Sensitivity Training

BCs 1200

If you’re an international delegate, speaker or sponsor planning to attend this years RTC Australasian event there’s a few issues that need to be carefully considered. It’s hard for anyone outside of Australia or New Zealand to fully appreciate the sensitivity of these matters but not doing so stirs the coals on fomenting an international incident.

First: Cricket. In the US, crickets are small, woodland insects which add peaceful overtones to otherwise quiet evenings. In other countries Cricket is a baseball-like sport with a oddly shaped bat, pointed down at ground rather than behind the shoulder. The pitcher runs before unsuccessfully throwing the ball as it typically hits the ground before getting to the batter. And even when someone hits the ball there’s only two bases and the batters (yep – there’s two at a time) simply run back and forth.

Therefore Cricket is best understood as a great game after you’ve had too much to drink (no confusion about which way to run as in baseball) played with a bat that makes more sense as a self defense weapon in tight spaces.

On the other hand, everybody gets to bat, which is nice.

So why don’t we talk about Cricket? Exhibit A. Exhibit B.

Next: Middle Earth, Lord of the Rings, Hobbits, Second Breakfasts, Twosies…basically anything to do with Tolkien’s Middle Earth. New Zealand is a small, peace loving nation and so are many of their inhabitants. Kiwi’s (a common term of endearment for any New Zealander – essentially a small, peace loving and flightless bird that only comes out at night) love to talk about the weather and have as many words for rain as Eskimo’s have for snow. Kiwi’s also love to stop in the middle of anytime to drink tea (9am – 5pm) or beer (9pm – 5am). This is why RTC has so many breaks between sessions. Truth be told the Kiwi’s bargained for sheep skins and nap time, but were negotiated down to Berocca fountains and chocolate fish.

I completely understand why constant coffee, tea and snack breaks is very confusing to most people outside of these two countries. Particularly to those in the US that only take two weeks off for vacation a year and even then are expected to answer texts, phone calls, attend meetings remotely, tweet, blog and Facebook their holiday:

WOWOMGARENTYOUJEALOUSABOUTHOWIMNOTWORKINGDURINGMYAMAZNGVACATIONHASHTAG!

What’s important to remember is while most people of earth find it fitting that the LOTR / Hobbit films were filmed in New Zealand, the Australian’s find it ironic. Aussies take great pleasure in pointing out these ironies. That’s because Australian’s are descendants of the great Uruk-Hai as demonstrated from their most successful film series: Mad Max.

God Save the Queen if these two countries ever touch (which nearly happened in one particularly terrifying incident). It would be a blood bath. Or worse – they could breed.

Finally: Australia has Nicole Kidman, Elle MacPherson, and Miranda Kerr. New Zealand has Rachel Hunter. Keeping in mind that New Zealand is a small country with comfortable and under gound (albeit dry) homes no one was surprised when Mrs. Hunter married British rock star Rod Stewart, who’s quite tall for a hobbit (1.8m or about 4’ in the rest of the world). And being from England, Rod knew a thing or two about life outside the shire.

Then Rachael broke Rob’s heart. Angrily inspired by this international spurning, England went on to win the 1990 Cricket World Cup.

Remember how we are not to mention Cricket? Full circle.

So enjoy your week in Australia all international speakers, delegates and sponsors! Just remember to be a polite out-of-towner. When in doubt – do what most New Zealander’s do:

Talk about the weather.

See you on the Gold Coast!

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