Complaints dept.

Published: August 30, 2005

I heard a “news” item the other day about a survey of who the world’s biggest complainers are. The Swiss came in a first, the British second, Australians third, and Canadians a solid fourth. Not sure how the data was derived, but I’m surprised that Canada is so low on the list.

I don’t mind people who complain – as long as they actually try to do something about whatever it is they’re complaining about, and they’re not complaining about something, like the weather, that can’t be helped. I constantly complain about inert complainers, so I complain to them that they should trying doing something about whatever it is they’re complaining about rather than just complain. Follow?

Americans are great, productive complainers. Most Americans will complain about something but then demand that it be changed. They’re also not afraid to be heard. Canadians, on the other hand, will often just mutter to themselves and stew in their mysery, afraid to create a scene or be any trouble to anyone. Most Americans revel in confrontation; most Canadians avoid it at any cost.

And that is the single biggest culture divide between Americans and pretty much the rest of the world. Inert-complaining Europeans and Canadians, like the Swiss, can’t understand how Americans will actually demand that they get what they want, and follow through on their complaining with action.

The piping and pipe band world(s) are full of complainers who don’t like many of the antiquated, unethical and often bizarre customs we face. The most progressive associations are the ones where complaining comes with the courage to be heard and to act to make positive change.

If and when American piping and drumming eventually leads the world, that will be one the main reasons why.



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