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Alcohol and Drinking Culture

August 18, 2010

The DrugInfo Clearinghouse states there are “social and cultural pressures” to drink alcoholic beverages as part of meals, celebrations, relaxation “and to have fun“. It also found there is a societal acceptance “that using alcohol at harmful levels or binge drinking is acceptable“. Binge drinking is the consumption of alcohol to become intoxicated. This is a negative aspect of the drinking culture which can cause serious health issue and other social issues (e.g. violence). A ninemsn reports “hangovers, headaches, nausea, shakiness” as well as “liver or brain damage“.

Drinking can be a social event, reducing inhibitions or enjoyment during a get together. The key to everything is moderation and control. NSW Drinking Campaign 1998 had a tagline which stated “Drink. Drunk. The difference is U“. It is fine to have enjoy a drink once in a while but getting drunk on a continual basis has health ramifications and like other drugs, can lead to other issues such as dependency. Alcoholism is the “dark side” of this culture and its effects can be devastating.

Prohibition (or the banning of alcohol) has proven historically to not be effective and drives the problem underground. Alcohol can be consumed responsibly, the key is understanding and hopefully society can define itself well enough to ensure that people know their limits and can drink without the need to get drunk.

References :

Wikipedia – Prohibition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition

Drink Drunk Campaign
October 21, 1998
http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/PARLMENT/hansArt.nsf/V3Key/LC19981021035

The effects of binge drinking
May 11, 2010
http://health.ninemsn.com.au/azindex/689748/binge-drinking

Alcohol and Society
by Staton Peele and Archie Brodsky – July, 1996
http://peele.net/lib/sociocul.html

Who drinks alcohol in Australia?
DrugInfo Clearinghouse
http://www.alcoholandwork.adf.org.au/browse.asp?ContainerID=who_drinks_alcohol

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Wedding Culture

August 15, 2010

The wedding ceremony is an integral part of almost all cultures each with their own traditions and rituals. In Sudan the groom has to pay 20 – 40 cattles for the bride whilst in China as part of the wedding ceremony, tea is served to the elders. In Australia however, most tend to follow the traditional “white” wedding. Weddings has served in our current culture as a way to celebrate the union of two people and the joining of two families. The celebrations usually incorporate two events, the actual wedding ceremony and wedding feast.

Bridezilla is a new term that has entered our culture.
It is defined in Wikipedia as a “difficult, unpleasant, perfectionist bride” and has spawned its own reality TV Show from company, WeTV. This represents the “bad” side to the wedding culture and reflects on the current “me” generation.

Bridezilla

Why are weddings so important? As a tradition it has endured thousands of years, some view it as a joining of families for arranged marriages, a public declaration of love or to build a solid foundation for a family. A question that was raised by Tim Dick from the Sydney Morning Herald is why marriage is currently only restricted to man and woman. It opens the question, should same sex unions by afforded the opportunity for their own wedding? This would be a radical culture shift from societal norms. Changing the current culture is never an easy process and is more gradual then sudden.

References

African People and Culture – Wedding Ceremonies
http://www.africaguide.com/culture/weddings.htm

Chinese Wedding Customs and Rituals
http://www.chinabridal.com/etiquette.htm

Bridezilla
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridezilla_%28term%29

Bridezillas – TV Show
http://www.wetv.com/bridezillas/index.html

Gay marriage: what would it really take?
by Tim Dick, August 18 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/gay-marriage-what-would-it-really-take-20100818-1292p.html

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Cultural Clash – Gen Y in the Workforce

August 12, 2010

Gen Y is a general term for anyone born after 1980. Wikipedia notes that they are most familiar “with communications, media, and digital technologies“. Every generation will seek to differentiate itself from the generation before them. Jack and Suzy Welch reports in Business Week, although there is a perception that Gen Y in workforce have an unfair sense of entitlement they have found from their own experience that they are “hardworking, entrepreneurial, startlingly authentic, refreshingly candid, and wonderfully upbeat“.

ABC News presents a different story stating “a survey of more than 300 Australian business owners has summed up Generation Y as demanding, impatient and bad at communicating” however the survey also found Gen Y’s have “energy, a creativity and a charisma, so if you can harness their personalities and their view of the world in the right way, they can be good employees“.

It is very difficult to classify an entire generation and any assertions of both negative and positive are stereotypes. In every group there will be the “good” and the “bad“. Most Gen Y’s will have grown up with different technologies (e.g. internet and mobile phones) which will change their outlook and the way they operate in the workplace. Especially with easy access to the internet, information is now on demand and that’s the way Gen Y’s work. If the current generation can mold their processes slightly and adapt accordingly there are hard workers of any generation (Gen Y included) who will prove to be assets to their businesses.

References :

Generation Y disappoints employers
By Liv Casben – Fri Jul 13, 2007
ABC News
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/13/1978431.htm

Generation Y’s Bad Rap
by Jack and Suzy Welch – September 27, 2007
Business Week
http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/sep2007/ca20070927_516544.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_managing

Wikipedia – Generation Y
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y

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Australia’s Fair Go Culture

August 10, 2010

Australia has defined part of its culture with the concept of a “fair go”. With Tourism Australia stating in its website that “It’s all about a fair go, the great outdoors and a healthy helping of irony“. In the TV Show A Fair Go, whilst discussing multiculturalism the host comments on “so-called Australian values – like mateship, and the notion of a fair go“. In the article from the Age, they asked Bibi Lall Mohamed from Mauritius what she loved about Australia. She replied “We loved Australia from the outset. To begin with, there’s so much space but it’s also the fact that people here give you a fair go.

