10 Culture Tips from our Newest Releases
All the following 10 cultural tips are taken straight from our five newest guides released this May. The titles include: Colombia, Denmark, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lankan’s are more relaxed about missed opportunities than Westerners because of their strong belief in karma. It is thought that if something does not work out then it was not meant to be, and that it will come around at a more opportune time, with more success.
- To beckon someone toward them, a Sri Lankan will hold one arm outstretched and, with the palm facing down, move the fingers inward. It is considered impolite to point at someone using the index finger, so gestures of moving the head or raising the eyebrows in the direction of the subject are commonly used.
- Colombians like to dress up and dress well. If a hostess says “casual” she means you do not have to arrive in a suit, not that you should wear jeans and tennis shoes. In Bogotá people wear stylish but conservative clothes, the outfit should never be revealing.
- Unless a formal meeting, Colombians tend to live on ‘tiempo colombiano’ (Columbia time), which means late to very late. Be prepared to wait and bring a book to occupy yourself. ‘tiempo colombiano’ can be anywhere between an hour and two hours after the agreed time.
- The Danes are very organised people. In many shops a ticket system is used to keep people in line. On entering the shop, you take a numbered ticket and then wait for your number to be called, at which time you will receive assistance. Try to bypass this system at your own peril.
- Danes often translate from Danish to English while speaking about time. Be aware that when Danes say, “half twelve,” they mean half an hour to twelve, and not half past, as has become the norm in the English-speaking world.
- Introductions in Denmark tend to be something one does for oneself, rather than waiting for a third party to perform them for you. At parties and social gatherings, you do a round of the room, shaking everybody by the hand, looking them in the eye, and introducing yourself by your first name.
- If you enjoy festivals and celebrations, you will love Singapore. Owing to its rich multicultural heritage different festivals are celebrated throughout the calendar year, the main events being Chinese New Year and The Hungry Ghosts festival, Deepavali, The Festival of Lights, Hari Raya Puasa, and Christmas.
- If invited into a Singapore home, it is customary to remove your shoes when entering the home (so wear socks or tights). If invited to sit on the floor in a Malay home, pointing the soles of your feet at a person is considered impolite, men should sit cross-legged, and women should sit sideways with their feet tucked underneath.
- Eating is a communal event in all ethnic groups. For the Malays, Indians, and Strait Chinese, eating with your fingers is the only true way to enjoy a curry, but spoons are always provided. When eating with your hand, only the right is used because, among traditional Hindus and Muslims, the left hand is reserved for personal hygiene.
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