This seemingly innocent picture of founder and former CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates shaking the hands of South Korean president Geun Hye Park is making the rounds in the press and all over the internet in South Korea. Why? Because of the way he’s shaking her hand, of course.
Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft notes that putting your hands in your pocket, especially in formal situations, is considered disrespectful in South Korea. “It’s akin to slouching or chewing gum,” he says. And he’s right! That is the very reason why this picture, which might look pretty normal to many of us, is causing all sorts of reactions in the country.
Some wisely mention that he’s probably just unaware of that this would be considered rude in South Korea, while others are already accusing him of simply being rude. The following image has been circulating online, and quite interestingly looks at how Bill Gates has shook people’s hands in South Korea:
It looks to me that the man simply puts his hands in his pocket sometimes, and other times uses both hands to greet people. Some people might look at the fact that he’s using both hands to greet a sixth grader and but only one hand for one of the former presidents as weird — maybe even disrespectful, because the person is the leader of the state. What do I think? I think Bill just likes to put his hands in his pocket sometimes. Simple as that.
However, after all this has appeared in news broadcasts, it makes me wonder how Bill Gates will choose to shake hands the next time he visits South Korea. Will he use both hands as a sign of respect? Or keep a hand in his pocket and rebel against South Korea, and the rest of Asia that might consider this impolite? Stay tuned!
But seriously, relax people. And South Korea, give the guy a break.