Ethics or custom?

Recently, I came across an article as regards an incident involving a person from India and a Maltese citizen who criticised the way the foreigner was sitting on a bus seat.
A lot has been said about this incident as we are free to express our opinions too.
Without doubt, sitting is a posture whereas the person tends to be relaxed and comfortable. Till now there are no restrictions or protocols of how one have to sit :), but in any case it is quite understood that you should not be a concern to others while suiting yourself. Although in Malta it is now becoming common to be ‘I’m alright and fu*k you Jack’, etiquette should also be considered.
With reference to this incident, there was nothing wrong about the ‘Lotus’ way of sitting, but what if one considers that the hot weather makes everyone sweat, irrelevant from which nation you come from, the probability is that the odour is not that similar of an essential aroma oil and hygiene not so 100%, would the passenger next to occupy the seat will be so happy?
This is not a matter of tradition or custom, but ethics, respect and prudence. Most westerners tend to raise both feet on the table or work desk for a moment of comfort and relaxation, but it is not quite seen on a bus where one would rest his feet on the top of the front seat as most people will consider this gesture as unpolite, rude and insulting.
Different countries have their own culture and custom but it doesn’t mean that such are all accepted amongst them.
For example, a westerner tends to extend his feet in front when sitting on the floor with the probability of resting his back to a wall. If this posture is adapted in Thailand for example and in front a Buddha statue happens to be, it is considered a very bad insult and most often the person is warned and at times fined.
In some Asian countries, tapping on one’s head to express your admiration of someone’s deeds, especially as we do on younger persons, is considered inappropriate as they would think that this means you are expressing to be of a higher status while lowering the other’s.
Europeans tend to love tips during their work in a restaurant, but it is considered rude to tip someone in Japan.
In Europe, especially tourists, light wear including shorts is acceptable in most places also being somehow important, but you are never allowed to enter similar places in the East.
Summoning up, it transpires that this is not a question of culture, tradition, rights, codes or anything else but one’s respect, ethics and being prudent not to offend or being a concern for others.


2 thoughts on “Ethics or custom?

  1. How about when migrants come to your office…they sit on a bench which at times is used by the staff, they take off their shoes, they put them up on the bench, they start playing with their toes and soles of their feet…then they come to you and give you a document with the same hand with which he/she was playing with his/her toes or the soles of their feet…and you have to accept that document whether you like it or not. This took place many a time and then we had to sit on the same bench where the migrant was touching his/her toes or soles of their feet…but if God forbid there is an ngo member who sees you taking the document trying to hold it only between your nails from the far angle of the said document then you are deemed racist! Where does tradition stop and where do ethics begin in such cases?

  2. Thank you for your feedback. You are so right!! more often even the document itself is handed to you like a piece of toilet paper, illegible, torn, stained, smelly and at times with a drawing too!

Comments are closed.