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Multicultural Manners

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December 13, 1993 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of "I Felt Like I Was From Another Planet," (Addison Wesley). Tell her your experiences c/o Voices.
Elena, a divorced Latina mother, notices the Truongs, her Vietnamese neighbors, preparing for Tet, the Lunar New Year celebration. Demonstrating her respect and fondness for these neighbors, Elena knocks on their door on New Year's morning with a bouquet of flowers. However, when the Vietnamese grandmother opens the door, she storms off bitterly proclaiming, "It would have been better to have kept the door closed!" What went wrong?
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 22, 1995 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of "I Felt Like I Was From Another Planet," (Addison Wesley). Tell her your experiences c/o Voices.
A historic moment occurred last week when, 250 miles above Earth, American astronaut Norman E. Thagard stepped from a Soyuz space capsule into the Russian space station Mir. The cosmonauts immediately offered him bread and salt. What did it mean? According to Russian traditions of hospitality, when visitors enter a home, the hosts bow and present them with their best platter covered by a white cloth. The platter holds a whole round loaf of bread, preferably black, and a mound of salt.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 17, 1995 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of the forthcoming book, "Multicultural Manners" (Wiley & Sons) Tell her your experiences c/o Voices.
A music recording record company hires Madge, who holds an MBA from an Ivy League college. They send her to Japan to present the company's overseas marketing strategies for their new releases. Madge addresses the Japanese managers: "If I'm going too fast for you, please let me know. If you have any questions, feel free to ask." She proceeds with her presentation using a pointer to indicate pertinent information on her chart.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 22, 1994 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of "I Felt Like I Was From Another Planet," (Addison Wesley). Tell her your experiences c/o Voices
Kwang-Fu, newly arrived from Taiwan, moves in with the Quinn family to learn English. The first day, he warms a metal pot in the microwave and overloads the washing machine. Kindly, his hosts caution him to ask for instructions before using the appliances. On Sunday, Mrs. Quinn prepares a special family meal. She places a beautifully roasted chicken in front of him, but notices that he only seems to pick at the food. She asks, "Didn't you enjoy my cooking?"
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 31, 1995 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of "I Felt Like I Was From Another Planet," (Addison Wesley). Tell her your experiences c/o Voices.
Mrs. Buranen's normally well-behaved seventh-graders are exceptionally noisy and boisterous this April day. In the hall and on the playground, numerous students keep throwing water at each other. Back inside the classroom, an exasperated Mrs. Buranen is about to reprimand them when her excited teacher's aide steps forward urges her to "Wait." What went wrong? The aide, a Cambodian immigrant, pointed out to Mrs. Buranen that it was April 13, Cambodian New Year. Throwing water at Mrs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 1996 | NORINE DRESSER
When a public relations company designs red satin banners with white lettering for a Chinese client's float in the Chinese New Year's Parade, the client agitatedly rejects the design. What went wrong? In Chinese and many other Asian cultures, white is associated with death and used as a mourning symbol. Although a red banner is fortuitous, having white lettering on it New Year's would doom the entire year. The Chinese emphasize positive life forces in New Year's traditions.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 12, 1995 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of "I Felt Like I Was From Another Planet," (Addison Wesley). Tell her your experiences c/o Voices
Claude, a Nigerian reggae star on tour in the U.S., uses American pick-up bands. During a club date in Texas, enthusiastic members of a largely West African audience come on stage during the performance to stick dollar bills to Claude's forehead, on his head and onto his clothing. Many of the bills fall to the stage. By the end of the set, Claude and the floor are covered with money.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 27, 1993 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of "I Felt Like I Was From Another Planet," (Addison Wesley). Tell her your experiences c/o Voices. and
A delightful encounter takes place in an ethnic food shop when Sandy, an American in her 20s, meets an older couple from India, Mr. and Mrs. Rao. They have such a good time that the Raos invite Sandy to their home for supper. Soon after her arrival, Sandy goes into the kitchen to chat with her hostess as Mrs. Rao puts the finishing touches on the food. The mood is relaxed and congenial so Sandy asks, "By the way, what's your name, Mrs. Rao?" Coolly, the hostess answers, "Mrs. Rao."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 30, 1995 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of the forthcoming book, ~Multicultural Manners" (Wiley). Tell her your experiences c/o Voices or you can contact her by e-mail:71204.1703@compuserve.com
One early afternoon in October, Peter Trevino, a Comanche, and five other Native Americans practice for a powwow scheduled for that same day in Ridgecrest. They take their drums outside Peter's rural Tehachapi home to check the amplifiers that had given them problems at a prior performance. While they are singing and drumming, a police officer arrives and issues Peter two citations. What went wrong? A relatively new neighbor had complained about the "noise" and called the police.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 14, 1995 | NORINE DRESSER, Norine Dresser is a folklorist and author of "I Felt Like I Was From Another Planet," (Addison Wesley). Tell her your experiences c/o Voices.
Two weeks before Passover, Helen, an observant Jew, begins ridding her house of all traces of chometz, or leavening. Every crumb has been removed for the eight-day festival commemorating the exodus of Jews from Egypt and the Passover Seder, or ritual meal, to which she has invited Natalie, a non-religious cousin. When Natalie arrives, she hands her hostess a cake.
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