The American Tradition!

The globalization of the mass media is indeed one of the world’s largest growing media businesses.  This particular business has not only grown in size but has also influenced many throughout the years. Today, we will be discussing about another function of the media which is also known as the cultivation theory. Like what we have learned in this week, the cultivation theory is all about influencing the audience indirectly via media productions. However, as the name suggest, this theory can only be cultivated through a period of time hence, serving no immediate effects on the audience.

What do I mean? Allow me to give you an example; the influence of the American culture. As we all know, United States has always been the largest exporter of media products in the industry. Many countries have not only been consuming a lot of their media products but have also been influenced by them in many ways. Such as, their eating habits, the way they speak, the way they dress and now, even more significantly, they way they think.

Do you agree? Well, just take a look around! You might not be aware of it, but Singapore itself, is actually one of those who have been consuming a large number of US media products over the years. Being a consumer, we have not only watched their programmes but have also inherited some of theirs into ours.

Here is an example; The Idol Show.

Shown in the year 2007

Shown in the year 2008

As you can see, there were some traces of similarities in the two videos. Some might say its all coincidence, however, I would believe that it was an act of influence instead. The way Steven Lim reacted appears to me that he wanted to seek for attention (intentionally) just as William Hung did (unintentionally).

Another similarity spotted in the show was the different characters the three judges possess. One who appeared to be very jovial and positive, another who was generally quite neutral in her responses and lastly, the other who acted like the devil advocate. Once again, are all these just pure coincidence? I doubt so.








Therefore, do not deny, the American culture is slowly getting to us. Watching all these shows have caused us to slowly cultivate their way of looking at things; such as people and dreams. In fact, the influence of the American culture is becoming very apparent now.

If you are still not very convinced, take a look at all these other media products;

Who wants to be a Millionaire

Project Runway











So You Think You can Dance

Do all these programmes look familiar to you? Do you consume them? What certain traits do all these shows have? Are you already influenced by them? Give it a thought.


The Media

If I were to ask you to name me a few examples of mass media and new media, what would they be? The internet? Newspaper? Radio?  Or magazine? I believe 99% of you will give the same answers and yes, you are right; they are all part of the media family, but do you know what they do? As a matter of fact, their main function is to “tell”.  Like what we have learned in this week’s lesson, the media  serves the right to transmit messages publicly to reach out to most audiences. Hence today, we will be discussing a few functions of media, specifically the “Powerful effects theory” as well as the “Limited effect theory”.

Starting with the “Powerful effects theory” which is also known to be “Hypodermic Needle Theory”. This theory talks all about the influence of media and how it has such a powerful effect on its audience and their behavior change.

Take a look at this clip on Steve Jobs to have a better understanding.

Just from this clip alone, you can see how the internet has done its job by conveying the news about Steve Job’s death. It was mentioned, just from twitter alone, there were about 10,000 comments and replies relating to the news ever since it was published.

Just like what the “Powerful effect theory” does, (creating a universal effect on all audience) this sad news about Steve Jobs’ death had stirred a lot of emotions. Quoting from one the interviewee, he said “no matter what form they are in, everyone is feeling a tremendous lost”. This suggest the influence of media and how it has made everyone equally upset.

However, along with the “Powerful effect theory”, “the limited effect theory” applies to many media messages as well.  As the name suggest, the “Limited effect theory” talks about the limited media influence some messages has over its audience’s thoughts and actions. One good website to justify this statement is “youtube”.

Take this clip for example:

After watching this clip, I believe many of you might be still laughing at her comments. Just to give a little background information; this woman is called Glozell and she likes to critic songs and make fun out of them during her free time. In the limited effects theory, she falls under the diversion aspect. If you were to have a look at her videos, she often seeks for media therapy. Hence as her audience, you will be seeking for entertainment more than anything else.

Due to her videos being only a fraction of the total amount of videos being critic-ed, the impact/influence will not be huge on her audience (other than Bruno Mars’ fans).

So as you can see, different people/associations apply different theories to convey their messages. Due to their different purposes, some message might be more powerful and hence will have more effect on its audience.  Knowing these two media theories and its effect can be interesting to analyse how people evaluate  information.

Based on this, are you able to point out which form of mass media or new media uses the powerful effect theory now?

The Individualist!

How far would you go to provide good service? Or is it just a company’s culture? In this week’s lesson, we touched on both “Models of Group Development as well as “Intercultural Communication”. So today, we are going to look at how these two topics have an impact on each other.

