Embarrassing Learning Experience about Culture
We had the privilege of having our mission president in Kuching last Saturday. His geographical area is West Malaysia, Singapore, and East Malaysia. We will share more about that later in another post.
For lunch break we decided to take him and his wife to a mall. This mall is very up-to-date and is very similar to the United States Malls. Prior to going to the “Food Bazaar” (Food Court). We stopped by the restrooms. While in the restrooms the cleaning crew arrived to clean the restroom. I was not aware that in this culture they do not close the restrooms to clean them. Nor was I aware that the cleaning crew were made up of women. Now mind you we were not in stalls with door closed but were using the other facilities. They came in and started cleaning, mopping floors right around us. I was a bit taken back when I heard the words “Elder Boyter, Elder Boyter”. Appears that 2 of the cleaning ladies where members of the church and recognized me. Struggling with words of what to say I blurted out “The mission president is here with us today, would you like to meet him?” Thinking back on this, perhaps this was not the right time or place to be introducing him to members of the church. However he smiled and shook their hands and greeted them kindly. (Shook their hands even with their pink rubber gloves on) I did not dare look in his eyes at this point. These women were so excited he was there that they followed us out of the mens restroom so that they could meet our wives who were waiting for us. Now the expression on Marie’s and the mission president’s wife’s face as we came out of the mens restroom with women in tow was classic. I would love to have had a picture of that.
However, I do not have pictures of this experience to share:)