The globalization of the production and distribution of goods and services has been invited in most parts of the world. Most of the scholars define globalization as the acceleration of economic interaction between people across the borders and overseas. It makes it possible for different governments to share policies, break trade boundaries, and help companies to venture into new businesses. Developing countries such as China and other Asian countries have had their share of globalization. However, what has never been clear is how globalization and other factors have affected the cultural setup of these countries.
Culture can be defined as the collective regard of the human intellectual achievements. It runs down through generations and is intended to be kept for the future. There is a massive diversity in culture. The cultural diversity gives a society a unique belonging and pride. Therefore, at all cost, culture must be maintained and given the utmost respect that it deserves. In fact, it is the cultural diversity that promoted the development of different industries such as tourism. People moved from one place to another to learn and share a different culture. Unfortunately, it happened that different cultures started to erode, others transforming while others getting better and better. Having said a lot, this paper will look at some of the ways; both negative and positive, how globalization and other factors have influenced culture in the developing countries.
China and Cultural Change
China is one of the nations with the richest culture in the Asian continent if not the world as a whole. Once a very poor country that depended majorly on foreign aid and agricultural products, China has changed and transformed into a nation battling for the top economic spot with the United States. The economic advances of China are by far not a surprise. The country opened its borders for globalization earlier than most of the Asian countries. The wave of globalization was already sweeping the corners of China as early as the Great Drought.
The Chinese culture is rich in terms of language, art, food, religion, customs, and celebrations. Over the past decades, the wave of globalization and technological advancements being felt all over the world has had an effect in almost all these cultural riches. The Chinese population is estimated to be 1 billion, the highest populated country in the world. With one of the best geographical settings in the region, China is attractive to most of the tourists. Millions of Americans and other people from other developed countries visit China to enjoy their serene weather and to dance to the tunes of their celebrations. The attractive nature of China has made it necessary that some changes be made to suit the visiting community.
The Chinese Language
Mandarin dialect is spoken by most of the Chinese population, 71.5 percent estimate. Other languages include the Wu, Yue, Xiang, Min, Hakka, and Gan. Unfortunately, most of the tourists do not speak either of these languages. The need to accommodate and be hospitable to the tourists has led to the demand of learning new languages. English, French, and Arabic languages, therefore, tops the list of the new languages studied in China. With the advancement in the use of English language and other languages in China other than the seven dialects, greater erosion has been witnessed in culture. Chinese children no longer have an interest in learning their local dialects as they hold the notion that the world business does not incorporate either of their dialects.
The Chinese Art
China is the birthplace of kung fu and other martial arts that has taken the world film industry by a storm. It is not by a surprise that some of the schools in the United States are already including kung fu as an additional lesson in schools just to make sure that students develop an interest in going to school. Ti chi is a Chinese culture that helps in meditation and is connected to some health benefits to the person who practices it. According to the Black Belt magazine, kung fu was invented in China as early as 1600. It is beyond any reasonable doubt that kung fu culture has had its fair share of the globalization generation. The culture is highly respected in the Chinese communities and if what is happening currently is to go by, then the culture is here to stay. The use of the internet, which is one of the products of globalization, has led to the spread of the culture into many other countries. Bruce Lee, the great martial artist managed to entertain millions of viewers who came to believe that the culture was worth keeping for the next generations.
The Chinese Food
The Chinese food is becoming one of the favorites in the United States. People no longer order for fast foods at MacDonalds restaurants as they will rather get into the Chinese village and get some stir-fried dishes and Szechuan. It was the Chinese culture to eat food with little fats, organic which relied mainly on only peanut paste, sesame, and ginger. The community believed in healthy eating. With the globalization and internet advancement, the Chinese people have seen their menus change in a way they will rather not have wished. It was not common to see the Chinese depend on genetically modified foods. Tourists traveling to China demand foods from their home country as some feel not comfortable with what the culture provides. Therefore, as other nations come in and demand another menu, the Chinese start to adapt to new food types which remove their cultural diet out of their tables. As much as globalization has been good to promote the Chinese foods in other countries, it is messing with the Chinese food culture back in China.
Cultural Change in Africa
It is not only China that is feeling the boiling heat of globalization and technological advancements such as the internet as far as its culture is concerned. Talking about the developing countries will be incomplete without a mention of Africa. Once called the Dark Continent, Africa is one of the continents that have seen massive developments to their culture as a result of globalization. Before the arrival of the colonial powers, schools used not to be in Africa. Agriculture, hunting, and gathering were the main means of economic activities. The continent, divided in different countries had divided cultures and beliefs rich enough to attract tourists.
African Culture Today
Today, Africa is getting into its feet promoting education at every level. Most of the African students have been able to come to the United States to pursue further education which they take back to their countries to change the lives of their people. It is not only the educational culture that has changed in Africa, but also how people dress, eat, the music, and lifestyle. The only musical instrument that was used in Africa in the past was drums made from the hides and skins of the hunted animals. The music was made as simple as possible. It was meant to bring the communities together either in a happy or sorrowful mood. Rap music, secular, hip hop and rock were never there. Technology brought Africa closer to the rest of the world. When you walk in the streets of Africa today, you notice how the noise from the rap music is filling the air. Music has been changed by globalization.
Fashion is another thing that attracts attention when the topic of globalization and culture comes up. Africans were known for their hides that covered the better parts of the body. It was a shame for a woman to show some parts of their bodies while in public. Through globalization, one will be forced out of an interview room if they did not turn out in their favorite suits even when the weatherman made it clear that it will be sunny. Women are crowding the boutiques to acquire the latest merchandises they watched in the latest soap operas and other TV shows that hit their screens every minute. The wave of westernization which can be attributed majorly as a result of the high use of the internet has led to women walking half naked in Africa, something the elderly in the continent call a taboo.
The United States passed a law that allowed people of the same gender to marry. A man can marry a man so is a woman. In the days when the legendary Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe were fighting for freedom in Africa, no one ever thought that one day an African will hit the streets to demand the LGBT rights. In Africa, it was culturally clear that marrying or just getting in a romantic relationship with a person of the same gender was a taboo. No one ever dared to question whether this was not a violation of their rights. Glued to their TVs watching people of the same gender holding hands in public places openly and exchanging vows in sacred places, it dawned to Africans that anything is possible anywhere. They started to demand their rights the same way an American or English demanded. As a result different love wins, parades were witnessed in some African countries including Uganda.
It can be concluded that cultural change in the developing countries is real. Globalization is changing the way people used to do things. However, as much as globalization is eroding some cultures, there are some which it is promoting. Therefore, the change is not entirely negative.
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