At a time when Taiwan is caught in a tiff with its big brother China, the country has come up with innovative measures to motivate its military.
Thanks to South Korean stars Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo, whose military drama Descendants of the Sun became a massive hit across the world.
Asia, in particular, owes the show’s success to Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo, whose effortless, yet spectacular, performance resulted in millions of viewers across the globe. This also led to a worldwide social media phenomenon, with fans paying a tribute to their favorite stars on Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, and Instagram.
According to Forbes, Descendants of the Sun reached the top spot with about 30 percent of South Korea’s audience share after just five episodes.
Besides, a protagonist in the military and his lady love as the army doctor boosted the image of the South Korean army, inspiring thousands to become soldiers and doctors.
In an effort to empower its military recruits, Taiwan’s military last week announced that the country will have its own version of Descendants of the Sun. The 16-episode series titled The Best Choice will be helmed by the award-winning director, Liang Hsiu-shen.
Taiwan Ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi said that bidding for the $419,300 series is complete, and will begin in mid-April.
From the looks of it, director Liang Hsiu-shen will rope in actors and actresses who are currently serving in the military.
“We have created a vivid story that is lively and romantic. It is not a stereotypical drama,” Liang said, expressing his gratitude to the ministry for its support.
Besides cable and TV broadcasts, the Taiwanese version of DOTS would be available for viewing online through the ministry’s Facebook page and other social media sites.
— Big Boss 송중기 (@kangmarushi) March 23, 2017
Comparing the South Korean version of Descendants of the Sun with Best Choice, Taiwan’s National Defence Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said the show may not be a duplication of the original, as it will have several aspects of Taiwanese culture injected into it.
“We have our own style, culture and standards. We hope that the Taiwanese public will like our version.”
Director Liang Hsiu-shen promised that the Taiwanese version of DOTS will be lively and romantic.
— SjKhKS♣️ (@SjKhKS_) March 25, 2017
So far, Taiwan military has been producing its own print, television and online advertisements to sell itself to the public. Now, with the upcoming Taiwanese version of the military romance, the ministry hopes to inspire more people to sign up as soldiers.
According to a report by Straits Times, currently, about six in 10 people in Taiwan’s 200,000-strong military are career soldiers, falling short of the target of nine in 10 in order for conscription to be scrapped.
There has been no comment from Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo about their thoughts on the Taiwanese version of DOTS. However, according to fans on social media, it is nearly impossible for another version of DOTS to bring back the charisma and chemistry displayed by Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo in the original. Fans, however, are open to welcome the Taiwanese version of DOTS.
The SongSong Couple, as they are fondly called by fans, are busy with their upcoming projects. Actor Song Joong-ki, who won the award for his performance as Captain Yoo Shi-jin in Descendants of the Sun, was recognized in Seoul during the 29th Korea Producer Awards gala that took place on March 17. The actor is also awaiting his next big movie, The Battleship Island, which is slated for release in July.
Song Hye-kyo, meanwhile, has once again been nominated by Drama Fever, for her performance in Descendants of the Sun. Fans are hoping that Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo win Drama Fever’s Best Couple Award.
[Featured Image By Kin Cheung and Chiang Ying-ying/AP Images]