Culture is defined as the set of attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors shared by a group of people, communicated from one generation to the next via language or some other means of communication. (Barnouw, 1985) When we talk about culture, it is definitely shaped our cultural values and beliefs through several aspects such as parents, peers and mass media etc. Culture is learned through our society. With the technology advancement, more talents are needed to tackle the technical problems. It leads to the increases level of education. It becomes more important to study in the university.
It is believed that the academic results can influence our prospective. As a result, the society is examination-oriented. No matter we are studying in primary school or secondary school, lots of exams are prepared for us. Originally, the function of examination is to test the student’s ability. However, it is used as a tool to choose the best students to study in university. The others are being discriminated and ignored. The ideas shaped us to focus on preparing for the exams rather than understanding the sense of studying. Since the capability of the students is different, the students with lower capability are being isolated.
When we compared with the university’s students, there are differences between us. We realize that we are not as good as them in all aspect. The society also thinks that we are worse than them. It makes us become self-abased. The society forces us to be a professionist. If you are not, you are failure. Successful depending on the achievement you have made. The achievement is determined by the education level. They are positively related. Moreover, people can learn by observing the behavior of others and the outcomes of those behaviors. In addition, people are often reinforced for modeling the behavior of other.
Then, culture is also learned through our parents. According to the social learning theory (Albert Bandura), parents act as a model of children. Children follow the behavior form their parents. They listen to them since the parents influence them significantly. In the modern Hong Kong, there are more double-income families. Most of the parents are highly-educated. They hope that their children can be a professionist. They schedule all the tutorial class and activities for their children. They believe that if you study hard, you will have a good prospective. The beliefs have brought us under stress.
We wish we can be the talents. We hope that we can sing well, dance well, swimming well and study well. Our parents will be proud of us. Actually, we are not the genius. We are only the normal students. We want to have a happy school life without any stress. Furthermore, our culture is affected by the school. Generally, there are two types of school in Hong Kong, local school and international school. Local school is tradition which students need to wear uniform. Also, there are more rules and regulations in local school. On the contrary, international school is more flexible which students can wear their own dress.
Compared to local school, there are less rules and regulations in international school. Since we have studied in local school, our culture is greatly influence by the tradition. We will respect our teachers. As we wear our uniform, we will be self-command. We believe that we should follow the rules and regulations set by the schools. If we behave in different way, we are not the member of the school. In fact, the flexibility is relatively low in local school. We are constrained by the norms and rules. Consequently, our minds and ideas are being restricted. There is no way for us to speak.
Teachers only tell you the answer “Yes” or “No”. But we never ask “Why”. The reason for that is norms and rules. As a result, you are not the member on teachers than international school. Apart from this, the culture is also shaped by the peers. The behavior of the peers is directly affected to us. For instance, we will imitate the dress code of our friends. We hope that we can be one of the members of the groups. We can be recognized by our friends. Therefore, we will behave what they behave. During the puberty, girls consider about their appearance. They want to be more beautiful. They spend much to by cosmetic products.
They believe that beauty is the most important part of their life. This idea has changed our beliefs. We think that a person should not focus on their appearance. What is more important is hard-working. If you work hard, you will be succeeding. Yet they think that it is not enough. Nowadays, people are seeking the one who is pretty and able to finish the task. For instance, if you are one of the interviewers, you will certainly choose the prettier one. The example let us understand the important of beauty. Especially the girls, if you are not beauty enough, it is difficult to find a good job.
Last but not least, culture is learned through the mass media. Mass media includes television, radio, internet, etc. The mass media is powerful as it can influence our behavior. For example, lots of advertising emphasize on the beauty of the ladies. They believe that if you have a slim body, you are pretty. Besides, in order to increase the sales, the cover of the magazine is “attractive”. There are lots of sexual components in the magazine to draw the readers’ attention. Most of the facts are exaggerated. With the pool of advertising, we have a new idea about the term, “beauty”.
Thin is almost equal to beauty. If you are thin enough, you are classified as “beautiful”. Otherwise, you will be discriminated by others. Other than this, we find that there is no safety place anymore, you will be one of the “star” on the Internet. If you act something difference with others, you will be found in “youtube” (the favourite search engine in Hong Kong). Privacy is no longer to be kept. It is dangerous to communicate with others. To conclude, culture can be learned through our parents, schools, peers and mass media. These aspects can strongly influence our cultural values.