Mass Media: Beware.

October 25, 2009

Finally, my 7th post. I’m not going to lie.. I didnt exactly enjoy reading about Mass Media as much I did on other topics; Culture or Interpersonal Relationships. Probably because its a dry topic, or maybe its due to the fact we hear all about mass media everyday.

I decided to share with you guys my views about Mass Media on the whole. Today, we rely heavily on information presented to us through Mass Media. We process this information, use it to do whatever we have to do. The decisions we make daily are influenced by our culture (I just love talking about culture :D) as well as what we learn in school or through experiences. The Mass Media (MM) comes in when we use to it learn about news current affairs. Of course, its our source of entertainment too. One should ALWAYS have protect their own views. Sadly, the MM easily colours one’s perception.

1) The MM Exaggerates and Alarms


Remember the hype on the Swine Flu case? Yes. We first learnt about it through MM (be it newspapers, television, or the internet). Above is an artist’s perception on MM. To him, the intensity of the Swine Flu case was EXAGGERATED and therefore, this shows how easily the public can be alarmed by what they learn from the MM.

What do you guys think? Do you believe the MM did what it should to inform and protect the public? Or it was just another example on how the mass media is able to instill fear and alarm in the people?


A picture says a thousand words.


In this cartoon, the artist believes that the MM INITIMIDATES, MANIPULATES, EXPLOITS AND INDOCTRINATES. To what extent is the artist right? I believe that there are times we, as consumers, are easily manipulated by advertisements. Through logos, ethos and pathos, we make sense of the advertisement and eventually feel inclined to purchase their product. How about Singapore’s Navy and Airforce advertisements? Take the Navy one for instance; they filmed it in a way that everyday in the navy is an adventure. Do you think they are a form of exploitation to males, or they are truthfully depicting what takes place in the army.






I like this cartoon. It clearly shows the effects MM have on us. We are so interested in the lives of celebrities, that sometimes we deem what is acceptable by these public figures. For example, singer Lindsay Lohan is portrayed as a party girl. Fans of her who watched her grow up from ‘Parent Trap’ kid actress to wild child may negatively influenced by her behaviour. The MM constantly exposes sexual images when it comes to stars like her. In the eyes of the media, she could be seen as successful, rich and popular. Youths out there are easily persuaded by the MM.

Think about Nicole Richie and her serious case of Anorexia. Just how many youths today are fighting anorexia because of how the MM gives the impression that to be attractive, you have to be slim/skinny.



Lastly, I thought I would share with you this cartoon I found to be really cute. True, though.




October 18, 2009

Hello everybody let me enlighten you on CULTURE. Every one of us belong to different cultures and this will inevitably lead to cultural differences. Reason being our culture defines who we are. We grow up seeing things differently and we have our own unique way of expressing our personality. When our views clash, only will it lead to cultural differences.

1) When Indians shake their heads, they mean YES. To people of the West, it signifies NO. This is very misleading as it creates contradicting results.

2) British people do not look at women on the streets while the French do. This has resulted in a French public figure stating that British men are GAY; due to their lack of interest towards women.

3) Americans like direct eye contact, while the Japanese avoid direct glances as much as possible. Awkward for both in such situations, aint it?

These are just some of the many examples that are caused by cultural differences. When I see the way Americans greet one another, (a hug followed by pecks on the cheek), I cannot help but to feel a little uneasy. As a Singaporean, we’re not brought up to greet others in such an intimate way. To the Americans, this form of greeting is part of their culture. Likewise, the older generations in Asian countries may probably view this as a form of PDA, or audacious, at worst. However by now, most Asians would have recognized that such actions are a form of greeting to the Americans.

Personally, I feel that one must be empathetic and understanding when embracing the cultures of others in order to avoid conflicts.

Group Communication

October 10, 2009

Hello everybody, this shall be my first personal response entry.

