This account utilises autoethnography to explore how the “one-child generation’s” cultural context influences behaviours and character traits, focusing on the first author’s experiences during a 5-month doctoral program application. It examines interactions with the employer, unacquainted individuals, intermediaries, and family, encapsulated in three Episodes, to analyse the personality traits of this generation. The findings reveal that, though deeply rooted in traditional culture, character traits such as risk aversion, caution, and family dependency are not immutable. It highlights the potential for personal transformation through inward growth, proactive external engagement, and the support of families who challenge traditional norms. In terms of subjective meaning, the process involves expanding one’s world perspective outwardly, and it involves inward self-growth and self-establishment for working youth and generates value throughout life. It also provides a profound opportunity to understand and interpret our own cultural imprints. In terms of social interaction, this process vividly captures the emotional fluctuations and the proactive choices and changes demonstrated by individuals in their interactions with different subjects. This research offers valuable insights for individuals grappling with uncertainties and doubts in navigating their life and career paths.


self-narrative, autoethnography, reflective, interaction, PhD in Hospitality and Tourism

Author Bio(s)

Qing Xu is a full-time Hospitality and tourism doctoral student at Taylor’s University, Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. He is also a certified tour guide. His research interests include interactive behaviour, qualitative research methods, tourism experience, slow tourism, and heritage tourism. Please direct correspondence to qing356656@gmail.com.

Kei Wei Chia is a senior lecturer at the School of Hospitality, Tourism & Events, Taylor’s University, Malaysia. He is also the Associate Director of Centre for Research and Innovation in Tourism (CRiT) at Taylor’s University. His current research interests include sustainable tourism and medical tourism. Please direct correspondence to ckeiwei@gmail.com.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




0009-0006-0184-6069; 0000-0002-6216-2772



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