Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"A dragon floundering in shallow water is teased by the shrimps" Part 3

(English translation of October 2nd posting)

In Part 2, my friend thought I was talking about the thinking processes of the English, French and Chinese people. Before he could go on, I quickly shook my head and said: "No, no, no ! Wouldn't life be simple and our world easier to manage if we would just label people by their nationalities and be able to predict their thinking and behaviors? We would not need that many foreign diplomats and international negotiators at the United Nations !"

Individual and generalization: The problem at the workplace is that some people do label visible minority workers and subconsciously have a pre-conceived notion of their behaviours and performances based on certain stereotypes. For example: The word "inscrutable" has been used as a description of Asian men and often a reason to explain why they never speak up at meetings. Some even go further and generalize that Asian workers make poor team players and could not be trusted. Who knows what is going on in that devious and inscrutable mind ? Yet, it would never occur to the critics that perhaps there is a language barrier, or because the workers are not used to speaking up in front of their superiors without permission. In which case, there is really no justifiable ground to question the trust worthiness of these employees or their ability to do teamwork. Since my colleague has been to Canada for only three years and still thinks and acts like a fresh-off-the-plane Asian immigrant, I suggested that perhaps he would need to learn to become more flexible by adjusting and adapting the western culture, mingling with the locals, and becoming a part of this multi-cultural society without giving up too much of his personal identity, background value and ethnic culture.

My friend was absolutely dismayed with my suggestions and his face just dropped. "I come over here to make a living but not to kow-tow to anyone. I hope you are not suggesting that I should turn myself into a half-westerner ?" Oh dear ! It appears I have landed myself a thankless volunteer job as career coach.

< please wait for the conclusion of the Asian Dragon Story in Part 4 >


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