No Disrespect

As thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to demand that journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi—who threw his reported size 10s at Lame-Duck-President Bush while shouting “This is a farewell kiss, you dog!”—be let go and hailed for his fitting send-off, I find myself curious about what else is considered disrespectful or rude in countries outside our little United States bubble. Here’s what I found:

Middle East
• Pointing the bottom of your feet at someone or touching them with your shoe is an extreme sign of disrespect (duh).
• Using your left hand to eat, shake or hand an object to someone else is seen as unclean—that hand is reserved for hygiene.
• Stepping back when someone enters your personal space.
• Not standing when older people enter a room, or greeting them before the younger folks.
• Giving the thumbs up is an insult. (Iran)

Latin America
• Blowing your nose in public. (Ecuador and Venezuela)
• Pointing with your index finger. (Venezulea)

• Touching the head, shoulders or back of an older person.
• Neglecting to leave your shoes at the threshold with the toes pointing outside the door.
• Slapping, patting or putting your arm about someone’s shoulders. (China)
• Handing over cash using only one hand or dropping it into someone’s hand is seen as charity, and that is rude.
• Kissing a significant other in front of parents or other elders. (India)
• Turning your fist sideways and slapping the top with an open palm is the equivalent of the finger, as is closing your fist and sticking your thumb between your index and middle fingers. (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia)
• Not covering your mouth when you yawn.
• Using your index finger to tell someone to “come here.” (Japan)
• Putting a business card in your back pocket. (Japan)
• Tipping. (Japan)
• Touching someone’s head (Thailand)

• Shaking hands while wearing gloves.

Australia and New Zealand
• Putting money on the counter rather than in someone’s hand.
• It’s rude for men to sit in the back of a taxi; sit next to the driver.

Are any of these dead wrong (go easy on me, I got them from the Internet late last night!)? Got some to add? Do it!

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