Americanization of the world.

Mac Donald’s, Starbucks, Abercombie and Fitch, Britney Spears. These names are synonymous to the great empire known to everyone as the U.S. of A.

America has indeed made its mark for the past centuries, dominating every aspect of our lives, with its fast food branches and its ever-popular Americanized clothing. The accent that everyone hears on radios, movies, televisions and one that we like to imitate most of the time. Our entire culture seems to be decimating before our very eyes. We are losing our very definition of being Singaporeans. Many Singaporeans, though they may refuse to admit  it, are vying for a chance to be living the ‘American Dream’.

This gives way to the term known as cultural imperialism. It refers to the domination of a country’s media products in another country. Though it may generalize the cultures in the world and create a more homogeneous society, it molds us into the culture of the dominating one.  We are hence, pawns in their desire to establish their  power into the world.

If you’d actually take the time to watch this video clip, you’d be able to sense the sarcasm in the video with the line, ‘Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iran, Native America…. Well everyone’s allowed a past they don’t care to mention’ It illustrates the way that the Americans are the ones who are responsible for many disasters in the world. The video is a tongue-in-cheek view of the American society and what it has done to us. Though, it is a little vague in its description, the video does show a lot about the ideas that the singer wants to illustrate to the world. The control that America has over the world through the globalization of its media products have indeed changed the mindset of many individuals due to their exposure to the American lifestyle.

To make matters worse, the Americans are only exposed to a minute amount of foreign media products. This hence, narrows their scope of information and depletes their ability to understand other people’s cultures. Hence, this uneven distribution of information leads to major discourse in the world.

All this due to the love of Hollywood.

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

The King of Mass Media

Mass Media is an important part of everyday life in every part of the world, be it in Africa where materials are so scarce,  but nonetheless available, or in America, where its abundance are overwhelming.

The functions of a mass media is to provide information, allow evaluation, educate and to provide entertainment. This hence widens the definition of the mass media to a wide array of mediums, such as the television, books, radio, newspapers and magazines.

My most favorite means of mass media has got to be the television, no doubt about it. The ability to experience the ‘magic of the movies’ and to virtually be involved in the imagination process is highly appealing to everyone alike. The virtual world of the television allows us to visually imagine ourselves in another world with other people in highly impossible situations, e.g. being chased by zombie.

However, mass media has  invisible receivers, which refers to the lack of direct contact with the media sources and the heterogeneity of the messages, the  viewers are unable  to pick and choose which messages they intend to see but are forced to succumb to them. Hence, there is a lack of individualized messages as the medium is used to cater to a wide variety of audiences.

Hence, the individual lacks the ability to decipher the messages in his own ways due to the forced images that the individual is exposed to. However, literature texts like ‘Top Girls’ by Caryl Churchill, allows a sense of individuality to be explored as much can be altered about the way one speaks or dresses. Though this allows the individual to express him or herself, there is a lack of variation from the original ideas imposed. Hence, there are still indebted to the themes that are thrown in by the author.

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpcd/chp/cdrr/obesity/tvviewing/tvscreeninfo.html

This article examines the negative health effects that a television can have on an individual. It views the mental disabilities that may accumulate in an individual when exposed to too much television. Furthermore, the problem of obesity may creep up on an individual due to his stationary nature.

I shall end my post with a poem by the oh-so-witty Roald Dahl with a tongue in cheek opinion about the monster, we call television.

Television, Roald Dahl

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rate and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Cultural diversity is everywhere!

The distinction between cultures is getting even more indistinguishable with passing time. Through the prevalence of high-speed transportation and the globally available means of communication, the culture of each country or even ethnicity may be so blurred that there is little differentiation between one and the other. From the Trenholm model, we can see that the cultural identities of different communities may differ but, they may believe in the same things. Hence, it suggests that no matter where we come from, there will be certain ethics and morality that we all share, regardless.

However, though many cultures have since adopted similar means of beliefs, there is a clear distinction between many cultures due to their age-old traditions and even different variations of their language. This problem has also created problems in the world such as World Wars which stems from racism. The problem of different cultures living as one creates lots of problems as the differences in the way they look, coupled with the difference in their traditions and beliefs, are bound to create problems in a multi-cultural community. Furthermore, the lack of insensitivity and the practice of ethnocentrism has led to the majority of the population believing that they should be given the priority in everything that they do.

This division between cultures can even be observed here, in this tiny red dot we call home. The influx of foreigners that have entered our country has indeed created a huge ruckus in our country. From complains being filed of the lack of jobs in our country, to their children dominating our examinations. The complaints will never cease.

