The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

I walk into the lunch room today, and as always, the feeling that I work in a kindergarten sweeps over me. The tables are a mess with gravy, grains of rice, crumpled newspapers and water drops all vying for space. None of the chairs have been tucked inside the tables. I grumble about how people have no sense of manners or cleanliness, and my companions look at me so quizzically that I wonder if I spoke in Greek.

The meal was doomed to give me heartburn. No sooner did we start eating, somebody started to talk with food in his mouth. I think anyone reading this knows how disgusting that is. I promptly noted how rude it was to talk with a mouthful of food, and requested Mannerless to do one thing at a time. "But why," asks he, "no one here finds it rude". True enough - the rest of the cretins nodded in unison - "it's not rude!"

I decided a change in approach was required, so I valiantly tried to be Florence Nightingale. "You know, you could choke if you talk with food in your mouth. You could die..." Now I had their attention, though not acquiescence. Predictably, the first response was that nobody had died yet. The possibilty of death, though scary, seemed a bit too remote.

So I became my usual self, and gave everybody a lecture on ettiquette and table manners. I also added that when they display these ugly habits in public, the first people that will be blamed are their parents for not knowing how to bring up children, and possibly followed by blame being heaped on their alma mater as well. I think the thought of having their parents being abused had some effect, because the cretins finally stopped arguing.

I just don't get it - why are table manners such a rarity in this country? Worse still, why are people proud of their Neanderthal like qualities? I can understand that when it is pointed out the first time, they might fall into some kind of a defence mechanism. But why would you continuously repeat such crass behaviour?

I'm pretty certain that we were taught table manners both at home and in school. But forget schools - they are burdened enough already. Why are parents incapable of putting their children on the right road? The whole lot of us have to suffer for their inability to raise children. As I've stated previously, people should be given a license to become a parent.

5 comments:

People just can't be bothered...

But arent manners subjective?

Table manners! look at the animal like way people in this country drive or cross roads - dont expect good manners from a semi civilized country :P

Overall I agree with you. Basic hygiene, keeping a table free of spills, cleaning up after you eat, these are all essential disciplines in a working environment. But the problem is that manners are really subjective. Even the completely acceptable (in Sri Lanka) habit of eating with one's fingers is totally appalling in another culture or particular situation. The question is where do you draw the line?

Maybe you could draw the line at manners which effect others?

Eating with your fingers or even talking with your mouthful (distasteful as it may be to some) is subjective and it is therefore difficult to be truly judgemental about such things.

Cleaning up after yourself or not making a mess in the first place (particularly in regard to shared or public facilities) can never be considered acceptable in society.

Unfortunately, Sri Lankans have very little regard for public property. They vandalise, litter, spit and generally mess up such places with impunity. How many times have you seen people walk up the road to dump their garbage in front of someone else’s house?

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