“Savage Peoples are ruled by passion, civilized Peoples by the mind.” – Carl Von Clausewitz
Everyone accepts the fact that it is the citizen of the country who maketh it; infrastructure, fashion, food, all comes secondary.
When you travel outside your motherland, you meet people and they will give you different hints about what they culturally think about the people, in general, who belongs to your place of origin. It is also true, that they sometimes make a rigid notion about your cultural behaviour, even before they try to know you. This generalization is not positive sometimes but this is how it is. But do you think this is unfair? Well, I think so. And not just because I was one of the victims, but I am also a culprit since I did the same proactive judgment with others.
How can this be stopped
Have you heard the famous saying, “ When in the Rome, do as the Romans do“. It means to try to cast yourself into the place where you visit. It doesn’t mean that you give up your own culture but there is no harm in adopting the positive ethical practices of the place. This way, you will only enrich your own culture, and consequently, your country. Once you are all mingled, this pre-judged notional habit may fade away, hopefully soon.
Being an Indian who is now living in London city from last one year, I observed some daily life incidents and cultural habits which made me feel more civilized as a human. Undoubtedly, I have a rich culture as an Indian ( the whole world has made a peace with this fact 🙂 ). But I believe that learning shouldn’t be stopped, so I open-heartedly welcome whatever good this country has, to offer me.
By rules or by will
As children, we are taught basic civic rules towards the society and people; greeting other people, be softspoken, help the elderly in need, give your seat to pregnant women or needier, throw garbage in the bin, do not spit on the road and more stuff like this. But somehow, while growing up, we sometimes tend to overlook these teachings.
London city has some wonderful trends of daily life, which I would certainly take back with me to India. Some of these are followed due to rules while others only willfully.
Distance maintained between people in a queue
Queue culture is prevalent in every aspect of living here. People are patient enough to wait for their turn. And they will also unanimously let others go before them if they feel his/her need is genuine, even if you haven’t ask for the favour. For example, if you are carrying a baby and he is not letting you patiently wait for your turn, people will themselves step back to give you a first serve.
Also, they maintain the proper distance to each other in a queue. Nobody’s dress, handbag, elbow, or other belongings would be touching you. I so admire this behaviour ( and by every other human being).
Even vehicles have proper space distance between them while waiting for a signal and while driving. It is for the safety of others as well as of themselves. I have included a picture to show what I am talking about.
No fare from bus drivers
You read it right. There are personal instances when the driver did not ask me to swipe my travel card for the payment. Drivers are very considerate of people who are finding it hard to manage the travel situation. For example, when an elderly person boards the bus and has too much luggage with him/her or a mother enters with a hard-to-console baby, drivers just let them sit comfortably and did not bother them to come to the front of the bus to swipe their travel card for making fare payment. They go free.
It is a gentlemen gesture to hold a door for a lady. But here in London, everyone makes it a habit to hold the door if somebody is following them at an exit or entering at the same time they do. And they would hold the door till you thank them and take the door yourself. It is my favourite civic etiquette.
Keep right on the escalators
Have you ever heard of escalators manners? Well, there is only one; STAND ON YOUR RIGHT.
Escalators are part of every tube station, offices, malls and shopping centers here. They are for convenience and of course, a lazy commute but not everybody wants to be going up or down like a sloth. Some people might be in a hurry. For those situations, the left side on the escalators is kept clear so that the urgent needers can swoosh like a flash instead of crisscrossing the queue to make themselves an escape path.
No ringtones & rare car horns
London is a quiet place. No car horns are being heard. It is because driving is done strictly by rules. Since everybody is following them, there are hardly any instances of conflict or sending a warning. It becomes a matter of shame for a person to get a honk from the car driver.
People always keep their phones on vibration mode. It is to respect the personal quiet space of their fellow traveler. Nobody listens to their phone’s playlist out loud in the tube or bus.
Children are worshipped here
In my opinion, 70% of the development strategies are children focused here. Your child will get the best medical care, education facilities ( free education), thousands of variety of nutritious baby food, almost free playgroups (some would just charge 50p), well maintained lush green parks with having a soft play area for kids, football grounds, tennis & basketball court, jogging tracks and cycle on rent ( almost every park has all of these facilities). No wonder why children here acquires every outdoor skill.
Thank you, please and sorry
These polite words are just part of every conversation. If you need to ask something, prefix or suffix your sentence with PLEASE (“Can you add a shopping bag in the bill, please?”); say THANK YOU all the time; SORRY is a word which drives peace in this city.
The concept of Reserved bus/train seats do exist
People here voluntarily do not sit on reserved seats for the elderly, specially-abled or pregnant women, even if they are empty. If you are abler, prove it here.
This is my list of learning so far. I know, back in my country, everybody is taught these little but significant civic practices but some other things might have become more prominent there. This human mannerism seems to be getting lost but not totally. There is a need for a gentle push. We can adapt the good and make it best.