Name: Yong Cheng Matriculation Number: 203722
Choice of the Question: Number 2
Title: Andreas Walther – Interact and Shifting Between the West and the East
Did the question that which ethnic group (or ethnic groups in some cases) that you belong to ever come across your mind when you are alone? I suppose that the question “oh which ethnic group I actually belongs to?” would not bother you in the halfway you are walking, driving, or anything you are doing just by yourself. But when you are interacting with someone else (especially when the person is belongs to other ethnic groups), you come to think of the ethnic identity, your own ethnic identity and others ethnic identity. This is ...view middle of the document...
Andreas born in Taiwan, moved to Sweden and then to Germany when he is 8 months. He was raised in Germany, completed his primary and secondary education in Germany, too. When he is 16 years old he went to United States under some students exchange program for one year. He then furthers his study in Hong Kong and stayed at Hong Kong until today.
So, when you are looking at Andreas’ background do you wonder how is he managed to survive in Europe (particularly Germany), United States, Taiwan and Hong Kong? He spent most of his time in Germany and Hong Kong; he spent a year in United States as an exchange student, while Taiwan is his mother homeland, which he used to pay visits since he’s a kid. Two of these countries are western and another two of it are eastern. May I remind you again, Andreas is a German, who holds Germany passport, who use German as his primary language, who already used to a German-way-of-lifestyle. How does he manage to do so well in other countries, especially in Eastern countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan? (If you read his book you really find out how much he loves Hong Kong and enjoy Hong Kong-way-of-lifestyle.)
I would assume that, he is shifting between different ethnic identities when he is in different countries, interacting with different groups of people, facing quite various different situations. Rosey Wang Ma mentioned in her work piece “Shifting Identities: Chinese Muslims in Malaysia” that, people tend to shift their ethnic identity when they are dealing with different ethnic groups of people. And so is how Andreas shifting his identity amongst the west and the east, too, which makes him managed to survive between west and east so well.
I would like to explain about the interactional characteristic of the ethnic identity in the first place. The theory suggests that ethnic identity will emerged when one interacts with others. I will take Andreas as an example to show you of this interactional characteristic of ethnic identity. When Andreas is communicating with his friends in Germany (who are mostly Germans too), he would realize that, “Oh I’m German and this guy is a German as well!” So automatically the whole conversation will be conduct in German because both of them are Germans! However, if he met a person who spoke in foreign languages, he would immediately realize that: “Oh I’m a German but this guy is not, he is probably an Italian!” (Which I would like to add that, guessing others’ ethnic identity seems to be a bad habit and really impolite but that we had already used to it, does it? ), and they may communicate in English. You can see that people will really realize, or at least, thinking and figuring out about their own ethnic identity when they are interacting with other people.
Next I would explain the situational characteristic of the ethnic identity. Why am I sees ethnic identity as a situational identity? “Ethnic Identity is situational because it may vary from situation to...