Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Interview with Ang Lee about Brokeback Mountain

Posted by thuicc on March 1, 2006

I came across this interview with Ang Lee today (though the interview itself is from December). It’s from AsianWeek.com. In the interview, Lee has some interesting comments about what he views as similarities between cowboys and Asians:

I see the themes of repression in Brokeback Mountain as being universal regardless of culture. However, it is true that Eastern culture and the nature of cowboys share a certain indirectness, quiet nature, and use of body language to communicate that are quite similar. There are similarities in the art of the two cultures as well–they both emphasize feelings of sadness, melancholy, and expansive space through various media.The difference is that Western culture is more macho, whereas Eastern culture is–more lunar and feminine in nature. Thus, when it comes to attitudes about homosexuality, my personal theory is that Eastern culture is more relaxed than in the West. This stems from a difference in why a culture perceives homosexuality to be wrong–in Western culture, it stems from religion, and you are condemned if you are gay. Eastern culture seems more, flexible–and being gay is more of a social issue than a religious one; there is no deity to offend. The West also seems to tolerate lesbians more than gays because it’s a very macho culture; homosexuality is not okay because it threatens this culture. Of course, this is my observation in general–I am sure that there are happy gay ranch hands in Wyoming with very sensitive neighbors as well.

Interesting perspectives. What do you think?

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An article about cross-cultural advertising

Posted by thuicc on November 20, 2005

Elizabeth Würtz has written an article entitled “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Websites from High-Context Cultures and Low-Context Cultures” that was published recently in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. She looks particularly at McDonald’s websites from different countries and how the visual design of those websites reflected high-context or low-context cultural values. You might want to take a look at this article if you’re interested in the topic of transnational advertising.

Comments on it?

Posted in advertising, cultural classifications, media, websites | Comments Off on An article about cross-cultural advertising

Cultural differences in the American and Chinese versions of “The Apprentice”

Posted by thuicc on August 29, 2005

There’s a TV show in the U.S. called “The Apprentice“. This is a “reality” show where people compete to get a job. They work for a business executive and he observes their performance and decides who to keep in the end. The host of the show is the famous businessman Donald Trump. Trump is famous in this show for his line, “You’re fired!”, said with gusto when he fires one of the contestants. The Chinese version, according to this source, will be different.

“Chinese people give others face. To tell somebody he’s fired in such a tone, especially when this person has literally not been hired, is not the Chinese way. “I probably will say something like, ‘You will have a better opportunity somewhere else’, in a way he will get it and find the manner acceptable,” added the man nicknamed Naughty Boy for his company’s innovative designs.

Posted in Asia, media | Comments Off on Cultural differences in the American and Chinese versions of “The Apprentice”

Online radio show about Chinese- and Taiwanese-Americans

Posted by thuicc on August 16, 2005

Here is an online news segment, from an American public radio show called All Things Considered, about how Chinese-Americans and Taiwanese-Americans talk about (or don’t talk about) Taiwan’s political status. Take a listen. We’ll talk about it in class when we get a chance.

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Coke and Pepsi ads in China

Posted by thuicc on July 6, 2005

Interesting entry here about a S.H.E. Coke ad in China. The article reads (in part):

The S.H.E. ad is aparently meant to be inspirational, fitting with Coke’s slogan, “For satisfaction, look to yourself.” The group faces an unscrupulous music executive who wants them to dress more revealingly in order to sell more records. They refuse, and when the exec reacts angrily, the girls take a sip of Coke, which launches them into the World of Warcraft universe. They proceed to teach the guy a lesson while wearing the chaste costumes female video game characters are well-known for.Fantasy battles are quite common on the Chinese front of the Cola Wars. Pepsi’s campaign last year featured their entire line-up of young stars slinging magic missiles around in an immense amphitheater. The most recent Pepsi spot, which introduces new recruit Nicholas Tse (see Danwei’s previous post on the subject), is a frenzy of icy CGI wings and projectiles. Coke’s ads are red where Pepsi’s are blue, but there’s not much else to distinguish between the two.

Remind me of this article. We’ll probably do some work on intercultural and international advertising in the fall, if folks are interested.

Posted in advertising, Asia, business, media | Comments Off on Coke and Pepsi ads in China

Elton John, Taiwanese Reporters, and Intercultural Communication?

Posted by thuicc on September 24, 2004


It wouldn’t be hard to call the conflict between Elton John and Taiwanese news media a failure of intercultural communication. Obviously, the two parties had very differing opinions of what is supposed to happen when a foreign rock star steps off his private plane and goes through immigration. According to the Taipei Times article about the incident, John (and other foreign stars) wouldn’t have expected such a large group of aggressive (or should I say “eager” to be more objective?) reporters to be present at his arrival.

Despite previous grievances of the sort John encountered, local media representatives with a pass are allowed to enter the restricted areas of airports, according to a statute governing the use of airports’ restricted zones.

In many countries, however, it is not the normal practice for the media to be allowed access to such areas.

Interestingly, the cable TV news programs that I saw last night didn’t mention this “cultural” difference regarding the access the media has to restricted areas in airports. They (for the most part) seemed to emphasize only Elton John’s swearing at the reporters.

The English news on FTV (民視) was especially interesting: it provided English subtitles for everything Elton John said, but when a Taiwanese reporter yelled (in English), “Why don’t you get out of Taiwan?” there was no subtitle. We only saw a subtitle for John’s reply: “We’d love to get out of Taiwan if it’s full of people like you. Pig! Pig!” What impression might this give people of Elton John?

What do you think about this episode?

Posted in conflict, media, Taiwan | 8 Comments »