East West culture

The Reason, The feelings, The law.

Let us suppose you were asked to rank the criteria elements quoted above, which would motivate your behavior. Your reply could well be it depends for what behavior. These elements were used to establish the criteria used in studies to establish cultural differences. The most often used ranking of the criteria in the different behaviors would give an in sight of the cultural behaviors.

It was found that most Anglo Saxons would use “the law” as the highest criteria in decision making. People influenced by Descartes’ would place “the reason” as the main criteria whilst Confucius influenced culture would be more inclined to have “the Feeling” criteria as the driver. Sophie Faure who wrote Manager a l’ecole de Confucius taught me quite a lot on this subject when she visited us in Mauritius, some time ago last year.

Understanding this hierarchy of criteria do shed light on cultural differences. For example, in the western world, bringing gifts to a counterpart that you meet for the first time in a business situation, could be seen as a form of unwarranted softener. Such an action could be wrongly interpreted. However, such practice in the East would be the norm. As “sentiments” are the highest criteria, it would be natural to start off an introduction with an exchange of gifts to arouse the feel good factor and to show welcoming & start off the sharing.

We are in the “bouillon de cultures”. We are thus able to see the fine lines of the cultural differences perhaps unconsciously. Finding founding explanations to these nuances helps us to act properly and consciously.

I am very interested in the East- West interaction. For a Chinese, I could be a banana. A term use by the Chinese to describe a Chinese brought up in a western culture: Yellow out side and White inside. I need to get better understanding of my unconscious eastern upbringing nurtured by my family environment. I consider my self not too much white inside. Understanding the culture differences and more importantly identifying the source of the difference is very useful & telling. I have read a comparison of Socrates & Confucius philosophies and would recommend it to you. I would also like to read a comparison of Indian and western philosophies to identify converging and diverging thinking.

Le bouillon de culture à la croisée des courants de l’orient et de l’occident, d’Afrique et de l’asie.


#1 Olivier on 09.17.06 at 11:35 am

I remember studying the decision making criteria. There was some hierarchy to that. I will dig more into it and report back =)

I of course fully understand what you mean by being a ‘banana’. While definitely not white on the inside, I am certainly something other. Over here, there is such a diversity of cultures that one has to be careful not to come accross as a jerk in a conversation. East really does meet west over here and my workplace is no exception to the trend. Very nice post

#2 joseph on 09.17.06 at 1:59 pm

Very pleased that you are interested with the subject. Looking forward to your input of decision criterias.In a way with our metissage, east & west particularities get mix up unconsciously. Our greatest assets is precisely our metissage. To be able to see things from different perspertives and to be able to offer more choices that others who source from only one based repertoire.The variety of responses offered would be the essence of our originality leading to creavitity or novelty.

#3 Steph on 09.17.06 at 10:15 pm

I think we have the best of both worlds with our metissage and it gives us a definite advantage. Being a “banana” does bring about more complicated situations than just being classified as a certain ethnic group. Since I cannot identify myself as being chinese and certainly not white, I describe myself as Mauritian which for me encompasses the bouillon de cultures that we are. It would be too complicated to go into details about ancestry roots from european, chinese, creole,etc.. Au fait, do we really have Dutch roots??

#4 Steph on 09.17.06 at 10:46 pm

Another thought on our mauritian roots, I went to Alain Ramanisum concert last week, very popular sega singer invited by a group of young mauritians here in Montreal (visit http://www.meternissa.com)and it was awesome to see how we all came together, dancing to the beat of “nou vire, nou tourner”. There was no distinction of us as a nation of chinese, muslim, hindu or white, we were all just mauritians! The sega dancers from Sirena is a great example, the girls from different origins (and sizes!) were all ‘casser les reins’ in perfect syncronisation.

#5 joseph on 09.18.06 at 3:39 pm

Dutch roots? Not so sure.Grand ma AH LIM, from my mother’side was the daughter of ancestor AH Fan & HITIE.Hitie familys were non chinese and were land owners from the region of Bouchon,near Plaines Magnien. The name Hitie is of French Origin. I would not know if there was any dutch roots in the Hitie root’s family.We could study genetic metissage as well as cultural metissage as well.What you mentioned about the sega show would be more of the cultural inheritage brought about by a common thread of having lived earlier the same valued experiences. The sharing of this common heritage creates the bonds in spite of the genetic differences.

#6 Desire Lan on 09.23.06 at 8:36 pm

The other day, i heard the same word (‘banana’) in London being used for Chinese who do not speak Chinese.

FYI – For British Indians who do not speak Hindi, they are called dry coconuts: brown on the outside and white inside because they lost a lot of their cultures.

#7 joseph on 09.27.06 at 10:27 am

Thanks a lot, I have learned a new term “coconuts”

Leave a Comment