I learnt something interesting in Coms last week; Group Communication. Most of you must be wondering, what in the world does that refer to? Basically, it discusses why we form our own cliques be it in school or at work, and how individuals affect the group and vice versa.

I have had many cliques throughout my journey in school. From primary all the way to uni, I can conclude that the friends I hang out with usually appear to be on the ‘same frequency as me’. (its a lingo for birds of a feather, flock together) However if one were to look at us individually and list out all our characteristics, he/she may be surprised to find out that we could actually be quite different in comparison.


In my previous JC, the friends I hung out with were mostly fun-loving. We could laugh at one anothers’ jokes all day long and we got closer by the day. To be included within a group, I secretly felt happy that I was accepted. In other words, I knew there would be friends to affirm my likeability. Everyone is in need of love and affection and this acceptance was recognition of my effort to be part of a group.

Of course, there are times where they will be disputes in the group. This takes place when the members do not see eye to eye. We could get into arguments over simple matters on whether or not we should share a cab to town on a regular day after school. To some, it was worth paying a little more avoiding the long walk to the bustop under the sweltering sun. Yet to others, cabbing was a definite waste of money if there was an alternative way; bus/train. This is an example of collective rationalisation whereby the group needs to justify for themsevles in order to reach a compromise.

To solve the problem I mentioned above, we usually get a devil’s advocate whereby someone will have to come to decision eventually. This member must be open to all suggestions as well as know how to weigh them reasonably. He could agree that the group is not a rush to reach town, and moreover they have been spending excessively on cabs lately.. hence taking the bus today could be a better option.

I remember my experience at Project Work in JC. I could hardly get along with my members as they seemed so quiet while I was more to the talkative side. Together, we came up with a list of ‘rules’ where everyone should speak up only at the appropriate moments. It worked for us, surprisingly, as there was the full support of my group in the matter. Everyone contributed fairly and we did not go off track often. Who knows, we clinched a B-grade and it was good enough for all of us 😀

To end things off, I would like to remind everyone to be mindful of group needs when it comes to decision making. Similarly, a group should also have an individual’s welfare at heart. When it works both ways, only will the group be able to communicate well and stay closely knitted together.

Relational Development

October 3, 2009

Knapp’s Relational Development Model


I have only known about this model last week and admit it, its pretty intriguing. More often than not when asked by others, “which stage are you now in your relationship?’, its hard to give an answer. Probably because its difficult to classify stages of a relationship.. but this model is precise and and easily understandable.

Words alone will not suffice when it comes to explaining the model. Below is a video that shows the processes following the model.

This video is a compilation of scenes from popular movie Cinderella Story. It starts out with two main characters, Sam and Austin, having some form of interaction. Their first time meeting; Initiation was awkward, as they probably did not have a good impression of the other. Slowly, they move on to Experimenting whereby there’s small talk and a little self disclosure. The intensifying stage starts where they have slight physical contact.

Integrating here is slightly different. They are somewhat labelled as a ‘couple’ but because this show is adapted from a fairytale, their identities were not exposed. In the middle of the clip, their differences are made obvious by the evil schemes of  Sam’s stepsisters. This is known as Differentiating whereby there is reaffirmation of individuality. The coming apart process includes the Stagnation and Avoiding stage. This is usually encompassed with awkwardness and alienation.

In worst cases, it will eventually lead to Terminating. I am sure you all know what it means (; In other words, a break up.. whereby parties move on from the relationship. In the video, this stage does not occur because IT IS A FAIRYTALE where there’s always a happy ending.

Relationships today will usually follow majority of the processes included in this efficient model. However, this model is not sequential whereby you cannot reach a later step without completing an earlier one. It is possible to jump from stages to stages. Of course when one is experiencing the later stages of this model, it is advisable to anaylse the problems wisely or this will lead to a fast forward to the last stage.

I hope this was enlightening for everybody. What are your thoughts on this model, and feel free to share what stage you guys are at? (:



September 26, 2009


Most of you should be able to recognize this artiste above. What do you think about this picture on the whole?

