Sunday, November 19, 2006

"My mother loves to get married repeatedly"

I just finished watching an episode titled "Ibuku Tukang Kawin" (meaning "My mother is a person who loves to get married repeatedly") of the series "Pintu Hidayah" (meaning "Door of guidance"). Today episode is very interesting.

This series is what I call an Islamic series. The typical story begin by showing how sinful the antagonist is. We will see him/her doing extremely cruel things, sometimes so cruel as if (s)he does it simply because (s)he is evil. At least one pious person will try to make him/her repent with no result. Only after (s)he suffered many bad events because of his/her sin, or after (s)he saw how pious other people despite of everything that happen to them, (s)he will repent. At the end of the story, a person will give a short Islamic preach on the relevant sin.

I find the choice of title a bit.. brave. Some audiences might randomly think of a title "Bapakku Tukang Kawin" (meaning "My father is a person who loves to get married repeatedly") instead of "Ibuku Tukang Kawin". That new title is dangerously close to the concept of a father getting married to multiple wives, which is allowed by Islamic law. In addition, the preaching on this episode said that "only 1 out 1000 step-father will love his step-children so do not remarried just for the sake of children". It will be awkward if the preacher have to say "only 1 out of 1000 step-mother will love her step-children" given how prevalent such situation is..

One little twist in audiences mind could make them demonize the idea of marrying multiple females..

Friday, November 17, 2006

Safest way to donate to "Yayasan Jantung Indonesia"

Friday is slow work day for business in certain field in Indonesia..

I have been visited twice by a representative of Yayasan Jantung Indonesia, a supposedly non-profit organization that promote healthy life to fight heart disease.

I refused to contribute to their cause twice simply because they asked me to fill in my credit card number on a form. Based on my families bad experience in claiming unauthorized charges, I don't think I will ever write my credit card number on a form without guarantee who have access to that form. They didn't even willing to send receipt copy of the problematic transaction, without us promising to pay regardless of condition of receipt.. I digress..

I did ask the "sales" person for alternative way to contribute, but they said there is no other way. I, being a sceptical creature, do not believe him. I googled for Yayasan Jantung Indonesia and found their contact number. I called the number up and, as expected, they have a bank account that can receive contribution.

No, I'm not going to post the account number because:
1. I might be a con artist tricking you to transfer money to my account.
2. Maybe I got the number wrong, probably because I was tricked.

If you're like me, that is you don't want to give out credit card information, you should directly call their contact number to ask for their account number yourself.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Origin of preference

The results of most studies about origin of preference tend to bias towards biological origin. This doesn't necessarily mean that people behind the studies are not neutral. Most of the successfully identified origin are biological because good research design on identifying biological origin may yield conclusive evidences, where as identification of non-biological origin requires complicated disentanglement of confounding factors. The difficulty is worse when the non-biological origin is too abstract or not well defined such as "free will", culture or even seemingly simple things such as personality, comfortability, etc.

It is worth to mention of an approach to identify the origin of preference, which is using evolutionary psychology framework. It basically states that natural selection makes surviving humans have a certain kind of preference. For such case, it's arguable that origin of that particular preference is biological since evolution mostly change biological trait. On the other hand, from evolution perspective, the reason that a particular biological trait is more likely to survive, is how fit the trait with environment. In short, there is a component of nurtural origin too.

btw, evolution approach is usable to analyze complex preferences (such as why some people tolerate more uncertainty or what kind of condition induced toleration of uncertainty) when we don't know the cause-effect relationship of origin of preference.

At the end, it doesn't really make sense to make distinction between natural (biological) origin of preference and nurtural (non-biological) origin of preference is not that important since they influence each other. Exhanging level of abstraction (from quark to neural network to physical movement) is as best a mental exercise. Nevertheless, it's satisfy my need to see the world in black and white, buahahaha :-).

The following are specific preferences whose origin is quite well defined:
1. Food preferences are very biological. Although the exact biological mechanism of food preferences may not be fully known, but there is no doubt that hormone is very influential in shaping food preferences and food regulation.
2. Drugs (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and the so called drugs like cannabis and LSD, cocaine and amphetamines, morphine and heroine, and benzodiazepines [valium]) preferences are surprisingly a balanced mix of biological and non-biological origin..
3. Sexual preferences are biological. But sexual fetishes are both biological and non-biological.
4. Mating preferences, mostly derived using evolutionary psychology, is mostly biological. This biological cause is inferred from the consistency of mating preferences across cultures, even in isolated societies.

