On Watson’s article, I am very interested in this idea that the rise of McDonald’s fast-food culture is not destroying Hong Kong culture. Older people seem to not care too much about McDonald’s (and let’s say other international foods) and it is only they, it seems, who are in a position of resistance. Once the older generations die out, that resistance will no longer be as present. Is the phasing out of traditionalist tastes a type of destruction? Or is that simply the result of ongoing acculturation?
Maybe it’s just too tempting to blame McDonald’s for everything when, really, it’s just consumers consuming. Cultures just are, I guess, and Hong Kong citizens get to decide which way theirs heads.
What really struck me about the article is how normalized discourse on about Coke’s place in Hong Kong society is. I get the article is about McDonald’s, and to a lesser and broader extent, fast food, but I also half-expected Coke to be discussed a little more throughout. I’d be interested in finding an article in the globalization of Coke, which I will work on finding as soon as I have free time.
This does bring me to a question: is there such a thing as a global culture? Or perhaps, is there a point where the world is so globalized, if that does not sound too redundant, that it can be globalized no more? Or to a lesser point, can two different places acculturate each other so much that they become indistinguishable? The answer is probably no, but it’s fun to think about.
Is there a day when the McDonald’s hanboubao will no longer be an American food? Will the clown successfully implant itself in the lives of Cantonese children through birthday parties so well that in a few generations, it will become as much a part of Hong Kong as it has been a part of American childhoods? Or to tie in Bestor’s article about Sushi, is there a point when sushi will no longer just be a Japanese dish? Yes, you may not find “true sushi” unless you visit Japan, but will the day come when everyone is so used to sushi that we will have to differentiate between American sushi and Japanese sushi (as opposed actual sushi and American sushi). That is to say, will sushi get the pizza treatment? Or will it be a global food, similar to how Coke seems to be marketing itself, especially in big events like the World Cup?
On a completely different note: in Bestor’s sushi article, he mentioned that converting from a Chinese to a Japanese restaurant allowed him to add a premium to the cost due to “prestige.” That is, some ethnic/international foods are seen as more upscale than others. This bothered me for a while, and it still does, mostly because Mexican food tends to be, in my experience, designated a “cheap food” role, like Chinese has. While I can’t help but appreciate that Mexican food and Chinese food are relatively inexpensive and delicious (even if not “authentic” in the states), I can’t help but feel there is some kind of devaluation of cuisine in the minds of consumers. Then again, do I really like what Mestizo, next door to campus, has been doing? -No, I guess not.
Anyway, here’s an article on Japan and KFC Christmas (KFC is not traditionally Japanese and neither is Christmas):