It is undeniable that US media is prevalent in Singapore. As more television shows, movies and other media products are being produced in the US, the same amount of those are being introduced in our country.
With the great flow of media products from the US, I would say that Singapore can very much be associated with the “cultural imperialism” theory, which states in modern imperialism theorist point of view that it is achieved by core nations giving away media products free of charge or selling them at very low price (“give to dominate”).
If you were to watch local channels, like channel 5, you will realize the that there are a huge number of American TV shows being broadcasted.
Sure, channel 5 plays a fair share of local TV shows like The Pupil, Incredible Tales, and Crimewatch too, however, it is outshine by media products from the US. Being the true blue Singaporean I am, I feel apologetic for switching channel when a local show is being played on channel 5, but I just can’t seem to help it. That being said, the local media relies on these US TV productions to keep the channel running. They accentuate it, hence, we find ourselves adopting their culture with consistent exposures.
When I am not watching channel 5, I often find myself switching to channels on cable TV which is also highly dependent on US media with channels like Starworld, FOX, AXN, Discovery, for entertainment.
This has been a trend since my younger days, where I was already exposed to channels like Disney and Nickelodeon. Most of the cartoons that I watched were produced in the west, therefore, I dare say that I am very much influenced by the Western culture. And I believe we all are, to a certain extent, based on the language we speak, the clothes we wear, the way we behave, the way we think. It is impossible to not be influenced by the western culture.
With all the American cultural imperialism going on, does it mean that we necessarily lose our national identity or do the imports of US media products damage our cultural identities? I think not.
The impact of cultural imperialism is not always negative. It is good to keep an open mind since we have already embraced the culture. There is no harm as long as we retain our values and traditions. Moreover, with cultural imperialism, we can learn more about the other and incorporate the good of their culture into ours.
I believe that as Singaporeans, we value our roots twice as much regardless of how great the influence US media have on us.
Image source: Mediacorp, Starhub Cable TV
Reference: Unit 4 Lecture Notes