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  #21  
Old 07.07.2011, 16:56
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Re: Being Swiss

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A final word on punctuality ..... being on time is polite - but being early is almost as rude as being late (imo)
Actually the concept of puntuality changes from country to country (sometimes from family to family).

When we invite Portuguese family to have lunch with us at 12:00, they show up at 12h30: because it is polite to give some extra time just in case something went wrong in the kitchen, so the cook has some rest when they arrive instead of panicking.

When I invite my German family to have lunch with us at 12:00, they show up at 11h45, because it is polite to show they are really eager to see us and want to stay as much time with us as possible.

This little different cause a lot of stress in the beguinning (basically because I was robbed of 45 min in the kitchen).

I think the concept of punctuality and tidiness depend a little bit too much on ones cultural background to make a decisive answer...
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Old 07.07.2011, 17:07
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Re: Being Swiss

Generalization Warning

"Perfection", it's the only Swiss option.

The question is, how do you define it and what are the consequences if those ideals don't pan out?

It's a mental thing, because it's about a perception of perfection that isn't a clear goal. It varies and is constantly fluid, it varies as one's aims and goals shift throughout life, but at that specific moment in time, the Swiss are immovable and share many characteristics with all those massive boulders that tumble down the mountainsides and settle in the valleys below; unimpressed and unaffected by all around, time and motion alike.

Olygirl, wrote about the heart missing, I think she's close to the point, but that's a Swiss German trait. Those in the Romandie may use their hearts a little more, but they can't organize for crap.
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Old 07.07.2011, 17:14
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Re: Being Swiss

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This might seem like a pointless thread but I've been wondering for
some time now,how do Swiss cope with the image of perfectionism
which is expected from them?The stereotypes of punctuality,tidiness,
being perfect in all one does.
I never heard of any of those stereotypes before I came to Switzerland... there are very few stereotypes on Swiss people in Germany - so few that most magazines made some articles on "our unknown neighbours" in 2008 when the football championship was here. I kept some of those articles... real fun to read. The stereotypes that do exist are far from being perfect: Swiss are a bit slow, Swiss are a bit weird, Swiss are very conservative, Swiss are nationalistic...

the only two things known far accross the Northern border are the Ricola guy ("Who invented it?!" - "the SWISS"!) and the Minarett-Verbot. Both nicely combined in this Northern German TV satire:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbi...eny_shortfilms

These perfectionistic image is what the Swiss claim THEMSELVES - not what others expect from them. So I do not think they disappoint anyone when going abroad if they are less than perfect...
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  #24  
Old 07.07.2011, 17:22
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Re: Being Swiss

Thanks everyone..you're giving me a lot of food for thought..much
appreciated.
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  #25  
Old 07.07.2011, 17:26
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Re: Being Swiss

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These perfectionistic image is what the Swiss claim THEMSELVES - not what others expect from them. So I do not think they disappoint anyone when going abroad if they are less than perfect...
We claim that we're perfect? Sorry Trev but I call BS on this one, never heard a Swiss, the Swiss media or any other source claim that Switzerland or the Swiss are perfect, seems rather absurd to me.
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Old 07.07.2011, 17:26
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Re: Being Swiss

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Actually the concept of puntuality changes from country to country (sometimes from family to family).

When we invite Portuguese family to have lunch with us at 12:00, they show up at 12h30: because it is polite to give some extra time just in case something went wrong in the kitchen, so the cook has some rest when they arrive instead of panicking.

When I invite my German family to have lunch with us at 12:00, they show up at 11h45, because it is polite to show they are really eager to see us and want to stay as much time with us as possible.

This little different cause a lot of stress in the beguinning (basically because I was robbed of 45 min in the kitchen).

