Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mobile Manners Issued for North Koreans

North Korea is now stressing etiquette in use of mobile phones. "Korean citizens are generally kind and accepting of tourists, but in a culture that is far more conservative than America's, following etiquette is crucial. Respect is paramount, and Koreans may take offense at behavior that you wouldn't blink twice at witnessing at home. Tourists generally visit only South Korea; private American citizens aren't allowed into North Korea on their own. In any case, the same basic manners apply in either place." USA Today 
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North Korea keeps tight controls on the flow of information within, and even across, its borders. Even so, approximately 2.5 million people are estimated to be subscribed to the country's mobile operator Koryolink, a joint venture with Egypt's Orascom Telecom. With this increasingly growing mobile phone use in North Korea, the strict communist country has published a set of etiquette guidelines on how to treat others with respect through the new medium.

A quarterly North Korean magazine on culture has been obtained by the Yonhap News Agency, and it includes an article entitled "Language etiquette in phone conversations." The article stresses the importance of proper manners in one's mobile phone usage.

"As mobile phones are being used increasingly in today's society, there has been a tendency among some people to neglect proper phone etiquette," reads the article in the August 2014 issue of the magazine.

In an apparent reference to the fact that the caller's number appears on mobile phones, the article states that, "On mobile phones, unlike on land lines, conversations usually take place with knowledge of the other person. However, even in such cases, one must not neglect to introduce oneself or offer greetings.

In one such example, the magazine states that if the recipient does not introduce himself or herself upon answering a call, the caller must go through the time-consuming process of enquiring, "Hello? Is it you, comrade Yeong-cheol?"

It stresses too, that it is more polite for the recipient of the call, to not only introduce himself but to also acknowledge that he is aware of who the caller is, as well. If not, the caller must go through the aforementioned, time-consuming inconvenience of identifying himself, according to the magazine article.

In an attempt to nip in the bud the irritating phenomena known as "cell yell" and "TMI," the article also offers the etiquette tip that, "Speaking loudly or arguing over the phone in public places where many people are gathered is thoughtless and impolite behavior."