Tearing and restoring the moral fabric of society in Asian romance movies
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This work identifies socio-cultural themes that are represented in 3 distinct groups of Asian romance movies – Hindi, Thai and Malay. The discussion highlights cultural issues raised, previously considered taboo in Asian cultures, such as defying authority, questioning social propriety and sexual conduct. Asian romance movies appear to tear the moral code of social behaviour, revolutionising their worldview and signalling a sign of the times. Tensions in the movies relate to questions of morality and socially acceptable values which are displaced in favour of individual interests. The depiction of cultural themes across the three distinct cultures also indicates the presence of a shared western influence, from the dress code to social etiquette. Asian values of filial piety and considering others before self are at times challenged. Characters express their own definitive worldviews, showcasing self-assertion which defies social conventions. However, despite each movie’s initial promotion of individualistic tendencies, there is a clear return to socially acceptable norms and values. A discussion of contentious issues allows for the question and restoration of morality, expounding on what is socially acceptable and what isn’t. Often, the exposure of taboo elements shows awareness of the social order, resulting in a justification of the collective cultural worldview. This paper gives an insight into the moral and socio-cultural messages embedded in romance movies which captures issues of a given time, paving the way for further research in trend-related studies.