For complex or high level preferences such as preference in ideology, see the witty but not exactly comprehensive version of origin of preference.

Leave a comment of what you would like me to expand further.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tool to be an informed voter

Commenting on The Future of Voting from Dilbert Blog, I'd like to talk about Scott's suggestion for making voters more informed. He suggested a website that summarized arguments of issues. The summarization is structured so that points and counterpoints can be added easily with links to proper sources or evidences. He also suggested a ranking system so that the better arguments are more visible.

I have thought about creating a website implementing such tool ever since I have difficulty following arguments in a mailing list about evolution. Too bad I don't have that much leisure time anymore to play with various projects. But I did find some things I'd like to share:

1. Many people already thought about such tool, one even show a prototype on issue of abortion. But I cannot find it anymore, sorry..

2. One major problem with the existing tools is how to assimilate all existing information in a glance, or even assimilating only relevant information in a glance.

3. Presenting relevant information is difficult. Because stating/coding the request of we consider relevant, is complicated. It's complicated because either:
a. we must know the structure of relevancy in the issue, which automatically means that we already know a great deal about relationship between arguments on this issue, which defeat the purpose of having this tool in the first place.
b. we give relevant keyword or state the relationship between relevant keyword and pieces of arguments we're trying to retrieve. But this result might not be what the coder intended.

4. The problem of point 2 is also related to difficulty in coding arguments into the tool. Relationship between various points and arguments must be coded well to increase tool performance in displaying relevant arguments, and it's difficult to code it well. Additionaly, increasing complexity of arguments will greatly increase coding effort required, because we need to verify that the new argument:
a. has not been coded yet.
b. does not create inconsistency.

5. The study of knowledge representation is useful, but not that useful for this project. It's not that useful because many study of practical use in knowledge representation are on implementation of computer's knowledge representation only. Study on human's knowledge representation - which might give hints on how to make coding information into tool easy or how to make retrieving information from tool easy - is still limited.

btw, for point 3b, I think it's plausible to use google search result to generate list of related relevancy from relevant keyword we entered, where the list will be used to find the relevant arguments instead of using the keyword we entered. Or we can just google the tool's database (I'm serious).

Or we can just google the internet since google try to optimize it's search engine to analyze websites in the world (read: the aggregate of all human knowledge) to generate relevant result. (I'm also not joking here)

In anyway, I bet people working for google know a lot about this things. It's my dream to work for google. :-)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A case of social engineering in collectivist society

In a mailing list I joined (subcription is by other member's reference only, sorry), there is an article about meatless day. The poster persuades readers to observe this day, while offering them a reminder service. In short, she asked people's cell phone number and email address so she can remind them of meatless day.

You probably ask, "who would give away his email address or cell number to such a stupid request? Don't people have any common sense?". The answer is "it depends on the community's culture". In community with high collectivism, giving away such information still fit the so called common sense. On the other hand, in a more individualistic community there is more concern on "why you need to know" and "mind your own business" thus such request is unlikely to be responded.

Regardless of whether she had any bad intention, such as to sell contact numbers to spammer and telemarketers, this is an example of social engineering.

I accidentally separated a stray cat from it's mother

A couple of days ago, a small young cat entered my work place. Since my work place is disorganized and very dirty, noone really think that the cat should be removed. In addition, since I set an example of not bothering the cat, my subordinates did not really dare to do anything to this cat.

Thus it can freely roam at all over the place, meowing pitifully with its weak sounds. It seemed to be looking for it's mother, which was another reason I let it stay.

After a couple of days, the cat start becoming a nuisance with it's constant meowing. I hinted to my subordinates that the cat should be removed. They started aggresively hunt the cat, but alas, the cat is already familiar to this area thus can always escape.

Yesterday evening, while closing the place I work at, a cat pass in front of me while meowing. It seems to be looking for something. Such behavior is unusual for cats living around this place. I put two and two together, and speculate that this new cat must be it's mother. Too bad the young cat is locked inside..

Today, we are finally able to capture the cat and kick it out of the street.

I am wondering, if I should have kicked it outside from the beginning so that it can meet his mother. Now, it might never meet it's mother anymore..

Anyway, I will post a photo of this young cat later, this terminal does not have the necessary equipment..

Friday, November 10, 2006

On Scott's mind 1: Finding causality

I just read "On the origin of preference" which extended the arguments in comment section of Econ101: Preference, questioning the origin of preference. Check out their blogs! His writing about Indonesia is consistently of high quality.

