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9 posts • Page 1 of 1
I went to China last year for a job interview. I took my time when I got there, shaving in the rest room so I would look decent when I met my potential employer. It turns out that was a mistake. Just as I was on my way to get into the immigration line, a whole plane of Pakistanis got in line and I was about half-way through the line. Instead of respecting my place in line, the people started passing me. Everyone crowded against each other.
I hate to be ethnocentric, but the way Americans and lots and lots of other cultures stand in line is superior. It is better if everyone respects the other person's place in line without crowding really close. You have to watch your wallet and your baggage. One guy behind me had the nerve to insist I move faster. I suppose he considered the 24 inches between me and the guy in front of me to be too much. I was trying to get my paperwork, passport, etc. together as I dragged my bag along. That guy had a lot of nerve. I thought about telling him how foolish it was to insist on such a thing when you get to the front just as fast if you let people have some personal space. But on the other hand, I realized he was with a plane full of people who behaved this way, probably from a country that behaved this way. It was normal for him. I let people pass me while I got my stuff together and then moved with the flow. I tried to be chill about it. It's their culture. Still I think personal space is better, especially when you are traveling and at a higher risk of being pick-pocketed than normal.
I had a conversation with a friendly Pakistani I met in line who was studying medicine in China. He even bought my breakfast. I gave him advice about proposing and dealing with future in-laws. He assured me Pakistanis are normally better-behaved in line, but their flight was delayed and he was in a hurry.
Later, I went to Malaysia. I was at a hotel with my kids, getting them drinks from a buffet that had a wide variety of food. (Suprisingly, just about everything tasted lousy in spite of the variety, which was very disappointing. We stayed at a place with really good food since then.) While I was filling up three small glasses, as many as I could hold, a man who appeared to be Indian got really close to me and kept acting like he was going to try to stick his glass in there above mine. To me, this was quite rude. I wondered if that sort of thing was typical in India.
I've had other experiences with Indian-looking folks crowding like that in Malaysia. I realize there are fresh immigrants, there, but I wonder if the lack-of-personal space thing carries on from generation to generation. I haven't noticed ethnic Malays and Chinese doing that sort of thing.
Recently starchild5 posted on another thread about Americans not liking his standing too close to their tables. I wonder if it is a personal space thing.
You are right. There is no such thing called "Personal Space" in India or South Asia...This is a new thing in this culture calling Line and Queue ...basically, India was a agrarian village living culture...There was no queue thingy in Village to do anything with..Its only when the outside invasion came and made everyone to get their IDs, people started queuing for government services...each one had there own Bullock Cart for travel..so need for Passport check or travel abroad was not present..It was a simple living.
People stick closer for things otherwise, if you stand afar, it's considered rude in villages... ..Its community driven with less emphasis on individual space.
Now, The problem with South Asian's is one of Adaptability...They should have adapted to changing conditions of planet earth and learned to give Personal Space..It's a SKILL they should have acquired when they started travelling abroad...just like how South East Asian's being a agrarian society quickly adapted to changing times. You would rarely if ever see a Thai or Filipino doing this ...
That is why South Asian's are not liked by even Cabin Crews...The most preferred customers for cabin crews as passengers are Europeans.
We know how Chinese behave abroad..All agrarian societies are unable to adopt except South East Asian's this quickly ...I know we all were agrarian in some point in time... but the point is how quickly you as a human being is able to adopt to changing times.
I myself avoid around Indian travellers and never go for Visa on arrival counters...but get my Visa in India itself to avoid the long queue...I get crossed, stood in front every time..its normal in India....
Its not racism..Its being smart and learned...Its not that Indians are bad..Its just genetic programming... When you look at a flight board and see any South Asian flight coming..YOU MUST RUN and get your visa stamped before the hordes arrive...
To be honest....Indians are much better compared to Chinese...if you see hordes of Chinese in queue....You should be nowhere near it...They completely do not understand this concept and may even attack back if you try to correct them...
When you go to a foreign country, if you expect them to follow your own countries unwritten rules about personal space, that's an unrealistic expectation. It is still frustrating. I just wonder about a couple of Indians who invaded my personal space in Malaysia, where I don't see Malays doing that, whether they are immigrants or the personal space thing isn't dealt with the same in the Indian community there that has been there for generations.
Still, it is frustrating to stand in line with people who don't give you space if you are used to it. The US has a lot of space per individual when compared to urban India or China.
Turks and Arabs are far too invasive of personal space too.
The study of personal spacing among different groups is Proxemics. You've hit the nail on the head with your initial observation.
I forgot to add...There is Personal Space and then there is ...ohh the place is crowded, people will come and stand near you...so there has to be some understanding between human beings.
Even many Americans/Europeans were standing closer to other tables of every other ethnicities and I doubt they would feel obnoxious in that crowded environment. When I get the table late at night...I get people close to my table, but I don't mind, because of the situation around..if it was not crowded then its understandable to be concerned about the personal space.
As CE mentioned in other thread...Americans are as guilty of being obnoxious and use Personal Space as an excuse but never mind invading their own fellow Americans space, if its suits their purpose.
I think considering CE posts, Both sides are guilty, it depends from individual to individual...
Europeans and Americans will invade your personal space if they are writing a 5 dollar eBook on their incredible adventure in Asia
Or come to you to save Elephants in Asia and donate for their cause or Mormon church trying to convert to their faith....or some random farang taking your videos in pattaya when you talking to a bar girl while he is secretly filming to upload on Jewtube to earn his Adsense dollars
Many bar girls hide their faces when farangs start taking videos in Pattaya..even Thai hooker privacy is not respected because they know it would be put on Jewtube to make few dollars.
Personal Space, Privacy are two different things...if it suits the purpose to make some money online...
Privacy and personal space aren't the same thing, though a violation of personal space can be perceived as an invasion of privacy. Personal space varies by culture. Koreans may feel comfortable having a conversation a bit closer to each other than Americans do. But if I got right up an inch from a Korean man's face and started talking to him like that, he'd probably be uncomfortable.
Small children can violate personal space, and most people don't mind. Normal personal space gets violated on an elevator. That may partly be why conversation stops on a crowded elevator.