March 11, 2008

What the song contest makes us to think

These days I have been stressed by the revision of two tests this week. Anyway, now I finished them, I come back. But one of the test makes me to think about the Eurovision,as the test question is about the criticism of this song contest.

As for people in Europe, I think everyone knows well about it. But I also would like to explain a bit of it for those who don’t know well. It is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries’ songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. Each country participates via one of their national EBU-member television stations, whose task it is to select a singer and a song to represent their country in the international competition.

However, such kind of contest may have some invisible inequalities. The Contest has long been perceived as a political institution, where judges??and now televoters??allocate points based on their nation’s political relationship to the other countries, rather than on their opinions of the songs. An analysis of voting patterns does indeed show that certain countries tend to favour certain other countries with which they are politically aligned. Defenders of the Contest argue that the reason certain countries allocate disproportionately high points to others is because the people of those countries share similar musical tastes and cultures and speak similar languages, and are therefore more likely to appreciate each other’s music.

This reminds me about such kind of song contest which is called “super-girls”(direct translation from Chinese) in mainland China. It is a contest that open to all the youth girls in China, who are good at singing. They are selected from several interviews, and many rounds of competitions, finally they are rated by the first 50s, 20s, 10s, 8s, 6s, 3s, 2s,1. First of all, I have to admit that most of the young girls are really good, even professional at singing; they are also good looking. Even before the first 50s, the competition is quite equal, as all of them are judged by the famous singers or music writers. But since the first 20s, the competitions will be judged by the votes by text messages of the audience. Finally, it becomes kind of competition of who has the most fans, and whose family is the richest, so they can afford the expensive fees of the text messages. As a result, if someone is less beautiful, or less wealthy than the others, they have to be ‘kicked out’. That is fairly unfair.

This kind of truth of the competition is told by the press, maybe it is too extreme sometimes, but the form of voting is true. So of course, we can judge whether such kind of inequality is true or not. In my opinion, I think, to some extent, the inequal situation is true. Then I would like to question why people are still keen on watching such kind of contests for almost half a year every week. And who benefits the most out of such kind of voting system, or who is the really best singer out of thousands and thousands good looking girls.

Who knows, I don’t know.

- 4 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Yangyu Xiao

    Emm…that is indeed the case, dear Shuang. I agree with you. To a certain degree, this kind of competition is hard to be equal.

    I have beening thinking is the ‘Nobel Prize in Literature’. It is a award to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced “the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency”. But the works must be written in English. We know that Chinese people have numous wonderful and famous literature works, the same is to many other countries. The problem is that they are not in English. And translation will lose beauty in a language in anyway.So…..

    13 Mar 2008, 13:22

  2. Hello, Shirley. Can’t agree any more. As a result of globalization, all kinds of cross-culture activities are being held all the time. However, we have so many cultural shocks, how come only one creteria could be suitable for all the cultures. I don’t believe that. As you said, through translation, the beauty of our language has lost a lot. As I have learnt translation studies for the past two years, I do have found the difficulties for making the same level of influence in the target culture as in the source culture. Actually, 100% equivelance is impossible, as the cultural specific terms might not exist in other cultures. Maybe when people congratulate the successful winners, they also need to be aware of the hard work and efforts made by those so called failed ones from other cultures.

    13 Mar 2008, 17:55

  3. Yangyu Xiao

    Yes, especially the poety. We have so many beautiful poems which have thousands of years history….but it is difficult for people who cannot understand Chinese to appreciative their beauty through translated version. I remebered once I had a dream that I would be a translator in the future and bring Nobel Prize in Literature to China…I really want more people to appreciate better of Chinese literature.I know I would never realize it any more, but I still hope that one day we could get Nobel Prize in Literature.

    Reading too many books about testing recently and cannot help thinking about terms in testing…yes, the criteria for marking is really not easy even is a small test, no less mention a cross-culture or cross-region activities. I suppose the problems lie in many activities..literature, singing or even model show…..

    14 Mar 2008, 18:48

  4. Natalie Sharpling

    Hello Shuang, I enjoyed reading your entry about the eurovision song contest. I have a slightly different ‘take’ on this event, actually. I usually find it rather dull and artifcial but I did really enjoy it when it was won by an Isreali transsexual singer called Dana! (I think that was back in 1998! Some avid eurovision watcher will no doubt correct me). As Dana claimed, people voted for her singing and performance, not for her sexuality. But I thought it gave lots of hope and was a very liberating event. OK, some people may disagree with me but that’s just me. Saying this, I think it was brave of her to be an openly transsexual eurovision song contest participant. Wow!

    15 Mar 2008, 00:33

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