Friday, March 27, 2015

Cultural divides and polite behaviour

This really was the last straw and yet R pointed out to me a different example just today on a tram.

Some time were going to Victoria Street in Richmond by tram. Almost unconsciously I noticed as I went to climb onto the tram, two older Asian born women managed to get in front of me from behind where I was standing to let people off the tram. I kind of noticed it, but took little notice. I must have noticed it a little as I remembered it when the same thing happened again when we were again catching the tram to Victoria Street. One older Asian born woman pushed right past me to get on the tram in front of me and R noticed and put his arm up to the side of tram behind me to stop her companion doing the same. First onto the tram grabbed the prime seat, of course.

This is not nice and polite behaviour.

I meant to have some toast after my cereal before I went into town, but I forgot. Somehow a McDonalds cheeseburger seemed to be the perfect snack. I walked in and at two registers there were two queues. Naturally I joined the shorter queue and as the lass asked me what I wanted, a woman from the adjacent queue accused me of queue jumping. I turned back to look at the adjacent queue and it had disintegrated, with the accusing woman standing midway between where I was and where the longer queue was. I am confident I did nothing wrong, but I was served before a person who had been waiting longer than I had.

I have noticed this before and R clarified my my thoughts. He mentioned about the Asian woman in Moslem dress sitting in the middle of two seats on a tram. Yes, I recall, they do that. It discourages anyone to sit on the same seat, as you have to either ask or at least indicate an intention to sit on the seats, whatever side of the person you.

The last straw? On the ferry returning from Manly R was sitting up front where I had been but I don't like sitting in the sun and had moved to the side of the ferry and sat on the long bench seat. One Asian lass kindly moved a little to give me some space. The bench seat were quite full and as the ferry approached docked at the Quay, everyone stood ready to disembark, myself included. The walkway was now blocked with people standing. An Asian guy pushed past me and his female companion was about to follow him. It was so blatant I couldn't let it go and challenged him and he apologised and indicated for me to go first. I said it doesn't matter, which it didn't to me. What mattered was the rudeness of what he did. I recounted what happened to R and described the guy and R said he was at the front of the boat and standing right in front of people to take photos, somewhat invading their space never mind blocking their views. 

In the two cases of older Asian born women, I would suggest it really is a cultural matter. It is how they do things in their home country. While I will prevent them from doing it in front of me again, it is probably too late for them to learn that it is not the Australian way. I am not sure how people can not observe how things work and follow suit, in whatever country they might be. We are the worst in the world if we don't show cultural sensitivity when we are overseas.

My incident in town at McDonalds would be solved by some sort of queuing system so that first there gets served first. Duh, it is so obvious.

The Moslem woman on the tram who did not want to share her seat?  Perhaps a cultural difference, but as she was young, she had better quickly learn polite behaviour. Two seats are for two people.

But the guy in Sydney. This one puzzles me. He spoke English well, was well dressed. Apart from his pushing past the queue, he seemed respectful and polite. Odd.

37 comments:

  1. It's here as well... I call it Machine Culture. Being courteous to a machine isn't necessary, nor do you have to consider their feelings or how one interacts with machines. We're so accustomed to pushing a button, demanding what we want and getting it (almost) immediately that we apply that attitude to human interaction as well. Of course there are cultural differences, but 'when in Rome' and all that.

    We aren't really 'real' to one another too much of the time, which makes it easier to be an arshloch, as if it really needs to be easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacqueline, there may well be something in what you say. So often people just don't realise the impact of their actions or not noticing things. If it is a machine, it doesn't matter. If it is human, it does.

      Delete
  2. There is a young wardsman at the hospital - a very big young man from much gym work - who barges first into the hospital lifts no matter where he was in the 'queue' and even as other people are still trying to depart the lift. No manners whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victor, do you think he realises what he is doing, or just doesn't care?

      Delete
    2. I don't think he cares.

      Delete
  3. I think you are right and where the Asian people are concerned it is cultural. And probably not something which ever occurs to them.
    The two seat caper is something which annoys me. On snarky days I make a point of sitting beside them even when there are other seats. And putting your briefcase/handbag/backpack on the seat counts. Unless you have paid for an extra seat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, had I have been staying on the tram longer, I may well have done that. Bags on seats are another way to ward off someone wanting a seat. Once I was so cross with a young guy on tram wearing sunglasses who in spite of me clearly wanting to sit down while he was sprawled over two seats, I had to say something. Turned out he was fast asleep.

      Delete
  4. Andrew, definitely you are right. Cultural difference is one problem but to be a well-behaved is the second one..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia, generally it is all about basic politeness, but that does vary from one country to another.

      Delete
  5. Whats happened to good old fashioned manners.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what is really about Allan.

      Delete
  6. I worked in Sydney for years the CBD was alway full of people in a hurry myself included but now life is more relaxed, I'm no longer in a hurry I'm much nicer to others maybe they were just stressed out but some people are just plain rude.
    Merle............

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merle, I do really get what you are saying. I am thinking of my drive home from work.

      Delete
  7. I don't get ruffled feathers often, but manners are a must. I would have to say something to that women on the tram, or deliberately have to sit beside her, if she would move then I would sit at the side half on the seat and half off.
    Maccas, some people do have a cheek. We wouldn't have long queues like over your way.
    Asians seem to push their way into most things to get what they want...well a lot of them do and we don't have as many here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WA, I really dislike their take over attitude. By what she did on the double seat on the tram, I may judge Moslem people by her behaviour. I don't, but some might.

      It wasn't a long queue at Maccas, but two short queues, yet still it went so wrong.

      I should think there are now many Asian students in Hobart. They have certainly livened up Melbourne streets in the evening. I don't have issues with them at all.

      Delete
  8. I've noticed the same with Asians, they're a pushy bunch. Mostly I don't care, I'll stand back and wait rather than be crushed in the rush.
    it amuses me though, on days when I don't wear a hat, so my grey hair shows, how many people stand back and allow me to board the bus first. it's great because then I get that slightly lower front seat, but I sit well to one side so as to leave room for another person.
    In supermarket queues, the Asians usually wait in line, but some rush off to the express lanes, but at Central Market, near closing time, when things get marked down for quick sales, watch out. Stand back or get trampled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, that is so interesting about you not wearing a hat, but my advice is don't sit at the front of the bus lest you may have to give up your seat to an old person. I would never complain about a bun fight at market closing time.

      Delete
    2. I always sit at the front if I can, that seat is lower, so I can brace my back against the seat while still having my feet on the floor. I have my ID to show that I am an old person, also those seats are for disabled as well as elderly, with my back trouble I feel entitled. On my good days, and if the bus is overly crowded, I have given up that seat for people with walker frames or very elderly passengers.

      Delete
  9. I grew up in Australia so am accustomed to waiting my turn. I get annoyed when people jump the queue, especially in the bus line. When I am in Asia or Latin America, I barge and I jostle but, sadly, am no match for the locals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ad Rad, you are an Australian who grew up in Australia. Lordy, I am one of those too. I really can't do what you describe when I am overseas, but I do keep my sense of justice and the right thing to do.

      Delete
  10. I think that it is a cultural thing Andrew, but it does drive me insane (it doesn't take much). Strangely, we found the same habit when we were in Malta last year, which otherwise is quite anglo saxon. The locals made a mad dash to get on the bus as soon as the doors open.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craig, I should think where you live, everything is ever so polite. Oh, the Maltese, we knew one once. Nice but so crazy. Not something good to recall given he died from HIV.

      Delete
    2. I was born in Malta actually Andrew... but to British parents as my Dad was stationed there when I was born. The driving there is nothing short of obscene. We enjoyed quite a lavish dinner one evening on a restaurant balcony and in 120 minutes witnessed three accidents and one punch up. Wonderful entertainment.

      Delete
    3. Craig, I can well imagine. The UK and Maltese connection has always interested me. I doubt it was seen as a hardship posting.

      Delete
  11. Craig's got it - queueing (note that is the only word in the English language with five consecutive vowels - may help if you go to pub quizzes) is a curiously English custom that, of course, was exported to the Empire. Having lived in The Netherlands for several years and travelled through Europe I can say the Continentals have no idea about queueing or, indeed, let them off first. With shops, for another example, I've often been pushed back into the shop by eager customers who simply don't have the intelligence to realise that if they let me leave before they enter then there will, by definition, be more room for them in the shop. I could go on but my principle nowadays (as it always has been when driving) is that everyone around or near me is stupid, ignorant and/or totally lacking politeness and, while it shouldn't be up to me to make allowances for this, it does come down to self-preservation. If someone really pisses me off with bad or impolite behaviour then I can usually find some way to subtly get back at them, though that's almost always for my satisfaction more than their discomfiture because that sort of person cannot, ...(fill in the blanks). On public transport I usually find a non-collapsible umbrella and/or a heavy briefcase or backpack can be quite effective in curbing bad manners or 'accidentally' punishing them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chris, a new trivia fact for me. My experience in Germany and Austria were not as you describe. In both countries everything was so orderly and the service in the tourist cafe in Amsterdam was so friendly. I agree with you about driving. Just shoot them.

      R is better at me at shoving people who stand at tram doors and don't get off, but I did recently give someone a decently hard brush past as I left a tram.

      Delete
    2. Well done to R, I had one today with (OK, I'll say it) an Asian woman of what one might say were ample proportions pushing onto a tram as I and several others were trying to get off. So I just shifted right and, with weight and gravity on my side, stood breast-to-breast with the, er, person, and pushed her back off the steps. It's a new trick I'll have to use whenever necessary, no more of the 'polite Anglo-Saxon' giving way in these situations.
      And too many of them are tourists who seem to think they have the right to push, shove and generally impede us locals going about our lawful business.

      Delete
    3. Chris, well done you. Are they tourists? I wrote this post some time ago before publishing it and I've had some thoughts since. I reckon the women I have issues are local Indo Chinese who live in Richmond. Family re-union imported, I expect, who are too old to adjust to living in a different country.

      Delete
  12. ooh, pet hate. I will call people on it and put them in their place. I have no patience for rude, pushy, ill mannered folk. I don't care where theyr'e from.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get it right Fen, and not call out the wrong person like I was at Maccas. Of course it doesn't matter where they come from, but there seems to be a build up in my experiences.

      Delete
    2. I think I do, I only do it when it's blatantly obvious, like getting into a lift before people get off.

      Delete
  13. I have to stand in queues. I love to eat cheese burger for breakfast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WW, you make me feel quite saintly as I chomping my way through cereal for breakfast.

      Delete
  14. Loud pushy people are the worst, but as they say it takes all types to make the world interesting :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, gives me something to whinge about.

      Delete
    2. Don't mind the 'takes all types' bit - that is perfectly correct, but a modicum of manners as I'm trying to get my aching legs to get me off a high-floor tram is much appreciated.

      Delete
    3. Chris, I agree about takes all types point, and the cultural differences, but I would have thought just basic manners are world wide.

      Delete