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Sunday, 9 November 2014

"A City Built by Gentlemen for Gentlemen"

Two Englishmen from Norfolk and I were discussing manners on a long bus ride today. They are doing a walking tour of Malt, and we had a great time discussing walking in Exmoor, Dartmoor and other gorgeous places in England. They had done a walking tour of Cumbria, which I have always wanted to do, and, God willing, will do one day.

A situation, which is, sadly, too common in Malta, arose when a young man of about fourteen had to be "bullied" into giving up his seat for an elderly woman.

Now, on most days, young men do not give up their seats to elderly women. Old woman stand, holding on, while some of the drivers careen around corners, and one must have sea-legs to withstand the angles. Adult men do not give up their seats for women.

Manners are missing.

Manners are also missing with smokers, a breed much more common in Europe than in America. Smokers walk on the sidewalks smoking, not caring if their cigarettes brush up against one. Smoking is too common, and there seem to be no manners concerning blowing smoke in people's faces.

Now, the two gentlemen from Norfolk were telling me that Cyprian young people also lack manners. They walked through Cyprus as well.

The lack of manners is directly connected to the lack of Christianity. Narcissism and rudeness rule the day, in persons who have never been taught to think of others first, or honor old age.

Asian girls give up their seats in the bus to the old. Asian girls, by whom I mean young women from Japan and Korea, who are here either as tourists or who go to the international schools which teach English, are extremely polite and well-bred.

They are not Christian, but have a long cultural history of honoring the aged. We have lost the sense of respect for the old.

And, women and babies....

The two men on the walking tour blamed parents and so do I.  Manners are learned in the home. Manners need to be practiced daily, as part of the larger lifestyle of considering other people's needs before one's own.

The two men also noted a difference in ethnic groups regarding manners. Daily, I pass a group of men who hog the pavement when I walk from Adoration to the bus stop. They will not move over for me or most people. They are not Maltese.

This island has a motto for Valletta-"the city built by gentlemen, for gentlemen". How I wish that were true today.