Assess the Impact of Foreign Films

1 January 2017

Also, one unique feature of Singapore’s culture is that we are a multi-racial and multi-religious society. In my opinion, the omnipresence of foreign films and television programs in our daily lives has greatly influenced our lifestyles, heritage and values more negatively than positively. However, they have indirectly positively affected our convention of having high tolerance towards other various cultures. Firstly, foreign films and television programs have a large influence over our definition of the latest fashion and thus have a great impact on the way we dress.

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Whenever we see how appealing the stars look in the foreign films and television programs, most people would do anything to look just as appealing or even go through great lengths just to dress up like their idol. For example, two years ago when the eighth season of American Idol was being aired in Singapore, Adam Lambert was sensational and was idolized by the majority of Singaporeans who watched the famous American variety show. Being dubbed as “Glambert”, Adam Lambert was “glam” in all his performances, having a unique dressing style of his own, which includes wearing black eyeliner and black nail polish.

Since that season, a substantial number of Singaporean teens and young adults of both genders started to hit the streets with black eyeliner and black nail polish. This is quite a significant sign of the impact of foreign films and television programs on our culture. Singapore can be said to be a conservative society that is sensitive towards controversial issues such as homosexuality, and thus should be expected to condemn cross-dressing or other similar ideas. Eyeliner and nail polish are things that are usually worn and used by females only. However, because of American Idol season eight, even guys in ur society have started to follow Glambert’s look in an attempt to follow the latest trend. Another example is the emergence of cosplay in our society. Due of the rise of Japanese films and anime in recent years, many people in Singapore are largely fascinated at the fantasy characters portrayed in the Japanese productions. As a result, quite a number of these people have gone to the extent of dressing up like the fictional characters in the film, donning Japanese kimonos, Japanese-style uniforms, and even costumes of the monsters in the different animes.

Therefore, it can be seen that foreign films and television programs have quite a great impact on the culture of Singapore’s society, constantly influencing the way we dress. Secondly, foreign films and television programs have largely influenced the way we think, reconstructing our values and eroding our local, traditional culture that has been existing since generations ago. In the past, Singaporeans used to be very traditional and pragmatic in their way of thinking and held on to confuciun values.

In foreign films and television programs, especially American ones, the actors and actresses portrayed are often very flamboyant not only in the way they dress, but also in the way they carry themselves. For example in shows like Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl, the characters are very open towards liberal ideas such as sex, and a lot of sexual elements are present in these foreign shows. As a result, sex, which used to be quite a “taboo” topic among Singaporeans, is becoming more prevalent in our society as can be seen from the increased rate of teenage pregnancy from about 700 cases in 2007 to about 2000 cases in 2010.

Also, Singaporeans are thought to be very pragmatic and often pursue their careers for very practical reasons such as to support their family. However in recent years, through the gradual influence of foreign culture via films and television programs, more Singaporeans are now pursuing their interests rather than finding jobs that are mundane but have higher pay. Such films include the Step Up trilogy, which is about how the different characters overcome various obstacles like parental objection and lack of practice space just to pursue their passion for dance.

These films are not only entertaining but also inspire Singaporeans to pursue their dreams and appreciate aesthetic values more than pragmatic values. Therefore, foreign films and television programs can be said to be eroding our traditional values by introducing new ideas to us and thereby shape our values. Nevertheless, foreign films and television programs also allow Singaporeans to better appreciate our unique culture and thus reinforce our identity as a multi-cultural society.

In a lot of these films and television programs from various other countries, themes like racial and religious discrimination are often explored. For example, in 2009’s The Blind Side, the main character was a black teenager who together with the rest of the blacks, was discriminated against by their pro-white society but managed to break this social obstacle and eventually became a well-respected football player. Another film with racial overtones is 2007’s Hairspray, which is about a girl who is pursuing to be a star in a television show while rallying against racial segregation between the blacks and whites in America.

After watching the detrimental effects of racial discrimination as portrayed in these films, Singaporeans will learn the importance of racial harmony and also learn to be more tolerant towards other cultures, thus reinforcing our identity as a multi-cultural society. Also, after seeing how other countries are fighting so hard to achieve racial equality, Singaporeans will learn to appreciate our unique culture and not take our social cohesiveness for granted.

Therefore, foreign films and television programs can also have a positive impact on the culture of our society by showing us the importance of social cohesiveness and indirectly compelling us to cherish our culture as a multi-racial and multi-religious society. The influx of foreign films and foreign television programs in our society has greatly influenced Singaporeans in many different cultural aspects such as our dressing, our traditional core values and our cultural identity. These films and television programs as mentioned, have created both negative and positive impacts on our culture, with the negative impacts outweighing the benefits.

The immense influence that foreign films and television programs have over our society is unquestionable. However, we have to understand that this convergence of culture leading towards homogeneity is a two-way relationship. While other countries are influencing us in terms of culture, Singapore is simultaneously influencing other countries in the world not only through some of our locally produced films, but also in terms of other cultural mediums such as food, music, and dance.

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