Jumaat, 30 November 2012

Internet as a tool of soft power

 A KTO(Korean Tourism Organization) survey conducted in May last year showed that K-pop has indeed overtaken K-drama as the main purveyor of Hallyu in Malaysia and elsewhere. The survey revealed that, driven mainly by the Internet and social media network, more than 53.3% of 12,085 fans from 102 countries chose K-pop as the Hallyu aspect that interested them most.
(The Star, Aug 2012)
Ever wonder how Korean Wave or known as Hallyu became a sensation? It didn’t happen over midnight. K-pop has been embraced by the South Korea government as a tool for soft power aboard targeting the youth and trying to make it into Hollywood of Asia. ‘Soft power’ –the ability to co-opt rather than command and it involves using non-material resources like culture as means to control in according to the definition by Joseph Nye. My question before typing this post- I was curious how all this South Korean singers manage to land a metaphoric bomb over Asia. In ‘The New Yorker’, an article written by John Seabrook stated that the Korean music company is hoping to do is change a thing in the unique system of ‘cultural technology’

Cultural technology is a part of the ‘technology’ initiatives of the South Korean government in 2001 and was supported by policies and R&D investment. It is a 3-step process in becoming the Korea wave which is the training process, international collaborations and joint ventures. In contrary, John Seabrook is skeptical about it and commented that ‘this cultural technology as factory –like system whereby the entire eye shadow colour to the hand gestures is pre-determined by formulae and protocol and the music is too ‘robotic’ for Western market.

In Malaysia, we can even see that the government is giving what the youth wants by paying huge sum of money flying in those K stars to perform and entertain the audiences. Some party thinks is a waste of money for the state, but at the same time it could win the heart of the youth as voter. There is a great dispute over this matter whether it is too much to spend for this entertainment.One Million Youth Gathering 2012 in Putrajaya,K-pop acts were featured to attract young voters and many politicians have not hesitated to K-pop name drop on their social media network to hip up their image.(Azizan,2012)

 This could be some indirectly ‘sweet giving’ if you know what I mean. Apart from this,  it has certainly caught the youths' attention  especially girls going crazy over them and this leads to all sort of craziness and obsessions  like queuing up a day before to purchase their concert ticket, CD or even for ‘meet-and-greet’ session. By doing so, it boost in trade between South Korea and Malaysia  but it would be some burdens for those diehard fans who are eager to attend their idol’s concert but the tickets price are just too pricey especially for youngster who are still students and not financially independent. NO? YES?  

Undeniable fact #1 K pop fans will emulate the fashion they see in South Korea dramas, wore by the celebrities and etc. This is believed to create greater distance among youths’ own rich culture and traditions.
The invention of the technology aided the Kpop artist gaining exposure globally through social networks such as YouTube,Facebook, Twitter  as medium for these South Korean artist outreach wider audience. A Youtube video can go viral just like the Oppa Gangnam Style that has received million of views on Youtube and many youth had made parody out of it. Can you tell this is another form of cultural imperialism? Some may not understand the language behind it, the meaning of lyrics but they are still humming along the song. Are we just following blindly because it is mainstream? 

On the other hand, youths are using the technology to gain the latest update about their idols from the  forum, fanpage, Facebook and some of the idol themselves  are interacting  with their fans via Facebook,Instagram, Kakao Talk and etc that got more girls hooked up with them. Instead of the youth using the social media to outreach their idol, idol themselves also used many form of social network to interact with their fans for example Super Junior. President Obama during his speech in Korea said the two largest and popular social networking sites Kakao Talk and Me2day transmits 1 billion messages daily. He praised the young Koreans’ optimism and tech savvy. Tech savvy really heightened the chance of you getting to interact with your favourite star.

Jim Dator and Yongseok Seo(in Korea as the Wave of a future) remained optimistic that this Korean Wave will continue to succeed. Perhaps the Korean Wave is just a passing fad not the future, only time will tell
This blog post is trying to show how the sensation of K pop culture comes about as form of soft power culture imperialism that you and I may not realize? We may be ‘invaded’ but we aren’t aware about it. Look at yourself and ask yourself, whether are you ‘invaded’??

Goh Yun Chin 

4 ulasan:

  1. well, i'm personally not a K-pop fans. Indeed, our society is really following blindly in all these trends. Last decade, i still remember we are 'Europeanize' in this recent decade, we are obviously 'Koreanized'. Since when we can create our own 'brand' despite all the bad news about our country spreading around in Facebook especially during election time? Ya, it's obviously ironic.

    by Khai Jian

  2. When I was in France, most of the French people were crazy about Oppa Gangnam Style. As you all know, France they are very attached to their culture and language. But here comes PSY with his Oppa Gangnam Style invaded into their lives. They started humming and dancing along the song.

    Well, I'm a k pop fan too.I twitter, Instagram and Facebook to get updates of my favorite artist. Social media really helps artist and fans interact among each other.

    I'm definitely being invaded by KPOP Culture =)
    TODAE <3

  3. As a k-pop fans, I strongly agree with your article. When I was a k-pop fans few years back, not much people knows about what k-pop is all about because the lack of Youtube usage. Now, the whole world knows about k-pop because of all the music video they put on Youtube.

  4. Terima kasih ya gan atas artikelnya, thanks for sharing :)