Archive for the ‘Human Behavior’ Category

I vs. We

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Today is my second last day of 21 days stay in Germany. I am sitting in Atlas Post Hotel´s restaurant in Garmisch at border of Germany and Austria. This is my first visit to western world and I have come across number of differences in human behaviour. Most important is difference between “I” here and “we” in Pakistan

For example the pattern of ordering food in restaurants here is in stark contrast with Pakistan.

I will come to it in a moment. First let me explain what I mean by “in Pakistan”.  When I say “in Pakistan” I refer to  middle class  semi urban-to-urban Pakistanis who do not go to Freddie’s or cafe aylanto. I am referring to people who eat at salt and pepper village, salt and pepper liberty, khan baba, sarhad hotel, bhaya kabab etc.

In Pakistan, if a group of people goes out for food to a restaurant, selection of food is heavily influenced by what is ordered by first individual in the group. Interestingly, same is true here in Germany.

The difference is in “how” it affects. In Pakistan effect is of “to be similar”. Individual prefer to order food near to what was ordered earlier by first person in food contents, price and cooking time.

In Germany, no one orders similar item. Rather, emphasis is on going as far as possible from the first ordered item.


why people give you wrong directions…

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

This has to do with face saving. We can not bear the disrespect for not knowing an address… We feel sorry for not knowing address…. as if we are supposed to be expert about all streets and house numbers. Why we do this ..?

We used to live in small communities and loosing respect was unaffordable as we used to meet same small group of people again and again.

We live in big cities now but we still carry this strong desire to maintain our respect in front of others… even if they are strangers.

This is why we feel ashmed in front of strangers if we break glass or spill something… we feel as if we have done something terribly wrong. Irony is.. we know that we are not going to meet these strangers around us again.. in our life..ever… but still we feel ashamed.. This is not logical.. This is bio-logical.

Why everyone is so busy in Karachi and no one wakes up in lahore?

Monday, April 28th, 2008

First, why I’m qualified to write on it. In fact, I lived for 13 years in Karachi and then 17 years in Lahore. And more importantly, I spend a lot of time on reading about research on human behavior.

This difference in behavior of Karachi and Lahore people has to do with the family background.

In Karachi, majority of people do not have agricultural background as in Lahore.

In Lahore, almost everyone has some link to village and agriculture. Now in agricultural, competition is not common. In a village, social status is very well defined by how much land you own.

If I have 20 acres of land and someone has 15 acres of land… this is known to everyone and for someone to acquire more land is extremely difficult or at least used to be very difficult.

Therefore, people will be content with what they have. There is clear understanding of who has more land and therefore should command more respect. No one tries to move ahead of his line. Competition is not an everyday phenomena.

This attitude has been passed on to generations even when they have moved to cities.

In Karachi, majority of people come from non-agricultural background.. mainly business and job oriented. Now in business world, it is very difficult to determine who is ahead of whom.

If I have 40 million rupees and you have 35 million, no one knows it. Probably we live in almost similar houses and drive almost similar cars. We do not write our financial position at front of our houses.

This creates confusion. Who is richer than whom. You or I? We both start believing that we can be more richer than other by putting in more efforts and getting more success (financial or otherwise) in life.

This results in daily competition in Karachi.