“Eastern and Western attitudes about life explained in 18 simple infographics”

I stumbled upon this post and wanted to share it here. An artist named Yang Liu, who is Chinese but has lived in Germany since adolescence, created 18 images to contrast Western and Eastern mindsets. Some critics (i.e. commentators on the website) have said that the images are oversimplified or that they overgeneralize stereotypes about culture. Despite this, however, many felt that the images do a good job conveying differences between how Westerners typically think and how Easterners typically think.

Click HERE to see the 18 infographics by Yang Liu.

As a Westerner living in the East, I have seen and experienced all of the situations the artist illustrated. Things that happen on a daily basis – like how we have different ideas of how a “line” should form – sometimes drive me nuts. It’s a challenge sometimes to remember that the people who “cut” in front of me do not think of what they’re doing as “cutting”; rather, they are waiting for something in the way that they believe is the right way to wait for something. Getting upset about these differences, and assuming that every Eastern person is one way while all Western people are all another way, is what leads to close-mindedness and bigotry. To be perfectly honest, it’s a constant challenge to not slip into an “us versus them” mentality. However, at the same time it’s a huge challenge to feel like I’m one of “them”. The truth is, I’m a Westerner through and through, so it is difficult to see things from the stereotypical Eastern perspective. But I’m growing as a person and as a citizen of the world as I learn to accept differences, to blend in as much as possible, to have empathy, to show respect for people who think differently, and to remember that there are many “right” ways to do or to perceive ideas like solving problems, being a tourist, or approaching one’s boss.

I love this quote by Mark Twain:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

…and what’s always on my mind is that by living in Thailand, I have the opportunity to cultivate “broad, wholesome, charitable views” of everyone, particularly those I meet who see the world so very differently from myself.

What do you think about all this?


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