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Showing posts from August, 2012

Manners...and generations...compatible or not?

I had an interview yesterday with ninemsn.com.au relating to generational differences with regard to manners;  the way the young see the elderly and their more “traditional” manners, and the way the elderly see the youth of today with their “lack of manners and respect”.
After my recent vacation when taking a quiet walk along a nearby street with my dogs, an older gentleman (I think he would have been late 70 ) went past me on a bike, and then stopped suddenly to look at a new “McMansion” being built on the other side of the road.  I acknowledged him with a smile and a “good morning”, and he said: “I grew up in the house that used to be there”.  I remembered the previous house as being quite elegant, on a large block, filled with beautiful trees. He said: “I lived there for the whole of my childhood”...and then commenced to tell me about the suburb in those days and what he remembered of the area at that time.
After we had finished a really interesting conversation I continued my walk. …

A French Island...language, culture and manners...

A local Kanak  family at the monthly Kanak market day (photo LP)

I have recently returned from a séjour linguistique in New Caledonia at  CREIPAC (Centre de Rencontres et d'Echanges Internationaux du Pacific (Centre for Meetings and International Exchanges in the Pacific).I attended an intensive two week French language course and revelled in the atmosphere of Noumea...it's intrinsic "Frenchness" and it's Melanesian, Pacific Island colour.


Some background on New Caledonia. It is one of Australia’s nearest neighbours, located 1,470 kilometres northeast of Brisbane. It comprises the island of Grande Terre (where the capital, Noumea, is situated), the four Loyalty Islands (Ouvea, Lifou, Tiga and Maré), the Belep archipelago, the Isle of Pines and some remote islands. Some 250,000 people live in New Caledonia. Approximately 44 per cent are indigenous (‘Kanak’).

One of the original turrets of the convict prison, behind CREIPAC (photo LP)
The President of the French Republ…

The Must-Have Manners…

Forget standing when women enter the room or calling all men “sir”. Modern western society would suggest that is behaviour from a forgotten time.  But what are the modern manners every child should have?

When I was thinking about this post I returned to the memory of my father answering the telephone…the sort which was attached to a  wall and was shared among all members of the family.
“Is Louise there?” would ask the tentative teenage male voice.  “Yes” was the response of my father as he put the telephone handset back into its cradle.

Oh, the humiliation!  Whoever  the new “boyfriend” of the moment was, he had not asked the correct, and polite by my father’s standards, question: “Good evening…may I speak with Louise please”.   Then the answer would have been, perhaps:  “No, we are in the middle of dinner.  Why don’t you call back in half an hour”.  And then I would have to suffer through another half hour of polite family conversation over dinner wondering, waiting and writhing in …