Thai Soap Operas, Khmer Audiences, Andy and Myself.

Madeleine Burkitt

My auto-ethnographic project is inspired by experiences I’ve had whilst travelling. When I look back on my travels through South East Asia in 2012 & 2013, I have a distinct memory – a feeling – of being perplexed by what seemed to be an obsession with what I thought was really bad, kind of corny, drama television. It was everywhere; long bus trips, cafes and restaurants, personal homes, shops… and it was enjoyed by seemingly everyone, from the young to the elderly.

I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand its appeal. It was a cultural language that was entirely foreign to me. So I’ve decided to revisit it and make sense of it, it’s audiences, and myself.

A little preparatory background research revealed some critical information. I discovered that the genre of television I had encountered was known as ‘Lakorn’, Thai for ‘Soap Opera’. What’s more, I learned that…

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