Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oceans Away?

Last Friday an estimated 200 million people tuned in to watch a regular season basketball game between the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks. That's twice the number of people that watched the Superbowl this year. Who were all these viewers? The game took place in Houston but most of the viewers were found on the other side of the world in China. Friday night was the first meeting of Yao and Yi. When you think of China, the first thing that comes to mind isn't basketball. But Yao Ming and Yi Jianlin are breaking the mold and bringing basketball to the attention of mainland China. It is one example of how connecting the world together has changed the way we live.

In the past oceans and mountains, languages and customs made the world seem enormous. But fiber optic cables and satellites have brought us to the realization that "it's a small world after all." The internet is an amazing thing, my site statistics shows recent visitors to this blog from India, Canada, Chile, England, France, Italy, Vietnam, Russia, the Netherlands, Australia, Romania, Germany, Israel and Greece. It's never been so easy for ideas to be dispersed throughout the earth. Some people, citing examples like last Friday's basketball game, think that this means "Americanizing the whole world. They say that before we know it everyone will be chomping down Big Macs and singing along with Garth Brooks. I don't think so. Although the cultures of the world will continue to intertwine, they will continue to have their own distinct flavor.

Even here in America we appreciate and assimilate the good of other cultures into our own. Drive down University Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota and there are probably four Vietnamese restaurants selling "pho" (beef noodle soup) on every street corner. For years, destitute Hmong refugees in Thailand have hand stitched "pa ndau" (Hmong flower cloth) to send to their relatives in America, where the intricate handiwork is then sold to admiring American collectors. Due largely to the internet, we have unprecedented opportunities to be exposed to unique new forms of art, music and food. Countries all over the world will be able to embrace light and truth, regardless of where it comes from.

The internet has also provided a way for cultures to retain their distinct flavor. Wikipedia has articles in over two hundred languages, evidence that the internet is no longer just an American thing. It is providing a new forum for individuals to communicate in their own language and share information vital to their cultural identity. It is also helping to change the way the world does business. As more and more countries begin to establish their place in the global economy, individuals are able to be successful while remaining in their own countries. These changes suggest that although Beijing and Boston may be only an email away, they can still be an ocean apart culturally.

Why be afraid of the direction the world is moving? We shouldn't feel that our cultural identity is in danger. I am just excited to see what the world has to offer.


breatnyS said...

Good defense by the Milwaukee Bucks drama boys, if only we could patch up the difference, this will be a Milwaukee good season. They are running, switching in defense, rebounding see those efforts. We don't have yet the Bucks team down.

I which I could see some Bucks games live. I was looking for tickets all the good seats on ticketmaster were taken I had to check broker. And man you don’t want to do that especially for the Milwaukee Bucks. Thanks god there sites like Ticketwood which work as comparators here is the site
Bucks Tickets

I like slam dunks that take me to the hoop my favorite play is the ally-hoop,
I like the pic n roll,i like the given goal its basketball yo, yo lets go!
Go Bucks Go!!!

Matt Smith said...

Nice post. It is, indeed, very interesting to see how we all connect together by one thing or another.