Sunday, September 27, 2009

Intercultural conflict, or improper physical contact? Friendly guy or pervert?

Personally I have no experience with intercultural conflicts, or at least I think I don't...

A few years ago, I joined a conference made up of people from different countries. There were people from Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Norway, Finland, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and many more that I can't even remember now. We all stayed together in a small boutique hotel (in fact, I think we took up most of the rooms there). We ate together, conferenced, and even slept together. As you could see, this could potentially be a situation where intercultural conflicts could arise.

One night, my korean room mate and I heard a knock on our door, and it was a Pakistani guy asking if we would like to play cards. We invited him into our room without much thought, thinking that more people will be coming. We talked and laughed about different things but soon, this guy got very touchy-feely. He started rubbing our feet and we got extremely uncomfortable about it. I 'ran away' to another friend's room while my Korean friend went to the lobby. It was a very bad experience for us both. However, to this day, I do not know if this is a way men from his culture show friendliness and affection.

We did not see him or confront him about it after that, but we simply told other participants. Later, quite long after the conference ended, I received a phone call from the head organiser, asking me to recount the tale of what happened that night. I wonder what happened to him after that...

No comments:

Post a Comment