Research Proposal – What are you looking for from your course, BCMS students?

Good news, finally I am no longer first year student of Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (BCMS) starting from this February.

As a sophomore, I want to sum up my first year by writing a post about it. Then a question flashed through my mind:

“What do I exactly expect this degree bring to me during my studies?”

However, a single sentence is not enough for me to conceptualise the topic. Thanks to professor Kate Bowles, I got one worthwhile information that the BCM staffs are on the way of redesigning the BCM course. This propelled me to conduct the research on students about why they chose BCMS and what their expectations of it in the near future are. Provided that students always care about their degree, they will share their opinions more openly on such topics. By the same token, I believe that this research will attract their attention and they would be looking for the outcome along with me.

After the core question of the proposal was identified, the methodology is another consideration. In terms of the type of my questions, the research time limit and my personal budget, qualitative methods seem to be the best choice. First of all, most of BCM subjects involve using Twitter, then why don’t I utilise this social media platform by searching hashtag #BCMS for example, to find out what students talk about it. Next, I make a survey on a small scale with only BCM212 students. It would be easier for them to address the topic and for me to process the survey. Finally, I prefer carrying out an informal interview with some Dean’s Scholars students of our degree to see clearly what their thoughts are. Since they are the top students, great ideas may appear (please make sure it doesn’t mean I do not welcome other ideas). All of the data will be thoroughly analysed before drawing any conclusion of the research.

Overall, the goal of this research is to find out what benefits BCMS students look for from the degree. Based on this, we can discover how much these students care about their course, what their feelings during their studies are, which aspects the course needs to be improved. All of which aims at offering a better quality for the course thus satisfying student needs.

This is just an outline or a ‘base’ for my research afterwards. Also, this is the first time I have undertaken academic research. That’s why I am full of curiosity about the results and in hopes that it will go on smoothly.

 

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Whas’at? Whas’at? – Curiosity has piqued my curiosity!

From the moment of birth, we kept blurting out these words since we didn’t have the slightest idea about our surroundings. The situation frustrated our parents sometimes. However, not only children are, and should be curious. In fact, it seems to be an instinct that we are drawn to new things. Coming to BCM212 first lecture, it is not within my expectation that there will be a whole half an hour specifically dedicated to it.

“Cabinet of curiosity”

Okay, so now even curiosity has its own room while I have to share mine with another one to save money.

“Cabinet of curiosity”, or “wunderkammer”, “kunstkammer”, refers to ‘encyclopedic collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined’ (Tonry, 2013). It is akin to, and to an extent, a modern museum. For the purpose of satisfying human curiosity and the desire to collect, the museum has evolved out of these two fundamental facets.  This “wunderkammer” marked its appearance in the seventeenth century. With this in mind, we can depict how knowledge-thirsty human’s brain has been.

A whole society works exactly like an intricate well-linked network where each and every element is of high importance. The curiosity of one person may contribute, more or less, to the long-term human development. Sounds serious but it is possible. The birth of many scientific theories or laws, how they were established, are perfect examples. Personally speaking, it cannot be denied that curiosity has supported me a lot during my both academic studies and social life. We tend to take everything for granted, especially familiar one. But the key point of curiosity is finding the unfamiliar in the familiar.

I got annoyed whenever my little sister asked me such question that everybody knows but few can answer immediately: ‘Sister, why the fur of our dogs is so thick?’, ‘Sister, why the beach is blue in the morning and black at night?’, but even as an adult, I question the “why” of many things not in our control.

I live at level five of a building, I have to walk into an elevator every single day. By noticing, it is not hard to realise that there is always a mirror in the elevators, but WHY? I gave myself a day for finding as many logical answers as possible. Then, I checked Google to confirm the results and how surprisingly happy I were when seeing all of my guesses were listed. Three main reasons are respectively attracting people’s attention in order that they won’t get bored, making people feel that they are in a broader space to help claustrophobia sufferers, and avoiding accidents as people can observe things through mirrors. Or another example, when I was English learner at beginner level, I was so stressed that could not help sticking myself with the question: ‘Why don’t we use one and only language then everything would be much easier and I do not have to struggle to learn hundreds of strange vocabularies like this?’ Few years later, I was taught about cultural identity and diversity in high school, the answer came out smoothly.

