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Cultural Differences

 
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I lived in Russia for 25 years, and in US for 10 years. I found it interesting to observe and compare the societal and cultural values of the countries and how they affect the people's mindset. So, I would love to hear from the people of other countries about how they view themselves and how they characterize their cultures. Here is a start:
The Russian: Very sceptical (to the point of nihilism) and existential. Disillusioned yet stubborn in his attempts to find the truth at all costs. Perceives "small talk" as a waste of time and favors discussions covering transcendental issues. Has low self-esteem yet mindlessly adventurous beyond the calculated risk. Has a subtle sense of humor that is too sophisticated for a non-Russian to understand. Believes in strong and protective state while being oppressed and often prosecuted by it. Favors emotions over argumentations during the discussions, even though he has a logical rather than artistic mind. He is approachable and easy to make friends. Tends to speak in long, complex, metaphorical sentences, and uses sophisticated words that often obscure the main idea. Has strong opinions and expresses them without the fear of offending the opponent. An atheist. Believes that critisism is more constructive than encouragement. Although hard to persuade in arguments, he has pronounced crowd instincts and easily falls under the influence of new societal paradigmes. Exhibitionist in his appearence, -- the quality of his clothes is much more important to him than the comfort. His security and the sense of well-beign is compromised by his own internal contradictions and his dialectic surroundings. Has low level of tolerance and is easily irritated by non-conformity of other people to a common opinion, including people looks and behaiviour. Tends to blame other people and the government for his failures. Too institutionalized to accept responsibility and to take action. Has certain contempt for others, especially less educated people.
The American: Very pragmatic and practical, his main drive is his own success. The money and its derivates are the epicenter of all aspects of his life. Extremely competitive and hard-working, he spends 90% of his energy at work. When he achieves the success, he realizes that his higher quality of life doesn't translate into higher happiness, and he gets depressed. His cure turns out to be the persuit of wealth, not the wealth itself. Willing to take calculated risks. Down to earth and self-centered, he may appear as ignorant. He is a reductionist, -- the problems are dealt with one problem at a time, one day at a time. Preoccupied with health concerns (diet, excersize), yet overweight. Has somewhat primitive and superficial sense of humor: he considers "a pie in the face" the best joke. Speaks in short, concise sentences, and uses simple words to communicate the ideas in the most efficient way. Favors and values clarity over metaphorism and sophistication in verbal and written communications. Loves "small talks", -- the conversations about nothing that he believes break the "uncomfortable silence". Views cinematography as pure entertainment, not the form of art, -- the best art movies are not even played at major movie theaters since there is no demand for them. Dresses plainly and comfortably with little regard to visual appeal. Extremely conscious of his freedom in all aspects of his life, especially the freedom of free speech, the freedom of enterprize, and freedom from the government- or society-imposed norms. Despite the eagerness to make a small talk, he is hard to make a friend, as he protects his individuality, privacy, and space. He perceives some seemingly innocent questions and actions as an invasion of his privacy. Claims to be religious, but seems to discard the religious values and traditions easily if deemed impractical or interfering. Highly tolerant of diversity of opinions and cultures in his country, as he is himself a grandchild of an immigrant. Cautious to criticise and to offend the others, he believes that encouragement is more constructive, even if the praise is too far stretched or unwarranted.
Eugene.
 
Greenhorn
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The Irishman: where's the bar?
 
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Portugal doesn't govern themselfs and doesn't let be governed and like the Irish people, where is the bar (we are nr. 2 in alcool consumption in Europe, the 1st place belongs to Luxenbourg but most of the persons living in Lux are Portuguese ).
Miguel
 
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Indians....
hmmm... OK I will get back to you
Always want someone else to do their due.... blames on fate for everything.
Religious ... Morning begins with word Ram.
Can fight with anyone without thinking that what will be the end result.
101 % social animal, they have more than 365 festivals. If you see any Panchang(Hindu calender), it is full of festivals.
Millions of Gods and Goddesses and still believe in one God
1000s of story abt Gods (I like these stories because they behave so much like normal men).
Always blames current govt for all good and bad things. If it is not raining, it is fault of current govt.
If you say them to talk, its very difficult to stop them .. ... they have 100s of story to tell you, from their family to neighbours family.
I had one neighbour Naresh Chacha, they were really nice. I was kid and whenever I wanted I would enter in his home, Chachi ji (Aunty) will give me all the sweets ......
Yes, effect of british colony, all elders are Uncle or Aunty or Didi(elder sister) or Bhaiya(elder brother)[still a touch of Indianess]....
Am I boring you .. its not me. They will ask you and again start boring ..
So I was telling you abt Naresh Chacha ..... AW I have some work .
I will get back to you
[ April 09, 2003: Message edited by: Ravish Kumar ]
 
John Smith
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Any ranchers from China, Africa, South America, Middle East? Care to offer an insight into your own culture?
 
