asian

Viewing myself on an Asian dating show

In my previous post, I proposed my individual project of examining Asian culture through dating shows and recorded my initial thoughts and assumptions of these shows, specifically, If You Are The One, a Chinese dating show where one man attempts to impress 24 women. To delve deeper into the understanding of this culture, I’m now attempting to reflect upon, analyse and interpret this experience within its broader sociocultural context using an autoethnographic research approach.

Chang observes that the uniqueness of autoethnography comes from the way it “transcends mere narration of self to engage in cultural analysis and interpretation”, setting it apart from things such as memoirs and autobiography. It is not about focusing on just self, but finding understanding of others through understanding your own assumptions and beliefs. For my project, I am not focusing on my own dating experience; I am finding an understanding of Asian culture by using my own experiences as reference and context.

My first reaction to the dating show was pure shock and humour. If I envision myself in the position of the audience members, I would see myself rooting for one of the girls, or picture myself dating the man on offer. But instead, from my own perspective, all I could do was laugh. The reasoning behind why the women didn’t want the man seemed so far-fetched and unusual to me and when the first contestant began performing their talent to win over the other, I froze, wide-eyed and whispered …. What the shit am I watching?

This is entirely indicative of a Western, single, young woman mindset who has never considered some of the things these people considered when it comes to dating such as children and whether my family would be ashamed, or whether their hair is too short so he looks too bad …

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Vast outlines critical cultural differences between Asian and the West dating. He explains one of the main points to be that Asian women are interested in guys who genuinely make them feel liked since they are often considered to be insecure. He explains this to come from the fact that “Asian girls focus on how much you care about them, and want to stay with them, because they don’t have the same financial security and earning opportunities as Western women do”. Moua adds to these differences, stating that family values are very important in Asian dating, “women are often introduced to eligible men through their parents’ mutual contacts and are expected to be married [between 22-24]. The parents of the eligible singles often [screen] the other person before deciding if they should start contacting one another.” As such, Asian women look for a man who will please her parents and would provide a family for her soon. Moua continues that public affection is something that Asian couples are expected to avoid – “being seen in public together is often enough for a man and woman to be recognized as a couple.” This is entirely different to Western dating, where affection is often a key point in the relationship.

These stereotypes and dating norms were prevalent in my first reaction to If You Are The One, highlighting the tendency to unconsciously relate to any text we consume by viewing it in the context of our own culture and experiences. Even though I previously did not have a lot of knowledge with Asian dating norms, seeing them so starkly compared to what I am used to has bridged a connection and understanding in under an hour.

To conduct further research on Western match-making, I shamefully reopened my old Tinder conversations to see what kinds of things were talked about first, similarly to an episode of the show. Usually, the conversation began with some cringe-worthy pickup line or comment on appearances, followed by the standard questions like what I do with my life and what my weekend entails. When I compare this to the Asian dating show, similarities do surface like the job questions and the judgement of appearances. However, I am yet to see the use of a pickup line throughout the show and there are definitely no inappropriate sexual comments which are way too common on Tinder 😦

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An interesting point I noticed on a recent episode of If You Are The One, was that a woman instantly turned off her light for an American man and justified this by saying that her family would never approve. From my perspective, interracial dating would never be an issue. But when statistics are considered, 88.8% of Chinese men marry Chinese women, and 79.9% of Chinese women marry Chinese men (source: Le). This, again, creates a difference between Western and Asian culture, understood from an autoethnographic standpoint.

After researching further into Asian dating culture and viewing more episodes of a show that is very similar to that with which Australian people readily consume, I understand more that it is naïve to just brush Asian dating norms off as strange and accept that I would never behave the same way that some Asian people do during dating, because there are actually dense similarities between us. Our context and history has changed certain behaviours, but underlying all these talent and dating shows, there is a culture of appearance judgement and considering how all aspects of your own life would fit with the other person’s life: it is just that these Asian people often live a very different life.

As such, autoethnography has allowed me to grasp an understanding of Asian culture by understanding and examining my own biases and experiences to filter out similarities and differences between the two cultures. I have found that my continual viewing of If You Are The One, has changed slightly where I strangely enough now try to consider myself from an Asian woman’s standpoint to try and guess whether the woman will choose the man or not. It is surprisingly more entertaining. Stay Tuned.

Let’s talk online dating…

Thinking about online dating I found a study on Japan that examines the experiences of past and present members of a popular Japanese online dating site. This is used to explore the extent to which Western-based theories of computer-mediated communication and the development of online relationships are relevant to the Japanese online dating experience (James Farrer, 2009). So I began to think about western online dating versus eastern online dating…

Now, we all know about Tinder and exactly what Tinder is for. I began to think about social networking and how in Australian cultures it has moved from Facebook (used to connect with people you know) to Tinder (used to connect you with people you don’t know). Interesting concept and made me think that surely there is an Asian equivalent.

Meet Me is a sort of Tinder equivalent (not sure if its applicable on a mobile device) but it’s tagline is “where new friends meet”.

