When somebody ask you “what is culture?”…… what comes first in your mind?
Maybe you will imagine some old ancient artifact and temples from Egypt, or the vivid traditional Korean costume that you used to see in the parade, or maybe such an exotic Thai food that you have ever tasted before? Or maybe the public holiday in the country to celebrate Chinese New Year?
Does the things mention above are enough representing “what culture is”?
I recently had the opportunity to contact my friends to find out their opinion about culture. I gain some various answer to my questions above.
One of my friend said that culture is such particular “habit” agreed by some group in certain environment. Another friend added that for her, culture is such kind of way of life, where in the way of life there is perspective, art, language, beliefs, custom and tradition.
Then I inquiry more with another question to my friends about diversity.
Actually what is diversity??
One of my friend said that diversity means there is nothing the same in this world, even the twins are not exactly the same. Diversity means that in sameness and similarity there is always something different there. Another friend added that in the context of culture, diversity is the aspect that defines one culture from another culture based on the root where the culture come from and created.
From the brief survey to my friends about what they think about “culture” and “diversity”, I am quiet surprise to find out that they interpreted culture beyond the things on the surface that is easy to see, taste and define! For my friends, culture is more than custom and tradition itself; it involves perspectives, way of life and even habit! Well done my friends!!
I am glad that now more and more people are more aware that culture is much deeper and more significant than those things we can see especially if we visit a different country: the local festivals, the exotic traditional food, the enchanting colorful traditional costumes, the particular art and craft and the ancient artifact from the centuries ago…
Do you ever realize that ‘culture’ and its differences involves the deeper, significant and ‘unseen’ things such as values, community connections, inter-generational relationship, the race and ethnic heritages, the languages, migration, ideas about education, gender role, health care, religion, role of children and even how to show their emotion?
If you have a personal experiences, please feel free to share it with me!!
Regards from the heart of Borneo,
Brunei Darussalam, March 2013