idiot abroad is a show that I currently follow which I believe portrays several miscommunications when it comes to traveling. An episode which clearly depicts a lack of understanding is when the idiot abroad (Karl Pilkington) visits China. The scene that I found quite entertaining is when Karl has an appointment with a massage therapist to receive a traditional Chinese massage. Expecting the European treatment of being seated in a massage bed with scented oils and candles, Karl is actually “relaxed” with flaming oils and cloths. While he is being patted and smothered down with flaming cloths Karl cannot become frantic and twitchy. From receiving this version of a massage Karl has received quite the opposite of what he initially thought he would be experiencing. The denotation that exists is depicted in Karl’s definition of what a massage is and how it is performed which varies from what a traditional Chinese massage is and how it is presented. This scene acts as perfect miscommunications between two different cultures and how expectations are when traveling may not always match the believed outcome
Back when I was still in elementary school, my brother and I would fly to Thailand during our summer vacation to visit our relatives there. Jia-Jia, my older cousin who was very close to me, would hang out with me whenever she had time in Thailand. I remember one day we went to school to pick up her younger sister, who is my younger cousin, and while waiting for her, we stood between the street market. Many of the stands are selling special cultural Thai food. Jia-Jia was trying to introduce them to me in Mandarin; because we often visit each other, she was pretty fluent in Mandarin, and I was able to speak some Thai too. Then we walked past a stand that’s selling some kind of roast insects, and to my suprise, she went up to buy some. She asked me if I want to have some with her, but to me, a foreigner, I thought that was really gross. I asked her what those insects are, and Jia-Jia told me they are cockroach eggs. I was so disgusted by the fact that Thai people eat not only insects but cockroach eggs, and I didn’t want to share any food with my cousin for the rest of the vacation…. In fact, I didn’t share any food with my cousin in the next few years. However, years after that, I asked my parents if they know Thais have this weird eating hobby, and they told me my cousin probably didn’t understand what cockroach was; perhaps she mistook cockroach to be some other insects. Now that I think of it, the denotation of cockroach gives her a different connotation than mine: she was probably thinking about locust while I thought it was the black, disgusting, garbage-grown insects. This difference in understanding is probably why the miscommunication took place between us.
As we all know, driving in countries that are foreign to us can be extremely difficult. This being because street signs may be in different languages that we cannot understand or pedestrians not having the right of way while crossing the street. In Canada, pedestrians are always given the right of way when it comes to traffic control. We have specific cross-walks for them to cross on with lights that notify drivers that someone is crossing. In China, however, that is not the case. A friend of mine was on a tour bus in China driving to their next sight when they hit a man on a bicycle that was pulling watermelons in a wagon. The man on the bike was ok, but the melons were not. They were smashed all over the road and the rider was very displeased. He was cursing at the bus driver and making a big scene. Everyone on the bus thought that it was normal for him to be so angry about the situation so they all gave him money to replace the melons that he had lost. The man was probably making a living off of those melons. Little did they know that he did not have the right of way in that situation and it was technically his fault. It does not seem like it would be a big problem, but to us, we just don’t understand. We are always giving the pedestrians the right of way so when an incident like that occurs, the bus driver seems like the bad gay. This could be related to langue in that the rules are not shared. It may not be in grammar, but it sure was a misunderstanding. When you travel to China, always remember that even though the pedestrians do not have the right of way, keep a close eye out for them and try not to ruin their watermelons.
|In 1966, the Beatles had a concert in Manila, Philippines which resulted to them being banned from the country. There was miscommunication between the First family and the Beatles. Ramon Ramos the promoter from the Philippines, failed to inform the manager that The Beatles were invited to play at “official/political” party until a day before the performance. Everything was last minute and was not booked properly. Due to past experiences the Beatles decided that they will never play at parties hosted by officials and politicians, so they declined the invitation. On the day of the event they were informed they are supposed to be at the breakfast reception. The reception was at the Presidential Palace hosted by the first lady, Imelda Marcos. I don’t think that Ramon Ramos informed the first family that the Beatles had declined there offer, so when they did not attend, it seemed like they stood up the first family. Thousands of people were waiting for them and the Beatles did not show up. This was a big slap to the first family because there was not suppose to be a decline to the invitation. It was all over the news paper that the Beatles had stood up the first family, which made everyone in the Manila furious. While leaving to the airport to leave the country, hundreds of angry fans stood outside the airport with disapproval. They ended up not being paid for the concerts that they had preformed. Many angry letters and calls were made to the United Kingdom from the Philippines about The Beatles and the disrespect. I think if the manager and Philippine promoter communicated better, then this incident would not have blown out of proportion and The Beatles would be allowed back to the Philippines. In my opinion, I don’t believe that a band or celebrity has to play at an event just because a dictator or a public figure is asking them to. I believe that everyone has a choice of who they want to play for or how they want to do it. I do understand that the community and the first family has a right to be mad because they thought the Beatles knew about this event, confirmed to play and decided not to show up on purpose. In this situation they already did decline the offer a day before but the first family was failed to be informed. I don’t think that The Beatles meant to disrespect or stood up the first family, but because of the barrier of understanding made the situation seem worst than it was. Miscommunication happens in other countries because everyone has a different way of thinking and the people have different rules and laws. In the United kingdom it may be okay to decline the offer of a public figure’s event, but in Philippines its considered an insult and is not allowed. This tragic event will be in history and remembered by the Philippines and Beatles forever.|
In Japan, there have been many miscommunications because of language barriers and translation. When Asian students or travellers come to Canada or the United States they hear the word “fuck” a lot. The word is thrown around by North Americans on the street just as much as any other word. This then gives the impression that this word is okay to use anywhere, even as restuarant names. There have been many times when people are walking down the street in Japan and have seen signs to restaurants saying “Fuckin Good Burgers”, or “Fuckin Fresh and Delicious”. Since North Americans only use it around the streets with friends, and not at church or infront of grandparents, Japanese people are believed to think that the word is not filthy. The denotation for the word “fuck” is either sexual intercourse or it is used as slang, though most of the time the connotation of the word is used in a variety of ways that sound less harsh and not as rude. Much like “Fuckin Fresh ad Delicious”. This is an example of what people might see in the streets of Japan.