Reviews TV

Far EastEnders: how a Cambodian soap brings hope

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:630
  1. Naomi Marks, freelance journalist
  1. Brighton

    When a student nurse is seen on television enjoying a night of drunken, condom-less passion, it will, AIDS educators hope, prove compelling, edge-of-the-seat stuff for millions of Cambodian peasants. “Will the student contract HIV?” “How will his friends and colleagues treat him if he has?” “Where will his future then lie?”

    Twenty five years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia's largely rural population is being introduced to a style of TV drama that is more familiar in the decadent West. Soap opera is hitting the Cambodian countryside.

    But this is a soap with a difference—one that will provide as many answers as it does questions. For the hospital drama series, Rous Cheat Chivit (Taste of Life), is a new and, it is intended, entertaining way to educate the Cambodian people in the facts of HIV and AIDS.

    “By the time our student nurse has his HIV test it'll be a third of the way through the series,” said Matthew Robinson, the former EastEnders producer …

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