On… localism

According to Wikipedia, there are 203 countries in the world (10 of which have de facto sovereignty or independence but are not widely recognised diplomatically). And thus there must be thousands of races, cultures and value systems out there (although in anthropology there are apparently only 5 human races). However, most of the time it feels like there is only only main culture that rules the world – and that is caucasian Western, mostly Americanised, popular culture.

Think about it. What are the brands that dominate our days? The movies we watch? The reality TV programs we follow? The role models (ie celebs) that we admire and endorse? The music that we sing and dance to? The cities that we dream of visiting? Rarely, if ever, do we count other cultures – especially our own – into that mix.

And the difference between them (middle to upper class/high net worth white culture) and us remains enormous despite the GFC et all. Just try and read one copy of a magazine like Vanity Fair and start counting – although I suppose reading Prestige magazine back home would be a similar exercise.

My colleague Jon from Minneapolis himself admitted this over lunch the other day. According to him, even the 2nd generation migrants to the States eventually lose their culture and become more Americanised. Back home, the sociological gap between the upper-class urbanites (ironically more racially blended, or seems to be) and the middle to lower class is obvious. The urbanites speak, act and work like the western society, striving for class, money and power. They would likely turn up their noses at local popular culture and prefer their cultured trail of English literature and art most of the time (if not all of it).

Why am i ranting about this? It’s not even close to the topic of the day of the challenge (which i’ve kind of skipped for now – the titles are becoming pretty blended to me). Or maybe it does (Day 11: Something about which people seem to compliment you) because one thing that people do say about me is the fact that I seem to mix well across all races or groups, and I think this is due to my sincere belief that at the end of the day, we are all the same. Rich or poor, western or emerging, white or black, yadda yadda yadda.

Perhaps I am thinking more about this since I currently live in a rich society (although I am unfortunately not) and I am benefiting from most of the culture and lifestyle here – developed world infrastructure (although sometimes the Melbourne train system seems worse than KL’s), food, TV/movies, abundance of free library books/free newspaper, well organised local communities (for instance, the recent Brisbane flood which brought about the Mud Army) etc. But despite it all, I have no long-term desires to migrate and live here permanently and become a citizen because I still love who I am and where I come from.

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Categories: Melbourne, Politics, Pop culture

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3 replies »

  1. Totally. No matter how much I love to observe (and sometimes try to imitate) the western culture, it all comes down to my own roots; my religion, my race, the Malaysian culture, tanah tumpah darahku. Thus touching on one of the main reasons i came back home after 4 years of studying in Australia, although the opportunity is there for me to grab on. I mean, there’s just no ‘mamak time’ outside Malaysia!

    • I keep seeing evidence of this everywhere, and sometimes I feel a bit sick of too much Westernization (dah makin tua ni baru sink in!), especially in the images in the papers of celebs and what they wear (especially when they perform on stage). Ya Allah, dah tak jadi seksi, dah jadi seksa!! Watching music videos and stage performances (mostly perempuan yg buat mcm ni.. lelaki mcm biasa je!) are like soft porn and it’s disgusting.

      The other thing i hate is to see female ‘protestors’ parading naked in front of Parliament promoting their ’cause’. Like, hello… nobody is listening to you, everyone is just staring at your boobs! Entah apa2, it’s so stupid.

      Sorry Lina tiba2 ranting off pulak, ha ha.

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