Two weeks ago, I gave a talk on “The interplay between reading and writing in our global village” at the EU Inter-institutional Libraries’ event. We live in a global village (i.e. our world is a community connected by the Internet/computers, trade, entertainment, etc), so we share ways our social realities are formed and interpreted. The formation and interpretation happen through the stories we tell each other, stories we read and write.
Reading is a social activity. You might be alone, tucked under a cosy blanket next to a bedside lamp, but you look deeper into the author’s mind and subconsciously connect with other readers.
Writing connects us to ourselves, and it’s formalised thinking. As William Faulkner had said: “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” (1897-1962, American writer and Nobel laureate).
We read what we like to write and write what we have read or want to read.
When we read or write, we:
exercise our brain,
improve our focus,
improve our memory,
improve our ability to empathise,
improve our communication skills,
improve our mental health,
gain knowledge and ideas, and
get entertained (reduce stress).
In short, we become better individuals and live longer.
One of the event organisers is a co-author of “Pour en finir avec la passion: l’abus en littérature” (To End the Passion: Abuse in Literature), which is about the evolution of cultural and literary conceptions of passion – love – in French society and questions why love remains inseparable from suffering.
One of the participants commented on the novel “Future Perfect”, which he had recently read, posing, “Has her past been erased by a mistaken computer click or simply shelved for no reason?” The main character’s resilience leads to encounters in Asia, America, and Europe that bring back memories of love and devotion half a century earlier. It has a global theme.
Gatekeeping is a process of selecting and then filtering items that can be consumed within time or space. A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something; in Facebook groups, this can be an administrator or moderator.
I’m writing this because I posted a message on our FB book club two weeks ago about a culture and immigration festival that included book exhibitions, reading novels’ first pages, etc. After the event, I contacted the administrator enquiring why it wasn’t approved. She apologised and explained that it’s pending (not disallowed) because she’s busy managing other activities and suggested emailing her directly when I have a post.
Gatekeeping has pluses and minuses. Unrelevant and offensive messages are filtered out. On the other hand, it’s toxic when it bars people from participating in a group or community or discussion based on narrow criteria or questionable reasons.
Why and how do administrators and moderators have this gatekeeping power?
Administrators appoint or remove a moderator, manage group settings (such as changing the group name or settings), approve or deny membership and participants’ requests, approve or reject posts, delete comments on posts, ban people from the group, and pin or unpin a post (i.e. positioning – e.g. move to the top of the page.)
Moderators approve or deny membership and participants’ requests, approve or deny posts, remove comments, and ban people from the group.
Do administrators and moderators own the group when they have started or created it?
How can we ensure administrators and moderators don’t use the group for their sole gain?
“The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” – Arabian Proverb
My pending, obsolete post is history. However, the success of the festival – organised by the Comité de Liaison des Associations d’Étrangers ( CLAE) and one of Luxembourg’s most important annual events – lingers on. There were about 30,000 visitors to its 400 stands.
The holiday season of giving and receiving is coming, and you may wonder whether you should give presents to your supervisors and colleagues. Is there a general rule of thumb regarding workplace gift-giving? I have heard that it should be a top-down flow, i.e. from bosses to floor personnel, rather than the other way around. Giving presents to superiors depends on the circumstance. For example, staff can collect money to purchase a present for a manager who is leaving or getting married. This gift and the accompanying message should be professional in style. Is cash an acceptable gift to superiors? Of course, not, but a voucher can be justifiable. There should definitely be no gift-giving during the appraisal period or the annual performance review.
Employees can exchange gifts with each other. However, giving to receive
is a no-no. If you feel like you’re losing something by giving, you are not genuinely
giving; you’re sacrificing, which can lead to disappointments or regrets later.
Not everyone has the means to buy presents for colleagues or contribute to a
gift collection for a boss, particularly at this time of economic crisis and
insecurity. The good news is that non-material presents often last longer, and
these can be a compliment, attention, time, or patience that builds
relationships or maintains peace.
When living in Australia, my co-worker’s daughter-in-law distributed boxes of curried rice to all her colleagues, friends, and family as Christmas presents. I don’t have a signature dish, so I won’t do what she did, but I will go the extra mile to come up with something creative and valuable (I’ll tell you what in my next post).
My students have told me they are not allowed to receive presents worth more than 50 euros from external collaborators in their organisation. For gifts that cost less than 50 euros, they must share these with their colleagues.