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Here is a advert for ‘Meet Me’…

 

It is interesting to note that online dating is prevalent in all cultures. Although I found that apparently Meet Me is used for more of an ‘ego boost‘ rather than actually ‘looking for love‘. I find it interesting that there would be such a site where people post photos of themselves and find a sense of satisfaction when COMPLETE RANDOMS RATE THEM A 10. Kind of makes me think that it’s a bit of a joke. Once I found this I did a Google search of “Asian online dating”… I didn’t exactly get what I was after it was more of a result of LOOKING FOR ASIAN LADIES not ASIAN as in the continent. I continued my search and came up with a site called ‘Paktor‘.

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This is an app, you are able to pick your distance – your photos are on priviate until you both like each other – and you are able to chat once you’ve been matched (much like Tinder it seems – I wonder which came first!).

 

References:

James Farrer, 2009 “Online dating in Japan: A test of social information processing theory”. [ONLINE] Available at: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cpb.2009.0069. [Accessed 16 October 2014].

The Yers – Thailand’s Indie music scene

 

The Yers are an alternative post-punk revival five-piece band from Thailand, formed in 2003. They are very traditional in terms of the way in which they choose to communicate with their fans and the general public using digital technologies, as well as promoting their music.

The band does not have its own website, rather operating through their record label, ‘Genie Records’ which is a primarily Thai label that features the Yers.

After exploring this website to get a feel for the way in which The Yers are represented online, I discovered that the website was almost identical to Western record labels online – it featured tabs for artists; blog; store; music; and news. Although the site was written in Thai, there were English translations provided for me underneath – without me having to manually change the language.

I believe it to be very smart of Genie Records in doing this – it allowed them to break the language barrier that often exists between Western and Asian communities, and also gives the bands featured on the label the opportunity to be discovered by those who may be located in different areas or markets.

In saying this however, the band does have an official Facebook page that is updated regularly with news, music and communications from the band, primarily written in Thai. It features essential information fans need to know, as well as shared photos and videos to get a feel for what the Yers are attempting to promote as a group.

It is interesting to note that although the band is quite active in terms of Facebook use, there is little to no activity on other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram. Although the band does have an official Twitter account, they have not made a tweet in over a year – this shows that they obviously prefer Facebook as their preferred method of communication with their fans and communities around the world.

It would be interesting to delve into this matter further – WHY do some celebrities or groups favour some platforms over others? Is it because of the different functionalities across the varieties? This is something that I would like to explore during the progress of my personal research project into alternative Asian music artists.

My Intro to Anime then and now.

So I started watching anime back when  was around 16. My friend was near obsessed so i just had to see what all the fuss was about. Since then I have watched many different Anime and they all share the same core principles. They keep you wanting more. The story telling in anime and the visual design is so well done and in depth that it does really create the atmosphere and emotion the creators are trying to portray.

 

I think my first introduction to anime was Death Note (it was at least one of the first). It just captured me. The story of a bored student descending into madness fueled by his own personal righteousness. This story kept me on the edge of my seat, and still does when I rewatch it. Anime is a very detailed art form, it differs from western animations by focusing on fewer, more detailed still frames which are aimed at creating a sense of realism. it also utilizes camera angles and techniques to increase suspense and tension which is being portrayed throughout the story. I believe that it is these factors that make anime so popular with adult audiences, not just children.

 

One of the more recent Anime have watched recently, Sword Art Online. I think the major reason I enjoyed this – apart from it just being awesome – is that it is relatable with the basis for the story being about an MMORPG. Having spent many years playing this genre of games I really like the way it has been represented in this media. Add in some virtual reality and aSword_Art_Online_Fan_Art_-_Raziel- sociopathic Game Master who states, once you enter the game, if you die in game, or the virtual reality helmet is removed, you die in real life. I think this was a clever jape at the seriousness of some MMORPG players crossed with the deep immersive nature of Anime. Again, this Anime portrays its story through the highly detailed still artwork and tension building moments.

I think Anime is a brilliant form of digital media and look forward to see it progressing further and spreading into the west more. 

How do I sign up?

 Mixi is the most popular social media website used in Japan. Interested in social media I stumbled upon this page. My first impressions on this website that it wasn’t very culturally friendly as all of the writing was written in Japanese.

It has a completely different vibe to Facebook (which would be the #1 western social networking site) as it there is a lot going on. There are many flashing images of Asian women or other random Japanese content which personally doesn’t really make any sense to be on a social networking website. Although on the other hand I have no idea what is being written around it – so who knows maybe it has some sort of meaningful connection.

Although completely different to Facebook I assumed that the two blank boxes were the ‘log in’ tool. I attempted to create an account – keeping in mind I am Japanese illiterate so it was really a guessing game.

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After starring at the Japanese writing for a solid 5 minutes I had no idea what to do. I thought that there had to be a way for me to change it to English. After changing browsers I found that google chrome has the ability to change the language. Now that I’m able to read what is happening I realise that there is actually no way for me to sign up…

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Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make an account and I was confused as to why not. It didn’t give you a ‘sign up’ option which interested me. I started to do a little research into the site ‘Mixi’ and apparently one needs to be invited by an existing member in order to have an account.

Therefore I can’t access this website unless I can hunt down a Japanese individual to shoot me a friend request. Unlike Facebook ,”Mixi’s site design and navigation are extremely intuitive. Your homepage displays a selection of your friends, a list of their latest blog posts and photos and the latest news from your communities.” (Top 6 social networking sites)

– Nicole