The Power of NCT on Japan Quake

27 Mar

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011, shaking office buildings in Tokyo and setting off a devastating tsunami that stuck at 2.46 p.m. local time.  Within minutes, many lost their households and kins. At the same time, news spread worldwide with the aid of technology advancement- new communication technology.

I remembered, when the quake strike and tsunami hit Japan, I was having my CSE111 class in lecture hall. My classmate, Nicole, showed me the BBC news on her iPad. Seconds after, retweets by my friends regarding the tsunami was all over my Tweetdeck. Days later, many started to look for family and friends over Twitter and Facebook. Akiko Kosaka, a Japanese student in the U.S., learnt about her family’s survival for the quake and tsunami over a YouTube video.

Separated from her family in Japan, Akiko was worried and devastated to see her hometown badly destroyed by tsunami. She thought her family would have perished into the waters of the heartless tsunami. A few days later, her friend from Japan told her she saw Akiko’s sister from their local news and that the whole family survived the disaster. The news coverage showed that Akiko’s elder sister was signaling their family name to the camera man, with the intention to convey a message across that the Kosaka family survived. She even shouted to the local reporter to inform her younger sister in America that her family survived and not to worry. With no means of communicating to other countries due to the technical breakdown after the hit, the only way of communicating to people out of Japan was through the news. Akiko’s sister leveraged on the power of new communication technology to inform the Kosaka’s survival and safety in the tsunami to her sister in America.

To my surprise, the Japan’s PM also communicated Japan’s situation and actions taken over their verified Twitter account.

A daily update of tweets regarding actions taken by the Japan government as well as videos of press conferences is seen on the Twitter account. A high possibility of using Twitter to communicate to the world could be due to the increased reliance on the social media and new communication technology worldwide.

Because of the development of New Communication Technology, we no longer need to be in Japan to know what’s going there, how’s the situation there, and what’s the latest update in the country. All we needed to do is to watch the news over television and online or simply google Japan Tsunami 2011 and you will receive all the information you needed to know about it.

The power of NCT has definitely influenced most people worldwide substantially. If one day, we were to lose all means of contact with people worldwide, would we be able to go back to the basics of sending snails mails and lined calls that show no visuals but just words and voices? Are we still able to relate to situations and conditions happening on the other side?


Televsion: The second teacher for your next generation

13 Mar

Do you still remember when you were a child, watching television was only a 2-3 hours affaire of the day? At least my childhood did pass like that. I remembered my childhood was spent mostly on studying and fooling around with my neighbours at the park in the estate. I didn’t have much chance to watch the television because mummy said it was bad for the eyes. Neither did I have much chance to use the computer.

But now, things changed. Children these days are much more exposed to electronic devices than we did. Walking around the shopping mall, you could easily spot a child, with an iPad; a device even adults with spending power have to think twice before purchase. But these children are owning them even at the age of 6?

With the advancement of technology theses days, children are no longer reading storybooks physically, rather they are now reading e-books online or from iBooks. One benefit of promoting online reading was to be environmentally friendly. Less physical books meant lesser paper used, resulting in reduction of tree cutting. True enough, I have to say  online reading did help in the reduction of green house effect as well as tree conservation. But as readers, not being able to hold a book physically, flip it through page by page, made reading slightly different from the usual. But it may be normal for children these days, in fact they  hardly feel the need to visit the library for book borrow and reading.


Learning was also made easier through various electronics. Instead of regarding television as harmful and distracting devices for the young, modern parents made it as a teaching device for their children. This could be further supported from my surprised finding, one Monday night, from the Okto channel, previously known as Kids and Arts Central. ‘THE MAD SCIENCE MANUAL’- a series of sixteen episodes that inspire home made scientific experiments that send the imagination racing, all the while encouraging kids – and the occasional adult – to ask ‘WHY?’

I, a young adult, was indeed testing and recapping my scientific knowledge while watching the show. In fact, I was questioning with many ‘whys’ while they were doing the experiments. Explanations given was clear and concise, definitely comprehend-able, even for young age. After the show, my curiosity made me browse through the TV guide of the Okto channel online. Then did I realised that the series for children these days are no longer just cartoons and animations, rather, there are more educational and brain-wrecking shows for them to watch and learn. Even young adults or parents could watch them too!

