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.


20 thoughts on “The American Tradition!

  1. Sam says:

    I think that because the US is a vast growing population with many advances, many countries like ourselves, feel the need to inherit certain traits. Like playing follow the leader? Yknow what I mean?

    Good job Jacqy!

  2. shina says:

    Sad to say this is rather true… bringing in america culture into our lives and I myself is guilty of letting it influence me. Now that I know, might filter whatever I am shown thru media esp and learn to know what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Great Post! ^^

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. hah, It was not so obvious in the past right? But the truth is evident, we are getting too cultured by their media that we are slowly losing our own special traits. :/

  3. Liangyu says:

    I got to agree with what you have posted. After reading it, it came across my mind that indeed countries like singapore are starting to follow or come up with similar U.S variety shows.
    I guess the reason why it appeals to lots of countries and audience is because they are unique in a way. It is very down to earth and that it shows the way human are. Each episode is different in a way and each performer has their own talent, be it funny, shameful or talented. Each episode got their own selling point, be it money or style.
    I guess i am influenced by them in a way, like how i always attempt to answer the questions from who wants to be a millionaire, or start to sing and guess the lyrics.
    This post is really awesome and detailed. Even the examples are good! 🙂

    • jacqchin says:

      Thank you for your comment. I believe in the appeal reasons too, that’s why we are not so aware of getting so immersed in their culture till we are told. 🙂

  4. Lucien says:

    This has made me realise that indeed in many ways than one are we influenced by the media of the americans social culture. We pick up their fast food habits, their no rice more french fries diets too. Cause like them we watch them on tv and even around us looking at them as if they are some sort of superior race. Mirroring them from the way they dress to the very way they speak. We think of them as an idol which we would want to become like. Thus I truely do agree with what miss chin has mentioned.

  5. LL says:

    It’s called American consumerism. The whole world is influenced by them. Not only through the media but also through traditions. For example, Halloween; is an American tradition and it’s growing in popularity here. It occurs in every country in the world not only singapore. No point in stopping it.

  6. Priscilla says:

    Yes I feel Americanization is happening in Singapore and has been happening for a rather long time now. In a way I think it’s more than just Americanization, the wave of Korean, Japanese, British cultures have all invaded Singapore at one point or another and I think as a young country, this is inevitable. While we can learn from these influences, I feel the most important thing is not to let such influences completely dwarf the Singapore identity. We should do our best to maintain our own unique voice and carve out our own brand of culture worthy of adoption by others.

  7. Nasyitah says:

    The world we’re living in now is all interconnected, in every way possible. Technology has influenced us into becoming the way it is now. Yes, what you have mentioned about western influences are downright true. But that’s really because all countries now seek for influences that can outstage all other countries, be it in terms of economy or the influence they bring towards the world. And what better way to start by being copycats to the most powerful and greatest influence this world has to offer; The Americans. Hence, yes they are not just mere coincidences. The examples brought up were great tho 🙂

  8. Gorgeouselly says:

    Hello ma friend,

    I like the tittle you’ve given, instead of Sri Lanka’s Tradition or Ireland’s Tradition we all know by now how much of an influence Americans have on us. Many may say a loss in national identity or individuality is often the result of this ‘globalisation’ that’s mainly via media, which you’ve pointed out with the examples. On the contrary, for a modern and develop/developing country like Singapore we constantly work to be the best and tries to catch up with the rest of the world. Hence, it would make sense to use them as an example. So I wouldn’t denied that all those similarities are not just sheer coincidence (who are you kidding, right.haha!) but for future advancement purposes.Thanks ya thanks.

  9. Zhong yi says:

    I agree with what you have posted, not only singapore, other countries has also been influenced by the American Media.. Another example would be the show “don’t forget the lyrics” or even “million dollar money drop”.

  10. ane says:

    The cultivating theory is an interesting analysis. I believe that globalization and stereotypes are closely related to this theory.

