Family Obligations In Various Societies

I just got thinking about differences in culture.

In Western societies, it's all about your immediate family and that only extends to family who are living under the same house with you. You support your children until they are of legal age and some parents kick their children out. And many young adults are happy to oblige. Actually, the young adults may even demand it. The value of independence is highly regarded. Responsibility only extends to yourself and your immediate family.

But in other societies, we have what we call the extended family. In Thailand, for instance, families look to their cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. If you have common blood, you are family. Unique in their system though is their concept of responsibility. In Thai society (I'm assuming not all though), the richest and most successful family member is obligated to help out their relatives. They are obligated to give money and such. One disadvantage to this though is that helping the relatives may mean enabling them to depend on you and only you. Sometimes, the relatives would demand that they have the right to be helped.

In the Philippine society, there is what is called an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) mentality. People think Filipinos who work abroad is automatically rich. Unbeknownst to others, the OFWs would actually skip meals sometimes just to send money to their families. Plus, when the OFWs get home, almost all their friends and family ask for something. Because of such mentality, it would be no wonder if the OFWs have to keep going back abroad. All their savings disappear upon their return.

Unlike Western societies, extended families are quite common in the East. There's nothing wrong about it, methinks. I think there is just a difference in how families are viewed between the two.

What is interesting though is how being kind to people has at some point been transformed into duties in some societies.

mareliberum mareliberum
Jan 10, 2013