How about doing random acts of kindness at work and elsewhere? For
instance, saying hello to a co-worker you haven’t spoken with for ages. How
about sending emails, text messages, and cards with cheerful greetings and
messages? A few months ago, my ex-students invited me to lunch. One of them said
that the birthday card I gave her more than 10 years ago is still in her drawer,
and she smiles every time she sees it.
My memorable gifts in 2020 were the five-star book reviews on Amazon that have had a positive snowball effect on me. I don’t know and have the contact details of these generous readers, so I haven’t thanked them. I hope this message reaches them (better late than never): I appreciate what you have done and wish to return your kindness one day. “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston S. Churchill.
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa
when Cuban-born and Spanish-raised actress, Ana de Armas, was cast to play
Marilyn Monroe in the Netflix movie “Blonde”. According to the media, director
Andrew Dominik (a New Zealand-born Australian) admitted hesitating to give her
the role because of her accent and had only recently learnt English as a second
important in an individual’s career?
A US-based startup
Sanas has developed software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic a
person’s accent on the phone and modify this when responding through a phone or
computer microphone. Apparently, this new technology reduces abuse from native
English speakers of call centre staff who do not have their accents. Its
proponents believe it leads to better clarity and understanding and improves customer
Accents are a vital part of our history and identity; they give clues about who we are and the cultural community or national group we belong to. Everyone has an accent; these different accents showcase the richness of our world and its cultures.
English is an
international language, and there are more non-native than native speakers who
use it regularly. The issue is to communicate
with others, i.e. understand and be understood, not accents.
An accent is not
the same as pronunciation. You can get a pronunciation ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but
there’s no right or wrong accent.
My former student used to pronounce analysis “analaiz” (the correct pronunciation is “ə-na-lə-səs”). One of her sentences was: “This analaiz domontrit the importance of flexibility at work”. French native speakers do not pronounce the ending letter “s” of words in their language. The letter “e” sounds “o” (e.g. peu, which means little in English, is pronounced as “po”). They pronounce the English letter “e” as “e” only when it has a grave accent (è), as in mère (mother) and père (father).
mispronounce, you can be misunderstood. However, a person can speak English
flawlessly with whatever accent. Even among native speakers, there are many
accents. Last year, our supervisor asked me if I wanted to take over a class; this
was our conversation —
S: We have a client
who is not easy to please. She wants to improve her English and have a British
accent. Do you have a British accent?” (As if he had not heard me speak before).
R: Which one?
Scottish, Irish, Welsh, London English, Liverpool English, BBC English?
S: I don’t know.
She didn’t specify. Any of these will do.
R: Ninguno de estos.
S: Perhaps you can
still take her. You’ve said that you like teaching challenging students.
R: Thanks, but I’m
afraid it’s NO. I go for learners with a half-full glass mentality and a good
sense of humour, in addition to being motivated and proud of their cultural and
pronunciation is correct, you can communicate effectively with others, whatever
your accent. In business and financial environments, airports, touristic places
and universities, people speak English as a second or third language, a lingua
franca. Thus, the goal of having a native speaker’s accent is irrelevant.
To understand our
fellow humans and communicate with them successfully, we have to come into
contact with different accents so that we can cope with the real people in the
I facilitate an English roundtable in
Luxembourg every Friday, and we discuss professional, social and personal-interest
topics. Last month, it was about names; one of the participants mentioned a
girl initially called Nutella, a popular hazelnut chocolate spread. I checked
it out and came across a Guardian’s article about a couple from Valenciennes in
northern France who registered their daughter Nutella ( https://www.theguardian
.com/world/2015/jan/26/french-couple-name-girl-nutella seen on 04/052021). The
registrar alerted the local prosecutor, who referred the case to a family court
judge. The court ruled that Nutella is a commercial brand and such a name was
against the girl’s interests as it would cause “mockery or disobliging
remarks”. The couple had to rename her Ella, which means a pleasant young
According to Ms Catharine Smith (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/baby-named-facebook-egypt_n_825934
seen 04/05/21), an Egyptian father, Jamal Ibrahim, named his daughter “Facebook”
to honour the social media site’s role in Egypt’s revolution. Ms Smith quoted
this from TechCrunch newspaper: “A young man in his twenties wanted to
express his gratitude about the victories the youth of 25th of January have
achieved and chose to express it in the form of naming his firstborn girl “Facebook”.
In Marcio’s Italian family, all the
children’s names start with the letter M.
According to Marie-Pierre, her name’s male version is Pierre-Marie. The
Arabic name Shadi means happiness. Do names reflect an individual’s
personality? There are studies that show names make a difference in professional,
social and financial standing.
