Archive | August 2012

Lingbo Li, Post 2

the following discussion is about ethnic minority culture from my own knowledge as I am part of ethnic Han.

China is a big multi-ethnic state which is officially composed of 56 ethnic groups ,contain 55 minorities plus the dominant Han. These minorities inhabit approximately 60 precent of Chinese territory, often in the strategically more important or sensitive areas along the borders. Since they live along from the city, they created a unique culture and life style, Including words, spelling, clothes, music, art ,dance and also the food. Of course these area are famous with lots of scenic spots. The most famous one is Zhangjiajie’s Stone Forest. Zhangjiajie’s Rock Column Forest claim to be the model behind the striking hanging mountain scenery in the movie Avatar and have been getting a lot of attention as a result.

However , the way they live in han people’s eyes is kind of getting behind, they don’t have any advanced technology to develop those area. That’s because they live around mountains or trees, the inconvenient traffic unable to transfer useful goods into their life. They stop contacting people from outside ,so they can’t get the news lately. But they still live happily from one generation to one generation.

Cause the slow development , children’s education are a big problem, they used to teach students about their culture , it’s important to let them know there’s a big world outside waiting for them to find out. Along with the government great support the minority area’s education in recent years as well as the popularization of nine-year compulsory education system. More and more people from the ethnic minority areas find a way to learn science and culture knowledge .however there still a lot of place far from city where they have difficulty to find an effective solution.

No matter what, minority people and han people all belong to china, they help each other to live a better life.

Advertisements

Anqi Wu z3325285 Post1

Recently, these artistic productions about personal Chairman Mao has achieved substantial market success overseas, however these works are still banned from public exhibition in china. Author gives various examples from different periods to reflect how the Chairman Mao’s icons change its indications. The renewed popular currency of the figure of Mao within a social framework has abandoned the ideological assumptions symbolized by the icon at the time of its original emergence. It will become apparent how the very significance of the icon of Mao can instead be considered as different.

In the contemporary cultural production of the People’s Republic, this cyclical shift from popular taste to official marketing strategy is the essential reason for this new icon, the nearest form to personality cult known in 1990s China.

Mao’s indication is changing from the experience of the Cultural Revolution and the phenomenon of self-identification with the figure of the political leader to the “new” Mao with an undefinable quality that becomes a significant form of expression for a country traversing a period of moral and material changes.

During a period when ethical and moral values are being continuously rediscussed under the pace of reform, the image of Mao has been paradoxically transformed into a stable sign and a most unlikely space of expression for that very entity Mao-the-man had attempted to erase, his subjects’ individual selves. This article quotes different artist productions and views about Mao’s icon to focuses on the transformation of Personal Mao icon in the art of twentieth-century China.

Zhengzhen Ma – Reading Journal 1

The term “metrosexual” is referred as a straight man with an interest in fashion and beauty-care products. Thus they spend lots of time on appearance and lifestyle. Metrosexual significantly changed the original view of men, from muscle and cold men to beauty and handsome men. The editor of Men’s Style thought ‘sulky gentry’ (menshi) is a better description of metrosexual than ‘metropolitan jade male’ (dushi yunan) as it not only implied they lack masculine strength, but also combined sense of individuality and taste. Furthermore, a range of men’s lifestyle magazines influences concepts of manhood in consumer society and represent the demands of middle class.

 Causes of merosexual

There are a few underlying causes behind the metrosexual trend. In current knowledge-based economic society, physical strength is not the dominant requirement for society. Mental work can create social value and the value it creates far more than physical labor. Therefore, masculinity is no longer the only male pursuit of the target, men can have more choices and build their own image. On the other hand, the economic status of women improved greatly and equality in the economic dependence on men reduced grandly. Thus, metrosexual trend is a reflection of the socio-economic progress in gender culture.

 Metrosexaual model

David Beckham can be seen as metrosexual. He has redefined male style with his fashion-forward outfits and skin art. David Beckham never seems to wear the same cloth twice, and always varnish his nails and changes hair style once a week. Although these are feminized actions, his sport prowess and personal ability have made him the most powerful and desired metrosexual man in the world.

Metrosextual trend

In recent years, the awareness of male consumption has entered into China, especially the past two years. Many international brands of male clothes, men’s cosmetics brands continue to enter the large shopping malls. More and more men care about hairdress and skin. Some men even do the facial mask every week. This phenomenon is good to economic growth as it increases male consumption. In my point of view, the misunderstanding of metrosexual consumption is created by both media and consumers. The taste, consumption ability and goals are not the same to each person. Therefore, some people are purely conspicuous purchase. No matter it is perfume, cloth, watch or something else, consumers can only enjoy the use of products when they understand its quality and their real needs.

