Culture leaves out nobody. But, individuals can choose to, not identify with culture.

261898350_25c019982eIn today’s world, many are worried about people’s perceptions, opinions, views about them. Their decision-making is largely affected by the societal influence. In other words, individuals feel that they are being judged all the time. This irritates oneself as they feel they have to maintain a certain composure all the time and live up to expectations by the society. Why does this happen?Β  If we look closely, its due to the culture of the Singapore society. The Singapore society is one that is competitive, and the social stratification is pretty wide, thus it all boils down to the survival of the fittest. With this in mind, people are always trying to comprehend other individuals talent and expertise so that they can better themselves and head on a path of upward mobility. Along the way of understanding the other, they judge them as well. If in like Norway where the social stratification is not that varied then people will not judge the others as they feel satisfied at their current position and the culture of the society would not be one that is judgemental.

Apart from culture affecting the individual through societal influence, culture also plays an essential role in all our lives. Without culture, a society will not be able to carry its daily mundane activities with ease. For example, one of the Singapore culture is that working individuals who are given an hour breakΒ  during lunch will go to the food courts and reserve a place using their pack of tissue paper. The foreigners who do not know the Singapore culture mistakes the pack of tissue paper as just that someone accidentally forgot about it and occupy those seats. This irritates the Singaporeans and they feel that the foreigners are not adapting to their culture and there is some tangible amount of friction.Β  This may seem as a very simplistic example but it is the simple things in nature that reflect our own unique culture. But, to show the degree of importance given to this example, it is important to note that there was an article about this issue in the Straits Times.

Thus, culture not only affects the individual and society in whole, it is seen upon as an identity and some relate to this identity. And, when this identity is questioned people react violently to it as they feel loyal and committed to their culture;their identity. Singlish has been associated with the Singapore culture and many see it as part of their identity. They are proud to speak Singlish. However, these individuals feel depressed when some in the Singapore society do not see this as part of their culture and worse of all they see it as a disgrace to their culture and identity. Furthermore, efforts by the society such as Speak Good English Campaign heightens the difference between people who accept Singlish as their culture and people who do not want to be associated with it even to the slightest. There is no judgement or conclusion on this issue as one has the freedom of to choose. So, though culture could be developed like Singlish, we must all understand some may not feel part of this culture though living in the same society. They could relate to a culture in the American Society. Thus, culture transcends all boundaries.

Join da club!

Last lesson, we ended off Unit 3 with Group Communication and the first thing that came to my mind about what to blog about for this weekend was Cosplay. No I’m not a fan of it, I know nuts about Cosplay and I don’t see why it is fulfilling to parade down the streets under the sweltering hot sun and attracting weird stares from onlookers. Nevertheless, I know of a friend who went for the most recent Cosfest at D’Marque Downtown East and I had a fun time playing and camwhoring with his long, red wig. Still, no thanks. Taming the hair after playing with it for five minutes is tedious enough, let alone wearing it for hours under the sun, soaking it with the million beads of perspiration. Oh wait, now they’re like just like oceans, salty and wet. Picture 1Take a look at the screenshot above. It’s a website I came across while I was trying to find something I can mention in this entry. A recruitment for Cosplay lovers and trying to attract them to join their group in taking part in activities and having discussions about their favourite Manga characters. I have another friend, Stefanie, who joined the SIM Cosplay club, A=Mc2, which well, like I mentioned earlier, has a group of Japanese comics and cartoons fanatics coming together to share about their common interest. Though I may not understand why she wanted to join the club since I’ve got no interest in Cosplay, I believe she has her reasons and I really hope she is going to enjoy herself for the rest of her meetings with the other members of the group. πŸ™‚

So, why do people join a group? For Stefanie’s case, the obvious reason why she joined A=MC2 was her undying interest in Cosplay and how she loves dressing up as Japanese Anime characters and be in her “virtual” world for that few hours in the costume. She may have joined it for some benefits she would be able to gain from this club, for example, getting to know more about her favourite Cosplay characters and probably feels that her needs for inclusion, control and affection can be fulfilled. What do I mean by those “needs for inclusion, control and affection?” Need for inclusion, like how the word explains, is the need to be included in a group, feel welcomed and a sense of belonging in it. Everyone of us has this particular need and longing to join a group which we’d be able to feel comfortable in. Need for control means that she wants to be able to voice out her opinions, speak her mind and get accepted by the members of the group without facing any objections and jeers. Lastly, the need for affection is her need for her members to lend her their support in everything she does. Wlliam Schutz concluded that these are the 3 interpersonal needs that the group should be able to fulfill before someone joins a group.

Every group have the characteristics such as interaction between members, interdependence, shared behavioral standards, and collective identity. Ever watched the movie Mean Girls? mean-girls-updateDon’t they dress the same way? Short skirts and similar traits among them. In majority of high school chick flicks, there is bound to be a group of popular girls who are tall, slim and pretty with similar styles. That’s collective identity for you.

Now, why don’t you think about what kind of group you would like to be part of? πŸ™‚

Wedding Of The Year

7360A2725E962F7DBA976D8AE8939ALOHAAAAA! A new weekend means a new communication blog update. This week, we learnt about interpersonal relationship during our lectures, and coincidentally, as you all know, Singapore’s Wedding of The Year was held last Wednesday, 30 September 2009. Mediacorp artistes, Fann Wong, 38 and Christopher Lee, 37(I insist on the emphasis of their ages), finally tied the knot after 10 years of courtship. Phew, finally, after twelve years of devouring. Being the hottest couple on and off set, the duo had a high probability of contact as they starred in a handful of films (as a couple) together, which was probably how their feelings for each other developed. Rumours of them being an item started 12 years ago, when they starred in a drama which everyone back then knew about, and I got to know about the rumours too when my parents discussed about it.

Working together allowed them to have closer proximity with one another; the lanky couple had similarities not only in their height but also in their careers. The close proximity can form relationship due to the greater opportunity for interaction which is definitely less intimidating than meeting someone with a totally different life. Like the newly weds, many have the tendency to form relationship with those they perceive to be similar to themselves since it reduces uncertainties and the associated risks. At the beginning of the relationship, attitudinal similarities such as beliefs, values and preferences can help bridge the unfamiliarity by conversing about common topics they are interested in, which allows them to know each other better. When the relationship ripens, social preference similarities such as shared social activities can keep the relationship going strong. Yet on the other hand, others prefer to look for someone who are different from who they are as they believe that complementary differences can sustain a relationship as they function better together than separately. However, differences can cause conflict in terms of the clashing of views about relational needs- intimacy vs distance, openness vs closeness, autonomy vs connection and novelty vs predictability. According to Duck’s model of Relational Dissolution, it is shown that there is still a possibility for the couple to find out what’s going wrong in their relationship and mend it before it breaks apart, although it may lead to separation at times.

Negatives aside, let’s talk about the other extreme, those that show too much affection to one another publicly and being oblivious to their surroundings in other words, PDA (Public Display of Affection). Just last night, a friend of mine was complaining to me about a teenage couple she saw at a well-known coffee shop. They were spreading kaya, butter and sugar onto each others lips and licking them off. Yikes! Totally gross and absolutely revolting especially when you’re eating! I don’t care what you do privately but please let the rest of the people of you have peace, go get a room instead! I’m not extremely traditional but I feel that we all should know our limits as to what can be done in public and what cannot. Maybe this is what they call “falling head over heels with each other”, they think with their toes instead of their brains.

“A lot of our friends find us too mushy- they say we’re gross but I feel we’re just being ourselves. This is how we truly feel about each other” -Chris (8days Issue989)

There you go, another example. Not only do they use hair raising terms of endearment like “Ai Ai”, the newly weds can never get enough of each other, causing their friends to scream for help. Alright, I’ll spare them since they just stepped into a new stage of their relationship.

