Imaging Community/Nation without (cultural) Borders: An International Conference on Inter Asian Culture, Communication, Conflict and Peace (Bangkok, July 28~29 2006)

by Homey81

Panel 6: Border-crossing Asian Cultural Economy

  • Korean Entertainment Companies in the Emerging Cultural Economy of Asian Pop

Shin Hyunjoon
Sungkonghoe University (Korea)

The discourses on popular music in Asia have been heavily associated with local politics within the boundary of a country (or a nation), focusing on generation, gender, race, ethnicity and, most of all, nationality. However, at least since late 1990s, border-crossing cultural flows have produced trans-Asian music culture which is beyond the control of national cultural policy, along with nationalist backlash against cultural trans-Asianism. This ambivalent phenomenon cannot be easily explained by the simple effects of cultural globalization. If there exits ‘Asian culture industry’ and/or ‘cultural economy of Asian pop’, how is and will be it transform popular culture in Asia? This paper attempts to analyze the process of the transformation from the perspective of political economy, focusing on ‘Asianizing’ strategies of Korean ‘entertainment companies’ and ‘content industry’.

  • Commodification of the Divided Korea – the case of Panmunjom Tour

Hirata Yukie
Yonsei University (Korea/Japan)

Panmunjon is the symbol of the divided Korea, which has established its status as a tourist spot for foreigners. Panmunjom means Joint Security Area(JSA) and is situated in the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. Since the UN force and Korean People’s Army guard the zone together, it is an excluded a north-south administrative district region. Panmunjon serves as the symbol of the tragedy of the divided Korea, the place in which separated families (risan kajok) gather, as the only passage, for various north-south political talks, and also has the duty as the educational spot which carries out security education to South Koreans. And for foreigners, Panmunjom is a popular tourist spot which gives ‘danger’ and strain. As globalization advances, touring outside the border is generalized increasingly. Panmunjom, where one can feel ‘danger’ easily, has a special aspect on that time and spatial meaning.
In this presentation, I will focus on Panmunjom as a tourist spot which has had such inconsistent and ironical duties. I will also examine what Panmunjom’s case shows to the global society, focusing on the process of being tourist spot, and the ‘national narrative’ which appeared in the process of commodification of the historical space symbolized as the Korean tragedy.

  • The Meaning of Screen Quota Cut and Movie Culture

Lee Jongnim
Sungkonghoe University (Korea)

This paper argues that FTA (Free-Trade Agreement) have effect on culture industry, especially film industry in Korea. The Screen Quota cut shocked the Korea public. Korean movies are very successful in numbers, far above the quota, and abolishing protectionism is always the right economic strategy. Screen Quota system has been a stumbling block between South Korea and U.S, who have been trying to conclude an FTA since 1999. The U.S. has been required the reduction of Screen Quota system as precondition to start an FTA with South Korea. However, the controversy over whether to reduce Screen Quota system or not has been continued. After all, Screen Quota system is reduced, Korean movie will be annihilated. therefore this debate is complicated. In order to solve this situation, analysis result to make discussion about that screen quota cut is connected with local movie culture or Asia culture and have a political significance.

Panel 7(a): Popular Music and Cultural Politics

  • From ‘Anti-China Invasion’ to ‘East-Core Asia’-The articulation of musical festival and politics in Taiwan

Ho Tunghung
Fo-Guang College (Taiwan)

Political engagement of popular music has long been thought as an essential form of cultural politics. Yet young people’s use of popular music as political expressions might vary in different socio-cultural and musical contexts. So in modern history, popular music might be articulated with anti-globalization actions, anti-authoritarian actions, anti- racism, anti-sexism, or even anti-Americanism. In our case, it is Taiwan-Chinese political tension on which this paper focuses.
Due to Taiwan’s particular political situation, pro-Taiwan independent(TI, hereafter)and anti-TI has fiercely confronted with each other for last two decades. The musical festival examined here is strongly recognized as pro- TI. But since its first launch, TRA, the independent musical organization, has changed its ‘politico-musical overtone’. From all- domestic bands to including East Asian(Japanese, Korean, ex-Chinese, and Singapore), US , and Australian bands to the festival, its core slogans, started as ‘Anti-China Invasion’, via ‘Say Yes To Taiwan’ to this year’s ‘East-Core Asia’ signals not only its practice of political rhetoric , but also its attempt to form a cross-national musical community.
Therefore, by studying this case, three key issues are explored:
1) To what extent can ‘music sound’ be voiced as pro-TI movement?
2) If as stated in this year’s pamphlet, democracy in Asia is the key issue while anti-China became implicit, then to what extent a cross-national boundary community can be achieved?
3) Above all, if music’s social force can travel national boundary, then to what extent the festival can be seen as a means to deal with TI ideology critically when it has been highly ethno-nationalist?

  • The Politics and Economics of Music: Case of Chinese Rock Music in Malaysia

Chan Lih Shing & Wang Lay Kim
Sains Universiti (Malaysia)

In 1986, the Home Ministry banned all open-air rock concerts. The authorities labeled such concerts as deviant. They particularly singled out Malay rock concerts arguing that such concerts transgressed the National Culture Policy. The National Culture Policy is based on the Malay culture, and Islam. However, in 2000, a transnational company sponsored a rock concert featuring a number of local groups that are popular with the youth were allowed to go on stage in Kuala Lumpur. It is apparent that policies are implemented inconsistently. It is in this backdrop this paper examines a local independent label rock group called Hung Huo. The group adopts a DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit to produce and distribute their own albums. This is a deliberate act on the part of the group to resist control by and dependence on big companies in the music industry. This paper will look at the political and economic factors that impinge on the development Huang Huo as well as their freedom to explore different musical styles.