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The Indians (again): Very practical and down to earth, his main drive is to earn, and save. Spending is the last word in his bible. And it reads NEVER SPEND MONEY. The money and society is the two most important aspects of life. Extremely hard working, spends loads of time and energy towards work, but mostly in a very inefficient way. Success only makes him more worried because he becomes suspicious about the intention of both his enemies as well as his friends, and gets totally confused about whom to trust and whom not to. His cure would be either more contribution toward local temple, church or mosque fund or invest in gold, real estate, etc or spend money where it counts to keep him networked - in other words, bribe the politicians or contribute to their funds. Works hard, and works even harder to avoid tax. Avoids tax when ever possible. Down to earth, society-centered (?), almost to a level where one loses his own individuality, and thinks about what others will think of decision and does it accordingly. No care for health or quality of life. A life for future and entertainment is limited to cricket in the evenings, TV, films and music. Eats what he used to eat and will stick to that food for most of his life, and will give ethnic reasons for that. Most of them consider their life style (food, clothing etc) as part of their identity and afraid to change because they dont want to lose it - even if they stick out like a sore thumb at the work place. Great sense of humour and find happiness in small things and events, successfully managing to overlook serious problems. Speaks in their own way, 1 billion people share 1 billion and one separate ways of expressing themselves, but amazingly never complains ? they just get along well speaking all different tongues and all accents. Views cinematography as pure entertainment, but then rethinks and tries to live it in real life. To Indians, Art is nothing that is modern. Art is considered better based on how important it was in their history. History and the golden past are always in their memory, and hence will not express their admiration towards any superpower in public. Dress colourfully, yet another way to express their identity as a particular community. Any public gathering, if you remove the lair of dust separating you and the crowd, will look as colourful as a coral reeve formation. But at times follows stupid systems - like tie and full sleeves for kindergartners in 40 degree Celsius summer days. Extremely unaware of his own freedom, and lives by the society, luckily society has all sorts of freedom and no one will challenge you from doing what you want to do, except your fear about communities' opinion. Very friendly and open and you can have a decent chat with any one at anytime - you start it, and they wont stop it. Religion by all means, but respects other religions out of real respect, fear and because they want to coexist peacefully. A mini continent in itself, if you talk about diversity and so its in our blood to live together irrespective of one's culture, language, color, religion or what ever.
 
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Ashok Krishnan:
..so its in our blood to live together irrespective of one's culture, language, color, religion or what ever.


Hats off.
 
whippersnapper
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I thought of this thread the other weekend. I was rereading Ursula LeGuin's The Telling.
LeGuin handles some of these cross-cultural values/perception/mindset kinds of things very well in a couple of her novels. If you're interested in a fictional exploration of some of these kinds of issues, I'd recommend first The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, next maybe The Left Hand of Darkness and The Telling.
For nonfiction semi-scholarly musings, try Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson. It stresses cultural and societal factors (and in particular the mass media) in nation-building and national identity formation and consciousness.
(Some caveats on the Anderson: it's been about 10 years since I read it and only have a vague recollection of the arguments, but it did make an impression on me at the time.)
 
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So Eugene are you implying that a fifth generation Texas like me might have Russian ancestors?
 
John Smith
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Michael Morris: So Eugene are you implying that a fifth generation Texas like me might have Russian ancestors?
I don't know you too well to make that determination (it was just a one night stand, you know), but judging by the amount of liquer that you consumed, yes, it is a safe assumption. :roll:
Michael Matola: If you're interested in a fictional exploration of some of these kinds of issues, I'd recommend first The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, next maybe The Left Hand of Darkness and The Telling.
Thanks Michael, I'll look ito it.
Eugene.
 
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I do not understand Iraqi culture, how should I interpret a photo I saw at http://drudgereport.com/ of an Iraqi man kissing a coalition soldier's hand?
 
John Smith
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I do not understand Iraqi culture, how should I interpret a photo I saw at http://drudgereport.com/ of an Iraqi man kissing a coalition soldier's hand?


Anyone from arabic countries in here?
[ April 09, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
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Originally posted by Ashok Krishnan:
The Indians (again): ......


I like you
 
Ashok Mash
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Thanks you Ravish, Cheers Balaji!
 
