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Thursday, 5 June 2008

indian manners

I was on a panel last night talking about travel writing. Afterwards a woman who had spent a lot of time in Goa came up to add her thoughts on Going Dutch. In her experience, she said, people generally don't go in for saying 'please' or 'thank you' in India. 'Sorry' would hardly ever be heard. And if you give someone a present, the custom is not to thank the giver, but to put it immediately away.
All this ties in interestingly with what I said in the book about 'please' and 'thank you' not being at so much of a premium in much of Africa as they are here in the UK (The Magic Words, p.50); also about presents not being opened in front of the giver in the Far East, particularly Japan, where there is always a danger of the receiver 'losing face' through disappointment (You Really Shouldn't Have, p.65).
Does anyone out there have similar experiences with 'please', 'thank you' and 'sorry', not to mention differences in ways of receiving gifts around the world...