Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cross-Cultural observations of Asian & Australian education & work behaviour in action.

For the purpose of this entry, I will write of my observations of what I have observed of the Asians (in general from countries like Malaysia, Singapore and the surrounding countries), and of Australia only.

In my experience, many Asians, and this includes Malaysians, have the incorrigible practice of looking up too much on the "western" way of doing things. When I say western, it comes to mean as the typical "causasian way" of thinking and doing things.

The general attitude as what I have observed in most asian countries are that we look down on ourselves and don't give ourselves enough credit for our accomplishments and achievements. I say that in particular as I am guilty of doing the same thing. This seems to be a particular common Asian trait, and our upbringing from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and probably to as far as South Korea & Japan.

A friend of mine from India recently observed that most of his Australian workmates at a prestigious operating systems company had only completed their education in computing studies to undergraduate level. They are almost always surprised when he mentions that he is pursuing post-grad studies.

From my experience in Australian childcare, I was led to have the initial impression from my lecturers that there would be many qualified staff in childcare, whether in Australia or the U.K. However, what I have come to know from working in so many centres is that even finding three-year degree qualified teachers is difficult. However, there were more diploma qualified, or Cert III qualified staff. (Cert III doesn't qualify a staff to be considered as train, only the Diploma).

Many of the locals I have come to know do not show much interest in pursuing further studies. Among the other factors I have come to know is that the highest post one can move up to is to be a Centre Director, or perhaps Area Manager. Once these individuals have moved up to this post, they can no longer move up any further. Other factors I have found are low pay for long hours of work, and that many do not feel that the practical work is more important than the paper qualification.

Most Asians will prefer to complete their studies full time before commencing on their jobs, whereas in Australia, traineeship is an option openly well known & available. Most Australians would work and study at the same time. As a result of such study behaviour & patterns, many Asians who have completed their studies come to work completely inexperienced. This is true in asian countries like Singapore & Malaysia. However the reverse seems to hold true to Australians, as they seem to pay higher importance to the practical work experience than to the paper qualification.

In Malaysia, employers will hire a fresh graduate with the right qualifications and good attitude, whereas in Australia, it is the opposite. The Australian employers here prefer to overlook the lack of qualifications and hire an individual with the practical work experience.

A Malaysian friend of mine noted that perhaps where Australians prefer to try working before pursuing further education if necessary to progress, Asians in the reverse may feel that having a higher qualification, even without having the work experience may give them the edge in securing a job.

The other reason to this point is (and you will notice that if you have friends of ANY asian descent) is that ASIANS pay high regard to pursuing EDUCATION. It will be highly impossible to ever hear a South Korean/Japanese/Chinese (and it is a well known fact) that they put play before work.

Many Asians have the impression that the developed nation's way of doing things are the best and should be emulated. Until one has actually experienced life in another country, many Asians often over rate the latter's ways & culture. However, and nonetheless, this does not say that we are not able to learn some of their ways.

Among some of the admirable practices that Asian families could inculcate in their way of living is:
1) to treat children like individuals and give praise when & where it is due. Doing so will do wonders for the children's self esteem and confidence in the long term.

2) Parents should also encourage their children to find work instead of point-blank giving their children allowance when they ask for it. Encouraging children to work for their allowance, or find work when they are legally able to do so will encourage the children to appreciate the difficulty of how difficult it is to work.

It also opens the children's minds to the world outside, and the intricacies and politics of the working life. I want my children to have respect for their elders, and yet are confident to step out on their own when the time is due.

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