The Art in Free Speech
Sean Francis Han

I agree with most of the points written. But I would like to mention about some alternative views as well. With regards to the reason why we listen to certain music and movies, it is not in the entirety that it is due to Western music and films being superior to the rest. Politics also exert a certain influence in this. With Western allies dominating the world in terms of warfare and their military, they also dominate in terms of sports and the arts. For example, in South Africa, rugby is being played by the Whites living there. Racial tensions is present even in sports. Such political and racial tensions surely would have some influence on its audience. In terms of film making in Asia, a few decades ago, in the 80s, China was finally opening up its economy. Before it was attacked by Western allies, Shanghai used to the fashion city of the world, akin to Milan of Europe. Now, China’s music and film industry is booming faster than all of Asia. Many Hong Kong and other Asian artistes are all clamouring to appear in China’s variety shows and films. The visual effects of Chinese films can be recategorized to be world class. Hence, I beg to differ about the point that Hong Kong cinemas reign today. In fact, Hong Kong films are fast losing its appeal to Chines films. Does it mean that China has become completely democratic, and has the freedom of speech?

The point that I am trying to put across is that we must never underestimate the power of politics as well as how politically-motivated mainstream media to manipulate not only an individual but also the entire society’s thinking, preferences and behaviour. Of course, I am not discounting the fact that Hollywood films are indeed the best in the world in terms of its visual effects and its extremely diverse categories of films being produced. And that, as you have correctly pointed out, the presence of the culture of freedom of speech has allowed such free expression of the arts without fear of any negative consequences. But we should always be aware of how politics can control our thinking through its policies. Just look at a particular small red dot on the world map.