Author Topic: Michelle Obama handshake  (Read 4398 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Jolie_kitten

  • Cute little thing enjoying life
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 662
  • Illegitimi non carborundum
Michelle Obama handshake
« on: November 12, 2010, 08:55:13 AM »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101109/ap_on_re_as/as_indonesia_michelle_s_handshake

So, the Indonesian minister's religious beliefs not permit him to touch women who aren't family members. Nonetheless, he did shake hands with the First Lady (she initiated the handshake). He then posted a tweet about how he did not want to shake her hand and he just felt obligated to it. Now my few questions:

Was it for Michelle Obama/her staff to find out beforehand that the minister's conservative beliefs do not permit him to shake hands with ladies?
OR
Should he have let her know beforehand that he doesn't shake hands, so that public awkwardness should be avoided?
OR
Upon her attempting to initiate a handshake, should he have just smiled and tell her "Sorry, I don't shake hands for religious reasons"?

ALSO,
Once he had agreed to shake her  hand, against his beliefs, was it wrong of him to state he did not agree to it?

What do you think is the right way to tackle this issue?
Where there is cake there is hope. And there is always cake ;)

Morty'sCleaningLady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3159
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 09:03:30 AM »
Well, this is a situation where there was most likely a miscommunication.  So many different cultures have unique rules whether it's not shaking hands with an opposite gender, not showing the heel of your shoe or everyone's EHell favorite 'outdoor shoes inside'. 

The Indonesian minister only had two choices when Mrs. Obama made a tactical error.  He could not shake her hand (Headlines read: Cold shoulder to first lady!) or he could shake it and have to explain to those who follow his religion why he did it. 

If I were him, I wouldn't have shaken her hand but done something kindly, like compliment her shoes.  I'd also have my aide-de-camp tell her aide-de-camp that much like Donald Trump, I don't shake hands. 

Has Michelle apologized for the blunder yet? 
Formerly Mrs.Bart

PeasNCues

  • Mind your PeasNCues!
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7366
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2010, 09:06:00 AM »
I honestly thing Mrs. President's staff really dropped the ball here. She should have been briefed about this before she went.

But, the Indonesian minister made the choice to shake her hand. I am not sure about the tone of his twitter, but he should not whine about shaking her hand when he could have politely declined for religious reasons.
'I shall sit here quietly by the fire for a bit, and perhaps go out later for a sniff of air.  Mind your Ps and Qs, and don't forget that you are supposed to be escaping in secret, and are still on the high-road and not very far from the Shire!' -FOTR

http://inanitiesofanidlemind.blogspot.com/

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8533
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2010, 09:09:51 AM »
Well, this is a situation where there was most likely a miscommunication.  So many different cultures have unique rules whether it's not shaking hands with an opposite gender, not showing the heel of your shoe or everyone's EHell favorite 'outdoor shoes inside'. 

The Indonesian minister only had two choices when Mrs. Obama made a tactical error.  He could not shake her hand (Headlines read: Cold shoulder to first lady!) or he could shake it and have to explain to those who follow his religion why he did it. 

If I were him, I wouldn't have shaken her hand but done something kindly, like compliment her shoes.  I'd also have my aide-de-camp tell her aide-de-camp that much like Donald Trump, I don't shake hands. 

Has Michelle apologized for the blunder yet? 

He could have pressed his hands together and bowed respectfully. That most likely would have signaled Mrs. Obama to bow in return and not to push the hand shake. He must have some sort of greeting for when he meets women he's not related to. But I can see how, in the pressure of the moment, his mind probably went blank and he did what felt he had to do to appear gracious.

Admittedly, I was surprised by the incident, as I thought that this sort of thing was dealt with in preparing for such trips, so that Mrs. Obama should have been made aware of the minister's practice and been prepared with an alternate greeting.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Two Ravens

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2294
  • One for sorrow, Two for mirth...
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2010, 09:11:26 AM »
The minister was very ungracious part saying later that she all but forced him, when it's clearly not the case in the video. It sounds like there was a line of people greeting Ms. Obama and her husband, and she was shaking hands with everybody. It would be hard to guess that this one person would create a media sensation by shaking her hand.

Anyway, She was was well within the bounds of the social occasion she had presumably been briefed on. Had he wished not to shake a woman's hand he could have done so gracefully. He is the diplomat. She is the visiting dignitary. They are not held to the same standard, and the standard for the diplomat is and should be higher. Nothing she did was in violation of ordinary local customs.

Bibliophile

  • May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12025
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2010, 09:13:25 AM »
It's a receiving line, what did he think was going to happen?  And once he made the decision to shake her hand, he should've graciously kept his mouth shut.  Tweeting about it seems very juvenile.

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

Dindrane

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15356
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2010, 09:24:21 AM »
I saw a video of this incident, and it looks like he was reaching his hands out towards Mrs. Obama at the same time, or perhaps even before, she reached her hand out to shake his.

So perhaps the minister thought that Mrs. Obama was reaching to shake his hand, but it looks like Mrs. Obama likely thought the same of the minister.  It's very poor form, in my opinion, to paint the situation as entirely Mrs. Obama's fault.


Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21378
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2010, 09:24:45 AM »
In his position he will meet and recieve women from other cultures who are unaware or just automatically conditioned to shake hands.  He should have a contingency plan that allows both of them to deal with it gracefully.

