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21 December 2016


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I have heard the opinion expressed that the habit of continuing to hold hands after the initial grasp is a way of communicating. One can feel if the other person is relaxed and at peace or not. In that context the shaking of the hand is seen as a disruption of communication.
Yes one can feel uncomfortable with the lengthy holding of hands but one can also learn to relax with it. Certainly in the Hagen area the 'holding' was traditionally more common than the 'shaking'.

and....then there's the 'continuing to hold hands after the handshake routine' when you meet a mate or friend. Whoa! That can be very disturbing for some of us when first encountered.

The 'Look at me when I'm speaking to you' routine we were taught as children made it hard to go back to when you returned from PNG. Reverse culture shock for some of us was far worse that when we first arrived in PNG.

No one in Canberra ever thought about any familiarisation training or debriefing when we summarily returned to our previous culture. Our experiences changed us and many found we had become locked 'betwixt and between'. Not that anyone in Canberra cared two hoots anyway. They had no idea about any cultural divide around the Torres Strait.

It's easy for you though, Phil. 'tis the Irish in you: everybody knows that.

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