone that she uses to keep in contact with her husband living away. 36
Knowing me, knowing youRam Naresh Yadav is a 32-year-old commerce graduate employed with a local bank called the Regional RuralBank, in the outskirts of New Delhi. He is married and has two kids. Ram stays with his parents and youngerbrother who is single. His father is a farmer who owns 1 hectare of semi irrigated land. Ram is the first person inthe family to break out of the farming occupation. He wants his kids to study in New Delhi and then become civilservants (as they call collectors), or go abroad.Has life got better or worse for them recently? He says that mobile connectivity, a media explosion, improvedinfrastructure and government funded rural development schemes have made a difference to his and his peergroup’s life. He also says the quality of health care has improved over the last ten years.Whats in their homes? He has white goods, including a TV, refrigerator, washing machine, water heater, fan, etc.He drives a motor bike and has a small sofa set, a few chairs and a double bed. He has a bone china tea set. Foodis consumed using steel utensils.What are they planning to buy next? He wants to buy a big screen TV and a DVD player.Where do the kids go to school - what kind of school? Ram’s daughter goes to a government primary school andand his son to a local English medium school, which they call a convent school.What TV programs do they like to watch? Mostly Bollywood movies, the quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati,,laughter shows and news on Aaj Tak or India TV (instead of saying news he mentioned channel names).Have they ever used a computer? Yes. Ram says that most of the youngsters in his village want to learn how touse a computer because that is perceived as the key to success. This belief has aided in mushrooming of computercenters all over around the community.Is the government doing a good job? He and most of his peer group feel that the schemes proposed by differentgovernments don’t reach them and middlemen siphons it all off. Also, they think that the caste factor plays amajor role in getting government support in rural areas.Do they use a mobile phone? Yes he uses mobile phone. There are two phones in his house, one he carries withhim and the other used by everyone at home. The second phone is never carried out of home, it has replaced thelandline! 37 45
Movie of the YearPAKISTAN : BOLBol‘ is a renowned Pakistani film director Shoaib Mansoor’ssecond dramatic film that reveals the country’s rigid social, culturaland right-win religious complexities.The film takes place in Lahore in a household with a number ofdaughters. Their life is, on the surface, vibrant. However they havesevere restrictions on freedom of expression. ‘Bol’ takes audienceson a journey into the life of this family, illuminating their sufferingsand triumphs. As the women try to solve their problems, they faceeven deeper challenges. The complexity of their circumstancesbecomes a struggle between life and death.The movie was nothing short of controversial. The name itselfmeans “speak” and is a simple and symbolic comment on the lackof free expression in Pakistan. Never before have issues such ashomosexuality, the stigmatization of female use of contraception,the freedom to choose one’s partner and public demonstration ofsinging and dancing been addressed so directly in Pakistanicinema.‘Bol” is undoubtedly the most provocative and most talked aboutmovie of the year in Pakistan.SINGAPORE: ALREADY FAMOUSFollowing ‘The Noose’s’ Emmy Nomination for BestInternational Comedy, Michelle Chong has shifted gears forher directorial debut, ‘Already Famous.’The movie was extremely well-received by Singaporeans. Itsperformance matched Hollywood movies released the sameweekend and raked in S$1.04 million in just 11 days.Beyond just a good directorial debut, this movie symbolisesan increasing appreciation of our country’s local talent, bothamongst Singaporeans and international audiences.Storyline: Lim Ka Kiao sells TVs but she wants to be on TV!The young Malaysian girl heads off to Singapore to fulfill herdream of becoming a famous TV star. In her journey tosuperstardom, she meets a shy coffee shop assistant namedAh Seng who helps her achieve her dream. Seemingly light-hearted but not without moments of vulnerability andemotion, ‘Already Famous’ is touted as "not just about thetrials and tribulations of making it in showbiz, but also amessage of truth and heart to anyone whos ever wishedupon a star".
