On November 26th, TECO in Thailand held its first-ever Taiwan-Thailand Comics Exchange Event – ttcomics – at a popular literary bookstore, Open House Bookshop. Attendees included one of the most famous Thai cartoonists, Munin Saiprasart and Art Jeeno, alongside Taiwanese cartoonists, Ruan Guang-Min, the winner of Golden Comic: Awards and Connection, and Hom Weng, leading to valuable discussions. Also present at the scene were Munin Saiprasart and Art Jeeno, joined by Taiwan’s cartoonist Ruan Guang-Min and Hom Weng. The event was greatly popular, bringing cartoonists, scholars, comic fans, and the Thai Comics Association all together in a full house. There were both Thai and foreigners including Mr. Niwat Tharaphan, President of Thai Cartoon Association, Mr. Sakda Saeeow, Vice President of Thai Cartoon Association, Mr. Sylvain Bano, Director of Alliance Française, Mr. Nicolas Verstappen, a professor and specialist of Comics Industry, Head of Goethe-Institute Library and Information Center, Association Director of PUBAT, a specialist and professor from Rangsit University and other cartoonists. Also, many cartoon fans attended the event in which the venue has almost no seats. In addition, there were discussions and exchanges of information during Q&A as well.
This event is considered to be the first time of exchange between Taiwan and Thailand in terms of cartoons. During the event, Dr. Li Ying Yuan, a Taiwan’s representative to Thailand from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office In Thailand have remarks during the opening ceremony that “Taiwan's Ministry of Culture has given great importance to the comics industry. Besides given their best support in the creation of cartoons, they also plan to establish a national comics museum and sincerely hope that this collaboration with Thailand will be the beginning of more international collaborations in the future. Not only Thailand, but also Taiwan, Thailand, France, and Germany. The four cartoonists have drawn a special cartoon portrait of Dr. Li Ying Yuan, Taiwan’s representative to Thailand. Each of the cartoonists’ character drawing lines is outstanding as well as it represents each unique charms of each cartoonist. The cartoon portraits of each cartoonist have made a great impression on Dr. Li Ying-yuan and the attendees.
Taiwan’s soft power is well-known world-wide while Thailand’s culture and creative industry are growing and blooming. The comics industry in particular is a platform reflective of today’s societal scene. With modern people’s reading habits evolving and changing, cartoon publication has also broken out of its traditional printed comics. At the event, ttcomics broke free from traditional frameworks and unfolded in a cross-nation, cross-culture, and cross-platform fashion by inviting Taiwanese and Thai cartoonists to co-create comics online. By taking elements from both cultures and each side taking their protagonists through an adventure in their homeland, the cartoonists create a brand-new and cross-culture comics work. Taiwanese cartoonist Ruang Guang-Min’s character Jun-Long from Yong-Jiu Grocery Store and Thai cartoonist Munin Saiprasart’s same-name character; through their brushstrokes. Taiwanese cartoonist Hom Weng’ Doya and Thai cartoonist Art Jeeno’s comic characters, Peach, traveled around. Co-creating comics wasn’t the only thing on exchange at ttcomics; moreover, in-person Taiwan-Thai comics exchange, taking place at the local Open House Bookshop in 2013. Aside from hosting cultural exchange events focused on Taiwanese and Thailand comics, the host also invited geographically faraway Taiwanese artists to join the event in real-time via remote connection. The cartoonists not only discussed Taiwan-Thai collaborative works but also dug deep into the comics industry to understand each side of the comics industry scenario.
This is the first time for TECO in Thailand – hosting an event dedicated to promoting exchange in the field of the cartoon. We’re sharing the results of our research and investigation into Thai comics, we’re bringing Taiwanese and Thai cartoonists together to join in collaborative work, and we’re hosting live events – these are all part of our effort to systematically promote cultural exchange between Taiwan and Thailand. It is also our hope to recapitulate and understand the history and developments in the cartoon industry of both nations. We’ve invited esteemed cartoonists from both sides to share their experience, breaking cultural and linguistic barriers, all in hopes of creating new opportunities and versatile channels for the chance of Taiwan and Thailand working together. We wish that more and more comic fans will join us in following the comics scene in both Taiwan and Thailand.