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Original Message
  • No 3.
    • Ralph Hamilton
      Posted Feb 8, 2012 5:48 AM

      Bek gen KT,
      righto. The answer to Q. #3

      The answer is simple. It is a clash of cultures, or more so, of expectations. Most expats forget that they are no longer in Australia. So the person you are dealing with/talking to, is not necessarily on the same wavelenght. That does not mean that they are wrong - just different.

      When I was in PNG, I used a different approach. I explained to the PNG person how we normally do (such and such) in Australia. Most of the PNG people are too polite to argue with you, so I was proactive. I then asked: "Is there any reason why that son't work here?" Once asked, the local people were quite effusive, with the information they wished to impart. it came as a surprise, I think, to have a whitey ask, instead of giving orders.

      Also, it pays for any foreigner, to learn, and be aware, of some of the customs of the people you are dealing with. Cultural awareness, if you will.

      One small example (again): I was training the local tech in 1980 (Benny Elefay) on the then latest Computerised Typesetting equipment. I was installing one of them at a Printshop in Lae. After that we did a service visit, to all the customers throughout the Highlands. It ws my firat time in Goroka, and an old guy was calling me "Masta". (I was 30 at the time) After we had left, I drew Benny aside, and explained that the the term "masta" belonged to the old "Colonial" days. Benny replied, that he should show me some respect. My reply: "The lapun is much older than me. I should be showing him respect." Benny looked at me strangely, and said: "I will get back to you."

      Later that day Benny asked me: "Is it alright if he calls you "Boss". I then set the parameters. I replied that that was OK. If there are customers around it is "Boss Man Hamilton", if no customers are around, it is "Boss Man Ralph" My stocksaored with Benny, and in return he startede teaching me Tokpisin,. Times have changed now. The young ones are as like to htrow a rock at you as bid you Gooday. However, the small things still count. Incidentally, Benny had the ability to later become our Branch Manager in POM. I like to faltter myself that my training helped. He became a firm friend.

      For instance: If you are at a market, with things laid out on the ground in rows. You do not step over one row, to get to another, to get to something that has caught your eye. You walk to the end, and then walk back up the row you wish. Our "western" bull in a china-shop ways, are considered very rude.

      Hope that helps somewhat......Ralph.
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