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  #961  
Old 03.06.2010, 01:26
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Re: Swiss Manners

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There is nothing surprising about this, none at all. As it is what all the teachers in the country and most parents tell the young permanently, that seats should be given in favour of elderly, pregnant and handicapped people.

That many people simply "forget" what civilized and "cultured" behaviour is, is undeniable. But those "culprits" do NOT represent a "culture" but simply personal lousy abysmal behaviour.

I cannot speak for Basel or Geneva but what I see in Zurich is that most people more or less DO give up seats in favour of elderly and handicapped people.
Wolli, I really don't understand how you can keep going on blaming this sort of behaviour on some kind of mass amnesia. Children learn from example, and I very rarely see adults telling their children to exhibit any kind of courtesy to the elderly or pregnant on public transport (or anywhere for that matter).

It is a cultural difference, whether you like to believe it or not.
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Old 03.06.2010, 01:36
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Yes, I would have thought that too, but having been pregnant whilst being a commuter into the City of London and then pregnant whilst commuting in Basel, I have to say that the lack of being offered a seat in Basel was so total and striking as opposed to how I was treated on buses and tubes in London that whilst I hate making generalisations, I can no longer think in terms of a few "culprits" .. it is endemic! To reiterate, I was only once offered a seat in Basel and that was by an American. I was offered a seat every day on every mode of transport I took that day when I was pregnant and travelling in London. Yes London!!

Kind of speaks for itself??
Just to clarify .. I'm only talking about offering seats in public transport .... just because this doesn't happen I don't think it means that Swiss manners are lacking in general ... indeed I usually find the Swiss so polite that the lack of seat offering is really really hard to understand ... anyone any ideas??
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Old 03.06.2010, 02:10
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Wolli, I really don't understand how you can keep going on blaming this sort of behaviour on some kind of mass amnesia. Children learn from example, and I very rarely see adults telling their children to exhibit any kind of courtesy to the elderly or pregnant on public transport (or anywhere for that matter).

It is a cultural difference, whether you like to believe it or not.
You then can explain why I hear adults all the time telling their children to be courteous to elderly and handicapped on public transport (on VBZ/ZVV) ? And pregrant women ARE handicapped.

And I DO understand Swiss German .......


---

and cultural difference to whom exactly ???
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Old 03.06.2010, 02:11
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Re: Swiss Manners

Agree ecb, I don't have a good explanation but my idea is that the Swiss in public just "mind their own affairs", that means they try not to bother you, but also not really go out of their way to make your life easier. But as you may have read previously about my experiences, sometimes it's really hard to rationalize what seems to you very rude and inconsiderate indeed.

@Wolli: It is being taught to kids, that's true, but it's generally not being done. Sometimes seats are offered to the elderly, but I wouldn't so far as to say that there's much of general courtesy in public transportation.
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Old 03.06.2010, 02:19
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Just to clarify .. I'm only talking about offering seats in public transport .... just because this doesn't happen I don't think it means that Swiss manners are lacking in general ... indeed I usually find the Swiss so polite that the lack of seat offering is really really hard to understand ... anyone any ideas??
There are three reasons :
A) Many just are on board for less than 5 stations, and so only sit down for a moment. BUT if many do so, the result is obvious !
B) Some really ARE preoccupied
C) Some however simply are careless, selfish, ignorant, unpolite, uncivilized, and that share indeed IS growing !

The C) group is a small minority, but in combination with group A) become depressing, still a minority, BUT a sizeable minority

And I at times considered that I when giving up my seat had to make sure that the right person got the seat. I at times whisked some elderly lady from far away to my position to make sure that it was not taken by some careless teenager ! and to set an example
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Old 03.06.2010, 02:27
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Re: Swiss Manners

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You then can explain why I hear adults all the time telling their children to be courteous to elderly and handicapped on public transport (on VBZ/ZVV) ? And pregrant women ARE handicapped.

And I DO understand Swiss German .......


---

and cultural difference to whom exactly ???
Firstly, I can't explain why the voices in your head are telling you that people are being nice to each other. It's a mystery to me.

Secondly, I wouldn't really go around referring to pregnant woman as handicapped if I were you. Unless of course you wanted to discover first hand what it would be like to be truly handicapped.

