Nic Ngu, Malaysian Chinese
Chinese emphasize on self-depreciation and humility. Chinese parents and educators try not to give too much positive comments on their kids so that they won't fail due to overconfidence. We believe that kids should understand that they still have a long way to go in terms of study or anything else. The downside is that kids often develop lower self-esteem.
Western culture is the other way round. Parents and educators in many western countries rarely give negative comments about a child. Western parents and teachers will always try to say something nice about a kid. Western kids often grow up to be confident which is usually a good thing, but too much confidence can be bad as well.
There’s lots of differences. Some are as follows.
Harmony - In ancient Chinese culture, harmony with the universe is emphasized. There’s an order of things that you ought to follow in order to be successful. That’s why China often preserved it’s natural resources because it realized how important it was for it’s survival. Western culture is about imposing your will. You make things happen. You have to work hard and achieve the impossible regardless of what happens. That’s why you often see nature being destroyed in western societies.
Individuality vs. Hierarchy - Chinese culture has a collectivist society. Conforming to a group is very important. They do what’s best for the family and it affects their careers, dating lives, list goes on. If a boss disrespects a Chinese person, he/she is expected to take the insult. Preserving harmony and knowing your place in society is more important than yourself. This isn’t the case in Western culture. The person is more important than a group. You have your own values, choices, opinions, etc.
Success - In Western culture, success is defined by the outside world. Your self worth depends on your achievements and successes. In Chinese society, success is found inside of yourself. You find yourself by eliminating the “false” self and being self-aware. Virtue is highly valued.