However, do take a look at this article.

http://www.transitioning.org/2011/07/30/influx-of-foreigners-good-for-singapore-sgforums/

Though I feel that he has indeed made an extremely bold and honest comment about the policies that the government has implemented for our country, there are certain points that he has lacked to acknowledge. The feelings of these migrant workers have been ignored while they become the butt of the conflict.

These can be easily managed through the understanding of their cultures and trying to find cohesion between the two. Though, the cultures between the Chinese nationals and Singaporeans are vastly different, there should be mutual respect going on between the two of them.

Also, the government should have put in more effort to allow born and bred Singaporeans to properly assimilate themselves into this new situation without pouring a million foreign residences into our country. This further damages the situation as tension between the two cultures would definitely rise and hence would create problems of epic proportions.

I shall end this post with a comment made by a truly angry Singaporean. His views are definitely mirrored by many others in the country.

‘Just look at these aliens! They have no contact with our heritage and culture (which I doubt they are even interested in) and they know nothing about being a Singaporean. For example, they are unaware that HDB flats are a symbol of the welfare of our society which Singaporesuccessfully helped
in housing our population. They even assumed that every one of us speaks like a taxi driver uncle (come on, some taxi uncle speaks excellent English!) and even if we do, that’s part of the unique culture that we indulged in!’

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Familia

Relationships are without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of a persons life. The need to establish bonds with people is extremely important for a person to feel socially accepted and to be a part of something.

Most people would view the intimate relationship between two individuals to be the most important aspect of relationships and of a persons life. However, I feel that the relationship between family and friends are more important.

Relationships between that of the family is the most important aspect of anyone’s lives. Although, some may refuse to acknowledge this fact, our family members are the ones that shape our identity. This is as through our interaction and communication, we tend to take a part of each of them and mold that into our own identities. Furthermore, although we may not be entirely  alike, the way we interact with other people is characterised by our interactions with the people closest to us, our families.

Our interactions with the people around us will eventually affect the way we portray ourselves and the way we showcase ourselves to other people.

Family Guy

This cartoon series has created an sensation all over the world when it first premiered back in 1999. It has definitely struck a chord with millions of people worldwide due to its satirical humor and its no-bullshit attitude.

The fact that both the ‘Family Guy’ and the ever present ‘The Simpsons’, are so popular, is due to its originality and most importantly, their honesty of the subject, families.

The fact that everyone can relate to these characters are especially essential to the success of these series. The relationships that these characters have with each other are so unique and lovable. Though they’re intended as caricatures, the honesty depicted through these characters has definitely hit home, for the bulk of us. Those who do not see the similarities are either too afraid or proud to admit to the dysfunctional family that all of us have.

Though, most would argue that a romantic relationship is the most important feature for a person, where would you be without your family? There will be no one to help shape you, no one to be by your side. Hence, communication between family members is essentially the building factor of a person’s identity.

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

Outwit. Outplay. Outlast.

Survivor. The reality show that millions tune in to every week. Although, its ratings have indeed fallen since its Survivor Borneo back in 2000, it is still going on strong with its 23rd season which premiered 2 weeks ago.

Survivor has indeed encompassed both verbal and non-verbal communication. This can be observed in the way that the contestants bitch, sabotage and do treacherous things to each other in their bid to win that one million dollar prize money. They use both verbal and non-verbal communication to get their point across and to show their disdain or kinship towards each other.

Verbal communication is very obviously displayed through the words that they use, the tone applied and the language that they choose. Survivor aptly displays this use of verbal communication as it is important for each contestant to know each other and to know who to align with. Its kinda like a political struggle where people are trying to fight for others to hear their voice.

Other than the verbal communication that is rampant in the entire season, the most important type of communication is the non-verbal communication, which involves body language, hand signs and even the physical appearance of some of the survivors will definitely impact the way people view them and will determine their fate in the game.

Take a look at the two pictures below,

Cochran

Semhar

 

Okay, so if you were to compare these two individuals. Most would say that Cochran would be the first contestant to be eliminated, fer-sure! However, lo and behold, Semhar was the first one to get kicked out! Why did this happen? Well, during the tribal council, Cochran managed to plead his case while Semhar sat there, and did absolutely nothing.

This hence shows while Semhar may be mind blowingly beautiful, but she lacks the ‘verbal communication’ aspect. She failed to articulate her views and it hence led to her downfall. This attitude appalls me as if I were in her shoes, I would fight for every chance possible to make sure that my spot will not be take away from me. Survivor is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and her lack of ability to communicate or even to fight for her place, surprises me. What is even more astounding, is the fact that she is a ‘Spoken Word Artist’. A person who should be very comfortable speaking her mind and articulating her thoughts. However, her speech, or lack thereof may be overshadowed by her bad play during the challenge, where she screwed her tribe over by not being overzealous in the challenge, which led to their loss.

Cochran on the other hand, his physical appearance emits one who’s used to burying himself under books rather than climb trees and survive for 30 days on a deserted island. However, his clever persuasion has definitely led him to be saved from the vote. This hence shows how verbal communication can be determining factor to ensure success and failure.

Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments

What is the truth?

Perception is the way of life. It refers to the way one sees his version of reality through his eyes only. However, this vision may not necessarily be true. This is as , it is predominantly determined by the environment in which we live in. It does not help that our society has very strict regulations that we are made to follow.

In the following video, we shall examine 3 children who suffer from Schizophrenia, a disease where hallucinations take over their mind and what the patients see or think are just figments of their mind. This prevents them from truly viewing the world as it is, but they are instead, trapped in their minds.

This kinda represents perception as what they perceive is real, is in actual fact, just their imagination. In this case, it is especially deadly as they are not aware of what is reality and what is not.

Their inability to identify the truth sets them apart from the rest as their communication would also be affected by this. They would be unable to properly articulate facts and hence, be bounded by their false facts which may govern their lives. People would be unable to understand them and they will be deemed to be suffering from delusion.

Other than schizophrenia, there are body image issues which deal with the idea of perception. These people are more commonly known to be suffering from anorexia nervosa. A disease which makes a person view themselves in a negative light and they feel the need to lose weight in order to be more beautiful.

Women are supposed to embody a curvaceous figure, red lips and long luscious hair. Men, tall, with a muscular physique and a deep voice. These ideals, are hard if not impossible to attain, and even so, we will never be satisfied with what we have. The article below shows how children as young as 5 strive to attain ‘physical perfection’.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-08-anorexic-britain.html

If anyone ever takes the time to read the newspaper article, you’ll understand the need for this post. Honestly, when will this need to achieve the ideal ever cease. Everyone, yes, EVERYONE, feels the need to strive to attain the perfect body, the perfect face. But where’s the need to be the perfect daughter, or friend?

The need to attain perfection in the eyes of society is degrading and it sickens me to think that people would want to change they way they look, just to ‘please’ the society. Who cares if you’ve got an extra roll or two. So what, if you’re 2kilos overweight. Everyone is made different, and if these perceptions were to change, everyone would feel a more confident beautiful self.

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

Hollywood, you’ve done it again.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

The title itself grabs the attention of the reader. Coupled with the self-deprecation of the main lead, we snicker and giggle when watching the said trailer. Much of this has to do with the aesthetics of the trailer itself where all the humorous and satirical insinuations are placed.

The careful selection of the right scenes to showcase in the trailer is highly important to draw the right audience in to watch the movie. This is to create a lasting impression so as to have the movie embedded in their heads and the ‘I can’t live without watching it’ mentality to seep in. This has clearly worked with the movie resonating a huge response from people all over the world with tweets flooding in awaiting the anticipation of the movie. Now that the movie is out, tweets are still coming in raving about the success of the movie. Clearly, people can’t get enough of the movie (and Ryan Gosling’s perfectly sculpted abs).

And these ‘people’ include celebrities with the likes of  funny man, Jonah Hill and the female lead of Vampire Diaries, Nina Dobrev.

@JonahHillJonah Hill

CRAZY STUPID LOVE is easily the best movie I’ve seen all year. I highly recommend that you see it this weekend.

@ninadobrevNina Dobrev

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” was Crazy, not stupid, and I loved it!

No doubt, the use of witty dialogue and hard-hitting facts about relationships makes this movie highly relatable to adults and teenagers alike. The ability of the producers to understand their audience makes them able to persuade them to watch this incredibly hilarious movie, without deliberately forcing them is applaudable. They draw in their audience by the use of popular celebrity icons like the humorous Steve Carrell and Emma Stone and not forgetting the ever-charming, Ryan Gosling.

Though this romantic comedy is full of satires and funny one liners, the emotional turmoil in the movie can be seen from the trailer where the leads are forced to confront their differences in their relationship and try to work things out. This appeals to the emotions of the audience as some of them are able to relate to what the characters are going through and hence, this ‘persuades’ them to watch the movie to further explore the situations of the characters.

Most trailers are persuasive in nature as the producers would deliberately pick the music and the scenes to perfectly showcase the movie and draw in the audience. I would have to say that although, i detest being lured by cheap tactics. It worked on me. The trailer drew me in, and yes, i have watched the movie. How did this atrocity happen? And clearly, i was not alone. The movie made a stunning $6.6 million on their opening day alone. Its trailer, drew in over a  million views. Honestly, we all know how the movie’s going to end, but despite that, we continue to pay money for a plot that has been repeated time and time again. And we keep falling for it again and again and again.

So I’ve got to hand it to them, Hollywood has definitely mastered the art of persuasion and their influence on the world of pop culture has made them a household name all over the world.

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments