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Our differences

We can’t communicate well. Is it because your eyes are blue and mine are black? Is it because you hair is fair and mine is dark? Is that because we do not speak the same language?

Language is one big barrier of communication. In order to communicate with people from different countries, we learn their languages. When we speak the same language, do we always understand each other? The answer is, “no”.

Isn’t that funny? I am a Thai. I do not always understand what another Thai’s saying. An easy example will be when people answer your question with the word, “Maybe” when the speaker doesn’t dare to express his or her real feeling. Who knows the meaning behind the word, “maybe”?

Who would believe that in some cultures saying “yes”, doesn’t always mean “I agree” or “you are right”. The most meaning it can give is only “I heard what you said.”

It will not be a big matter that is unless it’s not a business deal.[v1]

Imagine, you appoint your driver to come and pick you up tomorrow at 10:00 pm, then he says yes, but never shows up.

It’s starting to be more and more complicated, isn’t it? We often say that the Americans are like that, the British are like that, the Canadians are like that or the Australians are like that, even if we all know that people are different not necessary depending what country they are from. We are just different.

I compare communication with people to driving on a road. The fact that we know how to drive doesn’t always mean we can drive well. If we are familiar with the route, without a warning sign, we know that in the next fifty meters, there will be a small curve with a rough surface and that we have to be careful. We slow down with no stress. People drive at different speeds in different regions. It takes some time to learn to drive at the same pace as people in unfamiliar regions in order to be safe and to not annoy others. It takes some time and perseverance to remember the route and its environment to drive skillfully on each route. Every car has the same functional tools: a manipulated wheel, an accelerator, a brake and gears. But, driving in each country, each region and each route is not always the same. Yes, as soon as you can drive and drive carefully, you can get out to the destination. But maybe not smoothly or easily. Instead you waste time finding the way, anger other drivers with different paces and touch the brake unnecessarily again and again.

Do you communicate with people from different cultures smoothly? Can you enjoy the scenery when you are not familiar with the road? It is not easy but as soon as your mind is opened to differences. Things are not always as you expect. If you appreciate various colors of flowers, if you can laugh at your own mistakes and other people’s silliness,… It is easy to say but not easy to do. It is the only way because you and me; we are just so different.

Find a Bangkok interpreter (English Thai interpreter) or other language pair interpreters in Thailand:

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