How my cultural background affects my personal interest.

Japan has been able to develop its infamously unique culture and even retain it to this day due to many factors. Bergland (2014) explains that Japan was one of the last countries in the world to open up to Europeans as it closed itself off to most foreign trade at the end of the Sengoku period. Being closed off to the world allowed for Japan’s culture to develop somewhat independently of other countries in the Sinosphere (East Asian cultural sphere).

Bergland (2014) also notes that another key factor is that Japan was never colonized by a Western power, making it one of only a few countries in the world to possess an unbroken history of independence. The period between the 17th and 19th centuries was also the Sakoku, a time when Japan was completely isolate from the world and no foreigner could enter Japan during this period, nor could anyone leave the nation.

This unique cultural development has resulted in the Japanese culture we know today which is especially visible in the media and texts released by the Japanese. As explored in my previous blog, the 1998 film Akira is a manga animation, a style native to Japan and contains uncanny content which is a classic Japanese feature such as the 3 child espers. The film brings its lifelike element through most of its characters being ‘human’ and also through their emotional and relationship develop e.g. using themes of anger, resentment, pain etc. as drivers behind action and character relationships.

I actually re-watched the film to see how I felt upon second viewing and if I missed anything. My feelings and opinions did not change in that it was great entertaining material which exposed me to a Japanese style execution of film but it does not go deeper than that. I do not feel compelled to further explore Japanese culture or other Japanese texts specifically BUT the discussion of Korean culture and music in class has done so.

Akira is an intriguing text but does create personal ties for me. I am of Korean descent but am heavily detached from the culture, values and traditions as my parents and their families were born and raised in China. My parents then moved to Australia, where I was born so I am even more so disconnected with my Asian heritage and am very heavily Westernised. When people ask me “where are you from?” I find it very difficult to answer because my blood is 100% Korean but I speak Mandarin Chinese and have the cultural views from a Western stand point.

The exploration of Korean and Chinese texts and culture have a personal affiliation for me and evoke the want to learn more as I want to improve my cultural awareness of my own background. Despite Japan being so close in geographical location and even share similar language foundations, the cultures are so diverse.


Drones for Dummies

My research project focuses on citizen use of drones as a hobby, how they are regulated and how regulations have impacted usage in Australia.

I will present my finding via a digital artifact – a series of infographic posters – as my intentions are to educate every day users of their limits, I think an infographic would be clear, direct and also visually engaging compared to a textual body of some sort. At minimum there will be 3 but I think realistically there will be 6-8 posters.

There are 3 main themes in my research;

  1. What is a drone?
  • I will begin by describing and defining what a drone is, differentiating hobby models from the military vehicles, some uses for drones and also where to purchase them.
  1. Drones: Commercial vs Civil/Hobby
  • Here I will differentiate between Commercial and Hobby drones. I will compare and contrast between different kinds of models used for each and also how the uses for them vary.
  • I will also define the legalities of each kind, the restrictions imposed on them and how they differ from each other.
  • It is interesting to note that the importance of regulation abidance and restrictions is honestly hard to miss with even drone retailer websites having headings and links which direct you to relevant pages such as regulations and how to obtain certification.
  • I will also take time in this part to introduce CASA, what it does and how it is vital to know what it is before engaging in any drone related activities.
  1. Effects of laws and regulations on Hobby drone usage
  • In this sections I will talk about how the rules and regulations of UAV activities has impacted on hobbyists and hopefully include statistics on the percentage of people getting fined etc.
  • I will also include opinions such as those expressed on forums, note whether they are positive or negative and how it has led to the formation of user generated groups such as ‘Small UAV Coalition’ and ‘Model Aeronautical Association of Australia’.


On a side note, unrelated to my project – I found a super interesting article published just last month detailing of how Australia Post will being trialing drone delivery of online shopping with a large focus on rural and regional areas. Some issues of concern were addressed by Australia Post “stressing that safety was its priority and its drone had a parachute, lights and siren to warn people if they got too close.” The organisations also said that it would require customers to specifically agree to receiving drone delivered parcels to avoid privacy concerns.


Drone Regulations: Commercial vs Civil/Hobby

A major focus point of my research will be the difference between commercial and civil/hobby drone use and the differing regulatory restrictions and in turn how this effects drone usage.

A hobbyist or non-commercial flight is when you are not making any commercial gain from your flying and this is when you are permitted to fly your UAV without certification. But people often don’t fully consider the term ‘commercial gain’…there does not always have to be monetary payment involved and using footage from flights for advertising purposes and even uploading videos to YouTube is deemed a commercial activity.