Real metrosetual

​​Pursuit of appearance, lifestyle and good taste should be in different aspects, shopping is not as important as what they said. Young boys should do exercise to keep fit and dress clean and tidy clothes properly. If they always read fashion magazine and know everything about fashion elements and what sells well in what season, they tend to be feminized as these things are not the main focus on man. Thus, to be a real metrosextual, it is necessary to enhance self-cultivation and live in a healthy lifestyle. This is much more important than caring appearance strongly through spending a lot of time and money. Beauty appearance with intelligent is the highest level of metrosexual in modern society. 

JEREMY LEUNG — Reading Journal 1

The reading titled Consumption, class formation and sexuality: Reading men’s lifestyle magazines in China has greatly broadened my understanding of difference between masculinity in the western society and masculinity in China. In addition the emergence of the “middle class” in China and the way in which they attempt to distinguish themselves within their society through consumption and association with “status” is very interesting. As put by Luigi Tomba (2004) the middle class “appear increasingly to shape their status around a new set of collective interests, especially in their modes of consumption and access to resources”  Personally I have been able to witness this behaviour but through the readings have been able to acquire a more in depth understanding of the topic.

Previously I knew very little about the existence of male magazines in China. I would occasionally see them on the shelves when I was visiting the country but personally took no interest in them myself. The readings have given me an insight into the history of these magazines and their increasing popularity over the past decade. I never would of known the way these magazines were so interrelated to the changing culture and development of metrosexuality within the males in China. The concept that a magazine alone can represent a status symbol to the “middle class” of China is very shocking. I myself just view a magazine as a publication for reading and viewing and the idea that others may look about a magazine in envy due to its content or price was previously unfathomable.

Likewise the way in which the consumer of these magazines absorb and interpret the content is extremely different. As put forward in the readings it is viewed as a “taste textbook for successful men”  and that “Your taste defines your position”. The emphasis of distinguishing yourself and establishing your status through your “taste” is not something I personally enjoy but I do witness this behaviour a lot overseas with my relatives. Their excessive spending on high end brands is now no longer surprising but has become an accepted fact of life. For example all the high end stores in Hong Kong such as Louis Vuitton always have long lines of people outside their stores waiting to buy the products. What is interesting though is the fact most of these people lining up are not from Hong Kong but rather from mainland China and have come down with the purpose of shopping. These stores are also available in China but they make the trip to Hong Kong in order to ensure the products are genuine. Due to the strong prevalence of counterfeit branded goods in China these consumers fear that even the main chain stores may not be selling genuine goods so they go to Hong Kong because they have a greater trust in the stores there.

The way in which culture has evolved especially the attitudes toward metrosexuality over the past decades has really challenged me to think about what new trends might occur in China over the upcoming decades. Being such a fast paced growing economy the possibilities are essentially endless.

 

Tomba, L. (2004). Creating an Urban Middle Class: Social Engineering in Beijing, The China Journal, No. 51

Wei Jiang— Reading Journal 1

From reading the interesting document of India visual culture, knowing that like few other Asian countries, as China and North Korea, in India, the government controls and owns the television, thus created a special Indian television system that called Doordarshan.

Initially, Indian television was the educational medium tool from early 1950s for school student and farmers basically. With the improving on technology, television medium came into vibrant life during the Asian Olympics in New Delhi of 1982, the game been transmitted colorfully to every corners of India.

The term of Doordarshanmeans distant vision, which provides the image of Indian culture. There are two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, including Mahabharata and Ramayana. Mahabharata is the longest Sanskrit epic in India, once it been showed on television it became to the well-known ‘religious soap opera’, the primary effect of serialization based on put Mahabharata on television of Doordarshan was bring the famous story to the audience every week, which contains much philosophical material. In addition, one of the important functions of Doordarshan was spreading didactics in India, however it no longer only take the role since the stories came alive, and the actors from Mahabharata became welcoming icons at that time in India, Mahabharata attracted millions of Indian be home every Sunday. Furthermore, it could be said another significant of serialization was to connect a repetitive starting and closing parts to episode.

Moreover, the word “Mahavharat’ been repeated three times on television, the word also appeared on the screen by three different languages. Firstly, in Hindi then in English, finally in Urdu. From that point, it highlighted two primary religions in India, which are Hinduism and Islam. Furthermore, it also illustrated the English been used and understood among the majority party in India.

Among the above, the visual text bring the color, sound, action to people, which gave Mahabharata a new life to show the well-known Indian epics not only to India but also to the whole world, as well as bring the special Indian national’s image to the world, which gives others the basic image of how India looks like, what is the India epics. Therefore, that raised a interesting issue, ‘in which way helps people understand the issue better by visual text like movies or written text such as books?’ It should be said depends, visual text would catch watcher attention quicker than the words, also could help to understand Indian epics by watching the actors body languages and spoken languages. However, the written texts bring the detail to reader, which leaves the space of thinking to readers.

Finally, as we know, people always get news and information by watch television. Based on the state-controlled and state-owned television system in India, the same as in North Korea, citizen could only get the information which the government provides to them, thus which would influence of people’s thinking. Thus, from my side, that the government policy would be the major source influencing the country’s citizens. As lies Mahabharata on television, provides Sanskrit epics of ancient India to the audience.

