Culture of the Week: Spratly Islands (disputed)

Spratly Islands (Claimed by Brunei, People’s Republic of China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam), is a hotbed of both tension and culture in the South China sea. This archipelago of over 100 islands is a trade hub, especially due to their natural resources, prime location for shipping routes, and fishing industry. Some of the islands are inhabited, but the inhabitants are mostly military personnel of the aforementioned countries. The children of these military and military support personnel are the native inhabitants of these islands, but their national identities are still tied to their parents’/legal guardians’ countries of origin.

Here are a few cultural tips for those heading to work in medicine or business in this region.

1. It is important to be aware of the tensions happening between groups, and culturally sensitive, especially when interacting with military personnel.
2. The structure of the cultures represented is a cross between the home culture and military culture of each country. For most of the inhabitants, this tends to be a very hierarchical, respect oriented, and communal culture, where everyone looks out for the good of the team.
3.It’s important to be very aware of your surroundings and things that you say in this context.

Last, but not least, here is a video about life on the island:


Tomlinson, L. (2016, July 19). The South China Sea: The Spratly Islands dispute. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from
The World Factbook: SPRATLY ISLANDS. (2016, September 13). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from


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