5 Things I Learned From Ilana Benady's Dominican Culture Book.

Status
Not open for further replies.

Dark_Scorpion

Bronze
Aug 13, 2012
969
3
18
I finished reading this book a few days ago, and I finally got some time to post a review/analysis of it here on DR1:

Dominican Republic - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture: Ginnie Bedggood, Ilana Benady: 9781857335279: Amazon.com: Books

I highly recommend this book and I've rated it 5 out of 5 stars. I rarely give books a perfect score but in this case I will make an exception......because it is a masterpiece. I can't find anything negative to say about this book, and it is an excellent guide for tourists and expatriates alike. I started this thread because I wanted to show, contrary to what some members here on DR1 believe, that the DR is a country of rules and laws, many of which are unspoken and unwritten. Gaining insights from a book like this will go a long way towards ensuring your stay in the DR is a pleasant one.

My Review and Analysis


When I moved to the DR, I knew the country was different from the U.S., but this book showed that the DR is far different than I originally thought. In fact, the author shows that the DR, in many ways, has more in common with Japan and other East Asian societies than its large neighbor to the north. Why do I say this? For one, the author shows that Dominican society, unlike American society, is collectivist. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, collectivism simply means a system where the group is more important than the individual. Most Americans reading this know full well that the USA is the opposite of a collectivist society, at least traditionally. The USA was founded on the principle of individualism and is thus the polar opposite of the DR. Japan, by contrast, is also a collectivist society where the group supersedes the individual. This was the first thing I learned from reading this book.

1. The Dominicans, Like the Japanese, have a concept of Face

Face is very important in Dominican society, and shares similarities with Japan. Dominicans don't like to lose face, so wise expatriates and tourists must learn how to ensure this doesn't happen.

2. The Dominican Republic is Essentially a Smoke Free Zone

This book revealed that smoking in public is taboo, and not done by Dominicans. This makes the DR distinct from Cuba and other Caribbean islands so smokers should be mindful of this.

3. Like the Japanese, Dominicans do not perform PDA(Public Displays of Affection)

Since I've been in the DR, I've rarely seen couples walking the street holding hands, or kissing and making out. This book revealed why. The Dominicans are again similar to the Japanese in that public displays of affection are frowned upon. So to visitors to the country, don't be surprised if you try to kiss or hold hands with your significant other, and they choose not to do so(this actually happened to me and I didn't know why at the time, since I hadn't read this book).

4. Charm and Connections are More Important than Knowledge When it Comes to Doing Business in the DR

In the DR, it isn't what you know, it is who you know. If you're a foreigner without local connections, your ability to charm will be more important than your knowledge.

5. Dominicans are very religious and spiritual, with a strong belief in God. If you don't hold such beliefs, keep them to yourself. If you're an atheist, never tell a Dominican.

I'm not religious(unless you consider making money to be a religion), and I'm indifferent to the existence
of God. However, this book taught me(I suspect the author is also non-religious), that if you hold such views, keep quiet about it. If a Dominican asks you about religion(they've asked me about it), never say more than you need to. You don't have to lie, but don't tell them you don't believe in anything. Keep your responses vague.
 
May 5, 2007
9,246
92
0
I finished reading this book a few days ago, and I finally got some time to post a review/analysis of it here on DR1:

Dominican Republic - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture: Ginnie Bedggood, Ilana Benady: 9781857335279: Amazon.com: Books

I highly recommend this book and I've rated it 5 out of 5 stars. I rarely give books a perfect score but in this case I will make an exception......because it is a masterpiece. I can't find anything negative to say about this book, and it is an excellent guide for tourists and expatriates alike. I started this thread because I wanted to show, contrary to what some members here on DR1 believe, that the DR is a country of rules and laws, many of which are unspoken and unwritten. Gaining insights from a book like this will go a long way towards ensuring your stay in the DR is a pleasant one.

My Review and Analysis


When I moved to the DR, I knew the country was different from the U.S., but this book showed that the DR is far different than I originally thought. In fact, the author shows that the DR, in many ways, has more in common with Japan and other East Asian societies than its large neighbor to the north. Why do I say this? For one, the author shows that Dominican society, unlike American society, is collectivist. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, collectivism simply means a system where the group is more important than the individual. Most Americans reading this know full well that the USA is the opposite of a collectivist society, at least traditionally. The USA was founded on the principle of individualism and is thus the polar opposite of the DR. Japan, by contrast, is also a collectivist society where the group supersedes the individual. This was the first thing I learned from reading this book.

1. The Dominicans, Like the Japanese, have a concept of Face

Face is very important in Dominican society, and shares similarities with Japan. Dominicans don't like to lose face, so wise expatriates and tourists must learn how to ensure this doesn't happen.

