Jun 6, 2019 in Research

Asian Studies

The mass media through entertainment in the form of music, films, drama, writings and comedy among others has great influence on our daily lives as they impact on our values and cultural beliefs through the introduction of exotic ideas and lifestyles. The contemporary music that contains elements of a globalized culture continues replacing the indigenous music that was based on traditional values and thus people especially the youths tend to embrace the values propagated by the foreign music.

Towards the end of the 20th Century, the Republic of China Experienced drastic changes resulting from economic development and these entailed changes in culture as well as other aspects of the society (Bao 2008). The changes changed the image as well as the spiritual values of the Chinese nationals, and an example of the causes of this development was the interaction of the country with others from the west and this led to globalization that diminished the traditional Chinese culture. The desire for change in China was based on the ambitions of making the nation “acceptable” at the international level. The aftermath was the westernization that entailed the introduction of cultural products as well as ideas and lifestyle from the western countries.  China was successful in achieving the dream of “acceptability” as proven by the hosting of international activities such as the Olympics and the World Exposition (Bao 2008). Among the noticeable cultural changes in the people’s life is the consumerism that depicts their affinity for leisure, entertainment, luxurious residences, and goods. The effect of these developments in entertainment has two facets and these are the advantages as well as the disadvantages, and thus people need to adopt carefully the new trend to avoid ruining their lives. The impact of entertainment in China is widespread of values that include; 

Consumerism

The films and print advertisements provide a wide coverage of goods and services and thus provoking people to engage in the purchase of the same. Before 2004, Shanghai Weekly newspaper used to publish pictures of ladies taken from the streets, and it could describe the attire as well as the other possessions like jewellery as well as their prices and country of origin (Bao 2008). The "New Concept" is a film specialize on fashions, and it covers six cities among them Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The Shanghai Times produced on a weekly basis specializes in entertainment and advertisement of new products and series, and thus it encourage lavish lifestyle. The paper also allocates numerous pages to hotel related information and plane tickets.  The Shanghai Wednesday also has a luxury edition published on a monthly basis and thus promotes consumerism that segment the society into the middle class and the lower class who have low purchasing power. The darker side of this value is the overspending habit that does not favour economic empowerment of individuals. It is, therefore, wise for people to spend wisely to observe moderation in consumption to facilitate saving and investments. 

Transformation of Society

Several scholars use metaphors in writing to advocate for the societal changes (Barme 2008).  The process of changing the Chinese culture has been termed as “gardening” by various writers. Bauman defined gardening as the process of isolating useful elements from the undesired ones/those that harm them. Mao, a former Communist leader in China, adopted the metaphor from the book to spearhead his campaign for social change, and his major issue was the elimination of liberal democracy.  In his writings, he referred to the process as “weeding out” to eliminate opinions based on popularity or scholarly work and all these were meant to counter the nationalism in China. Mao equated China to a garden and said that the latter needs careful management, pruning, and observation as well as environmental care. He called on the writers to study China well and understand her characteristics before they write about her. He called for peaceful revolutions, and he said that killing people is not like cutting onions. He further used the gardening metaphor to spearhead the changes in agriculture and landscape in the western China to promote reliance on the region that was dominated by the communist party that opposed nationalism.

 

Mao in his writing argued that when preparing a garden, the initial site has to be destroyed, and this entails the removal of trees, grass, alteration of topography and the general physical environment and the same must take place in a country while undergoing the revolution. Earlier revolutions left a trail of destruction in the Chinese cities, but the socialist revolution under the leadership of Mao was peaceful. Mao sought to destroy the undesirable practices in China as opposed to lives and property and that is why he called for a peaceful revolution that turned China into a socialist state. After the Revolution, the imperial premises were converted into public grounds and the homes of the nobles and the wealthy were seized.  Beijing city was transformed into a like rural environment that discouraged too much spending. Social transformation also took place and these entailed the elimination of the social strata and the class conflict. His idea was “weeding out” bad practices/“poisonous weed” in favour of the “fragrant flower”/ the desired change (Barme 2008). Workers and farmers adopted music between 1969 and 1978 to advocate for communism and oppose the capitalism. Institutions such as schools and the military also use songs for cohesion (Funch 2007). Tang used her movies to attack the political intolerance in such instances like Tiananmen Massacre indirectly. 

Cultural Interaction

Chi's artistic work on Eiffel Tower of France shows the Chinese acknowledgement of the French culture and existence. The National Opera House and the Shanghai Theatre that hosts entertainment activities were respectively designed by Andrew and Francois from France, and this represents the French architectural culture in China (Bloom). Cinema, literature and fashion are avenues for cultural interaction between China and France and some of the notable examples are the “Sino-French cinema”.  The interactions in these fields are in a form of joint production, language, finance and setting among others. Films such as "The World" produced by Jia Zhangke and the "Still Life" among others were produced in China, but they incorporate materials from other Chinese speakers outside the mainland and examples are Hong Kong. "The Word" and "Conjugation" are films produced in China but bears the French attributes, and thus they are called "Franco-Chinese films".  In China, students learn the French language, and this depicts intercultural learning. Tang, who is a Chinese actor, is married to a man from Hong Kong, and this further supports the need for interaction of different cultures.  

