Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Universal Truths

I have just returned from a pan Asia trip that included stops in Dubai, Bangalore, Mumbai, KL, Tokyo and Hong Kong. At times the diversity and contradictions were hard to manage and I reached out to local philosophies and religions from various people in an amateur attempt to come to a single framework to understand the passing world. I heard about Rama, Vishnu and Shiva, about rice pickers and potato pickers, blood types, numerology and star-signs but alas nothing seems to fit.

How could it be that such differences had developed in these extremes. From the heights of the Dubai Khalifa tower to the slums of Mumbai. From the chaos of Bangalore traffic to the white gloved taxi drivers of Tokyo. From the politeness of Japanese restaurants to the bustle of the horse racing at Happy Valley. And so I decided to play with the idea myself.

In seeking to have a common framework I started with the idea of the 5 universal ethics – mentioned in a previous blog – Don’t harm, Play fair, Be loyal, Respect authority, Strive for purity.
However these are universal and I was seeing many local flavours that were definitely not universal and this led to the development of a table to represent in a light hearted way, what I believe is important to each country that I have experienced in my travels over the past 30 years. And so it goes like this (please add or correct as appropriate).

Country - What Really Matters to the locals
Germany - Be clear
England - Know your place
Ireland - Don’t make a fuss
India - Go with the flow
Japan - Don’t cause offence
USA - Be successful
Italy - Eat well
France - Live well
Finland - Be independent
Australia - Be funny
Papua New Guinea - Stay connected

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