Using the question of "what is the origin of preference", I will show you how Scott Adams preference influences his approach to this question. :-)

Due to his obsession with occam's razor, he will try to find the simplest explanation on the origin of preference. The wittier it is, the more likely he will choose that explanation. He will also use evolution argument if possible since "survival of the fittest" is arguably a robust and flexible argument, that is evolution argument can support anything as long as you can explain how this anything gives human more chance to successfully reproduce. If the explanation is mocking humanity, it will be considered better.

Also consider that "What is the origin of preference" is open to various interpretation, where one of the interpretation might be answerable in a concise and witty manner.

Considering all of the above, I think he will answer that the origin of preference is cognitive dissonance. Here is how he might argue:

Given that we are allowed to twist the meaning of "preference" a bit, there is no constraint on whether preference influence decision or decision influence preference. Hell, we can even ignore the fact that cognitive dissonance has a complicated relationship with preference. Given this latitude, we can say that cognitive dissonance causes people to prefer anything they did. If the same person did an opposite thing, he would prefer the opposite thing too.

Also consider preference seems to change over time and events. If things happened and someone was forced to do things they didn't prefer, they would slowly have a preference at doing that things.

This kind of answer indignify humanity, which is something scott likes to do.

This answer also has an evolutionary argument component. Note that people whose cognitive dissonance does not change their preference, are more likely to die of boredom because they do things they don't prefer. If they die of boredom, they have less chance to reproduce. On the other hand, people whose cognitive dissonance changes their preference, will have more chance to reproduce since they are less likely to die of boredom.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A case of unclear road signs

As an example of my previous post on driving tips, I'll talk about a intersection I go through daily.

This intersection is big and crowded. The one way road I usually ride to reach this intersection has 3 lanes. Next to this road is a 2 lanes road that become a bridge when reaching the intersection. Next to it is another one way road with 2 lanes, going the opposite direction from the first road. Since the second road described above become a bridge when reaching the intersection, it's possible to do a U turn from the first road, going under the second road, to the third road. So there are 3 roads next to each other at one side of the intersection, out of 4 sides.

The roads position on the opposite side of the intersection mirrors the 3 roads position above.

The left and right side of the intersection (from the orientation when I reach this intersection) each has 2 one way roads, with 3 lanes each.

Now, the road I ride to reach this intersection has two traffic lights. The first one indicating the rule for going straight, the second one indicating the rule for turning right (turning right, not doing U turn). There is a police station under the bridge road from the opposite side of the intersection.

The big question is, can I do a U turn disregarding the traffic light? Consider some additional facts. Polices sometime exist in that station, sometime don't. When they exist, they always never look at the direction I come from. When they don't exist, sometime a few cars will do U turns when the light is read, sometime they don't. Consider also that the roads perpendicular to the road I come from, will be forced to use 2 lanes (instead of 3 lanes) if cars coming from the road I travel force a U turn, disregarding traffic light.

btw, I hope that bad grade I got from a course I insisted to take, really worth it.. since I took that class to improve my description skill..

Anyway, given the above conditions, is it allowed to do a U turn disregarding traffic light? It turns out that such U turn is allowed even though the intersection is crowded and the U turn will disrupt the path perpendicular to the road I travelled. Strange isn't it?

This blog passes the color blind test

The reason I stop using excessive coloring in my blog is to ensure it is still readable and navigable by color blind people of all type. Since in the worst case color blind people can only see brightness differences, I set my background to a darker color and writing to a lighter color. And then I use this site to see how is my blog viewed by people with various type of color blindness.

And here is the new coloring of my blog.

Note: All the fonts are sizable to accomodate visually impaired people. But I'm not sure whether blogspot is optimized for the hearing impaired..

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On "dilbert" label

One of the few persons whose blog I subscribed to is Scott Adams'. He is the creator of Dilbert comic which is a satirical comic on corporate management. His view of corporate management can be summarized in 2 books: The Dilbert Principle and Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook.

His blog made me realize that Scott's mind is very similar to one of my best friend. Both of them able to entertain possible but extremely satirical yet simple hypothesis. Their view on issues such as free will, religion, democracy, morality, ethics, and human relationships, are very similar, both in their arguments and sarcastic tone. Their differences are only what they choose to believe.

For example let's look what I can infer from his latest blog "The Stuff in My Head" alone.

