Cultural diversity – Chinese and Filipino
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There are many cultures that share similarities and differences in this world. Two cultures that are different in their traditions and rituals, though similar in their sexuality and beliefs are the Chinese and Filipino. Both cultures’ beliefs, sexualities, rituals, values, and traditions have changed over time due to the influence of other cultures and the media.
The Chinese and Filipino celebrate different traditions that are held each year. Generally Chinese believe in Buddhism and the Chinese Gods and Goddesses, whereas the Filipinos are Catholic and believe in Jesus, and how he sacrificed himself on the cross, dying for their sins. Religion accounts for most of their traditions.
Chinese have traditions involved with ghosts, the dead, remembrance of past leaders, and Chinese New Year and Moon Cake Festival (heavenly related tradition). The Filipinos’ traditions include the Catholic calendar with celebrations like the death of Jesus, Holy Week, and Fiesta when they commemorate past well known saints of a town or village.
The Filipino are big family people. When you marry a Filo you marry their family too. Many Filipinos live with a family structure of 2-3 generations living under one roof. They are taught great respect for family elders at a young age and the eligibility of their spouse may depend on the family’s acceptance.
Contrary to the Filos, the Chinese do not have big families and do not as close a relationship with the whole extended family.
When it comes to birthdays, the Filipino celebrate every one is big as the last. It is a big gathering for the family and a great time for Filos to do what they love- socialising. Chinese however, do not have parties or celebrate birthdays except when you are 1(first year of life), 30 years old(age you are expected to be settled with a family) and every 10 years after that.
Filipinos have rites of puberty, whereas the Chinese don’t. Christian girls’ go through two phases of social transition into womanhood: ritual ear piercing and a cotillion. The piercing of ears is a traditional tribal rite of socially announcing that the person is a girl. It is usually done between one month after birth and 3 years old. A cotillion is a social introduction of young females at an elaborate party or dinner dance. This occurs when you are 16-18 years old.
The Filipino boys also have rites of puberty. When they are 8-12 years old a ceremony is held where boys march in procession in groups of ten to twelve boys, to the medicine man’s house. Here they are separated and get circumcised. Even though it hurt, when it is finished they act brave as they feel that they are now a man.
Both cultures are strict about not dating at a young age. In the Filipino culture, when a girl and boy or dating, it is expected that the girl brings her boy home for her parents to meet, however in the Chinese culture, this is not necessary until the stage when they want to get married. It is tradition that whenever the man visits the girl’s parents, he must bring a present. This is customary in both cultures.
The way to court a girl is different in both cultures. If a Filo man wants to be taken seriously by a woman, he has to go to her parents and introduce himself. Then he can start courting her, and by courting her, it means that he can start showing his interest in her. The girl is supposed to be secretive and shy about her feelings and if she likes him, it is appropriate behaviour to play pakipot, which means “hard to get”. It is acceptable for Filipinos to display public affection.
In the Chinese culture, there is no need to play these roles. Traditionally, the boy and girl are introduced through relatives and marry even without love. But nowadays we are more Westernize. If a Chinese man likes a Chinese woman he asks her out and she will say if she’s interested. However, once they are a couple, they don’t tell anyone and don’t act affectionately in public. The Chinese are very secretive about their relationships.
When a couple plans to get married, they must inform their parents and ask for their blessing. The Chinese need only to ask for their parents’ blessing. It is much more difficult for the Filos as they need to ask their parents, as well as their elders, for blessings and wish them luck together. Both cultures don’t have engagement parties unlike the Western cultures but have a family dinner including both families and this is when they meet. Soon after this they get married. The period of engagement is not very long.
Traditionally at the wedding, Chinese couples wear a traditional Chinese outfit. The ceremony is usually only witnessed by family members and close friends. They bow down in front of their parents and present them with a cup of tea as a sign of respect. They then receive their blessing and are officially married.
At a traditional Filipino wedding, the woman would wear a white wedding dress and the man would wear a barong tagalong (silk shirt). The witnesses in their wedding would be the principal sponsor, secondary sponsors, veil sponsors and candle sponsors. They would light two candles, representing the joining of the two families. After that, the veil sponsor would put a veil over the bride’s head and the groom’s shoulders, symbolizing two people becoming one. This is followed by a silk cord delicately placed in the figure 8 over the shoulders of the bride and groom – symbolising everlasting fidelity. Lastly, the groom gives the bride 13 coins, which has been blessed by the priest, which represents his dedication to his wife and future family.
