“inking like a beast to get this shit done by friday….”
“Mars rover Curiosity mission extended indefinitely… yessssss…. So cool.”
“The new Thunderbolts is out! I NEED IT!!!!!”
“I’m sure if I drank, today would drive me to do it.”
“Slowly moving towards my dream every day. I can’t wait till Christmas.”
These are 5 Facebook status updates I found from 5 different people who all happen to be American. I know this is a stereotype, but haven’t you often felt that some nationalities are just naturally more expressive than others, that they incite more emotional responses than others? In a recent study on emotional expression worldwide, I believe Singapore topped in being the country of the least emotional people.
Maybe an article will elucidate my point better.
Of course, there are a couple of reasons for such cultural differences which I shall not explore because I am not too clear on them myself, but the fact remains that there are countries who talk with more emotion, one of them being quite notably the US of A. The British enjoy poking fun at their use of “awesome” and “absolutely”. There is nothing subdued about their use of language. They do not use “quite” quite as often as the British do. And it is not just on the internet. Even in reality, if you mingle with Americans long enough, you realise there is a spirit about them that other countries do not share. They talk a lot. Not everything they talk about is noteworthy, but they definitely think fast and have confidence to believe that what they say is worth listening to. You may call it bragging, stubbornness, conceit. The fact remains that they say what they mean without worry.
Outspokenness has its pros and cons. People like Americans because they do not have to worry that their American counterparts are hiding anything from them. Everything is threshed out clearly with no deep-rooted pent-up emotions (ostensibly). Yet on the other hand, sometimes you just wish the Americans would stop talking and listen. Every discussion sounds like a debate because no party wants to remain quiet. There is no such thing as accomodation or avoidance with them. They are going to make sure they get their way, and you had better rise to the occasion. In a way, it could be a stressful existence, on the different end of the stress spectrum when compared to Asian countries like Japan, where one simply cannot stand out from the crowd.
But we should not blame the Americans for everything, because the most quarrelsome people sometimes exist in places like China and Taiwan. It is well-known that Taiwanese parliamentary debates always involve the throwing of chairs and smashing of furniture. The Chinese are extremely patriotic and eager to stand up for their fellow people at the smallest sign of provocation. In classes, the Chinese have begun to appreciate the value of outspokenness. They are willing to speak up and take the initiative in class participation or business ventures, in preparation for a world that will spin around them in the future.
I do hate stereotypes, but it can be startling how true they are at times. Of course, I do believe we are fast approaching a “global village” where the youths of the future are removed from their own cultures and become part of what I call a “modern” culture. However, now is still not the time to cast cultural differences out the window. I am sure the time will come when we are so alike nationality becomes just a geographical label, but that must wait for more generations to come. In the meantime, as emotionless Singaporeans, let us apathetically step aside as attention goes to the strangely excitable foreigners.