Win in China!

The well-know format of Donald Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice” was exported to China, but – as this Atlantic Monthly article makes clear – with a set of distinctly educational and political goals in mind:

“The didactic and uplifting ambitions of the show could be considered classically Chinese, the latest expression of a value-imprinting impulse that stretches from the Analects of Confucius to the sayings of Chairman Mao. Or they could be considered, like the Horatio Alger novels of young, muscular America, signs of an economy at an expansive moment when many people want to understand how to seize new opportunities. Either way, the particular message delivered by the show seems appropriate to China at this stage of its growth. Reduced to a moral, Win in China instructs Chinese people that they have chances never open to their compatriots before—but also that, as one contestant told me at the end of the show, “The only one I can rely on is myself.”

Read more at:

See also the first ten minutes of a documentary dedicated to the Win in China! story:

Sexy Politics in Indonesia

What happened when Indonesian-born and European-raised sexy pop star Julia Perez decided to enter politics?

From the New York Times:

” In a society increasingly polarized between supporters of political Islam and Western-style openness, Ms. Perez has led the charge one way with her sexy shows and music videos, her celebration of female sexuality and frank talk about sex. Her best-selling album, “Kamasutra,” included a free condom, which drew the ire of Islamic organizations and got her banned from performing in several cities outside Jakarta, the capital.”

Youtube video of a Julia Perez song:

Islam Meets Reality TV in Malaysia

A New York Times article from the summer of 2010 talks about an interesting adaption of the well-known format of the reality tv talent show. However, in this Malaysian version of American Idol, the contestants compete to be part of a new generation of religious leaders:

” The basic premise may replicate that of reality shows like “American Idol” around the globe, but here, inside an auditorium at one of Kuala Lumpur’s largest mosques, are notable variations on the tried-and-true formula.

The prize pool, too, offers a clear indication of the detour the show takes from the usual reality show script. Cash and a new car are up for grabs, but the winner will also be offered a job as an imam, or religious leader, a scholarship to study in Saudi Arabia and an all-expenses-paid pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.”

Here’s a link to the article: