It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it

Why would some people protest against an initiative to do them good? Why some altruistic endeavours get sabotaged by the very beneficiaries of the efforts?

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Why would some people protest against an initiative to do them good? Why some altruistic endeavours get sabotaged by the very beneficiaries of said efforts?

Last month, a local Vancouver newspaper reported on a group of residents who oppose an ex-neighbour’s initiative to embellish a nearby city lot. Although this proposal includes investing $7,650 of the city’s money to improve this piece of land, many residents protested against it through anonymous emails, letters to the city and even confrontations on the street! “The neighbours are up in arms”—one resident commented [1].  Meanwhile, some us wonder why these people are protesting against a plan that seems well-intended and beneficial. What is it about the whole situation that makes it deserving of such tremendous furor?

Continue reading “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it”

My boyfriend was not a selfish, treacherous bastard… he was just Japanese

Most people think that resolving cross-cultural conflict is about spotting and dealing with differences. I think this is wrong because cultural differences are easier to handle. Differences invite us to be careful with our judgments and to enquire on our counterpart’s intentions and motivations; in contrast, cultural similarities temp us to make hasty judgments, and assume that we already know the intentions and motivations of our counterpart.

Most of us think that resolving cross-cultural conflict is about spotting and dealing with differences. Thus, we pay attention to the behaviours and customs we find odd and strange. I think this is wrong because cultural differences invite us to be careful with our judgments and to enquire on our counterpart’s intentions and motivations. In contrast, cultural similarities tempt us to assume that we already know the intentions and motivations of our counterpart. As in the following anecdote, this could be the mother of all cross-cultural mistakes.

Continue reading “My boyfriend was not a selfish, treacherous bastard… he was just Japanese”