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To What Extent Can We Speak Of ‘Global’ Culture?

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Global culture could be equalled to global economic, which is a trend of global development. Nowadays, communications and technologies expand by leaps and bounds and it provides an easier way for us to communicate especially the cultural exchange between regions or even countries. Global culture is a set of shared experiences, norms, symbols and ideas that unite people at the global level. Cultures can exist at the global, national, regional, city and neighbourhood levels. Such cultures are not mutually exclusive but overlap in countless ways. Perhaps, we only know a country’s brands or customs, but it might be the entry point for us to learn, to understand and comprehend more about the country. But, to what extent can we speak of global culture? Cinderella and Red Riding Hood are the stories that everyone known not specialized in the English-speaking world. These are a part of basic cultural literacy.

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There will not be one global culture until everyone who speaks every language knows every such story. From my point of view, Olympics Games can be defined as a global culture in this globalization modern society. As an article that I read, Marielle (2012, para. 1) stated that “everyone speaks the same language: sport”. In my knowledge of the Olympics Games, it was originated around the year 776 BC in Greece, from a religious ritual become an athletic activity. When I was a little girl, I always attracted by the encyclopaedia which contains a context with Olympics Games and that was my first time recognizing The Olympics Rings and Olympics Torch. The 29th Olympics Games was held in Beijing, China with a slogan “One World, One Dream” which has fully reflected as a global culture. Before the Olympics Games being held in China, people might not know where the country locates, how many races do they have in a country and even none of them really understand the Chinese culture. But after China hosted the 29th Olympics Games, people start knowing the Nest-type Beijing Olympic Stadium, they started to learn Chinese language and Chinese history.

So, what makes it become a global culture? Christiana (2013, p. 729, para. 1) quoted that “there was over 4. 8 billion of TV viewers connected to this major sportive in the 2012 Olympics Games”. Thus, it can be seen that people all over the world use ‘sport’ or even ‘Olympics Games’ as a language to get connection between each other. Some people who might not have a basic knowledge about a country will have a deeper understanding of the country’s culture through the live TV broadcast of the opening ceremony. Moreover, as Christiana (2013, p. 729) mentioned that “Olympics became a major global event due to support from the main drivers of globalization”. And this statement from a blog article – “…the Olympics Games are a highly-anticipated global event that thousands of experts and journalists scrutinize and analyse as they take place” shows that Olympics Games has became a deserve special intention issue in this ‘global village’. According to the Tokyo 2020 Games Volunteer official website, it shows that there will be up to 80,000 volunteer opportunities make open to the public. Therefore, this is one of the ways to make Olympics Games turning into a global culture. People from all over the world would meet their ‘new’ friends during this global event, they used to live together in a foreign country for ten days, twenty days or even longer. And yet, people regardless of class, race, nationality and religion gather somewhere in the world, work towards a common objective without making distinction between ‘you’ and ‘me’ is the best example for global culture. As Christiana (2013, p. 733) stated “the widening of the Olympics movement around the world…makes the IOC a model structure that operates successfully on a global scale”. Another sporting event that can consider as a global event is the FIFA World Cup which was held in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018. In my opinion, I think that World Cup is a more enthusiasm event compares with the Olympics Games. Social media can be deemed as another global culture, as Susan (2008, p. 901) quoted the statement “…people connect with others from around the world by participating in chatrooms and discussion lists…”.

In this age of advances in information technology, the internet has brought us great convenience. Predecessors used pigeon mail or telegraph to deliver a message in the ancient time and it always takes a long time to convey, but in recent years people nowadays usually use their smartphone, by clicking or swiping and the messages can be received by other side at short notice completely unrestricted by space, place and time. As we all know, Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service which was launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his partners. Initially, the social website was only for Harvard students, but then opened for people around the world. As Susan (2008, p. 902) mentioned “…CMC tools may make it easier or harder for people to bridge their cultural differences…”. In 2012, my last year in primary school, Facebook became a world-famous social website. Everyday, we used to update our timeline, telling people where we are, what are we doing. And yet, that was the beginning for this global culture. From that moment, people crazy about this social media, especially teenagers and youths.

Soon afterwards, elderly started to learn how to communicate by using this ‘language’ as well. Another social media that conquer the world is Instagram, a photo and video sharing social networking service. Hundreds and thousands of people use this social media daily as it can be considered as their daily routine. People can use the hashtag and location that provided in this app to make a social interaction with ‘strangers’. Penang, a historical landmark in the Malay Peninsula also one of the famous tourists attractive in Malaysia. As time goes, people no longer use the camera to take pictures and not to mention developing and printing photos. So, how to share where you are traveling? Instagram provides this function, upload a photo, choose a location then add some fancy hashtag, people including your friends and family would know everything. As Emily (2017, para. 3) mentioned in the article, “the hashtag #PenangStreetArt brings up more than 42,000”. This shows a big influence of this social platform. At the same time, it helps us to promote our country’s local culture to international tourists. The same situation happens in Malacca, our National Cultural Heritage. It was the cradleland of Baba Nyonya and a city which preserves a lot of historical places. Instagram as a global culture in this twenty-first century, helps people get connection and interaction through a small screen. This can be a ‘new language’ that we use to communicate in this new world. As described by Alexandra (2016, p. 53), “food becomes a medium through which we interact with other people in our culture as well as with cultures in other parts of the world and their associated values and customs”. McDonald’s is a pronoun that known by one and all, it is an American fast food company and the world’s largest restaurant chain. Did you know, a fast food restaurant’s ingredient will do an adjustment according to the locals’ dietary habit. Hence, a country’s fast food menu could reflect their local tradition.

