Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

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Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby ratsnake » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:35 am

It’s a big thing for me personally since germany was my very first encounter with a foreign nation and that of a European type of course. Right now that I’m eagerly sitting in the school’s cafeteria and writing this post I can feel a difference between me and them. Not that I’d a be a geek or a total loner but I mean them as the native society. I’ve been here in this country for about 4 years almost. Since the day I took my first german course till now that I’m writing my thesis, I haven’t had a certain feeling securing my emotions towards my host: the Germans. I am very much sure that I’m not the first person who feels like he’s got a search to do through what medium he lives. I say it in a simple way: I have had great friendship with students from Canada, Japan, South America, US and buncha other nations I never new they actually exist. But all of my list lacks some serious German names. If I was a typical personality from the middle east having conservations about contacting others regarding communication skills and/or beliefs etc. I could imagine why should I not be having much contacts with one of the Europe’s most intellectual nations according to the daily basis of industrial news ( not the schooling stats!) but if I could make friends with Venezuelans, Canadians Thais, why not Germans?? Some of it goes to my rude character that for example if someone starts off with the topic of the day…..Nuclear Iran and stuff and of course in a course of total negativity, I shall stand up and ask him about why should it ALLL be negative about us? And I could do that with my American or Canadian Buddies but the Germans peoples around get offended. The thing was that since my first real encounter I realized that since my looks are quite Mediterranean, rather I spoke English or not,
I was dangerous! Even after they would talk to me and see that I am a total None-religious person which for a guy from a Moslem state is a certain degree of relief especially if you’re chitchattin in a bar and you eyes are strangled with a nice pair of blue ones!!! Still the matter should be open: I think Moslems are stupid and aggressive! And I say: what is it got to do with me? I believe in a world citizenship up to some degree!
I tried to evaluate my position and my ways of approaching but hello! Sorry I couldn’t imagine saying hi three times to be greeted once by some people who would take it as a good thing for a foreign student to be greeted by them three to 1 each time they cross the corridor! My post is more or less a question: is it us who should try to get fully absorbed in our medium or some times the medium might not be the right one?

Briefly about me is : that I tried and learned the language spoken in the medium, I rather spent times around with other foreign students but according to the approaches I didn’t even receive a simple Mornin’ every day in the classroom from the German students back to feel integrated!
I showed up in parties and clubs and of course I gave it the best shot of my German skills to find out that some of these students are actually believing to have an advantage of being capable of answering more dialogues in the classrooms where the subject were taught in German, hence the latter would develope a sense of arrogance among them catching the eyes of 90% of the International students, and finally I was asked to do a survey on what the International Office of the Applied sciences in the FH-Aachen, (University of Applied sciences of Aachen), believed to be a white marrow of not-adjustable foreign study crew since the start of the program in 1996, by interviewing both international and native students about how much integration they believe is necessary to be there in case having the program going on within the coming future. I realized that my interviewees were not fully submerged in the matter at all. The answers in the IST (International Studies) side were mixed with mockery and anger and the Germans were having a total neglecting and/or threatened or obviously disgusted point of view about the other side. Inter-cultural activities are rare to achieve but in my case I am so surprised and sometimes scarcely pissed off about the matter but thought simply to myself that there is not a huge issue I have to be worried about. I spend my time with those who really want to communicate with me,
Is there a balance ?
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby Shapley » Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:21 am

ratsnake,

I would expect that a lot of the reason you find it easier to befriend English, Canadian, Japanese, etc. is that they, too, are 'strangers in a strange land'. I think most people, taken as a group, tend to be distrustful of foreigners in their midst, except when they, too, are foreigners.

One would expect that a university environement would be different, but I don't find that to be the case. Tourist areas, where the local businesses are are dependent on income from foriegners, tend to be more friendly and welcoming of them, but usually only to a point. If you show any inclination towards overstaying your welcome, you will often find them less open. I believe that, once you show a tendency to become a permanent fixture, they regard you as a competitor rather than a source of income, but that's my opinion.