    I liked how you have used “American Idol” and “Singapore Idol” as examples to portray the theory. But since these kind of reality shows are usually bought with copyrights to be screen in one’s country, the audience expects a level of similarity to the original one (American Version). And media producers, knowing this, will accommodate to their needs.

    Hence i would say, comparing in terms of regular dramas and the lifestyle of Singapore would be of a better fitted context.

    Yes i am influence by these shows. Mass media did a fantastic job in first bringing television series to the trending list. People tend to follow trends, and thus resulting in me directing my attention towards such forms of programs.
    Americans are often stereotyped as good looking, cool, trendsetter, fashionable etc. Now looking back at myself, who wouldn’t want to be seen as those few adjectives stated.

    So if an american dance competition starts to air, people will start to think they look cool, dancing is cool, i want to be cool, and so i will learn dance. It is the multiple series that creates that gradual influential impact. It builds up slowly in everyone of us, and soon we would be accustom to their way of speech, habits and culture.

    Subconsciously we know we are following their “tradition”, but as long as we remember our roots, it is alright to let positive influence into our behaviour.

  11. diannetan says:

    “she bangs she bangs” classic moment that got everyone swinging to the song! Now that you have compared Singapore Idol vs American Idol, I realised that Singapore Idol is not nice to watch or chase after as compared to American Idol! Probably is because of how we view American culture as more superior as compared to Asian as such, we tend to follow their shows more. Like those examples that you’ve stated. Personally, I’m a fan of American shows and I’m in love with so many of them.

  12. Gdine Chin says:

    I agree. It is difficult not to be influenced by the media today. With so many popular American TV shows nowadays, such as Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother and Glee, consumers would inevitably be influenced over time by the culture portrayed on screen. From their beliefs and attitudes to their fashion, people are subconsciously taking them as role models. It is a funny thing though, TV shows are meant to entertain, to let people escape from their reality yet people alter their perception of reality to what they see on TV.

    The American dream? Singapore dreaming la.

    But seriously though, I believe that our unique local culture, language or even food strongly defines who are we as Singaporeans and I would like to think that it would not be easily eroded by the American culture. 🙂

  13. sinocentrism says:

    I have to admit that I am being affected by US American TV programmes and culture. In fact, I feel that their TV programmes/ series are much more interesting as compared to our local TV channels. Perhaps it is because the US Americans are much more creative? Or I’m just biased towards their shows. I have to say that American culture is more or less taking over our lives. People nowadays talk about The Big Bang Theory, Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries, Doctor Who and even House. We seldom hear them discussing about tv shows on channel 5, unless it is a blockbuster.

  14. xepthrichros says:

    Hey, I agree and recognize all those media products you mentioned. Singapore is indeed heavily influenced by American media; Mr Lee Kuan Yew himself also felt so and told educators to start teaching American English in time to come.

  15. zwaniee says:

    I won’t deny! Especially in the forms of entertainment, we are highly influenced by the American culture. But I would say that a lot of people seems to enjoy it, even if they are aware of the amount of influence that we are exposed to.

  16. Melissa says:

    I think it’s definitely a shame that we have to keep copying the format of American TV shows and make it our own, which in the end, turns out like rubbish.

    American Idol >> Singapore Idol
    So You Think You Can Dance >> The Dance Floor

    Even though it is slowly becoming an American Tradition, as you say, I think it’s best if Singapore just leave the American TV shows to the Americans and we come up with our homegrown shows like Fighting Spiders and The Pupil.

  17. zaffy says:

    a great food for thought question, jacq. i mean we are not only adopting their shows like you mentioned above.. but yes, we are also influenced by them – be it the contestants or the judges (for Sg Idol). we try very hard to imitate the original version… it’s like paula abdul is florence lian, dick lee is randy jackson and ken lee is simon cowell. they adopt the other’s characteristics. i mean, why can’t we change things up a little? how about having two females, one male judge instead or something right?

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