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Old 18.10.2006, 10:49
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Conformity: are you a victim?

Ever been chastised for not following the rules?

Ever been punished for not being one of the guys?

Lets hear some stories here?

In this wonderful land of the cheese and mountains, the inhabitants are quite close-knitted and herd-mentality is strong. Generally more so than other cultures, but there are exceptions of course.

For example: I will NEVER telephone someone after 6pm in this country, unless I pre-informed them first.
Are there other examples?
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Old 19.10.2006, 14:36
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

I made the mistake of sneaking into the post office through the out-door once.

3 minutes before closing time.

"Did you come in through the exit?" she asked me
"Yes," I grinned

She walked off.....!!
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Old 19.10.2006, 14:44
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

- Car washing (not on sundays!)
Last year, I attempted to wash the car in the washing bay, during Spring time (it was 5 deg C outside and sunny).

One neighbour shouted harshly at me, pointed to his watch, telling me it is still officially Winter day (I think it was sometime in March) and that it is DISALLOWED (verboten) to even turn on the water in the washing bay. BTW it was NOT a Sunday.

Another herd-mentality is this:

- How many times do you say "Gruezi" to anyone you meet (Swiss german meaning "greetings") after you lived here? I thought this was pretty neat!


HAT
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Old 19.10.2006, 15:11
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
<snip>
For example: I will NEVER telephone someone after 6pm in this country, unless I pre-informed them first.
Are there other examples?
How do you do this? By ringing their bell?
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Old 19.10.2006, 15:15
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
How do you do this? By ringing their bell?
I telephone them the evening before....then it is ok on the actual night.
(Trial run....)


But seriously, I do the SMS thing first, if it is urgent.

HAT
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Old 19.10.2006, 15:27
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

My husband (who is Swiss) and I go to carrefour and Aldi sometimes to do our grocery. My husband innocently mentioned this to his coworkers and they gave him a huge lecture about not being a good citizen, that he should only buy Swiss meat, fruits and vegetables because of the poor Swiss farmers...that he shouldn't go to foreign groceries because it will harm the economy...blah blah. Some even refused to have dinner by us if we don't assure them that the meat was bought from Migros or Coop.
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Old 19.10.2006, 15:28
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Using the bottle bank outside permitted hours including on a Sunday (yes they have them).

dave
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Old 19.10.2006, 15:31
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Ha! Easy to bypass this one:
Just wait till the bells start

About every 15 minutes.

If I'm ever accosted I plan to go "Eh? I can't hear you. The bells are too loud"

Quote:
Using the bottle bank outside permitted hours including on a Sunday (yes they have them).

dave
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Old 19.10.2006, 15:31
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
Using the bottle bank outside permitted hours including on a Sunday (yes they have them).

dave
oh, I have had someone screaming "SUNDAY, SUNDAY" to every bottle dropping into the bank. What was louder - my bottle or her gob?

She did come out and lecture me too - first in Swiss German (I let her do it all and then said "I don't understand you" ) and then in English.

I've also known a neighbour screaming into the night for people to shut up as they chatted on their balcony. What was louder, again?
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Old 19.10.2006, 15:40
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

I was once chastised by our landlady for getting a job! How could I look after my man and clean the apartment if I went out to work? We were not even married and had no kids at the time.
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Old 19.10.2006, 15:43
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
My husband (who is Swiss) and I go to carrefour and Aldi sometimes to do our grocery. My husband innocently mentioned this to his coworkers and they gave him a huge lecture about not being a good citizen, that he should only buy Swiss meat, fruits and vegetables because of the poor Swiss farmers...that he shouldn't go to foreign groceries because it will harm the economy...blah blah. Some even refused to have dinner by us if we don't assure them that the meat was bought from Migros or Coop.
Well if that is conformity then I am most definititely a non-conformist. I make a POINT to buy foreign products because I believe that farmers in developing countries need the money more than the Swiss farmers do! As for the whole Swiss meat tosh.. don't get me started on that one. But seriously, if your friends are trying to dictate your shopping habits to you and refusing to eat dinner at your house until you comply - might be time for some new friends?

Personally I think supporting a system of protectionism is a great way to hurt an economy in the long run, but I'm wandering off topic.

I put up my satellite dish without asking permission - am I a non-conformist?
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Old 19.10.2006, 16:02
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
Using the bottle bank outside permitted hours including on a Sunday (yes they have them).

dave

Luckily I SAW my neighbour (both an owner and a ....(dunno if I should write this word).....Swiss, bring his blue garbage bag to the main rubbish collecting thingy by the road on a SUNDAY.

Since then, I also can clear my rubbish on Sunday (usually 4 big bags, 2 of them are shit diapers from Joel and Sarah).
Hhahaha

HAT
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Old 19.10.2006, 16:06
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:

I put up my satellite dish without asking permission - am I a non-conformist?
Well, wait until you receive a letter from your landlord asking you to put it down. Before, I had a flower pot in my balcony, unfortunately, the flower pot could be seen from the street in front of us. I received a long letter from the housekeeper.

In this country, it is really hard not to be a conformist if you want to integrate into Swiss society. You just have to say the "right" thing, do the "right" thing, eat only Bio stuff (or say that you do), and most importantly be serious. In the beginning, I was too cheerful for my colleages taste...I had to force myself to look more unhappy and to grunt once in a while to show that I'm concentrating deeply on my work.
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Old 19.10.2006, 16:07
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
I was once chastised by our landlady for getting a job! How could I look after my man and clean the apartment if I went out to work? We were not even married and had no kids at the time.
My Asian friend (married to swiss man), tried for a job interview.
Here are the questions:

1. Why are you leaving your 7 and 9 year old children at home, and seeking work? (a valid question)
Is this responsible behaviour(a repremanding comment)

2. What have you been doing jobless for last 10 years? (huh? did she read her first question?)

I am not joking, this really came from a Swiss woman interviewing my Asian friend during last week, for a job in a well known European company, based in Zurich. One question after another.

