Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The mayor of Shanghai is complaining about its residents who are lounging around the city steets in their pyjamas. It´s bad for the image of Shanghai, he said.
This reminds me of the flea market in front of our house in Sampaloc. Every Wednesday and Saturday, people from remote villages (barrios) come to sell their goods. Some are decent, others in their pyjamas, and there are those who walk around in half-clad bodies. I guess, from where I come, walking around in pyjamas is no big deal. You can wear whatever you want to wear because comfort always comes first. The good thing about this practice is, nobody makes fun of you. You can walk around half-naked, and still have your dignity. I'm talking about men of course! Women don't walk around in half-clad bodies in Sorsogon.
In some cultures, walking around in your pyjamas or half-naked is the ultimate insult. In the northern part of the Philippines, there is a group of people called the Ifugaos. They are well-known for the 8th manmade wonder of the world. The Banaue Rice Terraces.
In Ifugao culture, men always put on a shirt when they talk to each other. Although it is all right for women to walk around in shorts, wearing it to social gatherings like a pre-wedding festival, is definitely inappropriate. It doesn't matter if you're wearing Dolce and Gabbana shorts. It's still a pair of shorts and the host will still be humiliated for your utter disrespect of the occasion.
In Indonesia, one should never hand-over something with his left hand. It´s tantamount to a slap on the face because the left hand is considered the dirty hand. And when you point, better do it with your thumb and never with your other fingers. In the Philippines, some people have the habit of pointing with their lips. LOL
Speaking of pointing and fingers, we all know that showing or giving your middle-finger is reaching the apogee of insults in western societies. It is obscene and is like saying the F-word. In some southern European countries however, they abase you by saying that you are a child of a whore. Meaning, your mother belongs to the lowest caste. A puta.
In India where women are empowered, men never open doors for them. It's a form of insult also. You should also forget about offering your muscled arms to lift or carry heavy bags for a woman. It's simply unacceptable there.
In the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, it is funny to make jokes about their neighboring countries. The more ridiculous the joke, the better. In Africa, it's the highest form of insult. To make fun of other ethnolinguistic groups or what they call as their `neighboring tribes´. In fact, this could lead to an all-out war.
Insults then come in many forms. Some people have mastered the art of it. But I think, it is important to always bear in mind where we´re coming from. After all, our cultural baggage will always dictate what is accepted and unaccepted to us. For what is one man´s meat, could be another man´s poison.
***I wrote this last year around Christmas time, and decided to delete it. I am posting it again. :)
Posted by Droomvla Labels: People.