Love is in the air! *floats around* ❀

Credits: 8 Days Issue 989, entertainment.sg.msn.com/

People on the streets guess if I’m a male or a female,

Lindsay Lohan Samantha RonsonButch, bung, lesbian, transsexuals. These terms are used to label these women who want or has gone through a sex change. An article on today’s The New Paper on Sunday page 10-11 talks about a forum, SgButterfly, was being set up for female-born transsexuals to share their experiences in the forum. I believe many of us would give this group of people a queer (pun intended) look whenever we walk pass them on the streets. Some of us even lament on how they are really weird to prefer being a male than to be how they were born since Day One, and how they would bring disgrace to their families. Some even perceive them to be abnormal mentally. These queer looks, are a form of non-verbal communication classified under Oculesics, which is the study of non-verbal meaning associated with the eyes. As the Chinese saying goes, “Eyes are the windows to the souls”, they reveal your thoughts and feelings openly without having to say a word. By giving them “the look”, you are indicating to them that you are disgusted by their male tendency and out casting them! Indeed, as mentioned by Jack in the article, problems like these are inevitable. Even his doctor thought that he should drop the sex change idea and meet men instead! He shared that the hardest part of the transition is to break the news about his sex change to his family and friends for he knew that they would disapprove of his actions. Many of them questioned him and tried to make him change his mind. So, what has formed this perception of theirs against transsexuals? Perception, is defined as the process of selecting, organising and interpreting information in order to give personal meaning to the communication we receive. In this context, the communication we receive refers to these female-born transsexuals. Selection begins with a cognitive process, whereby our brain sorts out stimulus from another based on specific criteria. Since the norm in the society is to be straight, lesbianism or being a transsexual is deemed abnormal, and thus, being consciously outcasted. Selections can be influenced in various ways, for example, andividual characteristics. Cultural background can shape one’s perception of transsexuals. In Thailand, transsexuals are males wanting to be females since Thailand carabet shows are common in the country whereas in countries like Indonesia, where majority of the population are Muslims, same sex marriage or even homosexuality is forbidden. The mass media also shapes the way we think. Earlier this year, Singapore launched the Pink Dot campaign to fight the prejudice,fear and ignorance against LGBT(Lesbians,Gays,Bisexuals and Transgenders). With such events, it would definitely attract many in the community to change their perspectives towards these minorities. Below are the videos of the event held in May this year, what are your views on these transgenders?


Respect.

American rapper, Kanye West flooded the headlines of entertainment newspapers after creating a scene at MTV’s Video Music Awards last Sunday. If you haven’t, here’s a brief outline of what happened that night. Kanye stormed on stage when country singer, Taylor Swift was giving her speech after her victory in the Female Video Category, proclaiming that “Beyonce has one of the best videos of all time.”, leaving poor Taylor dumbfounded. (Watch video below) Tons of feedbacks have also been voiced out about the incident, most of them were on Team Taylor, and only a few were on Kanye’s side.
Imagine if this scenario were to happen 2 decades ago, whereby newspapers only made use of the linear model of communication, the number of responses would have been zero since there weren’t channels for readers to respond to the articles. However, it is obvious that newspapers have switched to using the interactive model of communication, whereby communication now becomes a two-way process between the senders(journalists) and receivers(readers). Both parties are now involved in the communication process and readers are no longer deemed as the passive party in the communication process since they are able to respond to the articles through the Internet or by the traditional method, snail mail. Look at the insane number of comments on the online articles about Kanye’s rude act!
However, think twice, if it wasn’t the Video Music Awards held in America and hosted by MTV channel but say, (let me take the closest example) Singapore Hit Awards held in Singapore by Mandarin radio station 933fm, how long do you think the whole commotion would last. A day? Okay, maybe two, and die down thereafter. Correct me if I’m wrong, I doubt it’d even hit any headlines in the Western countries; they wouldn’t give two hoots. Better/Worse still, they probably have no clue about the people involved! There you go, an example of the impact of Americanization on the globe- pop culture and their subsets are easily available to everyone and has left people of different skin colours discussing about it. Evidently, the world has embraced the cultural studies perspective, which thus allows the power of the States to influence them and their lives.
While reading the comments which have been posted on http://www.rollingstone.com, a well known United States based magazine devoted to music, politics and popular culture (Wikipedia), racist remarks have caught my attention and got me thinking. I was disturbed by how one action by Kanye can cause some viewers to raise the Racist card and insist that Kanye was being racist against the Whites, and in turn start a commotion about the Whites and Blacks, bringing the history between the Black and White Americans into the picture. No doubt past experiences can shape one’s perception of others, but there ought to be a limit. According to MTV, Kanye was seen swinging a bottle of Hennessy on the red carpet, could he be a little tipsy and lost his mind? Furthermore, the death of Kanye’s mum and events that followed after has affected him greatly, could that be the cause of his temper? In my opinion, I feel that the people should quit stereotyping and jump into conclusion just because of that one incident.

