Last week I gave a talk on the cross-cultural aspects of mentoring at the Diverse Women Mentorship Association induction workshop. I told the participants that the mentor-mentee relationship is a cross-encounter, and drew their attention to the multi-faceted aspects of diversity. I also told them that a cross-cultural encounter has higher risks than a mono-cultural one. For example, it is easier to offend and do the wrong things, often through ignorance of the other person’s culture. Sometimes, it could be embarrassing, for example, when I was invited to my very first Aussie party back in 1963, I was told to bring a plate so I brought along an empty plate! As a teenager then, I was mortified with my mistake! From where I came from (Malaysia), no one was ever told to bring food when they were invited to a party!
Way back in the early seventies, there was much talk about diversity – gender, race, ethnicity, vertically challenged and horizontally challenged people for that matter. Today the list grows longer – smokers and non smokers, well mannered mobile phone users and yahoos who leave their mobile phones on in cinemas and in my workshops! So people are different, end of story! Or is it the beginning really? Continue reading “What If Your Body Is Different From Mine?”