Dreams for a New Generation

The Soul Partner show dramatically portrays the dream of getting rich and influential thus making Chinese people ambitious. The new generation also is known as the "new human race" is characterized by urbanity, globalized tastes and has the aspiration of success and wealth accumulation. The drama and comedy advertise luxurious commodities and services targeting the generation that has an “appetite” for fame and thus the drama intend to make them rich and famous. The forms of entertainment also promote a youth culture based on urbanism, fashion, computerization, and electronics as well as a deeper connection with friends as opposed to family members. The Soul Partner amplifies the need for friendship in the contemporary world, and thus it supports the youth culture. The show dramatically portrays the dream of owning homes, and its actors play a role of potential luxury home buyers that motivates the youth viewers (Berg 2011). 

Information and Learning

Soul Partners reality show and others provide live experience to the public and encourage them to participate in decision-making (Berg 2011). The shows encourage discussions as well as access to information released by the government leaders and agencies. To avert the impact of media control by the government, the show offers an alternative to passing information through the web. The shows also explore the changes experienced by the Chinese people, and this promotes cultural awareness. Soul Partners cover commercial, political and cultural negotiations, and it shows the current trend of the modern Chinese culture. It further shows the effect and significance of the importation of the European and American culture into the Republic of China as well as the relationship between the exotic cultures and the local one. The Shanghai Times offers new ideas and perspectives that facilitate learning (Bao 2008).

The Search for Authenticity

The Soul Partners seek to identify the truth in the presentation of Chinese politics and culture to identify the national importance. The truth is sought through the exposure of people’s lives as well as the commercial culture of the country. The Real Life Photography Studio enables the audience to observe how youths lead their lives at home. The Soul Partner encourage people to participate in authenticity-seeking by showing their true picture of life, and this paves the way for them to become celebrities. However, the negative side of authenticity-seeking is the violation of people's privacy through secret filming (Berg 2011).

Modernity

Modern music also known as popular music that has low artistic value is overtaking the indigenous Chinese music. For instance, a traditional music organization Perking Opera has lost the glimpse of the youthful fans due to their desire for modern music and thus the organization suffer losses (Brace). The popular music disregards the moral decency and has no room for values, but it continues winning the attention of the majority youths resulting in the erosion of the indigenous Chinese culture in favour of the exotic ones. An example of the instances is the introduction of foreign music styles from Hong Kong and Taiwan among other countries, and such styles include the smooth melodies, and the foreign music relates the Chinese and western cultures. China also exports music to other countries, for instance, the Xi Bei Feng style that is very popular in Hong Kong and sells the Chinese image (Groenewegen 2010). These developments seek to modernize music by developing styles that conform to a trans-boundary culture. This modernization leads to a conflict of identity as it is difficult to trace the origin of a cultural product or idea due to a globalized culture.

Interstate cooperation

The Sino-French films depict a friendly cooperation between the two countries, and this involves the joint funding, as well as the setting of such movies (Bloom). Jia, a Chinese actor, depicted France in her films as a centre for tourism and fashion, and this promoted the country's image. The Hou's film has Chinese and Taiwanese elements just like its director who was born in China but lead his life mainly in Taiwan. The film Conjugation was shot in China but was composed in Hong Kong, and thus it does not require permits to export the clips from China. That gesture of cooperation between the authorities of the two countries depicts national cooperation because no such agreements would exist if the two countries were in hostile relations.

Development of Talent

The soul Partner encourages the Chinese to participate in the shows for fame and wealth creation. The comedies, contests and talent shows aired by the Beijing Satellite TV among other broadcast media houses promote talent development among the youth (Berg 2011). Sports such as athletics and skating also appear in such films and thus provoking the youth to participate. The shows provide a platform for the youth to nurture their talents, and this enables them to become popular.

Immorality

On a sad note, contemporary entertainment promotes erosion of morals by promoting acts of indecency (Bloom). Some of the contents of videos, films, web, and print media are inappropriate for the underage population as well as the young adults. For instance, Chi Peng uses digital photographs modified through photo shop to develop vulgar films such as "fuck me". He also sexualizes the impression of the French Eiffel Tower by modifying the image of fairies flying around it into that of naked men, and this provides a connotation of homosexuality. He also fixed a photo of a couple seated next to a woman who tries to reach out to the man’s hand from behind oblivious of his partner’s presence. The photo is inappropriate because it tries to promote promiscuity and adultery that are not morally upright. A lady called Cui is also said to have filmed prostitutes in a club in the city of Beijing, and she incorporated the clips in the aired programmes and this was very immoral (Berg 2011).  

In conclusion, entertainment in its various forms has led to cultural changes in the Republic of China as well as the whole world at large through the promotion of values. Among the values are; consumerism, social change, cultural interaction, a dream of a new generation, information and learning, quest for authenticity, modernity, interstate cooperation, talent development and immorality. However, people need to be cautious of the way they live because excessive consumerism implies no future for households. The dream of new generation also leads to cultural erosion while immorality poses a great challenge for the youths who are the pillars of tomorrow's world.

 

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