Organisation - September 10, 2009


One morning, we held a small team meeting to discuss our research project. The dean of the department and two other famous professors, one of whom drove from Utrecht in the morning, were at the meeting. The meeting overran by about thirty minutes and lasted till past noon. None of the members had lunch then.

At about 12:15, the dean explained that he could only stay for ten minutes because he had an appointment at 12:30. Then, to my surprise, he got out his lunch box and quickly began to eat his sandwiches during the meeting. After his simple and quick lunch, he left in a hurry. Actually, from then on, I was attracted by his eating performance rather than the meeting itself.
If this kind of behaviour happened in China, at least the dean would have left the room and would not have eaten his food before finishing the meeting, because Chinese people regard this as impolite and disrespectful. Especially high educated people should be very careful about their behaviour in public. Normally, if we have such a meeting in the morning, the dean will arrange a normal lunch in the restaurant for all the team members, especially to welcome the respected professors from other institutes or research centres. Although this habit may waste money and even time, it shows our enthusiasm and politeness to guests. It also can simulate team members' groupism and collective spirit. /Xiaowei  Zheng, MSc Food Microbiology Laboratory