It has been seven months since Korean performer Psy’s Gangnam Style video and horse dance went viral. What have we actually learnt from this whole craze?
Not much about Korean culture or the essence of multiculturalism. But more about how many of us unconsciously love having fun with those of similar background and how Psy is a one-hit wonder.
As discussed in Psy’s Gangnam Style: This Isn’t Multiculturalism, the media frames used to portray Psy in the media encourages the public to see him as just an entertaining entertainer as opposed to appreciating diversity within society or interacting with others of Korean culture – hence Psy can be described as a racial “isolating viral act”.
Today, the Lunar New Year is widely celebrated in Australia each year.
Lion dances and Asian cultural performances on city streets are a common sight here in the weeks leading up to start of the brand new lunar calendar. Various profit/not-for-profit bodies and everyday people from all walks of life frequently and tirelessly pitch in to organise and partake in these festivities.
Giant golden snake and red lanterns. Oz departmental store Myer getting into the Lunar New Year spirit. Photo: Mabel Kwong
However, interestingly enough, the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, holds contrasting meanings for different groups Down Under.
This is a true story that happened a few weeks ago. At times, it really is worth wondering whether career consulting firms really do genuinely aim to help their clients who are seeking work to land a job or just swindle away their money. All names have been changed.
She steps into the lift at 11.50am on a cloudy January summer’s day. It whooshes upwards just seconds after she presses the button for the floor where the career consulting firm is located in the sky-high Melbourne CBD office building. Decked out in black pants and a spiffy blue jacket with her straight dark brown hair neatly flowing down her back, she looks just like – and is – any other ordinary short Asian girl in her late teens-early twenties.
Just a few days ago, she answered her ringing handphone to a chirpy career consultant called Mindy who probably wrangled her number from one of the career mailing lists she signed up for a year ago. Over the phone, Mindy offered to help her gain employment in the field of HR.
Some people employ the services career consulting firms in hope of securing a job. But there really is no guarantee they will land a job. Photo by Mabel Kwong.
The petite girl had no interest in buying the services of this firm. After all, she wasn’t sold by those a similar firm offered her face-to-face two years ago. But she is an open-minded person who likes to keep her options open.
Today, many people who are born and bred in developing nations often choose to leave their country and homeland at some point in their lives and move to the Western world. To escape on-going violence in the homeland. To find a job or get an education. Or to seek greener pastures and find a pot of goal at the end of the rainbow in a modernised city.
But is life really more cushy in the new land than back home for these newly arrived migrants / third culture kids / international students / refugees who with limited resources on their backs? Even in the long run?
Many people in developing countries live in sub-par housing, unlike those in Western cities. Rainy KL, Malaysia. Photo by Mabel Kwong.
Migrants in Western countries are able to live with modern, solid roofs over their heads.