Dragon of Beijing & Cultural Differences

Yesterday I received an email from Antonio Singh that I could see the Dragon of Beijing today between 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM. The location was in front or the ARC Mandarin store. Now I didn’t know what I might see, but it sounded interesting and I set my clock to be at ARC Mandarin at 8:55 AM.

This is where cultural differences comes into play. Another person said shewanted to go with me and I said fine, and told the time of the event. Everyone that has known me for any amount of time knows that I am never late except when things happen beyond my control.

So at 8:30 AM I am beginning to think that my fellow viewer is running behind schedule. To make a long story short, wegot to the ARC Mandarin at 10:00 AM. The performance ended at 10:02. GRRRRR!

Not that this is a big thing in the grand scheme of things, but it is a cultural difference that I run into all the time with Panamanians. You will even hear them joking about whether you are measuring time on Panamanian time or not. That means, something that is scheduled for 9:00 may begin at 10:00. Something that is scheduled for tomorrow may happen in a week. Something that is scheduled for nex month may happen in 6-8 months and may in a year. Well, you get the gist.

Now back to what the post should have been about. The event was a group of Chinese dancers in traditional dress doing the dragon dance. I did manage to get two photos which follow.

You can see all of the red in the photo. That is from fireworks. I missed all of the fireworks. I tried to shoot a video, but it lasted for about two seconds and then it was over and they boarded the bus and left. I tried to find out the next stop, but the directions I received were not correct and what you see above, was all I got.

I am not sure my type “A” personality is ever going to completely adjust to Panamanian time. I guess a Panamanian would just have gotten there late and said, “Oh well. They will probably come back again next year.”

10 thoughts on “Dragon of Beijing & Cultural Differences

  1. Hi Don:
    Sorry you miss, I understand they will be tonight at the Crown Casino. They are program to be 8:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. but Alfonso Mou from ARC Mandarin tell me maybe they will arrive 9:00p.m.
    I will try to be at 8:30p.m.

  2. Hi DR – while driving in David, we noticed a number of locations with red paper floating in the parking lots. I now realize we were probably following the route of the Dragon dancers. Sorry to have missed the performances.

    As for the cultural differences, we can completely relate. We have tried to remember that appointments, dates or arrangements to meet at a certain time are merely suggestions. The only time they become important is when WE are late…

  3. Don Ray:
    When I came to America I learned we are very relaxed about time in Panama. In Panama, TV shows do not start on time, I meet you there at 7 means around 7 (most likely 30 minutes after), I will take 15 minutes means probably an hour. School was probably the only thing that will really follow a strict schedule.
    In US, everything is rush, rush, on time, not a minute late. I still have hard tome getting used to it (I have been here 17 years).
    My apologies for the chiricanos living in “hora panamena” giving you a headache. But I can tell you that it seems they are more relaxed and calmed that those of us living in US. What do yo think?

  4. This is not to defend “Panamanian time”, but I wonder whether “Chinese time” was also involved. What a nice topic to explore cultural diversity! My apologies for the organizers…

  5. Hi Don:

    You are absolutely right about how we perceive time in Panama. It also drives me crazy. Since I worked for an American company for many years (Texaco), I know the value of time.

    We could miss servicing a boat at the Panama Canal if we were late. Hora Panameña, is doing us a lot of damage. Sorry about that and I apologize on behalf of our citizens.

    Best Regards,


  6. Actually Omar, maybe there is some change needed on both sides. Panama could stand to be a little more punctual and like Jaime said, I could learn to relax a little more. 🙂

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