Friendly Friday Challenge: HANDS & FEET

In my part of the world the days are getting longer and the weather’s getting warmer. The birds are singing, the squirrels are chirping and my cat’s conniving to escape through the open front door. It’s almost time for t-shirts, shorts and flip flops and my pale feet and hands are looking forward to some sunshine. Which brings us to our FFC topic.

For the next two weeks the Friendly Friday Challenge is to post articles inspired by HANDS & FEET.

This challenge can be either or easy or hard, straightforward or indirect. It’s as easy as sharing a selfie of your latest mani-pedicure. Or a story about a feet inspired adventure. Or maybe a feature on your latest hand-made delight. Hands AND feet. Hand OR foot? Your choice. Use the topic as a starting point and see where inspiration takes you.

Lately, I’ve been watching a film noir series set in Singapore 1964. One of the things I like about the show is its accurate depiction of daily life. Even though it’s set sixty years earlier, I recognise the familiar ambiance of kopitiams (coffee shops), hand painted street signs and ‘black & white’ houses. The full authenticity struck me in a scene where Sam (an Australian ex-pat living in Singapore) enters a residence. He pauses at the door way to remove his shoes.

This is a common habit of every Singaporean, Chinese and Asian home I’ve ever visited. It is a simple courtesy to not tramp dirty shoes into a private home. Some places even provide house slippers for guest to wear … although if you’re a normal size Westerner, the inevitable Size 5 slippers may not suit.

Chinatown (Singapore)

The courtesy extends to places of worship, past and present. I remember having to remove my shoes (and socks) for every pagoda entered in Bagan. In one particular pagoda, I was grateful for the added security of having my bare feet to ‘feel’ my way up an internal stairwell. It was narrow and dark with uneven steps that were crumbling and sometimes missing. At the top of the pagoda was a breathtaking view. Eventually though, I had to go back down.

Pagoda stairwell (Bagan)

Have you ever noticed how much people talk with their hands? In some cultures, hand gestures are as much a part of language as words and facial expressions. Did you know that for the hearing impaired, facial expression is as much a part of sign language as are hand gestures? And that just as modern language is filled with slang and colloquialisms, so too is signing?

Being unversed in signing, I didn’t appreciate any of this until I saw this video. Set to the music of JP Saxe’s “If the World was Ending,” two actors simultaneously sign the words and sentiment. Very quickly, you’ll see that the hand signs are not identical and the actors’ expressions emote much of the song. For viewing, I recommend turning on captioning.

I look forward to seeing your post inspired by the topic HANDS & FEET. You have two weeks to publish your response to this challenge, after which Amanda will pose a new one. Remember to give me a pingback to this post, so that I can find you. Full instructions on Friendly Friday can be found here.

Toronto, Canada. April 2021

45 Comments

    1. Cat lovers everywhere will love that photo. I sure did!

      I agree that removing shoes at the entry is more & more common everywhere. Maybe in the old days, when people had butlers and maids there was no need (Sorry, I’ve been watching too many Victorian era TV shows 🙂 Nowadays though, it’s quite impolite to bring dirty shoes into the house.

      Glad to have you join us Deborah. Looking forward to seeing more from you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m beginning to wonder if removing shoes before entering a house is more common than I originally thought ?! 🙂
      Thanks for participating this week & I’m glad you enjoyed the video.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yet another fun theme, Sandy – thank you for getting our creative juices flowing once again!
    We Asians tend to treat our feet very differently …. is it the weather? is it cultural? certainly food for thought.

    Here’s my contribution:

    cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reading your comment I’m reminded about something unusal (to me) in Singapore.

      Never before had I seen so many naked feet, bared in all their glory (some not so glorious) walking about in public. In Canada there’s maybe 6-8 weeks in summer that people wear sandals and then for only some of the time. I didn’t even notice it at first, I was so aclimatized. But then I remember sitting in the MRT train, thinking about how different the view was from the floor up 😉

      Like

  2. I’ve got used to the shoes off rule when visiting temples although it seemed odd the first few times I encountered it. Now I just take it for granted 🙂 But a couple of years ago I visited the mosque in Sofia with friends who weren’t used to travelling outside Europe and had never been asked to remove their shoes before. They were both fine about complying but taken aback by the request! One important lesson I’ve learned is always to wear (old) socks when visiting temples in hot countries, as the stone can be painfully scorching on the soles of your feet 😆

    I’ve gone for hands rather than feet in my response: https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/using-our-hands-handicrafts-around-the-world/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good advice with socks … although with some religious places, even socks are discouraged. But I know what you mean. I recall hopping around looking for shady spots to walk 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so encouraging Amanda 🙂 It’s nice to find a topic which can be both straightforward or interpretative. It’s a good thing we have 4 weeks to find the next one!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The series is ‘Serangoon Road’ and it was made in 2013 by ABC & HBO Asia. I’m watching it on Netflix Canada. It’s well done in terms of scene setting & cinematography but the acting & direction reminds me a bit of old style soap operas — brooding looks, dramatic pauses etc. Like all series though, I was hooked and had to keep watching to the end 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen “taking off shoes when entering a home” attributed to Germans in video clips that try to explain differences between Germans and other nationalities. To be honest, I never understood it to be particular German custom and certainly don’t remember it from when I was little. However, it has definitely become more common these days and often people provide slippers when you visit them. – I know that sign language is different in different countries and a French signer does not necessarily understand a South African one and just as there is American and British English, there is American Sign Language and British sign language and in sign language the difference is more pronounced than in the spoken varieties. However, I know for a fact that the South African sign language swear words I have picked up from friends is understood by both, British and American signers.
    Here are my hands and feet for the challenge: https://picturesimperfectblog.wordpress.com/2021/04/23/hands-feets-no-knees-no-elbows/

    Like

    1. Funny how swear words are transcend boundaries of language! Even when you don’t understand them, it’s easy to understand the sentiment 🙂

      Interesting that Germans also remove their shoes. Maybe this is more common that I thought.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Weather definitely influences. In Canada, it’s pretty common to remove wet, slushy winter boots in and walk around in socks. However, I know some Canadians who’ll bring their ‘inside’ shoes to wear while visiting 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating to watch this video. I can imagine how much a good interpretation can help in sign language. I have no knowledge of this language but I was really proud when amore accompanied me to a translators’ meeting in Slovenia (attended mostly by Slovenians) some years after I moved to Italy and he noticed that only I and a translator from Italian were using hands to help us speak. 🙂

    Regarding no shoes policy in temples, I have a question. (Clearly I have been not even near a temple in my life.) It’s not really a question, just an observation. I don’t suppose they can make an exception for people who cannot walk barefoot because of their bone calcification problem and even flat shoes are a no-no?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a funny — I can just imagine you & the Italian making so much noise with your hands!

      On your question — I don’t really know. Normally there’s no signage outside of temples. People just know what they have to do and even if you don’t, the collection of shoes, sandals & flip flops at the entrance is self-explanatory. I suppose that in places where there’s a regular flow of tourists, there’d be someone around to remind folks and at that time, they can explain the medical condition. Even if a custodian lets you in though, you might get some nasty looks from locals. I remember once being in an outdoor temple with a fully exposed, roof less court (it felt more like a pavillon than a temple) where I had not taken off my shoes. No one called me out but I could see the covert glares at my shoes.

      Liked by 1 person

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