On the afternoon of 22 April, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates met with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea. However, his seemingly innocuous greeting that sent many Korean netizens into a fury.
As President Park came out to welcome Mr. Gates with an English “Nice to meet you,” the mogul reciprocated with good ol’ handshake.
The handshake itself wasn’t an issue, but his left hand seemed to have found itself lodged in his pants pocket in the process. Such a casual handshake was inappropriate of meeting a world leader according to the score of angry citizens online.
“No matter how acceptable it is in the West, they should check in advance and keep in mind the etiquette of other countries,” said one irate commenter.
This is certainly not the first international greeting scandal that has erupted even in recent history.
Looking back to 2009, we have both President and First Lady Obama getting into trouble for completely opposite reasons.
When Michelle Obama and husband paid a visit to Buckingham palace that year she shocked monarchists by placing her hand on the back of Queen Elizabeth II. Even though the Queen reciprocated, some were still off put by a mere mortal placing their mitts on her.
That same year, on the other side of the world, Barack Obama while meeting Emperor Akihito in Japan did a respectful near 90 degree bow. Sure, the handshake while bowing was a little strange but it was a good attempt at following the host countries customs.
However, back in America he was labeled as “treasonous” and submitting to a lesser country by opponents.
These, of course, are but two examples in a long, long list of politicians’ and business people’s international foibles from all parts of the globe. The moral of the story is: stay the hell away from all world leaders and high ranking politicians. They’re too much hassle to deal with. I was going to have Joachim Gauck over for toaster oven pizzas this weekend but screw it. Date’s off Gaucky!