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Showing posts from May, 2010

Food Blogging....Manners or not?

Until I spent a few  hours with the weekend papers today I wasn't aware of the phenomenal rise in popularity of "food blogging" and "online eating".   But this weekend, The Weekend Australian Magazine ran not one but two articles on the concept of food blogging, one on page 14 and the other on page 35. One of the points being raised was not whether everyday restaurant diners can be considered "food critics" but whether there is a new etiquette being written by the food bloggers who use their cameras and take numerous photos of their food, as it arrives at the table and at various times during its transition to removal from the table. As someone who has anonymously judged restaurants for many years I can't think of anything worse than sitting in a restaurant with my beloved and having camera flashes impede what is often quite flattering light. I don't mind the concept of

Children and Manners: How early is too early...?

An article recently in The West Australian newspaper “Schools step in to teach social skills” is a pertinent reminder that the teaching of manners, while supported and encouraged by schools, should begin in the home. Having a knowledge of what to do, and when to do it, is a great confidence builder for children and young adults. The saying “children should be seen and not heard” still resonates in the memory of many of us but to the children of the 21st century the expression has no relevance. Children today are encouraged to be forthright and confident in their attitude and often the concepts of “manners” and “respect for your elders” are ignored. I feel that from their very earliest years our children should be taught to respect their elders. They should be encouraged to stand up when an adult enters a room and they should make confident eye contact when they are introduced. So often, if sprawled out in front of the TV, or caught up in a computer game, a quick glance over the

Manners Old and New....differences or difficulties?

I have recently had some interesting experiences 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”. It all began a few weeks ago, while I was on vacation and taking a quiet walk along a nearby street with my dogs.  An older gentleman  (I think he would have been late 70s)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

Love and Manners....

"Love means never having to say you are sorry" was the key message from the movie Love Story. ..but how true is it? The minefield of possible faux pas which surrounds the heart of love can explode...and how much “sorry” does it take to overcome the hurt and confusion of the person on the other end of a brain snap moment? Manners and love are sometimes uneasy bedfellows. In any comfortable relationship there can become a tendency to be complacent with those we most love and to take for granted the love that is reciprocated. The essence of good manners is respect and empathy for others. But how often, when stressed or upset, do we let the tone of discussion disintegrate into one of lack of empathy for the feelings and needs of someone we love? Perhaps it is the intrinsic nature of a true love that forgiveness is offered by the one who is hurt and gratefully accepted by the other. And when the upset is over, how should we best overcome the air of disquiet that continues

Bare Breasts, Betel Nut, Weetbix... and Yapese Manners

(Artist: Tommy Tamangmed. And so, yes, I have returned. The time came for me to leave the “remote” islands of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia and the tiny nation of Palau and return to western “civilisation”. It has taken a few weeks to readjust to the pace of “modern” life having experienced the tranquillity of living in a mobile phone/ television free environment. The concession of extremely slow and eventful internet connection seemed incongruous in these places of ancient yet vitally living culture. My spirit is uplifted and my sense of pride in the human ability to share kindness and show good manners has been restored. Arriving in Yap in the early hours of the morning was exhausting. A tiny airport, tired passengers, equally tired immigration officials but then the first of many Yapese warm and ready smiles in the arrival hall as I was given a beautiful lei by a young girl wearing only a lava lava and a wreath of flowers artfully draped a