The Culture Shock and Intercultural Conflicts.

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The Culture Shock and Intercultural Conflicts.

Post by ladislav »

The PH is triangular culture. It has an Anglo-American element with its English language, its US-like educational and legal system, and it has the Spanish element with its Hispanic Catholicism, emotionalism and romanticism. But it also has the SE Asian/Indo-Chinese/Malay element.
Westerners feel very much at home with the Anglo-American and the Hispanic element. This is why they prefer the PH to, say, Thailand or VN. "Filipinos speak English and understand me. They are also emotional people, and those other SE Asians are too reserved and too cold. And Filipinos are Christians, so we believe in the same God" .
However, Westerners start having cultural clashes when they come up against the Malay/ SE Asian element. In that, Filipinos act very similarly to their SE Asian neighbors. What are those things that shock the " Joe"?

Social harmony and conflict avoidance are paramount. Filipinos do not like confrontations, long arguments, and they just like to get along and live in peace.

Is it bad? No, not bad, but many Westerners feel that they are very indirect, do not say "No", and also conceal things that might hurt you. They don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
" You know, now that we are about to get married, I must tell you something".
" What is it?"
" My doctor told me that I cannot have kids. "
" Why' re you telling me only now - after two years of courtship?!"
" I did not want to hurt your feelings."
The Joe freaks out and starts yelling. He calls off the wedding. He feels he just wasted two years of his life.
So, while lying is seen as bad in all cultures, concealment is not lying and its status as a sin is vague.
2. Face culture. Basically, it means avoiding embarrassment and looking less smart, poorer, or in any way bad in front of others. And they will also not wish this for you.
Is it bad? No, again, not bad. But it means you should really avoid debates with most Filipinos. They do not have the same years of training in logical challenges. Just agree, smile and enjoy. Praise him regardless. So, what happens if you don't?
" The man told me that most words in Tagalog came from Spanish. But this is not correct. Only 20-33% of Tagalog has Spanish words. Most means over 50%. How can he say that? So, I told him he was wrong and I showed him the stats. Now, he hates me. Why? "
Next time, smile and agree. Do not argue. Or they will call you a 'filosofo" , a "smart alec".

3) Gossiping. In Thailand and other SE Asian countries, it is seen as perfectly normal to make comments about a person when they are not around, and even when they are within an ear's distance. So, you see a smiling face, but when you turn around, they will say something that is really not their business. " Oh, he's so fat, he's so old and very short! Why is he so short?" You are not aware of it happening, so you think everybody is so nice because they are smiling at you.
Is it bad? To them, it's not. It's just idle talk.
4) A much slower, accepting way of life. Just let things roll on slow.
A Westerner wants to get things done now, but a Filipino follows the old Indic style time. Everything is way more relaxed.
" Is it finished?"
"Not yet".
" But you told me to come at 3 PM to pick it up! It's 3 PM now! "
" Oh you're so strict!"
" Never mind strict! I need to go here and there and now I have to wait! When will it be ready?"
" Later" ( mamaya)
" When later? "
5) Kindness, forgiveness, softness, tolerance. Forgiving other people's mistakes. This is Hindu-Buddhist.
" You made a mistake! You wrote my name wrong! Now I cannot use this ticket! "
" Oh, don't be angry! You also make mistakes, no?"
" Never mind angry! I am paying you for this! What did you do? You issued me a ticket under another name!"
The Westerner is riling but the local cannot see why he is making such a big deal out of it. Nobody is perfect.
There are many other SE Asian cultural traits that a Westerner starts running into, and it is this part of the Philippine culture that takes the most time to adjust to and causes the most culture shock.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!

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Re: The Culture Shock and Intercultural Conflicts.

Post by MrMan »

That is interesting. There is a variety among the larger Malay cultures. My wife's culture, I think may be 'old Malayu', but it is a more outspoken and more wear-your-heart-on-your sleeve type culture. The word 'adat' means 'culture', but can also mean prescribed cultural rituals. They follow 'adat' for certain cultural meetings, like if they meet for something formal like someone gets catechized or if there is a funeral or prefuneral receiving of guests or post-funeral 'comforting' meeting.

Family meetings are a little like a committee meeting trying to figure out how to follow Roberts rules of order. "Who goes after the grandparents and parents, is it the maternal uncle or the paternal uncle."

Anyway, they get all this practice talking in front of crowds, their families, and a lot of the lawyers and preachers are from her people-group. They tend to tell you what they think to some degree. If you offend them or do something wrong, they may call you out on it.

Something weird they do is tell each other what to say if you are having a conflict or discussion in the family. Like the older sister tells an adult son, "Tell your mother you are sorry you have not been picking her up to go to work like you said you would." or whatever it is. It seems to me like telling a little kid to say 'Thank you' and would seem insincere if the young man parroted his sister's words. If there is a marital conflict, the bring the parents-in-laws together to give advice and to resolve the conflict.

It's kind of good that they are open, which makes it easier to have a relationship. But the culture of giving advice all the time has its drawbacks, too.

The Javanese on the other hand are a face-saving culture and they don't tell you, usually, what they think right off. You can do something to offend a Javanese and then they won't tell you and just start not to like you. I think I did that with a part Java part Sunda coworker. I shut her down when she wanted to tell that disgusting condom chewing gum joke again, "Please don't tell that!" I don't know if that was it, or my comments about how irritating that particular singer at the mosque next door was or what. We were getting along pretty well. She was confiding in me about a few things. I abstained from bad-mouthing the boss though. The next thing I knew she was cold toward me like a mortal enemy. A year or so later, she was like that to several co-workers, including one of the nicest people I'd met there--and there were a lot of nice people-- so I figured it was more her than me.

In Indonesia, someone familiar with human geography or anthropology may know that the various prebumi people groups are 'Melayu', but there is one people-group named 'Melayu' and that is what Malayu means there. In their region of Sumatera and the nearby areas, Bahasa Indonesia is known as 'Bahasa Melayu', which is pretty historically accurate. They say words that end with an 'a' with an 'o', like manggo instead of mangga for a mango. I think they are also the people-group within the Melayu group Malaysia is named for. But all the larger Melayu people groups are called Melayu in Malaysia. I think my wife's people, which basically have no historical presence in Malaysia, can get putribumi status if they settle there and are Muslim. Javanese can as well.

But I digress. My point is there is some variety when it comes to these things among Malay people's. Some of those traits sound like traits of certain Malay groups in Indonesia but not others.
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Re: The Culture Shock and Intercultural Conflicts.

Post by MrMan »

Does the man in the scenario release a proper ticket? If he does, being chill about it makes more sense. If not, I understand why the expat is upset.
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