As far as cultural differences go, I would say Swiss versus the rest of the world. But that is obviously such a huge generalisation that you will simply come back with a huge number of web pages to "prove" me wrong. So instead, I will say that it is a huge cultural difference between England and Switzerland.
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Old 03.06.2010, 02:48
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Firstly, I can't explain why the voices in your head are telling you that people are being nice to each other. It's a mystery to me.

Secondly, I wouldn't really go around referring to pregnant woman as handicapped if I were you. Unless of course you wanted to discover first hand what it would be like to be truly handicapped.

As far as cultural differences go, I would say Swiss versus the rest of the world. But that is obviously such a huge generalisation that you will simply come back with a huge number of web pages to "prove" me wrong. So instead, I will say that it is a huge cultural difference between England and Switzerland.
A) I hear parents telling their children to give up seats to elderly and handicapped all over the Zurich region. Claims that they do not exist are a mystery to me

B) My mother was handicapped for two years before she died, and I also spoke with people in that care-home who still could go out and even downtown

C) the rest of the world ? Why then is "the rest of the world" not behaving better in reality ? Why are behaviours in England (London, Luton, Cambridge, Dover, Brighton, Bournemouth, Exeter, Plymouth, Bristol, Newcastle) not better than overhere ? and even worse in many aereas ?
-- Looks as if you have some dreamy notions and ideas about all this, not based on reality but just on some illusions ! Possibly the first signs of aging

------------

and now over to a very serious aspect, people here tell me again and again about, and saying that I was too favourable about foreigners and that is the undeniable experience of many Swiss people that if they in public transport want to hand over a seat to an elderly or handicapped person, the seat is snapped by a young ex-Yugoslav. THIS is one of the reasons why that nationality is so unpopular. And if I defend that nationality I am criticized as not being realistic. That I may be right in regard to a majority of sorts but that I did not see the full perspectives.

I deeply regret to have to say that those "anti-Yugos" unfortunately have their point ! And I also regret to have to tell you that the half a million ex-Yugoslavs here are far more relevant in life than the almost irrelevant number of "anglophones"


and back over to the ex-Yugoslavs. Before you start to ask why they can be identified I have to say that the young ex-Yugoslavs speak a gross horrible slang, while young Tamils from Sri Lanka tend to speak an excellent local dialect
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  #968  
Old 03.06.2010, 02:52
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Re: Swiss Manners

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A) I hear parents telling their children to give up seats to elderly and handicapped all over the Zurich region. Claims that they do not exist are a mystery to me

B) My mother was handicapped for two years before she died, and I also spoke with people in that care-home who still could go out and even downtown

C) the rest of the world ? Why then is "the rest of the world" not behaving better in reality ? Why are behaviours in England (London, Luton, Cambridge, Dover, Brighton, Bournemouth, Exeter, Plymouth, Bristol, Newcastle) not better than overhere ? and even worse in many aereas ?
-- Looks as if you have some dreamy notions and ideas about all this, not based on reality but just on some illusions ! Possibly the first signs of aging

------------

and now over to a very serious aspect, people here tell me again and again about, and saying that I was too favourable about foreigners and that is the undeniable experience of many Swiss people that if they in public transport want to hand over a seat to an elderly or handicapped person, the seat is snapped by a young ex-Yugoslav. THIS is one of the reasons why that nationality is so unpopular. And if I defend that nationality I am criticized as not being realistic. That I may be right in regard to a majority of sorts but that I did not see the full perspectives.

I deeply regret to have to say that those "anti-Yugos" unfortunately have their point ! And I also regret to have to tell you that the half a million ex-Yugoslavs here are far more relevant in life than the almost irrelevant number of "anglophones"
Wolli, I have no doubt whatsoever that you personally are very polite and I am also sure that a number of your people are the same. But, your posts are so full of crap it's unbelievable.
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  #969  
Old 03.06.2010, 04:26
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Re: Swiss Manners

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...I wouldn't really go around referring to pregnant woman as handicapped if I were you...
Do you think pregnancy imparts an advantage or is of no effect?

hand·i·cap –noun
4. a physical...disability making participation in certain of the usual activities of daily living more difficult.

