This is not the end, this is not the beginning.

One more semester gone and still not dead. Yay! 

This semester will be the final semester for me to blog and in some way or another… I’m glad. Being able to blog as an assignment has been somewhat of a blessing in disguise. But like all things – when placed with a format and a dateline it becomes a real squeeze to the brain juice. This semester, I really struggled. Mostly because I wasn’t in class all the time and wasn’t able to partake in discussions and got much impression about the topics taught by the week. It was a shame to miss Ms. RK’s class – it will be something I will miss every Monday & Tuesday 10 am. 

This semester has personally seen me grown to a better academic writer. I have learnt the art of picking up points, phrases faster and asked better questions. I have found a distinct way of getting my point across and that I feel was the nicest thing about this assessment throughout the semester. I particularly enjoyed the topics where journalism was involved, where I get to see how media issues are reported and how they are created. This was important to me as I finally understood why journalism, like many other fields were important and much necessary in this big and ever changing world we live in. Also, including more videos proved to be much clever – as it managed to capture the attention of those in class. It made things easier to understand and comprehend, making discussions and ideas even more lively and entertaining than before. 

Oh my word. The kind of energy that comes out of a communication class is just insane.

To end this journey, I’d like to say that the everyday I get to learn something from Ms RK is one happy day for me. And it’s been an ultimate blessing to have it every week for the past semester 🙂 

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Whats new, news?

Man, I don’t even know what is news anymore.

Following my old-school ways (kids from the 90’s) things that made headlines were generally more substantial, that actually mattered to every average joe on the street or minah in the kampung that were usually centered around economics, international happenings, crime and politics. But now a days, a certain young singer wearing a nude-colored bikini dancing ‘obscenely’ at the VMA’s is considered news… so, what exactly is news, and what makes news?

Features of news are: 1 Transient 2 Pseudo-Events 3 Narrativisation 4 Visual Imperatives and news values include: 1 Cultural Proximity 2 Relevance 3 Rarity 4 Continuity 5 Elite References 6 Negativity 7 Composition 8 Personalization

With the downfall of the traditional media and the uprising impact and influence of the social media movement, I think it’s easy to get confused between what is “news”. Social Media platforms such as twitter, facebook has become so instantaneous that information reaches the netizens first instead of the other way round. With just access to the internet, revolutions around the world has occured based on “word on internet”, as seen in the Arab Spring, or even the #bersih movement in our very own country. We’ve seen it with our eyes and heard it without our ears what our parents and grandparents in a million years would never seen on their newspapers – but how true are these reportings, and can it be considered news??

George Snell, American Media Commentator asks a very good question: “is there a difference between reporting and journalism?” which he answers:

“Reporting… has been made into a commodity by the web. Consumers of news don’t want to pay for reporting anymore because they can get it for free via mobile phones, PDAs, computers and laptops. Reporting is what the internet is really good at..”. where else

“Journalism is getting beneath the news. It’s investigation, analysis and thoughtful commentary. It’s in-depth expository reporting.”

What I’m concerned about is the downfall of journalism. Journalism is like a beautiful put together story, with all its part intact that leaves no stones unturned, and no questions unanswered. It is both an art and science where carefully constructed sentences and conscientious effort is put into every word, every diction, every line and every available space. So powerful is journalism that it is “a fundamental cornerstone of a strong democracy and an open and progressive society.” (Greenslade, 2009)

Of equal concern for citizens of the world today is how fast we want everything to be. Instant noodles, instant coffee, fast food, smart tag – you name it, we want it. We want to be the one to be able to say we knew about “it” first in our social groups, as our fingers scrolls furious down the screens that is sucking all possible human interaction and ‘human touch’. We want to be able to acknowledge something has happened, but is that really all there is to news?

For me, news is where you press on, keen on finding out more information, curious to know what lays behind the story and that carefully selected headline. News is to teach us and educate us about our surroundings, to be more knowledgable, aware, civic, concerned instead of just knowing what’s popular. News is not about being able to get a million likes or RTs. News is not about things that don’t matter. News is not to report something terrible and for us to be apathetic. News, for me is summed up in this quote perfectly – “It is important not to take a snapshot but to take a long video of what’s going on.”

