Globalization is defined as “the worldwide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade and the exchange of ideas.”( Schaefer, R.T.(2006), Sociology: A Brief Introduction, 6th edition, McGraw Hill). This phenomenon mainly comes from technological advance in communications and mass media. In addition, multinational companies and the trend of integration among countries lead to the fact that our world becoming flatter and flatter.
Globalization does bring convenience and comfort to Vietnamese people. Now we can enjoy goods and services with high quality and competitive prices as many foreign companies join our market. Advances in communication help eradicate geographic borders among countries and therefore connect our world. Especially, globalization shortens the long-standing distance among different cultures. For example, right here in Vietnam, we can watch latest movies made in Hollywood: Avatar, New Moon, 2012… We can read famous books written by authors from US, UK, EU, Japan, China… We can’t help from observe the appearance of restaurants serving Thai, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, American, Latin American food in Ho Chi Minh City. Moreover, globalization is fast and useful ways to present Vietnamese culture to the whole wide world.
However, that does not means globalization does no harm to the culture of our country. One of the most concerning problems caused by globalization is the dominance of foreign culture on Vietnamese life. “Embedded in the concept of globalization is the notion of the cultural domination of developing nations by more affluent nations. Simply put, people lose theirs traditional values and begin to identify with the culture of dominant nations. They may discard or neglect their native language and dress as they attempt to copy the icons of mass-market entertainment and fashion” (Schaefer, R.T.(2006), Sociology: A Brief Introduction, 6th edition, McGraw Hill).
Perhaps, the most transparent and serious effect is language. Our Vietnamese language is facing “severe competition” from other languages, especially English.
This poster is placed in Thoi Son, Tien Giang province, C uu Lond Delta
to advertise for the “Miss World 2010”.The majority of people in this area do not know English.
English advertisement on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City
Where are we? Are we in Vietnam?
The address of this shop is completely written in English. No Vietnamese.
The official language of our nation is Vietnamese. So, why not appear any Vietnamese words in these advertisements? Certainly, English is very necessary to the development of tourism as well as nation’s economy. However, I still wonder whether the authors of these advertisements, accidentally or deliberately, are neglecting the mother language. No matter how it takes, that proves the dominance of foreign language to our Vietnamese.
Particularly, nowadays, many children who are sent to international schools find it difficult to express their ideas in Vietnamese because they use English as their mother tongue. Someone says that it is acceptable but I totally disagree. Certainly, I do not deny the importance of English, even I agree with the policy that English should be used as official language in education and workplace.
However, there is no need to abandon our Vietnamese. This trade-off is not worth happening.
Another aspect of Vietnamese culture which is suffering from negative effects of globalization is films and music.
(Source: www.phimanh.vnexpress.net )
“ Giai cuu than chet” , the copy of a famous American
musical movie “High School Musical”
(Source: www.dantri.com.vn )
“Ngôi nha hanh phuc” the Vietnamese version of a Korean film “Full House”
(Source: www.tuoitre.com.vn )
Another Vietnamese film with Korean style: “Mùi ngò gai”
The lyrics of modern Vietnamese songs are carelessly inserted English sentences. Their melody reminds us of Korean or Chinese music.
Many young singers try to imitate “as precise as possible” Korean style of performance and outfit. Their stage names make us confuse of their nationality. Noo Phuoc Thinh, Wanbi Tuan Anh,
Khong Tu Quynh, Ung Hoang Phuc…Are they Vietnamese?
Moreover, some unique features of Vietnamese tradition has been changed so much as a result of globalization.Let take a look at this following story:
“ Nguyen Thi Bich Hang, 27, an employee of a private advertising company in Ho Chi Minh City, District 1 has had lunch or afternoon tea with friend or young colleagues at Kentucky Fried Chicken, better known as KFC, fast-food restaurants several times a month for the past few years. Fried chicken, fried potatoes and fried chicken rice are their regular orders. Hang said that the convenience in payment and eating and the relaxed atmosphere are strong points of the stores. She also sometimes eats fast food at Lotteria with her family or her boyfriend when they go out on weekend.”
(The Saigon Time Weekly Newspaper, July 25th 2009)
Vietnamese tradition respects the family meals at home. However, the appearance of fast food courts rapidly changes this habit. Also, we can see the difference in the modern recipe and traditional recipe. While traditional ones prefer more vegetables and fruit, the modern ones contain fried chicken, fried potatoes, soft drink, hot dog, spaghetti…
So, how can we solve this problem? Surely, we can not isolate ourselves from globalization because as I mentioned above, globalization brings us a better world than we can imagine.Personally, the most important solution is we have to be aware of the difference between two definitions: integrating into this world and dissolving into it. We do learn wonderful things from other culture to make ours more beautiful but not imitate to become their “perfect copy”.
Please share your ideas and feeling on my writing. Thank you very much.
Duong My Thanh