Based on that dictionary definition, I wouldn't hesitate to call pregnancy a handicap, albeit a temporary one, especially during the last months.
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Old 04.06.2010, 14:35
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Re: Swiss Manners

I've only spent about 5 months here altogether, so I'm hardly qualified to judge the entire population. I will say that the place seems to be a bit self-contradictory. "The Swiss respect privacy" versus my girlfriend and I getting stared at, unabashedly, on a daily basis. (Granted, I've seen very few interracial couples since I've been here, but still...)
Never in my life have I been mistaken for a Skinhead or Neo-Nazi or anything of the sort... until I came here. One guy tried to start a fight with me by Zurich Lake. He claimed I'd walked past him, taken off my hat, and rubbed my (shaven) head at him, as some sort of insult or challenge. I tried in my limited Deutsch to explain that it was hot out, I was wiping sweat off my head, and didn't even see him. Didn't matter. He stayed angry, and was determined to goad me into fighting until an ice cream vendor nearby intervened and he eventually wandered off still cursing.
Just a few days after that incident, I was stepping off the #9 near Milchbuck, and a man in a business suit literally grabbed my arm and spun me around, looking very angry and spouting German so fast all i could understand was "you shouldn't be here, why are you here, go away" etc. amongst all the profanity. When I asked if he spoke English, he looked very surprised, and backed away apologizing.
I could go on, relating all the times I've been stared at, or the other couple of times I was verbally harrassed, but you get the idea.
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Old 04.06.2010, 14:43
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Re: Swiss Manners

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[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]When you first arrive you immediately notice that if your driving and stop at a pedestrian crossing, no one says thanks, whereas in England this is almost an automatic response as well as an expectation. The same applies if you ever “give way” to another vehicle or go out of your way to let someone pass, this is also something you shouldn’t expect to get any acknowledgement for because you won’t get it. Similarly no one here ever gives you way or lets you pass.
I took my driving test in Germany and I have to say they really do teach people to drive. Traffic regulations are such that you have to stop for a pedestrian. No reason for you to get thanked at all.

Efficiency and safety dictates that you take the right of way that you are entitled to. If you waive that right and the other has an accident because the third party misread the situation - easy enough to do if you are reasonably expecting something else - then you may be made liable.

Politeness is a misplaced sentiment in an environment stuffed with 200hp vehicles.
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Old 04.06.2010, 16:57
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Just to clarify .. I'm only talking about offering seats in public transport .... just because this doesn't happen I don't think it means that Swiss manners are lacking in general ... indeed I usually find the Swiss so polite that the lack of seat offering is really really hard to understand ... anyone any ideas??
To be honest, I hardly see anyone offering a seat on the in public transport. And to be honest again I think don't get very upset by it. I have gotten used to it. But I usually offer my seat, the surprise, the reaction, the out of ordinary, the thankfulness, the smile is worth it all - always .
HOWEVER, what makes me upset though is when people occupy two seats extra for their coats or small bags when almost all seats are taken and it is rush hour. If I in such a situation ask if one of the seats is free often the person reacts unreasonable as if I am hassling him and also hesitates to point where I finally offer my help moving the bag/coat.
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Old 04.06.2010, 18:08
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I took my driving test in Germany and I have to say they really do teach people to drive. Traffic regulations are such that you have to stop for a pedestrian. No reason for you to get thanked at all.

Efficiency and safety dictates that you take the right of way that you are entitled to. If you waive that right and the other has an accident because the third party misread the situation - easy enough to do if you are reasonably expecting something else - then you may be made liable.

Politeness is a misplaced sentiment in an environment stuffed with 200hp vehicles.
I drive very fast and hard and love following the rules strictly when it comes to driving protocol and yet, this is not an excuse for not being polite.

As you say, there is no reason to be thanked at all, except that human beings need to be treated with a certain degree of civility for them to feel respected and happy. Efficiency and safety are being used quite often in this modern world as an excuse for not needing to treat other people like feeling and caring human beings.

I give the nod or a little finger wave and am smiled at by the people, cars and pedestrians, in this country most of the time. But, I also recognise a look of mild confusion, as if they aren't used to it. When people aren't treated pleasantly and with respect they stop expecting it and eventually forget how to treat others in the same manner.

This comments in the previous post seem to go quite a way in explaining where some of the problem lies.

"Politeness is the lubricant that makes social interaction go smoothly."

