Am I asian, or am I Western?

Korea Culture

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In many Asian cultures, false humility is rampant. Helen Lee, in Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, describes false humility to be “humility in the guise of deference.” For example, in a situation when a person is asked to perform a respectable task, many Asians will automatically reply with a humble “no,” even though they know that they are more than competent to do the task. In the same situation, a Westerner would typically jump at the opportunity to get ahead of the pack. Why is there such a difference? What’s the motivation?

Many Asians do this, Helen Lee states, “to avoid potential conflict or embarrassment.”

In other words, many Asians (mostly Confucian-based Asian Cultures) are influenced by the motto – “The nail that sticks up gets nailed down.” However, the motto in the West is – “The early bird gets the worm.

That’s all fine and good, but what about people like me? I’m neither Asian nor Western – I’m both! So how do I reconcile these seemingly contrary qualities?

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