Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

Meetings: Bangladeshi style (part two)

To pick up where Meetings: Bangladeshi Style (part one) left off…A few other meeting observations I’ve made over my time here:

– It’s fine to burp. Out loud, no hand in front of mouth, and not followed by ‘excuuuusse me!’. In fact, burping anywhere is perfectly acceptable. Here, it’s much like hiccuping, as if something over which one has no control. It’s all FINE.

– It’s fine to spit. So throughout any given meeting there are people walking up to windows, doing the prep work of trying to summons all bodily phlegm/mucus using the deep snort/growl technique and then rounding that off with a good, old fashion spit. Gob. Hoik. This can become the main event of any meeting during the change-of-season flu. Everyone gets sick when the seasons change. And the seasons change every two months. So there is generally a lot of phlegm/mucus about. Don’t get me started on the whole ‘blow your nose without a tissue’ practice. But it’s like one sees sports people do on the field. I still maintain there isn’t enough hand washing in Bangladesh…

– It’s fine to have lengthy sub-conversations during a meeting. To actually get up, wonder over to someone else, start a conversation, to which others will soon join. Sometimes the participants even move this this sub-conversation out of the meeting room, with participants re-joining the meeting as and when the sub-conversation ends. During this, the main speaker either doesn’t notice, or doesn’t care. Or is asleep

– It’s fine to speak on mobile phones. Obviously. This IS Bangladesh. Where the mobile is King.

– It’s fine to cut your nails. As expertly demonstrated by Memory during a meeting with the Executive Committee today. Full on got the clippers out, and trimmed her nails.

So yes, I’m growing ever more concerned for my own manners/etiquette, meeting and otherwise. Just how WILL I behave when I return home? Just what will people think? At what point, during my time here in Bangladesh, will I start publicly spitting? Will it be difficult to stop once I start? I must say the public burping has already gained some momentum… Whatever. Don’t judge. Everyone, everywhere burps when they are alone. So here is like burping as if you are alone, because no one around you cares. It doesn’t even hit their radar. For those in Bangladesh (and other suitable countries) try it, it’s fun.

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1 Comment»

  Julie wrote @

I think it’s also because you’re never alone in Bangladesh! You don’t make me Bangla-sick, that’s for sure.


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