For instance, Malaysia is an Islamic country, based on most of the population are Muslim, McDonald’s in Malaysia will not provide pork as a selection on the menu. Moreover, people can only get beer as their beverage in Germany’s McDonald’s because it abounds with beer, just like Alexandra (2016, p. 54) said that “…our food choices also influence our culture…”. In recent years, McDonald’s in Singapore and Malaysia have launched a new flavoured burger called Nasi Lemak Burger. Most of the YouTuber especially for those from European countries specially come to Singapore and Malaysia, they willing to take a long journey and long queue to try this ‘peculiar’ burger that they have not seen it before. This was a kind of cultural interaction and exchange. Through the whirlwind of Nasi Lemak Burger, people will have more knowledges about our Nanyang culture. With the statement from Alexandra (2016, p. 54), “…it continues to shape the relationships that people around the world have with food…”. Furthermore, McDonald’s Malaysia just launched a Musang King flavoured Sundae Cone a couple months ago. As we all known, McDonald’s classic flavoured Sundae Cone was the waffle cone fillings with a full vanilla flavoured ice-cream on top. But, as the Malaysia’s cultural mixed with the well-known fast food restaurant, it comes with a totally unexpected idea. Musang King is a type of durians, and people will definitely know that durian is the king of tropical fruits. Most of my foreign friends do not have any favourable impression of its ‘special aroma’.

Along with the new flavoured of the Sundae Cone launched in Malaysia, people who does not like durians might change their impression of this tropical fruit. McDonald’s in Japan also launched their ‘local’ flavoured ice-cream in the past few months, the Matcha Sundae Cone. Uji Matcha is a well-known brand of matcha in Japan, and it was the origin. Normally, Japanese uses red beans with any desserts that made with matcha, just imagined that you are holding a Sundae Cone with a light green coloured ice-cream with some red beans as decorations. This can be spoke as a global culture, because of the mixture of local culture and the multinational fast food restaurant. It just like a language that we use to communicate, to exchange our own culture and to promote our culture to an international level. Christmas originally was a celebration of Christian, but recently people regardless of their religion started celebrating this holiday. Matthew (2011, para. 1) mentioned “…there are an increasing number of non-religious Christmas customs and traditions that people celebrate…”. Nowadays, whenever this time, people will start preparing to greet the arrival of Christmas. Exchanging gifts between friends, having a Christmas tree with some adornments as a decoration in house become a custom even if we are not a Christian. People in the modern society today usually do not have a deepen knowledge about the history of Christmas, but they celebrate this holiday as it is their own culture, their own festival. And even some of them travel abroad to European countries, their purpose is to feel the atmosphere. Why Christmas is a part of global culture? Most of us known Christmas when we were a child, and nobody will not know what Christmas is.

Children particularly looking forward to receiving gifts from Santa Claus. Shopping malls usually have a big sale when this holiday is around the corner. They treat this holiday as important as a New Year celebration. People from four corners of the earth are looking forward to this celebration, the global event. English is the most common language that we use to communicate in our daily life. As Ibrahim (2016, p. 1) stated that “…English has been seen to play a great role in facilitating communication between people of different linguistic backgrounds”. Years ago, people especially for those their mother tongue is not English might not aware of the importance of English. Hereafter, parents enrol a language class for their children and now English has become a global language. The statement comes in the article “…there is no way in which someone can learn a language without accepting the culture…”. Yes indeed, before we start learning a language, we must have a basic knowledge about its culture. When I was a student in an English language centre, I need to read the English novels and literature as much as I can. This principle is same as a foreigner who wants to start learning Mandarin, this is a threshold for learning a new language. Learning English, speaking English is like a kind of culture that happens in our routine, whether you are an Asian or African, it is another way for us to converse, to express our emotion. Last but not least, this world is still in its developing way, it must be more global cultures appear in the future. To turn a traditional or local culture into global culture, definitely need to take some time. As those examples that I mentioned above, all of them take times to prepare. It is quite a big challenge to make it a global culture and the actions that we can take is do our responsibility is the big effort. After all, the world is huge with a large number of populations, things might be happened or changed in a short time and most of them we can’t really predominate.

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