I think the concept of punctuality and tidiness depend a little bit too much on ones cultural background to make a decisive answer...
I just find it easier to turn up at the allotted time - (+/-5mins, I think, is acceptable from both sides) - then it's not required to second guess any complicated mindset of what may be expected.
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Old 07.07.2011, 17:27
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Re: Being Swiss

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These perfectionistic image is what the Swiss claim THEMSELVES - not what others expect from them. So I do not think they disappoint anyone when going abroad if they are less than perfect...
Speaks the German. You're not seeing the forest for trees. Same thing applies to our northern cousins, it's the same identical race and breed, the natural border is just wet, it doesn't change the demeanor; the characteristics are pretty much the same. And here's my revelation (shock, horror), but as new generations mix races and new genes are brought into being, it dilutes and changes the previous national characteristics. Previous decades never saw as frequent interracial relationships so we're into new territory in Switzerland as well as the rest of Europe.
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Old 07.07.2011, 17:34
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Re: Being Swiss

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We claim that we're perfect? Sorry Trev but I call BS on this one, never heard a Swiss, the Swiss media or any other source claim that Switzerland or the Swiss are perfect, seems rather absurd to me.
Well, so where does the stuff come from the OP writes about? I lived here 7 years and I heard countless of times "the Swiss way to do xyz is..." always referring to the perfect option or especially often used when a non-Swiss does something wrong.

Simple difference: If a Swiss is too loud after 22.00, the neighbour will tell him to stop the music (or more likely write him a letter to do so...). If it is a foreigner, he will give a speech starting with "We don't do this in Switzerland...". Am I generalizing? Sure. It's my personal experience, but I have the feeling that some here made similar ones.
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Old 07.07.2011, 17:42
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Re: Being Swiss

... and when I moved into my apartment I was told by the Swiss lady upstairs that 'the Swiss go to bed at 10pm". I was also told on a separate incident that "the Swiss clean their taps" ... right, and the rest of us don't?

I still think that it is the long-held view, particularly of the older generation (as mentioned above), that everything and everyone in Switzerland has to be perfect, and the forced adherence to so many rules and regulations, that is the root cause of much of the passive aggression that abounds.
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  #30  
Old 07.07.2011, 17:43
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Re: Being Swiss

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Simple difference: If a Swiss is too loud after 22.00, the neighbour will tell him to stop the music (or more likely write him a letter to do so...). If it is a foreigner, he will give a speech starting with "We don't do this in Switzerland...". Am I generalizing? Sure. It's my personal experience, but I have the feeling that some here made similar ones.
What does cultural preferences, rules and customs have to do with perfection? "In Switzerland we do xyz" is as valid as "In Germany/US/France we do/don't xyz" ... nothing to do with perfection at all.
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Old 07.07.2011, 17:52
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Re: Being Swiss

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Thanks..I certainly don't like
your life gets more complex and you forget to laugh at yourself..
So true! Being able to laugh at yourself (and others--together) helps in so many ways. I often miss the bonding I felt at home when I or another subway rider would do something ridiculous and we would just look at each other and start laughing.
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  #32  
Old 07.07.2011, 18:00
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Re: Being Swiss

What really pisses me off sometimes here is the sterotyping. So, if you have a few incidents where the stereotypes matches your point seems to be valid. IT ISN'T. Because there are a whole lot of people that are different, it just seems they don't count as they don't match YOUR stereotypes...filtering!

I'd rather be seen as an Individual then as something called "Swiss German".
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  #33  
Old 07.07.2011, 18:09
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Re: Being Swiss

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What does cultural preferences, rules and customs have to do with perfection? "In Switzerland we do xyz" is as valid as "In Germany/US/France we do/don't xyz" ... nothing to do with perfection at all.
As Nicola said: It is more often than not used in blatantly obvious cases, so I honestly don't agree that it's a cultural difference. It would only be a cultural difference if it was in fact true - and I hope we agree that Swiss aren't perfect.

Example: I have never worked in a company where it was more accepted to come 15 minutes late to meetings than in one very Swiss environment I worked in.

