Last Saturday, I went to see Irish-rock band Kodaline at The Prince Bandroom. I felt very excited queuing up outside the venue of the standing-room show and almost burst with excitement when I scored a place at the front of the stage.
While waiting for the band to jump out on stage, Kodaline fans swarmed around me, shoulder to shoulder. We were all here to see one band, to enjoy the same songs. It got me thinking: why do we like music so much? So many of us listen to music in the car. When we study. When we’re sitting at home.
In such a globalised world, it’s common to find cultural festivals on show every now and then around us today. When ethnic festivals pop up in a Western city, words that spring to mind when we think about them include, ‘traditional customs’, ‘diverse cultures’ and ‘multicultural’.
But looking closely at cultural festivals, at times these culturally vibrant shindigs that often attract people of all walks of life in attendance do not wholly perpetuate the ideals of multiculturalism.
The JCAF 2012. Acoustic Japanese music performance by Shigeo Furukawa and Claire Jackson on stage. Photo by Sue Chen.
The gist of multiculturalism is about interacting and getting along harmoniously with our friends, colleagues and acquaintances of culturally diverse backgrounds and learning to respect the beliefs and customs of our fellow citizens no matter their religion.
If you haven’t been living under a rock these past couple of months, you probably would’ve heard of Psy and watched the viral music video that has racked up over 500 million views and counting for his hit song Gangnam Style.
You might have also noticed the more than generous media coverage Psy and his ‘horsey-dance’ have been attracting.
With Psy hitting the headlines in Australian mainstream news of late for his satirical tune that pokes fun at the lavish lifestyles of South Korea’s Gangnam district and his signature dance proving a hit with locals, one can say Koreans (Asians) are finally receiving much deserved representation in Australian media and that multiculturalism is well and truly alive Down Under.
However, many media companies are essentially profit-driven businesses buoyed by advertisers and it is exactly this reason that we should question whether the media genuinely advocates for a diverse society through Gangnam Style – and leading us who are passive media audiences to believe that Asian music/culture is really making its mark in the ‘multicultural’ Western world.