Indonesia History and Culture
As early as the seventh century, powerful Buddhist and Hindu empires challenged each other for supremacy in Indonesia: the Buddhist Srivijaya were centered in Sumatra, while the Hindu Mataram located their capital on Java. The rich architectural and cultural legacy that remains from that time forms the basis for Indonesia’s national identity. In the thirteenth century, the Hindu Majapahit of Java faced a strong challenge from Muslim forces, which spread south from the Malay peninsula. Slowly losing ground, the Hindus retreated to Bali, where they remain today. The rest of the islands became Muslim, and various sultanates were established.
The sixteenth century marked the arrival of the Portuguese, the first Europeans in Indonesia. Although the Portuguese broke the Islamic hold on Indonesia, they were eventually displaced in turn by the Dutch, who named the area the Dutch East Indies. Although a revolt led by Javanese Prince Diponegoro in 1825 briefly threatened Holland’s empire, Dutch rule continued until W.W.II and invasion by the Japanese. The Indonesian revolutionary nationalist movement, led by Sukarno, welcomed the Japanese as a potential force of liberation, and at the war’s end the movement embarked upon a bloody war of independence against the restored Dutch rule. Although the war dragged on for four long years, from 1945-1949, the independence movement was ultimately victorious.
Turmoil characterized the first decade of Indonesian independence, until in 1957 Sukarno unified power in his own person. An attempted coup against Sukarno in 1965 brought renewed turmoil; however, the army led by General Suharto restored order and initiated a purge of communists. Eventually Suharto eased Sukarno out of the presidency and assumed office himself. Suharto’s rule ushered in a period of stability and economic development.
Indonesia’s varied past has produced a remarkable array of vibrant cultures,making it one of the world’s most diverse and fascinating travel destinations. Today, Indonesia is the fifth most populous nation on Earth, with over 180 million citizens comprising over 300 ethnicities. Most Indonesians are of Malay or Polynesian descent, though the country’s history has produced minority populations from India, China, Arabia, and Persia, as well as from European colonial powers such as Portugal, Holland, Spain, and England.
Although primarily a Muslim nation, Indonesia is marked by wide religious tolerance. Hinduism thrives on Bali, and Christianity has a significant presence on Flores, Timor, and several other islands. Indonesians speak numerous languages and dialects, but the common language is Bahasa Indonesia. English and Dutch are also widely spoken.
DRESS IN COMMUNIST CHINA
As in modern society we are all curious about the cloth we wear and the way we look. Here are just some information that I discovered and wanted to share with the class. Hope you will find it interesting.
For many centuries China and its clothing styles had been isolated from the rest of the world. Though some Chinese began wearing Western clothes in the early twentieth century, the vast majority of Chinese preferred traditional Chinese garb, including, among the upper classes, ornate dresses, gowns, and jewelry. By contrast the Communists who came to power in China in 1949 prided themselves on wearing standardized uniforms that showed no differences in rank or sex. Photographs of Communist leaders from the early 1940s show them wearing military-style tunics (simple shirts), trousers, and cloth peaked caps, which were essentially the same styles they would usher in upon taking control of the country at the end of the decade.
The Chinese Revolution led by the Communists in 1949 was a widespread social as well as political upheaval. Almost overnight it changed the lifestyle and clothing of people in even the most remote villages of China. Once Communist troops were established in cities, they sent in administrators to issue uniforms to workers in various industries. Factory workers and technicians were issued dark blue cotton cloth uniforms that were almost identical to the standard green Communist military uniform. Administrative and clerical workers were outfitted in gray versions of the same clothes. Men and women wore exactly the same garments. Before long the Communist Party’s grip on the country and its fashions was secure.
Chinese clothing quickly became standardized. While no direct orders were issued, it became generally understood that it was not patriotic to dress fashionably. People dressed in blue or gray cotton, padded for winter wear, and clothing made of expensive fabric was discouraged. Western-style suits disappeared almost overnight, replaced by the gray Chinese tunic suit. Women put away their stylish silk stockings and high-heeled shoes and instead put on their shabbiest clothes. Cosmetics and jewelry disappeared from view. Those who refused to comply with the new style could expect a public reprimand or a lecture from one of the local Communist Party officials.
Chinese dress was also influenced by the other major Communist nation, the Soviet Union. Women wore the fashionable Lenin suit worn by Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), a jacket-and-trouser combination featuring a large turned-down collar, side buttons, and side pocket. The greatest single influence on dress in Communist China, however, was Communist Party head and supreme leader Mao Tse-tung (1893–1976; also known as Mao Zedong). From his earliest days in power, he recognized the power of dress to present a shared national identity. The shapeless four-pocketed worker’s jacket he favored became the dominant dress for Chinese men and women from the 1950s to the 1970s. Dubbed the “Mao suit” in the West, it briefly found favor among political radicals in Europe and the United States.
