Friday, April 03, 2015

Germans vs. Chinese: Part 4 of 4

Some of the diagrams below illustrate similar points to other diagrams. Maybe a bit of a repeat. But I don't want to leave you hanging, so I'll go ahead and post them anyways.

16. Who's The Boss?

photo via WeChat

I think this one may relate back to how Chinese people may, at times, downplay their own importance. On the other hand, westerners may sometimes appear overconfident or self-aggrandizing. These concepts of self and how they relate to authority varies across cultures. In China, there is generally a great respect for authority. I think many authority figures are put on a pedestal. They are fawned over, sucked up to, revered, respected, wined and dined. In my own country, most people like to view others, even those in a position above them, as more or less their equal. I think a perfect example of this can be found when compare our countries leaders. President Obama puts himself out there--he is on late night talk shows, throws the opening pitch at baseball games, and isn't afraid to be seen in his daily life. He wants to seem like an average guy and these kind of image attracts voters. In China, the leaders personal lives are quite hidden and who they really are is shrouded in mystery.

17. A Day at the Beach

photo via WeChat

This one needs little introduction. Westerns like to suntan; Chinese rather hide under a parasol. On a related note, a friend of mine once visited me in China. At the time she was living in sunny (rarely rainy) California. One day, as we were walking down the street in Beijing, we passed a woman hiding under an umbrella.

My friend turned to me and said, "Now I finally get it!"

"Get what?" I asked.

"Why I see umbrellas sitting outside so many places in California," she explained. "They are parasols for Asians who want to stay out of the sun!"

Yes, one of life's greatest riddles solved. . . why anyone in California would need an umbrella.

18. Streetscapes

photo via WeChat

There are a lot of people in China. That's obvious. But it becomes even more obvious if you take a stroll down a main street (particularly on the weekend). People are EVERYWHERE. I like it. One day, when I was back home a few years ago, I was walking around downtown Chicago. It was eery how quiet it was in such a large city. Hardly anyone was out on the street. I missed the hustle and bustle of (tiny, little) Chengde.

19. Two cents

photo via WeChat

As with problem solving, sharing one's opinion can be done in a rather roundabout way in China. Words can be said without being spoken. Ideas subtly hinted at. Or you may be led to believe a person thinks one thing while in fact, her view is wholly different. Americans, like Germans, are quite direct. Some people with try to present an opinion diplomatically, but usually there is no mistaken what the opinion actually is. How great is that?

20. Little Emperors

photo via WeChat

I view my children as a (wonderful) part of my life, but not exactly the center of my life. Often times in China, children are the heart of the family. They are doted on by parents and grandparents alike. You can argue that a grandparent's job is to spoil her grandkids, but this becomes problematic when said grandparent is around nearly every day (as in my case) or lives with the child. Since many kids are only children, it's easy to see how they can become spoiled rotten, earning the nickname "Little Emperors." No thanks. I've been working hard to make sure that doesn't happen to Ping or William. Becoming a grown-up is hard enough without having to realize that you aren't actually the center of the universe.

What do you think, do these accurately portray the differences between German (western) and Chinese culture?


Anonymous said...

I think a number of observations are right, but I don't know anything about German culture!

rosieinbj said...

I don't know that much about German culture, but I think most of the observations are pretty accurate in describing the customs where I grew up in the US.

Eileen Huang said...

It's pretty accurate. :)