My late uncle was Silverio Carangan, Sr. My cousins’ legal names are Silverio Carangan 1st, Silverio Carangan 2nd, and Silverio Caranagan 3rd; to everyone, they’re Ono, Dos, Tres. I was already eight months pregnant, and my hubby and I couldn’t agree on a name for our firstborn. We decided to play chess; I won two out of three games and had the privilege of naming him Sidney, which is easy to pronounce in almost all languages.
My late parents, Roberto and Adela, named their first daughter Rodela; from this, they came up with four other names by rearranging the letters, and mine was one of them. If you know of another person with the same name as mine, please notify me. So far, the closest is Rolande and Rolanda, which are both of Latin origin and mean “known in the land”. My French acquaintances call me “Rolad” (/ruːˈlɑːd), as the last vowel is not pronounced in the French language. They also have a dish roulade (/ruːˈlɑːd) de boeuf“, which is a filled rolled meat.
S.J. Velasquez’s 2018 write-up spoke about nominative determinism, a theory that people are drawn to jobs matching their names, e.g. Baker for a pastry chef and Dennis or Denise for dentists (https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20180404-do-our-names-push-us-toward-certain-jobs). Two weeks ago, I grinned watching the French television station TF1’s interview of a restaurateur Didier Desert (“Desert” is pronounced by English speakers as ‘dɪˈzəːt’ (dessert – a sweet course eaten at the end of the main meal, e.g. cheesecake or chocolate mousse).
If you had a funny, weird or embarrassing name, would you change it? If your family name was Head, would you keep your first name Dick knowing that dickhead means a stupid or ridiculous man? You are probably one of those who would go through all the legal fuss to do so. Many people, however, never change their names. Are there names that employers find, either subconsciously or sentimentally, attractive or ugly?
Ms Stéphanie Thomson’s article revealed
the Canadian Ryerson University and University of Toronto’s finding that people
with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani-sounding names were 28% less likely to get job
interviews than the fictitious candidates with English-sounding names, even
when they had the same qualifications (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/05/job-applications-resume-cv-name-descrimination/).
Ms Thomson also mentioned a French government’s conclusion that employers were
less likely to interview candidates with North African-sounding names.
Likewise, in the UK, “an all-parliamentary group study from 2012 found
that women who ‘whitened’ their names or made them sound more British had to
send only half as many applications before being invited to interview as those
who sounded foreign”, she wrote.
Has our society progressed in terms of
addressing bias and discrimination associated with names? Have you had a good
or bad experience because of your name? What’s behind your name?
It’s the second lockdown in some places. In my city in the north of France that shares
borders with Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, the streets are almost empty. Although
the authorities allowed shops to reopen three days ago, local businesses find customers
hard to come by. Residents who go out
for work reasons are at home before dusk. Hence, I was not surprised when I
read that the number of reported street crimes has declined.
Meanwhile, we know that every crisis provides
an opportunity for people to be resourceful; as well, not all crimes happen in
the streets. Since the first lockdown in March, there have been reports on the
rise in domestic violence, sale of fake medicine and treatment, consumption of
exorbitant coronavirus-recommended cleaning and health products, and solicitation
of donations for charities that either do not exist or do not deliver what they
Recently, I heard about the UK’s COVID Fraud
Hotline (0800 587 5030) encouraging people to phone anonymously and free of
charge any suspected fraudulent activity. If you knew someone who has been claiming
support illegally or abusing government schemes, would you call the hotline? It
takes a long time for fraud to be discovered, and governments need a helping hand.
Should we extend this to them?
Fraud against the public purse, wherever you are, limits or even denies access to vital funds that benefit society as a whole. This money should be used to help the poorest: contract workers, market stallholders, casual service providers and carers, struggling small businesses and independent earners, and those who are ineligible for unemployment benefit and do not have the means to feed and shelter themselves and their families; not double-dippers.
Will you tell the authorities about your colleague who is on paid parental leave but still continues freelancing? Will you refuse your employer’s directive to deal with clients’ queries or respond to work emails when you are on furlough? How about companies that get subsidy or funding to keep employees but do the opposite and pocket the money?
Fraud, whether big or small, affects all of us.
The article “Most Common Workplace Frauds That Employer Should Know About”
mentions, among other things, “Bogus supply of goods and services”
and “Manipulation of bank reconciliations and cash books”. Those
found guilty of these crimes are punished by fines, restitution, dismissal from
work, or imprisonment.
Some common frauds in the workplace are hidden
and unlikely to come to the attention of the authority. These include claiming
for unworked hours, malingering, stealing office supplies, staging accidents,
and faking injuries. It will be interesting to research on fraud in the
workplace pre, during and post-pandemic.
“I’m not an informer”, “I hate
workplace spies”, “I can’t be a whistleblower”, “I don’t
want to be responsible for someone’s scuppered life”, so forth. Inaction is aiding and abetting our society’s ills, and
it’s the elephant in the room.
On 29 July 2020, while promenading, my son and I were stopped by French Police asking for our IDs. Unlike in Australia and other western countries, in France, we are legally obliged to show our photo identification if we are stopped and asked to by a police officer. This is called the identity check “Contrôle d’Identité’”. Pretending to be having a conversation with my son, I commented in English: “ethnic profiling”, “why us”, and “I wonder what criteria they use to decide who to stop”. I was hoping they would understand what I was saying; after all, English is taught widely in elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions in France.
Ethnic or racial profiling is the act of suspecting or targeting a person based on assumed characteristics or behaviour of a particular ethnic or racial group rather than on individual suspicion. I’m a Filipino-born Aussie and have a typical south-east Asian appearance. My 18-year-old son is 178 cm tall and has physical similarities with his white French-Australian father. They probably thought we were not together because I was some steps behind him trying to fix my hat while picking up my mask. Whereas, my son was in a hurry to avoid the soaring heat and was already under a shrub. When I called him back and he turned around, there was a change on the face of one of the police officers. His eyes became amiable, and he handed back my ID. At least we were not searched during this “contrôle”. We had our identification cards with us; otherwise, they could have taken us to a police station to establish our identity (“vérification d’identité”).
Ethnicity is a social grouping based on common and distinctive culture, religion, or language. Race, however, refers to the person’s physical appearance; for example, Black, White, Asian, or Indigenous. An individual can be Asian but, ethnically, German.
Western countries’ statistics show that non-white people are more likely to be stopped by the police on the street. It is widely known that Australian and Canadian Aboriginals are more likely to be charged with crimes. In the USA, there is sufficient information on how African Americans and members of other minority groups (Hispanic and Latino Americans, Middle Easterners and South Asians) are suspected of criminal activities. In Germany, there was a court ruling concerning racial profiling in its policy allowing police to use skin colour and “non-German ethnic origin” to select persons who will be asked for identification in spot-checks for illegal immigrants. Of course, non-western nations are not exempted from this bias. The media have reported the Chinese government’s use of a facial recognition technology to track down and control its Muslim minority.
profiling” occurs when government and law enforcement people target those of
colour for a humiliating and often frightening stoppage, detentions,
interrogations, and searches without evidence of an illegal behaviour but based
on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Racial profiling must not be allowed in
countries where the core promise of its Constitution is equal protection under
the law for all and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
profiling effective? Studies and consultations show that this jeopardises law
enforcement because police officers lose credibility and trust among the people
they are sworn to protect and serve.
profiling discriminatory? The general principle of equality and
non-discrimination is a fundamental element of international human rights law.
Anti-/non-discrimination law refers to legislation that prevents discrimination against particular groups of people based on sex, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, mental illness or ability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, sex characteristics, religion, creed, or individual political opinions. It is designed to hinder discrimination in employment, housing, education, and other areas of social life (this includes being in the streets or elsewhere). However, “not every distinction or difference in treatment will amount to discrimination. In general international law, a violation of the principle of non-discrimination arises if: a) similar cases are treated differently; b) a difference in treatment does not have an objective and reasonable justification; or c) if there is no proportionality between the aim sought and the means employed.” (http://www.humanrights.is/en/human-rights-education-project/human-rights-concepts-ideas-and-fora/s…)
words, with such international human rights legislation, we have the right to
pursue our material, spiritual and social well-being in conditions of freedom, dignity
and equal opportunity.
is unproductive. In employment, it is economically unwise as victimised employees
are unable to focus their energy on performing their tasks fully. Their feeling
of negative vibes from a supervisor or colleague not only adversely impacts their
job performance but causes absenteeism and ill-health.
prejudice and discrimination be dealt with? Employers, big or small, should
have anti-discrimination policies and procedures in place that include regular
training on cultural awareness and unconscious bias. In the case of police departments, there
should be a preference for community policing over strategies of power and
Last March 11 at 10 AM in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, I witnessed an irresponsible act, which at other times would have been normal or even impolite not to do so in France. On the bus for work, a middle-aged man showed his monthly ticket to the driver, leaned to the woman sitting on the front and gave her two kisses on the cheek. (In France, depending where you are, kisses can be two, three or four). That same day, I heard on the news that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then there have been measures to combat its spread, such as lockdown, quarantine, testing, self-isolation and social distancing.
