This is a question directed to people from different countries all around the world.

There are people in Russian whom I dubbed "sit-it-outs": those who'd rather sit it out than ask a question that's on their mind, speak up or do something they think is right, especially if there's an amount of unfamiliar people around, even if they mind their own business.

I remember what solidifed the image in my head: I've been riding a very early trolleybus home, and due to wetness and low temperatures, trolley cables got frosted, making the "horns" of the trolley elicit sparkles as it moved (with big difficulties, mind you). Not a single person asked about it (there was a conductor in the trolley); people just looked out of the window, clearly worried about the whole issue (it did look quite scary, like a cheap movie SFX that's happening to you, which suddenly makes it real).

Do other countries/cultures have that kind of attitude anywhere near common?


mike:

That is not very common in Norway. I was quite surprised by this attitude when I first came to Norway from the U.S. Norwegians speak out. It is part of the culture, and it takes some getting used to. Everyone feels they have a responsibility to speak or act when they see something that is not right. I have been approached by someone (not an employee) who told me I could not take pictures inside of a building, even though I was not taking pictures of people. Another time I swung my car to the other side of the street to nab a parking spot so I could run into a store to grab something quick. Someone called out to me as I ran into the building, but I was in too much of a rush to stop and see what he wanted. When I came out I saw that I had pulled into a handicapped spot - I did not see the sign because I pulled in the wrong way. The man was standing by my car and had waited 10 minutes to tell me that I parked incorrectly.

A part of this is connected to the Norwegian expression "take the ball, not the man", meaning when you speak out against someone's behavior, you address the behavior and not the person. When this attitude exists at a culture-wide scale, it is easier both to speak out and easier to accept correction when you have done something wrong ("Oh, I did something wrong, I am thankful that someone let me know. I am not a bad person.")


posted by ThatFanficGuy: 1082 days ago