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SEARCH 4 (1) 2012


Moral Panics and Foreign Nationals: Perceived Attitude and Intentions
* Thinavan Periyayya & Kumutham Krishnan

Abstract:

This paper investigated moral panics on activities of African nationals as reported in three local dailies from the period 2007 to 2010. Cohen (1972) defines moral panics as “a condition, episode, individual or groups of persons who emerge to become defined as a threat to societal values and interest.” Content analysis was used to examine the news articles against Goode and Ben Yehuda’s (1994) five criterion moral panics model to analyse the construction of moral panics in the news articles on the activities of African nationals. Content analysis of 124 news reports indicated that the three newspapers succeeded in constructing moral panics pertaining to the activities of African nationals. The analysis also revealed that the media-fuelled moral panics specifically focused on African students. Miller and Reilly (1994) argued that media content alone cannot determine the emergence or disappearance of moral panics. In tandem with this argument, this study also explored the media influence on attitude and behavioural intentions of the local population based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The media influence on attitudes and intentions is often unexplored but crucial in confirming the existence of moral panics. A survey of 185 respondents revealed that the panic in the moral panics was not obvious. The respondents had a positive attitude towards African students. Intention to avoid befriending them was also not obvious. All the three constructs of the Theory of Planned Behaviour were predictive of behavioural intentions to befriend African students. Based on both findings, it can be concluded that the moral panics phenomenon constructed by the print media did not translate into actual panic behaviour among the surveyed respondents.

Keywords: Behavioural intention, content analysis, moral panics, perceived attitude

Pages: 1-20 | First Published: 1 March 2012

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SEARCH 4 (1) 2012


Hegemony and Symbolic Resistance in Malaysia: A Study of Namewee’s Music
Tan Chong Yew

Abstract:

Wee Meng Chee, better known as Namewee, is a controversial Malaysian rapper whose music has courted trouble with the Malaysian government. Although some people dismiss his songs as profane, this paper will highlight that Namewee’s music actually constitutes a critique of Malaysia’s social realities, and it challenges the BN ruling coalition’s political discourses, particularly UMNO’s ideology of Ketuanan Melayu (Malay hegemony). One recurring theme in Namewee’s songs is his frustration with policies that discriminate against Chinese Malaysians. To understand the significance of Namewee’s music, this paper refers to previous scholarly efforts in analysing the ways subordinate groups respond to domination and explores the potentials of rap music as a form of symbolic resistance against the dominant political discourse in Malaysia. Namewee’s works also stand out considering ‘protest songs’ are a rare genre in Malaysia.

Keywords: Chinese Malaysians, Ketuanan Melayu, Namewee, rap, symbolic resistance

Pages: 21-40 | First Published: 1 March 2012

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SEARCH 4 (1) 2012


Evaluation Research on Public Relations Activities among Public Relations Practitioners in Malaysian Corporations: An Exploratory Study
* Pauline Leong Pooi Yin, Kumutham Krishnan & Catherine Lee Cheng Ean

Abstract:

Evaluation is the fourth step of the public relations (PR) process (Wilcox and Cameron, 2009). According to Grunig and Grunig (2001), evaluation research is necessary to establish the effectiveness of public affairs programmes and their contribution to organisational effectiveness. The purpose of this research is to assess the perception of Malaysian PR practitioners in corporations towards evaluation research, the extent to which it is conducted, and the criteria and methods used. The researchers conducted intensive interviews with five PR practitioners from corporations in different industries, from banking to automotive and property. The findings show that evaluation is practised in PR corporations and perceived to be important by PR practitioners. The researchers found that common methods of evaluation include survey and media coverage. Corporations also prefer to outsource media monitoring to reduce cost. They also perceive a PR return on investment (ROI) in terms of media coverage and branding. In conclusion, while evaluation is perceived as important, it is not practised as extensively in Malaysia. Evaluation research is mainly used for budgeting and branding purposes in Malaysian corporations. Although evaluation has the potential to help corporations in strategic public relations planning, this aspect has not been explored in depth.

Keywords: Communication audits, evaluation research, public relations activities, techniques and methodology

Pages: 41-61 | First Published: 1 March 2012

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SEARCH 4 (1) 2012


Malaysian Gen Y’s Usage of Vocabulary in Academic Essay-Writing: A Comparison of the Effectiveness of Online versus Print Reading-to-Write Tasks
* Prema Ponnudurai & Antoon De Rycker

Abstract:

Much second-language essay writing in higher education has been found lacking in both content and academic vocabulary. To stimulate higher-order thinking and to activate a more suitable vocabulary, argumentative essay-writing tasks in English can integrate prior reading material. Whether this source text should be presented online or in print, and how either presentation mode impacts tertiary students’ vocabulary usage has not been extensively researched. In this study, a quasi-experimental comparative design is employed to investigate the relationship between the presentation mode of a reading-to-write source text (on the topic of crime and imprisonment) and the academic and topic-specific vocabulary that Malaysian Gen Y students (N = 45) use in their second-language writing. Analysis of the essays, using VocabProfile and Text Lex Compare software, shows that in both the online and print conditions, student writers are similar in their usage of sub-technical academic words (e.g. assume, benefit and significant). However, students who accessed the source text online display a higher number and wider range of topic-specific words (prison, convict and handcuffs) than students who read the same text in print. In other words, the online presentation mode seems to be associated with a lexically more diverse and sophisticated specialist vocabulary. It is not yet clear whether this positive effect is due to the increased motivation that Gen Y students experience in an ICT-driven learning environment or to other, more general cognitive and affective factors. Still, the study warrants the conclusion that academic writing instructors will be more successful in addressing the problem of weak vocabulary by setting reading-based writing tasks that present the source text online rather than in print.

Keywords: Reading-based writing tasks, vocabulary usage, academic and topicspecific vocabulary, Gen Y students, English as a Second Language

Pages: 63-76 | First Published: 1 March 2012

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