15 August 2007 (Antara,) – An epic TV series based on the life of the Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng He), starring no less than two former Indonesian ministers! Yes, that’s the gist of the two headlines about the Cheng Ho seried currently being filmed in Bangkok. The series is a joint production between six ASEAN nations and the two ministers involved play the lead of Cheng Ho as well as an unnamed Majapahit king. Cheng Ho is somewhat of an ancient celebrity in Southeast Asia, a Muslim eunuch who commanded “treasure fleets” and travelled as far as East Africa in search of new territories and tributes. One report says that the drama is intended to reveal how Cheng Ho helped to bring Islam to Indonesia – I’m not sure how big a role Cheng Ho actually played as I am given to believe that the spread of Islam in the region was more of a result of the influence of Arab traders and sufis operating in the region.
Ex-minister plays Admiral Cheng Ho in ASEAN film
Prof. Yusril Ihza Mahendra, former minister/state secretary, is currently in Bangkok for shooting a drama colossal film on Admiral Cheng Ho.
Yusril played the role as Admiral Cheng Ho in the film jointly produced by six member countries of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).