Saturday, April 7, 2012

Broadening the Horizons: The Start of Interest in Asian Entertainment

Asian Entertainment Experience turns three months old today! :D

In celebration of the three month anniversary of Asian Entertainment Experience, we are writing a special edition of "Broadening the Horizons". Instead of focusing on a specific artist, this time, we will share how we got into Asian entertainment in the first place. Everyone's story is different, including ours. We hope that you will share your story as well!

Iris' story: How I got into TVB Dramas, C-Pop, and Korean music

How did I get into TVB dramas? I was not interested in them growing up, like many other kids. The main reason was probably because I spoke and understood no Cantonese at the time. I mostly watched little kid programs when in elementary school and then Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Something happened in 2008 when I was in the 7th grade though. With the downfall of the two networks, I became sick of the increasingly juvenile programming. At 12 years old, I still considered myself too young for prime time TV and was convinced there was too much sex and violence in American shows. I wanted a balance between the two.

With my mom starting to watch TVB dramas again by downloading and exchanging DVDs, I started becoming exposed to them once again. The first TVB series I was sucked into was "Forensic Heroes II". Two of my closest friends and I all followed it and talked about it. There was no turning back from there, as I started watching TVB series in my free time. I enjoyed the characters, plots, etc. My other early TVB series included "Catch Me Now", and "War of In-Laws II", which are still two of my favorites to this day. Since I didn't understand Cantonese, I watched with English subtitles. My selection was limited, and I watched almost everything that was available.

Soon, just watching the series stopped becoming enough. I started researching the series, the actors, and TVB itself. I also wanted to read other people's thoughts, as well as share my own. I fondly followed TVB blogs, particularly the now closed TVB Musings. I was a silent reader and spent hours reading the blogger's in-depth, well written, and witty works relating to TVB. Shortly before he did his last post, I started commenting and we had discussions about the series and his posts. This became inspiration for me to create my own TVB blog. From that, TVB Interaction was born, an outlet for me to share my excessive thoughts. I still credit MetalAZNWarrior of TVB Musings for developing my interest in TVB, blogging, and writing. He is my "si fu"/mentor.

Due to watching TVB series, I naturally started becoming exposed to Cantopop music again. It started with downloading theme songs I liked, to slowly discovering actual Cantopop singers. Singers I first started listening are Eric Suen, G.E.M., Patrick Tang, and Kary Ng. These four are who got me into the genre, and remain my favorites to this day.

The quality of TVB's series continued to decline, and as a result, so did my interest in them. However, my interest in Hong Kong entertainment didn't die as I developed a new fascination: the artists themselves. Not in the gossip and scandals, but the real life personalities of TVB artists. This gave me more reasons to like them. As time elapsed though and the quality of TVB series gets even worse, I become even less interested. It is my favorite artists like Ruco Chan, Raymond Wong, Myolie Wu, Kate Tsui, Fala Chen, etc that retain the interest.

While I continued to listen to Eric, G.E.M., Patrick, and Kary, my interest in Cantopop itself slowed for a while. I listened to them when they came up on my iPod, but stopped actively looking up and downloading new Cantopop music. A couple months ago, the interest suddenly returned upon the release of Eric's album "Never Said Goodbye".  I started downloading new Cantopop music once again.  This time around, I started exploring more.  Instead of just listening to pop, I looked into rock, R&B, blues, etc.  Recently, I've been loving Kelvin Kwan for his experimental nature into different musical styles, Khalil Fong for his R&B and blues music, and the band Mr. for their rock sound.

For the longest time, I was turned off from K-Pop due to all the girl groups and boy bands, whose generally juvenile and cutesy styles were not my cup of tea.  Thanks to Niki and her great recommendations though, I have been slowly opening myself up to Korean music since the beginning of the year.  However, not the stuff that most international K-Pop fans are into.  I've been finding myself much more attracted to the lesser known and under appreciated solo artists Younha, known for her pop rock style, and the soulful ALi.  I also love the hip hop oriented Epik High and now inactive pop rock band Loveholic.  Of course, those who have been reading my posts, know I'm also a big fan of the fierce girl group Miss A.

Of course, my main interest remains Hong Kong entertainment, which includes dramas and music.  With this interest, I'm starting to understand and speak Cantonese (I can now watch TVB dramas without subtitles without getting too lost), and even starting to pick up a little Mandarin.  Being Chinese, I feel a more personal connection with it.  However, at the end of the day, I appreciate and can like anything as long as it's good.  My interest in Asian entertainment has not died, it continues to grow.

Niki's Story: How I got  into all things Asian Entertainment.

I grew up exposed to dramas from Hong Kong and Mainland China. Being Viet I watched them dubbed and for the longest time thought they were Vietnamese (despite the obvious contrast in the dialogue and mouthing). I was particularly fond of ancient series and loved the cool fighting and powers the characters had. Knowing that the series were set in China (even though I still thought it was a Viet product xP), I developed an interest in Chinese. After growing up realized that the dramas weren't originally in Vietnamese, so I did some research and found out about english subtitle.

