Author: KARLI

Student at University of Wollongong, Studying Media and Communications

Analysis – Digital Asia Journey

After reviewing my previous blog post “Digital Asia Journey”, I have discovered that there has been some connections between my narrative and the research of auto ethnographic studies. When writing an autobiography, the author reflects and selectively writes about past experiences (Ellis et al, 2011). I approached the previous blog question in a way that made me reflect on all the encounters I have had with anything relating to Asia in the past. Still continuing to reflect on myself, I notice how I am more comfortable writing in first person and in the form of an informal blog that can be communicated in a descriptive narrative way. 

Narrative ethnography refers to text in the form of a story which communicates the writer’s past experiences (Ellis et al, 2011). This form of ethnography also incorporates the study of others, and now others who might have experienced the same or different types of epiphanies when encountering a similar experience or narrative. I thought this was my form of writing, however I still lack falling back on the research of others due to the mentality that I believe I am the only one who experienced events the way I experienced them. The whole purpose of an auto-ethnographic piece of writing is to translate the personal into the social science research realm with unique first-person representations that are accessible to readers both within and outside various communities in the global context.(Marx et al. 2017). Which means you write about your personal experiences to somehow relate them to already collected research and contribute to this research for a greater mutual understanding about various topics. 

For example, in my previous blog I discussed how racism may of contributed to my lack of exposure to asian culture. This is where I achieved the first step of the auto-ethnography but failed to link it to research that has already been completed. This form of ethnographic study can be referred to as Personal Narrative. In contrast with narrative ethnography, personal narrative is to understand yourself more through the therapeutic form of writing. The purpose is to invite readers into the world of the author where they can reflect, understand and cope with their own lives, it is not always accompanied by a traditional analysis (Ellis et al, 2011). 

Personally, I find narrative writing more interesting than endless pages of data, research and formal articles. The purpose is to stimulate your imagination and tell a story. It can be both fact or fiction and makes it a useful tool to communicate issues and experiences to the general public in an intriguing way (Mac Donnchaidh, 2018). Relating back to my previous blog, I would hope that it was a more interesting way to communicate my experience of Asia in a chronological and “showing” way, instead of a formal and “telling” form. 

References

Dubrofsky, R. and Wood, M. (2014). Posting Racism and Sexism: Authenticity, Agency and Self-Reflexivity in Social Media. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 11(3), pp.282-287.

Ellis, C., Adams, T. and Bochner, A. (2011). Autoethnography: An Overview. [online] Volume 12, No. 1, Art. 10. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095 [Accessed 19 Sep. 2019].

Humanrights.gov.au. (2014). No place for racism | Australian Human Rights Commission. [online] Available at: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/no-place-racism [Accessed 18 Sep. 2019].

Mac Donnchaidh, S. (2019). How to write an excellent Narrative — Literacy Ideas. [online] Literacy Ideas. Available at: https://www.literacyideas.com/narratives [Accessed 9 Sep. 2019].

Marx, S., Pennington, J. and Chang, H. (2017). Critical Autoethnography in Pursuit of Educational Equity: Introduction to the IJME Special Issue. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 19(1), p.1.

Digital Asia Journey

As far as identifying myself to a specific segment of “culture”, demographically majority of the general public would classify me as “the whitest of white”. Even though I do like to emphasise that I am 1/16th Japanese (according to my mother), the blonde hair, pale skin and brightly colour eyes don’t seem to be helping my case. However, I have always had a large fascination with Asian culture that was mostly sparked through introduction to different foods, travel vlogs on Youtube, and travelling to Singapore and Thailand to witness differing asian cultures first hand. 

Growing up in Australia, I’d say during the years of my childhood, my only exposure to asian culture would be the local Chinese restaurant, Indonesian day at school and Karate Kid. Other than that I can’t really recall being exposed to much of an asian influence. Personally I think this could be a result of Australia being viewed as a particularly “racist” country, especially in the years of the early 2000s. Around one in 5 Australians say that they have witnessed race-hate talk such as verbal abuse, racial slurs or name calling (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014). I believe it was an important factor to consider when analysing my personal lack of exposure to asian culture, and how it will still be a contributing factor until the concept of “Postracism” (racism no longer exists; we can ignore race altogether) is achieved (Dubrofsky, et at. 2014). 

