Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Etiquette Camp for kids and immigrants

Posted by chinesecanuck on September 16, 2008

The Globe and Mail has an article about finishing school type camp for tweens.  One of the girls interviewed is of Chinese descent, and apparently, her parents sent her to etiquette camp (run buy a business imaging company in Vancouver) because she needed to learn the proper way of eating without chopsticks.  Umm, what kind of Chinese Canadian family DOESN’T know how to use a knife and fork, even if they’re fresh off the plane?  If they were immigrants from rural areas, I highly doubt that they could afford this program.  Really, if this girl’s parents really said that, then they must have only done that to get their daughter’s name in the paper (which, in traditional etiquette WOULDN’T be considered proper – a lady’s name is in the paper three times, when she’s born, when she marries and when she dies).  I do agree that it’s important to learn manners – many kids today don’t and many don’t feel comfortable in fancy restaurants.  It’s sad, IMHO.  Some of us are so casual today that it’s making me uncomfortable.  My boyfriend’s friend thinks it’s okay for his 2 year old son to address me by my first name before asking me.  At my prom ten years ago, there were kids who were confused at the table setting – upper middle class, private school kids!  I bet their grandparents would be very sad if they heard.  Some of these kids had grandmothers who were debutantes!

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One Response to “Etiquette Camp for kids and immigrants”

  1. Scapegoat said

    I don’t know much about upper-class table manners, but I’d be happy enough if immigrants could learn to:

    1. Chew quietly with closed mouths.
    2. Talk about the weather and end sentences with full stops, instead of a barrage of personal questions.
    3. Give advice (especially the financial/consumer variety) only when solicited.
    4. Say positive things about someone else’s appearance.
    5. Work things out with coworkers before dragging the supervisor into the dispute.
    6. Walk down the hall to spit in the washroom. Yes, the office sink is closer, but we’d all like to wash our hands and dishes in it without thinking about what just happened.
    7. Give feedback to employees in a constructive, non-accusatory manner.
    8. Begin business phone calls with “Hello, it’s so-and-so from company X, how are you?” before launching into “Where’s my order??”
    9. Refrain from playing Cupid, especially if the intended target is already in a relationship; even inter-racial relationships count.
    10. Always speak English in public places.
    11. Be respectful towards the physically/mentally challenged.

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