They are both believer of indoctrination effectiveness, not necessarily by the government, but also by institution and corporation. Therefore they believe democracy is only an illusion. And if I may add, a necessary illusion especially in countries whose power distance cultural dimension is low. This is an issue of cross-cultural psychology which deserves a new blog post.

Anyway, since they don't have much compelling desire to dignify their own existence - as indicated by how readily the make fun of themselves and humans -, they are very tolerant on considering different hypothesis that might ridiculed themselves. Semantic aside - which is impossible to set aside but let's continue for the sake of discussion -, they don't believe they have free will.

They also have a kind of resentment towards people in general.. well not exactly resentment but more like a sense of hopelessness at human in general. They also feel this strange combination of resentment and sympathy to people who have high unwaranteed self-esteem. They have this strange mixed feelings because they believe such people are inevitable yet they feel this itch when such mistakes left uncorrected. But they might finally sort that feeling out, it's difficult to tell.

..when Scott Adams die, I bet my friend can write his blog on behalf of him and no one will ever know :-) I will periodically talk about Scott's line of thinking based on my understanding of my friend.

Anyway, all posts about Scott Adams and Dilbert will be labeled "dilbert". And since almost all "dilbert" related posts will interest slashdot audience, they were likely to be labeled "slashdot" too.

What this blog is

I try to find an effective but scalable category/label for my blogs. I expect my blogs to have many overlapping categories thus too many ad hoc categories will create way too many labels with questionable effectiveness. Therefore I must plan the category/label-ing a bit before commiting myself to a category scheme.

Another problem is my insistment on making labels a consistent characteristic of posts. In other words posts of the same label should have similar topic, depth, tone, prerequisites knowledge, etc. The purpose is obvious, to maximize readers experience such that they can read only what they want and like by reading/feeding from labels they choose.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

On "cross-cultural psychology and economy" label

First I will talk about cross-cultural psychology.

Understanding other culture is very very difficult. The following story will illustrate it.

Back in university, I took a course in cross-cultural psychology. After around 3 months, we had a cultural sensitivity training. We role-played into being 2 groups, a country of collectivist and individualist. Each of our group were given a purpose we must negotiate on, given each of our country condition. We may negotiate in any way we like. However, our behavior while negotiating must follow the cultural characteristic of our assigned country.

The students were disproportionaly American, so playing individualist roles are easy. But we (well, most of us.. :-p) really sucks in playing collectivist roles. The students who are into collectivist roles do not establish enough rapport, communicate too directly without using available context, always monetize the negotiation terms, too confrontative, etc. In short, they fail in almost every aspects, even the supposedly easy behavior aspect of not using eye contact too much.

And these total failures still happened after months of studying the theory of cross-cultural psychology!

btw, talking about eye contact, this one Swedish woman in the collectivist group has one of the most beatiful wide eye I have ever seen. I kind of regretted not talking to you much. I wonder if you will ever read my blog.. Drop me a note please.

Back to topic.
You might argue that even if emulating people of other culture is difficult, understanding them is easy. So the question is, is it really easy?

I will answer with another story.

Once on a holiday I returned to Indonesia. Obviously I meet up with my old friends. We have a lunch in a mall talking nothing about everything. We were talking for at least 3 hours when finally we start talking about religion. We talked about different denomination of a religion. We talked, talked, and talked when suddenly a realization hit me.

Well, the realization is more like sinking instead of hitting me. Although I did suddenly realize it, it was the conversations that slowly showed me my realization is really accurate.

The realization is that I had been acting very confrontative, unlike the me in the past who were more deferential. I had been living in US for so long that I changed, and somehow I do not realized I changed despite of all cross-cultural training I had. It was very strange to hear my friends talking very deferentially, especially after thinking that I used to be like that.

Now, if somehow I was changed into being more individualist without knowing, it can means that I don't really know the characteristic of being individualist.

Considering the difficulty of appreciating and understanding cultural differences, I try to share what I know and experienced, hoping that it can help you to be more sensitive. Additionally, feedbacks from you will also enhanced my understanding of the culture I live in. So please feel free to give feedback.

In matters of cross-cultural economy, people of different culture have different values, which in turn cause them to act differently while being economic agents. Therefore economic discussion should consider the culture of the agents.


All blog entries described above will be labeled "cross-cultural psychology and economy".

A quote from "Virgin": "Saya Masih Perawan".

The intended readers of this post are liberals. You have been warned.

I had just turned on my tv and saw the last minutes of the movie "Virgin" (2004), made in Indonesia. It's the first time I see this movie.

