Anjali Roy – The Distribution and Circulation of Indian Films in Singapore

20 11 2010

Despite the long history of the export and exhibition of Indian films to Southeast Asia, a systematic documentation of how films from India in Tamil and Hindi found their way into the region has yet to be done. Jerzy Toeplitz’s Report, prepared for UNESCO in 1964, provides valuable quantitative and qualitative data on Indian films’ exports between 1954 and 1962. Toepliz locates the main market of Indian films in Malaya, Ceylon, British East Africa, Burma, Persian Gulf Ports, Thailand and South Vietnam. These figures reveal a sharp decline in the 70s ending the theatrical exhibition of films. Yet films continued to be circulated through formal and informal networks including video parlours, CD shops, television and lately on the internet in the entire region. Although Singapore has the unique distinction of being the only Southeast Asian country, which still has exclusive theatres set aside for the screening Indian films, theatrical exhibition is not the only medium through which they are circulated.

Based on fieldwork between 2008 and 2010, this paper will reconstruct the history of cinematic exhibition in Singapore from the 1930s to the present to contrast the formal distribution of Indian films with their informal circulation through which they ‘leak’ into the multi-ethnic spaces of the global city. Drawing on photographs, exhibits, interviews, reports and observations, it will reveal the diverse channels such as cineplexes, television, CD shops, lending libraries and internet through which Indian films are disseminated in Singapore.




Adrian Athique & Douglas Hill-The Cultural Economy of Leisure in India

20 11 2010

One of the striking features of India’s economic transformation since 1991, has been the runaway success of one sector of the economy which was almost entirely neglected by India’s planners during the socialist era. This is India’s leisure economy, where the enthusiasm for a range of pursuits (from sports to movies, from pilgrimages to shopping trips and from texting to eating out) forms a major constituent of the nation’s social and economic life. It is also notable that the impressive growth in the leisure economy has been very much a story of Indian capital. In the formal sector, we have seen the rise of media conglomerates under the auspices of business houses like the Essel Group and Reliance. We have witnessed major investments in the hospitality industry and a revolution in travel through the mushrooming of private airlines such as Kingfisher and SpiceJet.  At the same time, it would be an error to see the leisure economy in narrow terms as only a product of liberalisation, since the larger part of this field remains located in the disorganized sector. Here, we find a rich body of pleasures constituted historically around India’s plural cultural traditions, and their recurring encounters with modernity. All of these practices are enmeshed within equally complex logistical, commercial and social systems that require a productive combination of anthropological and economic modes of enquiry. In this paper, we will introduce some of the critical questions pertinent to a broad enquiry into the structures, habituations and desires that characterise leisure in contemporary India.


Anthony Fung – Cultural Clusters and Games Industries in China

20 11 2010

As a consequence of an expected rising economy in China, cultural clusters in China have increased in an expeditious rate. Given the existence of a state directive and national policy under the Cultural Bureau, these cultural clusters, namely “Cultural Industrial Parks,” in China usually operate under certain thematic core ideas, ranging from industry-based clusters such as film, animation and online games districts to more abstract concepts such as the technological base. Different from the emerging cultural clusters in Europe, the Chinese clusters are not only state-initiated, planned and subsidized, but also heavy-handedly operated and managed entirely by the state at various levels, national, provincial or district, to name a few. What is intriguing to explore is how these national projects can serve the state interest, local interest as well as industry interest. Obviously, these cultural clusters are promoted as a state effort to assist, develop and boost the various cultural industries. However, in this paper, we argue that the state interests and the local (e.g. district) interest are equally important in these so-called national cultural projects. Quite often, there are tensions and contradictions among various interest groups, and power struggle on different levels of operations of these cultural clusters can be observed. Thus, besides enhancing the private creative industries, developing the national cultural economy, or revitalizing the old industries as is the case in many western countries, economic interests of the local, political powers of the districts and soft power of the national powers can be overriding interests behind the booming cultural clusters in China. This paper outlines these theoretical dynamics as well as illustrates the conflicts through some preliminary observations made from interviews with Games company leaders in Southern China.

