September 15, 2013
Individualism as an American Cultural Value
Question: How do the examples involving the child who has fallen, the way food is served and eaten, and the newspaper route provide the author with significant insights into American cultural value? Do you agree with her interpretations?
Poranee like many other immigrants are faced with various changes/challenges when they leave their homeland to start a new life in another country. Some of these changes are obvious, while others are not so blatant. Poranee first realized these changes with the simple question “how are you?” While somethings are consider normal and acceptable in one country, it may be consider rude or inappropriate in another. Poranee was raised in culture that emphasis service and togetherness, which is why she felt comfortable enough to help the fallen child. Without being told, she wouldn't have known that letting the child get up himself will teach him to be independent from an early age.
Just like the fallen child, eating off someone else plate or reaching across the table isn't consider inappropriate since the Thais focuses more on forming a community than individualism. The American way of eating is consider inappropriate to the Thais because it is seen as selfish and inconsiderate to have so much food on your plate. I agree with the author on her interpretation of the examples except for the example about the newspaper route. I don't think that the couple who own the BMW’s were materialistic because they were well off but still made their children work. I think that by making their son sell newspapers and their daughter babysit, they were teaching them the value of hard work Working teaches them that just because their parents have money, doesn't mean they can sit around and do nothing.
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