Compared to other countries, Australia with a stable judicial system and economy can best afford its people and migrants an equal opportunity. In other countries where corruption is rampant, only those with money or connections are able to prosper. I personally migrated here from another country as the “fair go” culture in Australia provided the relevant opportunities to establish myself. The “fair go” culture allows those who are willing to work hard, the chance to succeed.

References :

Australia Culture – Tourism Australia
http://www.australia.com/about/culture.aspx

A Fair Go
Broadcasted on ABC on Monday 12th February 2007
Hosted by Jeff McMullen
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/differenceofopinion/episodes/episode_01.htm

People in Australia give you a fair go
By Martin Flanagan – July 21 2003
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/07/20/1058639659641.html

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Cooking Culture

August 7, 2010

Australia’s cooking culture (as described in culture.gov.au from the early European settlers of damper and rabbit with predominately English and Irish influences to a multicultural smorgasbord with influences from all over the world. The introduction of celebrity chefs (e.g. Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay) into our culture have influenced society to empowered society to experiment with cooking.

This is further reinforced with the popularity of MasterChef (Season 1 – Finale drew over 3.3 million viewers), the cooking culture phenomenon has taken hold in Australia. Its success with even a higher viewership in Season 2 has opened the idea that cooking is no longer a chore but an exciting way to exhibit culinary skill. A glance into almost every bookshop will yield a plethora of cooking books showing society’s interest in developing its cooking culture.

What is the current attraction to cooking?
Food is a universal link between people and cooking allows the chef to present a dish that represents the individual’s culture and ideals. Cooking in this respect does not represent putting a frozen pie in the oven but experimenting with various pie fillings from recipe books and putting forward an original creation.

Cooking can be an effectively way to impress or create a bond between family and friends. The cooking culture is an important way for one generation to pass down recipes to the next generation as well as (or importantly) having fun while creating something that can be savoured as the end result.

References :

MasterChef finale on track for record ratings
by KARL QUINN – July 23, 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/masterchef-finale-on-track-for-record-ratings-20100723-10o1r.html

Australian food and drink
culture.gov.au – Accessed 07-Aug-10
http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/foodanddrink/

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Sporting Culture

August 4, 2010

World Cup 2010 is the biggest sporting spectacle this year. Even those in Australia who don’t follow soccer (football) passionately supported the Socceroos in their quest for World Cup glory.

How much is sport worth to you?
As described in Sydney Morning Herald Article, in Somalia, watching the World Cup is illegal and as reported “Two Somali football fans have been killed by Islamic militants after being caught watching World Cup matches“. Sheik Mohamed Abdi Aros describes this sporting event as “a waste of money and time and they will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down“. It’s tragic to hear about the deaths, there is a definite breakdown in ideals for those who follow the culture of sport and those who view it as a worthless pursuit to engage in.

In NSW supporters dressed in their club colours religiously attend rugby league games cheering on their team weekly and according to NRL Figures over 85,000 attended last year’s grand final between Melbourne and Paramatta.

It’s hard to describe what drives the sporting culture? Marcia Henin describes the main reason for watching sport is “people like to watch competitions is because they tend to identify themselves with the winners“. I think it’s hard to fathom that the interest is simply people projecting their sporting heroes wins upon themselves.

I believe some grew up with the parents supporting a team and the kids following suit. For others it’s the thrill of the competition where every split second decision can result in a win or loss. I feel it’s more of an escapism in something bigger, the sense of belonging and following a particular team and sharing the euphoria of a win (or the sadness of a loss).

References

Football fans executed for watching World Cup
June 15, 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/world-cup-2010/world-cup-news/football-fans-executed-for-watching-world-cup-20100615-ybrj.html

Storms vs Eels Grand Final 2009
October 4, 2009
http://www.nrl.com/telstrapremiership/scores/tabid/10240/roundid/833/fixtureid/5801/infotabid/4/default.aspx

Why do we like to watch sport competitions?
by Marcia Henin
http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/39157/recreation_and_sports/why_do_we_like_to_watch_sport_competitions.html

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Fast Food Culture

August 3, 2010

The Fast Food Culture reflects the attitude to grab “food on the go” without much thought to its nutritional value. Convenience and cheap pricing are the most important criteria. The effects of the fast food culture is explored in the movie Super Size Me where the protagonist consumes McDonalds 3 times a day for 30 days and records the effects.

Bridget Murray from Monitor on Psychology states “Stop blaming people or their genes–it’s an abundance of unhealthy, heavily advertised, low-cost food that underlies the nation’s obesity crisis.” The most frightening aspect of the fast food culture is the “passive acceptance” of the multitude of burger franchises and sweets readily available at almost every petrol service station.

Even with a move to more a healthier society, the Daily Telegraph reports over 1.7 million visitors to McDonalds daily up almost half a million from 2007. McDonalds has been pushing Healthy Choice menus, however the article states that is the usual burgers and fries that still are the predominant sellers. This is a large representation of the growth of the fast food culture.

I understand the ease of simply dropping by a McDonalds rather than cooking a healthy meal and hence the populairty of fast food. However, knowing that the food is unhealthy it is the individual’s responsibility to be able balance a quick meal once in a while with regular “good” meals and regular exercise.

References :

Fast-food culture serves up super-size Americans
By BRIDGET MURRAY – Monitor Staff
December 2001, Vol 32, No. 11
Print version: page 33

Top 10 Facts about Fast Food and Culture
By MATT SHERMAN – October 23, 2008
http://www.catalogs.com/info/bestof/top-10-facts-about-fast-food-and-culture

Super Size Me :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_size_me

McDonald’s opens extra restaurants as business soars
by Brittany Stack – August 22, 2010
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/mcdonalds-opens-extra-restaurants-as-business-soars/story-e6frez7r-1225908322593