October 20, 2008

Rude behaviour

Recently I read an article in the electronic news paper from Radio Nieuws Wereldomroep, a Dutch news service meant for those abroad.

The article was talking about shame for fellow Dutch people abroad. The person who wrote the article was talking about how she saw dozens of Dutch families returning from their holiday in France, visiting a restaurant where they cut queues, leave their children running around screaming and demolishing the place without correcting them on their behaviour, and how those people produce more decibels wherever they are, without any consideration for other people in their vicinity.

It's an interesting article, because I can kind of relate to the story. However, the story seems to limit itself to behaviour of Dutch people abroad, specifically tourists. And quite frankly, it seems that all foreigners abroad behave rudely on holiday. We all have seen the shows on the English tourists, but the Dutch and Germans are just as bad when it comes to holidays.

In the story the writer seems to indicate that expats generally adapt themselves to their environment. Although I am an expat myself, and have been living in the UK for over 8 years to date, I am not so sure if I consider myself "adapted". The Brits still can get on my nerves from time to time, and I still swear quite badly on occasion. But when I return home to visit my friends and family, I find how rude Dutch people can actually be.

I admit that I surely have adopted some "proper old-English decency" over the years, but most of the differences between how I behave now compared to when I first came to England, I'd like to write down to "growing up".

As such, I would have to say that from my personal point of view, the Dutch in Holland have regressed in their decency. Where, from my point of view, the Dutch used to be just direct and blunt, they now appear rude, intolerant and disrespectful! People no longer walk to each other to ask a question, instead the question has to be shouted from the rooftops! Why is this necessary? Is it really necessary for the rest of the world to know what person A wants to ask person B? My parents raised me to walk up to the person and ask, in an acceptable level of decibels person B my questions. If people are now just too lazy to walk up to the other, why not just pick up your flashy mobile phone and call your counterpart at the other side of the room to ask your question? That way at least I will not be bothered!

Another point is interruptions. Whenever I am having a conversation with someone, it being on the phone or in person, I expect people not to interrupt me or the other person. What's more, is that I expect that the other person does not interrupt his/her conversation to have a discussion with someone else! My brother can be quite bad with this.

Similarly I do not appreciate it when I am in the middle of a story, and the other person interrupts me and starts telling his/her own story. This has happened at work as well, and I am pretty hard on those who do so. Again, this is something I was taught by my parents and I will definitely teach my kids the same!

Another thing I do not appreciate is starting off any response with a very loud mouth when the person feels indignant about what I say or do. As if the number of produced decibels is a measure of success in winning the argument! To give you an example: once I was at home, MY home, standing over the toilet, emptying my bladder, when my brother barged into the bathroom shouting on the top of his lungs "You are disgusting! You should sit down when you pee!!!". We are talking 105 dB here! So I tell him very strictly that he should not act so indignant, and moreover, it is my F-ing house and I do what I want in my own home!!! Now what did he do wrong here? He should have come to me afterwards and suggest that sitting down on the toilet would be a better way of peeing for those and those reasons. Then I would say, fair enough, I will consider that. Now his argument is out of the window because he did not respect the fact it was my own home, and of course, he used decibels to win the argument rather than logical reasoning. Remember David and Goliath? Same thing…

However, I notice it everywhere now. People prefer to communicate in decibels and try to dominate a conversation. People shout, swear and horn in when driving. A few years ago, people even had the rudeness not to let anyone step out of the train, and rushed inside to get a seat! Well, think again idiots! If the passengers leaving don't get a chance to get out, you don't get to have a seat!

By all means, I'm not claiming to be a saint. Far from it! I still have my own quirks and still can spit out some rude language, mostly in traffic. And readers of my blog will undoubtedly know I can react rather indignant, if not outraged with particular situations.

But I think that when the Dutch population can actually learn some decent behaviour from ME, I think it is time to get worried…

Something totally different now:
An interesting discovery has been made recently in the Indian ocean. It appears that an Arabic shipwreck has been found on the bottom of the sea, containing the most valuable marine "treasure" ever. In fact, the quotation marks can be removed because the treasure actually contains many thousands of gold and silver coins, priceless Chinese ceramics and jade artefacts, etc etc.

This article form the BBC gives some more insights in the discovery. As you can see form the pics, the finds are rather astonishing. They also prove that there was trade between the Chinese Tang dynasty, and the middle east way before people originally thought.

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