Tag Archives: Culture

Culture is changing fast in the UK.

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Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames

I have been writing a little about culture, especially when I heard a participant say on a recent course,  “this is *?&$£: culture, and it will not change.”

After taking some of my relatives on a small walk after our meal in London’s China Town into Piccadilly Circus, then up Regent Street to Oxford Circus and Oxford Street, I was wondering what is happening to the British traditional Christmas celebrations, our cultural heritage, it is changing.

For a start the traditional street lights put up for Christmas lacked the festive message. They had nothing to do with what Christmas stands for, the tradition, OK the religious meaning, not even a Santa Clause and his reindeer.

In London’s Regent Street, the lights were just clusters of balls hung in the middle of the street changing colour. Perhaps they are one company’s identity or logo. Pathetic.

Xmas London Regent Street lights
Regent Street Xmas lights
In Oxford Street the street lights were not much better. Sorry about the blurred picture, I was shaking with cold.

Xmas London Oxford Street lights
Oxford Street Xmas lightsAt least the traditional Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square was there with some Carol-Singers, singing to the onlookers. The Christmas tree is a tradition, where the people of Oslo, Norway, send a tree to be placed in Trafalgar Square every year as a thank you for the effort of the British people in the Second World War to their country.

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

Trafalgar Square Xmas Tree

In Kingston upon Thames (20/12/2007) the lights were more festive, and this town is very multicultural, being a major shopping center for the area. If they can do it, why not Central London?

Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames

Christmas lights in Kingston upon Thames

Britain is becoming too PC, too politically correct, as the UK is being settled by peoples from many nations of the world, for fear of upsetting these people, with other traditions, other cultures, other religions.

The tradition of holding the nativity play in the UK primary schools, where the young children would act the birth of Christ, has in some schools been dropped, withdrawn, as it may upset some of the minority of other faiths that have settled in the UK.

There was the case of a large worldwide media company having to cancel the traditional Christmas Party, usually held by organisations at this time of year, because two (2) people object to the word “Christmas” being used, even though there were I believe nearly 3,000 other staff who had no objection to the word.

The Christmas cards we send to our friends, some years ago would have said “Happy Christmas”. Now we read “Seasons Greetings”.

The culture and traditions of the British people is changing as is should do as more and more people settle in the UK, bringing their culture and traditions into the melting pot of life.

But I do think that these new people, incomers, should be more tolerant to others beliefs and culture of the countries they settle into, and those people who are trying to be politically correct go and visit certain countries in the Middle East, etc and witness their holidays.

But such is life, we have to just accept change or we will get upset, beat ourselves up, and complain.


Culture. It can change.

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I recently wrote about Culture. It changes (click to read), in which I talked about my views and experiences of visiting many cultures, especially after hearing such comments as “this is *?&$£: culture, and it will not change.”

There have been many instances in our world where culture has changed over night, as against the gradual change we normally experience. Both are changes made to the culture of a group, be it the world population, countries, communities or families, and often it is done with intention.

At the moment the world governments (or most off them) are meeting in the Indonesian island of Bali, attempting to change the habits or culture of the world population in waste and energy consumption, resulting in climate change. Gradually people are becoming aware of the effects of humans, industrial activity and waste is having on our climate. We are seeing extremes of weather, due scientists say on human activity. The culture of the world has to change.

Religion has played a major role in the culture of nations, the way people dress, eat and drink, their behaviours and beliefs. Each of the major religions has sub divisions within them that has developed over time into different cultures and beliefs, Buddhists for example has Taoist Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism, Judaism has Reform, Conservative and Orthodox divisions, Christianity has Roman Catholic, Anglican, Greek Orthodox, Islam has Shiites and Sunnis. Even these have sub divisions in the cultures. (I apologise if I have missed any divisions).

Fashion also plays a role in the culture of nations, often as a result of having to live and exist in the environment the people live in.

The Arabic thobe is very cooling for the hot dessert conditions and the headdress keeps the sun off the head. (see Culture. It changes entry).

wooden shoes white

The clogs of the Dutch, makes it easy in days gone bye, to work in the wet muddy fields, as the mud does not stick to the wooden shoes.


It took generations for these styles of dress to be accepted and to enter into the culture of the population, but then it became the standard dress and culture. When populations moved to different countries to live, for example the Indians and Pakistani people moving to the UK, they took their style of dress, the Indian sari with them. It is their culture, along with their cultural eating and living.

It will take a few generations for this culture to change, as the first generation of immigrants stick rigidly to their cultural roots. As each subsequent generation, second and third, is exposed to the new country’s’ beliefs and culture, they are influenced by them, and integrate them into their own, and culture changes.

In some countries, it is the culture for parents, or elder family members, to arrange marriages, the joining of man and woman, to become husband and wife. As families have emigrated to other countries, their offspring, their children have integrated into the new local communities, going to school, playing with and mixing with other cultures, beliefs and religions. The children meet others, create friendships, fall in love and want to marry outside their own culture and community, which would be normal for the indigenous population. This often causes big problems, as it would be against the cultural beliefs.

