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UK tourism chiefs list top 10 foreign etiquettes for London 2012

By Nairita Das

London, Aug.11 (ANI): Tourism chiefs have drawn up a list of cultural differences to give Britons a crash course in not offending foreigners when they visit London for the 2012 games.

The top 10 foreign etiquette tips from VisitBritain are as follows:

1. A smiling Japanese person is not necessarily happy. The Japanese tend to smile when angry, embarrassed, sad or disappointed. They may think it rude if you talk to them with your hands in your pockets. Avoid staring, as eye contact isn't generally considered polite. While sitting, try not to show the bottom of your shoes. Avoid being late for things and blowing your nose in front of someone is also likely to be considered rude.

2. Be careful how you pour wine for an Argentinian. The whole process involves a number of social taboos and unless you understand them you could insult someone. For example, pouring wine backwards into a glass indicates hostility. Don't be offended by Argentinian humour, which may mildly attack your clothing or weight.

3. Avoid winking at someone from Hong Kong. Winking is often considered a rude gesture. Pointing with an index finger is not advisable as this is generally used only for animals. Point with your hand open. Hong Kong Chinese are very superstitious: mentioning failure, poverty or death risks offence.

4. Remember Arabs are not used to being told what to do. Visitors from the United Arab Emirates can take great offence if you appear bossy. They appreciate being looked after by staff who have been trained to understand Arab culture. For example, it is culturally insensitive to ask an Emirati whether they want bacon with their eggs.

5. Do not be alarmed if South Africans announce that they were held up by robots. To a South African the word robot means traffic lights. "Takkies" means trainers, a barbecue is a "braai", and "howzit" is an informal way of saying hello. When in a social situation with a South African do not place your thumb between your forefinger and your second finger - it is an obscene gesture.

6. Don't ask a Brazilian personal questions. Steer clear especially of such issues as age, salary, or marriage to someone from Brazil, Argentina's fierce rival.

7. Avoid physical contact when first meeting someone from India. Being touched or approached too closely in initial meetings can be considered offensive, even if the intention is entirely innocent or friendly. Be tolerant if Indians at first seem impolite, noisy and impatient. This is partly the result of living in chaotic cities and environments. They usually appreciate orderliness when they see it.

8. When meeting Mexicans it is best not to discuss poverty, illegal aliens, earthquakes or their 1845-6 war with America. Polite topics of conversation would be Mexican culture, history, art and museums instead. When demonstrating the height of something, be aware that holding the palm face down is reserved for animals. Burping out loud is considered very rude.

9. Never call a Canadian an American. Canadians may take offence if labelled American. Some Canadians get so annoyed about being mistaken for US citizens they identify themselves by wearing a maple leaf as pin badge or as a symbol on their clothing.

10. Do not take offence if an Australian or a New Zealander makes a joke about "Poms". It is more of a friendly endearment than an intended insult. (ANI)

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