18 December 2018
Yan Yan Cecilia Choi
Good morning, principal, fellow teachers and students. This is Miss Choi, your English teacher. Christmas is coming and a lot of you will meet your old friends or hang out with your classmates during Christmas. Today, I have a book that is very useful for boys. I repeat, it is a book that is very useful for boys. Girls, don’t get annoyed. Listen to me and you may check whether you agree with me or not. The title of the book is How to be a Gentleman by John Bridges.
There are ten chapters in the book and I would say the first 50% of the book is very useful for you, boys. The first half includes interesting chapters like
‘A gentleman gets dressed, A gentleman goes to dinner, A gentleman says the right thing, A gentleman goes to a party, A gentleman and his friends.’
The last 30% is more applicable to working adults because it is about office and career and the manner you have when you meet The President of a country or the Royalty like Queen Elizabeth II or Prince William.
Here is some useful advice for our Sun Fong Chung College boys and girls, you may need to think whether you agree or not. The first chapter is about the manner of using a smartphone. Cell phones in the modern time are ubiquitous. They are everywhere. It is very important to know how to use them politely. The book says ‘a gentleman knows that it is appropriate for him to use his cell phone…
‘if he is alone.
if he is certain that his conversation will not disturb or annoy others.’
And ‘a gentleman does not use his cell phone…
‘when he is in the midst of a church service or during a theatre performance, a movie or a concert.
‘in the waiting room, or in the examining room, at a doctor’s office’ (p.12)
In other words, a gentleman will not use his smartphone if he will disturb other people. The chapter goes on to say that we should not talk on or use the phone when we watch a movie. Moreover, we should not talk on the phone when we are on a bus or queue up in a supermarket. So, boys and girls, we should not talk on our mobile phone on 28K or school bus unless it is very necessary. Keep your conversation short. Finish your conversation as quickly as possible.
Next is about using a door. When you enter a shopping mall, a cinema, Tai Po Centre or when you enter your classroom, you may have to use a door. What do you do? The book tells ‘a gentleman ‘never slams a door in another person’s face. It does not matter whether the other person is a man or a woman.’ (p.53) In other words, we should hold the door for a short while to keep it open for the person behind you. ‘If it is a revolving door, (i.e. a moving door in a circle that keeps moving. You may see such revolving doors in fancy hotels) a gentleman pays more attention than usual…He pushes the door open and makes the world a little easier for the person behind him. He never shares a revolving door section with other people. He respects their space.’ (p.53) Boys and girls, when people keep the door open for you, you should say thank you.
There are also pages telling you, gentlemen, how to make a bow-tie and how to set a dinner table.
It is also interesting in the latter part of the book that tells you how to shake hands. No matter where you are, like at a church, a party, a show, etc. When you are ‘introduced to an older person, a gentleman does not extend his hand first. Instead, he waits until a handshake is offered.’ Second, ‘a gentleman never extends his hand to a woman first.’ (p.156) If a woman does not extend her hand, a gentleman simply nods his head as a gesture of greeting.’ So what about when a gentleman meets a young boy or young girl. When a gentleman meets a young boy, he can initiate the handshake whereas when he meets a young girl, he simply says “Hello, Mary, it’s nice to meet you.’ (p.156)
Let me repeat, when you meet an older person or a woman, never offer your hand to shake hands. Wait until they move, if they do not, just say, ‘it is nice to meet you.’ If it is a young boy, you can offer your hand to shake hands; if it is a young girl, just say, ‘Hello, it is nice to meet you.’
The book I recommend to you today is ‘How to be a Gentleman by John Bridges’. The book writes a lot about the social manner for adults, too. There are chapters telling you what a gentleman should do when he goes to a wedding or a funeral, or when he visits his friend’s home. If you are interested, you can borrow the book at the school library. Thank you.