During my travels with the Navy, I met Germans in many parts of the world, and found them friendly and talkative. They were tourists or businessmen, however, and more likely to be people with outgoing personalities.

You might try traveling away from the university city (if you haven't already) and make note of whether or not the personalities change.

V/R
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby piqaboo » Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:19 pm

originally posted by ratsnake:
if you’re chitchattin in a bar and you eyes are strangled with a nice pair of blue ones!!!
That is a beautifully descriptive phrase! May I borrow it (for non-commercial use), please?

originally posted by ratsnake:
Still the matter should be open: I think Moslems are stupid and aggressive! And I say: what is it got to do with me? I believe in a world citizenship up to some degree!
It may be that you are bit agressive in your defense, which convinces those who started the topic that they are right (not that you could change their opinion anyway. Look at OT and Shapley!)

Also, I think Shapley made good points.

BTW - your extra use of punctuation and spacing made this post a lot easier to read than many of your previous ones. Thank you, and keep up the good work!
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby barfle » Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:08 pm

I know that when I was stationed in Germany, I was generally treated warmly by the locals. Of course, I had studied the language for a couple of years, and my efforts were obvious, so perhaps I garnered a bit of sympathy along with an appreciation of making more of an effort than most of the other GIs did.
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby dai bread » Tue Apr 04, 2006 6:52 pm

I haven't been to Germany, but I have hosted a German girl for 6 months and met her German friends.

It's hard to put a finger on it, but I did feel that we were looked down on to some degree.

Perhaps it was the confidence of the young, and the fact that they came from a big country in a big continent. Their parents were mostly considerably richer than us, or they wouldn't have been here, and that had an influence too, I think.

My son went through Germany on one of his tours of Europe. He didn't like the natives either. His favourite expression in German is "Das auto ist kaput!" referring to his rental car. Funnily enough, he liked the French. His efforts with their language were appreciated.
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby Haggis@wk » Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:24 am

In broad, but telling, generalities it's a tribal mentality.

The Germans are just that, a tribe, the Germanic tribe is the main one, but there are other sub-tribes that make up what we call “Germany.” In varying degrees almost all Europe is made up of tribes. They owe their allegiance to their tribe and don't really consider themselves to be a country. In Germany you have two and even three generations of Turks who were born in that country and are still considered to be "foreigners."


Research almost any European country and you'll find that the basis for their existence is essentially tribal; Franks, Germanics, Czechs, Slovaks, (anyone remember Czechoslovakia?) Basques - don't get me started on the tribal diversity of the country we know as "Spain" - the list is endless and I'm only talking about Europe. For a classic example of tribal disfunctionality look no further than the many countries of Africa.

From the obvious racial differences of Hutus and Tutsi (they look different) juxtaposed against the violence among Somalis who share ethnicity, language, and religion. They just kill each other because they belong to warring clans (tribes). If you take them out of their tribal boundaries and put them in, say the U.S., and they don't know what clan each other belongs to then they don't know they are suppose to kill each other.

In much of the world being a country is a polite fiction employed in order to be able to deal with the world's countries, many of which are also tribes masquerading as countries.

Don’t you ever wonder what, exactly, makes the U.S. a great country? A large portion of the credit goes to the cultural and racial diversity of our forebears who laid aside most of their tribal prejudices in order to make a better life for themselves and their families. To be sure, there are examples of tribal diversity within the U.S. but most of that diversity has been channeled (consciously or unconsciously) to the greater good of the country as a whole, how many non-Irish wear green on St. Patrick ’s Day?

And yet, there is something else at work in the U.S. besides the “melting pot” theory. I’m not sure what, exactly, it is, but it’s there and it’s been there since the beginning. Personally I think it is a recognition that to succeed we must have rules.

How else can you explain why, two hundred years ago, a bunch of rich, upper class white guys sat down and hammered out (what I believe to be) the most important set of rules for the conduct of humanity in the history of humanity? If we are a “tribe” then we are the most open and welcoming tribe in the history of mankind

I think this complete reliance on rules is what makes many of us ambivalent in the current fracas surround the immigration issue; in our very souls we want to welcome new people to our country/tribe, but we recognize that we only survive because we have rules.

