Upon reaching Lhasa after invading Tibet , Francis Younghusband wrote:
“On the very day after our arrival I and all my staff donned our full-dress uniforms, and with an escort of three hundred men, including some of the Royal Fusiliers and a sort of band from the Gurkhas, we marched right through the city of Lhasa making all the noise we could.”
He goes on to note the Tibetans clapped and cheered loudly being most impressed. A Tibetan account challenges this account noting that Tibetans clap their hands in order to drive out evil spirits:
“When the British Officers marched to the Tsuhlakhang [Jokhang] and other places, the inhabitants of Lhasa were displeased. They shouted and chanted to bring down rain, and made clapping gestures to repulse them. In the foreigners custom these are seen as signs of welcome, so they took of their hats and said thank you.”
If ever there were a clearler example of cultural misunderstanding between invaders and the invaded then this is it. Something we could all do to remember these days.