The movie title's alone is enough to cause controversy in Indonesia, a country with the largest moslem population in the world. The content is said to be even more controversial (
due to it's vulgar depiction of sex and ..cursing. Many groups deemed it immoral enough that it was pulled from circulation within 2 weeks (correct me if I'm wrong).

Anyway, I'm particularly interested in the last scenes of this movie. A high school girl is standing on a platform talking about something (I didn't pay attention). Many people such as fellow students and some adults watch her. After she finish talking, she pause. But everybody seems waiting her to say something. Finally, after an undramatic moment of pause, the girl said "Saya masih perawan" (I'm still virgin). Hearing that, everybody cheers. They hug her. They congratulate her. She seems happy.

Depending on your cultural background, you might find the above scenes to be disturbing. But if you find my comment to be the one that is disturbing instead, stop reading. This is a post for a specific kind of audience.


The glorification of virginity in this movie is so extreme that it feels very ..comical(?). I'm not saying that virginity is worthless, but it's not easy to imagine yourself feeling happy and congratulating someone for being able to stay virgin. It's very.. surreal, like you're living in an alternate world where everybody still look the same, but they are actually different.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Driving tips

These tips are indentified from my experience of driving in Jakarta. They may or may not apply in you area of residence, so adopt accordingly. For driving guidelines, see this.


1. When in doubt whether you can ignore a red light, ask a police officer if present, or people on the street. Do not be pressured to violate the red light by honks behind you.

2. If your machine die in the middle of road, do not panic. Ignore all the honking. You can handle your problem faster if you're calm.

3. If the car in front of you has manual transmission and the driver almost never step on brake in a traffic jam, then she is a good driver. Stay behind her since her car is less likely to suddenly stop without warning.

4. Before turning or changing lane, try to remember the position and movement of other cars behind you. Because once you change your orientation, some cars will enter your blindspot area.

5. If you're not sure when to do the dreaded U turn with all those cars moving so fast, slowly but steadily do the turn. If you move far enough, one of that moving fast car will chicken out and give you the lane.

6. When in doubt, honks twice lightly, each no more than half second. Honking is not necessarily mean you're angry. It may be use to warn others of your position or even to thank them. Honking twice lightly is rarely misunderstood as a declaration of anger.

7. Open the window and wave your hand if you want to do an extreme change of lane. Afterwards, show other drivers a thumbs up to thank them.

8. If you don't want to deaccelerate and let other car enter your lane, honks and turn on you front light briefly. WARNING: In some countries, turning on your front light briefly means the opposite, that is you let others to enter your lane.

9. When road signs are not clear enough (like whether you can turn left disregarding red light) but other drivers (more than 2 drivers) still do it, follow the herd without hesitation. The key is without hesitation! Hesitation gives impression that you're not sure of your innocence thus the police will eat you.

10. When road signs contradicts each other, you are not automatically protected if you pick the wrong one, especially if the contradiction is not..100%. You will know when you see it. Anyway, you should ask people nearby of what to do. If noone around, you must look at the bigger picture and try to guess the intention of the road sign's creator. It is not difficult if you have assimilated the "culture" of driving in that area. Good luck!

11. Point 9 and 10 might depends on the present of police officer. Whether that's true or not, you might never know for the rest of your life. What's important is, what you learn yesterday might not apply today due to police officer's presence. So, especially after facing point 10, you must ask others in your office - who are more experienced in that area - whether you can actually do.. that.

12. In massive trafic jam, rules will almost always be flexible. A police officer will tolerate or even allow you to break any rule, as long as you do not make the jam worse.

13. Public transportation vehicles are notorious for sudden turning and stopping. Be careful near them.

14. When asking for direction, ask more than one person since you might meet someone who try to be helpful although he doesn't really know. Additionally, although you don't have to, you should step down from your car to let them feel respected. Note: I know, it's kind of strange, but that's the way many "low class" indonesian's feel.

15. The orientation and position of road name sign alone, do not consistently indicate which name belong to which street (where as in US for example, a road name sign will be faced in paralel with the length of the street, on the side of that road.). Although road name sign in Indonesia is rather inconsistent, it tends to be put perpendicularly to the length of the street.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Driving framework

The last couple of days I have been tutoring my brother on the art of driving. Since I failed to find any decent tips of driving in the internet, I was forced to make the tips up and create guideline along the way. Now I want to share those. In this post, I'll talk about guideline first.

