Striving for authenticity: The foundation and dynamics of the AlDub Nation fandom

This paper looks at the AlDub Nation, a fandom birthed from the accidental love team formed in the Philippine noontime show Eat Bulaga in 2015. Convergence culture (Jenkins, 2006a), group dynamics (Forsyth, 2019) particularly Tuckman’s (1965) developmental stages of a group, and mixed methods approach through audience ethnography (Livingstone, 2009) were used to analyze the foundation and dynamics of the said fan community from a six-month fieldwork. I argue that the both online and offline fan activities such as attending fan events and buying fan-related items help prove and assert their identities as fans and identity as a group that continues to thrive even without their idols together in any project, which I call “striving for authenticity.” This paper sheds light on the AlDub Nation fandom through empirical data, contributes to the growing literature on fandoms in the Philippines and Philippine popular culture in general, as well as provides prospects for future studies on other fandoms that are converging in this digital age.

“Yes, you belong to me!”: Reflections on the JaDine Love Team Fandom in the Age of Twitter and in the Context of Filipino Fan Culture

The concept of love teams—a pair of good-looking stars launched by a mainstream studio to appear in a succession of films, TV series, adverts, mall shows, etc.—is unique to Philippine entertainment not just because of their intense popularity among mass audiences but also because of their rich cultural history spanning decades since the beginning of Philippine cinema. This paper looks into one of today’s biggest Filipino love teams, JaDine, the portmanteau of James Reid and Nadine Lustre. It situates them contextually in the past (how love teams are packaged and sold, how the audiences express their fanaticism, etc.) and present (in the age of Twitter and “block” screenings, the fan behaviour developed in social media, etc.). As equally important for analysis as these stars are their fans, and in light of JaDine’s most recent film, Never Not Love You, this paper also looks into an incident on Twitter that reveals a lot about fan culture enabled by technology that further complicates the often overlooked position of love teams in cultural studies.

Consuming Modernity and Nostalgia: A Case Study of Cross-border Representations and Fandom of Thailand-Myanmar Transnational Cinema

This paper explores representations of identities and fandom in two Southeast Asia border-crossing films, Myanmar in Love in Bangkok (2014) and From Bangkok to Mandalay (2016). Both films have already been exhibited in Thailand and Myanmar and have gained a huge following in both countries.

Myanmar in Love in Bangkok portrays a contemporary migrant situation: It is a love story between a male Burmese migrant worker and a Thai woman played by Kaew Korravee, a Thai leading actress who has become famous in Myanmar because of her portrayal of this modern and unconventional character. Alternatively, From Bangkok to Mandalay, which notably presents Burmese and Siamese cultural heritage, has successfully created a feeling of nostalgia among the Thai audience, resulting in fan tourism to Myanmar.

Comparing these two cases, I argue that consuming modernity and nostalgia are the main driving forces of the cross-border representations and their subsequent fandom. This paper also engages with the existing fan studies framework put forward by Koichi Iwabuchi and extends the studies of transnational fans further by considering the Southeast Asian sociocultural context.