"Why then the world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open!"
-- W. Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor (c. 1600)--
“Poisson d’avril!” April starts with All Fools’ Day. Play a trick on someone, or stick a picture of fish on your friend’s back – the tradition dates back to the 16th century, thanks to the French villagers. Their ignorance of the Julian calendar switch to the Gregorian calendar for the New Year has now become a day of fun. Watch this three minutes clip of the 1957 BBC’s April Fools broadcast “Harvesting Italian Spaghetti in Switzerland“: Switzerland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVo_wkxH9dU. Apparently, many people called BBC and enquired how to grow a Spaghetti tree after watching it.
Besides fooling around or playing the wise fool to cheer someone up, April has a number of important dates: For our Christian friends, the celebration of renewal and rebirth on Easter (4th) is an important day for their belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While for our Muslim friends, 14th will start the 9th month (Ramadan) on the Islamic calendar, a time to practise self-restraint, including observing the sunrise to sunset fasting as part of their religious tradition.
And though we are into the fourth month of the year, New Year celebrations are not over yet. Our Thai friends will celebrate it on the 13th with the Songkran Festival. On the same day, our Hindu friends will celebrate their solar New Year, while our Sikh friends will celebrate the Vaisakhi! On a more solemn and reflective note, many Chinese families in Asia still observe the rituals of remembering their ancestors and sweeping the tombs during the Qingming Festival (4th).
May the blissful month of April bring you many joyous moments!
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
Today, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) have become the buzz words. On their own, words are just an assembly of different alphabets/characters, insignificant and meaningless unless they lead to awareness and actions. Applying the famous idea: “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with,” let’s expand it and explore our “world.”
Here is a quick exercise:
1. Take a piece of paper, draw three separate boxes (ref. to the image below.)
2. Mark the boxes as “Core,” “Inner Sphere,” and “Outer Sphere.”
3. In each, write the names of the five people with whom you spend most of your time.
4. Note the nationality/cultural background/ethnicity next to each name.
5. Now, examine your boxes and count how many countries/cultural backgrounds/ethnicities you have on them.
The simple exercise helps us understand “our world.” While we may advocate Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) fervently, how diverse is our own world? Those who have been in leadership know that people generally find it difficult to follow what you ask them to do. It is, however, much easier for them to follow what they see you doing.
Therefore, if you plan to drive “D&I“ at work, your sphere from the exercise above will show you what others perceive you want them to do. Words are important because they can create awareness, but it is actions that will make an impact.
Now, have you ever asked yourself this question: “How rich am I or what is my worth?” Indeed, we all measure our “wealth” differently. Some in dollars and cents, some the houses we own, the cars we drive, the art collections and jewels we possess. To a certain extent, we all tend to account for what we can see, count, and touch. Unknowingly, we miss out on many other things that also belong to us.
Our experience and our relationship with others are the intangible things we gather. They are part of our possession because we own these experiences and relationships. So, look at your diagramme again. Is your world made up of people from different ethnic groups, countries, or regions? Our efforts to start injecting diversity in our spheres may sound daunting but will undoubtedly be an enriching process.
After all, the whole world may belong to you!
We, at TransCultural Group (TCG), are determined to play our parts in making the world a better place, and we have teamed up with the Cultural Intelligence Centre, U.S.A to bring their well-researched and designed CQ assessment tools to our clients in the Asia Pacific.
We are passionate about building bridges and breaking down walls. Please join us in this journey.
Beyond Boundaries – Crossing Cultures
The world is fascinating, simply because
Spread the words, share the vision, do our part!
Keng Keng Tan
Founder & CEO