Not that I support Kanye for his rude actions, but let’s spare him just for a moment since he’s apologised for his actions, shall we?

Nevertheless, Taylor&Beyonce have handled the situation well, don’t you think? Why don’t we applaud them for their actions and make them our role models instead! πŸ™‚

“I remember being 17 years old and up for my first MTV award with Destiny’s Child. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. So, I’d like for Taylor to come out and have her moment.”
– Beyonce during VMA

“And the world fell in love with Beyonce all over again.”
– Demi Lovato (ddlovato on Twitter)
&yes, Twitter’s a new example of the interactive model of communication! πŸ˜€

Credits:
http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2009/09/13/kanye-west-storms-the-vmas-stage-during-taylor-swifts-speech/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanye_West

First impression=Perception?

For the past few weeks, a video of the interview with the newly emerged Miss Singapore World 2009, Miss Ris Low has been widely discussed on online networks such as Youtube, Facebook and various online forums. It has been so controversial that the number of hits soared up to more than 70,000 within a short time span of 2weeks. I believe you’ve watched this before, no? The video has been put on repeat since I decided to discuss about the debate and I can’t help but admit that I had to mute my laptop since it was so unbearable.

Many commented that the 19 year old Management Development Institute Of Singapore Diploma student has brought disgrace to the nation due to her poor enunciation of English and that her win in the pageant was undeserving. The girl stumbled upon words in every sentence which she spoke, but yet did not seem to realise that her speech was unbearable to viewers. Being crowned the Miss Singapore World Community Ambassador 2009, it makes us wonder if she’s fit to be labelled with the title “Ambassador”, which is defined as a representative or promoter of an activity by the Oxford Concised Dictionary.

This video has indeed placed us Singaporeans in a bad light. Being widely publicised on Youtube, there is no doubt that many foreigners from all around the world has met this “community ambassador” of ours. We have always been identified as the country with a unique language, Singlish and books have even been published for foreigners to understand our lingo to serve as a survival kit in our country. We have already given others the perception that every Singaporean is unable to speak proper English, haven’t we? The National Library Board has been engaged in the organisation of the Speak Good English Movement year after year since 2000 till today. Events and competitions have been held in order t bring awareness to the people. The most recent competition, School Digital Media Awards 2009 was catered to the youths whereby contestants were to submit a video as to how Singlish has caused miscommunication among people. However, it makes us wonder how effective this campaign has been that even our icon does not practice good English but yet could be crowned the winner of the pageant. How did she manage to do it? Does that mean that the rest of the contestants were ousted by this girl with a bad command of English? Was the judging panel oblivious during the Question and Answer segment of the competition or did they decide to close one eye? Or was this segment so insignificant that little weightage has been put onto it?

Hot on the press, the debate on whether she deserves the title goes on on Page 4 of The Sunday Times on 13 September 2009. Many dissed her, but some, even the chairman and the head secretariat of the Speak Good English Movement, defended her by claiming that “lots of Singaporeans speak in that manner and she isn’t unusual.” Well, the word here is “lots” which means a handful but not the entire population. Is this fair to the other handful who puts in effort to speak fluent and flawless English? A Singaporean teacher who has been teaching for over 20 years also declared that, “It’s good she has become Miss Singapore World. Her language abilities are representative of the population.” I can’t deny that even I myself may not be perfect in my speech, but then again, I totally agree with what Mr Kelvin Koh, a sponsor of the Miss World Singapore 2009 pageant, said- that the winner should be able to hold her command of English well. She’s our representative after all! Wouldn’t presenting her with the opportunity to be the ambassador of our country allow others to stereotype us Singaporeans as people who can’t speak proper English?

I still hang on to the opinion that she doesn’t deserve this title unless she improves on English (enunciation at least) although the criticisms may be tad too harsh for her. Watch this and tell me your opinion! πŸ˜€

Credits: The Sunday Times 13 Sept 2009 Lifestyle Page 4