[Solution]Reflective Project: Intercultural understanding

Brainstorm for “Reflective Project” Global Citizenship Intercultural understanding • PKU exchange, o Mainland Chinese society highly values social positions and statuses over an individual’s wealth.…

Brainstorm for “Reflective Project”
Global Citizenship
Intercultural understanding
• PKU exchange,
o Mainland Chinese society highly values social positions and statuses
over an individual’s wealth. For example, at Chinese airports, unlike
Australian, European or other Northeast Asian countries’ airports,
priority lines are only given to diplomats and officials but not
passengers flying in First and Business Class or high-status frequent
flyers of airlines. Although this is a very trivial example, it can be a
reflection, to some extent, of how wealth is not the only, or at least a
significant, social indicator in Mainland China.
o On top of that, throughout my time in Beijing, I realised that many
locals are very “patriotic” to the point that they are willing to believe
everything that the government was telling them and to do everything
that the government was asking them to do. There is no such thing as
scepticism in the government’s ruling, or at least there is a common
understanding to not present such negative perspective in the public.
• Introductory French 1,
o False friends (faux ami) – French words that look or sound familiar to
English words yet have different meanings, e.g. grappe is banana in
French (not grape), attendre is to wait rather than to attend, and
déception means disappointment not deception.
• Understanding Europe,
o Greek vs German approach on finance and social welfare
• Understanding the Arab World,
o Differences between Arabs, Middle Eastern and Muslims
• Understanding the USA,
o Race and Immigration
• World Cultural Heritage,
o Transboundary sites (The Struve Geodetic Arc)
• (Im)Politeness in Global Society.
o Asking for a favour
§ usage of softening expressions (Vietnamese vs Westerner),
§ shopping culture (Chinese vs Japanese).
o Ask for favourable treatments through connections
§ Chinese/Italians view such as acceptable to “put in a good word,”
§ Australians view such as an unfair practice.
International experiences
• PKU exchange,
o Living in Mainland China, in general, and Beijing, specifically, for a
month, I am amazed by the technological advancements but also find
such to be troublesome at times. One of the most prominent examples
is Alipay and WeChat Pay, being two of Mainland Chinese popular
payment platforms. Such are very convenient in that all you need is
your phone for payment. Merchants do not even have to set up pointof-sale (POS) machines, which is a must for debit or credit card
payments. As such, even street vendors, who are not willing to pay
high fees for setting up and using POS, can accept payments from
customers using WeChat Pay and Alipay. Alternatively, at
restaurants, you can just scan a QR code and order and pay for food
directly from your phone. However, the payment platforms can be a
challenge for foreigners, especially those who just arrived or those on
a short-stay visa, such as short-term students or tourist. Particularly,
one needs to open a Chinese bank account to be able to use such
services, and opening a bank account will not be easy for short-stay
visa holders. Let’s alone the language barriers that one must
experience, considering that English is very limitedly use in Mainland
China, even at metropolises.
• Minh Khai Co. Ltd. and Creative Arts Co. Ltd. (Sataco),
o I was exposed to the Vietnamese workplace culture, which is very
different from that of Australian. The Confucian culture rooted in
Vietnamese society requires younger people to refer to supervisors
and older colleagues with utmost respect and to refrain from directly
disapproving or criticising a senior’s act or decision. Whereas in
Australia or any Anglophonic countries, one can casually refer to
their supervisors or older colleagues using first names and that
everyone has an equal voice in discussions.
o It is a social norm for interns and entry-level team members to take
care of miscellaneous matters of the team, such as ordering lunches,
preparing coffees, sending and receiving parcels, etc.
Global issues
• Understanding Europe,
o Eurozone crisis
o Brexit
• Understanding the Arab World,
o Arab Spring
• Understanding the USA,
o The US Economy
• World Cultural Heritage.
o Preservation of world heritage
Diplomacy
• Understanding Europe,
o Climate diplomacy
• Understanding the Arab World,
o British master plan in gaining power in the Middle East by assisting
Faisal to gain popularity amongst the Iraqi Sunni population and
eventually become the King of Iraq
• Understanding the USA,
o The Presidential Election System
• World Cultural Heritage.
o UNESCO and ICOMOS
Leadership in an International Context
Values and ethics
• Minh Khai Co. Ltd.,
o Deontological and teleological ethical theories
§ Deontological: decide whether a behaviour is ethical by
observing a person’s duties, i.e. activities that one is expected to
perform, and rights, i.e. behaviours that one expects of others.
• An accountant is expected to faithfully represent financial
information of a reporting entity.
§ Teleological: decide whether a behaviour is ethical by observing
the behaviour’s consequences,
• An accountant must not overreport expenses to reduce a
company’s gross profit thus reduce the amount of corporate
tax that the company should pay to the tax bureau.
o A subtly-agreed imaginary “acceptable range” for expense
“exaggeration” available to SMEs.
• Creative Arts Co. Ltd. (Sataco),
o “The customer is always right”
• Leading and Influencing in Business,
o Value theory (Schwartz, 2012)
o Person-organisation value congruence,
o Linking values to behaviour (Berson, Oreg and Dvir, 2008),
o Understanding ethics,
o Ethical dilemma.
• (Im)Politeness in Global Society.
o Ask for favourable treatments through connections
§ Chinese/Italians view such as acceptable to “put in a good word,”
§ Australians view such as an unfair practice.
Communication and leadership styles
• PKU exchange,
o In casual conversations, “hello” (你好) or “hey” (嗨) is replaced with
“have you eaten yet?” (吃飯了沒?). This reflects, to some extent, an
inclusive culture that is present not only in the Chinese language but
also the Chinese society. People are not merely greeting each other but
wanting to know that everyone is doing well.
o As Mainland China encompasses a vast area of land, people from
different regions speak in different dialects that can sometimes be very
difficult to be interpreted. However, for the younger generations and
for those who have been living in metropolises for an extended time
period, their local dialect and accent are drastically dropped to make
communication between one another more comprehensible.
• Minh Khai Co. Ltd.,
o As Vietnam, similar to other countries that is heavily influenced by the
Confucian culture, maintains a hierarchical structure in society,
younger people must not only address seniors using honorific words
and titles but also refrain from disapproving or criticising a senior’s act
or decision.
§ Suppose your supervisor makes a mistake, you should privately
discuss such with him or her and present your idea as if it is merely
a suggestion in that you understand the supervisor may have his or
her reason in doing things the way that he or she has done but you
genuinely believe that your approach may be another way that can
be considered in addressing such issue. Euphemism is the key.
• Creative Arts Co. Ltd. (Sataco),
o Even if the customer is younger than you, it is expected that you must
address the customer with honorific words to show appreciation
towards the customer for his or her interest in your company’s services.
• Introductory French 1,
o While English has two common determiners, being “a” and “the,” in
French, “a” or “the” is determined by the masculinity, femininity or
plurality of the word followed by the determiner. Particularly, “un”
and “le” are preceded by a masculine noun, “une” and “la” are
preceded by a feminine noun, and “des” and “les” are preceded by a
plural noun.
• Leading and Influencing in Business,
o Communication process
o Persuasive and assertive communication,
o Receiving messages and listening (Wood, 2011),
o Active listening (Rogers, 1957),
o Kolb’s learning style (feedback) cycle (Kolb, 1984),
o Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957),
o Johari window for viewing feedback (Luft and Ingham, 1955),
o Leadership (Hemphill and Coons, 1957; Yukl, 2002; Landberg, 2000;
House et al., 1997)
o Trait, behavioural (Blake and Mouton, 1961) situational (Hersey and
Blanchard, 1969) and transformational (Burns, 1978) theories of
leadership
• (Im)Politeness in Global Society.
o Linguistic ambiguity and manipulation
§ Shinzo Abe’s hansei (はんせい) vs owabi (おわび)
o Small talks (Karan Mahajan)
Networking
• Leading and Influencing in Business.
o Tutorial (workshop) discussions
Community and Diversity
Community engagement
• PKU exchange,
o Working collaboratively with Mainland Chinese students, I realised
that praises are very common, meanwhile criticisms, regardless of
constructive or destructive, are refrained. As such, euphemism is a
very important part of not only the Chinese language but also the way
locals converse with one another. Direct and straightforward
criticisms, however, can be frowned upon.
Diversity and pluralism
• PKU exchange,
o Mainland China is very interesting in that although it has 56 ethnic
groups, the country, overall, is very assimilated, especially under the
6521 Project (6521 行動) led by Xi Jinping, in that non-Han societies
come under the influence of the central government to adopt the
Han’s cultural practices. Although this may be negatively viewed in
almost any other cultures, I have had conversations with several
Mainland Chinese friends during my exchange and was surprised that
they highly applaud the central government to do that, believing that
doing so is the key to reduce potential “terrorism” and bring
prosperity and stability to the Mainland Chinese society.
• Introductory French 1,
o French vocabularies are rather interesting in that abstract nouns can
also be classified as masculine or feminine, e.g. chance (feminine),
version (feminine), village (masculine), journal (masculine), etc.
o Although the French language classifies its vocabularies with a
masculine or feminine tag, this, by no means, should be interpreted as
a form of sexism. Nevertheless, there have been pushes to make
French a gender-neutral language, especially for job titles, in which
the name of some jobs may only reflect a feminine or masculine
connotation, e.g. artiste (feminine), dentiste (masculine), pilote
(masculine), professeur (masculine), etc.
• Understanding Europe,
o Refugee crisis
o Brexit
• Understanding the Arab World,
o Arabs vs Berbers (difference in ethnicity despite being a Muslimmajority population) and Arabs vs Hebrews (difference in religion
despite living in a similar region)
o Arab nationalism amidst the ongoing political influences from France,
the Great Britain and ultimately the USA in recent years
• Understanding the USA.
o Regionalism
o Race and Immigration
• (Im)Politeness in Global Society.
o Diversity in workplace (Rock and Grant, 2015) enhances productivity
Social justice
• Understanding Europe,
o Refugee crisis: refugees’ difficulties in integrating into a new society
and racial discriminations
• Understanding the Arab World,
o Black Skin, White Masks (Frantz Fanon): Fanon shares his own
experiences in addition to presenting a historical critique of the
effects of racism and dehumanisation, inherent in situations of
colonial domination, on the human psyche.
• Understanding the USA.
o Race and Immigration: in a multicultural nation, where people of
every race lives alongside with one another, there are compromises
that must be made, although racial discrimination may never come to
its end,
o The Presidential Election System: electorate may falsely represent
voices of the people
Outline for “Reflective Project”
Introduction (100 words)
– University experience with Global Citizenship Award
o When I was in high school, I was a part of numerous extra-curricular
activities, partly to enhance my profile for university application. Progressing
to university, I took a step back and reflected on what I truly want to do. I am
and have always been an avid traveller, and as such, I want to take this
opportunity to gain more exposure of the cultures around me and learn more
about myself.
– What have I done so far?
o I embarked on a short-term exchange to Peking University to learn Mandarin
and Chinese cultures.
o I took internship and paid positions overseas.
o I learned a new language whilst at university.
o I studied the history and cultures of multiple regions of the world, including
the United States, Europe and Arab World–a region that I have known very
little of, despite I used to frequently discuss ongoing issues, e.g. ISIL, in such
region at Model United Nations conferences whilst in high school.
o I took classes that aim to explain the underlying theories of leadership and
management, alongside enrolled in an online course investigating the different
perspectives of politeness in society.
Body 1: Global citizenship (300 words)
– Global citizenship: a person who understands ongoing of the wider world around
them and able to make a difference by realising their position in such a world.
o Intercultural understanding: realising the differences, whether social or
cultural, existing between individuals or a group of individuals and linking
such realisation to form a more holistic view of the world around me,
§ PKU exchange:
• Wealth is not a sole indicator of social position,
• “Absolute patriotism” and observance of rulings;
§ Introductory French 1:
• Faux ami: although words can be borrowed from other
languages as the linguistic and culture intertwines, words that
look or sound familiar to another language does not mean that
they share a similar meaning;
§ Understanding Europe:
• Greek and German approach on finance and social welfare:
whereas the Germans are more conscious about savings after a
long period of civil war, the Greeks are more lavish and its
government spent more money than it could, eventually leading
to a financial crisis in the Eurozone;
§ Understanding the Arab World:
• Differences between Arabs, Middle Easterns and Muslims: The
Middle East, Arab and Islam are often regarded as a “highlypoliticised, raucous matter,” and so do Middle Easterns, Arabs
and Muslims. Yet, one must understand that the trio is not
interchangeable;
§ Understanding the USA:
• Races and immigration: immigration has shaped the American
melting pot and for everyone to live well with one another, one
must learn to take a step back and appreciate the other’s
cultural identity;
§ World Cultural Heritage:
• The transboundary site of Struve Geodetic Arc: culture does
not include only food or festivals but can also be influenced by
the geographical similarities between countries;
§ (Im)Politeness in Global Society
• Usage of softening expressions (Vietnamese vs Westerner),
• Shopping culture (Chinese vs Japanese);
o International experiences: stepping out of my comfort zone by going abroad
