Jul 23, 2006

Salaam Bombay - 2

There was some argument about Mumbai being the declared the rudest city in the world and my dismissing the survey as a load of crap. Let me elaborate

The criteria used to determine 'rudeness':
- People didnt hold doors open for others
- People didnt pick up something u dropped
- Shopkeepers didnt say 'Thank you'

For crying out loud, this is a definitively Western defition of politeness. These things are simply not the norm in our culture. If one was to behave 'politely' as they define it, people would view him suspiciously, not with admiration.

And the bias is well reflected in the survey results - ALL the cities at the bottom of the list are Asian. Every single one of them. NY is on top, and most others near the top are either in US/Europe or countries with strong US influence. Its just a way of saying 'we are good and you are uncivilized because u dont measure up on our yardstick'.

Someone commented that the behavior being measured was 'nice'. Well I feel being addressed as 'Bhaiya' or 'uncle' is nicer than being called by my first name by people half my age. I also feel touching elder's feet is a show of respect and is 'nice'. No one in the West does any of that. But I dont go out and publish that the West is shockingly rude.

I thought civilization was moving to a state where differences would be respected and people were free to choose how to express themselves and how to behave. RD's survey does not respect those values. And that's why I'm dismissive of it. Whether or not Mumbai is rude - is an argument we'll get into only if you're unbiased, willing to respect differences, and make the comparisons on universally accepted measures - like whether people would say sorry after knocking u in traffic.

2 comments:

  1. no, you don't. just a random comment.

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  2. I agree.There are just way too many variables to conduct an unbiased survey.. and Bombay is no ruder than LA or New York... so its a big "whatever" to RD from me!

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