Due to Westernisation, in both cultures have a white wedding with the white wedding dress and tuxedo.
In each culture, methods of divorce are different. It is alright for Chinese couples to get divorced, however, there is no divorce in the Philippines. Filipino couples have only three ways to change the status of their marriage: legal separation, declaration of nullity, and annulment.
Sexuality is very important in the Filipino culture. The majority of Filipinos today are Westernised but they still are traditional about their sexual values. Because, most Filipinos are of Catholic denomination, the only sexual behaviour considered legal and moral is heterosexual intercourse within a monogamous marriage. Prostitution, pornography, polygamy, premarital and extramarital sex, cohabitation and homosexuality are all illegal. Though, quiet homosexuality and heterosexual cohabitation seem to be more socially acceptable today. Homosexuality is viewed as more acceptable with men than with women.
The Chinese also share the same views on sexuality with the Filipinos, however in China, homosexuality was not considered immoral. From 700BC – 581 BC 10/11 emperors had a homosexual lover. But since then, it has been seen as morally wrong. The moral pressure of hiding their true identity has caused many homosexuals to consider or attempt suicide.
The Filipinos, because they are of Catholic denomination, feel that virginity is sacred. A Filo man would not be interested in marrying a non virgin… even if he took her virginity. Culture and her family let the girl know that it is her responsibility to keep her virginity. On the other hand, men are allowed to have as much sexual activity as he pleases, because when he does that he is admired by other men and is considered ‘manly’. This is much like Chinese culture. The Chinese women also value their virginity, and men are able to frolic just like Filipinos, though it is not as accepted.
Females and males are treated unequally in both cultures. Both cultures prefer boys over girls. In the Philippines, if the wife can’t provide a baby boy, the man has a right to seek a mistress and have another family. Furthermore, the father worships and pays more attention the boy, particularly the older one, who is named after him. The Chinese want a boy more because they are stronger, can easily find work and can carry on the family name.
Filipino woman don’t get the love that the need from their father so when they get a husband they really appreciate them and show them great affection. The role of a Filipino wife is to stay at home and be a housewife and a disciplinarian. They are expected to spoil their husband; comb his hair, bathe him, cook for him, and treat him like a king. Also, they have to raise the children and discipline them well. They are considered a good wife if they do these things. If they don’t they are considered a disgrace.
The Chinese women are considered equal to the men. The wife may choose to work or be a housewife. However, if she chooses to work, she is still expected to do housework, cook for the family, and look after her parents and her husband’s parents like the Filipino.
Filipino women want big families with many children. It is almost a universal desire in the Philippines. However Chinese women want small families as it is less work.
In both cultures the husband is the dominant figure of the family. It is understood that the husband works to support the family and is the main source of income. If he doesn’t the wife will not respect him and it is looked down upon.
Media has impacted the Chinese and Filipino culture, more negatively on the Chinese than on the Filipino. Due to the influence of the media, and other courtiers, like the Western civilization, many of the Chinese traditions have been changed or removed. Things that have changed include wedding ceremonies, behaviour of couples in the public, and the attitudes towards intimacy.
The Filipino on the other hand, has not been impacted as much by the media. This is because the media follows most of their beliefs and rituals like pining for a girl if you really like her. However, they hardly have traditional wedding ceremonies anymore and don’t live with their whole extended family after they get married.
The media affirms the sexual identity accepted by both cultures. It makes out that a heterosexual relationship is the correct identity. Images shown by the media portray that homosexual relationships are looked down upon. However, the sexual behaviour in the things that the media shows does not affirm both cultures beliefs. Both cultures do not allow young children to be involved in a relationship, they value their virginity highly and respect their elders, unlike the content shown in the media. Though, sexual attitudes are more liberal and accepting of changes in sexuality because of the influences of the media.
In conclusion, there are many differences and similarities between the Chinese and Filipino. The Chinese culture has evolved in the past century becoming more westernised. The Philippine culture has not changed as much in the past century still upholds most of its traditional beliefs.
When two people from different cultures engage in a long-term relationship, there are many positive and negative consequences in integrating cultural diversity.
Positive consequences include:
*Given and opportunity to have an insight into another culture. You would be lucky enough to experience the lifestyle of the other culture. Eg. The food they eat, their values, beliefs and traditions.
*Have a more interesting relationship. It would be more exciting for two people with contrasting cultures to have a relationship. Eg. They would be able to experience all traditions, values, and beliefs. Be more challenging; learning another language and its customs.
