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Old 05-02-2012, 12:30 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Which cities in Asia (exc. Middle East) do you feel have a culture that is significantly Western/is heavily influenced by colonial culture or globalization? Of course globalization has touched most of the modern world, and Asia leads the world in many areas, but in which places are, for instance, European languages most commonly spoken, western foods most eaten, western-style customs most practised...

I would definitely put Singapore as number 1 being very familiar with it. I would say Singapore is very much a fusion of East and West in the truest sense of the world, with a culture that is both Asian and European, mostly British but also American. Most speak English either as a first or second language (40% speak it as a first language, higher than anywhere on mainland Europe). Western food, including many American fast food chains, are commonly eaten, as well as a myriad of Asian fare. There are plenty of old British colonial buildings, and many districts, streets.etc have British names. There are still significant expat communities living in Singapore, although not to the extent as the old days.

Social rituals.etc seem more Western than the rest of Asia, and many Singaporeans have 'English' given names. A significant number of Singaporeans study in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, NZ, and there's actual been a 'brain drain' away from Singapore as a result of this. English-educated Lee Kwan Yew (actually born with the given name 'Harry') was instrumental in modernizing and in a sense Westernizing Singapore.

The second most major western city in Asia is probably either Kuala Lumpur or Manila. English is widely known in both, moreso the former, and both have pretty eclectic cultural blends. KL is like Singapore but a bit less Westernized, in that fewer people speak English as a first language, and Malays, Indians and many Chinese still retain much of their culture. If we're talking major cities, George Town in Penang could be more English still.

Third would be Kolkata or Calcutta, the heart of the rule of the British Raj, and the largest city in the Bengal region. Many handsome buildings, and cricket is extremely popular here, as it is in India. Not to say it's not thoroughly Indian and Bengali, but of all the Indian cities the British legacy remains strongest here.

About equal to Kolkata would be Colombo. Ceylon was an important part of the Empire, famed for it's tea, and many in Colombo still retain many customs of the British.

Hong Kong, although familiar as a British colony for 99 years, is Western mainly in the commercial/technological/modern sense, but is still quite strongly Chinese/Cantonese, especially compared to Singapore.

Macau is a similar situation, although Portuguese of course. Portuguese architecture is more evident here, most of the place names are Portuguese, and there remains a Macanese (mixed Portuguese and Chinese) community who are bilingual, with their own cuisine and customs. A small Portuguese community remains.

Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai: although very Asian cities, both were touched by the presence of the European powers. Saigon has many French colonial buildings, while Shanghai was known as the 'Paris of the East' or the 'Pearl of the Orient' and was for a time the premier city in Asia. It's now the most accessible city in China for westerners.

Tokyo, Seoul and Bangkok are three examples of cities that were never under colonial rule but have adopted Western things to a greater extent than many other cities through globalization, trade.etc. Osaka is arguably just as Western as Tokyo.

Jakarta has some Dutch legacy, although it seems the Dutch didn't as much of an imprint as the British, Portuguese or Spanish in the Far East.

Other cities would include Karachi, Mumbai, Delhi, Ipoh, Hanoi, Ventianne.etc.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:30 AM
 
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I would add Shanghai to your list.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:19 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
I would add Shanghai to your list.
Shanghai was on my list.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Manila, Philippines

Religion itself, it is the largest Christian country in the Asia by far.
A very liberated city altho a very religious country, inspired by American culture. The red light district, lines of bars & clubs, huge shopping malls & plenty of restaurants, fastfoods & hotels. In contrast to these modern structures from capitalism, Manila has old colonial Spanish structures such as the Manila Cathedral and the Intramuros.
I heard some Filipinos joke about their country being a US territory. Due to their country's strong loyalty to the US. And many many products imported from the US.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
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1.Singapore

2-4 (not in order):
Bangkok
Manila
Hong Kong
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:38 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by Davy-040 View Post
1.Singapore

2-4 (not in order):
Bangkok
Manila
Hong Kong

Take away the tourists and Bangkok isn't all that Westernized, imo.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:38 AM
 
Location: In the heights
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Well, Central Asian countries should probably count, right? The influences from their time as soviet republics under the leadership/control of russia has resulted in some pretty significant changes, but I'm not too familiar with the area so I'm not sure by how much.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:40 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Well, Central Asian countries should probably count, right? The influences from their time as soviet republics under the leadership/control of russia has resulted in some pretty significant changes, but I'm not too familiar with the area so I'm not sure by how much.
I suppose...but all in all they are still quite culturally isolated from the rest of the world, predominantly Muslim too.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:52 AM
 
Location: In the heights
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I suppose...but all in all they are still quite culturally isolated from the rest of the world, predominantly Muslim too.
Sort of, except the almost official atheism of the soviet republics substantially weakened the muslim identity--it's only that it recent years it's started growing again, but at very different rates depending on the country. Several of the countries still have substantial european minorities and/or have russian as a very common secondary language. In terms of architecture, the soviets set up a lot of cities and enforced an urban, sedentary life for a region that used to mostly made up of nomads and pastoralists.

Again, I'm not sure how much of an effect a good century or more of Russian control and immigration has had on these countries, but I suspect a good deal. However, there's also a kind of general feeling some people have that Russian is quite European/Western itself.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:54 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,352,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Sort of, except the almost official atheism of the soviet republics substantially weakened the muslim identity--it's only that it recent years it's started growing again, but at very different rates depending on the country. Several of the countries still have substantial european minorities and/or have russian as a very common secondary language. In terms of architecture, the soviets set up a lot of cities and enforced an urban, sedentary life for a region that used to mostly made up of nomads and pastoralists.
This is true. It's an interesting region, much ignored I think. One of the more interesting ones is Kazakhstan. Check out their new capital, Astana, they're really going places. It's like the Dubai of Central Asia.


This is Astana - YouTube
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