News is education about the world that we live in today. News is not supposed to be entertaining. That’s what YouTube is for 🙂

References:

Greenslade, R., 2009, ‘Press & Publishing: Reporting is different from journalism, and it’s the latter we need to protect’, The Guardian, viewed 04/10/13, http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2009/dec/10/newspapers-pressandpublishing

Lee-Wright, P (2012) ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’ JOMEC Journal: Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Available online at:http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jomec/jomecjournal/1-june2012/leewright_newsvalues.pdf

Lost in Translation

When I needed to escape from the world (another term for delaying my assignments to the very last minute) I would in all my efforts and time for episodes of Masterchef. With all the pressure being put on the contestants than me, it was a short sweet escape from my reality to another person’s reality.

Watching this video was what started my love affair with the MasterChef Series. Touching isn’t it?

Now, have a look at these pictures.

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I had to admit.. I laughed so much after reading this comic strip. But what might be funny to me might not be funny to others. And in a world where we share media and cultural values – many things can get lost in translation, such as values, meaning and even what the story is all about. Comedy depends on the breaking of rules of language and behavior. ‘It is a prime testing ground for ideas about belonging and exclusion’ (Medhurst)

After watching all three seasons of Masterchef USA in one week, like a hopeless drug addict I needed to get my fix. So I googled and stumbled upon Masterchef Australia and I was completely blown away because of how much I didn’t like it, despite it being the same show with the identical concept and gameplay. I realized that it was not nearly funny or dramatic enough for me after finishing two whole seasons.

One thing that really bugs me is how ignorant I’ve been or drama-queen I can be. Like I mentioned in the beginning – what I find funny might be the complete way around for someone else. Worst is, what if I’ve actually offended some people by the choice of media I’ve consumed?  While all cultures may laugh at the same kind of rules being broke. The rules may be different in different contexts. Discussing about this topic really opened my eyes… Like Medhurst says:

“Comedy after all, is a cultural and social practice that is both shaped by and contributes to historical conjunctures; it pivots on contested and ambivalent relationships to power; it constitutes a repository of symbols that can be drawn on to indicate how, where and why people place themselves…”

The vast difference between the US and Australia series would have to be its competitiveness. The US counterparts would be shown to be aggressive, hateful on other contestants and even put in situations where they were badmouthing the others to gain an advantage while the Australian contestants were helpful, kind and supportive of each other throughout the show. Values such as individuality was apparent in the US series, while a sense of comradeship shone through the Australian version. For this topic, the humor found in both the shows was very different. The US version generally preferred to laugh to belittle another person when the judges spoke, while the AUS version generally found it funny when the judges were cracking a joke instead of laughing at their fellow mates.  While comedy and humour remain generally remain unique to a culture, it appears that the FORMAT of comedy is a product that, just as with many cultural forms, adheres to the modern notion of ‘glocalisation’, of making a universal thing to fit the local understanding.

It’s okay if you like something I don’t, and it’s completely fine if I laugh at something you don’t find particularly amusing. Because you know what? The world is a big, beautiful (yet scary) place that consists of different people and various styles. All we have to do is respect each other’s choices & keep our minds open. Because you’ll never know what you might just discover at the end of the road. And the rest will just be… lost in translation.

Reference:

Turnbull, S 2008 ‘It’s Like They Threw a Panther in the Air and Caught It in Embroidery’: Television Comedy in Translation’ Metro Magazine Issue 159

Transnational is more than just a bus company in Malaysia.

Hello.

When I first heard of ‘transnational’, my fleeting mind immediately remembered the times when I was a little child of tender years, wide eyed and half-asleep being dragged to the bus station at god-forsaken hours to board the bus to the city. 15 years ago, no one would ever dream of flying, or taking the train, which was almost like alternative to suicide. So it was the bus, and transnational was the company that most Malaysians trusted and relied on to get to one place without flung out of their seats. However in this context, transnational means pertaining to several nations and nationalities.

For media, we’re talking local, regional, national and even global. Hollywood is no doubt an answer. While Hollywood remains a central character on the world stage of transnational film production, its current decline represents to many a changing global dynamic as cultural “contra flows” emerge) and “boundaries between…the national and the global culture” begin to blur.

I’m going to give an example based on the movie Rise of The Guardians, only the second best movie of 2012 after Pitch Perfect.

Rise of the Guardians, in summary is a animation on a group called the ‘guardians’ who consist of mythical beings who protect the innocence of all the children in the world. While it is another feel-good movie, what is interesting is that the characters all hail from different geographical locations. Santa has a russian accent. Easter bunny is from Australia. The Villian, Pitch is voiced by a British actor.