Regarding academic studies, curiosity is even more essential. It spurs our creativity, thus preparing the brain for better learning. All students are able to receive the same amount of knowledge from the professors. The one who stands out apparently will be the one actively searching for more additional information and resources. Likewise, students are repeatedly reminded of making the most use of textbooks and not relying on lecture notes only.

Given these points, curiosity is something that can be nurtured and developed. By the same token, with practice, we can harness the power of curiosity to transform everyday tasks into interesting and enjoyable ones. From my own experience, with curiosity (together with wisdom, of course) I feel more engaged with this world, more capable of embracing moments of insight and meaning. All of which lay the groundwork for an aware, prosperous, and satisfying life.

‘Curiosity killed the cat’. Are we cat by the way? 🙂

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► Reference:

Tonry, M. (ed.) (2013) The Oxford handbook of crime and criminal justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pictures&Gif @Tumblr

come closer and save me.

how would your perspective about ‘intimacy’ be ?

🍃

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it’s neither just the definition on oxford dictionary nor the matter of theory about proxemics – that the intimate space between people is from zero to 45cm. it means much different to each, or at least to me. but one fact we cannot deny that intimacy defines the intrinsic nature of a relationship.

of course, sex is among the easiest ways to be intimate with somebody.

what goes unsaid but totally obvious is that sex is easy af (here i only indicate the act of having sex, not mention whether you are truly immersed in it or not). it does not take much effort to focus on somebody’s body, given the fact that it’s hot enough to turn you on (except the case of some having a fear of touching like me). and some keep making excuse for having sex randomly on account of regarding it as the means to and end, meanwhile,

it is an end in itself.

sure everyone got their distinct values and beliefs but i am still willing to yell right at their faces whose treat sex as if ‘i did it because i was able to, why not’ lame lame lame.

lame.

sex may lead two to the ‘so-called’ stage of intimacy fast af, but clichés exist for a reason.

.

since it’s special to have someone playing with fire with, but it’d be damn much more miraculous if a person makes us able to shut down, unwind, and be perfectly still no matter how hard life hits us,

 

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‘save me. save me. save me.’

img @h.k

 

galaxy.you/me

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Helix Nebula

Helix nebula (NGC 7293) is a fine example of planetary nebulae which are the remains of stars that once looked like our sun. It lies approximately 700 light-years away, in Aquarius constellation.

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Silver Coin Galaxy

The Silver Coin Galaxy (NCG 253) sparkles about 11.5 million light years away in the Sculptor constellation. Its marvellous spiral shape and immense clumps of new stars lend a photogenic look to the galaxy, which is known for an extreme burst of star-forming activity happening in its nucleus.

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Tarantula Nebula

Tarantula Nebula, also known as 30 Doradus, is among the most active star formation region in the Local Group of galaxies. It has hosted more than 800,000 stars and protostars. Its name – Tarantula – originates from the fact that its arrangement of bright patches somewhat resembles the legs of a tarantula.

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Trifid Nebula

Above the spout of the well-known asterism called the Teapot is the Trifid Nebula (Messier 20). Within it is a stellar nursery, a cluster of newly born stars, a blue reflection nebula, a bright red hydrogen emission nebula, and the dark nebula divided into three-part arrangement that got the nebula its name Trifid which means divided into three lobes.

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our Earth

(with Moon’s shadow)

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you aremy universe

as long as you are still within this space

85d0d9a39a12031b1b0718ad139ff904 is a hell no

moon ©

Random celestial objects were chosenImages taken (and animated) by NASA

Intercultural films and its dark sides

I did write a post about globalisation, talking about what a critical issue it is, how much it influences the culture among nations and regions. As Castells (2001) stated ‘The globalisation of communication is seen as an agent of empowerment, education, democracy and equality’ [1].

And cross-over movies depict the tendency of film-making in the era of globalisation: ‘Life of Pi’, ’12 years a slave’, ‘Pacific Rim’, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, for instance. Globalisation affects our perceptions in interpreting and adapting every bit of cultural content that we consume as a global audience.