Noting from the Cultivation Theory by George Gerbner (1976), messages in media do not influence audiences attitude directly, but, cultivated indirectly. From the theory, finding in the U.S proved that with the television on for average 7 hours a day, a child consumed more TV than in school, therefore making TV the new educator in most households. This is becoming a phenomenon in our local households too. Modern parents are now educating their children through the electrical educators. Though they do not come by pocket-friendly, they are convenient and promotes independent learning. Spending hours with these educators, children are definitely able to learn and absorb substantial knowledge over a period of time.

So should we, older students, use the Cultivation Theory as an excuse to have our parents buy us an iPad for studying purposes too?

Influenced to make the right decision. Are you one of them?

6 Mar

Flipping through the papers every morning, what do you infer from the information in the news? What’s your opinion on the article written? If it’s a follow up article, did it change your initial attitude?

In Singapore, our media censorship and regulations play major roles when presenting every news article or media coverage before us. May be this is due to the great influence our media has towards us, the public. One set of articles that I came across recently, not only caught my attention, as well as many Singaporeans.

PAP set to unveil new candidates: PM Lee, 6 March 2011, The Straits Times.

The recent roar regarding the General Election brought in many ‘benefits’ for Singaporeans. More attention were given to the cries of many Singaporeans after the economic recession in 2008. In response to Singapore Special Budget 2011, household will receive around a ‘substantial’ 2k each to relieve their financial difficulty. This includes financial relief for the pupils and a drop in marginal tax rate to 17%. It was said that the Singapore Special Budget 2011 aims to ease the burdens on middle to lower income Singaporeans. High income Singaporeans are not as benefited, instead, they will be contributors in balancing  Singapore’s economy after the finance relief to others.

So after the continuous reports on the Singapore Special Budget 2011 for the past week, the General Elections took over the limelight in the news, till today. As we all know, the People Action Party, the strongest political party in Singapore, seats more than 75% in the Parliament. No opposition party is to override this seating percentage even though they are open to compete for election in the various GRCs.

Looking closely at recent articles on the General Election, only positive headlines towards to PAP are seen widely, example: ‘PM: PAP has a good team for elections’. On the contrary, the opposition parties’ headline didn’t appear that attractive, ‘Opposition parties still locked in debate’. Was this a coincidence or intended?

Learning from the Communication and the Mass media, the news media adopts the agenda setting function; the media’s ability, through repeated news coverage, to raise the importance of an issue in the public’s mind.

In this case, through repeated news coverage, the importance of the General Election and strength of the PAP were much empathized. Depending more on the volume of news coverage and prominence on this issue, the agenda setting function worked well in its new coverage. Nonetheless, the gatekeepers, editors of the newspapers and politicians, make sure that only credible and positive information can be conveyed to the public (intended audience).

Given the small media industry we have in Singapore, it is much easier to control and filter the intended media information to the public, as such, our media influence can be biased. Even so, we still do absorb whatever information produced by the media, especially news. Could there be a change in influence if we had a wider and competitive media industry? Or would information and messages conveyed through the different media be consistent?

So, does choosing what we were influenced as the right choice, really the ultimate and right decision to make eventually?

The American Idol Journey

27 Feb

To some Americans, the American Idol would be like their American dream.

Not necessary for big cars and houses, just a chance to go through the top 24 is more than anything they can ask for.

In the most recent episode, it was the deciding day for them to head forward to their American dream or to go home. Their road that came this far was either bumpy or smooth, for Lauren Alaina, her bump came during her second group audition.

A slight breakdown before audition determined her performance on stage later. Judges were all disappointed with her performance, expecting much more from her.

But during her individual performance which determines her position in the top 24, she regained the confidence in herself and the judges.

In this case of Lauren Alaina, her individual performance had been more than spectacular to the judges. Her first group audition came upon as fresh and interesting, performing within expectations. The following week, before her second group audition, she had a tension breakdown. It dramatically affected her performance, disappointing the judges. During the last individual audition, she kept her cool and performed her best, leaving the judges with more than satisfaction.

Within her first group audition, members came together, having the same goal, to make it through to the second audition. With interdependence and shared behavioral standards, they hoped to perform their best. There could be possible complex decision making for the song selection. Because each individual has their own better performing songs that they are more confident and comfortable with. But when these individuals come together, they need to compromise and decide on a song that would not only benefit the group, but also able to bring out the potentials in their members.

