— maxdavinci (@maxdavinci) March 8, 2012
For context, Maxdavinci was talking about the Asus Transformer Prime tablet that he considers a thing of beauty. But this post isn’t about the Apple-Android fights or maybe not directly. What he said reminded me of one thing I have learnt in America, that is, if you don’t consider yourself good then no one else will. Indians (or rather Asians) have a sense of modesty wherein we try to downplay our achievements or capabilities lest we are considered arrogant. But often in graduate school and professional life here in the U.S., I have seen Americans be extremely confident and at times boastful of their abilities. No American will ever admit that he or she can’t do anything; they’ll beat around the bush and offer external influences beyond their control as excuses but never admit personal failings as a reason for not getting the job done. This has its pros and cons. And someone who often doesn’t get the job done will often be known as such soon by their colleagues. But more often than not, every little achievement is embellished and made out to be like the next best thing since sliced bread. I have never seen any American colleague say that, oh! That thing you asked me to do was no big deal. I have seen people tell me that they have worked over the weekend for something that I know took them less than an hour. I guess the more you make it seem like a arduous task, the more you get appreciated. If an Indian even remotely self-promotes, he is mocked and hated (Ask Kiruba).
This has a tangential angle to parenting in the U.S. too. No matter how much of a brat someone’s kid is, you will never see a parent say that his kid is no good (not always a good thing). If not effusive praise then they’ll at least not saying anything negative about their kid. Indians do say that, ‘humara bachha ton bahut shararthi hai’ even if he really is not. This is probably done for the ‘nazaar na lagge‘ reason. Indian parents are more likely to criticize their kids than openly praise their kids. Personally, we are trying to break from that habit and if not overtly praise him, we have vowed not to say anything negative about our kid in public.
So getting back to the Apple and Asus thing, perhaps Asus being the nice old Asian company is not ingrained with the, as MaxDavinci says, ‘self-dabba’ whereas for Apple as an American company, it comes natural.