By: Lufita Lusiana (Young Member of UKM Bahasa FLAT)
Mentor: Lili Samrotul Karimah
In this world, there are various cultures. Every country must have a culture. Based on Cambridge Dictionary, culture is the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time. Many different cultures that we can encounter around us, because every social group has its own culture. As society beings, learning culture is very important to us. By studying culture, we can understand the character of a person deeper, not only from the outside alone. So, we able to create harmonious relationships between people and groups. Then, we able to appreciate the culture that exists around it and participate in developing the culture of the nation and preserve the culture of our ancestors. In the scope of the world, culture is divided into two parts, namely Eastern culture and Western culture. Eastern culture is the culture that emerged in the Eastern world, such as continent of Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. While Western culture is a culture that emerged in the Western world community, like a continent of America. There are some differences and similarities between Eastern culture and Western culture. We can see from a variety of sides, such as attitude side and educational side.
The first is attitude side. In terms of respect for time, Eastern culture and Western culture have some similarities and differences. Eastern and Western cultures equally have a disciplined society. Whereas the differences more than similarities. Usually, the society of Western culture is more on time than Eastern culture. Western cultural societies really appreciate the time. While the Eastern world, especially Indonesia is lack of respect for time. In Indonesia there is the term “rubber clock”, which means that if someone makes an appointment with someone else, it is usually not timely. For instance, a man makes an appointment with the woman to meet in the mall at one o’clock in the afternoon, but in fact the man come late, he came at two o’clock. Events like this often occur in Indonesia, but only when there are informal meetings. In the formal meeting both Western and Eastern cultures equally discipline and appreciate the time.
Then, in the terms of problem-solving, Eastern culture has stronger moral ethics and customs, but problem-solving is a bit more complicated. Ordinarily, the Eastern is still a bit complicated in solving the problem, it’s all because customs are still upheld by society and state law. In contrast, Westerners solve the problem by identifying the common fallacy of defining and classifying problems according to the procedures typically used to solve a particular type of problem.Westerners are more creative than Easterners in term of problem-solving. However, both of them have their own way of solving the problem.
Next, in the terms of socialization, Westerners and Easterners are social creatures who like to socialize. However, Westerners are very individualistic. They do everything by themselves, independent of others. Western culture is notorious for individualists. They do not care about others and think only of their own interest. On the other hand, the Easterners are very sociable. They prefer to do something together. If in Indonesia it’s called by “mutual cooperation (gotong royong)”. Eastern culture is famous for hospitality. The Easterners tend to be more friendly and polite than Westerners in socializing.
The second is educational side. In terms of thinking, Westerners and Easterners have a high interest in science. Both of them like to make research, observation, and experiment. Westerners and Easterners equally research the empirical science. However, Western science is more rational than Eastern. Marx (in Soelaeman, 1987) explains that West considers man to be the measure of everything. That is, humans have the ability to perfect his life with the terms starting from the ratio, intellect, and experience. Beside to researching the real thing, the easterners also do the research about the unseen or unreal thing. Eastern thinkers put more emphasis on the inner side of the soul and the reality of the empirical world is regarded as something just passing. “A good thing according to the East is not only material but spiritual”; something that is obtained through the search of certain substances, both within and outside the human body.
In terms of technology, today’s technology has grown in many countries, from Eastern to Western states. Technology becomes an inevitable part of todays. With the technology, many human activities can be helped and become easier. Technology in the West and East are both growing rapidly, but technology in the West is more advanced and sophisticated than East, especially in United State America. “The USA is at the center of the world’s technology companies, such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Tesla. Even this company is also a power in which computers can replace humanity.”
In short, both of Western culture and Eastern culture have differences and similarities, that depends on our view. We can see the differences and similarities from attitude side and educational side. In attitude side, we can divide again into terms of respect for time, terms of problem-solving, and terms of socializing. While on the educational side, we can divide too into terms of thinking, and terms of technology. After reading it, basically we have to appreciate both cultures. We should be able to take the positive side of both cultures, and we have to apply it in everyday life.