Fiji Sun : 2020-05-08

BIG STORY : 13 : 13


FIJI SUN | FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2020 | FIJISUN.COM.FJ big story 13 W However, in this time of social distancing, what kinds of greetings should we use? What type of greeting is more infectious that another? Since COVID-19, I have tried to avoid all the ‘normal basic handshakes’ mentioned earlier, but it is very challengin­g – and I know a lot of people also feel the same. We have accustomed ourselves to this ritual of throwing hugs at every available opportunit­y. So what are my alternativ­es? Rewind back to early February, I was very comfortabl­e with a handshake. There was no COVID-19 bacteria scare and a firm hand grip or handshake is a universal sign of mutual respect and strength. Handshakes are also a standard hello! Today, a firm handshake is a universal sign of transmitti­ng the COVID-19 virus. I am personally comfortabl­e with the non-contact greetings like air hugs, V signs, and the hang loose or shaka sign. From the Hawaiian surf culture hang loose to the almost universall­y recognised gesture of polite salutation, hand gesture is e live in unusual times! A time where our social lives have been restricted and limited because of the novel coronaviru­s aka COVID-19 pandemic. It requires us to isolate with maximum caution to protect ourselves and loved ones. For many years, we have been too comfortabl­e with ritualisti­c greetings that have become a norm in our lives: from hugs to high fives to pinky-swears and other forms of gestures! Yes, We love our handshakes. Some hug, some say hello rubbing their noses together. And some do a combinatio­n of – shake hands, hug and a kiss on the cheek. Ask my mum – she knows because she falls in that category – the whole nine yards of saying hello when she meets someone very close to her. In normal times, the basic handshake, the Fijian the Botswana handshake, the Liberian snap handshake, high five and the fist bump are our signature greeting gestures. Then we have the very popular French greeting – the cheek kiss used to greet people. equally recognisab­le to many people. For me, putting my hands together at chest level with palms together and fingers pointing up carries strong positive connotatio­ns of prayer, friendship, solidarity and kindness. COVID-19 has made us rethink how we say hello. It is the right thing to do. Public health profession­als and Government leaders have overly emphasised the importance of social distancing and breaking the habit of handshakes. This is a shift in human behaviour – first, we find ourselves forced into social distancing, then breaking the handshake tradition. But even if handshakes die out – alternativ­es already exist. When we returned from our Dubai Christmas trips, we also brought back with us the gesture – placing right hand across the chest (with a bowed head or a nod) – a sign of respect expressed in the Emirati or Arab communitie­s. We are adapting and we must communicat­e in the most safest way we can. Opinion “al-Hamdu li-llaah” AnnMary Raduva is a Year 11 student at St Joseph’s Secondary School. She was also the Shadow British High Commission­er for a Day and is an Internatio­nal Eco-Champion Hero and Climate Activist „ dre, namaste “la bise” Feedback: namaste

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