And that’s what makes us special. We believe that we have rules; rules that apply, more or less, to all of us. Yes, those rules are imperfect at times but we believe in them and we believe that those rules make our lives betters.
Maybe its as simple as this; our dedication to our rules has replace the dedication to a tribe. We are a bastardized group and we are proud of that. How many countries recognize that your birth in the U.S., regardless of your parents’ citizenship, automatically confers U.S. citizenship to you? Hint, not many.

But…I could be completely wrong……go figure
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby DavidS » Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:18 am

Haggis, you are probably right about most European nations, though I think the French are slightly different.
As far as I know (and it matches my own experience) if you make an effort to learn French and absorb French culture (maybe even drive French cars? ;) ), they will be pleased to welcome you as an equal. You then become part of the "Francophile" community.
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby OperaTenor » Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:31 am

"I think this complete reliance on rules is what makes many of us ambivalent in the current fracas surround the immigration issue; in our very souls we want to welcome new people to our country/tribe, but we recognize that we only survive because we have rules. "

And it's a shame the McCain-Kennedy bill looks like it's going to die. To me, it's the most realistic legislative expression of what Haggis just said.

FWIW, I think your[Haggis] perspective is quite astute.

.......this time.......

;)
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby piqaboo » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:04 am

As far as I know (and it matches my own experience) if you make an effort to learn French and absorb French culture (maybe even drive French cars? ), they will be pleased to welcome you as an equal. You then become part of the "Francophile" community
Apparently, unless you are african-american. Apparently in that case, the above works really well until you lose your american accent. Then you become perceived as a french black and thereby a second class citizen. All european tribes are white.

My own experience:
I look german, was treated well in Germany, better in Austria (both times). Germans seem to look down on each other - not only city to city, but neighborhood to neighborhood within a city. However I only know this because my girlfriend is a Berlinerin and she told me - so it could be her mis-perception.

If I tried to stumble thru french, the French were nice to me. If I didnt, they werent. Makes sense to me.

England - cant decide if Im english or american til I open my mouth. Treat me well.

Italy - thought I was german til I spoke. Werent too nice to me until I spoke, then they were lovely.

Tennessee - werent too thrilled to be invaded by a pack of Californian teenagers. As brusque as its possible to be while speaking with a southern accent.
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby Haggis@wk » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:12 am

"maybe even drive French cars?"

The French make cars? That's news to me!! :D

Even the French Police buy Japanese!!!

<small>[ 04-05-2006, 11:16 AM: Message edited by: Haggis@wk ]</small>
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby barfle » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:32 am

As someone who consideres himself to be an expatriate Californian (I'm only in Vahjinyah for the money), I have encountered a moderate amount of tribalism in the US, but not very much. I felt the residents of Leesville, LA had no ethnic prejudices - they simply hated everyone. Of course, that was in 1967, so things may have changed. I also recall one time in Arizona when I got a ticket, officially for having a faded tail light lens, but it was most definitely for having a California license plate.
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby ratsnake » Wed Apr 05, 2006 10:55 am

To piqaboo:
Well if its only for non-commercial uses yeah why not?! :D )

I guess the matter shows obviously that germany isn’t yet ready for the claim, becoming a fully well integrated nation competing US and maybe Britain in multi-cultural industry and media.
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby DavidS » Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:15 pm

Originally posted by Haggis@wk:
"maybe even drive French cars?"

The French make cars? That's news to me!! :D

Even the French Police buy Japanese!!!
Reminds me of what a Dutch friend of mine once told me when I was visiting Holland and noted the exorbitant price of Dutch butter over there: "Our aim is to export as much as possible, so the local price is jacked up to keep home consumption to a minimum!"
Does that make economic sense?
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Re: Is there a balance between what we really are in charact

Postby RC » Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:29 am

Haggis@wk wrote:In broad, but telling, generalities it's a tribal mentality.

