Internet 'must not erase culture'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 August, 1996, 12:00am

The Internet has helped bring the world together but it must not be allowed to erase cultural differences, students at an international conference in Hong Kong said.

The Asia Pacific Congress, organised by the international student association AIESEC, brought to Hong Kong more than 180 students from 24 countries.

The congress, at the University of Science and Technology, included a sporting gala, a symposium on social responsibility and many cultural events.

Two of the participants, Australian Chris Newton, 22, and Filipino Timothy Liong, 21, told Campus Post the Internet and the numerous exchange programmes had helped narrow the gap between nations but they should recognise the importance of their own culture.

'Decades ago, Asians would take Westerners as a threat, but now they take the West as an opportunity to enrich their business and cultural experience,' said Mr Liong, a management information systems student at Ateneo de Manila University.

Mr Newton, president of the Australian delegates, said: 'I think that it is still important for students to bear in mind their cultural heritage.

'They should be proud of their own culture, to know it better and to showcase it to other countries.' The pair said they were examples of how exchange programmes and the Internet could help bring students together.

They met two years ago at a conference in Manila and continued their friendship through the Internet.

Mr Newton stayed with Mr Liong's family for three weeks earlier this year.

'Everything was different - the food, the language, the traffic, the weather and the people. It was a whole new experience for me,' he said.

Students at the conference are encouraged to share their culture. Filipino students rehearsed a traditional dance called pandango sa ilaw meaning 'dance of life'.

The Australians performed Aboriginal dances and recited contemporary poems.

The theme of the congress was Approaching the Period of Challenge. Organising committee chairman Tank Man-dick said it was aimed at getting Hong Kong students to 're-think their objectives and attitudes towards our society'.



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