I’d like to think that my introduction to technology brought on my curiosity to travel. In Year 7, I received my first personal Macbook, thus opening the digital door to endless google searches and possibilities. While planning my trip to Singapore I did all of the basic things like make a Pinterest board, learn basic Malay, figure out what foods I had to try and which places I had to visit. Looking back at it now it’s pretty embarrassing to think about. After that came I was exposed to mukbangs (eating shows), then I travelled to Thailand where I witnessed a lot of fun nightlife, great food but a lot of poverty and pollution. Then Netflix drew me into the world of K-Dramas, which resulted in K-Pop and now we have a white girl trying to learn Korean, with a slight infatuation with BTS and plans to visit Japan and Korea next year.

References

Dubrofsky, R. and Wood, M. (2014). Posting Racism and Sexism: Authenticity, Agency and Self-Reflexivity in Social Media. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 11(3), pp.282-287.

Humanrights.gov.au. (2014). No place for racism | Australian Human Rights Commission. [online] Available at: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/no-place-racism [Accessed 18 Sep. 2019].

 

Auto Ethnography – Akira

This week I participated in the live screening and tweeting of Akira (1988), which is a Japanese anime film. This was my first time properly watching an anime film, and at points I did feel very overwhelmed with such colourful graphics that created somewhat of a controlled chaos upon the screen. Drawing from my live tweeting experience I was able to make some interesting connections between the film and the outside world based on my personal set of knowledge, experiences and ethics. 

Auto ethnography is an approach to research that enables a viewer to share their personal experiences whilst drawing from previously collected data in order to gain a cultural experience (Ellis, 2011). Due to the live tweeting experience, I came to the realisation that my personal experience watching the film would be different to other viewers. When responding to any stimuli, in order to process and understand it an individual uses their own knowledge, experiences and thought processes to digest information. My demographics such as race, gender, religion, age etc, are not the exact same as my classmates thus resulting in different experiences. However Ellis discusses how there are ways others may experience similar epiphanies. For example, I made an observation that the graphics and story-line of Akria did trigger memories of a car racing video game that you would find at an arcade, due to the interaction on my tweet I was able to determine that someone of my classmates did agree with me, but may have only experience the epiphany when I brought it to their attention. 

Epiphanies’ are remembered moments perceived to have significantly impacted the trajectory of a person’s life (Ellis, 2011). Another epiphany that I experienced during the screening of Akira was a connection between the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing with Japanese anime (TheArtifice, 2018). There were certain themes carried throughout the movie such as bombs going off, gas spreading across the air as well as tragedy and distress. Turns out it is actually true that the bombings do influence a lot of Japanese manga and anime probably due to the fact it is a sad but relatable reality in today’s world that allows individuals to form a connection with the film. Auto-ethnography can relate to this idea as it is about backing up a story with facts and research (Ellis, 2011). Anyone can tell a story, but what divides a story and an auto-ethnographic response is the ability to draw on research and data to make the story more efficient, relatable and believable. 

 

References:

The-artifice.com. (2018). Akira: An Analysis of the A-Bomb and Japanese Animation | The Artifice. [online] Available at: https://the-artifice.com/akira-analysis/ [Accessed 22 Aug. 2019].

Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview [40 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 10, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1101108.

The Host – Review

Walking into the first BCM320 class I honestly didn’t know what to expect (probably my fault for not reading the subject outline), however after learning that we would be screening different Asian films I was instantly intrigued. With my cultural background consisting of the whitetest of whiteness, other cultures specifically in Asia have always interested me.

The South Korean film “The Host”, held an interesting message regarding pollution and the communications with South Korea and The United States. To quickly summarise the film, American military personnel were dumping toxic chemicals into South Korea’s Han River which resulted in the birth of this human consuming monster which also carried a contagious disease (crazy, I know). The main character was separated from his daughter who was believed to be dead after being consumed by the monster. The rest of the film consists of the main character’s quest in trying to be reunited with his daughter as well as killing the chemically birthed monster. 

From previously watching a lot of Korean television shows and movies I’ve noticed that is is common to use music and humour throughout to add a flare of comedy to the film. However, even though the CGI was not the best and the movie did have some level of humour, I believe it carried an important message about the toxic pollution and was almost a humorous jab at The US military maybe?. The director Bong Joon-ho even discusses how the movie was motivated by an incident which occurred in 2000 when a Korean mortician working for The US military, dumped a large amount of chemicals down the drain. I feel as if Bong Joon-ho effectively communicated environmental concerns to the audience whilst also making the movie enjoyable to watch. This  was proven in the numerous awards “The Host” was nominated for such as “Best Film” at the Asian Film Awards. It also held the “Highest grossing film” in Korea for a number of years. 

Overall, I found the movie interesting and I enjoyed the live tweeting experience. However, it was difficult at times to manage watching the film, reading subtitles, tweeting and reading other peoples tweets all at once. Hopefully this will get easier to manage as the term progresses.