Of course her American colleague (we think he is a manager / in the room) could hardly contain his embarrassment.

HAT
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Old 19.10.2006, 20:49
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Ah, the joys of living in a farming community....

The Sunday/evening quiet rules seem to be suspended whenever something agricultural needs doing - so when the farmer behind me has his hay baler/combine/whatever roaring at 11:00 at night or on a Sunday, I feel no qualms at all about mowing my lawn or running the mulcher at the same time.

Still, we try to keep the Sunday noise levels below that of the bovine/ovine symphony that is our constant background music in these parts....
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Old 19.10.2006, 23:13
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
Some even refused to have dinner by us if we don't assure them that the meat was bought from Migros or Coop.
Don't forget there's a few of us Oerlikoners with no such morals
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Old 20.10.2006, 07:07
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

I don't agree. Noone is forcing you to conform. You perception may be that you must. I was tempted to suggest you should get out more, but that would rude

I saw a guy walking near Central last night wearing the most hideous yellow with trimmings. He doesn't care what people think (perhaps just as well )

I'm totally unapologetic for my approach to life: none of it includes to:
"say the "right" thing, do the "right" thing, eat only Bio stuff (or say that you do), and most importantly be serious."
and neither must yours (unless you want to obviously)

Integrating is not about copying the behaviour of others IMO, its more about being tolerate of others and their foibles and the system in which you are now operating.

The first couple of years here I felt like I was banging my head against the wall.

Now following a Swiss-Epiphany I lurve it, as it's predictable in its lunancy !

dave



Quote:
Well, wait until you receive a letter from your landlord asking you to put it down. Before, I had a flower pot in my balcony, unfortunately, the flower pot could be seen from the street in front of us. I received a long letter from the housekeeper.

In this country, it is really hard not to be a conformist if you want to integrate into Swiss society. You just have to say the "right" thing, do the "right" thing, eat only Bio stuff (or say that you do), and most importantly be serious. In the beginning, I was too cheerful for my colleages taste...I had to force myself to look more unhappy and to grunt once in a while to show that I'm concentrating deeply on my work.
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Old 20.10.2006, 07:10
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Then you are better off without them. Such snobbery has no place.

dave


Quote:
. Some even refused to have dinner by us if we don't assure them that the meat was bought from Migros or Coop.
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Old 20.10.2006, 14:22
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
I don't agree. Noone is forcing you to conform. You perception may be that you must. I was tempted to suggest you should get out more, but that would rude

I saw a guy walking near Central last night wearing the most hideous yellow with trimmings. He doesn't care what people think (perhaps just as well )

I'm totally unapologetic for my approach to life: none of it includes to:
"say the "right" thing, do the "right" thing, eat only Bio stuff (or say that you do), and most importantly be serious."
and neither must yours (unless you want to obviously)

Integrating is not about copying the behaviour of others IMO, its more about being tolerate of others and their foibles and the system in which you are now operating.

The first couple of years here I felt like I was banging my head against the wall.

Now following a Swiss-Epiphany I lurve it, as it's predictable in its lunancy !

dave
Dave,
I would LOVE to agree with you.
However the definition for local swiss people (usually the more traditional ones /meaning older folks) means you have to be LIKE them if you are integrating into their society (means here in CH). Yes, it means you have to COPY their behaviour. No Sunday shopping, no work on Sunday (cannot even wash my hobby motorcycle on sunday), no noise after 10pm, etc etc.

If you choose not to conform (ie not follow the normal stream of things), like if you wear bright yellow/red/colours to a funeral (for whatever personal cultural mental reason you have), you would have offended the deceased family and they will simply shrug it off and say "he is a foreigner" type of response.

The swiss will NOT say so out loud or immediately, they are too polite, but this frustration builds up, and some will say "he is not even trying to integrate" after some time, or private to their children...

And then the foreigner on the other hand, will say the swiss are not flexible or that they are imposing their swiss beliefs on the foreigners.

The vicious cycle continues.

To get a win-win, BOTH locals and foreigners must give and take in both directions. I believe many foreigners are willing to adapt and copy some local habits (but there are equally large number who don't).

But who can change the swiss, in switzerland? The last time I remember, this is THEIR country, and those coming here, should RESPECT their rules and regulations, no matter how insane some of them appear to the foreigners.
eg: no washing laundry on Sundays (even in hidden cellars)

Sorry, I sound anti-swiss but really I am not. I am just sad there is no one really mitigating the differences. Both are right and both are wrong!

Once again: Conformity is really copying another being's behaviour and we are sometimes unable to shake that off.
Integration to CH habitat, involves A LOT of conformity.

HAT
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Old 20.10.2006, 20:19
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Re: Conformity: are you a victim?

Quote:
oh, I have had someone screaming "SUNDAY, SUNDAY" to every bottle dropping into the bank. What was louder - my bottle or her gob?
I did my first (and so far only) bottle drop after 19:00 this week.

What about screaming "SUNDAY, SUNDAY" yourself as you drop bottles in the bank?

Last edited by BeastOfBodmin; 20.10.2006 at 20:22. Reason: To add a smiley, and because I can! My first edit!
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