May I allow myself a somewhat more frivolous column? Its frivolity compensated by the responsible intercultural insights it contains? For my trends research I am fortunate enough to travel all over our planet. Everywhere I ask for local jokes and anecdotes. They can be true or made-up, but they always must reveal part of the local mentalities. A selection:
What is the difference between an introvert Fin (from Finland) and an extravert one? An introvert Fin watches the tips of his shoes while he is talking to you. An extravert Fin is watching the tips of your shoes.
An English teacher in Vietnam tells her twelve years old pupils that you only have grasped English to the full when you start dreaming in English. One day later Huyen happily announces in class that he has dreamt in English. Of course the teacher asks what has been said in the dream. ”Don’t know, teacher. They were talking English.” Vietnam, country of juvenile hyper ambitiousness.
Some time ago I led a workshop in Madagascar. We stayed at a rich man’s house. At the road in front of the house poor merchants were squatting behind small plates to sell some pieces of fruit. The selling took all day, each day anew. One morning my host realizes he has a party later on and that he had forgotten to buy enough food. So he went on the road to sell all the fruits from all the plates in one big gesture. Collective confusion he met. It was early in the day and when all food was already sold, what were the merchants supposed to do the rest of the day? Selling extra fruits, going for a swim, didn’t occur in their collective mind set.
In Egypt the Ministry of Internal Affairs was hit by a fire. Fortunately no one got wounded. Though the outcomes of the election campaign 2018 were lost in the fire.
A woman is robbed on the streets of Sao Paolo by a bandit with a Kalashnikov. She lost everything but finds a last coin in her coat and enters a phone booth to call the police. Right then, another robber, another gun. The women empathetically breaks down, crying terribly that she was already robbed that day. The robber immediately felt overwhelmed by pity for her and proposes to give her a ride to front of the police office. Brazil, country of thieves with golden hearts.
In Brazil I traveled for some period with a body guard, a lively and beautiful guy of 26 years old. Often in the evening when I prepared my presentation for next day, he went out for a night probably more frivolous than my presentation. Next day however he always was sharp and on time, so he had my blessing for all his endeavors. One night I asked him how many sex partners a lively Brazilian guy like him can have. “I don’t count”, he answers. Which it the right thing to do, of course. But he could give an estimation, I suggested? Was it closer to three, thirty or three hundred? “Oh, then it is three hundred”, came the prompt answer. When he notices my amazement, he added: “But I am already 26. And I started at 14!”
Wherever you go on holidays, I wish you a great time. And please, contact me, when you want to add to this collection.