Without further ado, here it is:

There are 3 components of driving environment: static, dynamic, and context dependent components. Static components is road. Dynamic components are everything that can change such as cars and pedestrians. Context dependent components are everything that depends on the situation..

If you are not familiar with the static component of an area, be cautious. You may assume that the static components always follow certain guidelines, such as a dead end will be marked however rudiment the mark is. But remember that some guidelines may not be reliable, for example a lack of continuous line in a wide road of a road pairs, do not imply a one way road. So again, be cautious.

At night, extra caution is necessary. What seems to be a smooth well-paved road may be damaged somewhere in the middle. Follow the tail of another car if available. If the driver in front is familiar with that road, all is well. If she doesn't , let her eat that damaged road or road bump so you can avoid them.

It goes without saying that you shouldn't pass another car on unfamiliar road at night. An unexpected road bump while passing another car might fly you and your car to heaven.

Back to theory, the dynamic component is the result of human interactions such as drivers and pedestrian. To account for dynamic component, you must consider not only human uncertainty, but also physical limitation.

In considering human uncertainty, be prepared that a pedestrian might suddenly step back in the middle of a road while crossing (I was in a taxi who hit such road crosser..). Also be prepared that a driver might decide to suddenly take a left turn, or right turn, or even suddenly stop. These things happen.

Luckily such erratic behaviors may be made sense by.. the static component! For a driver to suddenly turn left, most likely there is a road going left. For a driver to suddenly stop, most likely there is a change of road up there or there is an intersection. So, if you know in advance what the road will be up there, anticipate other drivers behavior by, for example, always slow down at intersection.

However unexpected a driver is, a car cannot suddenly stop immediately to halt or suddenly reach a certain speed or suddenly turns, because of physical limitation. Physical limitation are engine power per weight and momentum per breaks, which in turn define how fast can a car accelerate and deaccelerate. For example, due to engine power per weight, you know you have the time to safely move to the front of a huge truck since it can't possibly accelerate fast enough to hit you. On the other hand, because of momentum per breaks, you know you can't take a lane because that particular car cannot possibly stop in time.

If ability to measure such effect is sharpen, you will be able to see more opening while driving and accurately assess potential danger.

The third component, which is context dependent component, depends on the area. This component is very interesting because it's a complex adaptive system where the agents have collectivist culture (who are more sensitive to high context communication), but miraculously manage to avoid fatal traffic jam (local minima) and exchange role flawlessly while being a member of an arbitrary group (formed around congestion centers). In other words, the driving environment in Indonesia is analogous a collectivist society which limit is pushed to the extreme without breaking.

I might blog about it in the future.

Anyway, in practice, context dependent component basically requires you to observe and learn interaction between cars and pedestrians. Try to experience different situations so you finally know for certain: when you can finally do the difficult U turn with all that cars moving so fast and somehow that speeding car know that he is the one who should stop, or when you deserved that new lane without pissing people of in a traffic jam. Once you know such moments, congratulations! You have been successfuly assimilated into the system.

Afterward, you can slowly push the limit to your advantage without disrupting the system..

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Decision to greet in collectivist society

I pity the job a security officer not because of his low salary or long hours, but because of the constant self-humiliation he often inflicts on himself. Allow me to elaborate what I mean by self-humiliation.

Greeting exchanges between people and security officers are common. To ensure a flawless exchange of greeting, a security officer must first watch the other party's body language indicating an intention to greet. Since his reaction may not be fast enough, he must do the motion of greeting in advance to easily coincide his own greeting with the other's greeting. Everybody won't feel awkward and continue their life..

The problem is not everybody want to greet a security officer. Even if they want, they might be too busy or tired to greet. Additionally, their distance and position might be too far or restricted. Another possibility is that they thought the security officer does not want to greet thus they don't want to risk greeting without reciprocation. Consequently, in many situations, people might decide to not greet and a security officer must correctly identify their decisions.

If he mistakenly think the other wants to greet - and he starts the motion of greeting to make the greeting coincide -, he will feel humiliated since his greeting will not be reciprocated. Meanwhile, if he mistakenly think that the other doesn't want to greet, he will not be able to coincide their greeting exchange on time thus humiliate the other. As the consequence, the other might not want to greet him in the future.

So, to be a perfect corteous security officer, he must always does the greeting motion in advance, regardless of risks that other does not reciprocate.

This is a big matter in a collectivist culture since unreciprocated greeting by a person of middle status will lead to humiliation. Anyway, unreciprocated greeting with a person of higher status is considered normal.

*Updated: Spelling, grammars, and structure*