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Watch Your Hand Gestures When Overseas
Watch Your Hand Gestures When Overseas

Watch Your Hand Gestures When Overseas


Sukhdeep Singh

Write Something To Right Something

Passionate about playing with words. Sukhdeep is a Post Graduate in Finance. Besides penning down ideas, he is an expert online marketing consultant and a speaker.


Hand gestures; we are so addicted to these that most of the time our hands talk.

I have seen people giving road directions over the phone with hand gestures as if the person on the recipient side is seeing your gestures. But, what if tell you that one wrong hand gesture and you are done! Quite strange. Isn’t it? But, this is true.

Susu, which means urine in India, is milk in Indonesian and female breast in the Philippines. So, if you drink a lot of Susu (Milk, Indonesia), from the Susu (breastfeed, Philippines), then you will have to go for the Susu.(Urine, India).

Quite funny! Isn’t it?

It is the multilingual world. We have the same kind of variations with hand gestures too. A hand gesture that represents ‘everything is okay’ in one continent, could be seen as ‘f#$k off’ in other. When in overseas, instead of your tongue, you need to keep your hands, especially fingers under control. Here are a few of them.

Touching or Beating Over The Head

In a country like India, touching over the head is the highest form of respect. It is the way elders bless younger. However, in some areas of Asia and Thailand, it is taboo to beat someone over the head. The head is considered sacred and it is best to avoid. So, if you are in this part of the globe, try not to touch someone over the head.

Among Greeks, Never Show Your Palms

Showing palms is okay in many civilizations, but not among the Greeks. They do not ever show palms. To them showing palm is the most insulting gesture than any other thing and it is treated as the worst gesture when someone shows them both Palms! So, take care if you are habitual of showing your palms while indicating something, make sure your palms are facing you and not the listener.

Crow foot Symbol In U.K - The 'V' Sign

This could be a symbol used to represent Victory in many countries. But, in the UK, it is very important to be careful when using two finger sign made famous by Winston Churchill. If you have two fingers and the palm facing inwards, that is an insult, as high as the middle finger when you look in most parts of the world.

Sign Up With Your Thumb

Sign up with your thumb which means “perfect” in the UK, it is considered as very offensive in the Middle East, West Africa, and South America. In parts of Europe, this symbol has other meanings, so it’s probably a gesture to avoid, especially when in danger zone.

Awesome Symbol – Making 'O' of Index Finger and Thumb

This one is very hilarious. And, let me tell you that this one can get you in the biggest ever trouble of your life. Sign “OK”, in which the thumb and index finger forms the letter “O” is very offensive in Brazil and should be avoided at all costs.

Summoning Someone With Index Finger

Summoning someone with a hand motion done with a curved index finger or middle finger could be seen as ‘get over here’ in the rest of the world. But, in Japan and Singapore, this gesture means death. And, in the Philippines, this symbol is reserved for summoning dogs.

Devil Horns – Watch Out Rock Stars

A clenched fist with the index finger and little finger raised, the gesture is very favorite among rock stars and their fans, but for Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, this means that your wife is sleeping with another man! Watch out rock stars, if you are in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, and Colombia

Fingers Crossed – Avoid in Vietnam

Finger crossed simply means, “Oh God! I hope everything goes right.” But, don’t you dare to do this when in Vietnam or next to Vietnamese. To them, this symbol means female genital. You better not repeat it.

In addition, eating with left and giving gifts with left hands is an offensive gesture in most countries of the world. In many Muslim countries, it is prohibited to have an eye contact with the opposite sex or touching of any kind.

Hope you get it! Because you won’t be getting any other chance.