The Germans are just that, a tribe, the Germanic tribe is the main one, but there are other sub-tribes that make up what we call “Germany.” In varying degrees almost all Europe is made up of tribes. They owe their allegiance to their tribe and don't really consider themselves to be a country. In Germany you have two and even three generations of Turks who were born in that country and are still considered to be "foreigners."


Research almost any European country and you'll find that the basis for their existence is essentially tribal; Franks, Germanics, Czechs, Slovaks, (anyone remember Czechoslovakia?) Basques - don't get me started on the tribal diversity of the country we know as "Spain" - the list is endless and I'm only talking about Europe. For a classic example of tribal disfunctionality look no further than the many countries of Africa.

From the obvious racial differences of Hutus and Tutsi (they look different) juxtaposed against the violence among Somalis who share ethnicity, language, and religion. They just kill each other because they belong to warring clans (tribes). If you take them out of their tribal boundaries and put them in, say the U.S., and they don't know what clan each other belongs to then they don't know they are suppose to kill each other.

In much of the world being a country is a polite fiction employed in order to be able to deal with the world's countries, many of which are also tribes masquerading as countries.

Don’t you ever wonder what, exactly, makes the U.S. a great country? A large portion of the credit goes to the cultural and racial diversity of our forebears who laid aside most of their tribal prejudices in order to make a better life for themselves and their families. To be sure, there are examples of tribal diversity within the U.S. but most of that diversity has been channeled (consciously or unconsciously) to the greater good of the country as a whole, how many non-Irish wear green on St. Patrick ’s Day?

And yet, there is something else at work in the U.S. besides the “melting pot” theory. I’m not sure what, exactly, it is, but it’s there and it’s been there since the beginning. Personally I think it is a recognition that to succeed we must have rules.

How else can you explain why, two hundred years ago, a bunch of rich, upper class white guys sat down and hammered out (what I believe to be) the most important set of rules for the conduct of humanity in the history of humanity? If we are a “tribe” then we are the most open and welcoming tribe in the history of mankind

I think this complete reliance on rules is what makes many of us ambivalent in the current fracas surround the immigration issue; in our very souls we want to welcome new people to our country/tribe, but we recognize that we only survive because we have rules.

And that’s what makes us special. We believe that we have rules; rules that apply, more or less, to all of us. Yes, those rules are imperfect at times but we believe in them and we believe that those rules make our lives betters.
Maybe its as simple as this; our dedication to our rules has replace the dedication to a tribe. We are a bastardized group and we are proud of that. How many countries recognize that your birth in the U.S., regardless of your parents’ citizenship, automatically confers U.S. citizenship to you? Hint, not many.

But…I could be completely wrong……go figure


Wow. Wow... really nice post Haggis. Honest, thoughtful...well said. Makes me feel all patriotic.
A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, Nothing else.
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Postby piqaboo » Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:42 pm

Hey RC, good to see you again!
you got back just in time to join the cXoXnXfuXsiXon .. fun. :D
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Postby RC » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:11 am

piqaboo wrote:Hey RC, good to see you again!
you got back just in time to join the cXoXnXfuXsiXon .. fun. :D
Thank you. I need to poke around, you folks went on without me I see. :cry: :wink: No idea to what you are referring.
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Postby DavidS » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:41 am

Wasn't it Selma who wrote that cXoXnXfuXsiXon or anarchy is the spice of life?
You get a bit of a laugh and a chance to beef with your friends, while listening to music that does your soul good...
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Postby Shapley » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:47 am

RC,

Good to hear from you again.

I think the CXOXNXFXUXSXIXOXN refers to our state of affairs as we attemtp to navigate the new bulletin board design.

V/R
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Postby piqaboo » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:09 am

RC wrote:
piqaboo wrote:Hey RC, good to see you again!
you got back just in time to join the cXoXnXfuXsiXon .. fun. :D
Thank you. I need to poke around, you folks went on without me I see. :cry: :wink: No idea to what you are referring.


Shapley's got it. The new bbb software went live on either sunday or monday, and we've all been stumbling around trying to find things.
Just in time to have you join the stumbling. I try to think of it as a scavenger hunt, and enjoy the process. Must confess I slip occasionally.
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