By that time, I was mesmerized by Taiwanese dramas so I spent the summer of 6th grade clearing out all the dramas that were available to me. Soon I had gone through most (if not all) Taiwanese dramas available at that time. I moved forward to something new and found out about TVB. I found out by searching up my old dramas that I loved when I was a kid. At first, I wasn't used to Cantonese, being more exposed to Mandarin, so I felt awkward with the change. As a result, I trailed away from TVB for a while and tried watching Japanese dramas. I watched several dramas, but didn't get too into it, so I ended up going back to TVB. Only then did I get hooked onto TVB. Same as Iris, one of the first TVB dramas I had watch (subbed) was FOH2. I had watched the first one dubbed and fell in love, when I saw the second one I was immediately hooked again. From then on I continued in my TVB marathon and once again was running out of dramas to watch.

Because of the lack of dramas I turned to music. I became involved with Taiwanese music first, most of the songs came from the dramas I had watched. Slowly I discovered the artists and learned more about them. From there I was addicted to Fahrenheit and later S.H.E., the two bands that til this day are my favorites.

Also as a supplement I picked up on mangas. My first series was Sakura Card captor. I remember going to the library every week and checking out several book, making sure that I didn't skip any volume. As my interest in mangas grew I started watching animes and picked up on Japanese music along the wa. Most of the music, again, came from the shows.

At this point I had no interest in K-pop or K- dramas, but a trip to Viet Nam quickly changed that. My two cousins were both very interested in k-pop and they soon pulled me into the K-pop world. They first showed me Big Bang's "Haru Haru," Super Junior's "Sorry Sorry" and "It's You", and SNSD's "Gee." I found myself completely addicted by the catchy melodies. I spent the entire summer reasearching and learing more about the artists. That was in early 2009, and I soon learned all there was to learn about K-pop. I also found myself getting more and more disappointed by the new groups.

During freshman year I met Iris and found out our mutual interest in TVB. As we got to know each other better she introduced me to her blog, TVB Interaction. Seeing Iris' blog made me want to start a blog of my own. However, I was hesitant in doing so. After starting the Korean Entertainment Club with Dani and Pinki at our school, I decided to ask Iris to help me create the blog for our club.

Through the blog, Iris and I got to know each other even better. We started to talk about music and exchanged the artists we like to one another. As a result I got into Canto-pop. From Iris' recommendations I  got to know G.E.M., Eric Suen, Kary Ng, and several other artists as well. On the other hand I introduced Iris to Epik High, Younha, and ALi. As I introduced her to Epik High I found myself mesmerized by their music. Iris and I continued to research other types of music and found an interest in something other than pop. (Iris: I also got her into Kelvin, Khalil, and Mr.'s music as well! ;))

Throughout my life I was surrounded by Asian Entertainment and culture, so there's no surprise that it would become a big part of my life. The interest has definitively grown in the past years and will continue to grow.


Author's Note: I hope I did not bore everybody with the story of how I got into Asian entertainment!  Niki and I have been meaning to do something like this for a while, and thought our three month anniversary would be a good time to do so.  For those wondering why we're celebrating our three month's because for the previous month milestones, we either forgot or could not remember in time to do anything.  So congratulations to AE Experience for making it to a quarter of a year!  In our opinion, this blog is only getting started and continues to develop!

Niki's Note: Thank you for supporting AEE this far and as Iris has said, our blog is still starting out and has a long road ahead.We have many things planned for the future so stay tuned! ;D


  1. Interesting read!

    @Iris: Wow..I did not realize that you started watching tvb so late! So I'm guessing you have not watch older series like...To Get Unstuck in Time, the Conquest, Better Halves or the older ones?

    Haha did not know that you were a fan of Fala's either :)

    I also shared the same view with you on kpop when I first listened to it. Not really my style...too much beats, making every song sound very similar to each other. (gave me headaches too) But after some searching, managed to found some that I like (mainly solos, duets or trios). I like songs with a catchy beat and use of vocals. Haha not a fan of rap...or too much techno beat :)

    @Niki: oh my..I thought the same thing that you did! I did not know that tvb artistes were not vietnamese!! lols literally shocked me when I first went online to find out that they did not speak viet!! xD After that, I started watching tvb in eng sub...

    Do you still watch in viet dub right now though? The new dub feels really...odd because the voices used aren't the same ones that I had listened to when I was small. ><

    1. Sorry for the delayed reply! We always take forever to get back to comments, haha.

      I've gone back to watch some old series since I can now understand a decent amount of Cantonese. Old series I've watched include The King of Yesterday and Tomorrow, Triumph in the Skies, Angels of Mission, Aqua Heroes, Survivor's Law, Family Man, The White Flame, etc. I wanted to watch more, but the shut down of Megaupload made it impossible to download more old series. :( I rarely watch old ancient dramas though since I can't understand much of the language without subtitles.

      As a professional actress, I still doubt Fala's abilities. She's still one of the better actresses tho and I really like her offscreen personality. She seems very independent and smart. :)

      Yeah, still not into the mainstream boy bands and girl groups, except for Miss A. Do you listen to them? ;) What are your favorite Korean singers?