Monday, 22 October 2012

China is the future? Hollywood hints it is....

Has anyone noticed that there is an increasing display of Asian aspirational elements in all things that are supposedly Western? Take the example of Hollywood blockbuster, "The Looper", which I had decided to watch based on my interest of time travel - but boy, did something else stand out to me. Yes, the appearance of Qing Xu as Bruce Willis' wife was a nice bonus but it was something else -  a particular line which developed "China as the future" as an important theme of the movie.

So for this who didn't watch the movie yet and plan to, please note there are some slight spoilers in the rest of the post to follow - don't say I didn't warn you! 

Young Joe (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a looper - which is the name for killers who lived 30 years into the past and killed their target, who are people of the future sent back to the past through time travel, to be killed.

One of the scenes mark Young Joe having a conversation with his manager,  Abe (Jeff Daniels), who is a man of the future sent back to the past to keep a watch over the Loopers. Abe tells Young Joe that he knows he has been storing his silver and learning French in preparation to escape the city. He then  probes to ask Young Joe "Why French?" and was responded with "... I'm going to France." (At this next moment, the critical line comes in which sets the context for the rest of the storyline.) Abe twitches his face and stares at Young Joe in the eye and says "Go to China. I'm from the future. Trust me, go to China."

It is quite evident that "China as the future" is an important theme for the entire movie as the later half of the movie does show Old Joe (Bruce Willis) in Shanghai, China where he meets his beloved wife, Summer (Qing Xu).  The death of his wife was also critical to the character development of Old Joe and establishes his motivations to go back into the past in hopes to save Summer.

It is also interesting to note that the movie Looper is actually an US/China cooperation and that two editions of the movie were released, one for the US market and one for the Chinese market. The Chinese version (still in English with Chinese subtitles) contained many more scenes shot in Shanghai and also shows Bruce Willis speaking a few lines in Mandarin. This was seemingly done to appeal to the Chinese audience as these scenes were cut from the US edition.

How does this all relate to multicultural marketing? As Sensu also always believes, it is the future. In short, products and brands who are able to appeal to more than one market audience will see better success than those who do not. Multicultural marketing is merely just a scaled form of global marketing in a local context. I am sure many of us Chinese in Canada (especially those immigrants who proudly come from Shanghai!) would have loved to see more of the exclusive scenes shots in Shanghai - why cut them out?!


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Celebrating China’s National Day Holiday in Canada

This past week is China’ s National Day Holiday, which allows for 7 days off and usually is called “Golden Week”. Chinese people go out for eating, travelling and shopping during these days.

When my media friend told me there would be a flag-raising ceremony at the Markham Civic Centre on the afternoon of October 1st, I didn’t realize she was talking about raising China flag until I was physically there with her.

It was amazing to see people with different ethnicity carry both China flag and Canada flag on a Chinese occasion at a Canadian government office. As this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival was one day before, there were moon cakes as sweet treat.

The ceremony was initiated by Federation of Chinese Canadian in Markham, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the provision of services to the Chinese community and the integration of Chinese Canadians into the mainstream of Canada since 1989, and supported by Frank Scarpitti, the mayor of the city of Markham. The mayor said during the ceremony: ”It’s a symbol of respect for those who come here from that part of the world.”

Later, I knew the same celebration ceremonies were held in Richmond Hill and Pickering as well. As the second largest ethnic group in GTA, Chinese has increasing strong influence almost everywhere. It is great to know the influence has gained attention and recognition from retailers, CPG and even government in Canada.