Monday, March 30, 2009

The truth is...

Big thanks to Jane Smith at How Publishing Really Works for her Pitch Party yesterday. It was a tremendous idea and discovering some new blogs cheered up my otherwise dreary (and somewhat bad-tempered) Sunday.

Thank you to everyone who came by to Tea Stains. My apologies for not acknowledging your comments instantly but I was straight off to the hospital this morning with no time for niceties! I will get on with it soon.

It’s not my favourite appointment of the year. No, no it’s nothing really nasty *whispers: not gruesome or anything yucky* but a fasting blood test. That’s all it is. It’s not the needle that bothers me or the lack of eating (fast for 8-10 hours) or even the waiting around in the hospital for the results so I can see the doc with up to date information. No, what I hate about the fasting blood test is the fact that I can’t have a cup of tea until the blood has been taken.

So today I’ve spent from 9am until 2pm at the hospital. (From 9.10 – 1.50 I was pretty much non-stop consuming tea.) In between being drained of blood (do they really need so much? Is it any wonder that I’m chronically anaemic?) and seeing the doc, I tried to write.

All the while, I was worrying. Worrying, not just about the results of my sugar test but also about promising Doc faithfully three months ago, that I would try to lose weight. And I haven’t. Well, I’ve thought about it… you know, for three months…)

And when a Thai wants to tell you that you need to lose weight, they just tell you: “you’re fat.” It’s a fact so they tell you and that’s okay here. In Thailand, there are all sorts of subjects that we westerners are coy about (commenting on weight is just one.) It’s absolutely fine to ask people (strangers!) how much they earn; how much do they pay for the apartment; why they haven’t got children; how old they are? I could go on and on.

Here’s the catch, if someone in the UK called another person fat, they would be offended. It’s rude; we just don’t do it. In Thailand there’s no intent to hurt and while I flinch inwardly, I can't take away my own cultural responses. HOW can it not be offensive? I know it’s simply one of those cultural differences that I can’t get my head around. I don't like it, but there's no point in showing my displeasure.

The thing I quoted to my children when we came here was about the Asian habit of spitting. We think that’s disgusting and yet they think our blowing the contents of our noses into a tissue/hankie that we return to our pocket to use again later, absolutely repulsive. And you can see why, can’t you?

9 comments:

ChrisH said...

Trust me to miss the Pitch party - what a good idea. I think there's a lot to be said for that direct way of doing business but I'm glad I'm not on the receiving end of it. Hope all is well.

HelenMHunt said...

Yes, the hanky thing really makes sense when you think about it!

JJ Beattie said...

Chris, she said she'd do it again as everyone loved it. Put her on your feeds and you'll know next time! Yes, I am fine, thanks. My blood sugar was too high three months ago. This time it was the high end of normal... nothing changes, I still shouldn't have anything with sugar in it!

Helen, doesn't it? It's the only way I can get close to understanding some of those funny differences.

Flowerpot said...

Glad to hear you're OK JJ - I can go along wiht the hankie idea..

liz fenwick said...

I love looking at culture differences! Glad the results were better!
lx

Debs said...

Glad to hear you're okay.

I missed the pitch party, but it sounds great fun.

I love learning about cultural differences.

Lane said...

Fat? Fat? Now, I've met you Mrs JJ and fat you are not! Sheesh.

Hearing about the cultural differences is fascinating but fat?.... *wanders away muttering*

Angie said...

Ugh, that sounds dreadful. (The doctor's visit, not the pitch party!) I'm with Lane on this one...hope you've recovered.

Kiskadee said...

I know exactly what you mean by cultural differences, having lived in India, South America and elsewhere. A typical thing is the Indian habit of wiping your bum with your bare hand and water, instead of paper. To Westerners, that is absoltely yucky; to Indians, it's toilet paper that is yucky, and doesn't even get you properly clean!