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Intercultural Insights

Our neighbour is Nigerian, my wife is Chinese, my business partner British, his wife Arab, his staff Malay, my Java expert Indian, my friends Japanese, French, Indonesian, Bruneian, Austrian, Australian and I'm German. This sets a great stage for learning about cultures. Yesterday Igodholo came over for a coffee and we had a chat about marriage. He was joking, that Europeans marry and divorce, marry and divorce, marry and divorce. His people are more practical: they marry, marry, marry. He shared with me that his father had multiple wifes and he has 20 over brothers and sisters. Half or full doesn't matter in the Nigerian culture.
He also explained, that it is very much a question of social status for a wife, how many wifes she has under her; the more the better. Having many wifes was a common concept in many cultures: the Chinese, Nigerian, Arab... even Christians (the ones around Salt Lake City). And when you count the mistresses in, it's an universal concept (Diamonds go from mine to mistress, not from mine to wife <g> ). Still it feels like a big stretch for me, being raised in an equal right/equal opportunity minded society. There is so much to learn and not to judge.
The great Rosa Luxemburg once condensed it into an single sentence: Freedom always includes freedom for the one who thinks differently.  

Posted by on 02 August 2004 | Comments (0) | categories: Intercultural


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