Her inability for better performance could be due to the pressure of performing well as a group, at the same time standing out amongst the others to impress the judges. Her sudden tension breakdown, not only affected herself, but also her fellow members. Because as a group, they came together as a shared goal, but with individual need- the need to impress the judges. They did not wish to be influenced and affected by her sudden change in attitude. So despite her breakdown, the group pulled themselves together, pushing her forward for the benefit of all. Nonetheless, the poor performance could still be noted by the judges. If there could be an Energizer in the group, motivating and pushing everyone positively towards their main goal, such a situation could have been avoided.

Struggling to be in the top 24, Alaine knew she had to pull herself together, performing her best in the last individual audition. And she did. This could be due to her recognition of her individual need. She recognized that she need to perform well, in fact, her best to make it through. Not only so, her individual pressure was lighter. She only had herself to account for her performance. Be it good or bad, she would only affect herself. So therefore, there could be lesser probable pressure.

So are you a performing individual, or group member?


No strings attached? No love?

20 Feb

What do you think of cohabitation or rather a sleeping partner?

Worldwide, it has been relatively accepted socially, especially the English countries. How about Singapore then? One interesting movie that I came across this Valentines’ got me thinking, are Singaporeans able to accept sleeping partners as a status of a relationship?

‘No strings attached’- 17 Feb 2011, in all cinemas, Singapore

Movie began with Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) as life-long friends for 15years. An accidental sex one morning almost ruin everything. To protect their friendship, they made a pact to keep their relationship strictly to ‘no strings attached’, just sex partners. There should be no jealousy, no love, no expectations, no fighting, no staring deeply into each other’s eyes, nothing of what couples would feel. But they can do whatever, whenever and wherever they want, even in public places, as long as they don’t fall in love.

Question comes, can you really have sex with someone over a substantial period of time, and without developing feelings for each other?

During childhood, Emma and Adam developed feelings for each other due to each others’ attractive physical appearance. As adults, physical appearance was not the only factor that brought each other together. Sex appeal comes in.

After the first accidental sex they had in the morning, Adam text-ed Emma, but there was no response. Due to the one-way communication, Adam thought the feelings he had, could be just one-sided. Trying his luck for the second time, Adam brought a Congrats balloon down to Emma’s hospital to surprise her, and also asked regarding her no-response to his text. Emma admit her fear and inability in communicating with her partner in a relationship, instead, she would avoid. Without communication, how far can a relationship develop?

The next few texts exchanged between both suggested only sex. On the next meeting, they concluded to treat each other as sleeping(sex) partners. Relationship began with exchange, expecting only sex as relational benefit from each other in this movie context.

Apart from Singaporean’s ability to accept ‘sleeping partners status’, shouldn’t we also look at how we treated our relationship? In reality, aren’t we attracted to each other through physical appearance first too, then slowly looking at the other ‘benefits’ of our partners? But may be we never realised we did. Do you?

Singapore Women And Their Desires

12 Feb

Singapore women want rich husbands? The Straits Times, Feb 9, 2011

Maybe 20 years ago, during my mother’s time, marrying into a good family was a desire of many girls. There is a saying, “In this world, only the rich can afford to fall sick.”. We seemed very much influenced by the fact that money is critically important in helping us solve many issues in this world. Therefore constituting in our perception that rich people have no worry, because the loads of money they have, paved their way through.

If we see a young woman, early 20s, carrying a luxury bag, carrying herself prim and properly, our perception start caving in. We would easily relate that she comes from a well-to-do family background, living off her family. Another instance, if we see a middle aged woman walking around the shopping mall in the mid afternoon, with luxuries from head to toe, our perception relates her to a rich man’s wife. It seemed that perception of woman with luxuries are always either because of their man in the house; father or husband.

Why did it never come across as the woman’s ability to own her luxuries? Could it be due to the nonverbal cues that they showed that led us to the perception we have?

For the first lady, she looked young, could be still a student, therefore not have been possible to own a luxury bag herself. For the second lady, she looked middle aged, could be a working adult, but because she was seen shopping around in the mall during working hours, she shouldn’t be working. Therefore, as a non working adult or rather home keeper, owning luxuries from head to toe would mean having a financially supportive husband. Even though these nonverbal cues are receiver-oriented and subjective, it seemed agreeable to the majority.

