Saturday, May 05, 2012

Clash of cultures

This is an odd story described as "an ugly encounter with aggression, racism and abuse". All it really highlights are cultural differences between Germans and Kiwis. Germans are very rules-bound and quite obedient. I discovered that after a few visits there, both working and for leisure.

The story goes, after a collision at a roundabout "We said, 'OK, we want to leave everything like this until the cops come," Ms Kirn said. "In Germany, what we learn is if you have a car accident just leave everything like it is."

I can appreciate the consternation and frustration these two women caused by refusing to move their vehicle which was presumably holding up other traffic. Imagine for a moment if I behaved the same way. I'd get called a stupid woman doubtless. Then I could run to the papers about misogyny being rife in NZ?

Or imagine if I was in Germany, caused a collision at a roundabout and proceeded to drive my car into a position where it was no longer impeding the flow of traffic. The Germans would get very angry with me for interfering with the 'crime' scene  most probably. And they would phlegmatically bar me. I've encountered this sort of unbending slavery to unreasonable rules first-hand. And it isn't pleasant.

Now, I am sure all Germans are not like that. And neither are all Kiwis aggressive, abusive, racists .

"I felt I never want to come back to NZ. It's very nice nature but we didn't know people were racist." 

Get it into perspective. An unfortunate accident and ensuing misunderstanding which brought out the worst in some individuals.


FF said...

Most misunderstandings between races are a clash of cultures, that doesn’t stop the ‘racism card’ being played over and over.

I am glad these women saw the incident in these terms.
What is sauce for the goose....

Imagine the hysteria if visiting 'people of colour' had been abused by pakehas after an accident, would that be portrayed as a clash of cultures too?

Anonymous said...

I Find many Germans to be aggressive and more than prepared to bend rules.In fact many are just plainly bullies.Maybe they come here so they can bully Kiwis who are often not very good at sticking up for themselves?Just my experience.

Eric Crampton said...

I had no end of fun teaching German colleagues to jaywalk when living in Bonn.