Reflect before you choose not to choose

Posted by martyn on November 11, 2008
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This is a general observation about culture and its effect on our behavour and most importantly how we make decisions.

Culture can and does bring a huge richness into this world, such diversity and traditions loves and hates…

Yet it also can bring an unseen burden, simply put… when you make a decision have you checked where the result of your decision comes from, is it really from you, the individual? or are you making a decision automatically based on cultural conditioning? pause before making choices.. does the decision you made enrich you and the planet or does it simply maintain the status quo? Cultures often fight to maintain there comfort zone, do you?

enjoy life


winks to get attention

Posted by Pieter on November 09, 2008
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Did you ever notice the different winks people use in countries to express themselves or get attention. Here some that were remarkable for me:

– In the Philipinnes they point their lips forward and raise their chin. This is an expression that is used for many things: pointing direction, stating that you are listening, that you understand it, that you want attention.

– In Syria people make this short sound you make when you suck a little bit of air along your tongue. (In Holland you make this sound to express you think something is not right). In Syria they express that they get your message. This confused me every time.

– To indicate that you have to come over in many countries people move their hand downwards. I am used to wave with your arm towards your body.

presents in China

Posted by Pieter on November 09, 2008
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My parents always teached me to be gratefull for presents. You do this by saying thank you (preferably once again when the family is leaving) and put interest in the present.

In China it goes different. When you give a present they unpack it and immidiately put it somewhere aside. After they have seen the present they immediately go on with other things and later you can even find the present littering around in the house.

They told me once this is because gratefullness is so obvious that you don't have to express it.

The best combs in the world

Posted by Marion de Groot on November 03, 2008
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A Chinese friend gave me a present: a set of very nicely carved wooden combs. In the pretty red present box was a note from the producing factory. Its text is so typically Chinese, that I'll just post it as it is:

"A brief introduction to Changzhou combs and fine toothed combs

Changzhou Comb Factory Co. Ltd combs and fine toothed combs were major ornaments for hair dressing in ancient China, having a history of more than 1500 years, and the good name of Royal Combs has been enjoyed. They are made of natural materials with perfect craftsmanship and they are beautifully shaped as well. Combing hair with this kind of combs will ease your headache and sleeplessness, refresh your mind and will make you see and hear well, they are not only a daily necessity, but also a handicraft for appreciation.

The combs and fine toothed combs are well known at home and abroad. Since the beginning of the last century we have already won many gold and silver medals, such as the silver medal awarded by the Panama Peace Exhibition, the gold medal awarded by the world's Fair in Philadelphia, the silver medal for high quality by the Light Industry Ministry, the National silver medal, the gold medal by the Second Beijing International Fair and the Price for the Ten Famous Products of Changzhou. Our "Longevity" combs are protected by patent. Our products are sold in South-East Asia, West Europe and Africa. We have a good reputation for our products. Our products are very popular at home and abroad."

Well if you're not convinced by now that these are the best combs in the world, you must be mad! Self-appraisal is very common in China, while it is totally unaccepted in the Netherlands.

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One of those stories…

Posted by Lotje Pulles on November 03, 2008
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I was an exchange student in Australia, when I was 16. As you would know, it was an amazing experience. Just before I left, I bought myself an empty book with a nice cover. In Australia I've met many people that are now very special to me. This book was to keep my memory about them. So I let them write in it. This book is very special to me. It keeps my memories.
My hostmum thought it would be nice to rercord all my embarassing moments. The moments that I did not understand the language, the culture, etc. At the time these were very embarassing, but now, I look back with a great feeling. I learnt from it.
This story is one of them.

My hostfamily and I were guests at some friendsplace. There were many people in the house. We were drinking and eating, everyone helped himself. As my hostfather was concerned about me helping myself (I was very shy as an exchangestudent), he asked me if I had tea. I said: no thanx dad, I already had some Coke…
Everybody laughed his head of and I (embarassed) didn't have a clue why! In my vocabulary tea meant a cup of tea. Later that day they tought me tea could also mean dinner. I will never forget.