Recently I came across a piece of news that said, a UNO misbehaved with a journalist because the journalist didn't address her madam. This set me thinking and put me into writing this article.This is a frustrating piece of news if that is what it happened and more frustrating part is, this is not the first time this kind of news has been published; this has been published a number of times before. I think, there should be a clear instruction from government what the decorum should be followed in these circumstances.
We are People's Republic. Now the million dollar question is, the officials of this People's Republic will be addressed as Sir or Madam by the people of this country or the officials of the People's Republic will address the people as Sirs or Madams since people are the owner of this country; or both parties will be doing the same to each other. Mind boggling, right? And that’s why there should a clear instruction so that this confusion gets over. Suppose a senior official who is in his/her early fifty or late forty can be addressed sir/madam showing respect to his/her age. We do the same in our everyday life as well. We respect the elders by addressing them ankle or murubbi (seniors) or sir while we bump into them on the road or in daily public life. But this is not mandatory; rather a part of our etiquette and manners we learn from religious, social and family values.
This custom is widely in use in modern world. Mid-level citizens to senior citizens are addressed as sir/madam everywhere in the public life in developed countries as a gesture of showing respect. I frequently have this experience in Canada as I'm close to 50. But it is unfortunately true that there are a very few number of Bangladeshi government officials, specially who are in cadre service, are very arrogant of their positions and sometimes fail to show proper respect to the people of all walks of life who are the owner of this country. And that’s why it becomes a news item because we expect proper respect from them in exchange of showing proper respect. One of the main factors here is the lack of moral education, social life skills, etiquette & manners and family values in early life. Well, this is also applicable to some of the civilians as well who earn huge wealth and money by illegal means and then pretend to be the descendants of Roy Bahadur Chowdhury family and belittle everyone around them because of their ill-gotten money. Again proper education coupled with morality and family values if taught in early life both at school and home can drastically improve the scenario here. That's why it is said home is the best institution and parents are the best teachers. Charity has always to be starting from home and that’s why we need educated mother. It is needless to say that when you show respect to someone, you in fact, show respect to yourself. This reciprocal attitude, empathy, respect for each other, social and family values should simultaneously be taught at educational institutions as well as family. This is high time we started implementing these lessons if we want to keep pace with the modern world to build professional ties and take our beloved country to a new height. It is said, there is no business problem; it is always people’s problem. You solve people’s problem, business will automatically be landing at your door. People problem means people skills. The educational institutions are nowadays mostly busy to prepare their students for the examinations and parents at home hardly have time to spend quality time with their children and teach them etiquette, manners and values.
To have a friend, be a friend first. In the same token, to be honoured, show honour first. Let me conclude with a real life experience. Couple of years back, one day I was sitting at the Police Super’s office in Tangail District of Bangladesh. A guy who seemed to be a daily labourer entered the room in a pensive mood and greeted Police Super. The Police Super asked him, ‘Why did you leave your shoes outside the room?’ Then I also noticed that he was bare footed.
‘For no reason, Sir’, came the humble reply.
Police Super asked, ‘Did anybody ask you to put off your shoes?’
‘Please go out, put on shoes and come back again.’
The man deed accordingly. Then the police super invited him to sit across the table and asked in an empathetic tone how he could help him.
Now what do you think? Don't you think the Police Super honoured himself by showing honour to this poor fellow who didn’t dare to put on shoes in an SP’s room? This guy will remember this Police Super for the rest of his life with love and respect, for sure!
The writer is a Communication Trainer.