By 2011, I believe many women around the world have believed in being financially and emotionally independent. We women can now afford our own house, car and luxuries that we want. We do not have to depend on men, in fact we can perform better than them in the societal level.

Even with the power women have today, there are many who wants to marry well. Though it has been a traditional mentality, many still believed.

If you are a woman with capabilities and married well, the marriage would have been a perfect booster in your career and life. If you are a woman who has the qualities of a home maker, then here comes your good life in the future. But with all mentioned, it seemed like the core of marriage- love, has been ignored. And, does marrying well, really means happiness?

So here comes the question, do you choose to marry someone you love, or someone whom meets your desires in life? Are all these for true love or the fame and luxuries that come with the marriage?

In my opinion, somehow, ‘best of both worlds’ have not proved its existence. It seems like there something you got to give up, to achieve the next that you want. You can have all the luxuries in the world, but you may not feel like the happiest woman with love. Grass is always greener on the other side. Contentment is to the found within you and not others.

What’s your say, ladies and gentlemen?

Use vulgarities? Think again.

30 Jan

Sim Lim salesman sacked for cursing – The Straits Times, January 29 2011

Link to article and video:

Salesman, Mike, was taped using vulgarities when questioned about his price breakdown of camcorder bought by Chen Tao. When comparing prices with others stores, Chen suspected he was overcharged by Mike. The taped confront was known by Mike, therefore, vulgarity was used knowingly.

In our current  generation, vulgarities are just an expression of emotion. It can be both positive and negative, but somehow, naturally, Singaporeans took vulgarities in its negative intention. Have we ever thought how ironic we Singaporeans can be? When we hear Caucasians swearing, we think it’s a norm for them and waived it off easily. But when it’s a Singaporean swearing, our perspective starts setting in, thinking that they are either ah lians or ah bengs– generally bad company, with low moral values and not respectful.

So what’s the view of vulgarities to most Singaporeans? Many argued the relation of vulgarities to sex. So does it mean using vulgarities in public means having sex in public? Maybe this could be another explanation in Singaporeans inability to accept the use of vulgarities.

But in this article context, vulgarities was not the only issue. Mike, as a salesperson, has his social responsibilities. In the service line, it’s widely known for the fact that,’ Customer is always right.’ policy. No matter how demanding and aggressive customers are, serviceman just have to swallow his/her pride down and smile.

Soon after the ‘upheaval’ of incident, Mike’s boss, Seow, sacked Mike due to his unethical behaviour towards Chen. If the dismissal was solely based on Mike’s moment of folly, could it be due to the social pressure? Is this dismissal fair to him then? I believe it takes 2 hands for an argument to blow. Noted from the interview at the later part of video, Chen’s friend admit to be provoking Mike, resulting in the use of vulgarities. Therefore, Mike used vulgarities under a provoked emotionhis expression of emotion. But his way of expressing his emotion was seen inappropriate due to his social responsibility and role as a salesman.

As we know, even though there is no law implemented to restrict the use of vulgarities publicly, they do exist in other forms of restrictions. For example, this article that I would like to bring attention to- Man pleads guilty to pushing, using vulgarities on driving centre tester, 2 Mar 2010

With reference to the article, Eric Lim Guo Yong, could be jailed for up to a year or fined a maximum of $5,000, for threatening, abusing or insulting a public servant. And for using criminal force on another person, he could be jailed up to three months and fined a maximum of $1,500.

Instead of passing a statement of using vulgarities in public, he was judged as threatening and insulting the driving centre tester.

From these 2 incidents, I agree much with the social constructionist perspective of communication. It seemed quite clearly that culturally Singaporeans are not able to accept the use of vulgarities in public on others even in this modern time era. It’s deemed as an insult or threat. How did we unknowingly cultivated this norm? Vulgarities=insulting others.

As such, our local cultural tradition of minding our languages in public resulted in Mike’s dismissal. If using vulgarity is deemed to be so unacceptable in Singapore, should a law be implemented to control our use of language? Or should moral education in school emphasis the use of language, the shoulds and should-nots, to cultivate us since child? What do you think, Singaporeans?