Digital Asia: The Lens and First Impressions

As I entered the classroom to begin BCM Digital Asia I realized how far removed I was from any course I had previously taken. I am a Finance Major coming from Montreal Canada and currently exchange at UOW. The majority of the courses that I have taken are geared towards the learning and understanding of facts and formulas which are set in stone. Then using what we learn to critically analyze specified situations, where only one correct answer exists. I believe that Digital Asia will offer me a new lens through which I will be allowed to learn and study for the first time. The opportunity to react to course material and base my response/work on my impressions is unprecedented. I am excited to use a mindset and work ethic of open-ended understanding/analysis for the first time.

A little more about me, I am Canadian and German, and speak German fluently as well. I have lived and worked in Germany for a year, and managed a bar on a lake in the summers during my university degree in Montreal. I grew up playing Ice hockey and any other sport I could get my hands on, and since November have become an avid climber. Over the last 6 months, rock climbing has been one of my top priorities. Onto the course; My experience with any part of Asia is very limited outside of my interactions with first second and third generation “Asian’s” in Toronto where I was raised.

Before the movie started I felt I was pretty open without too many expectations. Having said that I am sure that I had underlying assumptions about what to expect, one of which was the notion that many Asian movies tend to have a monster which sends everyone running. I believe this idea comes from Godzilla. Although “The Host” did have a giant monster this is not a trend I expect to continue.

The first difference I noticed was the opening shot where the company which produced the movie was advertised, simply because I did not recognize it. As the movie progressed I was never shocked or affronted, rather there would be small differences which would catch me off guard. I did realize that the stereotype that all asians (Chinese, Japanese etc..) are disciplined and hard workers was more ingrained in me than expected. This realization came when I was mildly surprised at the relaxed and goofy nature of the main character. I believe that the breaking down of this stereotype made me feel that these people and their culture are more relatable. Throughout the movie the small stabs at humour stood out strongly to me as they contrasted against the general serious nature of the film. However I felt that the comedic aspect was done very well. It never took away from the tone of the film but still brought a chuckle out of me and some of the other students.

The last thing that the film made me think of, is the relationship between the people and the state. Based off of my knowledge of Asia through conversation and media I have the impression that the Governments involvement in creating order, structure and discipline for its citizens is higher than western countries. Based off this assumption I believe the arts in Asian countries would be one of the avenues through which the people can express their feelings towards the control of the state. “The Host” made it clear that there was a lack of trust in the state and showed its overarching control and power. I am excited to look for representations of this idea in other movies, that the artists use film to express the control of the state and lack of autonomy and freedom for its citizens. However will also keep in mind that by looking for this relationship between the people and the state I will be biased towards it, and therefore may try to watch a few western movies and see if a similar relationship is explored and to the same degree.

Over all I can honestly say I enjoyed the movie.

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