As married couple
*Have more options. There are many more
*Be able to share their culture with someone else.
*Make new friends of another culture that could help me understand the culture more. This would be helpful in gaining the parents acceptance.
*Be seen as a role model for having a relationship based on love and for overcoming the cultural differences. Friends would admire you.
*The common sexuality (orientation, identity, and behaviour) of the two cultures may be similar, like the Chinese and Filipino, making the relationship stronger.
*Will be able to involve your child in both cultures. Your child would be accepted by both cultures. Eg. The child of Filipino and Chinese parents would be welcome at catholic events as well as Buddhist events.
*Child will have a broader frame of mind. They will most likely not be as prejudiced towards other cultures, races, and religions. This is because, in a way, they can relate to them, being someone belonging to two cultures and a child of parents who have overcome differences in beliefs and values.
*Child will have the pleasure of eating a variety of foods. Eg. One night they could have Filipino food and the next night they could have Chinese food. This would make dinners much more exciting and would not leave the child sick of the food.
*The different cultures of the parents usually create a beautiful mixed child!
*Have more options, for the role as a wife. For example, Filipinas are expected to be the housewife and housekeeper, however if she marries a Chinese man, she can have a option to work or be a housewife, because the Chinese culture allows it.
Negative consequences include:
*Parents may not approve of this relationship. Filo families only respect you if you understand and relate to their culture, as well as religion; Catholic. If your parents do not approve of this, you may have to put in a lot of effort to convince them and to secretly meet with your lover.
*It would be difficult at first. You might not know a lot about the other culture and could offend your boyfriend/girlfriend because of the different values and beliefs.
As married couple:
*Different holidays to celebrate. Eg. The Filipino celebrate Holy week, an event of the Christian calendar, however the Chinese are Buddhists and are not allowed to take part in this holiday.
*Parents could strongly oppose to the marriage. This would be a shame especially in the Filipino culture, as they are very close to their families. By marrying a person of another culture, they would have disobeyed their parents. This would most likely cause the Filo to be emotional, when family is mentioned.
*The parents of both families will find it difficult to communicate as both will most likely not speak the other language, and will not bother to learn the language of the other culture. This would prove to be difficult and the parents could misunderstand each other.
*The couple might not agree on where to live. Together they have to decide whether to leave their homeland, stay in their homeland or move to a totally new country. The Filipino in particular, are very attached to their homeland and family that live their and may not want to leave. The Chinese also have a strong bond with their homeland and would also find it difficult to leave.
*When your spouse has conversations with their friends, you may not understand them if you don’t completely understand the language. This would be awkward and make you feel left out causing some complications in the marriage.
*The difference in religion may cause many complications. Religion determines how you raise your children, and many of your values and beliefs. Eg. Hindis are forbidden to eat cows, but Christians are allowed to. Christians believe that when you die you go to either heaven or hell, on the other hand, Buddhists believe that when you die you are reincarnated into another life form.
*People around you may judge you in ways you cannot comprehend. This is because they don’t understand the deepness of your relationship and are scared to have a cross cultural relationship themselves.
*How many children you want. Filipino women in particular, want to have many children. It is a universal desire in the Philippines. Conflict may arise when considering how many children to have, as the Chinese like small families.
*Parents may want to take over in the upbringing of the child, teaching them the beliefs and values of their one culture. Chinese parents in particular want to get involved in the upbringing of their grandchild. This is because it is a tradition. Filipino parents however, feel that they should raise their own child without any help. It is a kind of reflection on what they have learnt from their own parents, especially in the disciplining of the child.
*The boy is usually favoured in most cultures. If a Australian and Filipino couple had a boy, there would be arguments over whether they should favour the boy, or treat them equally, as Australian believe that both sexes are equal, but the Filipino regard males as better.
*Whether or not to send the child to a Catholic school as the Filipinos are Catholic and the Chinese are Buddhist.
*You may not agree on what religion to preach to your children. Filipinos are faithful Catholics and Chinese are loyal Buddhists. This would cause huge conflict as religion is very important to both cultures.
*The cultures may not agree on the roles of the wife and husband. Eg. The Chinese allow women to work however, the Filipino strongly believe that women should be housewives.
In conclusion, you can see that there are many positive and negative consequences of cultural diversity in long-term relationships. You need to give a little to get a little. Both, have to compromise and modify their beliefs and values for the benefit of the relationship and family.