Anthony Fung
Associate Professor
School of Journalism and Communication
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin, NT

Chun Liu – Raising the Golden Goose: a Retrospective Analysis of the State’s Role in China Online Game Industry

20 11 2010

According to the Ministry of Culture, the regulator of China’s cultural industry, the revenue of online game sector had soared to 25.8 billion RMB by 2009, representing an annual growth rate of 76.6%. In addition, this sector had also brought 47.84 billion RMB for the telecommunications and IT industries, surpassing the combined revenue of traditional movies, TV entertainment and audio/video production. However, foreign game makers, particularly Korean companies, seem to be losing ground little by little. By the end of 2009, China’s domestic games had reached a market share of 61 percent, up from zero. On the contrary, the market share of the Korean-made game had dropped from its peak of 70 percent in 2003 to a little more than 10 percent. The paper studies the rise of the domestic online game industry in China. The main purpose is to examine the political, economic and cultural factors, with the emphasis in the formal policy making, that have shaped the evolution of the Chinese online game industry.

The paper adopts an institutional approach with a comparative lens. The institutional approach is particularly useful for international comparisons and the study of long-term policy patterns because it takes a collective and holistic view of policy making process and internalizes the path dependency theory. Although the proposed paper takes China as the primary focus, it is essentially a comparative multinational study comparing China and Korea’s different government policies regarding the online game and their impact on this industry’s international competitiveness. In the past ten years, both China and Korea have given various preferential policies to the domestic online game industry, hoping it to be the leading sector in the cultural industry. It is intriguing to find out which country has created a more conducive environment to this highly creative industry and more importantly, which model is sustainable in the long term.

Through this retrospective analysis, the paper aims to answer one simple but important question. China is famous for its three-stepped importation- substitution-creation strategy in the high-tech industries, which has resulted in a internationally competitive telecommunications manufacturing industry. Could China replicate its success in the cultural industry? If the answer is yes, what it means to its neighboring countries given the Chinese government’s strong incentive to export its “soft-power”? If the answer is no, what the others could learn from China’s experience.

School of Economics and Management
Southwest Jiaotong University, China

Earl Jackson, Jr. – Boys [Bent] Over Dollars: Libidinal Economies in Trans-asian Cultural Exchange Networks

20 11 2010

Culture – especially consumer culture – configures, informs, and disseminates desire. Trans-asian popular cultural fluxes have created specificially “Asian” phenotypical objects of desire for global consumption: Takeshiro Takeshi, Bae Youngjun, the Wonder Girls, Rain, etc.. While the performers may be the embodiment of marketed dreams, they often figure directly or indirectly in textual practices whose narratives direct other tendencies. This paper will explore one such trajectory – one in which the East Asian male body is constructed as the ideal object of desire, while the dynamics of male desire take detours into withdrawal, sublimation, homoeroticism, and enigma. I will focus on the popular cultures of Japan and Korea and their interactions. My principle examples will be:

the Japanese drama Hoshi no Kinka [Heaven’s Coins]

its Korean adaptation Pom Nal [Spring Day]

the Japanese drama ??????? [The Man who Can’t Marry]

its Korean adaption ?? ? ?? ?? [The Man who Can’t Marry]

and to a lesser extent, the Korean dramas Life is Beautiful, and ??? ???

[King of Bakers, Kim Takgoo]; the Japanese manga and Korean adaption of Antique; and the Japanese-Taiwanese-Korean manifestations of Boys over Flowers. My larger argument will be concerned with the interanimation between the drives of capitalist marketing and the contradictory dynamics between desire and its frustration.

Eun-kyung Na – Korean film adaptations of Japanese cartoons.

20 11 2010

Manga, the Japanese cartoon, has long been the rich mine of ideas and materials for Japanese content business. Several Korean movie makers have adapted Manga because it offered wide range of topics and was familiar to Korean. Some movies have succeeded and the others have failed in the box-office. We hypothesized that the success of these movies depended on the level of adaptation, so we analyzed different style of expression between Japanese cartoon and its counterpart Korean movie. For this contents analysis, three movies are selected: Old boy, 200 Pounds Beauty and Antique. We found that 200 pounds beauty is the loose adaptation; Old boy is faithful adaptation; Antique is literal adaptation. The extent of adaptation is negatively related with box office figures. We also investigate the possible issues occurring between film producers and author of original work in the process of film adaptation by conducting interview with movie directors and cartoonist who experienced the film adaptation. This research will give the implications to the movie makers and business planner who plan to recreate movie from Manga.

Eun-Kyung Na*, Chorong Ham
School of Media Design, Keio University

Kim Soyoung – Cultural Impenetrability and Historicity

20 11 2010

Abstract will be updated soon.