What a coincidence that Yodmanudying happened to be reading a book called “Watching the English, The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour”, by Kate Fox, a social anthropologist. I came across this book three years ago at Waterstones while my Chinese friend and I were searching for something to buy. The book, as seen in the picture, immediately caught my attention. I did not need to think twice that I wanted to read it since it might help me to understand the local people a bit better.
The book is divided into 2 parts, excluding the introduction, conclusion and epilogue. Part one: Conversation Codes and part two: Behaviour Codes. In each section, there are some interesting topics. e.g. Humour Rules and Pub-Talk in the Conversation Codes part; Food Rules and Rules of Sex in the Behaviour Codes part. However, I must admit that I have not got round to reading the book from cover to cover yet, though I have skimmed through some of the pages. There are some entertaining topics that I like, such as Emerging Talk Rules – the Mobile Phone on page 84. What the writer describes about people on the train talking loudly on the phone about banal business and domestic matters, in the section on mobile-phone etiquette, is quite true and commonly seen. To me, it is a bit embarrassing to hear these people conversing about private matters in a public place. As funny are the Food Rules. As a matter of fact, I was very surprised to learn that there are rules regarding gastronomy in the UK seeing as people’s tastes are a bit limited here. Some foreigners have mentioned that people’s relationship with food is more like a loveless marriage, which is not surprising to know. But I also must agree with the author about the quality of English cooking. It is neither as awful as some people said, nor as tasty as the natives would like foreigners to believe. It is neither bad nor delicious; it is just bland.
This is a very well-observed and amusing anthropology. The book speaks eloquently and is a comprehensive study of people in one of the most interesting societies in the world. If I had enough time, I would love to indulge myself with this book. A fascinating read.