A few days ago, there was a loud racket outside my house. Being the type who has to work with only a certain level (and type) of sound, I decided to take a walk and see what the fuss was about, and possibly whether I could diffuse the situation.

As said in my previous blog post, I would not immediately initiate human interaction without sufficient knowledge about the situation. Therefore, I spent some time observing as two of my neighbours hurled insults at one another.

The situation started off as fairly benign, however, it escalated quickly. The argument was due to one neighbour parking his vehicle in front of the other neighbour's house. Below is a transcript of what I can remember of the conversation. Neighbour 1 is referred to as N1 and neighbour 2 is referred to as N2.

N1: Hey, how come you park outside my house? N2: I have visitors, and they're all parking outside my house. There wasn't enough space! N1: But it's not your house you're parking in front of! This is my property! N2: It's not as if there's too little space for you to move your car out what. N1: That's not the point at all! This is my property! N2: Don't be so selfish!

At this point, it is useless to transcribe the rest of the conversation as it essentially devolved into vulgarities. However, since the most salient points of the conversation were at the start anyway, it doesn't matter too much. If you were curious, I did not even try to diffuse the situation. It seemed beyond hoppe. Instead, I went back in my room and blasted heavy metal through my headphones.

We can see here that each of the two people are stuck in their way of thinking; basically, they were only thinking about themselves. They were both being selfish. However, this assignment also calls for me to evaluate them based on "culture, gender or age". N1 was malay and N2 was chinese. They were both male, but they had an age gap. N1 was relatively young, probably in his 20s, and N2 was older, probably in his 50s.

How did these affect the conversation? I have tried to find how these factors affected their conversation, but in truth, it is like trying to find something that is not there. I had to stop myself, as I was at risk of fabricating something just for this assignment. However, on reflection, and while recalling previous conversations that I have witnessed while trying to find something for this assignment, I realized that it is not nature, rather it is nurture. And while culture, gender and age are all contributors, they are not large enough to make a noticeable difference. Again, I am not saying that these factors do not make a difference. Rather, what I am saying is that a person's personality is defined largely by his upbringing as well as his own individual choices. And of course, race, age and culture all play into how a person is brought up as well as affecting his choices, but the end result is usually not one that should be classified, as the human mind is so multi-faceted.

Trying to find out how age, race or culture play into human interaction is just, in my opinion, intensifying the problem, as there has been research that shows that racism, for example, is perpetuated through racism. It's a vicious cycle, since people who are discriminated are subliminally and societally led into becoming the stereotype. More often than not, your "findings" will often be unfounded. The key thing to remember is: Correlation does not equal causation.