Barking Kenyans, begging Tanzanians: Response to Ulimwengu

Saturday January 10 2015

POLITENESS IS a strength, not a weakness and I wish we Kenyans would allow a bit more of Tanzania to rub off on our misplaced arrogance and boorishness. Being humble has not stopped the Tanzanian economy from outgrowing the Kenyan one for almost a generation, so those who may argue that this is a handicap are wrong. Most Asian cultures are known for their formality and politeness. Yet they now own the world. The so-called capitalist aggressiveness is overrated.
Nd

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I agree and do respect that, but I think what this writer is trying to say is that one should be careful not to send the wrong message.
Victor
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Have you tried to translate those requests in English? You will be amazed the English gents did exactly the same to perfection! Right from nursery school, children are taught to be courteous and it hasn’t killed anybody. To make it worse, the English can live in any community due to humility and courtesy. “Please” and “thank you” can open doors, and make rude persons feel guilty. Keep it up!
beechoupes
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Having worked in Tanzania, I often find myself wondering what I did wrong when in a restaurant in Nairobi after I greet the waiter and all I get is a blank stare tinged with annoyance. I get the impression that the waiters think I am wasting their time, or if they’re female, that I am hitting on them. It never occurs to them that a greeting is a widely accepted precursor to interaction. Even animals greet each other!
Ekax 

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The reference to the “politeness” of Asian cultures may be true about Oriental Asia, but most definitely does not apply to the Indian sub-continent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). There, rudeness is the order of the day — and it seems to come about due to a direct translation of their language into English by the natives. I was surprised, but not offended, many years ago in India when I walked into a bookshop and was greeted with “What do you want?” Apparently the shop assistant meant, “May I help you?” but had just done a direct translation from his language. The proliferation of call centres serving America and the UK has helped polish their language in recent years. I was also surprised many years later in the UK when an Englishman I was accompanying was offended that I had not thanked the driver when I got out of a city bus. This is a normal occurrence there, but a Nairobian will tell you that the man is just doing his job so just get off the bus and head wherever!
Hakika 2 
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I think everyone should stick to their culture. Try that boring “naomba” stuff to a hip-hop loving Nairobi dude. You will sound ridiculous!
Strawbee tati

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That is the misplaced arrogance I spoke about. Need I say more? So the Kenyan economy is growing faster than Tanzania? Which year?
Mike Murimi  

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Nd, A better question would have been, “So what if the economy is growing? Is the Kenyan economy growing so Kenyans can behave like animals? Or is their animalistic behaviour the reason for its growth?”
Ekax

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I would say both Nd and Mike are right and wrong at the same time. Wealth is a relative term depending on criteria. India, with all its population and business clout, would have been the wealthiest on the continent moneywise, folks down there still die on the streets from starvation and disease! Zimbabwe, with all the sanctions, still sports a very well maintained capital.
beechoupes  

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Politeness and economic growth are mutually exclusive, that’s for sure. Otherwise growing economies would be as simple as asking the citizenry to be more courteous.
outnabout2014 

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