The headline Tourists Accused of Causing Earthquake with Their Naked Photos written by Erika Owen is something you don’t expect to happen in the 21st century. The thought that it can be another one of those fake news (a lot seems to make it in the online news these days) that’s being used to drive traffic to certain websites will cross your mind. But the site, Travel+Leisure, a credible one makes you realize it is true.
Owen writes, “Last month, a group of 10 tourists stripped down to for an impromptu nude photo shoot atop Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalau in Borneo. According to the local indigenous people, this rowdy group was also the cause of a recent 5.9 magnitude earthquake at the site that killed 18 people on May 30th. The locals believe that the tourists “angered the spirit” of the mountain, resulting in the natural disaster.”
Soon after, the Sabah police rounded up the members of the group; four have been detained – a Dutch woman, a British woman and two Canadian brothers – and cases have been filed. The six others are still “at large.” Their lawyer, Ronny Cham, said, “People are laying blame on them for offending the mountain. There is a lot of stupidity involved, and unfortunately politicians have jumped on the bandwagon to condemn them for causing the earthquake, which is ridiculous.”
The Lesson That Tourists Never Seem to Learn
Owen said, “Seems that some people just didn’t learn from the unfortunate tourists who made the mistake of dropping their pants at Angkor Wat.” She was referring to the February 2015 incident involving two American sisters who were booted out of Cambodia for snapping their cameras to take selfies after stripping their clothes. These actions are seriously considered as sacrilegious. These are not the only accounts of people or tourists behaving in an unacceptable manner while they are traveling in some countries. There are more.
Tourists who will get involved with such “crimes” are lucky if all they get is a fine of $250 and being deported. The consequences of such unacceptable behavior can be more serious. When you are visiting another country, it is most important to respect local culture, religion customs and practices. Do not do or say anything that is offending. Justifying that you don’t know is not an acceptable justification either. Remember, “Ignorantia juris non excusat. “ This is the Latin maxim that literally translates to: “Ignorance of the law excuses no one.”
Respecting the Cambodian Religion and Temples
Cambodia is an exotic destination, making it a popular destination for Westerners. Any seasoned traveler will tell you that it is important to do a bit of research before embarking on your journey. When your destination is an exotic location, it is critical to understand their local customs and traditions, including their religion.
If you’re planning to visit Cambodia, you can avoid the offenses committed by these young tourists by knowing the Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting Temples, Mosques and Churches in Cambodia. This BBC Travel post was written by Suemedha Sood. It’s meant to educate would-be visitors to this country.
More Lessons on Travel Etiquette
What is acceptable in one place may be absolutely distasteful, even offensive, in another. Unfortunately, some naïve travelers have the tendency to take these matters for granted. For instance:
- Japan and England on slurping/sipping your soup: Slurping the noodles is not only usual in Japan, it is even considered good table etiquette like a “compliment to the chef or the host” to do so. Among the English, such is a gross behavior considered as uncivilized.
- Hong Kong Etiquette: In Hong Kong flipping over a fish during a meal is considered foreboding, representing a capsizing boat. You must not also pour your drink first before the others, nor should you take the last morsel of food on a serving platter. These are just a few of the long list of proper etiquette observed in Hong Kong.
- Dubai Etiquette: Dubai, being a Muslim city expects its guests to observe a modest dressing and behavior. Immoral or suggestive behaviors and practices are considered illegal – vulgar talks, cohabitation, adultery, homosexuality, bearing a baby out of wedlock, possession or use of illegal substances, etc.
- French Etiquette: “La politesse” reigns supreme!” Indeed, in France, good manners is, social graces and proper etiquette are highly regarded, particularly in Paris. People here always dress up for the occasion. They greet strangers before talking to them; they always address them as “Monsieur/Madame/Mademoiselle.” Do you know that they don’t hug or that there is no French equivalent of that word? Instead, they greet people they are comfortable or familiar with by cheek-kissing or”‘La bise.”
Remember, each country has its own etiquette that is based on their religion, customs and traditions. If you’ve heard of the adage, “When in Rome, do what the Romans do,” embrace it. It can help you avoid embarrassing situations, even brushes with the local laws and sensibilities.