Weekly photo Challenge: Culture
I couldn’t not do this challenge – though one thing which interests me is that when we picture culture it is usually one which is obviously different from our own, as if it is not possible to see the one we happen to be in. I left Northern Ireland aged about 21 for Leeds, Birmingham and then London where I stayed 20 plus years before moving to Scotland, where I have now had a home longer than anywhere else. From my point of view, these big/not-so-big life moves all involved different cultures to get used to. The last 20 years have also frequently found me in USA. Again this in an english-speaking pretty-much-white part – but the culture took a lot of getting used to. EVERYWHERE is different from everywhere else, even family to family.
However, the different culture most friends ask me about is CHINA as they know I have spent time there also, first visit in 2004, and every year since (see the most recent visit to Shanghai posts on this blog).
I have been in several different cities, and some parts of the country, guess what, the culture varies from place to place. Long ago, while in London, I often read the story of Ping the duck who got lost on the Yangtze river.
In Yangshuo, 2004, I was thrilled to see the fisher-birds.
A week earlier, I had been treated to my first Chinese New Year meal, at the home of my daughter-in-law’s grandmother. To my shame, I do not remember her name – women keep their own names in China – so I can’t call her Mrs. Something. She was then 80 years old, and died the following year. Chinese New Year family meals are a really important part of chinese culture. They all watched to see how I would manage the chopsticks – watching other people is not rude, as it might be where I grew up. I did not yet know about the “lift the bowl up to your mouth” way of eating – see grandmother’s bowl. And keeping the TV on? Seems that is OK in China too, where it would not be in my house!!
Culture, acceptance of difference, enjoyment of new things, so much part of life.
(Especially the hospitality – food and friendship!)
26 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture”
Wow, lots of food – looks tempting and tasty –
The text on the TV is in Roman characters – was that because you were there?
Good observation! But, no, a lot of chinese is written both in characters and in “pinyin” – jia which can be seen is a common pinyin ending to many words.
I like this, is Mrs Something in the picture?
Yes – she is the white haired woman in blue with her back to camera – her eldest daughter is beside her in a flowered jacket. My chinese was never good enough to talk with Mrs Something. She and her husband (Xin ?? whom I did not meet as he had died some years earlier) had been in ‘the party’ during the Mao revolution. Of their 5 children, her eldest son Xin Xiu Wen is father to my daughter-in-law Xin Yan, grandfather to my grandsons. I have since managed a bit of conversation with him and his brothers and sisters.
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I suspected that was she!
There are certainly wide differences. I used to enjoy traditional meals with Chinese friends – one was a channel swimmer!
I think we see similarities when we use a broad brush way of looking, but as soon as we start paying attention to the small details of attitude and variety of interests we all end up different and unique etc. What channels did your friend swim? I only know of the English and the ireland-scotland one.
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Oh my goodness that food looks amazing!! And Ping is one of my favourite books 🙂
I practically knew it by heart when my kids were small – just had a thought – maybe that’s one reason Donal fancied China so much that he stayed there. the food is always amazing – they don’t tell me what itis until I have eaten it.
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It is really interesting, Elspeth, to see how different peoples run their lives.
thanks for the link! I had nearly forgotten this one