Since young, I could never understand why rappers always had to act in such a gangsta’ way. As I grew up, it gradually occured to me that all these gangster elements evident in their music was part of their culture. If someone who came from a very traditional background were to see such a picture for her very first time, I am certain her initial thoughts would be something along these lines.

“Why is his pose so obscene?”, “This is incredibly crude!” or “Oh dear, I must not let my children see this.”

The point I am trying to raise here is not to ridicule this particular group of people. Instead, I want to touch on how subjective Interpretation can be. When we interpret something of the matter, we are actually attaching meaning to the information we select and organise. In layman’s terms, it basically refers to how we address the ‘why’ to our perception towards issues in our environment.

In the example above, Asian citizens might interpret such actions as crude or obscene. However, to most Americans, they are very open-minded when it comes to embracing gangsterism elements in rap music. Rappers strongly believe in respect. From their sharp dance moves to the intimidating aura felt in their performances/music videos, they might be trying to instil some kind of ‘fear’ in us that will hopefully earn our respect towards  their genre. Hence, it is unlikely for the average American to interpret such visuals as obscene, contrary to an Asian’s view…

That said, cultural differences play a big part to the way we interpret things. The best example I can think of to emphasize my point would be the one brought up in lecture last week.




This design is part of the new Adidas Y1 HUF sports shoes. Controversy was sparked when someone brought up the issue that by wearing this particular shoe, you are considered racist to the Chinese. According to South China Morning Post, “Asian-American groups are complaining about German shoemaker Adidas’ release of a sneaker with an image they say perpetuates a negative stereotype of Asians. The limited-edition shoe, a collaboration between Adidas and San Francisco speciality clothing maker HUF, features an image of an Asian man with bowl-cut hair, slanted eyes, pig nose and buck teeth.”

Personally, I would have never thought of such a design to be racist but to other Asians, they might interpret it otherwise under different environmental influences.

In a nutshell, interpretation IS very subjective. Our culture and past experiences affect the way we interpret things, alongside with our individual characteristics and how we decipher various non-verbal cues. What do you think?


September 18, 2009

Advertisements- we see different kinds of it everyday, everywhere. Have you ever wondered what is it in them that causes the consumers or a particular audience to abide by their agenda?

Take a look at some anti-smoking advertisements below.



 The first one is plain and slow-moving, while the second one is made up of mostly dialogue and visuals.  This is similar to the majority of other anti-smoking commercials you see all over national television and Youtube. Take a closer look, you would have realised that they all have something in common.

They apply,

1) Logos (appeal to reason)

2) Pathos (appeal to emotion)

3) Ethos (persuasive appeal of one’s character)


In the first video, the producers started out with a little boy holding his mum’s hand in a crowded train station. Initially, this gives viewers a subtle sense of security as the child is seen being protected by his parent. However, as the video processes, the little boy is shown left alone with his mum nowhere in sight. As the camera zooms in onto the face of the kid, his fear is effectively brought out by his helpless expressions. Commuters walk past him as he stands alone, intimidated. The climax of the video is reached when he starts crying for help. Alas, they apply the concept of ‘being alone’ along the idea of how smoking can make your loved ones ‘feel equally alone and helpless’. 

This alone is a good example to show how advertisements make use of Pathos. After viewing such videos, the audience will be touched or affected to a certain extent.

The second video is a better example of Logos, Pathos and Ethos. It is a collage filming the situations of different smokers and the consequences they will have to go through.

Smoker: I’ll quit, maybe next month.

(the aftermath..)

His loved one: He (the doctor) says most likely weeks, than months…

This dialogue itself  appeals to reason (Logos) as they use wordplay to bring out the harsh consequences of Smoking. Evidence is supported by disturbing visuals of the effects of smoking, and this is essentially an appeal to emotion (Pathos) as well. Lastly, there is credibility in the video as it ends of with a scene in the x-ray room; the doctor expressing regret that nothing could be done to reverse the effects of smoking. The creative quitline of “Quitting is Hard. Not quitting is Harder” has made a mark in the viewer’s minds.