Flights for commercial gain require certification of both the pilot/controller flying the drone (UAV Controller’s Certificate) AND the business entity which is conducting the operation (UAC Operator’s Certificate). Although now under 2016 reforms, drones under 2kgs will no longer require approval from CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) before commencing flight operations when it comes to commercial work. Commercial pilots still need to obtain their controller’s certificates though.

A reason for why I am interested in defining the laws for drone use, especially for hobbyists is because people are unaware of them and are engaging in seemingly harmless and leisurely behaviour but if caught then face major consequences. People seldom read the terms and conditions of flying UAV’s and CASA can take action against you in the form of fines up to $8500 per offence. If you put people at risk or seriously injure someone, the penalties are far more serious and will be dealt with on a case by case basis.


Australian beauty YouTuber Dani Mansutti has over 1 million subscribers and merely wanted to expand her technological and creative skills when she released a video containing footage from her drone. It was thanks to her being a public figure and having fans which saved her from the penalties from CASA. Her footage contained shots over a public beach and the city of Melbourne, both environments are illegal to obtain imagery from due to them being a public space and within 30 metres of people, vehicles and buildings. Dani was unaware that these regulations even existed and once fans alerted her, she immediately took down the YouTube video before CASA was able to step in.

(I think she forgot about her Facebook video though because I can still access it – link below. She better be careful oops!)

What is a drone?

To really understand and explore why there are issues surrounding the use of drones we must first determine the origins of use and the evolution of them.

In 2012, the BBC News released an online article which outlined the importance of drones used for military purposes, a purpose in which drones are most commonly associated with. UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remote Piloted Aerial Systems) are utilised where “manned flight is considered too risky or difficult” and they are a means in providing troops with a 24/7 “eye in the sky”. Drones can stay in the air for up to 17 hours at a time, loiter over an area and send back real-time imagery of activities on the ground. Some key uses for drones in the military include surveillance and reconnaissance, listening to mobile phone conversations, helping understand daily routines of locals to help determine what normal behaviour is and for following or attacking suspected insurgents.

This military form of “drone” has evolved into a term to include any unmanned robot (either pre-programmed or remotely controlled) and this includes any robots designed for water, land and air use (although the most common drone is an aerial one) and is no longer restricted to just military use.

Whether military or commercial though, the applications are similar in nature. As technology progresses, the types of drones available will be endless; imagine a world in which everyone rides around in self-automated and self-driven cars, or a micro-drone brings you breakfast in bed!

The variety of drones available for sale is still very limited; a few brands of commercial drones, like Parrot, are dominating the market. Depending on the capabilities of the drone, consumer drones can range from $100 to thousands and thousands of dollars.

For my project, I will go deeper into the original creation of the drone and the development from new technology with a high cost to an everyday toy which can be bought as a birthday present. This will lead into how the ease of access of what we know as a drone today has impacted and paved way for legislative and regulatory change.

Here is some aerial drone footage (not my own) of Sydney Harbour, a restricted airspace in which it is illegal to fly there without a permit.


Drones: The Blurred Line Between Commercial and Hobby

The topic of drones (UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles) is highly contentious due to the negative connotations surrounding the militaries use of unmanned flying vehicles for warfare. My research aims to focus on citizen use of drones, smaller flying robots for leisure uses such as private cinematography and how they are regulated, what differentiates a ‘drone’ from a toy with a filming device attached and what functions and features deem a hobby drone legal and illegal.

These issues arise due to citizen misconduct via the use of UAVs such as spying on neighbours, taking images and videos of others without consent and hobby UAVs interfering with airplane flight paths. Due to the increasing and widespread use of drones, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has included UAVs in its guidelines. This project aims to highlight how elements of computational technology such as aviation and photography have merged to become a social norm and that UAV use is so widespread in everyday communication and entertainment that there are now laws and regulations surrounding there use.

I will begin by describing what a drone is, differentiating it from the military vehicles and then focusing on a couple of commercial models and ascertaining what its features are and what defines it in the eyes of CASA as a drone. I will then compare these specifications to toy models sold at stores such as Myers and try and pin point the similarities and differences. This will then lead me onto the blurred lines regarding the privacy, security and legalities for drone use in a leisure context as opposed to commercial uses.

To present my findings I will maintain a blog menu on my WordPress site with different issues, concepts and ideas having their own page and I will try and keep each post as interesting as possible with the help of images, links and hopefully included some first-hand footage from a drone.

The video below is a perfect summary of my research topic: