Cultural worker, actor and art activist Fernando “Nanding” Josef talks about globalization and cultural imperialism. He insists that both are detrimental to the indigenous arts and culture of the Filipinos.
BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
For Fernando “Nanding” Josef, former vice president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), globalization has adversely affected the development of local arts and culture.
Josef resigned last year from his leadership posts at the CCP in support of Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada Jr., one of the star witnesses to the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) deal between the Philippine government and China’s Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited (ZTE). The said project was marred by allegations of under-the-table deals.
Globalization disempowering poor nations
In an interview on Jan. 31 at the CCP grounds, Josef said that globalization has empowered the already powerful countries, while disempowering the underdeveloped nations such as the Philippines.
“Isang masamang aspect ng globalization ay y’ong negative effect sa maliliit na bansa. Parang sa globalization, mas nagbigyan, o na-empower lalo ang mga powerful countries. Maski doon sa economic aspect of globalization, laging talung-talo ang mga mahihirap na bansa” (One of the negative aspects of globalization is its ill-effect on small countries. Under globalization, it seems, the powerful countries became more empowered. Even in the economic aspect of globalization, the smaller countries always lose), he said.
Globalization kills local culture
“So doon sa aspect na ‘yon, mayroong ill-effect ang globalization pati na rin sa kultura, I think. Kasi, parang iyong phenomenon ng globalization, nawalan ng safety measures to protect the indigenous cultures of the different countries. Parang naging open, na-dilute yata, hanggang ngayon, I think, nadi-dilute ang cultural values ng iba’t ibang bansa, napapasukan ng mga values that are too Westernized”(On that aspect, globalization has an ill-effect also on [the local] culture. Because, it seems, in the phenomenon of globalization, the safety measures to protect the indigenous cultures of the different countries are lost. And the cultural values of the different countries, I think, are being—and continuously being—diluted, and becoming influenced by cultures that are too Westernized), he explained.
Thus, he said, the indigenous cultures have become endangered.
However, globalization had its positive effects as well, he said.
“Mayroong mga advantage [ang globalization], in a sense that na yung mga bansa naman na may common grievances, nagkakaalaman na pare-pareho ang plights natin at I think, that also motivates them to come together and empower themselves [to counter the negative effects of globalization]” (There are advantages [in globalization], in a sense that the countries which have common grievances consult each other and share their experiences, and that motivates them to come together to empower themselves to counter the negative effects of globalization), he furthered.
Cultural imperialism: fruit of neoliberal globalization
Josef also assailed cultural imperialism.
Herbert Schiller (Nov. 5, 1919 – Jan. 29, 2000), an American media critic, sociologist, author and scholar, defined cultural imperialism as “the sum of the processes by which a society is brought into the modern world system, and how its dominating stratum is attracted, pressured, forced and sometimes bribed into shaping social institutions to correspond to or even to promote the values and structures of the dominant center of the system.”
Schiller said the US is the number one promoter of this practice. Its motivation, says Schiller, is the US desire for access to foreign markets and the belief in the superiority of American culture.
“Ay, naku! Nakikialam ka, pinakikialaman mo y’ong kultura ng may kultura at ipinapasok mo y’ong sarili mong kultura” (Cultural imperialism is meddling in another country’s cultural affairs and imposing one’s own culture), Josef said when asked for his own definition of cultural imperialism.
He said cultural imperialists boast that their culture is superior to other cultures to lead other nations into setting aside their own cultures and accept foreign ones in their stead. (Bulatlat.com)