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  • `Autumn In My Heart` Syndrome in Egypt
  • [2004-11-03]
  • An Egyptian state-run broadcasting company has finished airing 18 episodes of KBS TV drama `Autumn In My Heart` -- for the first time in the Middle East region. Shortly after the final episode of `Autumn In My Heart` ended, Egyptian viewers flooded the South Korean embassy in Egypt with phone calls and e-mails. Officials at the embassy said they received about 400 calls and e-mails in two days, and it was impossible to reply to each call and message individually.

    Questions posted by Egyptian viewers ranged from whether it was possible to invite the drama's lead actors and actresses to Egypt to where they can buy CDs with the original sound track of `Autumn In My Heart.`

    In their e-mails, a significant number of viewers shared their opinions on the drama's storyline and acting, and compared the sentiment between Korean and Egyptian people.

    Professor Adel Kallim from the College of Law of Ain Shams University wrote in his message to the embassy that his entire family, including his wife and two daughters who are high-school students, watched every single episode of `Autumn In My Heart` in the evenings, and asked if it was possible to invite the drama's lead actors and actresses to Egypt. He noted that the visit by the drama's lead cast to Egypt will contribute greatly to improving diplomatic ties between Korea and Egypt .

    A student named Patma Hasan requested the embassy to help re-run `Autumn In My Heart,` and asked to air more TV dramas casting Song Hye-gyo and Won Bin. Another student named Yasmin Hasan pleaded to salvage the female character of the drama, saying it was wrong to make her die. And netizen Hind Parukra wrote that he was so moved by `Autumn In My Heart` he couldn't even sleep at night. He added that he loves Korea and its people, and dreams about visiting Korea someday.

    Viewers from the southern regions of Egypt , where Internet infrastructure is very poor and where the majority of households do not have computers, sent letters to the embassy, expressing their gratitude. Most of them wrote that `Autumn In My Heart` had presented them with the opportunity to learn more about the beautiful country of Korea and its warm-hearted people. They also said that the family values of Koreans and Egyptians had very much in common in terms of family closeness and respect for seniors.

    Lee Ki-seok, secretary of the South Korean Embassy to Egypt who persuaded the Egyptian state-run broadcasting company to air `Autumn In My Heart` after persistent negotiations that lasted for five months, said that through this drama series the embassy has proved that cultural exchanges by no means lag behind political and economic exchanges in terms of their significance. "This drama proved extremely effective in enhancing Korea 's international image, which has been undermined by the troop deployment in Iraq ,` added Lee. Lee also said that the Egyptian broadcasting company ERTU has also agreed to broadcast all 20 episodes of `Winter Sonata` as soon as the Ramadan period, which begins in the middle of next month, comes to an end.

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