Monday, October 27, 2014

Berlin Germany: Counting Time by the Minute -#BerlinGermany

In Berlin, our train for Frankfurt was delayed. All throughout my recent trip to Europe, I've had to deal with: first, a train strike in Paris, followed by a train and airplane strike in Berlin, and now our train was late. I laughed at the matter, but Berliners were stressed-out as they rescheduled their train rides.There were many sour and long faces, and one man came along and yelled that there were no seats available, and so on.

In the train station and in the train itself, announcements would blare out that such and such a train would be six or four minutes late. I found such precision interesting, because I've been to countries where time is flexible - people refer to this as "Rubber Time."  In the Philippines and other parts of Asia, time is not counted as rigidly as they do in Germany (or Berlin at least).  If someone says, "Come to dinner at 7 p.m." - you don't show up at 7 p.m., but more like 7:30 p.m.  In fact, the host will be surprised and caught off-guard if you did show up at 7 p.m. He or she would probably not have changed at that time.

In Manila, people are more punctual, especially for business meetings, but social affairs have a bit of "give" with regard to time.  Outside Manila and the cities, time becomes amorphous, perhaps because some people still count time by looking at the sun and shadows and by relying on the crowing of the roosters.

Americans are known to be punctual, and in the Philippines, if you want people to be on time, you say something like, "Dinner is at 7 p.m. American time."  That means, the dinner will start at 7 p.m. promptly. One could say, "Dinner is at 7 p.m., Filipino time." That would mean the dinner will not start promptly and you should show up thirty minutes late or even later.

Even though I've lived in the United States for years, I've never seen the kind of attention given to time, as in Berlin. I thought to myself that getting stressed over six or three minutes, must be bad for the health.  I can imagine one's blood pressure soaring, and plaque forming over such stress.

In Cebu, Philippines, there are communities of Germans. Some are retirees; some are young people. They live near the sea and the younger ones enjoy scuba diving. Most of the men have Filipina wives, and in general they seem content with their lives there. Their retirement money probably goes far in the Philippines, and the lifestyle must be very different from that in Germany. I'm sure not having to rush is part of their lifestyle change.

Read also
Spotlight on Historic Checkpoint Charlie
 Heidelberg, Jose Rizal, and A Las Flores de Heidelberg
Dinner with Dr. Michaela Keck
Book launch on German-Filipino Friendship
Berlin, Germany - Cecilia's Update 1

Tags: #Germany, #Berlin, Cebu, Philippines, lifestyle, time, American time, Filipino time, culture

This is all for now,

No comments: