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May 05
2014 年 5 月 5日

禮儀會隨環境變化嗎?

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2014年1月24日,我從香港搭某航班客機飛洛杉磯。上機前,由於「機件故障」,登機延誤,因而有人不滿,不耐的聲音四起,稍有躁動。然而,與之前有陸客因航空公司服務不佳而大鬧大陸機場,以及除夕近五十名旅客「霸機」桃園機場相比較,仍然客氣許多。

24日的飛機在長程飛行之後,抵達洛杉磯,乘客排隊入境。等待冗長嚴格的移民檢查時,大家井然有序,彼此謙讓,即使移民官員一再催促排隊在前者趨前受檢,居然無人貿然上前!也許是因為機場的肅然之氣,或是震懾於美國的執法不茍,再乖戾的乘客也無一不像小學生似地嚴守規矩,絕對不敢越雷池半步。登機前與下機後,乘客的行為舉止,就像變了張臉、換了個人。

由此想起上世紀80年代,大陸剛開放,嚴禁隨地吐痰,訂出「吐一口罰五毛」的規則。有台客遊長城,吐痰被罰五毛,乾脆又吐了一口,順口道:「湊一塊錢吧!」這位台客在台灣應該不至於如此猖狂,更沒那個膽子在美國、日本橫行無賴;然而,此人在大陸居然目無法紀,如入無人之境。同樣的,21世紀的今天,我也曾見過洋人一反常態,在港、台囂張跋扈,如太上皇般不可一世。

人必自侮而後人侮之。許多外來訪客的行為恰恰反映出當地的氣氛。被訪環境若乾淨有序,訪客樂於入境隨俗,整潔守法;被訪環境若混亂汙濁,訪客當然也易於隨波逐流,趁勢作亂。誰說過:跟著蒼蠅找廁所,跟著蜜蜂找花朵,跟著千萬賺百萬,跟著乞丐就要飯。

當然,我們也可以說,禮儀舉止不應該隨環境而變化,莫非只有粗俗之人,才會因地制宜,其心態、舉止隨環境而改變?

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2014年4月22日)。

Does location shape behaviour?

It was the 24 January 2014 and my fellow passengers were expressing their discontent about news that our flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles was going to be delayed due a "mechanical problem". Some of the LA-bound travellers were not shy about voicing their complaints.

That said, the atmosphere was much less hostile than the tremendous uproar that met the poor service of an aviation company in mainland China a while ago, or when 50 passengers occupied a plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport before this year's Lunar New Year.

My flight eventually took off from Hong Kong and we arrived safely in Los Angeles. After alighting, we finally got to customs. Even though it was a long and slow process, everybody queuing up demonstrated a civilised respect for order, and even those in the front of the line hesitated before inching forwards despite the customs officer haranguing us to hurry along. No-one wanted to move out of turn, with even veteran long-haul passengers showing the kind of total obedience more often seen in strict schools.

Perhaps the passengers behaved in such a highly ordered way because the atmosphere at the airport was very solemn, and because we were aware that the law in the US is executed firmly. Whatever the reason, there was a wide disparity between the behaviour of passengers just before boarding this LA-bound plane compared to when they disembarked in the US, as if they had been reborn.

This experience made me recall the 50-cent penalty imposed on anyone caught spitting in public on the mainland in the 1980s during the early days of opening up to the outside world.

A Taiwanese tourist fined 50 cents for breaking the rule spat again, and said, "Make it a dollar!" I have a feeling this Taiwanese tourist would not have behaved in such a reckless way in Taiwan and would have been less shameless when visiting the US or Japan. And yet he turned a blind eye to laws and rules on the mainland, as if he thought he were in a paradise of complete freedom where his behaviour knew no boundaries.

Similarly, I have seen with my own eyes, even today in the 21st century, how some westerners behave imperiously in Hong Kong and Taiwan, considering themselves a cut above others, and beyond rules and regulations. I am sure they would not deport themselves in such a way in other places.

Because environmental conditions shape human thought and behaviour, it should come as no surprise that the actions of visitors and tourists reflect the local environment. "When in Rome, do as Romans do," as the old adage goes. Clean and orderly environments inspire appropriate behaviour among visitors and tourists, whereas disorderly and dirty environments are likely to incite negative elements and even vices, reducing the quality and degree of well-being in a community.

That's why we follow flies if we want to find a restroom or bees if we want to locate flowers. Or to make a million, stick with billionaires; or keep company with beggars if you want to be poor.

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (22 April, 2014).

May 5, 2014

 

 

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