Michael Morris
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At Eugene's request I will try to describe a Texan, or at least an East Texan. It is a very large and diverse state so some aspects will vary.
The Texan: Proud. Very friendly, waves at every passing vehicle, whether he knows the occupants or not. A Texan first and an American second, after all Texas was a nation before a state. Polite, would never consider adressing his elders or strangers without the requisite "Sir" or "Ma'am". Considers helping friends and neighbors a duty and not just a nice thing to do. Claims to be a Christian but his true religion is Friday night high school football, can't understand why the Supreme Court says he can't open the games with a public prayer. A close second is deer hunting but that's only a few weeks every year. Drinks longnecks, dips Skoal, eats barbeque. Has traded his mount for a pickup, not one of them foriegn weenies, but a twin-cab-diesel-powered dualie, even though he only uses it for haulin' stuff twice a year. His "drawl" and fondness of the letter R is indicative of the slower pace of his life than most Americans. Rarely engages in political debates, but "will argue the horns off a billy goat" as to whether it's better to hunt squirrels with a .22 or a 20 Ga. Can describe in intricate detail the difference between a Pig Nut and a Hickory but has only rudimentary knowledge of the exterior world. Loves to play 42, a sort of contract bridge for dominoes. Loves his family: wife, kids and especially his blue tick hound. Considers himself a woodsmen and protector. Can't imagine not having guns in his house but goes to great length to teach gun safety to his children. Struggles to overcome the prejudice passed down by his ancestors and usually succeeds. Would never consider living any place else. Loves mildly sophisticated jokes like: "You know what separates a Texan from an idiot?", "The Red River". He's a Republican, his parents and grandparents are yellow dog Democrats. Calls his five-acre-ten-head-of-cows spread a Ranch. Probably has a pump jack or gas well on his property somewhere but gets nothing for it because the mineral rights were sold for a 50lb sack of flour in 1936. Calls a creek a branch, calls a river a creek. Hates pine needles, sweet gum balls, and fire ants. Grew up eating squirrels and deer for sure and maybe 'possum, 'coon and armidillo. If he's over 40 he probably remembers using an outhouse and a kerosene lamp.
Michael Morris
[ April 10, 2003: Message edited by: Michael Morris ]
 
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OK, so what do you guys think of King of the Hill? Which part of TX is Arlen allegedly located in? Is the show remotely accurate in its characterizations? Or are you guys sick of this kind of question? (But face it, it's probaly better than having people form opinions based on "Dallas".)
 
Michael Morris
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OK, so what do you guys think of King of the Hill? Which part of TX is Arlen allegedly located in? Is the show remotely accurate in its characterizations?


I've known many Texans just like Hank Hill. Arlen would probably be somwhere between the hill country (down around San Antone) and Houston. For Hank at least, I'd say the characterizations were fairly accurate.
 
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Originally posted by Ashok Krishnan:
The Indians (again): Very practical and down to earth, his main drive is to earn, and save. Spending is the last word in his bible. And it reads NEVER SPEND MONEY.


Dress colourfully, yet another way to express their identity as a particular community. Any public gathering, if you remove the lair of dust separating you and the crowd, will look as colourful as a coral reeve formation. But at times follows stupid systems - like tie and full sleeves for kindergartners in 40 degree Celsius summer days. Extremely unaware of his own freedom, and lives by the society, luckily society has all sorts of freedom and no one will challenge you from doing what you want to do, except your fear about communities' opinion.


hahhaha...each word and each sentence is 100% correct...kool..
 
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The moose: Very regal and dignified, his main drive is world domination. Justice and Fairness for all (especially animals) are his main goals in life. Extremely cooperative and easy-going, he spends 90% of his energy at play. When he achieves the success, he starts harassing others. His cure turns out to be the persuit of entertainment. Willing to take outrageous risks. Down to earth and rolling in it, he may appear as lacking in education. He is a perfectionist, -- problems are dealt with over time, one day at a time. Preoccupied with equal rights concerns yet openly biased. Has somewhat primitive and immature sense of humor: he considers an insult to Microsoft the best joke. Speaks in . . . well doesn't really speak at all, but posts in short, concise sentences, and uses simple words to communicate the ideas in the most convoluted way. Favors and values obsurity over intelligence and meaningfullness in verbal and written communications. Loves to Lurk where he does not belong. Views the internet as his own personal playground. Dresses extemely minimally with little regard to visual appeal. Conscious of his freedom in all aspects of his life, especially the freedom from domiciles, the freedom of roaming, and freedom of harassing others. He protects his individuality, privacy, and space by living alone in forests. He perceives some seemingly innocent questions and actions as questioning his supreme rights. Seems to discard the values and traditions easily for any reason at all. Highly tolerant of diversity of opinions and cultures as long as they are completely in line with his. He believes that encouragement is more constructive, even if the praise is blatantly unbelievable. A truely NOBLE creature.

 
John Smith
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The Moose,
Not enough subtlety, but still fairly accurate and impressive.
Eugene.
 
Michael Morris
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Let the Moose come down to Texas and we'll um, have him for dinner.
 
John Smith
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Let the Moose come down to Texas and we'll um, have him for dinner.


No intercourse first?
 
Michael Morris
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No intercourse first?


Sure, we'll talk a little.
 
John Smith
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Sure, we'll talk a little.


I meant, with the moose?
 
Michael Morris
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Oh, did you mean sexual intercourse?
Na, only West Texans fuck what they kill.
 
John Smith
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Na, only West Texans fuck what they kill.


Did anyone see the movie "Kissed"? It's about a women exploring the difference between life and death, -- she works in morgue and practices, you know, necrophilia. Very entertaining!
Eugene.
[ April 11, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
Yes, of course, and I accept that blame. In fact, i covet that blame. As does this tiny ad:
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