Just learned that the 'Great' Britain is coming up with 'etiquette guidelines' for immigrants. This in the form of a 'welcome pack' that will 'highlight' the 'rules' of the country and something they expect new entrants to abide by. 'A good idea' you say?
And pray what are these rules? Believe it or not they are things like 'Don't touch people without permission (!!??!!), don't spit in the street, don't play loud music and send your kids to school.
"Information packs are a way of getting that info across - providing a rough guide to the country, the county and the city and helping to ensure that new arrivals avoid doing or saying things that might upset local settled communities or getting into trouble with the law," says the Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, while the information is in perfect contradiction to this statement!
My family migrated to New Zealand about 10 years ago. We were provided with relevant information and my folks, for the life of them, could not imagine not sending us to school or telling us it's ok to spit in the streets. Nor was it considered ok to use foul language on buses or at teachers (a regular occurance on the school bus or in classes!). All this was not thanks to a patronising information pack provided by the government of the community. Rather, it was a initiative taken by us regardless of which country we inhabited.
This pack does not welcome as much as it demeans a person entering a country. If someone at Auckland airport had the cheek to tell me or my parents that we must not spit on the streets of 'their country' they would be in for an earful! However, if they had told us how to register with the local GP or how to enroll at the local schools it would have been mighty helpful.
A more useful venture would be to provide 'youth packs' for 'children' leaving school informing them of what exactly manners and etiquette mean. This should be targeted at 14-24 yr olds who really have no notion of acceptable behaviour, at least in public.What say?
See what http://thebratthebeanandbedlam.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/manners-for-immigrants-tantric-sex/#comment-14611 has to say about 'welcome packs' for people entering India :-D!