Reflection

Finally we have come to the last assigned post for this blog! Honestly for me, this assignment has been enriching for me so far due to the flexibility of topics we get to choose from to discuss in each post and I even got to talk about one of my favourite television shows. I feel that this assignment really helped us to understand various current world affairs a lot better and in a more simple way as everyone had already provided a summary of the topic of their choice in their blog posts. Of course, what would be a better way to study media other than through a form of mass media – our blogs?

Something else which helped me to further understand the role of media in different societies would be the exchange of comments between my classmates and myself on our blog posts, ranging from questions to personal opinions about the topic of discussion. As many of us are from different schools and background, it was interesting to know about everyone’s unique perspectives on all kinds of issues, and this has broadened my view on mentioned subjects. Another benefit about having to comment on each other’s blogs is that we are exposed to media topics that we might not necessarily be interested in, which helped to widen our view as well.

Lastly, I am also more aware about the the role of the media in our society. Initially I was only aware of the more commonly-known roles of media such as a source of easily-accessible information for education purposes and the provision of advertisements to boost consumerism for corporations’ benefit. It was only after doing research and the lecture that it was brought to our attention how the media can be used as a tool in politics to influence politicians’ decision-making, such as in the case of Rupert Murdoch who attempted to influence decisions made by Tony Blair. The extent at which media affects our lives is a lot more than what we expect.

One of the most important learning points we can take away from this assignment is to take everything published in the media with a pinch of salt. No matter how believable some articles may seem, we should always question ourselves on its reliability and interpret the truth by cross-referring to different sources. All in all, this assignment has been enriching in developing our thinking skills and have provided us with different insights. Thanks to everyone who have been keeping up with my blog (and not purely for commenting purposes ahahaha)!

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The Noose

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Many Singaporeans would have definitely heard of this television series called The Noose, with the seventh season debuting soon at the end of March. The content of this comedy series would be relevant in contributing to debate in the public sphere as it does parodies on the many issues and recent news headlines that Singaporeans face these days. In face, the name ‘The Noose’ itself is not only a play on the word The News, but also carries literal gallows humour in reference to the most common execution of death penalty in Singapore, which is through hanging.

Going back to the point about the public sphere, it is most commonly defined as an area in social life where people can gather together to discuss issues pertaining to politics and their society, where such discussions could develop to influence political action in the country. The Noose frequently includes jokes in the show which indirectly makes fun of the policies and controversial issues of the country through puns and role-playing, and even towards our country’s politicians. Here are some of clips which touched on previous events and issues, such as the debate about the influx of foreign workers in our country, decreasing birth rates and also our infamous ex-Miss Singapore Universe Ris Low.

While many of us snicker behind the screens, this comedy series actually helps to provoke a few thoughts. Are the issues that we worry about on a daily basis really all that important or are we just overreacting to insignificant issues because that is what we are frequently exposed to? We are indeed a very sheltered society and generation, being blessed with the latest amenities and convenience in transport, but on the other hand the topic on whether the government should keep up with the times and allow more deep-seated views to be presented to the public is often debated upon, whether or not it may infringe on the country’s sovereignty ever so slightly.

Of course, apart from taking all these thoughts into mind, there’s no harm done in laughing at ourselves and the common antics of Singaporeans through these videos.

Why does it matters who controls the media?

As we all should know by now, the media is our primary source of information, be it through the press through fresh prints every morning and evening or through online resources on news sites and social media. In my own opinion, it really matters who controls the media because many people underestimate the influence the media can have on decision-making, which affects consumerism and policy-making. If left in the controls of selfish politicians or radical rage-consumed citizens who had their rights jeopardized, media would be abused in the sense where incorrect information would be disseminated to the citizens to brainwash them into having ideas that may not necessarily benefit them. Hence, I would feel that it would be for the best if the media is controlled partially by the government, but with leeway given to citizen journalism so that people are able to develop their own views and learn how to discern between right and wrong.

It matters if corrupted governments control the media as it compromises on the welfare of their people while they try to convince the people that the policies they make will bring benefits to them when in actual fact, it would only benefit the government themselves. They can also use it to hide discrepancies in their running of the country to avoid criticism from neighboring countries as to maintain business relations. One popular example would be of course, North Korea. 

 

“Do not forget the U.S. imperialist wolves!”

 

Above is a poster released by the North Koreans a while after “conflicting reports were released from North Korea, a few months after Kim Jong Un took over leadership from the now-deceased Kim Jong Il. As we can infer from this photo, in order to suppress the people’s anger towards the government for leaving them to starve, they try to use propaganda to distract the people from the real problems they are facing now and focus their anger on the United States whom the North Korean government have bad blood with ever since the Second World War. 

Meanwhile for citizen journalism, it might not necessarily be a good idea to have the media totally controlled by the people as there is no regulation to what kind of news are being posted. In the case where the government is reliable, it has the correct information and statistics at hand to share with the public at the fastest possible time. Citizen journalists may not be able to deliver information as efficiently in comparison. Another point would be that citizen journalists may choose to post satire, which some people may find hard to catch and thus be misled to thinking that it is actual news. One example would be a satirical post by newnation.sg where it stated that our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had ‘unfriended’ Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Facebook and untagged him from photos after Indonesia had decided to rename naval vessels after terrorists who bombed the Macdonald House in 1965.(http://newnation.sg/2014/02/pm-lee-unfriends-susilo-bambang-yudhoyono-on-facebook-untags-him-from-photos/) The Indonesian media picked it up as real news and published it, and had to remove the article after realizing their mistake (http://newnation.sg/2014/02/indonesia-media-buys-new-nation-news-about-pm-lee-and-sby/)

I would end this post reiterating my stand that the media should be controlled by both the government and the people simultaneously for more accurate broadcasting of information. People usually subconsciously believe in whatever they are exposed to over a long period of time, hence if more views are presented it would widen their view to become more open-minded and cynical than to blindly believe everything they read.

