aaron2

Can’t we all just get along?

NEW articles daily! Subscribe below to receive daily updates with our new articles!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Yes, those are the words that Rodney King is famous for.  Today, though, I am using those words in an expat context.  It’s not about living in the Philippines.  It’s not (so much) about being American.  What it is about is being an expat – a person who lives in a country other than where he was born and/or raised.

Did you realize that there are a lot of things that, while they should be the same, are different in different countries.

It’s true, and it really should not be.

Let’s have a look!

One that I’ve talked about a lot in the past is the metric system.  Of course, the USA is one of the few countries (only country?) that still uses the old English system – pounds, inches, feet and such.  Almost every other country on earth has switched long ago to the metric system – meters, kilos, grams, etc.  At first, as an American, it is difficult to adjust to using the metric system, although it is necessary, because that is what society around you uses.  But, it doesn’t take long – if you just go with it – to learn the system and feel comfortable with it.  I remember, when I was a kid in Elementary school, we were learning the Metric System.  I remember that the USA was going to switch over to the metric system, and it was very important for us kids to learn is so that we could be in harmony with the rest of the world around us.  Never happened.

Another thing that countries are out of sync on is the way that we write dates.  Some countries put Month/Day/Year, as my home country of the United States does.  For example, this post is being published on September 20, 2010, or 9/20/2010.  Many countries, though, would say that is 20/9/2010.  Seeing dates written out that way is easy to figure out, if the day is higher than the 12th.  But, lets say that it September 6, 2010.  So, for Americans (and many others) it would be 9/6/2010.  For other countries it would be 6/9/2010.  Well, that could be June 9, 2010, or it could be September 6, 2010 – which is it?  Impossible to know!  On 20/9/2010 it has to be the 20th of September, because there are no months higher than 12, so that is easy.

Doesn’t it seem that here we are in the 21st Century, and we are using such archaic ways of doing things, that vary from country to country.  Can’t we have some kind of conference where we all get together and decide on some standards for the entire world.  When it comes to metric v. English measurement, that’s easy, the world has decided already and the USA is just dragging it’s feet.  On other issues it could go either way.

These are just a couple of examples that I gave, but believe me, there are others too, and if you are an expat (anywhere in the world) you will encounter them in your daily life.  Can’t we all just get along?

Posted in

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

Most Shared Posts

100
Leave a Reply

avatar
31 Comment threads
69 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
32 Comment authors
RandySteven HarkPaulBDave Keisermarjorie Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Charles Nathan D Salang
Guest

bitaw tinuod gyud ni bob, murag diri sa israel day-month-year; but I am used to month-day-year sa pilipinas so very careful ko kung writing about dates diri.

James Fox
Guest
James Fox

Bob, Useful thoughts. If enough people start talking about it, maybe some progress at standardization might ensue! One of my pet peeves is the way changes in the stock market are noted by stating the numerical values of the changes in various market indexes. So, for example, hearing that “The DOW gained 106 points today, the NASDAQ 46,” might lead the uninitiated to conclude that DOW Industrial stocks improved more than twice as much as the Tech stocks of the NASDAQ. In reality, the opposite is true! Currently, the DOW is at 10,608, so a 106 “point” change is a… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi James – I could not agree more on the Stock Market numbers…. giving the number of points of change is really irrelevant. It is the percentage of change that matters, and I have always sort of figured the percentage in my head when it is not given. In fact, sometimes they don’t even show the value of the market, just say it was up “5 points” or whatever, which really has no meaning at all.

hudson
Guest
hudson

I know what you mean Bob, It’s like you go to a fast food resturant, and they ask you what size drink do you want, small, medium or large? Well as it turns out S M L are different at each resturant. I always have to ask How many ounces in a medium? They are stumped to be sure lol