Yet transnational films are often abused by Western productions, which leads to ‘cultural appropriation’, culminating in an adverse misunderstanding of these countries’ images in front of global audiences, usually with the influx in fetishisation of Asian culture (geishas, kimonos, and ‘yellowface’ makeup).

Example: Mickey Rooney’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

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This is among a large amount of transnational films that use ‘white-washing’ – one expression of ‘cultural appropriation’.
  • ‘Whitewashing’ is coined to describe the casting of white actors in non-white roles, changing their appearance, accents and body movement to fit in with the people of colour, especially in Hollywood where mainstream starring roles have long been taken over by white actors.

Sharing between cultures is told to help us learn and enrich ourselves, but it’s the case with cultural exchange, not cultural appropriation. But how do we draw the line between ‘cultural appropriation’ and ‘cultural exchange’ ?

To be honest, the line is really thin. But even if the line bends, and loop-de-loops in ways it’d take significant research to unveil, it has one definite starting point: Respect. ‘Westerners are used to pressing their own culture onto others and taking what they want in return’ (Uwujaren, 2013) [2]. ‘Exchange‘ should be something mutual whereas ‘appropriation‘ adopts facets of a culture that’s not their own. It lets people get rewarded for things the creators even didn’t get credit for.

Quick question: When it comes to rock and roll, who comes to your mind first?

– Is it a white person? Is it Elvis Presley, the so-called King of Rn’R? In fact, Rn’R was initially shaped by Black artists. While Elvis himself never claimed to have started it, the media’s power rewrote the history, hallucinating people into thinking that Elvis invented Rn’R. This situation relates to ‘media imperialism’.

  • Media imperialism suggests that smaller countries are losing their identity due to the media’s dominance from larger ones. It’ll control the content and amount of coverage, generate biased information and inaccuracy within news stories.

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( Source )

In a globalising world as today, cross-over films are among key roles in helping physically-dispersed people know more about each other. Therefore, cultural appropriation should be minimised as to keep a positive and sustainable reputation for cross-over cinema.

References:

[1] Muller, J., Cloete, N. and Badat, S. (2001) Challenges of globalisation: South African debates with Manuel Castells. Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman Pty.Ltd ,South Africa.

[2] Uwujaren, J. (2013) Class. Available at: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/09/cultural-exchange-and-cultural-appropriation/ (Accessed: 4 September 2016).

“I’m not racist but …”

On this day last year, all things rambling in my head were ‘quality education’, ‘quite reasonable living costs’, ‘safe and peaceful life’, and ‘legal work permit’.

It was the moment I made up my mind, about choosing Australia as the destination for my future academic path.

In my BCM111 tutorials a few weeks ago, my tutor said that thanks to international students, not only our university but also the whole city could receive lots of benefits, that’s why Australian government created as much as opportunities for international students to come here.

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Figure 1.1 ( Source )

The illustration above depicts the number of international students from 2002 to 2008, during which its increase is over 250000 students. Especially, the figure rises sharply since 2006, jumping over 70000 till the next year and tend to keep its upward trend.

 

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Figure 1.2 ( Source )

Looking closer at the year 2014, we can see Asian students in Australia stand out for their total number, nearly 280000 (top countries being China, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia); America came after with approximately 20000 students. Management and Commerce is the most favoured degree for the fact that it offers various scholarships and oversea students taking this course have higher chances of getting Australian citizenships.

 

Sounds nice as it is, today Australia may lose international students – its cash cows at its own peril due to racism.

Only after arriving here did I fully realise racism in Australia is somehow implicit. During an in-class discussion, my local friends already stated that expression of Australian’s racism is not as aggressive and explicit as that of America’s one. It’s true. Since words cannot convey all, people did neither yell at me to ‘f*ck off’ nor bully me physically or emotionally; however, from their nonverbal cues I could figure out that they somewhat did not feel comfortable with me.

Ironically, not all people can be aware of the fact that they are ethnocentric. Nelson (2013) called it ‘the culture of denial[1].

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( Source )

For years Australian politicians and media have been claiming ‘Australia is not a racist country’, may be true. However, to address racism, it is important for all to confront the plain truth that it IS alive in Australia, and did negatively impact on people and communities, especially international students. Gladly, the government’s new The People of Australia’s policy aims to develop a National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy, which is more than welcome news.

‘Irrespective of its sources, racism is racism. Ignorance is no excuse. Insecurity is not justification. Racism in all its forms should be uncompromisingly condemned.’

Michael Dodson, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner [2]  

But after all, things don’t seem too bad as it sounds. Racist individuals only make up a minority and not the majority. A lot of strangers helped me when I first came here which I appreciated a lot. Also, it’s because of language and culture barriers that local people sometimes feel awkward with international students, not that they ignore or hate us. In brief, I still don’t regret of going to Australia after 8 months being here.

 

► References:

[1] Nelson, J.K. (2013) ‘Denial of racism and its implications for local action’, Discourse & Society, 24(1), pp. 89–109

[2] Dodson, M. (1996) ‘Human rights and equal opportunity commission’, (Fourth Report).

 

 

You and I are integrated, aren’t we ?

Globalisation: Why do I have to care ?

Because I’m part of this world, for sure.

‘Globalisation’ – normally you think about the economy first, the economy is mostly affected. Nevertheless, culture also manifests itself obviously as a result of globalisation.

identity

In general, a person’s cultural identity is the groundwork on which every other factor of their beings is nourished. It is the cornerstone of what makes them who they are, creating a means of identifying us as part of a particular culture or nationality. However, more and more look at this phenomenon in a dystopian view, which claims for the possibility of cultural imperialism and monoculture production, leading to the death of cultural diversity.

But

One, it’s not that easy.

According to O’Shaughnessy (2011), the globalisation of communication would result in ‘a complex process of adaptation, appropriation, hybridization, and mutual incorporation of different cultural texts and traditions as the media spread knowledge of different culture around the world’ [1], instead of straightforward turning into homogenization of culture. Particularly, there are four possible patterns of acculturation: assimilation, separation, integration, and marginalization (Berry, 1997) [2]. The dystopian view of globalisation seems to only take ‘assimilation’ into consideration, how narrow a view is.

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( Source )

 

Two, culture has its own persistence.

‘Uses and gratification’ is a media theory claiming that the audiences actively interact with the texts to create their own meanings. They interpret then investigate the topic a little further. Moreover, ethnographic studies indicate that people do not passively obtain media content without resisting, negotiating and contextualising the message being sent. Communication is an interactive process, and media reception is not akin to absorption as it is appropriation.

Audience

 

Three, globalisation did happen.

Throughout thousands of decades, the opening of world markets has helped the world enrich both its culture and economy between nations and regions. ‘The Silk Road’, for instance– , a splendid bridge widely known as Highway of Culture and Commerce, or ancient international trade route of China, aided in the sharing of goods, ideas and linking the cultures of China and Mediterranean. It has been believed to make ‘early globalisation’ happen (and now China is constructing a new one). What’s more, sailboats and compasses are two obvious proofs of ‘international exchange process’ on a large scale, the world became more connected since then.

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( Source )

 

Four, do we get all things right?

During 20th century, culture was explained by most anthropologists as a shared set of beliefs, customs, and ideas that held people together in recognisable, self-identified groups. However, problem arose when scholars in many disciplines doubted this notion of cultural coherence, as it became evident when looking around us, even members from same close-knit groups had drastically different perceptions about their social worlds. Culture is now treated as a set of ideas, attributes, and expectations that change as people react to changing circumstances instead. In other words, ‘imagined community’, or ‘the global village’ only exists in our imagination, and globalisation doesn’t completely account for the divisions between cultures.

Lastly, both utopian and dystopian views of globalisation deserve our attention, and we cannot deny that globalisation already becomes a key part of human evolution.

 

References:

[1] O’Shaughnessy, M. and Stadler, J. (2011) Media and society. South Melbourne, VIC, Australia: OUP Australia and New Zealand.

