Living in Dubai for the past 9 months has highlighted to me something that I have been aware of ever since I was very little, thanks to my parents’ excellent example, and which does often appear to be overlooked by many here. That simply being the value of good manners and being, well, nice.
So far I have seen examples of the very best in people and, unfortunately, the very worst, from atrocious examples of selfish and utterly reckless driving to the kind of verbal abuse leveled at service and wait staff that really rather makes you feel ashamed to be a fellow human-being. One example I recall, whilst waiting for a food order at one of those shopping mall eateries, was seeing a group of guys approach and for the lead member to just start rudely barking his demands at the service attendant without even a hint of a please or thank you. He was even obnoxious enough to chastise her for not hearing his order correctly when she relayed it back to him, something I was amazed that she’d even managed to do given the rapid-fire rate at which he’d baseball pitched his poorly worded demands at her. It does seem that for some here either the inflated earning power they have, or maybe the UV from the sun, seems to have the effect of short-circuiting the nice centres in their brains. Either that or they were simply born that way, in which case maybe one has to forgive them to a degree for being so unsavoury.
I was always taught that good manners cost nothing yet to those who are on the receiving end, the value is infinite. I fail to see how being rude to others, especially those in positions of less power or influence than you, can make anyone, including yourself, anything but miserable. The guys manning the entrance to the development where I live almost look shell-shocked, but pleasantly so, each time I take the split second it takes to offer a quick wave, nod of recognition and smile. Are most people that po faced and rude that it comes as a genuine surprise when someone is even vaguely nice? Apparently so, which is just sad.
A smile, some patience, a couple of pleases and the odd thank you is an amazing recipe for creating a much nicer, friendlier and altogether more pleasant world.