Icons For Understanding Eastern and Western Culture Part II

Yang Liu is a graphic designer who has won several prestigious international awards for her work.

These icons illustrate the differences between Eastern and Western cultures (Germany and China). They are from a special exhibition at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May and June of 2007.

Please visit her website to view her work. I think she’s brilliant!

Note: Please remember the following commentary express my own opinions and do not represent the views of the artist.

BLUE – WESTERN

RED – CHINESE

Queue When Waiting
Queue When Waiting

Most foreigners are a bit overwhelmed by the pushing and shoving that occurs in Chinese banks, train stations, bus stops, elevators and pretty much everywhere else you can think of. Last February, Beijing decided to clean up their act and announced a National Queue-Up Day once a month in an effort to get people to be more ‘well-mannered’ for the Beijing Olympics.

Shower Timing

Shower Timing

Take a look at The Filthy Foreigner Flaw over at Sinosplice for a beautiful explanation of this one.

Sundays on the Road

Sundays on the Road

I didn’t realise how quiet Sundays are in Canada until I found myself downtown in the Byward Market on a Sunday afternoon. I was home for the first time in over a year and I remember being really freaked out. No cars. No pedestrians. It was quiet and tranquil. Then I thought of a typical Sunday afternoon in China and marveled at the differences. Very rarely did I ever find a place for myself on the weekend in China. If it was privacy I was looking for, I stayed within my own four walls.

The Child

The Child

Family relationships in the East and West are very different. In the West, children are raised primarily by the parents, with grandparents playing less of a role in day-to-day life. In the East, both parents and grandparents are actively involved in raising children.

Party

Party

If you’ve ever been to a dance club in Asia, you’ll find that many Asian friends like to dance in small circles, whereas Westerners tend to break off into groups of two and three.

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Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian who has been living in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. I'm an experienced businesswoman and have worked in many leadership positions in Asia. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. I started writing about my health journey in 2009 after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, which came with other massive health issues. These diagnoses were the start of my journey as a health advocate and patient leader. Since then, My Several Worlds has been recognized worldwide as a top site for AS, fibromyalgia, and chronic illness by WEGO Health and Healthline.

8 thoughts on “Icons For Understanding Eastern and Western Culture Part II

    […] from My Several Worlds blog has a very interesting series on East/West key cultural differences expressed by symbols and […]

    Preyanka

    (November 6, 2007 - 3:17 pm)

    This is interesting. I can really relate to the showering one. I am American but had Indian ayas and nannies and grew up showering at night. But my American sensibilities kicked in eventually and I found myself compelled to shower twice a day! Now I just opt for mornings. While I understand the whole sheet thing, I think being asleep for 8 hours makes you feel icky, if not dirty; how can you start the day feeling that way??

    Stevo

    (November 10, 2007 - 5:09 am)

    More too-true icons. I shower twice a day, sometimes four times during the summer. My wife has explained the rational of the before-bed shower. It makes sense, but I need a shower to wake up in the morning.

    Queues, or lack there of, drive me mad. I’ve learned to jump into the fray, elbows extended. I think Darwin summed it up in his theory of survival of the fittest.

    Icons For Understanding Eastern and Western Culture Part III « My Several Worlds

    (November 23, 2007 - 12:05 am)

    […] Part One includes: Anger, Making Contacts, Definition of Beauty, Elderly in Day-to-Day Life, In the Restaurant, Me, Handling of Problems […]

    Melanie

    (September 2, 2009 - 3:30 pm)

    Hey Carrie!
    Yet another very interesting read. Its interesting that you re-posted this as a link on your facebook as Im taking a french as a second language course and there are a number of westerners in my classes. I was observing the fact that its so much harder to read whats going on with them and in general, how different all cultures are.

    The restaurant icon makes sense to me when it comes to Ontario, but here in Quebec the french like to be loud in restaurants, however Im sure that the society as a whole is entirly a different story.

    I commend you for making you life somewhere completely different then what you were used to. Its very courageous and its always interesting to read about your adventures.
    ~take care
    Mel

      Carrie

      (September 4, 2009 - 1:37 am)

      Hi Mel,
      First off, good for you for taking a second language class! That’s awesome. I’m fascinated with the differences between cultures. Even though I’ve lived in Asia for six years, I still run across little things every day that remind me of how everyone looks at things just a bit differently. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your course.

    Icons For Understanding Eastern and Western Culture Part II « My Several Worlds

    (September 5, 2009 - 4:53 am)

    […] here looking for Liu Yang’s set of cultural icons for understanding Eastern and Western culures, please follow the link to my new domain. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Eastern […]

    Danilo

    (January 16, 2012 - 5:43 pm)

    Hi there. Thanks for posting those pictures 🙂 It appears that the last one is missing the title and description though.

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