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This one is due to the family structures prevalent in either society. In the west, we want, we expect that kids will forge off into new frontiers and live their own lives. My own mother often spoke admiringly of the mother birds who shove their chicks out of the nest so that they can learn to fly on their own. As is illustrated, most westerners (in keeping with this bird comparison) eventually suffer from what is known as the 'empty-nest syndrome' which is loneliness/isolation in their later years.

In the east, or at least in China, the prevalent idea is that of family togetherness. 三代家庭 (san1 dai4 jia1 ting2), or "three-generation family" is a common phrase, referring to a single house in which grandparents, parents and children all live together under one roof. This kind of family structure is most likely due in part to the fact that up until relatively recently (say, 1949), China was (and to a large part, still is) an agrarian society. Rural lifestyles favor large, close-knit families.

This system isn't without its problems, though. Younger generations, under the influence of western ideals, sometimes find the 'three-generation family' stifling. And many times the child is the absolutely nucleus of the family, getting doting attention for four grandparents and two parents, and doesn't have to compete for attention with siblings (in the Mainland, it was against the law to have more than a single child when population problems were at their worst), the result being that these kids are typically spoiled rotten (by our western standards, I guess). And in such families, the middle generation, the parents, deal with a lot of stress. Filial piety plays a large role in Chinese culture - parents take care of children in their youth, and when the youth come of age, they in turn care for their aging parents. For those stuck in the middle it becomes an overwhelming burden - they must take care of up to four elderly people in addition to the children.



Cowboys? The author of the article forgot which countries she was talking about half-way through. The comparison is primarily between China and Germany. As an impression of the German lifestyle, well, that's generally the world's impression of Germany. Lederhosen, Schnitzel and Bier :O For the US, what usually springs to mind is many of our exported name brands, such as McDonald's, KFC and Coca-Cola.



This is generally true, especially in the more rural areas, but in some major cities people try to queue in lines more. That was certainly the case in Taipei and Beijing, in my experience(s). Though in Beijing it was kind of forced, since everyone was gearing up for the Olympics when I was there and they wanted to impress foreigners with their talented queue-ing abilities.

The ability to queue efficiently isn't necessarily indicative of the west, though:


("Queueing" comes up at about 3:14)



True, though the 'order of authority' is reversed in Mainland China. There, the rule is generally 'give right of way to the thing that's bigger than you', with pedestrians being on the bottom rung.
 

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Thanks, BhodiTree! That was a cool read.

Of course, there are groups of people in both East and West that don't fit these categories. And, especially when it comes to indigenous peoples, the West isn't always very Westerly.

My dad's family is more like the red squares, but those roots are more indigenous. My mom's side of the family is close knit but definitely there with the cars and beer. I took care of my grandmother for a year, and she lived with use for a few before she died.
I am from the South though, so that kind of throws a lot of things out the window, society wise. I can see the similarities between most of the western world and the Germany representations. Although, South America is more like the red squares too.

Maybe this should have been titled, "The difference between most of the East and most of Europe in pictures". And where does Africa fall? Are they East or West? I never really understood the West, East thing. Is it only Northern hemisphere?
 
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