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Samorvar (1991) states that individuals are not the same as the cultures they belong with. – R

Rimzana Fathima

Rimzana Fathima

Culture is the systems of knowledge shared by a relatively large group of people (Hofstede, G. (1997). The behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, and that are given to generation from the ancestors to each individual in their culture. So, the individuals from the respective cultures will always try to imitate their culture or follow that particular culture throughout their entire life. Sometimes these cultures are getting modified by the time through the changes of globalization. Each culture is different from one another. Each country, religion, tribe, gender, ethnic groups and casts have their own identities which consists unique values and believes. According to Samovar (1991), he says that, every individual are not representing their culture hundred percent. There are differences between individuals who belong to the same culture or group. In each situation one can never represent the culture exactly the same, but he can actually represent his culture with slight changes, and this is what we call that, there is a degree for each person in representing their culture (Samovar, L. A & Porter, R. E. McDaniels, E. R. (2010)). Before I come to Malaysia for my higher studies I had some confusion on whether to study abroad or in my country, my family members were not really happy about my decision on, going for another country. The main reason for them to get upset about my decision is “cultural barriers”. So, I had to convince them. I did ask my friends about the country and the culture because, that was the first time for me to go for another country. I asked some of my relatives who have Malaysian friends. What they said was that, “I have some friends there, and their behaviors are exactly the same like us and they follow Islam as we do. So there is less chance for cultural shock and you can go there”. I convinced all of my family members by saying I could really cope with that culture, and I will never get changed because I am going for a place where most of the people are Muslims who could be like us. Only after arrived at KLCC I realized that, I have made a big mistake asking my family members about Malaysian culture. Because the things which I heard from them were totally upside-down when I compared to what was happening in front of my eyes in Kuala lampore. I saw the girls wearing shorts and even smoking beside me, girls wearing headscarf with jeans and t-shirt which made me feel uncomfortable even to see them .At home I was always thinking about coming to an Islamic country which could change my lifestyle into a different angle. The actual thing was that, my uncle who said all these things to me, had friends from Malaysia who studied with him in Cairo University, in Islamic law for 8 years. It means my uncle was thinking that the whole Malaysians are like them, and was thinking that they were imitating the Malaysian culture hundred percent. What I have understood from this is, we should never judge an entire culture of a specific group of people by only looking at an individual.

When a person is not aware about the culture differences between individuals, there is a possibility for misunderstanding. So, to identify a culture of a group of people every one of us should have the basic knowledge about cultural differences. Schools are the effective places to let a generation understand a new concept. There must be subject which could help the students to understand cultures and the differences between them. Also we must be able to understand the differences between people in our culture, so that we can understand the cultures better for  a better communication.


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