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“Unusual Overseas Etiquette”

In case you were wondering about how etiquette varies depending on where you are, read on. The following is from the story titled “Unusual overseas etiquette.”

IF you kiss in public, forget to flush the toilet or wear a mask you may be surprised to find yourself in hot water in some countries.

Below are some lesser-known acts that may breach the etiquette rules of some of the most popular tourist destinations around the world.

St. Louis, Missouri, US

It is actually illegal for firemen to rescue women who are still in their nightdresses or other various underwear attire. Interestingly, it’s also illegal to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket.

United Arab Emirates

Public nudity is a criminal offence in the UAE and a kiss on the cheek can get you fined or imprisoned.


Wearing a mask in Denmark could get you arrested.


Wearing underwear under a traditional Scottish kilt is optional. However, don’t tell people about what you’ve decided – or show it off – unless you are invited to.


It’s the man’s parents who ask the woman’s parents for permission for their children to marry and be accepted into the family.


A violation of any hygiene laws can land you with big fines. Smoking in public can cost $1000; littering up to $2000; and not flushing the toilet is a $75 fine. Also, make sure you take your own toilet paper. Many Singaporean public toilets don’t provide any.


It’s not uncommon for heated arguments to erupt in your local English pub, but don’t be frightened or remain uninvolved. According to English anthropologists, this is known as ‘Pub Talk’, and if you join in, you’ll be part of the crowd in no time.


Never shake hands or offer anything with your left hand, as this is the ‘unclean’ hand – the one you use in the toilet. Make sure you don’t touch any Thai person on their head — even babies — as the head is seen as the most important part of the body and so touching it is disrespectful. Criticism is seen as a form of violence and openly expressing your anger attracts attention from evil spirits.


During Ramadan, when all Muslims are required to fast, visitors to the country don’t need to participate in the fasting, but it is absolutely unacceptable to eat, drink, smoke or even chew gum in public.


Symbolism is everything. There are long lists of rules related to this. The most important things to remember are to avoid white, which is the colour reserved for death, and anything related to the number four, which is unlucky.

Also, when in conversation, try not to gesticulate too much. Chinese people are very reserved with their emotions and waving your hands around while trying to emphasise a point is quite offensive.

South Africa

South Africans love to talk, so it’s important you engage in conversation too. However, don’t be in a rush. Just relax and let the conversation flow or you’ll risk appearing rude and offending those you’re talking with.


When it comes to greeting etiquette in Russia, females kiss on the cheek three times, alternating cheeks and starting on the left. For men, a handshake is acceptable, or a hug and pat on the back if you know them well. When greeting someone of the opposite sex, a handshake is the safest move.


Austria has strict dining etiquette rules. Always remain standing at the dinner table until you are asked to sit; make sure you put your napkin on your lap; don’t start eating until you are invited to; finish all your food even if you’re full; let the host do the first toast and, if you are a special guest, you are expected to toast too. Also, it’s best to dress up at all times – dinner parties, out to the shops, everywhere.


The French are very polite and expect the same from people visiting their country. Don’t expect to find out a lot about any French people you meet, especially on your first meeting. They are very private people.

If you are a friend, you’re a friend for life. Then a kiss on the left cheek followed by a kiss on the right is the correct greeting. Remember the polite greetings ‘bonjour’ ‘bonsoir’ or ‘au revoir’ when you’re in shops.


Gift giving is essential in Indian culture as they believe helps with the transition into the next life. Presents wrapped in yellow, green or red bring good luck. Gifts of cash are perfectly acceptable in celebratory situations, but steer well clear of giving anyone white flowers or frangipanis as these are considered ‘funeral flowers’.

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