The Cleaner and the Queen. A lesson in intercultural communications

The Cleaner and the Queen. A lesson in intercultural communications

Communication | Judette Coward-Puglisi

May 1, 2008


The Cleaner and the Queen A lesson in intercultural communications

Okay. Call me a prude. But when comedienne Deborah Maillard asked the IABC T&T’s conference speaker, Angela Sinickas, whether “she picked up a rasta man” during her diving trip in Tobago, I wanted the seat in Queen’s Hall to open up and fold me in.

Frankly, I didn’t know if I should have laughed out loud or cringed. Had Maillard gone too far? Before I answer, here’s the context.


3 thoughts on “The Cleaner and the Queen. A lesson in intercultural communications

  1. Having Angela in the loop before the stage enactment was a huge plus –
    Angela could then relax and be herself. We had the opportunity over breakfast and lunch to understand Angela’s personality also – there was still time to tone down
    ‘Philomena’ if we didn’t think Angela would take the ‘picong’ in the right spirit.
    It worked; but everything had to come together just right
    – the people, the atmosphere and the moment.

  2. It is funny that as people who live in a country with such a diverse culture, Trinis still do not understand the tenets of intercultural communications. Does one have to read for a degree in Communications Studies to know that what is a joke in one culture may be a disrespect in another? Does one have to read books and articles to discover that cultures are different and so tact is needed at times when interacting with people from other cultures? I think not. Because almost every Trini has had an experience with a foreigner or some family member or friend who came home from abroad, and as such it makes it easier to not only become aware but to understand basic differences in culture. But Trinis take it for granted that everyone in the world loves a picong and a ole talk just as we do. I mean, how many times would we have to explain that lime is not a citrus fruit before we understand the differences! And I understand where Judith is coming from. Sometimes we do take things a little too far in that folks who do not know our culture may take the tit-for-tat personally, when we just jokin around. However, in the context this was acceptable considering especially that dramatists live to be unconventional and tackle issues that no one else dares. That’s why people will laugh when Philo makes a joke about Angela’s name. That’s why her insinuation of tourist women and island men would be funny. Whereas in a casual meeting where Angela had not known of the character Philo, but met someone just like her, she would’ve been embarrassed and appalled. The gold teeth in "Philo’s" mouth would most definitely not been on her mind afterwards.

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