American culture is all around us. Despite living thousands of miles away from the United States and never being there, I know names of cities, states, TV channels, TV series, famous celebrities, news that happens in there and so much more. In fact, I know a lot about America and the American culture than my own Malaysian culture. Well, more than I should have.
By ‘culture’, I am referring to popular culture. Not to get you confused with the CULTURE, if that makes sense :P (i.e., In Chinese culture, they wear cheongsam during festive seasons.)
Saying ‘American Culture’ makes me cringe. This is because I am so deeply connected to the ‘American’ culture thank you to media that I would rather have it be called plain old culture (or pop culture or trend) instead of American culture. I think calling is American culture sounds weird, especially to someone who finds this ‘culture’ very much normal and part of me.
I too find it weird to say, “Those American women are pretty.” Instead, I’d say, “Those women are pretty.” But when I see Japanese women however, I’d specify their ethnicity. “Those Japanese women are pretty.”
You get my point?
We’re so used to the American culture that we think that it is our own culture, that it is a universal culture and we feel a part of that. When we are presented with something else that is not of a universal thing, we instantly identify something according to where they’re from. I.e., Japanese, British etc…
I’m not saying that it’s bad to be a part of this popular (American) culture, I just think that it’s really interesting that we consider ourself as part of this culture when we’re not Americans at all. We seem to identify them and ourselves as if we are one.
But of course, not many see it this way. I have friends who still say, “American movies” or “American actresses“. Which is great I guess because you acknowledge the difference.
But while you’re being all supportive towards this popular culture, towards Hollywood and your (American) idols or idols who got famous in America, always remember there is such thing as local culture. Whether it be our culture (i.e., The Kadazan culture, the Chinese culture etc…), local cinema and theatre, local actors and actresses, local products and local fashion, don’t forget to support them too. As much as you can of course. I’m not saying that you should support crappy stuff.
I’m saying that while you support other foreign products, support your own homegrown people/products too. Some may be crappy yes, but some are really good. Remember Yasmin Ahmad’s films? Remember good theatre shows that is not a waste of your money? Yes, they exist, so don’t give up hope yet.
And please, PLEASE, don’t be one of those shallow people and go all, “What? Not Hollywood? Malaysian movie? Sure crappy one. No boom here, no boom there. Rubbish!”
Pfft. What a loser!