Sensitivity training is imperative in various social aspects including, but not limited to, business because of its ability to help mitigate the effects of cultural and language barriers. This work will focus on sensitivity training for business travelers going who may be traveling to Malaysia. The work will feature a concise but in-depth analysis of the cultural norms in the region and how they compare to those of my home country.
In Thailand, the dying are made to recite one of Buddha’s many titles. Where the individual is too weak to speak, the name is written on a piece of paper and put in his mouth. In my culture, they are provided with comfort and are visited by friends and family. Religious practices at this juncture are uncommon but not unheard of. Moreover, Thai culture allows for a ceremony where friends and family pour water on the deceased’s hand while in my culture people only view the body to pay their respects (Hallam & Hockey, 2001). Additionally, where in my culture funeral processions are the mandate of the priest, in Thailand, they rely on a group of monks to conduct the service. Notably, it is customary for the body to be kept for a more extended period as compared to my community. Wealthy or prominent persons may have their bodies on display for over a year in some cases. In my community, it is commonplace that funerals take place as quickly as possible. Finally, their preferred method of sending off the deceased is via cremation while my culture mainly observes burials (Malikhao, 2017).
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It is critical that business travelers anticipate the possibility of going into a religious sanctuary and finding preserved bodies. It is advisable that one should show the utmost respect for the deceased and the bereaved (Malikhao, 2017). Moreover, the day of the funeral is usually a jovial day because their culture calls for the banishment of sorrow on this day. Therefore, it is pivotal that travelers who venture to this region should not act sullen when attending such a ceremony. Finally, while it may be unconventional in my country, it is customary that the deceased’s body does not leave the house through a usual route. Instead, holes are made in the wall for the coffin to be extracted through. In such circumstances, it would be advisable for visitors to just observe or help with the extraction of the body to show respect for the community and the deceased. This cross-cultural comprehension of cultural norms surrounding death is necessary because it helps preserve the dignity of the dead as well as the family of the deceased (Hallam & Hockey, 2001). Additionally, it promotes community building and unity when foreigners understand and adhere to cultural norms; it is a great sign of respect. The rationale here is that the community understands and appreciates the efforts made to learn their ways which makes them feel extremely valued.
- Hallam, E., & Hockey, J. (2001). Death, memory and material culture. London, Bloomsbury Academic.
- Malikhao, P. (2017). Culture and Communication in Thailand. NJ, Springer.