“The cause of my irritation is not in this person but in me.”
- Anthony de Mello, Indian Jesuit priest, writer, 1931-87
This April, three different groups celebrate the beginning of spring or their New Year. Starting with the Hindi New Year (the beginning of Chaitra Navratri on the 2nd), Thai (Songkran festival on the 13th) and Sikh (Vaisakhi on the 14th.)
For our Muslim friends, Ramadan (the 9th month of the Muslim calendar) also begins on the 2nd. People of the Islamic faith will observe fasting from sunrise to sunset during this period; it is good to exercise sensitivity and respect for this practice, be it in the business or social context.
For Christians, Lent ends on Maundy Thursday, followed by the solemn Good Friday on the 15th and the joyous celebration of Easter on the 17th. On 23rd April, if you have friends named George or Jorge or if they are from England, Bulgaria, Georgia, Portugal and Catalonia and Valencia; you can wish them a Happy St. George Day, for it is the feast day for their patron saint. Finally, our friends in Japan shall start the Japanese Golden Week (Ōgon Shūkan 黄金週間) on the 29th.
As the English poet William Wordsworth once wrote: It was an April morning: fresh and clear – hopefully, the fresh and clear air will help us address the challenges in our increasingly turbulent world!
April Showers Bring May flowers!
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
When was the last time you disagreed and argued with someone over something? Do you remember the unpleasant feeling and how draining it was? It is because, being social creatures, by nature, we loathe conflicts.
Often, conflict starts with frustration. Frustration can happen when we least expect it, and it arises when things are not going according to the way we think they should or when others are not in line with us. Unchecked, the situation will eventually evolve into a “they vs us” followed by a defensive instinct to “combat” for our “rights.” These mind traps of “in-group” and “out-group” narratives lead us to arguments and conflicts and are aplenty for inter-cultural exchanges.
Any disagreement means there are different opinions. There are two options to take when we find ourselves in such a situation.
- we can view the differences as a waste of our time, and they undermine our intellect.
- we can take the differences as an opportunity to add new perspectives to our knowledge bank.
The first option often leaves either party feeling disgruntled, ties cut and relationship severed. Whilst the second approach may lead to a novel, creative and better way to do things from the combined insights of people different from us. Like most, I have had those unpleasant moments, often with regrets because no one gained from them. Along the way, I’ve found these steps helpful to turn frustrating encounters into meaningful outcomes.
In the process, Step #1 detaches us from our emotions and ego; then, it asks us to approach the situation positively, exercising fairness to others. Step #3 then gets us into a clinical assessment of what we want out of that situation and the relationship with the person. That being clear will lead us into a thoughtful process to appropriate our actions for the desired outcome. Voila, the recipe for good DEI at work.
Try it out the next time you start feeling frustrated with another person; April is the magical Cherry blossoms season. It is a time of renewal, and it also reminds us of life’s fleeting nature. Therefore, it may also be a good time for us to rethink how to design a life with fewer conflicts but be more beneficial to our relationships with others.
May we have the wisdom to look inwards as we
search for resolutions to resolve conflicts and
challenges with others!
The world is fascinating simply because differences exist!
Join us to spread the words, share the vision, and do our parts.
At TransCultural Group (TCG), we are determined to play our part in making the world a better place. We have launched an e-book for Youth. We have also uploaded the complete series of “Food around the World” on our YouTube channel.
Please share it If you love our effort, and please give us a “like” and subscribe to our “YouTube” channel (it is free!) Come support us!
Crossing Cultures – Beyond Boundaries
Keng Keng Tan
Founder & CEO