In the film, the audience are brought to different well-known locations worldwide, and this is no doubt to satisfy the market at large. This is transnational cinema. This phenomena has been brought about by globalization.  Merging of people and cultures are now seen in films and advertising.   As Schaefer and Karan note “cultural hybrid is central to globalization where …creativity combine local with global cultural forms”.

This makes you wonder… has Hollywood lost its touch as the major hub for the filming industry with the uprise of other media capitals such as India and HK? For me, I don’t think so and I agree with Baltruschat (2012) that hollywood studios such as Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox and MGM had gained effective control of the global theaters and are shifting towards a more global culture that in clearly reflected in today’s cinema.

And that is fine by me, because they say that the world is small but the truth is, I’ll never be able to enjoy everything the beautiful world has to offer or soak up all the knowledge on this mortal plane. If I step out of the cinema feeling that I’ve learnt a little bit more about others and the world, then I can truly and proudly say that I’m on my way to becoming a global citizen.

References:

Doris Baltruschat, 2012,  ‘Media Ecologies in Film:Defining Cross-border Dynamics of Canadian and U.S. Cinema’ , accessed  13/09/2013  http://www.uibk.ac.at/canada/veranstaltungen/ringvorlesung/baltruschat.pdf

 

Show-time!

Let’s not lie, I love everything about media.

I love how anything is possible, that somethings can be made in make-believes, that how much power and influence it has over the world, how it’s a multibillion dollar company, how it’s dynamic and changing, and the very fact that how it is changing the world by the hour, minute, second.

And how’s how I became a media and communication student. Because media is powerful and exciting.

I’m Malaysian, but I’m blessed with speaking three languages – English (the world’s lingua franca), Malay (my beloved country’s national language) and Mandarin (my mother tongue). Culturally through language I’ve been already got the keys to experience the west, and the east. The only thing I don’t have a clue upon is Bollywood. Even that, I managed to enjoy Dostana and some other hindi movies.

Now, that’s speaking on a local term. But the world takes things on a global scale. And like all countries, where the prominent and strategic meet at the capital, media has their own, and they are “places where things come together and, consequently, where the generation and circulation of new mass culture forms become possible” (Curtin, 2003).

Media capitals, also important to note that they are “centres for the finance, production and distribution of television programs.” Cities such as Bombay, Cairo and Hong Kong are examples. Contemporary television is transcending frontiers and disrupting conventional structures of domination.

What is this domination that they speak of?

“The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.” (Huntington, 1993)

One thing is for certain, the most famous media capital in the western world; ‘Hollywood’, is quickly losing its dominance to other areas such as Hong Kong and Bombay. Hong Kong, for example is a developing media capital. Chinese customers are a sure way to a stable and growing market. The same can be said about the Indian demographic, who produces more movies than Hollywood, despite only being ONE country. But cultural wise, what are these figures saying?

Huntington (1993) said that the great emergence of these media divides and the dominating source of conflict is mainly due to cultural differences, instead of it being economic nor geographical.

Now, the thing about culture, with its roots so deeply settled in history, religion, lifestyles, way of life is hard to break-through, let alone break away from. The thing about culture is, it makes us who we are. Nothing more frightening than the thought of the unknown, therefore we stick and pass on what we learned and what we’ve grown up with. It gives us the identity.

And we should never stop being who we are, or “being true to our roots”. As our worlds become smaller and lives intertwined, we are now at the exciting point where we can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Curtin, M., 2003, Media Capital : Towards the Study of Spatial Flows, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Sage Publications, pp222-223

Graham, J, 2004, Samuel P Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations, History Orb, viewed 07/09/2013, http://www.historyorb.com/world/clashofcivilizations.php

Said, E, The Myth of the ‘Clash of Civilisations’, viewed 0709/2013, Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPS-pONiEG8

And I’m Like “What what what what what”

Now, this song is no strange tune to our ears. In fact, it has been so played that it has surpassed Psy’s Oppa Gangnam Style and Justin Bieber’s Baby as the most played video on YouTube.

So today I’m going to talk about hip-hop… which before this, I had a vague clue and completely disdain point of view towards this genre of music that is somewhat embarrassing. I still don’t know much, but for all those like me…

Hip-hop is a genre consisting of 5 elements, MC-ing (rap), DJ-ing (scratching & audio mix), Graffiti (street art), Breaking and Beat Boxing AND hip-hop is a way of expression.

Hip-hop has roots that go way back, to its Samoan and New Zealander origins that has managed to spread across the world with its catchy beats and swift movements. “Hip-hop is too powerful to be modern, that’s why I believe it’s more ancient. It’s an ancient culture, with a new name. And the new name is hip-hop, that’s the modern name, but the elements that come out of hip-hop goes back – way, way, back” (Raceless et al).

