Wednesday, July 30, 2014

8 Etiquette Breaches Around the World

1. Ben Affleck in a Breach of Yemeni Etiquette 

The sole cause of Ben Affleck's breach of etiquette? His soles.
Ben Affleck was in hot water during his visit to the Persian Gulf in 2004, after shocking a Yemeni prince. The actor had been briefed about local customs but in a moment of tiredness he forgot about etiquette and showed the soles of his shoes. The infringement of Middle Eastern manners earned him an angry ticking off from a bodyguard. 

Affleck said: "They told me, 'Don't show the soles of your feet.' I forgot about that. "At one point, I was in one of the Middle Eastern airports, going from one place to another, and I was tired," he explained. "So I was sitting there, kicking back, and apparently there was some Yemeni prince that came through and this guard literally looks over at me and comes charging over."I thought I was being terrorised on the spot. "He yelled, 'What are you doing? Your feet,' and then he slaps my feet puts them on the ground."

2. Nobel Etiquette Breached for Monolingual Mo Yan in 2012

The 57-year-old Mo Yan, was the first Chinese resident to win the prize. Chinese-born Gao Xingjian was honoured in 2000, was not a Chinese citizen.
Nobel organizers made a special exception to stringent seating rules for 2012's gala banquet in Stockholm, allowing literature laureate Mo Yan and his wife sit together because they both only speak Chinese.

Who gets to sit next to one of the princesses usually peaks Swedes' interest. That year, chemistry laureate Brian Kobilka was seated next to Crown Princess Victoria's right, as Mrs Kobilka sat directly opposite the heir to the throne. The Swedish speaker of parliament, Per Westerberg, flanked the crown princess on the left, which he usually does.

Princess Madeleine, was to be responsible for entertaining physiology laureate Shinya Yamanaka and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. The laureate's wife Dr. Yamanaka faced the younger princess.

Princess Madeleine had her brother Prince Carl Philip diagonally across from her. He entertained Dr. Yamanaka and Mrs. Westerberg, a psychiatrist, with Professor Yamanaka facing him.

Seating at the top table strictly follows what is commonly known as the 'Nobel Order', which takes into consideration the rank of the members of the royal court and then matches them with the laureates in the order set out in Alfred Nobel's last will and testament.

Nobel mentioned physics first, meaning that the laureates, that year Serge Haroche and David Wineland, and their spouses were clustered around King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia. The regent is also always seated near the president of the Nobel Foundation and the president's spouse, presently Mr. and Mrs. Storch.

"There is a protocol for the seating, but we can make modifications based on for example language abilities," Nobel Foundation spokesperson Annika Pontikis told the TT news agency. Literature laureate Mo Yan was thus seated next to his wife Quinlan Du. Married couples are usually never seated next to each other but the Foundation found it apt to make an exception.

"Neither of them speaks anything but Chinese," said Annika Pontikis. Seemingly to ensure the couple was not linguistically cut off from conversation, the wife of the Chinese Ambassador to Sweden was seated next to Mo Yan. Her husband was, in turn, seated next to her.

The top table takes centre stage in the main hall of Stockholm's 1920's City Hall, considered by many an important example of the National Romantic architecture style.

The Blue Hall, which is not actually blue but has walls of exposed brick soaring more than 20 metres up to the ceiling, is most famous internationally for hosting the Nobel banquet, but hosts many other events including ceremonies for immigrants when they become Swedish citizens

3. The Emperor's Code: Breach Of Protocol Spurs Debate In Japan

Actor turned lawmaker, Taro Yamamoto, handing a letter to Japan's aging and frail monarch, Emperor Akihito, as Empress Michiko looks on, during the autumn garden party at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Oct. 31, 2013
 A staid and unremarkable royal garden party suddenly became the stuff of front-page scandal, when rookie lawmaker and passionate anti-nuclear activist Taro Yamamoto slipped a handwritten letter to Emperor Akihito. The mystified monarch hurriedly passed the epistle to an aide, unread — but the damage was done.

There is no audible reaction on video of the Oct. 31 incident, but the collective public gasp over an unusual breach of conduct was heard nationwide in Japan. The lawmaker's sin, officially, was violating Japan's ban on using the emperor for political gain. But the incident showed lingering sensitivity over the emperor nearly 70 years after the end of World War II. That's when Emperor Akihito's father, Hirohito, renounced his divine status.

Japan's emperor has been a titular head since then, as the U.S. imposed a constitution that proscribed royal participation in the business of ruling. His life is confined to a whirlwind of goodwill trips, photo ops with foreign dignitaries, and attendance at arts events.

Since the aging and frail monarch is constitutionally powerless, the letter incident was widely seen as a pointless and shameless spotlight grab. Yamamoto argued he was only trying to draw imperial attention to the plight of Fukushima, particularly children's exposure to radiation, and workers involved in cleaning up the aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear plant accident.

