In the Minds of Philippine Audiences: Construction of the Malaysian Culture from Two TV Soap Operas


Prolonged exposure to specific media programs has been observed to develop certain perceptions, attitudes and particular constructions of reality. As a powerful medium that captures the attention of a wide range of audiences, television (TV) soap operas shape and reshape the latter’s values and beliefs.

This paper aims to determine what information co-productions of Philippine and Malaysian TV companies provide Filipino viewers in terms of knowledge constructions about Malaysia and its culture. Two TV soap operas, otherwise known as telenovela or teleserye, formed the bases of the investigation. Data were gathered from 80 discussants through Focus Group Discussions.

Findings reveal that much of the mediated constructions of Malaysia and its culture have been limited to what the narrative yarns of the TV soap operas provide. Since the TV soap operas were so structured as to tell stories about cultural conflicts and human struggles, viewers’ constructions of Malaysia and its culture revolved mainly around interracial relations, arranged marriages, the practice of Islam, landmarks of Malaysia and the Chinese presence in that country.