Now take a look at this example of just how hip-hop has becoming a global (global + local) phenomenon. I’m very proud to be Malaysian, and this year has seen our beloved country hold its’ 13th general elections and celebrate its’ 56 years of independence.

As Henderson highlights in her reading that “elements of cultural nationalism and cultural pride transferred through American hip hop forms frequently prompted a similar turn to local languages, local history and local regimes of symbolic representation”. Adding on, not only was this video made by local celebrities, it was also performed in three most prominent vernacular languages in our country.

So how do we answer the question of what is the authentic hip-hop? How does one differentiate and determine the representation of one place, or a group of people?

For me, I think at the end of the day, each one of us, everybody everywhere are a diffusion of many places, cultures, trends and lifestyles whether we know it or not. And that as long as we live, as long as we are given the chance to speak, express, sing, dance, draw – we will always be sharing the inspiration of previous works, but just with a little touch of who we are, and where we come from.

References:

Chang, J. (2005). Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. London, St Martins Press.

Henderson, A,  “Dancing Between Islands: Rap and the Samoan Diaspora.” In The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture, Pluto Press, Ann Arbor, MI, pp193

Is the world really our oyster?

Growing up, the media, the environment, our parents always said one thing: “The world is your oyster”. And it’s not surprising that parents nowadays are readily to spend and send their children overseas, as student mobility has roots in desires for individual betterment, globalization, market forces and national policy (Bashir 2007).  And according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 53, 861 Malaysian students studied abroad in 2011, an increase from 39, 409 in 2001. While there’s an influx of Malaysian students going abroad, same can be said about international students entering the Malaysian shores. In the same year, Malaysia had over 90,000 students and was listed as 11th most sort after country by international students.

So what is this phenomena of students being exchanged around the world, and what challenges do these students face?

1) International students are deemed inferior, weak, and subjected to negative experiences.

Marginson (2012) argues that we have a tendency to view those form non English speaking back grounds as inherently inferior and poses a question: “why else would international students enrol in English speaking institutions, unless they wanted to be like us?” In whichever host country, Australia or Malaysia local students are often ethnocentric and prefer to work with their ‘own kind’ and in knowing and unknowing ways, act in a discriminating way by not allowing international students be part of their group etc, etc.

2) Education abroad suggests an unhealthy pattern of “exploitation”.

Marginson (2012) said that it has increased as labour markets and education systems across the world have moved closer together within a common communicative setting. They also provide revenue for countries that export education. However, such international students simply are not getting what they paid for. International students received less financial support from universities but pay higher tuition, land lords have been known to charge higher rent for international students or put up ridiculous rules based on prejudice/bad experiences.

Although these challenges are alarming and unfair, it is also important to view these challenges and experiences in a holistic point of view.

Reference:

Kell, P and Vogl, G (2007) ‘International students: negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes,’ Everyday Multiculturalism Conference Proceedings, Macquarie University, 28-29 September 2006.

Marginson, S (2012) ‘International education as self-formation: Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’ Lecture delivered at the University of Wollongong, 21 February 2012, available online at http://focusonteaching.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@cedir/documents/doc/uow119828.pd

Hello!

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Hello. My name is Su Juin, but everyone calls me ‘susu’. Susu means milk in Malay.

The whole coming together for the link of this blog requires a little bit of explanation, so if you’re ever laughed out loud or pondered what is with my blog address, stay.

For the past 2 years plus a little, I’ve been studying full-time as a Marketing Communications student and working part-time as a barista. It’s been one hell of a journey that require me to juggle between these two very attractive and demanding facets of a 20-something year old who is finding her place in this world. Soon enough, working became such an important part of my life experience and my personality that I’ve blend the two different worlds together.

Susu is, and always be my barista name. And why low-fat? Because believe it or not, susu (that’s me) is actually highly lactose intolerant and can only consume low-fat milk for the rest of her life.

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In my spare time when I’m not making coffee and saving peoples lives – I enjoy reading, watching movies, writing (I have 4 personal blogs, yes), eating and noticing every tiny little gritty detail on this world that we live in and acknowledging their beauty. That’s probably why I appear blur, spacey, distracted to all that I meet when actually its just me and my silly brain working in overdrive 🙂

Also, there is nothing more I love than sleep, so I end this pointless post with a lyric line from the Metric – “I am not suicidal, I just can’t get out of bed.”