In September of the year 2000 I was trying to write the last words of a thesis that was to conclude a long but fascinating period of postgraduate study at the University Kebangsaan Malaysia. In the introduction to that piece of work (which has been sadly sitting in my shelves ever since) I wrote
previously isolated peoples are being brought together voluntarily and involuntarily by the increasing integration of markets, the emergence of new regional political alliances, the remarkable advances in telecommunications and in transportation that have prompted unprecedented demographic shifts. The resulting confluence of peoples and cultures is an increasingly global, multicultural world brimming with tension, confusion and conflict in the process of its adjustment to pluralism.
And now, almost 12 years and what seems to be an eternity later, I find myself thinking about the same problem but from a new perspective, one inspired by technology and its effects on the way we communicate interpersonally, interculturally, digitally.
The internet has radically changed the way we communicate. That is obvious. It seems to be pulling us towards a globalised universe where one single language is predominant, a set of specific content rules apply to the way we publish our thoughts and where those previously important cultural aspects of communication are buried by the sufficiently comprehensible exchanged produced by the very practical Google translate tool.
But is it, really? Is pluralism really burying its head in the universal sand that is our virtual world? I personally don’t think so, and I personally don’t want so, and I personally want to work towards preserving the uniqueness and idiosancracies that make us all different and have them appropriately reflected in this fascinating digital planet we have created for ourselves.
My name is Teresa Rodriguez, I was born in Barcelona and I live in Sydney, Australia. Since very little I had a fierce interest in anything and everyone beyond the Pyrenees, particularly the Asian continent. I have a B.A. in Asian studies, and two postgrad courses, one on English language studies and Intercultural communication and another in Interpreting, Translating and International Relations. My interest in language, communication, people and dialogue has never diminished. I continue with my never-ending quest to master the Chinese (and Japanese) language(s). I am also the content manager for the Hotfrog Small Business Hub.
I want to make sure that the uniqueness in every single one of us is properly reflected and respected in our digital world. That’s why I want to write and that’s why I want to share some of my thoughts with you.