Getting Older, Getting BetterWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
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3. Personal witness.
We need to practice constant vigilance to bear witness to our beliefs. We must repeatedly re-assess ourselves to ensure that we have not inadvertently bought into bias and prejudice that colors so much human thought. We cannot stand silent while others talk or joke about ethnicity, or religion, or sexual preferences. The need to get ahead does not require sacrifice of all that we hold dear -- winner of rat race is, after all, a rat. We must consider our families and ensure that our children are fully exposed to potential and worth of every individual, no matter how different from us they may appear. Our expectations and demands of coworkers and subordinates needs to be fair and consistent, regardless or race, gender, or cultural differences. We can stand up and speak out, letting all know that nothing less than equal opportunity and fair evaluation will be tolerated in our personal sphere. We will continue to look for quality of character, knowing that little else matters.
As each generation ages, qualities it represented in youth tend to dissipate. With addition of multiple personal and occupational responsibilities and acquisition of assets and at least a degree of wealth, earthquake of social revolution is no longer a promise but a threat. We jealously guard what we have worked so hard to obtain. We become a force for conservancy rather than a force for change.
The baby boom generation has potential to shatter that familiar pattern. Born on cusp of most horrifying war world has ever seen, we continue to represent an opportunity for world to evolve, for mankind to rise above baseness of his bestial nature and to internalize human capacity for true civilization. As we enter autumn of our lives, we are presented with opportunity to finally, and lastingly, make a difference. It is up to us to stand together now, as many years ago we stood in streets of Chicago, Washington, and Birmingham, for rights and liberties of all.
Virginia Bola is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Age Discrimination and the challenges of maturity. Performing therapeutic services for 30 years, she has researched the effects of cultural forces, employment and aging on the individual. The author of an interactive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, she can be reached at http://www.virginiabola.com
Gifts in Chinese CultureWritten by Wong Yee Lee
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Umbrellas would not be welcome in most places in China because pronunciation of 'umbrella' resembles separation. Of course nobody would like idea of separation, particularly concerning your loved ones.
Clocks would not be welcome, particularly on someone's birthday because pronunciation of 'clock' resembles termination, which means death. No wonder people don't like receiving clocks as birthday gifts.
If you want to give your friends some fruits, remember to buy an even number of them because odd numbers would bring bad luck. So buy 10 apples instead of 9.
Foreigners may find it awkward when your friend says 'You don't need to buy anything when you come here.', or 'Keep it to yourself. I have a lot of these'. He may not mean it. What you need to do is to insist on him receiving gift since Chinese people do not tend to receive gift immediately.
Don't mind it if he doesn't open your present immediately too. Chinese people would think opening present in front of you would be impolite and so they would tend to put it aside and only open it after you have left.
These ideas can only be served as guidelines. Knowing that you come from a foreign culture and being more broad-minded to foreign ideas, Chinese people are nowadays more tolerant to things which are not in line with their culture. So, don't worry too much when you visit a Chinese friend or family. Maybe your exotic idea would bring them a lot of surprises!!
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