Just this morning, I was browsing through The Straits Times and I stumbled upon the “Everyday Heroes” section only to discover a true story of an individualist! (For those who are still unsure of what an individualist is, they are actually people who are not afraid of breaking the company’s traditions by setting their own goals and working towards them.) Today’s hero was none other than Mr Anand Sivapiragasam, the postman who has been awarded the Postman of the Year by Singpost.

Being in the service line for more than 10 years, Mr Anand Sivapiragasam has never been lazy. In and out everyday, he does his rightful duties as a postman. He is responsible and his efforts of delivering are often being commended. In fact, he’s regarded as more than just a postman in the neighborhood. He seemed more like part of them. He often helped them in times of needy and unlike the others, Mr Anand was thoughtful in his own ways. Recognizing his daily routine, he would often try to minimize the hassle of his customers collecting their parcels from the post office. By doing so, he will only drop by those who are available and go the extra mile and send the rest at another timing. On rainy days too, he will also make sure that he has plastic bags carried around with him to prevent his mails from getting wet. His loyal dedication and efforts has indeed earned him a lot of respect throughout the years.

Now, let’s sidetrack a little and think through; when was the last time you actually experienced such personalize service from a postman? And what exactly is the job scope of a postman? Do you know?

Thinking of all these questions have convinced me even more on how dedicated Mr Anand is, to his job. It is clear to me that he and his team has grasped its group needs very well in terms of recognizing their group goals and building on each others’ strengths.  Not only that, I can see that he has developed the company’s culture very well and at the same time, has also slowly formed a culture of his own, based on his own efforts and initiatives. This shows good intercultural communication. Unlike collectivist who often seeks for conformity, Mr Anand has his goals to motivate him.

Through this article, we can also witness how both the “Model of group development” and the “Intercultural Communication” are dependent on each other. Without good group development, a lot of confusion and tension will arise hence leading to poor intercultural communication. Therefore, a good group development is always essential.

It’s Crazy. It’s Stupid. It’s Love.

What could ever illustrate the stages of a relationship better than the movie, “Crazy Stupid love”? It is one of my favourite movies now and it sure brought out almost everything that we have learned in this week’s lecture, specifically the Knapp Model of Relational Development as well as communication in a relationship.

It often starts with an introduction, followed by small talks to long talks then to greater commitments, isn’t it? This movie talks just about the whole relationship process. However, unlike any other love stories, this started off with the two main characters in the terminating stage of their relationship. Cal Weaver (acted by Steve Carell), one of the main characters, found out that his wife had cheated on him and what’s worse was she had also requested for a separation. Being struck by the sudden news, he was beyond shocked and devastated. Unable to cope with his emotions, he resort to drowning his sorrows at a local pub everyday.Eventually, as the time past, the couple had minimum contact with each other.

But just when things couldn’t get any worst, Cal met a guy by the name, Jacob Palmer (acted by Ryan Gosling), a young ladies’ man whom he had met at the pub earlier. Surprisingly he offered to help Cal back up in the modern dating scene again. Cal, who had nothing to lose took the offer instantly and his life has changed ever since.

Just within a short period of time, he  corrected Cal’s image, ways of speaking and most importantly, with his esteem which leaves him irresistible to many. Jacob trained him to go through all the stages of love again, starting from flirting (initiating stage). However, among all these, there was a twist in the story as well. It was when Jacob was so close to convincing Cal that the dating scene was a much better life to live, he finds himself falling in love with a girl he thought he never would, Hannah. And it was apparent that this relationship was not like the others, they had real emotions involved and hence, both of them slowly developed a  relationship with one another.

If you were take a look at this video, a short clip taken from the show, you will be able to see the stages of how their relationship blossomed. Similarly, it relates to the Knapp Model of Relational Development process too. They started from the initiating stage right straight to the integrating stage where they started labeling themselves as one.

To sum it all up, I thought the movie had presented the stages very well, starting from beginning, the terminating stage to the healing stage and then back to the coming together stages. In addition, they have also conveyed how communication can be such a crucial essence in every relationship.

See no more!

VROOM VROOM VROOM! Once again, Its Singapore Grand Prix Season! The infamous and heart thumping event of all time – the Formula 1 race is back even larger than before, with more actions all lined up for the fanatics. During this event, there will also be many entertainment highlights which will include great music acts and stars from all around the world; hence there is every reason for everyone to be excited.

