#MYTatlerBall2017: Ganesh Muren On How To Accept A Culture Different Than Your Own
The man behind Saora Industries and recent winner of Malaysia Tatler's Force for Good award at the Malaysia Tatler 20th Anniversary Ball Ganesh Muren is on a mission to help the underprivileged gain access to one of the most important qualities needed to sustain life – water.
An engineer by trade, Ganesh has created two water filtration systems that are easy-to-use and cost effective, with a goal to help provide villagers in rural Malaysia with a clean and sustainable supply of drinking water.
Because of his efforts, he has also been selected as one of the key members of Transformasi Nasional 2050 involved in the technology sector.
Here, he shares with us four ways to blend into a new culture like the orang asli's in a respectable manner.
1. Make an effort. Do your research before you engage with the community by reading scholarly articles or interviews, watching documentaries and talking to people who are experts or who have successfully adapted to that particular culture.
2. Be open-minded and avoid deriving impressions about their culture from your own biased understanding. Everything is different and this new culture may even have practices that are opposite of what you’re accustomed to. Being open in our minds and hearts allows us to experience the new culture without prejudice and misconceptions of how things should be. When we have an open heart and mind, accepting a foreign culture becomes easier.
3. Have an inquisitive attitude. We should look into the importance of a new culture. Their social structure, their language and food, everything. Do listen and be observant. Often, when we think we’re observing, we’re unintentionally passing silent judgements about a lifestyle choice or habit of this new culture. There’s a reason for things, so try to find out before you judge.
4. Last but not least, remember your boundaries and be respectful. Do not go too far in trying to impose yourself in the culture; certain aspects of a culture are sacred to its people. There are cultures that do not accept the presence of foreigners in certain ceremonies, nor allow outsiders into sacred areas of their space. It’s normal, don’t feel offended. If you want to respect the culture of others, it comes with accepting their boundaries as well.