Photo by Kamshots
Living in a town with a population of about two hundred people (three hundred people depending on who you speak to) invariably, you will come across people who know the people you know. And here I thought the Asian community in Melbourne is close-knit!
What I’ve learnt thus far is this: do not ever gossip about anyone EVER because the person you gossip to will know the person you are gossiping about, and as such, your gossip won’t be kept secret for long! This small town feel even extends to Warwick which is a larger town of ten thousand people give or take a few thousand 25 minutes from the town I’m living in, Maryvale.
Case in point.
My second day at work, I popped into a local Warwick shop specialising in… actually, that would give it away, so I’m just gonna leave it at that. Anyway, I met a particular outgoing, bubbly blonde (who shall remain nameless, of course) and within about 20 minutes, I got the lowdown of a particular person that we both knew and her general feelings toward this person and why. To put it politely, this blonde did not like this brunette – at all.
Another case in point.
On the phone at work I started chatting to a prospective client, whom I have not met personally, but who was not afraid of telling me what she thought of a colleague of mine. She told me her grievances about this colleague which spanned a 4 year history. Woah is all I could think after I hung up the phone. Do you think I said a word about this to anyone at work? Not a chance – I’ve never liked playing Chinese Whispers.
So my rather steep learning curve of country ettiquete has begun. Although I enjoy a good chat now and then, I try and keep my involvement to just listening to the stories. As I know all too well (having been made the subject of gossip in high school often by jealous gits), there are two sides to every story and the one who is doing the gossiping will just as likely gossip about you as they will to you.