Movie of the Year Malaysia’s Movie of the Year goes to controversial local film ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0.’ The comedy, named after Malaysia’s national dish, takes an unflinching look at racial stereotypes that persist among the locals. ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’ tells a story of a Malaysian Chinese chef who, ignorant of the other cultures that compriseTAIWAN: YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE Malaysia, discovers the meaning of being Malaysian on his journey to learn about local cuisine.The blockbuster ‘You Are the Apple of My Eye’ hasbecome the highest-grossing Chinese-language movie One of the reasons for the popularity of ‘Nasi Lemakin Taiwan. The film has grossed NT$410 million 2.0’ is the fact that it originated from Namewee, a(US$13.54 million) at the box office in Taiwan since Chinese Malaysian who shot to fame after he releasedits release in August. a controversial song fused with Malaysia’s national anthem that aired his views of Malaysia and itsThe romantic comedy adapted from one of Kos leadership. In a country where media is highlynovels, which opened in Hong Kong theaters on Oct. controlled, his bravery and transparency won him20, depicts the life of a troubled high-school boy who many supporters.falls in love with a girl who is adored by almost everyboy in her class. While Hollywood movies dominate screen time in Malaysia, ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’ is one of the few locally-Taiwan movie critics have said the films ability to made movies that has captured the attention ofarouse the "collective memory" of audiences in Malaysians. Many look to ‘Nasi Lemak 2.0’ as anreliving their high-school years is what has made the honest portrayal of life in Malaysia, in a society wherefilm so popular. media tend to gloss over sensitive issues, such as race. The style of acting, script and characters is uniquelyAfter ‘You Are the Apple of My Eye’ was released to Malaysian, and local references to typical Malaysianaudiences in Taiwan and Hong Kong, some large-scale problems, such as the well-known poor quality ofplots have triggered intense discussion between Malaysian made cars, is also included.moviegoers. Therefore, the movie successfully passedthe Chinese mainland film censorship board, the This theme of finding a Malaysian identity clearlyproduction company behind the film immediately reflects a cultural shift. In the past, we were less awareannounced that the film is set to hit theaters on of racial divides, but these days, there is aJanuary 6, 2012 in China. hyperawareness towards racial lines. The trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QyRzSKuwkY&fe ature=related
Movie of the Year SRI LANKA : VIDHU Directed by Asoka Handagama, the film features an adolescent boy called Vidhu, presumably, an offspring of a politician. With no birth certificate, he is denied access to free education. His mother, a prostitute and pickpocket, educates him and pushes him up the socioeconomic ladder. With his inborn skill of speaking, he overwhelms the whole country and achieves his dreams. A politician, thought to be his father, tries to maneuver Vidhu to attract audiences to his superior’s election rallies. The catalyst of the film revolves around the politician’s arduous attempt at manipulating the child into speaking on the political stage, and the child’s resistance to speaking on the school stage at the same time. The story entails a layer of fantasy, and achieves a closure similar to that of Slumdog Millionaire. ‘Vidhu’ presents a criticism of the contemporary economic and socio-political issues of Sri Lanka. Vidhu’s mother has to sin to keep the son alive. As she says to the son, her value vacillates by the day, and when it has no value, she cannot help but pick pockets. The politician, a former lover of hers, typifies a Sri Lankan politician entrapped in the impenetrable mire of corruption and misuse of power.JAPAN: KOKIRUKO – ZAKA KARA(From Up on Poppy Hill)‘Kokuriko-Zaka Kara’ is thesecond film from director GoroMiyazaki, the son of Ghiblifounder Hayao Miyazaki. Itadapts Chizuru Takahashi andTetsuro Sayamas originalmanga about the coming of ageof a high school girl named Umi.Bunkatsushin.com reported‘From up on Poppy Hill’ hadgrossed over 587,337,400 yenat the box office. During thesethree days, over 445,000people watched this film.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2hBnA-R4uw
Movie of the Year CHINA: LOVE IS NOT BLIND The movie ‘Love Is Not Blind’ is about a 27-year-old woman breaking up and dealing with the challenges of being single before she eventually finds a new boyfriend. The movie was released on November 8 to coincide with a holiday in China called Singles Day. The low- budget film swept the national box office chart after raking in 160 million RMB (US$25.2 million) in five days during its first week of screening, according to a Mtime.com report. It was one of the most successful releases ever for a Chinese film. Slogans of the film are also becoming very popular among young Chinese. For example: “When you’re in love, be crazy; when you lose love, be independent!’” and “Breaking up can be a chance to love yourself again.” The movie reflects a current cultural phenomenon that an increasing number of young Chinese women and men are staying single. Today they have more freedom to achieve independent success and explore exciting urban lifestyles. At the same time, their expectations of potential partners are becoming higher. Meanwhile, many young men are unable to buy property that most women and their parents consider necessary for marriage. As time goes, aging singles feeling bad about themselves and trying to find a partner as quickly as possible. The movie has delivered a positive message that single women and men should embrace independent values, at the same time searching for successful single lifestyles to match. Life can still be awesome without a partner. The mass movement feeling helps create a communal experience of banding together with other singles for comfort and support. PHILIPPINES: NO OTHER WOMAN The film revolves on a man’s journey on becoming a successful working husband whose perfect marriage becomes complicated when he commits into an adulterous affair that changes his life. Released: September 28, 2011 Box Office Sales: Php 278.39M It is the 2nd highest grossing Filipino film of all time The movie was loved by audiences for its numerous quotable lines.
