Senin, 19 Oktober 2009


Asking Personally Questions

In the Cross Cultural Understanding

By: Sri wahyuni

  1. Introduction

Asking the personally questions; such as, are you married? How old are you? Etc….Such this question is a common question for Indonesian people. It shows a close relationship and hospitality each other. On the contrary, these questions are not common in American people. These can be considered as impolite questions. We can find the different perspectives here, between Indonesian people and American people. Why does the difference occur? What does cause it? This essay will explain this case, to know the difference between Indonesian and American culture and the background of societies. By the understanding each other culture, we can be wise people; and we won’t blame to justice other people who have different culture from us. By these cultural understanding, we will know that there is no wrong with the other culture which is different from ours; and ours is not wrong too. There is no wrong in the culture. The differences are caused by the basic characteristics of each culture.

  1. Discussion

Indonesian people like to ask personally questions, such as how old are you; are you married....These questions show the hospitality and the close relationship each other. If we are Indonesians, asked by these questions, we don’t feel angry; but we feel to be cared. Indonesian people usually ask these questions because they want to know deeply each others. They want to be closer each others. Therefore, these questions become common among Indonesian people. These do not sound impolite.

Basically, Indonesian people are communal society. The basic character of the communal society is the fact that they are close each others. They live together like a big family. They become hospitable each others. They care each others. They know deeply each others. They don’t consider their businesses are theirs own businesses, but they feel that they can share their businesses each other. They usually want to help each others. They are like a family, if one of them in a trouble, other people will help him. For the example, if a family is building a house, their neighbors always come together to help them. The men come to work together to help, while the women come by bringing some food or rice to help the providing some food for the workers. As Sociologist Emil Durheim said as a ‘mechanical solidarity’; or Indonesian sociologists said as ‘paguyuban’ society. Moreover, in the case of marriage, if a women haven’t got married yet, her big family or her neighbors will help her to find her couple, or what Indonesian people said by ‘perjodohan’. In addition, when a family has a wedding party, all of the neighbors come together to help them. They help to prepare the foods for the guests. All members of society usually help each other. They care with other’s businesses. They almost have no privacy each other. That’s why the personal questions are not considered as privacy among them. These are not impolite questions for them. More ever, these questions show the caring and hospitality among them. These questions show the close relationship each others.

On the contrary, American people don’t like to ask the personal questions. They also don’t like to be asked by these personal questions. These questions are considered as impolite questions, because these questions ask about the personal privacy. They may be angry to be asked these questions. If you ask them these questions, they may also say clearly that these are not your businesses.

Basically, American society is individual society. They are not like Indonesian society that is close each other as a communal society. They like to go individually rather than commonly together. They like to do everything more individually rather than commonly. As individual persons, American people have personal privacy. They respect other’s privacy as they want to be respected for their privacy too.

This individual character was formed from their children time. When they were babies, they laid and sleep alone in their boxes. When they grew up as children, they have their rooms. They may not live and sleep in their parents’ room. Therefore, American people grew up as individual peoples who have their own privacies. They were also taught to respect other’s privacy; and everyone has the privacy.

Other character of American people is freedom. They feel the freedom of their individual lives. They emphasize the rights for freedom. Whether they are married or not is their rights and their freedom; or what we call it by the privacy. Therefore, the privacy questions can make them feel being disturbed. That’s the fact why the personal questions are not common for American people. Moreover, these are considered as impolite questions.

  1. Conclusion and Recommendation

After the discussion above, we know that there are differences between Indonesian and American people, in their own cultures and habits. One of them is about asking personal questions, such as how old are you; are you married, etc. These questions are common for Indonesians; and these show the hospitality, caring and close relationship each others, because Indonesian people live in the communal society. On the contrary, these questions are not common for American people. They consider these as personal question or privacy, because American people live in individual society and they feel freedom in their live.

By understanding the differences of each culture in every country, we can be wisdom persons. In the view of the differences, we should regard the cause of the differences, because every culture has different basic characteristic of the society. Therefore, we may not consider that the different cultures from ours are wrong and our cultures are the best ones; and vice versa, our cultures are bed and other cultures are better than ours.

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