Generation by generation it is becoming more acceptable to have mixed marriages in countries where cultures are mixing.

The above takes time.

There are instances were culture changes much more rapidly, and it needs a strong leader. They will change the culture of a nation overnight.

Great or infamous leaders such as Alexander the Great, Hitler, Ghandi, Lincoln, Ataturk (click to read about Ataturk), all changed their nation’s culture very quickly. Hitler changed the relatively integrated and peaceful nations of Germany and Austria into a culture of hatred during the Second World War. Whereas Ghandi used peaceful means to change India. Ataturk changed nearly overnight the culture of Turkey from the days of the Ottoman Empire to modern day Turkey.

It only takes one strong determined person, a leader, a business man/woman to change culture.

Consider a business. If the owner, the CEO, the chairman decides a new policy, to introduce new ways of practice, he will first train and change the management structure. In turn the management will train their supervisors and they will likewise train and implement the changes to the staff. Thus, the culture of the company changes. When the company’s culture changes, it changes how its’ customers use the company and its’ products and facilities.

The world population is becoming overweight, obese, as our eating habits, working and leisure activity change. We are moving away from our cultural behaviours. We need strong, determined leaders to change the culture of the world, to be more active, be fit, less wasteful, more peaceful and tolerant.

I wonder who that could be?

Culture. It changes.

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On occasions in my training courses I am told, “this is *?&$£: culture, and it will not change”.

What is culture? I think it is beliefs, the way we are raised as children, and the influences of our parents, peers, the media, religion and the governments, but on a grand scale, that is as a country, a city, a town, a street, a family, where those beliefs and way of life are shared and lived.

I was born into a proud family, both on my father’s and mother’s side, not a rich family, but one that worked and saved hard for the future. We had high morals, respecting our elders and those less off than us. My family wanted the best they could afford, without begging, borrowing, or taking credit from banks.

Travel was a major adventure, even to go 15 miles would be planned for days. We stayed in our local community, it was the culture of our family and locality.

It was after I started college education and my computing career that I started to travel further and further from the nest, and experienced different communities, working practices and ways of living and working. My cultural behaviours and beliefs were changing.

Phillip Holt wearing thobebiggest difference in beliefs and culture happened when I went to work in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia, where a woman had no rights, could not drive, could not be with man unless they were married or family. There were no clubs, pubs, theaters or cinemas, no entertainment. Religion was restricted to Islam and no other. Their dress was completely different than that of the British, with their headdress and white thobe. It was their culture that I had to fit into, and I did for nearly six years, although I did not wear their dress style.

My travel for work and holidays to different countries continued to the far corners of the world, China to Peru. Cultures and beliefs being completely different, country to country, and region to region within those countries. My biggest cultural exposure was marrying Mee Len, a Chinese Malaysian.

The more I travel the more I see cultures beginning to change and to merge, where beliefs are beginning to become similar, but not the same.

Simple things like food. Every country or region has its’ specialties. But food is food, it is the way we prepare it, cook it, the ingredients combined to make it, the presentation and the way we eat it. Lamb is lamb, chicken is chicken, beef is beef and rice is rice.

The emergence of outlets such as Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, MacDonnell’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, kebabs, Indian and Chinese restaurants, in virtually every town in the world is changing the way we eat, for good or bad. These food outlets would not exist if the local people did not want them or eat in them.

The culture of preparing and eating at home, going for convenience food, is changing the culture of communities.

Television, radio, newsprint and the internet is introducing culture and beliefs of one community to another, and the young of the community want what they see, they want the food, they want the fashion.

Retail outlets like Zara, M&S, Carafour, Tesco, Walmart, sell the same products in their shops in London, Singapore, Ankara New York or Madrid, and the purchasing public buy it, changing the dress culture.

We are becoming one in the affluent and younger people, it is the older of us that hold on to the old dress, styles or culture.

The culture of travel is changing as we become more affluent, we buy more cars, we use public transport rather than walking, we tend to travel further from our homes to work, and take convenience food for lunch and snacks.

As we travel further to work and to study, the family structure changes. The family culture is breaking down. This is happening not only in 1st world counties but in 3rd world too, as people seeks work to support their family and changing life styles.

We are loosing cultural differences, and it is happening more quickly day by day. I am sorry to say nothing will stop it, culture has never been static, like language, it is always modifying to the influences of the environment, the community, and our knowledge as they change.

For those who do not like this change or loosing their culture, they can become entrenched in their beliefs of the old ways, and can become very aggressive in their views, often going to extremes to display the culture they believe in, with their dress and behaviour.

We should celebrate our cultural differences and keep them, but we should respect other peoples and communities beliefs and cultures.

We will never stop cultural change.

Click to read next blog about culture.