Mind Your Manners

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Author: Sailea Nerid


This month the Tar Valon Times is travelling around the world and we all want you to make a good impression no matter where you go. That’s why we are going to educate you about some rules that you may not know. Do mind your manners!

If you go to Thailand, you should know it’s not accepted to use your fork to put food in your mouth but you should put your meal in the spoon with the fork and then eat it. In the Arab countries you should not eat with your left hand because it’s considered that hand is used to clean yourself when you use the toilet. In China you should burp at the dinner table if you enjoyed the food. There, it’s also considered a very bad luck to flip the fish while you are cooking it. It’s like saying the fisherman’s boat will sink. In France the bread is typically placed directly on the table rather than on a plate, so don’t be too pretentious. On the other hand, If you want to appear "cultured" you shouldn't cut your salad with a knife there. The lettuce leaves are typically folded onto your fork. In Chile people typically don't eat anything with their hands, not even pizza or chips. In South Korea drinks given to you by elders should be accepted with both hands. There you shouldn't start eating until the eldest male at the table does so. If you ever find yourself drinking coffee with Bedouins in the Middle East make sure to shake your cup when you are finished otherwise they will keep pouring you more. In Japan you should never leave your chopsticks upright in the rice because it’s associated with funerals. In some places like Philippines, Cambodia, Korea, Egypt, finishing all the food on your plate signifies to the host that they did not feed you enough. In Tanzania it is considered rude to be on time for dinner. You should be between 15 and 30 minutes late. In Portugal you shouldn't ask for salt and pepper if they are not already on the table. It is considered offensive to the chef's seasoning abilities.

In Argentina people consider the ‘thumbs up’ sign as vulgar and offensive so you better avoid it. They also hit their left palm with their right fist when someone’s idea sounds stupid. In Austria it’s very rude to speak with your hands in your pockets. Do have in mind that Brazilians usually stay quite close to people when they speak with them, so they are not doing it in order to invade your personal space. Chinese are not huge fans of touching, so refrain from hugging, slapping or making any body contact with traditional Chinese people. Whistling and clicking your fingers are also rude for them and so is being boisterous, loud and overly dressed. Also you should present or receive gifts with both your hands. For your information if you do not speak French in France you need to apologize for your lack of language skills. In India you should remove your shoes when you enter someone’s home. This practice is also common for most countries in Europe, unless you are explicitly told you should not remove them. In Japan you should always wrap the gifts you give because the thoughtfulness with which it’s presented is appreciated far more than the value of the gift. You should also not display money publicly (instead use an envelope) and never pour a drink for yourself (wait for someone else to do it instead).

I hope this overview will be helpful and you will know how to behave when going abroad. Good luck!

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