A week before the mandatory social distancing, business premises where I worked had already “no handshake” signs. If handshake was discouraged, obviously “kisses” too. It’s so obvious that they didn’t think there would be a need for “no kisses” signs, but there should have been because, pre-coronavirus pandemic, kissing was a form of greeting in many European workplaces, particularly in France.
experienced the “accidental” handshakes, hugs or cheek kisses during these
times of the coronavirus. Politicians,
such as the US President Donald Trump, were seen shaking hands with several
people during their press conferences and hospital visits. Mr Trump was
reported to have said, “People come up to me, they shake hands, they put their
hand out. It’s sort of a natural reflex, and we’re all getting out of it. All
of us have that problem.” (https://www.euronews.com/2020/03/15/how-the-new-coronavirus-could-change-our-behaviour?).
There’s no excuse for social irresponsibility.
You have heard a lot how this virus originated in Wuhan, China last December, its victims, preventive measures, challenges for governments and health practitioners, etc… We have been advised to sanitise as often as possible, especially after touching money bills, guard or hand rails or light switches or lift buttons or anything that is touched by others in public places; no wonder supermarket and pharmacy shelves are still devoid of these products. Even alcohol bottles aren’t easy to find. We’re discouraged from stockpiling, but I bought enough supply of vinegar to last us for a year. There is ample advice online on how to make the most of our time at home, from having a fitness routine to reading a book. I have opted to write a novel, and I am halfway through it . In France, we’ve to carry a declaration when we go out; the on-the-spot fine is 200 euros per violation.
Due to social distancing, almost all public gatherings have been cancelled. Why are elections being held during this pandemic? Why haven’t these been postponed? The March 15 city mayoral election in France was odd and a bit entertaining. Citizens had to hand sanitise before and after voting, then volunteers disinfected every pen used; there was a television crew filming them. Australia and the USA also had elections last March.
space distancing (recommended 1.5 M) wasn’t easy, so we’d imposed time
distancing instead. We
ate at different times; after a while, however, we decided to space out the
chairs and have meals together. This pandemic has changed our individual
habits, cultural ways, travel decisions, holiday preferences, etc.
found elbow or/and foot bumping fun as a replacement for handshake. I wonder if
they’ll continue to do this when we resume classes (I don’t know when!). The
majority of language teachers for adults are freelancers, i.e. they get paid
when they work. So, you can imagine what this pandemic has done to our
livelihood and the financial burden it has caused us.
this gloomy situation, let’s practise patience, creativity, compassion,
altruism across space and time. Even with time and social distances, we can
still reach out, help and support each other in coping with all sorts of
If you have a special skill, give lessons free of charge, e.g., meditation, yoga, music, cooking, gymnastic, aerobics and sewing via Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime.
or email relatives and friends regularly to show that you care for them. According
to Dr C Singer, “human beings are social animals and our biological,
psychological, and social systems evolved to thrive in collaborative networks
of people. Some studies suggest that the impact of isolation and loneliness on
health and mortality are of the same order of magnitude as such risk factors as
high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking”. If you want to know more, check his
and his colleagues’ research findings regarding the health effects of social isolation
and loneliness on https://www.aginglifecarejournal.org/health-effects-of-social-isolation-and-loneliness/.
safe, healthy, patient, considerate, optimistic and responsible. We’re all in
the same boat! Worldwide statistics on
infections and deaths continue to rise. (COVID-19 death rate in countries with
confirmed deaths and over 1,000 reported cases as of March 31, 2020 by country https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105914/coronavirus-death-rates-worldwide/)
All buses, trains and trams are free in Luxembourg starting today, 1 March 2020! As far as I know, it is the only country in the world that has free public transport. It has slightly over 600,000 inhabitants in an area of 2,586 square kilometres. However, about 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the borders every day to work there; and I am one of them.
While the Luxembourgish government saves on the collection of fares and the policing of valid tickets, I have extra euros in my pocket (I only have to pay up to the border as required by the French government). Hat’s off to those who contributed to such environmentally-friendly decision (less private vehicles on the road). Of course, there are nayers to free public transport, and their reasons include the possibility of degradation of the property and condition of travelling due to rowdy people who are unlikely to be in paid transportation.