In relation, it has also made Marina Bay Sands one of the hottest spot in Singapore now. Contributed not only by the visitors, many locals were also drawn to the integrated resort’s skypark and its infinity pool recently. With the view overlooking the race track and the high chance of meeting some of the biggest stars lingering around the pool, it was no wonder why people would spend twenty dollars on the entrance fee. However, as much as it has set the mood right for the big race, it has also evoked many emotions from the hotel guests as well.

Many of the hotel guests had complained of the crowd and their lack of privacy by the pool. Some had described their experience as “walking along Orchard Road on Christmas Eve” while others were just put off by the crowd to swim. Worrying about its highly perceived reputation, Marina Bay Sands was quick to resolve some of the issues. One of them was to pass down orders to stop crowds from roaming freely around the pool. Instead, there will be daily conducted tours for groups to catch a glimpse of the pool. According to the hotel’s management, this was done to protect and ensure a favourable experience for their guest.

In my view, this has suggested some very effective verbal communication. The use of direct and specific language in the guest’s feedbacks has shown good communication between the guest and the management; therefore actions were taken to improve the situation.

In addition, the photo on the newspaper also showed some very effective nonverbal cues in relation to the situation. The photo shows one woman with two kids at the Skypark using hand gestures to communicate the frustration she has with the crowd ahead of her. This too, has allowed me to feel and understand better about her situation.

To sum up, I feel that this article was very good in showing the impacts of communication and how it is vital in our lives.


Stop Judging!

You are a female; therefore you can never be as good as a male in sports! And you are a male; therefore you cannot cook as well as a female. Do these situations ring a bell to you? How true are these statements, in your own opinion? In this time and age, when everyone is given an equal opportunity to educate and enrich themselves, this issue on stereotyping becomes more and more complex.

Stereotype talks a lot about prejudice and discrimination; it often imposes assumptions of people based on many different situations. Take for instance; the recent article reported on The Strait Times (18th September 2011) about females having to choose either getting  their PHD or family. “Does it really matter?” was my first response after reading the article.

This issue was actually raised by our Former Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew at one of the recent university dialogues. He commented on the decisions of females who have delayed their marriage and “dating time” for their studies and how it has increased their chances of being single for the rest of their lives.

To be honest, I was quite disappointed; it felt as though the perception of females have not changed over the years. This article have shown an good example of the inequality treatments of the two genders. They focused only the female gender which shocked me because of the different era we are living in now. Everybody should be treated the same and given the same rights. It does not always have to be the men being more superior.

Nevertheless, just like how the 6 female doctorates have responded, I feel that it is all achievable with good planning.It does not matter if you are a male or a female; everybody has the right to choose what they want in their life. For instance in this case, a PHD.

The Vanishing Trade

Do you still remember when was the last time you visited a “mama shop”? 2 days ago, 2 months ago or no longer anymore? Well, I would not even be surprise if you told me you do not have a clue of what a “mama shop” is now.

Ever since the early 90s, when Singapore was first introduced to the western culture, our lifestyle has started changing profusely. We were heavily influenced and affected by the westerners’ way of living. We started dressing like them, eating like them, talking like them and even living like them. It was not a bad thing but it is a sad truth that now, a lot of our Singaporean cultures have started disappearing.

Many years ago, groceries were bought mainly from the nearby neighbourhood mama shop. Rice, snacks, drinks, several daily necessities all could be found at one place and it was so much more convenient and comforting to buy everything from there. The relationship between the neighbours and the mama shop was also something to compliment about. Everyone in the neighbourhood knew each other and they had such a strong bond. They were so closely knitted that even paying the next day for the items bought today could also be done. The trust between each other was there and there was no need for any prevention against thieves. However, as time evolves, all of this closeness started to drift apart due to the great influence.

Supermarket chains started surfacing and the number of convenience store has been rising ever since then, taking over more and more mama shops. In fact, now if you were to realised, in every five to eight blocks around the neighbourhood, there will be a convenience store. They are everywhere around!

Now, that all these stores are governed by a particular company, it is also very difficult to foster a close and personal relationship with the particular store. It is not like the good old days anymore. Moreover, times have changed, so have the people in the neighbourhood. Many people come and go so often that there is barely any closeness and trust among neighbours too.

However, all these changes did not just happened over time but they were actually caused by the effects of cultural studies. This happens when two or more cultures are being exchanged and imitated, just like the western and Singapore’s culture.

Similarly to what I have learned this week about the cultural studies perspective, after reading this article, I now have a better understanding of cultural studies and the impacts it have on others. It has also showed me that communication need not always be direct; some other forms of communication can take months or years to be brought across.