In “Social Time: The Heartbeat of a Culture” Robert Levine and Ellen Wolfe admit that “[f]ormal ‘clock time’ may be a standard on which the world agrees, but ‘social time,’ the heartbeat of society, is something else again”(77). I agree with Levine and Wolfe because when I compare my own experiences in America to those in South Vietnam, where I am from, there is a huge difference in the concept of time.
I was very interested in a point that was raised in the essay that said “someone of status is expected to arrive late. Lack of punctuality is a badge of success” (77). I was very amused with this concept because it is the same in my home country. In a Vietnamese company, the boss is often the one who tends to be late to work and late for meetings. My mother is a manager of a cable company in Vietnam and this is common in her workplace. Even though work starts at seven, she always leaves the house at eight or sometimes even nine o’clock even though the company is only one block away from my house. In contrast, her clerks, secretaries, assistants, and workers will be reprimanded if they are late. For my mother, lateness is perhaps one of the tools she uses to show her power, or possibly to show that she is a busy and hard working woman. She is the one who arrives latest in her company, but also the last one to leave and the one who goes home with a huge stack of papers.
Lateness not only occurs in the work place but also in school. In elementary and high school, students are expected to arrive early and teachers are expected to arrive on time or sometimes even a few minutes later. In all the schools I have attended in Vietnam, students always arrive in class fifteen minutes early. Some schools even require half an hour earlier. Students are required to be at school before the class starts so that they have time to discuss homework questions with their classmates or maybe even just skim through the text they had to read in the day before.
On the other hand,...