MindanaoBob
Guest

Oh, boy, hudson, you hit on one of my pet peeves here in the Philippines… A lot of places only have two sizes of drinks. So, you go to the counter and order a small drink…. they say “sorry, sir, we don’t carry a small drink.” So, you respond… “what sizes do you have?” They answer – “only medium and large.” Sus! I mean, the medium is the smaller of the two, right? 😆

ian
Guest
ian

As if that isnt bad enough Starbucks tries to show how cool it is by naming their drink sizes in Italian !!!

roy
Guest
roy

Hhahahhaha Sorry I cannot resist!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi ian – 😉

John in Austria
Guest
John in Austria

Hi James & Bob,

I tend to use the YYYYMMDD format too as it is understandable in any land, as well as your reason for computer sorting.

hudson
Guest
hudson

Hey Bob,
I’m all for the metric system. Even when getting my Engineering degree, we learned everything in metric. The big problem is using both. Enough already using two sets of wrenches to work on your car. I would just like to see the switch and get on with it.

As for dates, Today is: 19SEP2010. NO comma’s, No slashes, No dashes, No confusion.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Yes, hudson – the US is really running behind the times when it comes to weights, measures and such. Metric is really the way to go. It is much easier than the English system, which is probably why everybody else in the world uses it!

PaulK
Member

Hi Bob & Hudson – Reminds me of Navy days: 9SEP10. 😉

Acronyms were expanded a bit, too. Examples: CinCPACFLT – Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet; or BuPers – Bureau of Naval Personnel.

Back then, we had a hint as to what the alphabet soup was all about. Now, it’s turned into a source of enjoyment, creating a title for which its acronym spells out something cute.

Always wondered a “what if”: Sam Houston Institute of Technology? 😯

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Paul – As you and I both know, the acronym soup is very thick here in the Philippines! Hmm…. I didn’t know there was a Sam Houston Institute of Technology! 😆 SHIOT! 😯

Mars Z.
Guest
Mars Z.

Hi Paul and Bob:

I think Sam Houston Institute of Tech also offers “Special High Intensity Training” for Expats. lol

Mars

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Mars – Those boys at Sam Houston Institute are sure on the ball!

Mars Z.
Guest
Mars Z.

Hi Bob, they sure are, so better get that training list! Good day.

Mars

Danny Thompson
Guest
Danny Thompson

If we measure speed, distance and weight in metric, what about time?
100 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour, and on and on.
Lets make everything the same.
Joke lang, I guess.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Danny – Ha ha.. you have a point on time, I guess. But, the length of a second would have to be changed, or else the whole calendar will be upset, since time is figured around the rotation of the earth around the sun and such. I never thought about that, though.

Paul Thompson
Member

Bob; When I first went to Europe in the 60’s, I noticed that they wrote time without AM/PM, as we did in the Navy 4 pm, = 1600 (or eight bells) We also wrote our dates with a Julian calendar so it could not be misinterpreted when sending message traffic. I keep two sets of tools, as I still find things that only a 9/16th scocket will fit. Rice 50 kilos-I don’t care how many pounds as long as it makes my wife smile. Booze helped me learn, a fifth = 750 ml. Quart = 1000 ml and the 1.75… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Paul – Ha ha… booze will help with anything, even learning the metric system! I know what you mean about the 50 Kg of rice! 😆

John in Austria
Guest
John in Austria

Hi Paul & Bob,

Over here in Europe there are things that are not unified with the rest of the world. Calendars start on Monday, not on Sunday. Daylight Savings Time and Winter time both start on a different weekend than they do in America. (yes, I know it doesn’t apply to the Philippines 🙂 )
Another one that gets me is that Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are celebrated on a different weekend over here too. Oh well, we do have metric.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

Here in Australia we have a public holiday for The Queens Birthday, and they dont have one in England! Go figure?

MindanaoBob
Guest

I had a reply for you, Anthony… but now I am not sure I should say it…. it had to do with homophobia. 😉

Paul Thompson
Member

John;
Starting the week on a Monday will get you to the weekend quicker. Would Wednesday still be hump day? I feel your pain!

hudson
Guest
hudson

I think that would be hard to do since time is based on a circle which is divided into degrees, minutes, and seconds. Look at your calculator to see if it has DMS mode.
60s= 1min, 60min=1deg, 360 deg=1 circle or 2pi

MindanaoBob
Guest

Yeah, I think you are right on that hudson. As I think about it, it would be more than just changing the length of the second. There are lots of other relationships there too.