Movie of the YearINDONESIA: ARISAN! 2Nia Dinata, the famous Indonesian director, released themovie in December. It is a continuance of ‘Arisan!’, which was8 years ago.The movie created a buzz on Kaskus, the biggest onlinecommunity in Indonesia, and is much loved for showing anugly truth about Indonesian socialites which no other moviesdare to speak. It also shows a lot about the social pressure tofit in in Indonesia. Tora Sudiro plays a famous gay architectand Cut Mini played as a successful career woman comingfrom a well off family.The second ‘Arisan!’ shows a life progress among a small groupof socialites who, in the first movie, realized that life shouldnever be superficial, and, in this second movie, embark on anew discovery that life is not all about working hard andplaying hard. It’s about appreciating the time that God hasgiven by stepping back, relaxing and seeing the world withclear eyes, listening with opened ears and embracingfriendship and love.The movie depicts the change in Indonesian culture wherepeople start accepting differences like homosexuality, and theyoung generation are becoming more and more educated, Watch the trailer:hence more open minded, creative and expressive. The movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBIpmmWis an example of the creative industry in Indonesia that is AayE,growing and accounted for 6.3% of the total GDP. More and http://ekonomi.kompasiana.com/bisnis/2011/1more Indonesian movies are liked not only by people living in 1/24/ekonomi-kreatif-berbasis-budaya-lokal/suburbs, but by the educated young generation in big cities . SOUTH KOREA: SUNNY The 1980s retro drama ‘Sunny’ is about seven junior high friends reuniting 25 years later and has been noted for its vivid portrayal of the 1980s, consequently evoking the nostalgia of retro pop culture and the wonders of youth. The film captures the restlessness of youth as much as it evokes the nostalgic pangs of middle age, appealing to teenagers and older viewers alike. The coming-of-age drama sees a timely release for Family Month here, but its universal themes aptly pave possibilities of a wider exposure. It was not uncommon to see mothers and daughters go to the movie theater hand in hand.
Movie of the Year INDIA & BANGLADESH : THE DIRTY PICTURE ‘The Dirty Picture’ not only thrives on these traits but literally celebrates them like never before in its 144 minutes of unabashed, in-your-face entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. It has been hot not only in India but also in Bangladesh. Reshma (played by Vidya Balan) is a non-conformist who leaves her home to become a star in the big bad world of Bollywood. The character she plays in the movie is called Silk. She has no qualms about her sexuality. She is brazen enough to put her neighbors to sleep with her fake moans. She is well aware that everything comes at a price, especially the much-vaunted fame. But soon she realizes that success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it wont taste good. And Silk learns this bitter truth the hard way. Overall it is a great movie. Vidya carries her role as a professional. This movie has taught the viewers how an actress in the film industry grows. How they have to control their emotions and how they are working as team to change the minds of the people who do not know how things are done in this industry.It’s one of the in-your-face movie which does not care for any critics view but to uplift the scene behind acareer in the film industry. With ‘The Dirty Picture’ director, Milan Luthria tries to explore the dirty underbellyof the Indian cinema and excavates a gem in the form of Vidya Balan. You can’t help but appreciate the effortshe puts in to make her Silk look authentic. In the age where majority of leading ladies won’t dare to look uglyor overweight, Vidya carries her ample love-handles and haggard looks with aplomb. It’s the role which isbound to earn her some of the most prestigious awards in town. VIETNAM Long Ruoi is the first Vietnamese film to become the highest grossing film of the year against the increasing number of international movies screening in Vietnam. This comedy captures not only Vietnamese humor, but the dream of many that come to the city for a better life. The movie follows the story of Teo, who started his journey moving from the countryside to Saigon. After arriving in the city determined to become rich, he soon discovers that he is the spitting image of a local ring leader named Long Ruoi. A recent ambush has left Long Ruoi in a comatose condition, forcing his henchmen to enlist the hapless Teo to masquerade as the ring leader to prevent an all-out gang war. Teo must transform into the stereotypical ‘ city slicker’ to survive, playing out well known rural and city references which comes together as a comedic performance for all audiences.