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Guest speaker Andrew Lam talks Gangnam Style, Beyoncè

Multimedia Editor

Published: Monday, October 22, 2012

Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 20:10

The YouTube phenomenon “Psy-gangnam style” video, which has over 480 million views, had one more after guest lecturer Andrew Lam surprised students by playing it at the start of his lecture, entitled, “East Eats West: An Exploration of Asian Cultures and its Manifestation in the United States.”

The hour-long lecture took place in the Northside Recital Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 17. It focused on topics related to the Western culture’s heavy influence in the East, the global age of convergence and the increase of diversity expanding in many different cultures.

Tami Martinez, lecturer in communications, became a fan of Lam in 2008 in San Francisco at the Associated Collegiate Press National College Newspaper Convention.    

Martinez asked Lam what it would take for him to visit IUSB and speak to the students. Lam responded with two words: “Just ask.”

“He is a delight, he is charming, he’s enthusiastic, he’s engaging, and it’s just been a pleasure to have him on our campus,” said Martinez.

Lam’s lecture marks the first in the 2012-2013 Series, which is organized through Communication Studies and put on by the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts. The Judd Leighton School of Business and International Programs also supported the lecture.

Lam, who has an impressive background as a published writer, editor and scholar, is genuinely interested and passionate about his topic. He finds true fascination with the heavy influence the West has had and continues to have on East cultures and vise-versa.

“Even the Beatles had to cross the ocean,” Lam said.

Lam showed several YouTube videos to help students understand the expansion of diversity that is taking place with the convergence of cultures.

Lam pointed out after the first video he played by the artist PSY and the song “Gangnam Style” that people are not only watching it, but also downloading it. On iTunes, IT IS is the number one download in 33 different countries including England, Australia, the United States and Canada.  

“It’s the first time people are downloading it and don’t understand a damn word of it,” Lam said, evoking laughter from students and faculty in the audience.

“We are at the moment in which Asian culture is treated almost on equal part as Western culture around the world,” Lam said. “They download this thing like they are downloading a Beyoncè video.”

Lam also shared excerpts from his published books, which include “East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres,” “Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora” and his most current work which will be out in 2013, “Birds of Paradise Lost.”

Students from various IUSB Schools attended the lecture, which was also open to the public. Many students chose to participate in a question & answer session after the lecture, where Lam shared detailed ideas and further explanations of his teachings.

The Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts will also sponsor a guest lecturer in the Spring Semester at IUSB. Students who want to receive more information can look at their website at www.iusb.edu/arts.

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