Etiquette is a set of rules for behaving correctly in social situations. There are similarities and differences in way of behaving between these two societies. One of the similarities is it is impolite to eat or drink while you are walking. The Malays believe that this will upset the digestion of the food. Another example is if you must use a toothpick, at least cover your mouth with your hand. In restaurants, using the toothpick without covering your mouth is considered as a disgusting act.

In more formal circumstances, it is rude to unwrap a gift someone brings you as soon as possible but it normal in casual surroundings to ask the giver if it can be opened at the moment. Other example for similarities is the Malay and the Japanese Society usually brings some food when they visit someone. This etiquette is to show guess’ appreciation towards the host. There are also etiquettes that differ in these two societies. For instance, when eating with others, the Malays will pour drinks for everyone including their drinks but it is different in Japan.

It is indecorous to pour your own drink, what you should do is to pour your companion’s drink and your companion will pour yours. The Malay society always count the change after paying the bill. However it is considered rude in Japan, but the Japanese themselves do give it a cursory look-over. The Malays usually eat and drink quietly and they are supposed to eat with their mouths closed. Unlike the Japanese, it is normal and good to make slurping sounds when eating noodles and loud gulping noises when drinking. It is expected to hear a lot of it especially in advertisements.

There is this saying of ‘behind a successful man, there is a woman’. Women play an important role in shaping the future of her family and children. These days, women are able to work and have higher position then men. In the Malay society, women are encouraged to work by the religion to gain their own salary. In Malaysia, most women received similar payment as men. Men and women also usually attend the same programmes and courses. Women who are working are sometimes not expected to do all the house chores. They are allowed to hire a housemaid to help getting the chores done.

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Where as in Japan, women are allowed to work and have higher position the men but they are still expected by the family members to do all the house chores. It is rare to see a Japanese family with a maid. Career women in Japan also receive less payment than men even though they have the same position and job. The company too always have separated programmes and courses for men and women. Cultural universals can be defined as general traits that exist in all cultures in the world. Cultural universals exist because all societies face many of the same problems in maintaining their social life.

Societies can share the same culture universals but every society has its own way of expressing it. Take for example, marriage and wedding ceremony. According to the dictionary, marriage is a close union between man and woman. The main purpose of having marriage is to unite two hearts that are in love with each other. Marriage also helps the society in preventing social illnesses such as pre-marriages sex and children out of wedlock. Every society has the same concept of marriage. However, every society has its own way of holding the wedding ceremony.

In Malaysia itself, there are many kinds of wedding ceremony since it is multiracial country and every society has its wedding ceremony. A baby born is to replace a man’s death. Death will come to any of us when the time is right. When we died, everybody will try to capture the memory when we are still alive. A funeral will be held in order to give a last respect to the deceased. Funeral is also an example of cultural universals. Funeral is a ceremony that takes place after someone dies which include a religious ceremony and the formal process of taking the body to the place where it is buried.

Every society has different ways of holding the funeral. Some society will have the body buried and some will have it burned and after that the ashes will be spread in the ocean. A funeral also is to mark that the deceased will be gone forever and family members have to finally let go of him or her. What is left for the family is the memory of the deceased in their life. Comparing and contrasting between two cultures is actually a fun and enjoyable thing to do. By doing this, we get to learn about another culture and differentiate it with our own culture.

Indirectly, we gain knowledge of the world communities. Culture is an interesting topic to explore. Culture will help us in guiding ourselves to live in today’s world. Without culture, can we identify ourselves and our roots? It is hard to do so devoid of culture. Culture helps us to accept people the way they are and the way they live their life. There is no right or wrong in one’s culture. On the other hand, culture will lead a society to cooperate and work with the members of the society since one society lives by the same culture.A society would not exist exclusive of culture because culture is actually a solution in dealing the demands in life.

Reference: Gunalingam Krishnan, Yong, Caroline, Rozanna Noraini, et al. (2003). Social Studies Course Book. Institut Perguruan Bahasa Antarabangsa http//:www. dmoz. org/Regional/Asia/Japan/Arts_and_Entertainment/Traditional. html (13 September 2003) http//:www. japanaccess. com/html (13 September 2003) http//:www. japanesegifts. com/culture. html (13 September 2003) http//:www. japan-guide. com/e/e622. html (13 September 2003)


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