Since moving to Cambodia, I have worked in a number of different organisations, from being in the hospitality industry briefly, then moving across to NGOs and schools. No matter the industry, they all follow a similar theme, however the dynamics of these workplaces are so far from what I am familiar with.
Every time I catch myself confused or annoyed with something that I don’t understand, I say to myself, “welcome to the East”. I may get annoyed and fail to understand certain things at work and outside, but I’ve learned that this happens because of my lack of understanding. I was born and raised in a place so different from here, sometimes I forget that they are both part of the same existence.
I watched an interesting TED talk given by Kevin Rudd. He said, we can go as far back as 4 centuries ago and this was the last time we ever saw a well established Chinese empire. Since then, the giant has been sleeping. Napolean made a huge projection a few centuries ago. He said, “China is a sleeping lion, and when she awakes, the world will shake”.
China has not only awoken, but it has began to march forward. So, the question is – how will we engage with this forward moving giant of the 21st century?
Although Western values tend to differ greatly from the values adopted by people in the East, it is time that we start to engage more openly with this increasing sense of change and diversity. In our lifetimes, things are going to change and that change is going to be real. Therefore, an open approach is now needed more than ever before.
Welcome to the 21st century – the rise of Asia.
Image credit: Eocambo Village & Residence