What kinds of possessions give status to people in your country?
That’s a good question. Let me think…I’d say it depends on where you are and who you are with. If you are out in public, it’s things like the car you are driving. If you have the latest Mercedes Benz model, then in my country that is a sign of status, as most people can’t even afford a car at all, whatever the make. Property, or the house you own, and the possessions you have in it are also a sign of status. If you have a nice house in a nice area, then this shows you have money and are someone important.
Has it always been the same or were different possessions thought of as valuable in the past?
I’m too young to remember exactly what it was like a long time ago, but yes, I think it was different. For example, cars as I mentioned before only really came to our country in the last ten years or so. That kind of consumerism is a fairly recent thing so this couldn’t have been used as a representation of something valuable. I think it was things like gold and jewelry that were seen as valuable. Of course these are still seen as valuable today, but previously it was these things over anything else as a lot of the modern day possessions were not available.
Why do you think people need to show their status in society?
I believe that this is because it’s important in society to show you have money or are successful – it is nature, or the way we are brought up, that makes us feel like this, but also the pressure that society puts on everyone to be successful. And showing status is basically showing that you have money and you have success, so this is what people want to do. Going back to the example of the car, driving around in a Mercedes is a very conspicuous show of status – it basically says to people, “Look, I am successful and I have money.” Another reason is possibly for respect. In many cultures, if someone has high status, then they will be respected by others and they may receive preferential treatment.
Do you think good decision-making can be taught?
Well, if you go to a bookstore you’ll see lots of self-help books that claim to teach decisionmaking. I’m not sure any of them are effective though. I suppose it depends on the type of decision you mean. If it’s a business strategy, then I’m sure some decisions are better than others and business schools teach this. But if it’s a moral issue then I’m not sure anyone can claim to know the right decision, so how could anyone teach it?
Is watching TV a good way of forgetting about work or study?
Absolutely, yes. These days there’s so much choice available that we can completely immerse ourselves in entertainment. I mean, you can turn on a good drama or comedy show and pretty soon you forget about everything that happened that day. I think that without TV we’d all go a little crazy
Should coworkers also spend their leisure time together?
I’m completely against this. The problem with people going out together after work is that they just gossip about certain people in the office or factory, and this can hardly be a good thing for the company, can it? Another thing is that there’s always the risk that you will say something you regret after a few drinks and then you have to face your colleagues again the next day. So, in short, I would definitely advise people to think twice about socialising with colleagues.
Do you agree that English should be the main language of international exchange?
That’s a very interesting question. I’ve never really thought about it before, actually. We all just assume that it should be English, don’t we? But what other languages could we use? I suppose Chinese is becoming quite an important language, but the pronunciation is too difficult for most people. English is already the main language of universities and business, so maybe it should stay that way.