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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Annoying Habits!

There's an Asian country (NOT the one I'm currently living in) that is obsessed with the rest of the world's perception of it.  Historically, it has taken great pains to secure athletic events and promote its brand to the global community.  Despite these efforts and to its citizens' frustration, the perception of it has probably gotten worse over the years rather than better.  You see, the problem lies with this country using the wrong methodology for improving its image.  Rather than focus on highlighting grand achievements, it should focus on eliminating bad behavior.  This leads to what happened to me the other morning in my $200 a night hotel.

I entered the elevator at 0630 to head down for breakfast.  I was wearing a suit/tie and carrying a briefcase which should have indicated I was a person of some import whether true or not and immune to harrassment.  Anyway, the elevator went down one floor stopping to pick up a young married couple with two children.  Immediately (from their language), I knew they were from the country discussed above.  And immediately, they proceeded to do to me what so many others had done when I lived in said country.  They goaded their children into shouting at/mocking me while having a good laugh about it.  Now, you the reader might think I'm being too sensitive about such a minor incident and you might be right.  However, having experienced many such encounters in that country that often devolved into comments on my 'simian heritage,' I feel entitled to overreact a bit.  Actually, I chose to ignore them till we arrived at the breakfast area.  They seemed to take this personally and tried to catch my attention throughout breakfast.  As a result, I had to leave sooner than I wanted but not before I complained to the hotel staff.  The staff apologized and told me they often have difficulties with individuals from _______.

So, to the people of that country (and you know who you are), I suggest you change your behavior especially when traveling abroad that is, if you want more respect.  Some general rules to follow:

1.  When dealing with other cultures that you might not be familiar with, err on the side of caution.
2.  When unsure of a social situation, it's sometimes better to say nothing than to risk saying the
     wrong thing.
3.  Regardless of culture, most people don't like to be bullied, mocked, or otherwise have their
     serenity disrupted.

Following the above rules will do vastly more for your image than hosting the next 25 Olympic Games!

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