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Originally from Seattle, USA, I've lived in China for 27 years now, 22 of them in Taiwan. For those 27 years I have been teaching English to Chinese people of all age levels; kindergarten, primary school, junior high, high school, College, University and many business managers. I have traveled to many countries, enjoy cycling very much, enjoy reading and studying and love Chinese Art Museums and walking through Nature. My favorite musical instruments are 古筝。。 古琴 。。 琵琶。。 二胡 。。 笛子 。。 (guzheng, guqin, pipa, erhu, dizi).
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B - Cultural differences    

By WarmLife
1559 Views | 16 Comments | 4/14/2016 1:44:48 PM

What is culture?  What is "face"?  Is it relevant for intercultural communication?  With Globalization making the World seemingly smaller and smaller is there any differences between Cultures now?  The notions of face and self-image are considered universal characteristics, and yet they are conceptualized differently from one culture to another, depending on the underlying cultural values and beliefs. What do you consider to be a major aspect of the intercultural communication between you and Chinese?  Do you believe Chinese are inscrutable?  Do Chinese believe Westerners are "too open"?  People and things are increasingly out of place’especially due to easier travel from many countries to China and vice versa. But at the same time, we are discovering that the most heavily policed frontiers are not physical but linguistic and cultural.
These borders are embedded in the everyday life of ordinary people and we ourselves do more to police them than any security force could hope to achieve.  Is there such an phenomenon as "Deep Culture" ? The concept of ‘deep culture’ is a challenging one, designed to understand the processes going on in sensitive personal areas, without adopting an inappropriately normative perspective. It may thereby assist us in attaining a positive ‘cultural footprint’ so that the places in which we stay will be enriched by our sojourn there. At an intercultural communication conference not long ago, (the author of a book) heard a speaker comment that globalization was rendering the concept of cultural difference invalid. Some weeks later, during a reunion with a friend who had just completed an 18-month trip around the world, (the author) asked about this assertion. My friend commented that to find cultural difference you have to ‘get off the internet and get on a bus’  Agree?  Disagree? Not sure?  Hey!  Let's get together for an interactive stimulating experience as we jump into this area!   discussion at the beginning and end should provide for a memorable chance to get to know each other better!

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2016-04-14 14:18:18 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

This post seems pretty relevant to the politically motivated comments going on over on Barry's last blog, Perceptions of China - Part 3. This is especially so because what we are really discussing over there is globalization more than anything else.

As I was growing up, and until fairly recently, I always imagined that globalization would be a great thing for the world. Get rid of borders. Get rid of dictatorships. Let everyone share in the wealth of planet earth. Blah, blah, blah. (puke)

Now that I am watching globalization take place, managed by only the super wealthy, designed to get rid of borders in order to ensure nobody has the protection of nationality, designed to get rid of political dictatorships and replace then with even uglier economic dictatorships, and let everyone share the wealth of planet earth by putting in place mechanisms of mass genocide unsuspected by almost everyone even while they are dying before their time, meaning that the wealth of planet earth shall be enjoyed by only the same super wealthy people who enjoy it now, I am not impressed. :@

And yes, the internet has been a great tool of the destruction of cultural differences, which should be treasured, not tossed aside like yesterday's leftovers.

I am becoming much depressed over the road we are all headed down, because I see a slaughter at the end of it that we the sheeple are not going to survive. Think I'll go have a glass of wine and try to forget about it all. If I fail then more later...

#2016-04-14 15:07:43 by Barry1 @Barry1

@WarmLifeGz7

"My friend commented that to find cultural difference you have to ‘get off the internet and get on a bus"

Interesting collection of thoughts you've presented here, thanks Jim.

In relation to the sentence above, one thing I've been saying for a long time now is somewhat similar:

"If you wish to know the REAL China, then you need to leave the big cities and head out into the rural, more far flung areas where foreigners rarely visit".

The only problem with the above sentiment though is that you need to either know how to speak Mandarin or else have a Chinese companion or translator with you, because in these remote regions, English is useless.

In the town of Shawan where I've been living with Tina, I've NEVER seen another Western person. Not a single one in the past year. This is what I mean by real, traditional and fascinating China. :^)

#2016-04-17 00:57:47 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

Not quite true Barry. By that, I mean what you say is true up to a point, but it's not necessary to go to the clachan-like villages of China in order to experience the type of people who dwell there.

Like many cities in China, there are parts of my QLV where you can go at certain times of the week and find 'night-markets' as well as daytime street sellers who are plying their trade on old wooden carts or blankets spread on the pavement.

Ruddy-faced farmers who cannot read Chinese characters and who look 800 years-old are selling the sweetest fruit and the freshest vegetables for half the price of the supermarket tags, and are thrilled at the prospect of selling to a 'laowai'.

These people are the 'real China', and with fierce competition, they do their best to ensure that their produce is worth going out of your way to buy.

On an almost daily basis I do my utmost to support these people by making sure I procure their produce when needs arise.

I am a smoker and I can buy my ciggies from a street-vendor for the same price as I can in the big-chain supermarkets, so why not support the 'little-man'?

Visit a street-stall selling fresh veggies a few times and suddenly they become the envy of their competitors simply because you are western. Pretty soon the vendor is either knocking a couple of yuan off your bill or throwing you some kind of 'freebie' just to keep you going back.

These are the decent, honest, hard-working, lovely, wonderful, friendly people-of-China at the opposite end of the scale to the one that harbours the self-centred, xenophobic, two-faced, capitalist money-grabbers, who think we are only here to satisfy their lousy existence on this planet.