Media can save the world! … But only if it’s done the right way

The first thought that usually pops into everyone’s heads when media is mentioned is how pop culture is spread throughout the world through this medium. In fact, media can help to improve everyone’s state of living when used in the right way, when used by positive ‘lobby’ groups. There are organizations in this world who make good use of the media to spread intrinsic values around the globe and also for the well being of our planet.

Many of us who live comfortably in first-world countries find it hard to sympathize with the deterioration of the environment that have resulted from global warming. This is where organizations such as Greenpeace step in to try to bring to light how much of the damage caused are made by corporations who over-consume to feed their pockets and the demands of blinded consumers – namely ourselves. Here, I would use a few examples of campaigns held by Greenpeace as part of their efforts to reduce the effects of global warming on Earth.

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One of the campaigns held was to stop Mattel, a toy company most famous for producing Barbie dolls to stop using products from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) for their Barbie dolls’ packaging. APP was a pulp and paper company infamous for the irresponsible burning of Indonesian rainforests which contributed greatly to deforestation, as well as destruction of the homes of the already endangered Sumatran Tiger. A banner was hung by activists dressed as Ken dolls over Mattel’s headquarters in California.

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Another example would be another campaign held last year by Greenpeace to try to convince Shell to stop their plans to drill the already-melting North Pole for more oil. Seen in the video below, they were dressed as polar bears this time round to help ‘rebrand’ Shell into a more environmentally-friendly corporation.


As we can see, through such imaginative ways these ‘lobby’ groups were able to make an impressive statement to create awareness and also to remind us about how our natural surroundings suffer from our selfish consumerism. This would of course not have been possible without the help of the media in spreading the word quickly and efficiently to pressurize these corporations to remember proper ethics and be responsible while continuing on with their business.

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Otherwise, the only times we will be able to see these beautiful creatures would only be through pictures in the future.

(Sources: http://mktg-matters.blogspot.sg/2013/09/marketing-for-good-watch-greenpeaces.html

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/success-barbie-and-mattel-drop-deforestation/blog/37176/)

Role of the media in today’s society

In modern times media is a very important tool for the dissemination of information and influencing pop culture. Ideas, propaganda, news and product promotions and readily available at every media outlet such as on television, social networking sites and on the radio. This can be beneficial and also detrimental to the society as facts can be tweaked for the benefit for those in control.

The media can be said to be largely responsible for many consumers’ body image, especially for female consumers. Currently the media depicts the ideal female body type to be skinny with contoured features, and for men to be tall and muscular with chiseled features. Frequent depictions of such images would raise the people’s perception of the perfect ideal figure drastically, leading to a drop in self confidence. The poster below would show recent statistics on how the media influenced the public.

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Apart from body image it also influences pop culture in the sense where people would like to dress like their favourite celebrities, hence resulting in the setting of trends worldwide and affecting the history of pop culture.

Media is also used as a tool to spread messages that people may not be able to convey publicly to the rest of the world. This can be in the form of blog posts (such as this assignment!), and social networking platforms. This is more commonly used by youths to air their views efficiently, and could even help them achieve their one shot at fame online through sites like Youtube. An infamous recent example would be a video uploaded by Stephanie Koh, who was a finalist in a Korean singing competition, justifying her statement made on local television on her disdain towards Singapore. Not saying that she was wrong for airing her point of view, but I felt that her reasoning could be done in a more well-thought out manner.

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One lesson we can take away from the prevalence of media would be to view everything with see with a critical eye and not to be fooled by bigots who abuse the availability of media to exploit the feelings of consumers. It is also important to not abuse the privilege we have in freely voicing out our thoughts on media platforms which would undermine the benefits the media can bring.

(Infograph taken from http://www.raderprograms.com/health-concerns/infographic-eating-disorders-and-the-media.html)

Introduction

Hello everyone! I’m Pui Kay but you can call me PK or Kay, whichever is easier for you to remember. I was from Jurong Junior College and took a killer subject combination in the Arts stream (Geog, history and econs), and honestly I’m not sure how I survived. In my free time I usually listen to a lot of music, usually J-rock or J-pop, or watch live music performances and gaming videos on YouTube. I am really introverted so if I don’t talk to you spontaneously or seem aloof please do not take it personally, most of the time it is either because I’m always sleepy or I have a lot on my mind.

There are a lot of reasons why I’ve decided to study psychology, mostly because of interest and also for me to understand myself and other fellow human beings better. Being a curious person by nature, the idea of working in research labs interest me a lot as well especially the thought of experimenting with human guinea pigs (just kidding but not really). I’m most interested in learning more about personality through studying psychology, because it’s amusing how people can be so unique or similar depending on the environment they were brought up in.

I honestly have no idea where I’ll be headed in 5 years time. Ideally I would have successfully gotten my degree and working in a flexible and creative environment with a stable income, such as event planning. Maybe also with a pet cat/dog/rabbit. That’s probably the most practical goal I can think for myself at the moment.

My current media habits and passion would probably be floating around major social media websites. I find that social media is a really useful tool for getting the latest information on the web and also to stay in contact with friends.

That’s about all at the moment. Have a great weekend everyone!

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