Possibly there is a mistaken belief that if people interactions are precise enough then there is no need for lubrication? For example, as an analogy, the more precise and jeweled a clockwork movement is, the less the need for lubrication. As a model for social interaction, I think this may be a bit lacking. After all I know of no one who is that correct or precise, no matter what they think of themselves.
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Old 10.06.2010, 02:23
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Re: Swiss Manners

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When I was pregnant, I travelled regularly on the Basel trams and never got offered a seat.... even when I was a week overdue and very very very big.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8730106.stm

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Some commuters don't give up their seats for pregnant women because they fear offending someone who is just overweight, it has emerged.
...
It's a minefield of mixed signals, indecision, guilt and offence. All played out painfully in public on a crowded bus or train.

Some people are just selfish, yes, but the average commuter would probably give up his or her seat for a pregnant woman, with good grace. It's just not that straightforward.
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Old 10.06.2010, 02:54
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Re: Swiss Manners

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"Politeness is the lubricant that makes social interaction go smoothly."
...and here I go thinking that it's KY Gel...tsk, no wonder people don't like me .
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  #976  
Old 10.06.2010, 08:48
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Swiss Manners

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I've only spent about 5 months here altogether, so I'm hardly qualified to judge the entire population. I will say that the place seems to be a bit self-contradictory. "The Swiss respect privacy" versus my girlfriend and I getting stared at, unabashedly, on a daily basis. (Granted, I've seen very few interracial couples since I've been here, but still...)
Never in my life have I been mistaken for a Skinhead or Neo-Nazi or anything of the sort... until I came here. One guy tried to start a fight with me by Zurich Lake. He claimed I'd walked past him, taken off my hat, and rubbed my (shaven) head at him, as some sort of insult or challenge. I tried in my limited Deutsch to explain that it was hot out, I was wiping sweat off my head, and didn't even see him. Didn't matter. He stayed angry, and was determined to goad me into fighting until an ice cream vendor nearby intervened and he eventually wandered off still cursing.
Just a few days after that incident, I was stepping off the #9 near Milchbuck, and a man in a business suit literally grabbed my arm and spun me around, looking very angry and spouting German so fast all i could understand was "you shouldn't be here, why are you here, go away" etc. amongst all the profanity. When I asked if he spoke English, he looked very surprised, and backed away apologizing.
I could go on, relating all the times I've been stared at, or the other couple of times I was verbally harrassed, but you get the idea.
Excellent I'm getting my head shaved !!!

Seriously the Swiss are rude compared to other cultures but between themselves it seems they are not. It's just their way.
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Old 14.01.2011, 14:10
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Re: Swiss Manners

Today at the local Migros, only 2 weighing machines were working at the Vegetable section. And there I was, arms laden with vegetables weighing one bag after the other. And of course a 40 something Swiss, leans over me and plonks a bag on the scale the second I pick my bag up, followed by a Excuzi.
WTF! No really, what happened to waiting until the person moves away from the scale. And what the hell is wrong with these women!!
Because I did not put any make up on and my hair is not styled, that I am no less than her Highness. If I were to mimic her behavior,I would immediately be labeled the 'bloody foreigner'.
I am so fed up of being treated like a 3rd rate citizen.......so FED UP!!
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Old 14.01.2011, 14:15
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Re: Swiss Manners

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Today at the local Migros, only 2 weighing machines were working at the Vegetable section. And there I was, arms laden with vegetables weighing one bag after the other. And of course a 40 something Swiss, leans over me and plonks a bag on the scale the second I pick my bag up, followed by a Excuzi.
WTF! No really, what happened to waiting until the person moves away from the scale. And what the hell is wrong with these women!!
Because I did not put any make up on and my hair is not styled, that I am no less than her Highness. If I were to mimic her behavior,I would immediately be labeled the 'bloody foreigner'.
I am so fed up of being treated like a 3rd rate citizen.......so FED UP!!
You should have leant heavily on the scale .
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Old 14.01.2011, 14:17
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Re: Swiss Manners

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You should have leant heavily on the scale .

I really wanted to lean heavily into her face!!....
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Old 14.01.2011, 14:19
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Re: Swiss Manners

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I really wanted to lean heavily into her face!!....
Alternatively, grab her by the hair and smash her head onto the scales repeatedly, not forgetting to simultaneaously push an inappropriate button on said scale.
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