#2016-04-17 13:43:55 by Barry1 @Barry1

@paulfox1

"Ruddy-faced farmers who cannot read Chinese characters and who look 800 years-old are selling the sweetest fruit and the freshest vegetables for half the price of the supermarket tags, and are thrilled at the prospect of selling to a 'laowai'. These people are the 'real China"

Beautifully expressed, Paul. A delight to read. (clap)

#2016-04-17 18:33:58 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Barry1

Thank you............!!

#2016-04-21 18:19:11 by melcyan @melcyan


You have asked so many good questions and so far not one of your questions has been engaged.

Deep culture is a concept that you forced me to google a week ago. I found it very interesting but decided to wait for others to comment. A week later I am still waiting.

I am not ready to comment on deep culture at the moment but I will start with just one of the comments above

“My friend commented that to find cultural difference you have to ‘get off the internet and get on a bus’”

I believe the internet with be at the forefront of cultural preservation efforts.

Obviously, you must be engaged with real people ( i.e. be on a real bus) to be involved in cultural preservation but the real bus is limited in size. The “virtual bus” that is provided by the internet has no limits to its size. If you can record all the essential elements of a language on the internet and get a critical mass of the users of that language to engage it on the internet, then there is every chance that language will survive. In my opinion language is the root of culture.

My partner says I am wasting my time learning Mandarin. In some ways she is correct because China is more diverse than Europe and the essence of her culture is found in the Shanghainese dialect. I hope to get round that by learning Shanghainese after achieving fluency in Mandarin.

My apologies for not engaging your blog fully but I sincerely hope my tentative start will prompt others to respond.


I can't end without briefly commenting on globalization. I presently have an image of planet Earth as my screen saver. This is my home. I share this home with 7.4 billion other humans and trillions more of other forms of life.

I have the times of London, Ankara, Vilnius, Shanghai, Adelaide, Portland and New York on my web browser. I know people in each of these places. These clocks help me adjust to their daily reality.

We all live and breathe in the same container. We all have atoms in our bodies that were once part of Buddha and Jesus Christ. Globalization has been with us since the dawn of humanity and its very essence is diversity. It is only now that we have the technology to fully comprehend its meaning. We now have the capacity to see the human species outside of artificial, petty and insular geographic boundaries.

Diversity is fundamental to our future survival as a species. Every person who gains an understanding of another culture is increasing the chances of humanity's survival in the future.

#2016-05-06 11:45:55 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7

If John agrees with an idea I have -- then I can pursue it -- there are more than enough fascinating and interesting and also well written blogs here -- The above topic of "deep culture" and other more academic topics concerning Chinese culture could be useful for those who wish to read them -- Instead of creating many blogs as some do -- My proposal would be to simply add short or medium size comments daily or as I have time to write and tack them here -- then people could pick and choose which one they wished to read or comment upon -- comments usually appear more quickly than blogs -- which is suitable no doubt -- on the other hand putting up piece by piece from materials that I have might also be suitable as a kind of -- more often seen than a typical blog -- daily column so to speak -- thanks for your consideration --

#2016-05-06 15:27:54 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@WarmLifeGz7 - I like the idea but I am pondering where we would post it. I don't think that doing it as comments here works because it would never be found. I am wondering about a section posted somewhere called "Culture Corner" or "Cross Culture Corner" where anyone could come and post and/or comment on posts. This sounds like it might simply be another category in the Forum, but I can also see some value to giving it a special spot either on the blogs or on the main sites.

Or if you mean something more specifically for yourself then I am interested but that would really require a consistent posting of content, maybe more than you could accommodate. Your thoughts?

Does anybody have any thoughts or suggestions?

#2016-05-06 16:39:01 by melcyan @melcyan

@JohnAbbot
I like @WarmLifeGz7's idea. One way to start is to begin a new section in the Magazine titled "A deeper look at Chinese culture" or just "Deep culture". Those who are interested only have to keep an eye on new comments in the Magazine section. So far, no new comments have been made in the Magazine section since October 2015, so this would make use of an existing under utilized section of CLM. I don't think it would even matter if it was only used by a very small number of interested CLM members. It is definitely worth a try.

#2016-05-06 18:09:16 by Barry1 @Barry1

@WarmLifeGz7
@JohnAbbot

Jim's idea is an interesting one. If I understand it correctly, his concept would resemble something akin to a Twitter or WeChat account? For those Westerners unfamiliar with WeChat, I can highly recommend it as a great way to keep in touch with friends and to make spontaneous postings yourself. Even photos can be included.

At the moment, many people balk at the idea of posting a formal blog because they see it as a lot of work. To make matters worse, often the writer rather than receiving praise for the effort made, receives criticism for the article from bystanders who never bother to pen an article themselves.

I personally dislike forum postings because they soon become lost amongst a sea of other forum posts. Plus they're slow to download. I think Jim is trying to suggest something that's both quicker to be published plus also is readily accessed by people.

The main flaw with Jim's idea though is John's desire to hold comments in the pipeline until he reads and approves them. Then once each day (or sometimes once every two days when he's overworked or overtired), John publishes all the comments in one bloc.

As a reader, I find this continual delay of up to 24 or even 48 hours before comments are published a nuisance. It dampens written creativity and spontaneity. As an example, often I've thought of making a quick comment about something but then not bothered, knowing it wouldn't be seen for another day or two.

As an editor however, I can see John's point that he wants to maintain a tight hold on what's published on his website. For example, could it be defamatory or could it offend the Chinese censors who most likely trawl through the CLM website every now and then?

The bottom line?

My view is that if the comments in this new section need to sit on the back burner until they're moderated every 24 or 48 hours, then the idea will be a flop.

But if the comments could be somehow automatically published in a timely fashion as a separate section away from the blogs or forums without the need for continual editorial scrutiny, then the concept would be a big success. (clap)(clap)

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