and witness more co-existing cultures, ideas, values, beliefs and religions,
§ PKU exchange:
• Technological advancements: pros and cons,
• Difficulties in integrating into a new society;
§ Minh Khai Co. Ltd. and Creative Arts Co. Ltd. (Sataco):
• Differences in workplace culture,
• Taking care of miscellaneous tasks;
o Global issues: interconnected problems that are present in our lives affecting
not only very abstract features of a society, such as economics and
environments, but also my individual knowledge and decision-making,
§ Understanding Europe
• Eurozone crisis and the global financial crisis,
• Brexit: economic reasons or xenophobia;
§ Understanding the Arab World
• Arab Spring: nationalism and overthrow of dictatorial ruling;
§ Understanding the USA
• The US economy: is it merely “trading” or also “political”
considering the power that the US has over the imposition of
economic sanctions;
§ World Cultural Heritage
• Preservation of world heritage: Stonehenge (excessive tourist
influx) and Palmyra (destruction by ISIL);
o Diplomacy: negotiations and compromises of different perspectives in
achieving an ultimate goal or outcome,
§ Understanding Europe
• Cultural diplomacy: Paris Agreement in UNFCCC holding
countries liable to reduce global temperatures to prevent risks
of global warming, and EU Climate Diplomacy setting
penalties for member countries with high carbon emissions;
§ Understanding the Arab World
• Majority does not necessarily matter when economic benefits
are involved
o British master plan in gaining power in the Middle East by
assisting Faisal to gain popularity amongst the Iraqi Sunni
population to eventually become the King of Iraq (but how
about the Shi’ites forming 64-69% of Muslim population in
the country?);
§ Understanding the USA
• The Presidential election system: Presidents do not necessarily
need to win votes from the people, but rather need to gather
approvals of the electorates;
§ World Cultural Heritage
• The establishment of UNESCO and ICOMOS in recognising
and monitoring world cultural heritages;
Body 2: Leadership in an international context (250 words)
– Leadership in an international context: the ability to influence, motivate and enable
a group to work towards the achievement of a shared goals, taking into account the
variances in practices and beliefs arising from cultural differences,
o Values and ethics: beliefs and evaluative principles defining right and wrong
behaviours,
§ Minh Khai Co. Ltd.
• Accounting ethical theories and the “wiggle room” for expense
exaggeration available to SMEs financial reporting,
o Such exaggeration may not be faithfully represented
thus lacking a fundamental qualitative characteristic of
accountancy, yet can be relevant in that it helps SMEs
thrive by reducing the amount of corporate tax that they
pay and allow this money to be reinvested for future
operations;
§ Creative Arts Co. Ltd. (Sataco)
• “The customer is always right” but will it necessarily be the
case if what you are asked to do is against your ethical value?;
§ Leading and Influencing in Business
• Values: value theory (Schwartz, 2012), person-organisation
value congruence, and linking values to behaviours (Berson,
Oreg and Dvir, 2008),
• Ethics: understanding ethics and ethical dilemma;
§ (Im)Politeness in Global Society
• Ask for favourable treatments through connections
o Chinese and Italians view such as an acceptable social
norm for one to “put in a good word” for another
person’s employment,
o Australians view such as an unfair practice;
o Communication and leadership styles: one’s process of sharing and digesting
information, and the ways in which such information can be used to influence,
motivate and enable a group to work towards the achievement of a shared
goals,
§ PKU exchange:
• Casual conversation, where normal greetings (e.g. 你好, 嗨) is
replaced by greetings that want to know more about the other
person that whether the person is doing well (e.g. 吃飯了沒?),
• Dialects, the younger generations and metropolitan residents;
§ Minh Khai Co. Ltd.:
• Hierarchical structures in terms of addressing seniors and
reviewing seniors’ acts or decisions;
§ Creative Arts Co. Ltd. (Sataco):
• Customers, younger or older, are at a higher position than you
thus must be addressed with necessary honorific words to
express appreciation towards the customers’ interest in your
company’s products and services;
§ Introductory French 1:
• “a” and “the” vs “le/la/les” and “un/une/des”;
§ Leading and Influencing in Business:
• Communication: communication process, persuasive and
assertive communication, receiving messages and listening
(Wood, 2011), active listening (Rogers, 1957), Kolb’s learning
style (feedback) cycle (Kolb, 1984), Festinger’s cognitive
dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) and Johari window for
viewing feedback (Luft and Ingham, 1955),
• Leadership: definition of leadership (Hemphill and Coons,
1957; Yukl, 2002; Landberg, 2000; House et al., 1997), and
theories of leadership–trait, behavioural (Blake and Mouton,
1961), situational (Hersey and Blanchard, 1969), and
transformational (Burns, 1978);
§ (Im)Politeness in Global Society:
• Linguistic ambiguity and manipulation: Shinzo Abe’s hansei
(はんせい) vs owabi (おわび) in his World War II apologies
speech,
• Small talks in the USA and lack of such in India (Karan
Mahajan);
o Networking: communication, rather than the “internal” process of oneself,
towards a larger group of people, usually those that share a common
profession or special interest,
§ Leading and Influencing in Business
• Tutorial (workshop) discussions where students of similar
interests (i.e. learning about business) collectively exchange
ideas and opinions on a specific matter;
Body 3: Community and diversity (250 words)
– Community and diversity: a community is diverse and diversity forms a part of a
community. In fact, diversity is present in every community and can encompass a
multitude of factors, ranging from those that are observable, e.g. race and gender, to
those of more abstract and conceptual, e.g. political ideologies and moral values,
o Community engagement: working collaboratively with people from different
cultures or social backgrounds to influence the well-being of a society as a
whole,
§ PKU exchange:
• Euphemism and refrains from direct/straightforward criticisms;
o Diversity and pluralism: the co-existing of multiple beliefs, whether
harmonious or incongruous,
§ PKU exchange:
• 6521 Project (6521 行動), Sinicisation and “majority” approval
§ Introductory French 1:
• Vocabularies, especially nouns that may not necessarily
represent a gender, can be classified as masculine or feminine,
o e.g. chance (feminine), version (feminine), village
(masculine), journal (masculine), etc.
• Pushes to make French a gender-neutral language, especially
for job titles in which the names of some jobs amy only reflect
a feminine or masculine connotation,
o e.g. artiste (feminine), dentiste (masculine), pilote
(masculine), professeur (masculine), etc.
§ Understanding Europe:
• Refugee crisis: Historically, Europe is predominantly a
Christian/Catholic continent with the majority of its population
is Christian, Catholic or Orthodox. However, the recent influx
of refugees and stateless persons, although greatly diversify the
continent’s demographic, upsets a minority of the population
who have yet been accustomed to such changes,
• Brexit: is it merely for Great Britain’s economic benefit in that
the country can “selectively” contribute funding to certain
aspects of the EU operation, or is it a result of ongoing
xenophobia of the British society?;
§ Understanding the Arab World:
• Arabs vs Berbers (difference in ethnicity despite being a
Muslim-majority population) and Arabs vs Hebrews
(difference in religion despite living in a similar geographical
region);
• Arab nationalism arising amidst the ongoing political
influences from France, the Great Britain and ultimately the
USA in recent years;
§ Understanding the USA:
• Differences in history can reshape the culture of a region,
o New England: history of fighting for independence
(American Revolution) à uptight, political,
o South: history of slavery à laid back,
o Midwest: agricultural;
• As society progresses and influxes of immigrants are to be
witnessed, it is no longer the cultural differences between
people of similar race but rather what have been contributed to
the American “melting pot” as a whole;
§ (Im)Politeness in Global Society:
• Diversity in workplace (Rock and Grant, 2015) enhances
productivity;
o Social justice: application of a group of people’s values and ethics to
determine whether a happening is fair and reasonable,
§ Understanding Europe:
• Refugees and stateless persons facing racial discriminations
and difficulties in integrating into a new society;
§ Understanding the Arab World:
• Black Skin, White Masks (Frantz Fanon): ongoing racism and
dehumanisation in Europe towards ethnic minorities, especially
people of “darker skin” coming from the Middle East and
North Africa, as a result of an extended period of colonial
domination;
§ Understanding the USA:
• In a multicultural nation, where people from every race live
alongside one another, there are compromises that must be
made, although racial discrimination may never come to its end
seeing existence of “division of neighbourhoods”, in which
people of similar race tend to live together in a neighbourhood
and view other neighbourhood as “dangerous”,
• Electorate may falsely represent voices of the people, despite
the fundamental existence of electorate is to uphold American
democracy.
Conclusion (100 words)
– What have I learned so far?
o Trying to fit everything into a box is impossible. Perspectives are what I have
truly learned after immersing myself in different cultures, and it is these
perspectives that help me going far not only in discovering myself but also
seeing potential opportunities around me,
– How do I feel?
o Indeed, I am very grateful for the learning opportunities that I have had while
completing the Global Citizenship Award
– What am I planning to do?
o To continue exposing myself to global exposure, not only to satisfy my desire
to see the world in different lenses but also to challenge myself to break
“virtual” boundaries to truly become a global citizen.

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