I will just start by clearing up any confusion might have been caused by the title: it wasn't me who said that!
Not only I can't imagine myself saying such a thing, but also I don't feel that I have the right to do so. It'd feel like someone who lives in a messy house walking into a Hall and criticizing this mis-placed paint and that. Even though that could be true (from an objective point of view), but the rational question in that case would be: "Why Don't you start with cleaning up your own house?!"
For me, and after all, England is a romantic dream coming ture. All the beauty of nature, houses, towns, and people keep astonishing me every time I see more. Maybe I haven't lived here long enough to take all the advantages for granted and start complaining about the relatively few disadvantages...But anyway, I still think of England as an amazingly charming place.
It was a young Scottish doctor who said in a casual conversation: "England is miserable, it is over-crowded. The weather is horrible, and English people are miserable too. I think this has something to do with the weather."
What? I thought to myself. If England is miserable and over-crowded, then what does Scotland look like? Paradise?
I always heard about Scotland, the beauty of its nature and the kindness of its people (Although I haven't seen it myself, to be honest). But that "English is miserable" was the most tempting invitation to visit Scotland I have ever received!
What I am trying to say is how do people think differently of the very same thing. I tried to imagine myself trying to reach any sort of agreement with that guy. It sounds literally impossible.
To me, the reason behind that is our different backgrounds. Imagine two people having an argument about miserable lives of soldiers, with one of them thinking of a corporal, and the other of an admiral. How on earth can they reach an agreement?
For all of that, I think most of conversation's faliure can be attributed to the lack of any common ground. People talking about the same thing from different perspectives can end up very furious with each other in no time. I truely believe that agreeing on simple-abstarct points should be the start of any successful conversation on any controversy, especially with the subject being cultural differences.
You can browse all over Forums and Blogs on the web and you'll find loads of examples of people who have no idea what they and the other have in common. Even worse, many tend to be bad listeners, and then comes misunderstanding, and the worst of all: fixed ideas. No wonder why they call it: "clash of civilizations"
Well, any conclusion? Just try to remember that the same thing might have completely different meanings to different people. End of story