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Do you have to be a certain type of person to fit in a
culture? Or can anyone successfully adopt to their surroundings?
I can only talk of one or two cultures, I know of the
culture I was born in, and the one I have adopted.Namely the Indian and the British.
People tend to be the product of the atmosphere they are
born and brought up in. Behaviour is learnt and practiced and becomes a part of
our personality. Traditions and customs are taught, and they are ingrained in
us. Some find it difficult to just discard them and totally adopt to something
new. But I would say that if we have certain personality traits then that
process might become easy.
I think it is not enough to have read English literature and
history in school, and to have admired the great writers and poets, to become
part of a culture.It is the people,who make it,and it isimportant to learn it from them.
Because when I came to this country, I was familiar
with all those, and was bowled over by the beauty of the landscape, the
gardens. But once I started to live here, I realised that there was a great
deal for me to learn. And that learning was only going to come if I got to know
the people, and learnt of their lifestyle. Being a nurse meant I had access to people’s
lives. They were my captive audience. I talked and listened to them, shared
their grief and held their hand when they were in pain. I was granted the privilege
of getting to know what made them tick!
There were many misconceptions which I had to discard, and
various characteristics, I had to adopt. I had the misconception that the
British were cold and indifferent. That they liked to divide and rule, and they
were selfish. Where as we from the East, had more empathy, cared for each other
more and stuck to our families and traditions.
What I found was very different. The British were reserved,
they didn’t open up to everyone, chose their friends carefully and once chosen
they were friends for life. I found that they had a very dry and special sense
of humour, a stiff upper lip and didn’t care a great deal if some tried to run
them down. In another sense, they didn’t have a sense of victimhood or self pity. You
got on with the job in hand, and didn’t look around too much to see who was or
was not admiring or hating you.
They did not keel over when trouble came, and kept a stiff
upper lip even when their heart was breaking. Very few tears were shed in
public, by those in my care. Though I
knew that their pain must be breaking their heart. High praise was not much
appreciated nor given. A simple nod and a pat on the back was great praise
I feel that may be my personality had certain traits, which
helped me to integrate and become one with my adopted culture. And this leads
me to believe that there are certain type of people who accept certain
influences well, like the proverbial duck to the water!
There are certain Europeans, who love the Eastern culture
and readily adopt it. People like Prema ,our blogger love everything Indian. Whereas
a lot of others will find it hard going indeed.
I may be wrong, but I believe that some people will become
native easily, because they have a nature which fits better ,than those who try
very hard to integrate ,but have nothing in common. Discuss!