[2] Berry, J.W. (1997) ‘Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation’, Applied Psychology, 46(1), pp. 5–34.

 

 

 

 

 

.bước 1 bước

rằng giữa chúng ta là bầu trời đêm đặc quánh, bước đi chầm chậm trong không gian độc một màu đen chán ngắt. tất cả đều là sự chắp nối từ hai con chữ ‘tạm-bợ’

‘có thương anh không ?’

tiếng âm thanh gãy trong không trung. tâm tình vắng lặng.

em không biết. rằng chữ ‘thương’ rốt cuộc nó hình hài méo tròn ra sao. rằng em có thương anh không.

em không quan tâm. rằng con chữ ấy rốt cuộc nó dính líu gì đến chuyện chúng ta hiện tại. rằng em có thương anh không.

em không đủ bản lĩnh. để trả lời một câu hỏi mà vốn dĩ chủ đích của nó là gì em cũng chả rõ. rằng em có thương anh không.

bầu trời trở nên nhàu nhĩ, như nếp áo anh, mỗi ngày em đều cố phủi cho phẳng phiu, nhưng bụi sao cứ bám, nếp sao vẫn còn. thu mình lại, em thì thào những câu vô nghĩa, hòng lấp đi những khoảng không đứt đoạn, vì tâm trí em đang lang thang chốn nao. để tự nhủ rằng đây chỉ là một câu chuyện giữa hư và thực, giữa ‘lí thuyết không cân xứng và thực tế bất hoàn thiện’. rằng mọi thứ từ ban đầu đã không hề có mặt. như bầu trời của chúng ta, xiêu vẹo tìm lí do để tồn tại, tinh tú nơi nào chẳng thấy.

rằng em có thương anh không. cổ họng khô khốc.
chí ít,
giữa chúng ta, dù mai này chỉ còn vương độc màu đen, in như nó của hiện tại, không xám của mây, không trắng của sao,

vẫn là một bức tranh toàn bích,
anh nhỉ.

Raise your voice to the world

Do you know that during the Middle Ages, only the king or lord himself was considered to be the public person, all others would become spectators and no one were entitled to say anything against him?

There is no difference between the public and the private at that time.

Even when living within media society, users still tended to be passive – taking almost all information for granted without having any critical thinking. Things appearing on newspaper, televisions or posted on Internet were unconditionally agreed, because the public held a belief that the only one knew the most was the media, and they themselves had little to no power at all.

In relation to the ‘public sphere’ theory, Habermas stated that the media attempted to manipulate and create a public where non exists and to manufacture consensus.

 

civic media - public sphere_0.png

[Source]

The public sphere began to emerge in the 18th century along with the flooding rise of European coffee houses, literary and other societies. The ideal concept of the public sphere demonstrated by Jurgen Habermas – a student of the Frankfurt school, appears to be a small gathering of individuals for rational-critical debate. Habermas argued that the self-interpretation of the public sphere took shape in the concept to ‘public opinion’, but has never been fully comprehended.

 

Let’s look at an example,

In February 2013, a 21-year-old student from Canada named Elisa Lam was found dead inside the Cecil Hotel’s rooftop water tank in Los Angeles. The death was then officially concluded to be accidental due to drowning. However, there is much more to the story and Elisa Lam’s death remains unexplained till now. The first scrap of evidence is the elevator surveillance tape that recorded Elisa’s latest moment before she lost her life.

 

Based on the surveillance footage, most people would deduce that she was under the influence of certain drugs or alcohol. But sadly, it has been claimed that there was no drugs or any signs of injuries on her body. When looking at all the facts and the circumstances of this death, things become uncannily eerie, which gives ways to many theories.

Opened to the ‘public sphere’, Youtube to be specific, there are three main flows of opinions: some aim at logical cues, some stand on paranormal grounds, many got stuck and stayed neutral.

 

The popularity of digital media and advertising has corrupted and fragmented the original shape of the public sphere, according to many theorists; and this is obviously true. As we can see, the ‘public sphere’ no longer refers to only physical space, it can cover any media platforms, online social networking sites where all people’s voices can be heard.

 

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