During the daily commute by bus from France to Luxembourg and back, it is always the same scenario. Some passengers who get into the bus first, occupy two seats: one for their body and the other for their belongings (e.g., bags, coats, etc.). In the beginning, I thought it was fun observing people walking up and down the aisles trying to find friendly faces to ask for seats. These days, I find this annoying and believe that if passengers want to occupy two seats, they should pay for two tickets and put a note on an unoccupied one with something like “I’ve paid for this seat because I can’t be bothered by your smell, telephone conversations, or light/image from your online activity,” or simply “I don’t like being close with another human being”.
This morning, I took a double-decker bus and decided to be on the second level. I had my work and lunch bags and jacket on a vacant seat next to the one I was occupying. There were three stops before I got off, so there were several people going up and down eyeing for seats. As usual, when new passengers came in, I transferred my belongings to my lap. It was only 7:30 AM, so the bus was not crowded and there two seats per person for the majority of us. As expected, I had to carry a load of computer, books and lunch bag on my lap for more than one hour. Why did I have that discomfort and inconvenience when the women in front, behind and to my right had their small shoulder bags neatly rested on the vacant seats. Honestly, I was hoping no one would see the empty seat next to me. Why did I take my things away, which was surely interpreted as an invitation to sit? I also prefer to have two seats, like other passengers; however, my sense of courtesy and empathy are ahead of it.
one of my fellow female passengers has become a friend. After saying “merci”
(thank you in French), she added that the others pretended she was invisible
and was pleased when she saw me smiling, as she knew instantly that she did not
have to “beg” for a seat. Last December, she came to our house with her 17-year-old
son for tea, and we enjoyed eating the home-made “Bredele au beurre” Christmas biscuits
In December 2019, I went to the cinema in Luxembourg where movies/films are screened in original versions and subtitled in French and/or German. There was still full lighting when I got in, so it was easy to find my allocated seat; but there was already someone on it. I showed politely my G8 ticket to a man in his 50s; to my surprise, he stared at me and said in English, “Is it really important” (it sounded as a cynical remark rather than a question). Yet, I responded politely — “it should be otherwise there would not be such a policy and the cinema attendant would not have asked me where I wanted to sit”. The woman next to him held his hand and leaned her heard on his shoulder. I looked at the vacant seat next to him and suggested I could sit there if he removed his belongings (i. e. expensive-looking coat and hat). He shook his head and commented “It’s idiot”. Luckily, it was “It’s” because I do not usually let unreasonable, insensitive statements go by unchallenged.
If they did not move, what would have happened? I like the idea of fairness, justice and respecting policies and regulations; so, I would have gone out and complained to the staff spoiling my and their cinema outing. Is seat allocation in the cinema necessary? If yes, why is there no staff to enforce it? It is quite embarrassing to deal with “it’s my seat” situation.
My personality favours seat allocation, however, I know that others are happy to sit where there is space. As a movie enthusiast, I always go to the cinema during its first week of showing. I enjoy choosing a seat that is in the middle of the room where I get most of the visual and audio features; as well, it ensures that my companion/s and I sit together. When there is no seat allocation, it is “First come, first serve”, which is alright when the cinema is only half full.
When there is no shortage of empty place, seat allocation becomes
unnecessary. Thus, should there be a seat allocation only for sold out
films? I am not sure about this because there are other intervening
factors, such as time of the showing (e.g., 10 am session often attracts less people)
and the length of time the film has been in the cinema.
The principle behind seat allocation is sound when there is someone who enforces it (as in theatres and concerts with ushers). It does not work when people do not sit in their allocated seats and there is no one who ensures that this is respected. It becomes even more complicated when those who sit in the wrong seats refuse to move.
For me, going to the cinema is a leisure activity and watching a good movie (particularly those based on true stories) is a form of relaxation. Unfortunately, this was not the case last December. What are the explanations to his behaviour and comments? Perhaps he always gets what he wants disrespecting other people (environment plays an important role in this: family/upbringing, education, etc). Maybe he is a manager and used to bossing people around and dislikes being told what to do. Though I was the one who asked him to change seat, I felt intimidated and uncomfortable. Consequently, it ruined my afternoon of lone cinema treat before the busy holiday period of cooking, tidying up, entertaining and visiting Christmas markets. Are you for or against seat allocation? Have you been asked to move or vacate a seat? Have you taken someone else’s seat by mistake or deliberately?