Taman Sri Nibong RA Log

September 4, 2011

(1) Our Cultural Heritage

Filed under: from the editor — mollyosc @ 2:48 pm

Merdeka Day is over and we will be celebrating Malaysia Day on Friday September 16.

Join us at TSNRA Clubhouse at 7.30 pm for our Malaysia Nite Dinner and Celebration.

Tickets can be obtained from all your Area Reps.

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TSNRA Blog will be highlighting our rich heritage of Malaysian culture

in a series of articles from now to Malaysia Day. Do journey with us

and be proud of our cultural heritage which makes us who we are.

What is Culture?

Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future – Albert Camus

Culture is an integral part of every society. It is a learned pattern of behavior and ways in which a person lives his or her life. Culture is essential for the existence of a society, because it binds people together. In the explicit sense of the term, culture constitutes the music, food, arts and literature of a society. However, these are only the products of culture followed by the society and cannot be defined as culture.

According to English Anthropologist Edward B Taylor, culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.

Culture is something that a person learns from his family and surroundings, and is not ingrained in him from birth. It does not have any biological connection because even if a person is brought up in a culture different from that in which he was born, he imbibes the culture of the society where he grows up. It is also not a hidden fact that some people feel the need to follow the beliefs and traditions of their own culture, even though they might be not subscribing to certain ideologies within.

Culture is a complex tool which every individual has to learn to survive in a society. It is the means through which people interact with others in the society. It acts in a subconscious way and whatever we see and perceive, seems to be normal and natural. Sometimes, other societies and people seem to be a little odd because they have a different culture from ours. We must remember that every society has a distinct culture that forms the backbone of the society. Culture does not remain stagnant, on the other hand it is evolving constantly and is in fact somewhat influenced by the other cultures and societies.

Every society has a different culture, where people share a specific language, traditions, behaviors, perceptions and beliefs. Culture gives them an identity which makes them unique and different from people of other cultures. When people of different cultures migrate and settle in another society, the culture of that society becomes the dominant culture and those of the immigrants form the subculture of the community. Usually, people who settle in other nations imbibe the new culture, while at the same time strive to preserve their own.

Although every society has a specific culture, there are certain elements of culture that are universal. They are known as cultural universals, in which there are certain behavioral traits and patterns that are shared by all cultures around the world. For instance, classifying relations based on blood relations and marriage, differentiating between good and bad, having some form of art, use of jewelry, classifying people according to gender and age, etc., are common in all cultures of the world.

Some people believe that humans are the only living beings who have a culture. But, there is a group of people who believe in the existence of culture even in animals. It is said that animals have certain social rules which they teach their young ones as a medium for survival.

Culture is necessary to establish an order and discipline in the society. It is not only a means of communication between people, but also creates a feeling of belonging and togetherness among people in the society. – Deepa Kartha

What are the different elements of culture?

There are different types of cultures across the world and each culture has its unique essence. While defining the term ‘culture’, there are several elements that together constitute as the culture of a particular region or the culture of particular people. What are the elements of culture? Here is your answer:

Language: The various languages are essentially an important part of the culture. Read information about different languages.

Norms: Every society or every civilization has a set of norms, which are an inseparable part, and an important element of the culture. This can include the folkways, mores, taboos and rituals in a culture.

Values: The social values of a particular civilization are also considered as an element of the culture. The values of a culture often refer to the things to be achieved or the things, which are considered of great worth or value in a particular culture.

Religion and Beliefs: The religion and the beliefs of the people in a civilization play an important role in shaping up of the culture as well. Read information about world religions.

Social Collectives: Social collectives refer to the social groups, organizations, communities, institutions, classes, and societies, which are considered as symbolic social constructions.

Statuses and Roles: A status or a social role is nothing but a slot or position within a group or society, which gives an overall idea of the social structure and hence is an important element of culture. This can also include traditional gender-based or age-based roles.

Cultural Integration: This includes the degree of harmony or integration within the various elements of culture. This can include elements like sub-cultures, local cultures and the difference between historical and cultural traditions. – Uttara Manohar

Why is our culture important to us?

The behavioral patterns of people, their belief systems, their principles of life and their living are derivatives of culture.

Culture is that invisible bond, which ties the people of a community together. It refers to the pattern of human activity. The art, literature, language and religion of a community represent the community’s culture. Culture manifests itself through the lifestyle of the individuals of a community. The moral values of the people of a community also represent their culture. The importance of culture lies in its close association with the living of the people.

Culture is related to the development of one’s attitude. One’s culture plays an important role in shaping the principles of the individual’s life. The cultural values of an individual have a deep impact on his/her attitude towards life. According to the behaviorist definition of culture, it is the ultimate system of social control where people monitor their own standards and behavior. A community’s culture lays the foundation of the living of its people. The cultural values serve as the founding principles of one’s life. They shape an individual’s thinking and influence his/her mindset.

Why is culture important? It is definitely because it gives an individual a unique identity. The culture of a community gives its people a character of their own. Culture shapes the personality of a community. The language that a community speaks, the art forms it hosts, its staple food, its customs, traditions and festivities comprise the community’s culture. The importance of culture cannot be stressed enough as it is an integral part of living – Manali Oak

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