Etiquette, politeness : language

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Etiquette is just another language; just another set of symbols that don’t mean anything on their own. For example, as a filipino-canadian, I could be posing for a picture in London or stretching my triceps in Hong Kong, and someone might think I want to start a fight.

I don’t mean to say that etiquette is irrelevant. I’m saying that, just like any other language, when it comes to etiquette, it’s fairly easy to misrepresent yourself or misunderstand others. And because it’s just a language, just a set of symbols, we have to keep in mind that there is bound to be more than what is or isn’t communicated to us.

But mostly, I just wish people wouldn’t be so down on me about not speaking the common language. I mean, I’m not trying to upset people. I guess I might just be bad at picking up on things. I want to look at it positively, though.

Why are people so caught up on the symbols I use instead of trying to understand the message I’m trying to convey? “It’s for your own good,” they might say. “You need to speak the common language so that people understand you.” But if these people don’t care to make an effort to understand me, why should make an effort to learn their language?

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