When daisies pied, and violets blue, And lady-smocks all silver-white, And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue Do paint the meadows with delight…
– William Shakespeare, Love’s Labor Lost , Spring –
During this time of the year, celebrations by different cultures and religious groups take place around the world. Many relate to renewal, rebirth, and reawakening linking our ties to natures in spring. You may know that Easter, the most important feast in the Christian calendar celebrates the resurrection of Christ often takes place in April. However, did you realise quite a number of the rituals actually have their pagan origins? For example, the hiding of the easter eggs for children, and the Easter bunny, these are because the bunny and eggs both symbolise fertility and subsequently new lives.
Also, did you know that April used to be the first month of the year during Medieval times? When the Pope changed the New Year date to 1st of January in the 16th century, many people in the rural areas did not follow. The town people, therefore, thought them foolish, this perhaps may have given rise to the pranks one plays on another on April Fools Day. To feel the mischiefs of spring, you may click here for some funny April fool’s jokes.
The two most important languages on earth have their celebrations this month. If you speak Chinese, 20th April is UN’s Chinese Language Day, and 23rd April is the English Language Day! For more details, check out our 2018 April’s Newsletter.
Finally, let’s take the opportunity of mother nature at its best to observe Earth Day on 22nd April, by taking actions to help protect our environment. Every small step, by every one of us, counts, so that we may keep the earth intact for our future generations…
Where in the world was the above picture taken?
Here is the answer for the March Photo Contest :
THE CZECH REPUBLIC!
The photo was taken in Prague, the historic city of Bohemia. Prague, a UNESCO’s World Heritage site, is known as the city of “spires.” Since I visited in 2001, Prague has now become one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe (after London, Paris and Rome). Being the crossing point of the Vitava river, Prague or Praha is where Smetana composed the beautiful piece of music that depicts his love for his homeland.
A Journey A Month...
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
March 2019 was a very difficult month for me, my closest friend left after a long battle with cancer. She was my biggest supporter in life, she encouraged me always to be who I am, do whatever I want to do. Without her, I wouldn’t have made that leap of faith to walk away from my corporate life, and to live my dream creating TCG!
This month, please allow me to dedicate the newsletter to this special friend. I would like to share the beauty of her friendship, and how a special bond of human relationship can only be built when we really allow each other to be just who we are…
Take a deep breath, and be honest with ourselves – are we always who we really are? Or are we so conscious of the expectations of others, that we often try to “fit” into a mould that we think others want us to be?
Likewise, do we expect others to fit into a “mould” that we think they should? Are we upset with them if they don’t? Life allows us to be who we were when we were children. When we interacted with people, we were “natural” and “truthful,” until one day, we grew up and began to set “expectations,” on ourselves and on others…
When it comes to Cultural Intelligence (CQ), those lessons of childhood apply. On cross-cultural interactions, it is really not about trying to change oneself and pretend to be another, so as to fit into the other culture. To quote the Cultural Intelligence Center: “CQ is about being yourself, and adapting to other cultures.”
To really be “comfortably” cultural intelligent, it is about respecting others without compromising your own stance. To do that, you need all four aspects of CQ. First, a drive and humility to want to understand yourself and others; that drive shall lead you to gather useful knowledge on your own perspectives as well as those of others. With that knowledge, you must have the “intelligence” to strategize how you should and want to interact in a specific cultural context so that you can build the “human bridge” with the other person. Ultimately, the respect you have for the other person should be able to guide you to act appropriately to achieve the benefits one will gain from the human bond.
Yes, those who excel in cross-cultural interactions do not try to be somebody else other than simply being themselves, but they do exercise sincere interests and respects for the others.
To build trust, one must foremost be genuine. Respecting others is showing the interest to allow them to be who they are in the relationship. The next time when we get into a contentious situation with another person, try asking ourselves if we are allowing them to be who they are, or if we are expecting them to fit into a particular “mould” we set for them. That may have been the root of our issue. Finding solutions once we have understood the root cause would then be a lot easier…
On this insight, I really have to thank my dear friend who has shown me that one should really accept others as who they are if we want to build “unbreakable” bonds. Letting go of some of our “expectations” can lead us to great rewards of true friendship, and wonderful human experience in life.
Just as what was written in the book, “The Little Prince” by the famous aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: All grown-ups were once children.
Let’s try to be simple as we were once, keep our curiosities, if we accept others as who they are, and if we stay polite – we shall find genuine, and long-lasting friendships…
Beyond Boundaries – Crossing Cultures
May you always be who you are!
Join us, spread the words, share the vision:
A world with everyone respecting each other’s differences, even though we may be in disagreement;
A world where we have the courage to speak up against intolerance of diversity to overcome bigotry;
A world where we can hold ourselves to our integrity in our dealings, without having to compromise for something else.
I believe the world we build shall be a better place for all…
To learn about Cultural snippets and festivals around the world, you can also subscribe to TCG’s Youth’s Cross-Cultural Competency course here: