Chapter: World Guide to Good Manners: How not to Behave Badly Abroad
Read the text, and decide whether the following statements are true or false.
- When an American meets us for the first time, we shake hands. → True
- In many parts of Asia, friends kiss on both cheeks when they meet. → False
- In Mexico, many people think that lunch is a time to relax and socialise. → True
- In India, we should take off our shoes when entering a restaurant. → False
- In Japan, we must present our business cards with both hands. → True
- In Spain, some businesses close in the early afternoon for a couple of hours. → True
Answer the following questions
a. Mention any one difference between the American and the Japanese greetings.
One difference between the American and Japanese greetings is that Americans shake hands while looking the other person in the eyes, while in Japan, people bow to show respect and the depth of the bow depends on how much respect the person has for the other person.
b. What type of clothes should the Muslim women not wear in Muslim countries?
In Muslim countries, Muslim women should not wear clothes that reveal the body.
c. Is your main meal of the day same as that in Britain?
No, my main meal of the day is not the same as that in Britain. In Britain, the main meal of the day is lunch, while in Nepal, the main meal of the day is dinner.
d. In which countries do people prefer discussing business during meals?
In Britain and the United States, people prefer discussing business during meals.
e. When is it necessary to print your business card in the local language?
It is necessary to print your business card in the local language if you are going to a country where your language is not widely spoken.
f. Where does physical distance between the speakers play significant role?
Physical distance between the speakers plays a significant role in many South American and Mexican cultures, where people like to stand very close to the person they are talking to.
Think of one or two examples of good manners for the following contexts in your country.
a. Greetings: When greeting someone in Nepal, it is common to say "namaste," which means "I bow to you," and to press your palms together at the chest in a gesture of respect. It is also a good idea to smile and make eye contact when greeting someone.
b. Clothes: In Nepal, it is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting temples or other religious sites. It is a good idea to cover your shoulders and knees, and to avoid wearing clothing that is too revealing.
c. Food and drink: In Nepal, it is considered polite to wait until everyone has been served before starting to eat, and to eat with your right hand. It is also a good idea to use your utensils appropriately and to eat at a moderate pace.
d. Doing business: In Nepal, it is important to be punctual and to show respect for your business partners. It is a good idea to exchange business cards, and to present them with both hands. It is also a good idea to be prepared and to dress appropriately for business meetings.
What advice about cultural behaviour would you give to someone coming to study in your country?
Here are some pieces of advice that might be useful for someone coming to study in Nepal:
- Respect local customs and traditions: Nepal has a rich and diverse culture, and it is important to show respect for local customs and traditions. This might include things like dressing modestly, removing your shoes when entering someone's home or a temple, and using your right hand for eating and greeting.
- Be open-minded and willing to learn: Nepal is a unique and fascinating country, and there may be many things that are new and unfamiliar to you. It is a good idea to be open-minded and willing to learn about local customs and traditions.
- Communicate clearly and politely: English is not widely spoken in Nepal, so it is a good idea to learn some basic phrases in Nepali and to use body language and gestures to communicate. It is also important to be polite and to use appropriate forms of address when interacting with people.
- Be mindful of social norms and personal space: Nepal has its own social norms and expectations, and it is a good idea to be aware of these and to behave accordingly. For example, it is important to be aware of personal space and to avoid touching people without their consent.
Overall, the most important thing is to be respectful and open-minded, and to try to learn as much as you can about local customs and traditions.
Report the following sentences as in the example below.
a. “You can use my pencil.”
I’m allowed to use her pencil.
b. "Don’t let them enter through this gate.”
They are not permitted to enter through this gate.
- “You can take photographs here.” → I’m allowed to take photographs here.
- “Don’t let them leave the school.” → They are not permitted to leave the school.
- “Let her sit here.” → She is allowed to sit here.
- “You can play here.” → I’m allowed to play here.
- “Don’t let them speak English in Nepali class.” → They are not permitted to speak English in Nepali class.
You are the monitor of your class. Your friend is asking for permission to go out of the class. Have a conversation.
Friend: Hey, can I go out of the class for a minute? I need to use the restroom.
Monitor: Sure. Just be quick and come back as soon as you're done.
Friend: Thanks, I'll be back in a few minutes.
Monitor: No problem. Just make sure you're back before the end of the class.
Friend: Okay, I will. Thanks again.
Your friend asks you to borrow your brand new expensive selfie-stick for two days. You know he/she drops things easily. Have a conversation.
Friend: Hey, can I borrow your selfie-stick for two days? I really need it for a trip I'm taking.
Me: Uh, I'm not sure about that. That selfie-stick is brand new and really expensive. I'm a little worried about lending it to you.
Friend: I promise I'll be careful with it. I just really need it for this trip.
Me: I understand, but I don't know if I'm comfortable lending you something so valuable. You have a tendency to drop things, and I'd hate for anything to happen to it.
Friend: I understand where you're coming from, but I promise I'll be extra careful. I'll even pay you back if anything happens to it.
Me: I appreciate the offer, but I think I'm going to have to say no. I'm sorry, but I just don't feel comfortable lending you something so expensive. I hope you understand.
Friend: Yeah, I understand. I'll see if I can find another option. Thanks for considering it.
Imagine you are at your friend’s birthday party. Your friend is asking you to stay there. You have to ask your parents for permission. Have a conversation between you and your parents.
Me: Hey, Mom and Dad, can I stay at my friend's birthday party for a little longer? We're having a really good time.
Parents: Actually, we were thinking about it, and we don't mind if you stay for another hour or two. Just make sure you come home as soon as the party is over, and be safe.
Me: Wow, thanks so much! I promise I'll be careful and come home as soon as it's over.
Parents: We trust you. Just make sure you have your phone with you and let us know if anything comes up.
Me: I will. Thanks again for letting me stay. I really appreciate it.
Parents: You're welcome. Have fun and be safe.
Suppose you receive the invitation card above, but you will be busy with your own work on Februrary 23, 2018. Compose a letter of apology to Mr. C. P. Mishra and Mrs. K. Regmi explaining the reason why you are unable to attend.
Dear Mr. C. P. Mishra and Mrs. K. Regmi,
I am writing to express my sincerest apologies for not being able to attend the marriage of your daughter Karuna and Kabi on Februrary 23rd 2018.
Unfortunately, I will be busy with work on that day and will not be able to make it to the ceremony. I am deeply sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, and I want to assure you that it is not a lack of appreciation or respect for the occasion.
I wish Karuna and Kabi all the happiness and blessings in their new life together. I hope you can understand my inability to attend and that you will forgive me.