Lastly, take some time to watch this video. It carries the same intention as the other anti-smoking videos but is shown differently.


One might first wonder why the elder is giving way to the inconsiderate smoker.. but soon enough, the irony is realised.

“Be nice to smokers. They dont have much time left.”

The dialogue alone is piercing enough to leave an impact on smokers. It makes use of reverse psychology to encourage smokers to quit, and it also acts as a deterrent for teenagers who have yet to try smoking.

To conclude, facts alone will not make an advertisement memorable. A good and effective advertisement can be determined by how creative the producers use these 3 concepts into play.

Food for thought : what are some of your favourite commercials? or those that have left an impact on you?


September 13, 2009

what is perception to all of you?

this was brought up in class last week. while everyone was busy shouting out their answers, the first thing that came into my mind was “how i see things/others? and what i think of them?” of course this is merely a layman’s term of the word itself. in definition, perception is the process by which we make sense of the world around us.

take a look at this video. i am certain that most of you would have seen it once, or even twice. (actually i’m sure i wont be the only one writing about this issue but i’m most willing to give you my two cents worth on the matter)

to cut the story short, Miss Ris Low, current winner of Miss Singapore World has been criticized harshly on her inability to speak well in English. her few mins of ‘fame’ on youtube has earned her a entry in Wikipedia, of which one shouldnt be very proud about actually.

“There has been scandals around Singapore forums and websites that Ris has won the crown despicably and that she is undeserving of the title. There have been calls to strip Ris’s title as Miss Singapore World 2009 as well.”

WHAT??? how can her poor speech itself lead to accusations whereby she won the crown despicably? hundreds of netizens have also commented about her ‘ah-lian‘ image and this leads to ‘slutty and cheap’. what kind of a baseless accusation is that? right in this example alone exemplifies how when situations are viewed without understanding, the mind will try to reach for something that it already recognizes, in order to process what it is viewing. in this case, the common theory that ah-lians are uneducated, hence lacking dignity.

moreover, the video above was created by an obviously insensitive Singaporean who included uncalled-for subtitles to mock her pronunciation. the extent of this hate video of her is morally unjustifiable and it only seeks attention from other critics. she’s only 19, and definitely does not deserve the intensity of the insults thrown at her. i find it commendable that she is putting in effort in improving her speech, and we should as fellow Singaporeans, show her our utmost support.

maybe learning about perception as an idea on the whole has taught me to see things at a bigger angle. it is definitely unfair to assume she is undeserving of the title just looking at a few minutes of her interview. sadly, it is true to say that our communication and behaviour are based on our perception itself rather than on reality. and this can be very deceptive indeed.

(taken from Lifestyle 130909)

i am secretly glad that the Head of the Speak Good English Movement has come to her defence. it gives others a mature view on the entire matter itself, as well as a reminder to ourselves. i quote Mr Goh, “how many people are you laughing at if you laugh at Miss Low?”

i can understand perfectly how our personal prejudices play a significant role in the way we perceive things. but nevertheless, we shouldnt view things on the surface and then perceive the situation narrowly. personally i admit that her speech is indeed poor but it gives us no right to label her as a disgrace to our country or someone who slept her way to win the title. netizens should think twice before commenting blatantly on her character as a whole. that said, we must also be aware that there will not be a time where everybody sees eye to eye when perception comes into place.

a highly educated scholar may perceive Ms Low as uneducated, withholding the mindset she will lead Singapore to further disgrace with her inadequate speech. similarly, someone who may not be well-versed in English might not understand the big uproar the video has ignited.

hopefully after all the heated exchange on different views and perception, we will learn to place facts first before merely coming to conclusions that might appear childish based on one’s belief alone.

food for thought : what is your idea of perception and how does it affect the decisions you make  in life?