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9753
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2010, 09:51:19 AM »
I honestly thing Mrs. President's staff really dropped the ball here. She should have been briefed about this before she went.

But, the Indonesian minister made the choice to shake her hand. I am not sure about the tone of his twitter, but he should not whine about shaking her hand when he could have politely declined for religious reasons.

Agreed. He should have kept his mouth shut.

Quote
In footage of the official welcome, Sembiring appeared to share his countrymen's enthusiasm. He smiled broadly as he shook the president's hand and then reached with both hands to grasp Michelle Obama's. But later he said she forced their contact.

It sounds like she thought he was reaching for her hand.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

cbcb

  • Canadian living in the US
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1551
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2010, 09:59:27 AM »
He's pretty darn rude to put the blame on her. She's holding her hand static, he turns with a big smile, reaches out to her hand, and shakes it several times - in the video it is clear, he is the source of both the contact and the motion.

So he's a liar in addition to breaking his own moral code. Nice.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2010, 10:03:20 AM by cbcb »

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28368
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2010, 10:02:15 AM »
I wonder why the world is so tolerant of people who wouldn't shake a woman's hand, when there would be screams of outrage if someone said "I didn't want to shake her hand, because of her race".
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Peggy Gus

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3172
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2010, 10:05:52 AM »
Well, this is a situation where there was most likely a miscommunication.  So many different cultures have unique rules whether it's not shaking hands with an opposite gender, not showing the heel of your shoe or everyone's EHell favorite 'outdoor shoes inside'. 

The Indonesian minister only had two choices when Mrs. Obama made a tactical error.  He could not shake her hand (Headlines read: Cold shoulder to first lady!) or he could shake it and have to explain to those who follow his religion why he did it. 

If I were him, I wouldn't have shaken her hand but done something kindly, like compliment her shoes.  I'd also have my aide-de-camp tell her aide-de-camp that much like Donald Trump, I don't shake hands. 

Has Michelle apologized for the blunder yet?  

Why should she?

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28368
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2010, 10:12:12 AM »
He could have pressed his hands together and bowed respectfully. That most likely would have signaled Mrs. Obama to bow in return and not to push the hand shake. He must have some sort of greeting for when he meets women he's not related to. But I can see how, in the pressure of the moment, his mind probably went blank and he did what felt he had to do to appear gracious.

I can't figure out why an important government official would "go blank" under the "pressure of the moment". He's meeting an American, who normally shakes hands. He didn't tell his aides to warn her in advance not to offer her hand. What did he *think* was going to happen? The bolded above would have been graceful, and no one would have thought twice about the gesture.

The blunder, if any, was all his, and he should have the decency not to complain about being unprepared for standard diplomatic protocol.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

cbcb

  • Canadian living in the US
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1551
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2010, 10:13:00 AM »
Well, this is a situation where there was most likely a miscommunication.  So many different cultures have unique rules whether it's not shaking hands with an opposite gender, not showing the heel of your shoe or everyone's EHell favorite 'outdoor shoes inside'.  

The Indonesian minister only had two choices when Mrs. Obama made a tactical error.  He could not shake her hand (Headlines read: Cold shoulder to first lady!) or he could shake it and have to explain to those who follow his religion why he did it.  

If I were him, I wouldn't have shaken her hand but done something kindly, like compliment her shoes.  I'd also have my aide-de-camp tell her aide-de-camp that much like Donald Trump, I don't shake hands.  

Has Michelle apologized for the blunder yet?  

Why should she?

Yeah, I'd suggest that folks watch the video before proclaiming her rude based on his word. He's not the "reluctant handshaker" he paints himself as.
this one unfortunately has a partially blocking graphic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzLaKriBtWU - there are other longer clips but the ones I've seen seem to have commentary and I can't screen them for appropriateness at the moment (in public, don't want to be playing sound).

Maybe she shouldn't have been holding her hand out - I don't know. She was going through a handshaking line and in the full clip, she doesn't seem to be offering it, but just having pulled it back from a handshake from the last man in line. She appeared to be presenting an option to him, but the shaking choice was his. I do think the clearest rudeness is his making a mistake and blaming her for it - he could have very easily not reached out and shook, but he clearly chose to do so. If he made a mistake, he could have just said that, and he would have looked less foolish than he did accusing her of being a handshake bully.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2010, 10:16:17 AM by cbcb »

DangerMouth

  • Work as if you were in the early days of a better nation.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7482
  • Everybody Gets Ice Cream!
Re: Michelle Obama handshake
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2010, 10:29:45 AM »
I wonder why the world is so tolerant of people who wouldn't shake a woman's hand, when there would be screams of outrage if someone said "I didn't want to shake her hand, because of her race".

I toyally agree with you.

Anyway, from looking at the video, it looks to me like he was bringing his two hands together (I don't know what this gesture is called in the Muslim world, in Thailand it's called a wai) and he made a split second choice to change it to the double-handed shake when he saw her outstretched hand.

I give him major points for his graciousness in that instant, to not make her feel awkward. I take all those points away and then some for later tweeting about it. And I completely understand the outrage of his country men (and women) who point out his hipocracy be shaking MO's hand while he's refuses to shake the hands of his female fellow citizens.