Hello Kitty and the Culture of Cute
Hello Kitty was created in 1974 by Sanrio – the very first product was a clear vinyl coin purse bearing the face of Hello Kitty, which sold for 240 yen or approximately two dollars. Surprisingly, Hello Kitty was intended to be named ‘Kitty White’ after one of Alice’s cats in the Lewis Carroll classic through the looking class. At the time, British culture was the height of fashion amongst Japanese girls, and Hello Kitty was never intended to have any appeal beyond the pre-adolescent female market.
One of the first words foreigners learn upon arriving in Japan is the all-important catch phrase kawaii (cute, lovable). The favorite three syllables of most women in Japan, cuteness is a cultural obsession that few foreigners completely understand. While Western beauty and fashion stresses the importance of women looking sexy, a large percentage of Japanese females strive to attain the highest possible level of kawaisa (cuteness). Incorporating everything from brightly colored hair-extensions and fluorescent eye make-up to knee-high socks and flowery dresses, Japanese fashion can simultaneously shock your senses and melt your heart.
New youth cultures and sexualities
Audrey Yue & Haiqing Yu discusses that Super Girl Li Yuchun won singing contest and voted by Time Asia magazine due to androgyny and examines Li functions as a critical site for the expression of new youth cultures and sexualities. In my opinion, Li’s success does not depend on her voice (Yue & Yu, p.122), but comes from her personality and the public recognition of androgyny.
Li performed well with good psychological quality during the competition. Her gestures had conquered the tens of millions of Chinese young people, especially the public who were voting. And the shock can compare to Elvis Presley’s individual charm in 50 years ago. Li is self-confidence and not pretending to be shy. A lot of female singers do not have those qualities. Female masculinity makes her beyond sexualities. Younger girls would take her as friends of the opposite sex, while elder ladies make her as other themselves. Adult men regard her as brothers, while male teenagers take her as beautiful woman. So her fans include grandmothers, adult men, and young female teenagers (Yue & Yu, p.117). She thought it was a pressure and encouragement as she was voted by Time Asia magazine, and she put this pressure rapidly to convert power. Li concerns and involves in philanthropy since the debut, so that her image stands for fashion teen idols and love and kindness person. All these are reasons why she is recognized by publish, especially by young people and she is regarded as a critical site for the expression of new youth cultures.
Androgyny is accepted by more and more people. Ignore gender awareness and break the factors which are tied by gender in order to eliminate concepts of “a man should do and a woman should not do “. It is the repositioning of healthy living to a certain extent. Androgyny girls or boys tend to be more popular in China. It was suggested that the society should be gender-free long time ago. Li has ushered in the “era of androgyny” in Chinese popular culture (Yue & Yu, p.117). She conquered the countless girls with clean, cool, bright image and masculinity dress. A group girl began to be concerned by special populations after Li. These androgyny girls have high popularity and their fans. Yang Yang in Taiwan and SEVEN in Shanghai belong to their circle of stars. They dump a lot of young people with charming androgyny. “Super Girl” and Li concentrated feminist expression and reflection of the plight and the ideal of modern women. Girls do not like to be educated and be protected as times have changed. They want equal personality and common preferences and their ideal are strong, independent, self-awareness and overbearing.
The recognition of androgyny is social progress. Li is a critical site for the expression of new youth cultures and sexualities with their own advantages and this trend. However, this is a very difficult road for young women in China to the pursuit of androgyny. Just as the authors said they have a long way to go in order to enjoy a space of their own based on their own grassroots democracy. (Yue & Yu, p.131)
Audrey Yue & Haiqing Yu, China’s Super Girl: Mobile youth cultures and new sexualities.
I’d like to share some ethnic group along the Silk Road. The majority of the population is of mixed Turkish descent. Uigurs are the largest ethnic group along the Silk Road. Kyrgyz, Kazaks, Uzbeks, and Tartars are other strongly represented ethnic groups along the Silk Road. Fifty percent of the population is Muslim. Different varieties of old Turkish is spoken. The Han are very much in the minority, making up less than 10% of the population in the Xinjiang province.
Over half of the Silk Road population is Uigur. The Uigur are descendants of an empire in Mongolia in the 8th century. A nomadic tribe from the north drove the Uigurs into Xinjiang. The Uigurs are responsible for the spread of Buddhism into parts of central Asia. In the 10th century, the Uigurs embraced the arrival of Islam and are Muslims today.
Uigurs make their living through agriculture. They are also known for their cotton production and carpet weaving.Sophisticated irrigation systems allowed the Uigur to live on the edges of the desert.
The Kazak and Kyrgyz are Nomadic people (estimated population in the region: 1,000,000 Kazak, 200,000 Kyrgyz). They are known historically for their expertise with horses, the same “heavenly horses” that the Han Dynasty emperors sought through warfare and tribute 2,000 years ago. They make up the majority populations in the neighboring Kazakstan and Kyrgystan (former republics of the Soviet Union).
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