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Differences in Cultural Perspective

Almost every individual tend to be fascinated with beliefs or things that are different from what he or she normally sees in his or her every day life. These variations usually arises the interests of the person in knowing and understanding the things that are not familiar to him or her. However, there are also instances wherein these differences could make people pose their judgment or prejudices upon others that do not practice or adhere their beliefs.

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This kind of thinking is applicable in the cultural differences that most countries have.

The movie Forbidden Kingdom could greatly exemplified the importance of understanding various cultures. This motion picture feature two of the biggest stars in the martial arts film genre namely Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Other actors also supported them most specially Michael Angarano, which plays Jason Tripitikas that represent the western part of the world in the story. The plot of the movie paved the way for the exploration of the western and eastern cultures. It enables its viewers to see the differences that these different parts of the world have.

Nevertheless, it also paved the way for people coming from these two cultures to increase their tolerance for each other’s difference even to the point of appreciating it. The movie revolves around a teenage boy name Jason Tripitikas. He is an avid fan of Chinese martial arts. He frequently goes to China town in order to buy some DVDs about martial arts movie. During one of the normal days that he went there, he pass by a pawnshop where he saw a staff. The owner of the establishment, an old Chinese guy named Hop informed him that the staff should be given back to its rightful owner.

On his way back home, Jason encountered the local bully, Lupo. He violently forced him to go to the pawnshop at night so that Hop would open it, which will allow them to rob the shop and took Hop’s money. As the robbery happened, Lupo shot Hop but before he died, he instructed Jason to bring the staff back to its owner. Jason ran away from Lupo and his gang. However, Lupo was able to get a hold of him but before they could hurt him the staff transported him into ancient China where his adventure began.

Jason interacted with the Chinese community back then and learned the true value of their culture especially that of martial arts (The Internet Movie Database). The American teenager’s perception of the eastern culture specifically of the Chinese started with only the idea of martial arts. Every time he would heard about their culture it is not surprising that the first thing that came into his mind is martial arts or Chinese food. This is not unexpected especially for a western teenager since most of his knowledge about the Chinese culture is influence by the media.

However, when Jason was able to really partake in the real culture of ancient China he was able to understand their way of life. In doing so, he was able to adhere to some of their beliefs and practices. In line with this, Homi Bhabha’s arguments in “Culture’s In-Between” tend to explain the cultural differences that happened in the movie. The first thing that Jason experienced was a sense of identity that is only based upon the western culture that he has. His view of other culture is also based upon the beliefs that his western roots reinforced. Nevertheless, this changed when he experienced the ancient culture of the Chinese.

He was able to understand the variation and even follow some of the Chinese way of life. In this situation, Jason’s identity became multicultural because he does not only follow one particular belief or practice but he tend to be tolerant of others as well (Bhabha, 54). Moreover, based on Randall Raus’ “The American Perspective of: What is Culture? ” he asserted that America is actually very tolerant of other nations’ culture. He asserted that there is no other country that is culturally diversified as the United States due to the presence of numerous people coming from various states that have their respective ways of life (Raus).

Being the case, this caused the establishment of different cultural practices in the country that is observable in varying communities there like the Latino, Chinese, Filipino, and others. Early on in the story, the western teenager already has his fascination with martial arts. Due to the influence of media, he thought that martial arts were a “cool thing. ” He perceived it as some sort of trend that if he could be able to perform such kind of stunts he would instantly gain popularity.

The teenager also has this thinking that learning martial arts would demand respect from other people and this would also boost his reputation in the community. This kind of adage is greatly influence by the media. Communication technology like the television, Internet, advertisements, commercials, and others has a huge impact in the way of thinking of people especially of young adults nowadays (Rayuso). Martial arts are usually portrayed in movies or television shows as something that is merely fascinating rather than its true purpose of self-defense.

In this sense, media tend to modify the view of the people with regards to other culture. This eventually impedes the proper understanding of other nations’ beliefs and practices. The manipulation of the media regarding people’s perspective about a certain group or nationality is widely observable at the present time. A good example is the issue of terrorism wherein some irresponsible media reporting tend to always put Arabs and Muslims in a bad light as they pertain to them as the one responsible in terrorist attacks (Hamza, et. al).

Citizens of various nations either get interested with the culture of other countries or they would immediately disregard it especially if it is not similar or near the practices that they have. Nevertheless, the knowledge of other nations culture is very essential in order for people to properly understand each other and learn to accept the differences that exists among them. It also aid in clarifying wrong notions that people have regarding their counterparts in other states. The correct knowledge of other cultures could foster greater understanding and acceptance among the people all over the world.