To not stop stereotyping: some of my colleagues apparently had "montre valaisanne"...
http://phys-merger.physik.unibas.ch/...alliseruhr.pps

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  #34  
Old 07.07.2011, 18:57
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Re: Being Swiss

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As for coping with failure, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of suicide.
That's what the media gleefully keep telling us. But frankly, is #23 (according to WHO, and on a list that comprises only 106 countries) really "one of the highest"?
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Old 07.07.2011, 19:06
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Re: Being Swiss

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Well, as much as I like Portugal, punctuality is something I have learned not to expect there, which makes doing work there somewhat difficult!

Great people, food, wines, porto, etc. however.

Tom
I only once was in Portugal (Lisbon), for 5 days only in fact. But the Portuguese were amazingly punctual and reliable. THE most punctual folks I ever met however for sure are the Barcelonese
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Old 07.07.2011, 19:53
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Re: Being Swiss

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"the Swiss go to bed at 10pm".
Please tell that to my kids!

Tom
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Old 07.07.2011, 19:55
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Re: Being Swiss

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Actually the concept of puntuality changes from country to country (sometimes from family to family).

When we invite Portuguese family to have lunch with us at 12:00, they show up at 12h30: because it is polite to give some extra time just in case something went wrong in the kitchen, so the cook has some rest when they arrive instead of panicking.

When I invite my German family to have lunch with us at 12:00, they show up at 11h45, because it is polite to show they are really eager to see us and want to stay as much time with us as possible.

This little different cause a lot of stress in the beguinning (basically because I was robbed of 45 min in the kitchen).

I think the concept of punctuality and tidiness depend a little bit too much on ones cultural background to make a decisive answer...
It is a matter of terms. For my older brother, "be practically punctual" meant less than a quarter-hour delay, "almost punctual" meant half an hour delay, and "somewhat delayed meant between 40 and 60 minutes delayed. Telling me "I will be .... at 6pm" to me meant that I at 6pm had every time in the world to get to destination
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Old 07.07.2011, 19:58
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Re: Being Swiss

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I only once was in Portugal (Lisbon), for 5 days only in fact. But the Portuguese were amazingly punctual and reliable. THE most punctual folks I ever met however for sure are the Barcelonese
Well, I arrived Sunday, and went to work Monday to check and do the final installation of a complex and large electronic system. Hmm, no electricity! "Tomorrow".

Tuesday, no electricity.

Wednesday, no electricity,

Thursday, no electricity, so I say "either there is electricy in 30 minutes, or I'm heading downtown to go sight-seeing, and you can phone me when there is!"

20 minutes later, electricity!

Tom
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Old 07.07.2011, 20:06
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Re: Being Swiss

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Well, so where does the stuff come from the OP writes about? I lived here 7 years and I heard countless of times "the Swiss way to do xyz is..." always referring to the perfect option or especially often used when a non-Swiss does something wrong.

Simple difference: If a Swiss is too loud after 22.00, the neighbour will tell him to stop the music (or more likely write him a letter to do so...). If it is a foreigner, he will give a speech starting with "We don't do this in Switzerland...". Am I generalizing? Sure. It's my personal experience, but I have the feeling that some here made similar ones.
Stereotypes maybe, BUT I hope you realize that the Germans are just Swiss born on the other (wrong) side of the common border same notions, similar habits, same prejudices against "South-of-the-Alps" folks, same IRON principles
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Old 07.07.2011, 20:10
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Re: Being Swiss

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Speaks the German. You're not seeing the forest for trees. Same thing applies to our northern cousins, it's the same identical race and breed, the natural border is just wet, it doesn't change the demeanor; the characteristics are pretty much the same. And here's my revelation (shock, horror), but as new generations mix races and new genes are brought into being, it dilutes and changes the previous national characteristics. Previous decades never saw as frequent interracial relationships so we're into new territory in Switzerland as well as the rest of Europe.
Yes and from it will come new national identities.
Change is survival. What does not change, adapt and evolve has no real future.
You can only join the change and the movement.

Look at the melting pot called North America.
390 years (1621 Mayflower me thinks) down the road it has a definite identity made up of many many ethnic sources.

Our modern times have made the world a smaller place. Thus it is natural that it mixes the cultures and redefines various national identities.
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