Monthly Archives: November 2012

Global Etiquette


Last Name/First Impression


In Singapore, always remember to greet someone by his or her surname first, and given name last (for example: “Hello, Mr. Shatner William”).


Who Made Your Necklace, Calvin Klein?

In Togo, beads that are strung together are not worn around the neck. They are used to hold up a sort of undergarment beneath a skirt. So, if you wear a necklace, it’s basically like have a pair of boxers hanging around your neck.


Produce for Poltergeists

The Chinese put plates of fresh fruit on graves. The restless spirits of the Chinese undead far prefer this to wilted flowers (the act of haunting gives one quite an appetite).


War and Eats

Many Russian restaurants aren’t rushing to feed potential customers at lunch, it seems.  They actually close so that the help can go eat lunch (where, we’re not certain). It also may be two hours before a waiter or waitress even thinks to attend to you. Two large bottles are placed on every table: mineral water and vodka. Russian menus are often long, Tolstoy-esque affairs, listing dozens and dozens of dishes. But be prepared for a lot of “nyets” as they don’t really serve as much as they claim to offer.


The Redundant Tourist

The English don’t say you’re welcome. They answer a thank you with a thank you.


Mixed Messages

Waving good-bye American-style means “Come back here!” in Argentina.


Don’t Bungle in Bangladesh

The “thumbs up” gesture is incredibly offensive in Bangladesh. The Fonz would not make a lot of friends.


The Land of the Setting Eyelids

The Japanese commonly show concentration and attentiveness by closing their eyes in contemplation and nodding. They aren’t nodding off with boredom; it’s respect…unless they are snoring.


Modesty is in the Hand of the Beholder

If you barge in on a Sumatran woman while she’s showering, she will cover her knees. A Samoan will cover her navel.


Talking Cheek to Cheek

South Americans try to establish intimacy and intensity by getting nose-to-nose. If you step backwards, they will again try to attain close proximity. If you back away you are viewed as a snob or are indicating that the person is not nice to be near.


Working Nine to …?

In Britain, when the workday is done, it is rude to discuss work matters over drinks or dinner. In Japan, business is done both day and night in any possible situation.


We Are Family

In Eastern cultures, family ties are extremely important (not the Michael J. Fox sitcom, but familial attachments) and for those who come from a less family-oriented part of the world, it does not hurt to refer to your warm home life — or make one up on the fly.

Gallic Gall

The French are appalled by the way anyone else speaks their language, including other Frenchmen. What doesn’t tick off the French?!


Never Look a Gift Camel in the Mouth

Don’t openly admire an Arab’s possessions because he may feel obligated to give you the object as a gift, and will then expect a gift in return.


Do You Really Want to Taste the Snails?

Many French people are offended by dinner guests who begin a meal with hard liquor, as it numbs the palate and renders the subsequent meal under-appreciated.


Better Late Than Ever

Panamanians hold punctuality in very little regard. It is impolite to set a time for meetings to end.

It’s Not the Arms I’m Worried About

Do not be alarmed if a strange Salvadoran puts his arm around you.



Sorry I’m On Time. The Traffic Was Wonderful.

In Brazil, it is customary to arrive ten or fifteen minutes late for an appointment. Never start right into business discussion unless your host does so first.

Point them Toward the Floor

Avoid pointing your legs toward the center of the room in Samoa.


It’s All in the Inflection

Every Chinese word has many meanings, depending on the tone. The word to indicate a question also means horse, scold, sesame seed and mother. Good luck trying to scold a horse for not bringing a sesame seed to your mom.



Pay Me Now or I’ll Arch Them Again

To raise your eyebrows in Peru means “money” or “pay me.”

What About the Bearded Lady?

Arabs grasp their beards when they see an attractive woman. If you don’t have a beard, you will never see an attractive woman.


More Proof That Women are Always Right

In Germany, gentlemen walk and sit to the left of all ladies.


Turn the Other Cheek

The Flemish kiss cheeks three times, alternating cheeks. Facial cheeks, that is.



Eugene Weekly Descends into Heck


Eugene will soon be graced with the presence of an author so clever, elaborate and terrifying that he has channeled his talents into writing some of the most interesting and “obstinately obscure” books you’ll ever read. Dale Basye, an author from Portland, will be a featured speaker at the Young Writers Association (YWA) Scare-A-Thon FUNdraiser on Saturday, Oct. 27. Basye will be reading excerpts from hisHeck: Where the Bad Kids Gobook series.

Reading Heck, you have to ask yourself: “Who exactly is this intended for?” Basye doesn’t sidestep the truth of his storyline, which is that two children, Milton and Marlo Fauster, have died and gone to the kid equivalent of hell. That might seem unsettling to the parents out there supervising reading for the tween-and-under set, but Heck isn’t the kind of book that will send kids into a frenzy of nightmares, rather it will encourage them to search out all of the allusions Basye interjects into his captivating storyline.

“It’s interesting when people ask me why I choose to write for children, and I have to say, I reallydon’t. I may tone down the off-color nature or innuendo-rich witticisms that often spring up naturally, but other than that, I write to amuse or engage me and don’t think too much about the reader. That may sound terrible, but I mean it in a good way: I don’t pander or assume I know what’s in the head of that wonderful young person on the other side of the page. I just naively hope that they enjoy the ride as much as I,” he says.

Like Dante’s InfernoHeck has multiple circles, and each of Bayse’s books tells the story of that circle, starting with Limbo. The most recent book published is Snivel: Where the Whiny Kids Go. In each circle Marlo and Milton encounter an array of interesting historical figures who have been sentenced to an eternity in Heck where they act as teachers, torturers or in most cases, both. Just a few of the characters in the story include Edgar Allen Poe as “Vice Principal Poe,” Orpheus as “Mr. Orpheus, professor of Music Deprecation” and Van Gogh as “Mr. Van Gogh, Art Teacher.”  The references are just another touch Basye added that only contributes to the detail in his series, “It helps me, when creating a story, grabbing a lot of arcane bits here and there so it seems real to me. Ideally, kids will be able to read my books and get one experience, while adults will be able to read them and get another.”

Whether you get his books for the kids in your life, or for yourself, Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go is an extremely intellectual, entertaining series that anyone can enjoy.

Dale Basye is speaking at the YWA Scare-A-Thon FUNdraiser, 11 am to 2 pm Saturday, Oct. 27, at Barnes & Noble; free.



11 am Not too scary (for kids under 7) 

Rich Glauber leads a disquieting sing-along/move-along. Winners under age 7 are read. Enter a “Horribly Haunted” design contest.

12 pm Gettin’ scarier (elementary school)

Bary Shaw reads the elementary-age winning entries and storyteller, Robert Rubinstein, tells chilling folktales. Enter a dreadful “Instant Writing” contest. Get your fill of midday terror and afternoon frights with author Dale Basye.

1 pm Flat-out fright (middle & high school)

Bary Shaw reads teen and adult winners. Dale Basye entertains with his Circle of Heck books. Adults and teens enter a chilling “Instant Writing” contest.

About the Author