  • “New Labour” or “New Elite”: Hybridizing Britpop in Thai Pop Culture

Viriya Sawangchot
Watanasala Centre for Cultural Studies (Thailand)

Britpop was a musical discourse rather than a genre as such and was born of both a frustration at the dominance of American bands in the British music scene of the early of 1990s in time of Conservative government in England. But following the collapse of the Conservative vote in the 1997 election, the Labour government announced the new formation of Britain economic policy by new labour concept “see the arts instrumentally as a means to help achieve of British life and social regeneration”. This economic policy emphasized certainly on export of Britpop’s use of national image as well.
As a musical discourse, Britpop rally around the world by hit bands and cool Medias. As a cultural discourse, Britpop cease to have defining effect upon ‘alternative life style’ of youth culture around the world. Within theses discourses, the new frontier of national and political ideology does not depend on state’s territory anymore. However, these discourses also draw new boundaries which become a battleground of border between national community and cosmopolitan.
In this paper, I would like to explore the significance of cultural hybridity of “TrueBrit” of Britpop in Thai Pop Culture, especially about politic of youth culture. The paper will also raise questions about the multi-cultural identities as well as the limits of imagined community in the complexity of global media culture.

  • Jazz and Giants of Jazz: The Dialectical Juxtaposition of a Pop Culture and the Mainstream

Chi Yu Chang
Ming-chuan University (Taiwan)

The jazz musicians of the United States have created a legacy of the American dreams. After scrutinizing Studs Terkel’s interpretation of early jazz masters’ life and work experiences, I find that the existing injustice and inequality aggravated by race, class, and gender biases seem irrelevant to or indecisive in one’s struggle for success or self-actualization. This does not necessarily mean that those negative factors are deliberately played down or ignored, or that the author’s viewpoints are based on white chauvinism. Rather, it implies, first, a common denominator—a list of values or/and personal qualities that are shared with whoever wishes to realize a dream; second, a cultural connotation of jazz as an art form beyond what it is—a symbol of faith, freedom, and possibilities; and third, a reminder that jazz, despite its pop nature for fun, exemplifies a professional field in which adventure and competition appear desirable to enterprising people when explored within the context of American culture. In short, jazz, in Terkel’s allusion, shows how and why social mobility intended for fame and finance can be achieved in a border-crossing effort, which are what this paper attempts to deal with.

Panel 7(b) Hip Hop and Youth Cultural Practices in Three East Asian Societies

  • What’s up Man!!: Voice of Da Resistance and Da Violence in Thai Hop-Hop Music

Kachachai Wichaidit
Chulalongkorn University

The purpose of this research is to study the use of Hip Hop music as a mode of expression for Thai Youth to representing ideology of resistance through youth culture in forms of Thai rap music. “Hip Hop music” or “Rap music” is one of elements in Hip Hop culture , which is the aspects of African-American youth culture originated in the Bronx ,New York ,during the mid-1970s. Today Hip Hop music is very popular over the world and it also rework as a mode of expression for a range of local issues. Hip Hop music is a symbolic of resistance musicThis study will survey the character of Thai Hip Hop music and the Hip Hop scene in Thailand by using of documentary research and observations. In this study will representing the origin of African-American Hip Hop culture, the diffusion of Hip Hop culture around the world , the use of Hip Hop music as a tool to display the ideologies of youths , the development of hip hop music in Thai society and the ideology and the points of view of Thai youths to the society that are presented through hip hop music.

  • Racing Late Modernity in Taiwan Streets: Beat, Time, and Hip-Hop Dance Communities

Yuh-jen Lu
Shih Chien University

This project explores a theoretical perspective for Hip-Hop dance practice from bottom up, that is concerned with an alternative “civil society” and an act of community consciousness in Taiwan. It proposes to study the dance genre commonly labeled as a subculture of young generations with a particular focus on the production of “biao-wu” (dance-racing)-a combination of velocity, violence, and dancing pleasure in relation to late modernity. Given that Pop culture’s edge is often shifting, this study will correlate Zygmun Bauman’s liquid modernity with a critical view on consumerism and mass media, which will offer a new matrix for a reconfiguration of subject, dance and community. In the sense of racing, what cultural meaning of modernity does Hip-hop street dance represent in Taiwan? If street dance is a community act of hip-hoppers, then what does it accomplish? How has the trajectory of Hip-Hop dance complicated in relationship to the development of contemporary politics, media, marketing, mainstream dance and subculture in Taiwan? What role(s) does Taiwanese hip-hop community play in conjunction with globalization? Why do Taiwanese hip-hoppers construct their own autonomy or independence from elsewhere? It seems that the Taiwanese Hip-Hop dance is professionalized through media, what if the mass media simply lost their interests toward street dance?

  • Hip Hop in Hong Kong: Cantonese Verbal Art in the Articulation of Youthful Defiant Voices and Identities

Angel M.Y. Lin
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Making local hip hop music and lyrics in Hong Kong has always been a marginal practice engaged in mostly by grass-root youths who find in this music genre and this trans-local sub-culture the powerful symbolisms to express their defiant voices to mainstream society. These Hong Kong youths express in their local language—Cantonese—rap lyrics their sharp critique of society, of the education system, and of what they see as mainstream hypocritical practices and overly commercialized mass media practices. Through using Cantonese raps in artful and witty ways they construct alternative discursive spaces where their defiant voices and sharp social critique can be heard in a fun yet powerful way. In this paper I shall draw on interviews of an influential Hong Kong hip hop MC—MC Yan of the former popular Hong Kong band, LMF (LazyMuthaFuckaz), and analysis of his hip hop lyrics to discuss how some youths in Hong Kong construct their powerful voices and identities in pockets of alternative spaces in a society that privileges the middle classes with their cultural capital, and in an education system where the local language of Cantonese is placed at the bottom of the linguistic hierarchy.

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