4. The Ultimate Sucker Punch: A Breach of Boxing Protocol in 1991, Cost "Macho Camacho" a Title

The late-boxer, "Macho Camacho"
The crucial moment in the late-Hector Camacho's loss of his World Boxing Organization junior-welterweight title against Greg Haugen in 1991, came down to an impromptu decision by the bout's referee, Carlos Padilla.

 At the start of the 12th and final round, Padilla, a 57-year-old Las Vegas resident, watched and waited for the fighters to touch gloves, as boxing protocol dictates. Camacho extended his gloves but Haugen was disinclined to reciprocate, even when Padilla urged him to. That led Camacho, always an impulsive sort, to throw a punch at Haugen, and Padilla to decide this was a breach of conduct. He instructed the three judges to penalize Camacho a point. 

Delighted, Haugen leaped into the air with a big smile on his face for having suckered Camacho into that gaffe. Had he known just what effect Padilla's decision would have on the outcome, Haugen might have gone into orbit. The 1-point deduction turned out to be pivotal in the final result. 

Two judges, Dalby Shirley and Bill McConkey, scored the bout, 114-112, Shirley for Camacho and McConkey for Haugen. The other judge, Art Lurie, had it 114-113 in Haugen's favor. 

Had Camacho not been penalized the point, Lurie's scorecard would have read, 114-114, and the bout would have been declared a draw, with Camacho retaining his title. But that was not the case, and because of that Camacho lost for the first time in a professional career spanning 40 bouts. 

For the time being at least he also lost a chance for a big-money match with Julio Cesar Chavez, the World Boxing Council-International Boxing Federation junior-welterweight champion.

5. The Breach of Etiquette and Cringeworthy "Selfie," Witnessed by the World, at Nelson Mandela's Memorial Service

Etiquipedia cannot think of a better caption than the one penned by Seema Goswami
People around the globe gasped collectively at the sight of  Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron clicking a "selfie," not at Disneyland, but at the memorial of the late, great South African leader, Nelson Mandela. "The three world leaders, grinning cheesily into the camera, craned their necks together to get into the frame, oblivious to the thunder-faced Michelle Obama who looked pointedly away." wrote one Hindustand Times columnist, Seema Goswami.

Memorial services and funerals are to remember and honor a life lived. They are definitely not the proper forum for taking "selfies," especially on the world stage.  This almost makes one forget this same U.S. President's breach of etiquette in skipping the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski to go golfing. Almost.

6. Route 40 in the State of Maryland: Breaches of Diplomatic Etiquette and Protocol Cause of International Crises 

Route 40 played a role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act
Diplomats from newly independent African nations suffered a series of indignities during the 1950s and early 1960s, traveling through a segregated State of Maryland, on their way from the United Nations to the White House. Newspapers in their respective home countries, railed against American racism whenever a diplomat was ejected from a “whites only” establishment. 

The State Department eventually was forced to establish an agency just to deal with the discrimination against black diplomats, things had gotten so out of hand. The Kennedy administration officials argued that ending segregation was vital to winning the Cold War. Many believe this ultimately helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

7. The Man Dubbed "The Lizard of Oz" After a Breach of Royal Etiquette, and Those Who Have Followed in His Footsteps

Well at least he didn't hug her.
In 1992 Paul Keating was given the nickname of 'Lizard of Oz' after he touched the Queen's lower back with his arm as he guided her through a crowd of people.  In 2000 another Australian premier, John Howard, denied touching the monarch as he introduced her to MPs at a VIP reception. 

In 2010, the Queen visited Canada. A racehorse owner, Don Romero, put his hand on her back as she presented a trophy to the owner of the winning horse at the Queen's Plate Stakes in Toronto. This breach of royal etiquette was swiftly corrected, however, by his jockey, of all people. Jockey Eurico Da Silva, showed some real panache and executed two bows so low that his head was level with the Queen's waist.

8. Republic of China's Vice President Wu, Breaches Religious Protocol at the Vatican

Vice President Wu Den-yih, 5th right, is pictured with a group of guests that Wu invited for lunch during his visit to the Vatican City, in May of 2014.

According to the Taipei Times, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) was seen partaking in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which should only be done by baptized Catholics. 

In a letter to the Liberty Times (a sister newspaper of the Taipei Times), a reader surnamed Tung (董) criticized the vice president over what he said was ignorant and imprudent conduct by partaking in the Eucharist. 

“Wu is not a Catholic, but during the ritual he ingested the Eucharist offering of bread and wine. This is very improper conduct. His behavior was disrespectful to the diplomatic relationship between Taiwan and the Vatican,” Tung wrote. “In the future, when the president or the vice president attend an important international event, they should put more effort into learning proper protocol and etiquette. This can prevent them from becoming a laughingstock in the international community,” Tung said.