07 November 2018

Media Portrayal of an Ideal Beauty Image

In Indonesia, there is one image of ideal beauty that is portrayed in all media, from magazines, advertisement billboards to commercials, especially of beauty products. This image portrays woman with almost white-light skin tone, long-straight lustrous silky black hair, big rounded eyes with double eyelid and long eyelashes, pointed nose, and slim yet curvy figure. This image can be seen in almost every beauty commercials in Indonesia and it immediately raises question because most native Indonesians, except in small areas of Indonesia, is naturally dark-skinned.

24 September 2018

Coach Carter and the Lone Quest for Winning in Life

One of the most powerful speeches of the 2005 American film Coach Carter was delivered inside a library, which may seem odd for a sports movie. The basketball team had been prohibited from playing and was forced to study. The one who made that decision, head coach Ken Carter, was facing the toughest challenge in his career: make his players study while pressure from the school and the community could have put not only his job but also his life in danger. It could be easier anywhere else but not in America, where high school sport is a dominant cultural event and the gym or the stadium is the sacred temple of not only the school but the whole community behind it.

12 July 2018

Bilingual Education and Cultural Identity Development

Strong cultural identity is often perceived as vital for school adaptation in the psychology literature, as it strongly relates to students’ mental well-being and self-esteem. Addressing this issue, studies on acculturation have been conducted through observing behavioral patterns and perspective change of overseas students experiencing acculturation. The relationship between acculturation and identity is often discussed in terms of the complications between the need to adapt and the need to maintain one’s cultural identity.

09 April 2018

Two Books on Third World Cinema

Any discussion of Third World films should begin with definition of the concept of the Third World. Roy Armes in Third World Film Making and the West (University of California Press, 1987), defines Third World countries as those once colonized nations that are still underdeveloped because of their economic exploitation by the West. This, I assume, accounts for the rather strange title of this book since the emphasis here is given to the relationship between Third World filmmaking in particular, and the West in general. Yet, I did not find that this emphasis was reflected in the writing. And for good reason, since the primary concern of a Third World filmmaker is not his relationship to the West (although this may be one of his concerns) but his country and his people. It seems to me that the title points to an uneasiness that Roy Armes feels in writing about this subject. It is hard to pinpoint why he feels so uneasy.