Friday, 3 June 2016

Hi, How Are You? Oh Sorry, You Don't Shake Woman's Hand?

After a few guidance from the pretty young woman, a worker from a bakery shop, I headed down the road, looking for 7-Eleven, because I need to top up my MyKi card, a sort of like Oyster in London, for trams, trains and buses.

As I was walking down the road, I was greeted by a young lady, wearing a bright yellow vest, with the words of "Cancer Foundation" on her chest. At that moment, I knew she was part of the team that promoting to people to donate to the Cancer Foundation charity body.

She greeted me with a warm smile and said,

"Hi. How are you? My name is xxxxxx. What's yours?"

As she was saying that, she holds up her right hand towards me, signifying asking for a handshake.

2 things about me at that exact moment.

I was in a rush, and I am a muslim, who does not shake hand with women other than my family.

But because of my first "rush" things take over my mind during that split second, I accepted her greeting, hence shook her hand as well and replied,

"Hi. I'm fine thanks. My name's Aiman."

Long story short, we talked for a few minutes then I asked her if she know where's the nearest 7 Eleven. Interestingly, the spot of our conversation which has been happening for the last few minutes, was actually in front of the mentioned 7-Evelen by the lady in bakery store before now. I just didn't see it.

Thanked her, after that, I entered myself into the shop and started working on my top-up process with the cashier. As I was waiting for him to deal with the MyKi top-up machine, I was having an internal conversation inside my head.

"Aiman. Why did you shake her hand?"
"Ah, it's okay. Just a little."
"But you're an ambassador of Islam in here."
"You've been WOW-ed, did you not?"

More and more questions keep flowing out and keep circulating in my mind, as before this during my time in UK for 2 years, I respect-fully be able to deny a handshake with a respectable hand gesture (as in the photo)

It was a moment for me, feeling guilty, and weird as well. It's not everybody I touched some woman's hand. For us muslims, we don't have a physical interaction with someone of different gender (there are various opinions about this among the Islamic scholars, but I prefer this one, in this case)

"Done. Here's your card."

The cashier's words made my mind came back to reality, that I was standing in front of him. After thanking him and asking him the direction to the nearest tram stop, I exited the store and headed towards his guide.

Again, a different young lady from the Cancer Foundation greeted me with the same words. And with her hand as well, like before. But now, I prepared myself, and respectfully deny the shake by placing my right hand on my chest. Hope she understands that.

Well, after a few words between us about the cancer foundation, I continued my pace, walking rushingly towards the tram stop. In my mind, I keep wondering.

This world consists of many people, with different cultures, religions, personalities and beliefs. And all of us have different language between us, including body language. It was during that exact moment I keep smiling, of how interesting human just evolved into, and not just about physically.

As she holds up her hand as her way of showing respect to people she met with, I also with my belief, shows my hand gesture, with respect to greet her as well.

Different is okay. Because that's what make the world colourful.

p/s :
This photo was just an act between me and my sister, just to show my message visually, through a picture :)

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About Me

A few years ago, just like any typical SPM leavers, I jumped into an engineering field, thinking that it would suit me well, as I love Physics so much. However, due to my deep passion and intention to understand human mind and behaviour, I continued my journey into Bsc in Psychology at University of Nottingham. More About Me →

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