Rethink Your Life!
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The Work of Art and The Art of Work
Kiko Denzer on Art
[Cob] Thailand & a cautionBarbara Roemer & Glenn Miller roemiller at infostations.net
Mon May 21 15:59:54 PDT 2007
Stephen, You wrote: "The personality factor of Thai's are really amazing in some ways. To provide some contrast for people who have never been to Thailand, let me illustrate...," and then contrasted your experience of Thai people in a supermarket with your experience of Czech workers in a supermarket there. I respectfully argue that what you are describing is not personality, which varies enormously in any one culture, just as it does across cultures, but behavior that REFLECTS a cultural practice. It seems to me that characterizing a behavioral norm as personality gets awfully close to the idea of a "national personality" and that such generalizing often results in racial or ethnic stereotyping. I don't think that's what you meant to do at all, but I'm offering a caution. As an example, in my town, a locally-owned supermarket with only two stores has a reputation for rude clerks and crummy service, while the big chains go out of their way to court customers with service. I wouldn't want to generalize about the personalities of the checkers and baggers at the local store: they are as varied as those personalities among my friends, I'm sure. Rather the surly behavior of employees reflects an institutionalized attitude, part of the store's culture, that management has not addressed. I DO prefer to shop at the locally owned store, just ideologically, and now the owners have mounted a campaign to turn around their image and practice, so I'd be in trouble if I HAD resorted to stereotyping their employees. It's also not to say there are no national characteristics, such as those Murricans are noted for: inventiveness, brashness, and the ol' rugged individualism. Whether those cultural characteristics continue to serve us in all situations, and whether they obtain over time, long historic periods, that is, remains to be seen. Barbara in the Sierra Nevada Foothills
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