[News] Woman’s complaint after being called ‘grandmother’ has Taiwanese police using age-neutral terminologies for people

Caption: A police department in Taiwan lists down proper terminologies to be used when addressing the people. — Reuters pic

Caption: A police department in Taiwan lists down proper terminologies to be used when addressing the people. — Reuters pic

By Sylvia Looi

Monday, 20 Jun 2022 11:25 AM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Officers at the Taichung City Police Department are now required to use a more respectful and age-neutral terminology when addressing the people.

The decision came following a complaint filed by a 50-year-old woman who took offence that she was addressed as “grandmother”.

The woman filed a complaint on December 24 last year when police addressed her as “grandmother” when attending to her during a car accident, Taiwan News reported.

Taken aback by the address, the woman retorted that she was very fashionable and should not be called “grandmother”.

In her complaint, the woman said police should have more empathy and if they did not know the actual age of the other party, they should address them with a relatively younger title.

Following the complaint, the Taichung City Police Department recently decided to adopt customer relationship management to improve their quality of services to the people.

The first priority listed was the use of proper terminology when addressing individuals.

When speaking to a young person regardless of their gender, they should use the term classmate while younger women should be addressed as Miss.

In the case of women who appear to be older, they should be addressed as Ms and men should be addressed as Sir.

Terms such as grandfather, grandmother, young boy, obasan, ojiisan, uncle, auntie, elder sister or little sister were to be avoided.

This was to avoid creating a bad impression with the public and to maintain the police force’s image.

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