2. The Dominican Republic is Essentially a Smoke Free Zone

This book revealed that smoking in public is taboo, and not done by Dominicans. This makes the DR distinct from Cuba and other Caribbean islands so smokers should be mindful of this.

3. Like the Japanese, Dominicans do not perform PDA(Public Displays of Affection)

Since I've been in the DR, I've rarely seen couples walking the street holding hands, or kissing and making out. This book revealed why. The Dominicans are again similar to the Japanese in that public displays of affection are frowned upon. So to visitors to the country, don't be surprised if you try to kiss or hold hands with your significant other, and they choose not to do so(this actually happened to me and I didn't know why at the time, since I hadn't read this book).

4. Charm and Connections are More Important than Knowledge When it Comes to Doing Business in the DR

In the DR, it isn't what you know, it is who you know. If you're a foreigner without local connections, your ability to charm will be more important than your knowledge.

5. Dominicans are very religious and spiritual, with a strong belief in God. If you don't hold such beliefs, keep them to yourself. If you're an atheist, never tell a Dominican.

I'm not religious(unless you consider making money to be a religion), and I'm indifferent to the existence
of God. However, this book taught me(I suspect the author is also non-religious), that if you hold such views, keep quiet about it. If a Dominican asks you about religion(they've asked me about it), never say more than you need to. You don't have to lie, but don't tell them you don't believe in anything. Keep your responses vague.

I've read that book also. wouldn't it be great if Ilana Benady would post on DR1 as opposed to the regular clowns

This bolonga is akiller
 
Last edited:

bob saunders

Platinum
Jan 1, 2002
32,817
6,201
113
dr1.com
Good review. I would enjoy reading the book. I would limit the collectivness of the Dominican people to family. I see many Dominicans smoking in public but my mother-in-law would never smoke in public. She only smokes in the back yard, when nobody else is there.
 

Aguaita29

Silver
Jul 27, 2011
2,640
308
83
Saving face in the DR is often considered more important than actually admitting that you`ve made a mistake! If you say "I`m sorry, I messed up" you are often perceived as flawed, in the other person?s eyes. Smoking is not considered cool, as it is in other countries, but I wouldn`t say that smoking in public is taboo. If someone here smokes, they will have no problem doing it in public. I don`t think that you could say that Dominicans don`t perform public displays of affection. Holding hands, kissing, hugging in public is considered acceptable and done in public and even between friends. What is not considered that acceptable is making out in public, like on a bus or subway. The Charm and connections part is very true! It doesn`t matter how qualified you are or that you have great work ethics. You either need the connecctions or enough charm to get you the connections.
 
Dec 26, 2011
8,071
0
0
Interesting. All very true. Feel like I just had a Matthew 3:16 moment.

The authors are a couple of very insightful women.
 

AlterEgo

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 9, 2009
23,315
6,570
113
South Coast
Wasn't the co author Ginnie Bedggood a DR1 member aka Lambada?

Yes, Ginnie was a prolific poster and astute DR1er, she is missed by everyone who knew her [or "read" her].

Ilana is one of the most respected posters on DR1, and was a Mod for a long time.
 

the gorgon

Platinum
Sep 16, 2010
33,997
83
0
Saving face in the DR is often considered more important than actually admitting that you`ve made a mistake! If you say "I`m sorry, I messed up" you are often perceived as flawed, in the other person?s eyes. Smoking is not considered cool, as it is in other countries, but I wouldn`t say that smoking in public is taboo. If someone here smokes, they will have no problem doing it in public. I don`t think that you could say that Dominicans don`t perform public displays of affection. Holding hands, kissing, hugging in public is considered acceptable and done in public and even between friends. What is not considered that acceptable is making out in public, like on a bus or subway. The Charm and connections part is very true! It doesn`t matter how qualified you are or that you have great work ethics. You either need the connecctions or enough charm to get you the connections.

i guess that is the source of the national motto 'no es mi culpa".
 

