Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Olympic Coping

For the 2008 Olympics, Beijing issued guides instructing its own citizens how to behave -- presumably to avoid presenting an embarrassing image to the world. Now, in anticipation of the 2012 Games, a UK tourism body has issued its own cultural guide. It is ostensibly meant to help Britons be better hosts, but it comes across more like a survival guide detailing how to cope with an onslaught of uncouth overseas visitors. (They're not tryingto be oafs! Such behavior isn't rude where these colonials are from. Ah, the burden of noblesse oblige. LOL.)

Or as the Associated Press put it, "Seeking to improve the sometimes frosty welcome on offer to tourists, VisitBritain issued advice Wednesday on how best to handle foreign visitors."

Some gems quoted in the Daily Mail:
Avoid physical contact when first meeting someone. Be tolerant if Indians at first seem impolite, noisy and impatient. This is partly the result of living in chaotic cities and environments.

Don’t be offended by Argentinian humour, which may mildly attack your clothing or weight

A smiling Japanese person is not necessarily happy. They tend to smile when angry, embarrassed, sad or disappointed.
And the AP:
Brush off coarse jokes from Australians or Argentines.

Canadian tourists are likely to be upset if mistaken for U.S. citizens

Americans won't hesitate to complain when things go wrong.

According to the Daily Mail, the guide (called "Delivering a First Class Welcome") was actually "written by natives of the countries featured who work for VisitBritain." So this isn't necessarily the British perspective of foreigners, per se. In any case, I'm sure the staff had a field day with the caricatures.

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