Yiting Dong-Reading Journal 1

According to the reading of a case study of the reception of two contemporary televisual versions, it reflected the young Punjabi Londoners how they negotiated the culture difference and identity by using TV as a recourse. This reading journal will focus on the discussion of Indian cultural by the Dhani family watching the Mahabharata in English and Indian version.

In the case,  Dhani family is a big family that has nine people and lived in a three bedrooms house in Old Southall. The parents came to England 12 years ago after the war. Basically, from their home ornament, it strongly shows their religious and background culture. For instance, line the top of the sideboard of Krishna, Shiva, Vishnu, Lakshmima and other gods. They also have their own domestic shrine and puja or prayers are performed three times a day.

The important thing is about watching the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is one of the two famous Sanskrit epics in India. It plays the important role in the area of India’s philosophy and religion. Compare two versions of the Mahabharata, the viewing of Brooks’ Mahabharata has aroused the dissatisfaction of the whole family. For example, Ranjit, the youngest son in the family, thought Duryodhana should wear red because red stands for blood, anger and fire. Actually, they limited by their deeply rooted cultural code. They cared about the use of the colors, symbolic of certain qualities and especially because of view the Indian version.  The differences really reflect the India culture.

From the India cultural, different identities should have its own symbolic, which the other people can recognize obviously. Such as, you can distinguish the people by tell the strength, the behavior, the wearing. Everything is meaningful in India. This also can be a reason why they cannot accept the English version of the Mahabharata. The English one is more concentrate on the language. As India cultural, they thought the images could create the meanings. The visual is presented creates certain codes that are interpreted by the viewer, such as the icons, colors. The English version was absolutely unsuitable for the India cultural. The viewers can gain a better understanding about themselves and the society by imagine as a source of meaning.

The new TV delivery system is a good way that can relate this Hindus family to connect with India and Pakistani popular culture.  As the India government, they use the television to reinforce their value and in fact, one of the most unexpected effects of the liberalization of television in India is how it has contributed to the rapid growth of channels in languages other than Hindi.

In conclusion, two different versions of the Mahabharata have created the different imagine meaning for the Indians. They emphasized on the visual staffs, which was based on their original India cultural background. They can gain the meaningful imagine from the television visual rather than talked more in the English version. Certainly, TV is a media connection for the people to create the visual cultural and shape the individual identity.

Xudong Chen, 3325439 Reading Journal 1

Mahabharat in India

By reading An India religious soap opera and the Hindu image, one aspect of the role of television could be drawn from it, which is the significance that television plays in shaping the contemporary life, both cultural and political. As a soap opera, Mahabharat enjoyed the greatest success in India, which is unlikely to be exceeded by others.

In the early 1950s, television staged in India; later, the Asian games in 1982 further spurred this new thing, and more serialized programmes were introduced in it. (Mitra, 1994)Among all the serial programmes, Mahabharat remained the most successful one.

The success of Mahabharat could be attributed to many factors. Mahabharat is based on a religious-historical mythological epic and due to the character of television, the myth was added with something new to tell. The first thing about the success of Mhahbharat is that by serialization of the myth, every week the old story would come back to life on the television, with the characters relive the scene. Mahbharat used new faces, which making the programme successful and at the same time, earned reputation for themselves as well. The credits on the programmes used Hindi, English and Urdu, which covers large proportion of the audience. Besides, the repetition of the content of the story continues to remind the audience that this is a programme concerning religion and the conflict between good and evil forces on earth. Mahbharat was set in and around the ancient of Hastinapur, which is the birth place to many religious characters and in a large sense represents northern part of India. (Kalman, 1999) Consume appropriated, the language of the broadcast and music and sound it manipulated together transformed the story into a northern India one. The specific features of Mahbharat indicate a preferred social practices and acknowledgement in India by manipulating the settings, language, consume and music and other factors.

It could be drawn from the programme that the Indian society is much centred on Hinduism, which resulted in many other consequences. The first one is marginalization of other religious practices. This has activated actions from other religions in India, and these actions have evolved into a political one. The success of Mahbharat further spurs the growth of Hindu fundamentalism, which causes some disturbances to the society. By connecting the images of the character in the programmes and the practices they used, India is able to form the image that being Hindu and Hinduism is a much preferred option and stands at the front end of the 21th century.

Thus, the position of Hinduism has been much strengthened with the help of the popular culture.

However, it is not to be neglected that as the openness of television widens, local India television enterprise faces much fierce competition from foreign network, such as BBC and CNN.    

In conclusion, the Mahbharat enjoyed big success in the domain of Indian television, and its popularity played and is still playing an influential role in the cultural and social areas in Indian. Due to the changes in the Indian television enterprise, more competition is raised and non-Hindu or Hindu-centric programmes are emerging.

 

Kalman, B. (1999), India: The Culture, Crabtree Publishing Company

Mitra,A. (1994), An Indian religious soap opera and the Hindu Image, Media culture society