Criss Colon

Platinum
Jan 2, 2002
21,843
191
0
38
yahoomail.com
I don't find most Dominicans "Religious".
Most go to church seldom, if ever.
They do not practice the tenants of the Catholic Church.
I DO find them to be VERY "spiritual"!
They LOVE "Spirits", Rum, Wiki, Vodka, ANYTHING with "Spirits" in them!
CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
 

pelaut

Bronze
Aug 5, 2007
1,089
33
48
www.ThornlessPath.com
I read Ginnie's (RIP) and Ileana's book when it first came out. I gave it to a new arrival expat with explicit instructions to study it thorougly before making one move in the DR. He didn't. He crashed and burned.
Everyone should read it.
 

bronzeallspice

Live everyday like it's your last
Mar 26, 2012
11,009
2
38
I don't find most Dominicans "Religious".
Most go to church seldom, if ever.
They do not practice the tenants of the Catholic Church.
I DO find them to be VERY "spiritual"!
They LOVE "Spirits", Rum, Wiki, Vodka, ANYTHING with "Spirits" in them!
CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

You are right.Most Dominicans may not be religious as in to follow the Catholic Church's
ordinances,but they have a strong belief in God.I think that is what the authors are referring to.
 

AlterEgo

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 9, 2009
23,315
6,570
113
South Coast
Regarding religion, I have been to Sunday Mass at several churches in Santo Domingo, and find them surprisingly filled. I was even more surprised to see how many people show up at the 6 pm Mass weekdays at the church in the Honduras section of SD where my in-laws go.

From what I've seen of the Evangelicals, their churches are even better attended. One of Mr. AE's brother's married one about 25 years ago, and they spend HOURS at church every Sunday and Wednesday night too.

My mother-in-law was a very religious woman, always praying the rosary and lighting candles in front of saints' photos, but probably hadn't been to church much in years. That could be because no one took her.
 

Castle

Silver
Sep 1, 2012
2,982
1
0
You are right.Most Dominicans may not be religious as in to follow the Catholic Church's
ordinances,but they have a strong belief in God.I think that is what the authors are referring to.

Sadly, it is a one-sided relationship with God here. I've found that most so-called religious people in DR are so only in what pertains to church activities. People's relationship with God is based on what they expect from Him. Hardly ever is based on giving. God's laws are obeyed as long as they don't interfere with their desires. God has become a tool for too many people in DR. Oh, yes, they only listen to christian songs. Yes, they only date people from their church. Yes, they attend mass every sunday. But they still pay a guy to connect a line to the street pole, they still take advantage of the unaware, they still backbite coworkers, they couldn't care less for other people's rights, and so on...
 

the gorgon

Platinum
Sep 16, 2010
33,997
83
0
Sadly, it is a one-sided relationship with God here. I've found that most so-called religious people in DR are so only in what pertains to church activities. People's relationship with God is based on what they expect from Him. Hardly ever is based on giving. God's laws are obeyed as long as they don't interfere with their desires. God has become a tool for too many people in DR. Oh, yes, they only listen to christian songs. Yes, they only date people from their church. Yes, they attend mass every sunday. But they still pay a guy to connect a line to the street pole, they still take advantage of the unaware, they still backbite coworkers, they couldn't care less for other people's rights, and so on...

well ain't that the Gospel!!! they are all there because of their belief in the dictum "si Dios quiere". if they spend 6 hours at church every day, maybe they will accumulate enough attendance time, then Dios will quiere, and their loto ticket will win them bazillions.
 

Aguaita29

Silver
Jul 27, 2011
2,640
308
83
Sadly, it is a one-sided relationship with God here. I've found that most so-called religious people in DR are so only in what pertains to church activities. People's relationship with God is based on what they expect from Him. Hardly ever is based on giving. God's laws are obeyed as long as they don't interfere with their desires. God has become a tool for too many people in DR. Oh, yes, they only listen to christian songs. Yes, they only date people from their church. Yes, they attend mass every sunday. But they still pay a guy to connect a line to the street pole, they still take advantage of the unaware, they still backbite coworkers, they couldn't care less for other people's rights, and so on...
I know plenty of people who don?t let their kids dress up go to go a carnival or to a Halloween party because these are things from the Devil. They tell them that if they do so they will go to hell, but the funny thing is that they often encourage their kids to lie and steal and don?t mind letting them experience questionable behavior.
 

the gorgon

Platinum
Sep 16, 2010
33,997
83
0
I know plenty of people who don?t let their kids dress up go to go a carnival or to a Halloween party because these are things from the Devil. They tell them that if they do so they will go to hell, but the funny thing is that they often encourage their kids to lie and steal and don?t mind letting them experience questionable behavior.

darn right! they will not allow their kids to do The Devil's work, but they have no problem hooking up their adolescent daughters to some questionable foreigner.
 
Jun 18, 2007
14,280
503
113
www.rentalmetrocountry.com
My experience is that most churchgoers are hypocrites in one form or another especially them so called reborn Christians. When I just arrived here in the DR several employees of mine were reborn. My first impression was, GREAT nice honest, hardworking and humble people. What a let down it turned out to be!!! Got rid of them real quick. Will NEVER hire a reborn again!!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.