Maynard
Guest
Maynard

This is a good article i can relate to having worked in the fastener and hardware business in the U.S. Ive seen many changes in the last fifteen years there.The U.S. was infiltrated with foreign cars and machines at a fast growing rate.I had to sink or swim in learning the metric system from nuts and bolts to hydraulic hoses.The metric system is in the U.S. to stay like it or not.After i moved to the phills i got another wake up call in the buying of food and such especially using the conversion in my head while shopping to… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

I am behind you 100% Maynard! Metric all the way. Unfortunately, I think that most Americans are anti-metric, possibly even afraid of it! 😆

Bob Martin
Guest

Ha ha… mao gyud, Charles! Kabalo ko! Lisod kaayo na!

chasdv
Guest
chasdv

Hi Bob,
Having spent part of my life in pounds,inches and feet etc,not to mention our old currency £sd,i still get confused sometimes Lol.Maybe coz i’m not an avid shopper and most things come in packets or containers here.However,i’m all for Global standardisation to make life simple.
Dates,well the American way is still very alien to me and i have to think twice when filling in forms etc there.No doubt i will get use to it one day Lol.
regards Chas.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Chas – I get confused on dates here too, because honestly, they use both systems here. Sometimes, 9-6-10 in the Philippines is September 6, 2010, other times it is June 9th 2010. You just never know for sure here!

Paul Thompson
Member

Then you could very late or very early for an appointment.

MindanaoBob
Guest

😉

ian
Guest
ian

Bob- your thinking is miles ahead of everyone elses –uh– make that 609.344 metres ahead !! lol
I really put my foot into it that time! uh, sorry, I meant my 30.48 centimeters
Gotta sign off now- traffic is finally starting to inch along- uh- 2.54 centimeter along that is

MindanaoBob
Guest

Ha ha.. ian… you’re a gas… I mean petrol! 😆

Boss
Guest
Boss

Yep your spot on Sir Bob the metric system is the the way to go, it is easy as counting 1 to 10. As for the dating system, day, month, year is simple stuff.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Boss – I propose that we agree that the US should switch to the Metric system, and everybody else should adapt month-day-year (i.e. the right way of writing dates!). Can we shake on it? 😆

Boss
Guest
Boss

Yeah totally agree, if everyone signed in on the m/d/year would be no problem, then it would be right lol.
One other thing, “milestone” will always sound better than kilometrerock.

MindanaoBob
Guest

You sure are right about the kilometerrock, Boss! How about gas mileage? Kilometerage? Nah, doesn’t work.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Canada is really no different, Bob. We switched to the metric system when I was about 12 years old, I think, just old enough that I can accurately estimate a foot(12″) but not 25cm. In ship building/repair, I might weld a seam with a 1/8″ welding rod, or 1.4mm wire. the plate may be 4mm thick, or 1/4″. I have metric & SAE sized; spanners, sockets, taps/dies, and nuts & bolts . I have conversion charts in my “favourites” and a pocket calculator which is only needed for conversion. I spent a couple of weeks working on a design for… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Mike – Canada may have a few things that they are “caught in the middle” on, but you guys are way ahead of the USA when it comes to metric. George Carlin always had something up his sleeve… he’s a riot! Congrats, BTW, on the weight loss! I have lost in about the same proportion as you! 😆

Paul Thompson
Member

Mike;
Noah used Cubits before metric, and he was a ship builded too.

hudson
Guest
hudson

I wonder if Noah had prints to build that ark

SIGN UP TO JOIN OUR GIVEAWAYS & INFO NEWSLETTER

Make sure you've signed up to our newsletter to get exclusive newsletter only content! Also be updated about all our important events and other important info that our readers rely on.

SIGNUP FORM


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.