First Reality TV Show in Myanmar

Posted: 02/11/2013 in Interesting Stuffs, Myanmar
Tags: , ,

I was running away from all kinds of writing for infinity reasons. But something that I feel like worth-recording happened – neither about politics nor Miss Universe Saga. It is just that we finally have a reality TV Show in Myanmar. *Woo Hoo*

A few months back, I saw Thandar Hlaing, Myanmar version of Tyra Banks, was working on a project called Myanmar Model Academy. I guessed it would be a local version of Asia’s/America’s Next Top Model.  Now that its premiere was aired on Channel 7 (and another channel I can’t recall), I just question myself – “Did we have any other reality TV show in Myanmar before that?” Hell, no, never!

What did we have?

Myanmar Army on TV

Image : Peerapat Wimolrungkarat/Wikimedia

We had very compelling news programs that documented where our former Senior General went with his very adorable grandsons that none of us watched unless it had got something to do with the lady or new currency note or something shocking. We also had some quiz shows where most important questions were “How many dams had our awesome military government built” or “When that beautiful bridge built by our awesome government was started to operate?”. And we had have been having singing competition where you could win only if you sing old Burmese songs no matter how good your voice or talent is.

But thank to Myawaddy and MRTV, I can now impress my Chinese friends with my extreme knowledge on Journey to the West, Princess Pearl, Justice Bao etc. And my affection on Japanese language must have based on Fly to Dream, Summer Story, Autumn Story and many other addictive J-dramas. 

As superficial changes, known as “reforms” elsewhere,  become to be rooted in Myanmar, we now have Burmese version of Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader, Minute to Win It, a mixture of The Voice and American Idol and that sort of thing. But NO reality show has been aired.

Thandar Hlaing Myanmar Model Academy

Image : Thanda Hlaing’s Facebook

A little Background of Thanda Hlaing (Christie Mackenzie) here. She was one of pioneer Model girls in Myanmar where her glorious days dated back till probably 1997/8. Besides possessing a very unique facial figure outshined from other average models, she is smart and well-educated. I reckon 99% of girls (now young ladies) of our generation would agree that she is most stylish Myanmar woman to date. She left Myanmar like around 2000 (I think) and resides in Australia with her husband and two kids. Enough about her. She probably initiated this program or program initiators might have invited her to be involved heavily. So we got to see the first every reality show in Myanmar!

My mom told me she enjoys the show a lot. Sometimes, I regret I underestimated her ability to absorb hot and trendy stuffs. Unfortunately for Ma Thandar Hlaing (not wrong spelling, she spells it as “Thanda”, we pronounce it as “Thandar”, very similar meaning), not everyone shares the same feeling with my mom. Many girls are frustrated that Zin Aung, one of the judges on the show, allegedly offended contestants which they said is totally opposite to Myanmar culture. (I know right!) They also strongly think that saying “Pack your bags and go home” in Burmese is highly offending.  Some said this is just a copy cat version of ANTM. It seems like reality shows are a bit too early for them. While I was reading their outrageous comments on Thanda Hlaing’s  Facebook page, I just felt like dragging Simon Cowell or Gordon Ramsey to Myanmar and perhaps I might be assassinated for ruining Myanmar culture. Haiz. (Disclaimer: I have NEVER watched what Zin Aung said on the show yet so I am not approving him here. A sprinkle of reality check for Reality show judge here, though. )

They do not have official website, Facebook page or Youtube Channel. The only clips I got to watch is poor quality videos on youtube uploaded by someone who doesn’t seem to have affection on judging part in any show. (He uploaded a number of clips taken from Myanmar channels but it never includes what judges said.) Thus, I cannot weigh in on that. Here is my comment which I believe Ma Thandar Hlaing appreciated it by clicking “like”.

Myanmar Model Academy Reality TV Show

Image : Screenshot of a Myanmar Model Academy Youtube clip

Many countries copied format of ANTM since it started way too early than the rest. I haven’t watched Zin Aung part on Youtube so can’t weigh in on that. I would just love to see a sprinkle of Myanmar adorable culture or artistic aspect in the show (rather than modeling with htaing ma thane or apparent things like that) which would be challenging to incorporate.

Apart from that, I think whoever responsible to film the show and edit the clips sucks. You would know what I mean if you happen to click here to watch what the show is like. Oh well, again, this is the FIRST ever reality show in Myanmar. So, I have to rant less.

 

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Comments
  1. simplysuzu says:

    I saw the comments and people were saying how Zin Aung was not qualified enough to be a judge. I haven’t really watched the show yet, so I don’t know what to comment on it either. I probably should catch it on Channel 7 some time soon. Anyhow, my sister went to their finale fashion show, and they showed a video clip there including his comments. She said it was a bit harsh but I’m a hardcore fan of ANTM and I see that that’s how it’s done in those reality TV shows. The producers wanted dramas and some tears, and as much as I hate to admit this, we enjoyed it! It’s part of the many reasons why those reality shows are interesting. However, I should add that the culture is different and fashion industry in those countries are tough. So it was natural for those judges, take Kelly Cutrone for instance, to toughen their skin by judging them harshly. But if that’s not the case in Myanmar, it probably wasn’t necessary to say those things at all. They were probably doing it for the drama, I guess.

  2. Shardool V. Singh says:

    Hi,
    I read this piece and I would like to know your views regarding what kind of a format would you feel is more suitable. The reason for me asking is that I would like to know more about the youth culture in today’s Myanmar. What kind of a reality show would be not offensive and would appeal to the masses. What would the dos and don’ts be then?
    I would also like to know more about the popular music scenario and who are the locally followed and revered musicians and what kind of music they are associated with.
    I would be really grateful if you could
    I apologize for seeming to impose upon you and your time, but if you shall be kind enough to find some time and share your thoughts about these things I find myself so curious about, I shall be ever so grateful.
    Thanks and best wishes.
    S

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