Fashion Mall China Guangzhou

Cultural Differences: East vs West Social Calendars

In Sydney, Australia, on return by train from work, I alighted from the train only to see two Australian teenage girls dressed in fashionable Barbie pink and mahogany shiny latex skirts.

I am thinking, “Where are you girls going dressed in Barbie doll fashion?”

Then I realized, “Wait!  Today is Thursday night.  That’s right!  All the youth in Australia go out on a Thursday night to party.”

Thursday Night Social Culture In Australia

The reason this shocked me is because in China, there is no fixed cultural day in the social calendar to spend time with friends and party.  In China, social dynamics are more fluid.  People work five to six days a week and have four or more scheduled days off per month, so get-togethers are more spontaneous.

In Australia, Thursday has become the historical day to go late-night shopping and party in the city, because people in Australia are historically paid by their employers on Thursdays, and so Thursdays became the cultural day people plan to party in nightclubs with friends, or shop in the mall.

Business in Australia has also adopted late-night Thursday shopping, especially in malls, so people can do all their shopping on Thursday, before they travel to the city to party on the weekend, or to catch up with friends and relatives on their days off.

The Fluid Social Calendar Of China

China has a fluid social calendar in comparison to Australia.

Chinese business creates commercial events around “singles day” for example, to encourage people to spend money, but Chinese employers do not follow an industry standard in regards to a specific date to pay employee wages.

This lack of business cohesion in China is why I often had to organize with friends weeks in advance in China to catch up on their “day off”.

Australian society and business enjoys a predictable relationship.

Thursday payday is one of those predictable business concessions that has allowed people in Australian society to plan how to spend their money, and to dress up in Barbie pink latex skirts fashion for a good night out in town with friends.


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