About This Interview
Interviewer: Hadi Salahat Date and Time: 1st December 2023 | 20:37 – 21:22
Interviewee: Zahoor Aziz Duration: 30:12 min
This report documents an engaging interview with Mr. Zahoor, a receptionist with an exceptionally rich cultural background, to uncover the depths of his unique perspectives, focusing on how his multicultural journey has influenced his artistic expression, culinary preferences, and overall worldview.
Conducted in the hotel lobby in Istanbul, where Mr. Zahoor works, the interview unfolded during a time of low work pressure. The occasional interruptions from the hotel’s day-to-day operations lent an authentic and dynamic backdrop to our conversation, offering a glimpse into Mr. Zahoor’s professional environment.
Key Points and Responses
1. Background and Journey: Mr. Zahoor shared his journey across different cultures, originating from Kashmir, Pakistan; he was born in Dubai, grew up in Pakistan, pursued higher education in England, and later ventured to Azerbaijan and Turkey. This odyssey, influenced by the distinct cultures of each place, reflects his quest to find a community and environment where he truly felt a sense of belonging.
2. Artistic Endeavors: Mr. Zahoor recounted his early fascination with art, tracing his journey from drawing on the walls of his house as a child to becoming an art teacher in Pakistan. His artistic journey is a testament to the power of nurturing talent and the impact it can have on an individual’s life trajectory. Additionally, Mr. Zahoor highlighted a favorite artwork of his: a mural in a restaurant in his hometown, illustrating the depth and personal connection he has with his art.
3. Cultural Observations: Cultural Observations: Mr. Zahoor reflected on the individualistic culture in England and the more communal and familial nature of life in Kashmir. He noted cultural similarities between Azerbaijan and Turkey, and the differences in the perception of personal space and community interaction in these places compared to England. His experiences highlight the importance of understanding cultural nuances in global interactions.
4. Culinary Experiences and Preferences: Mr. Zahoor delved into the distinct culinary practices of Pakistani and Kashmiri cuisines versus Turkish cuisine, focusing on their differing spice usage and timing. He expressed his love for traditional dishes like “Dal Chawal” and the uniquely flavored Biryani from Karachi. Additionally, he shared his appreciation for the spicier aspects of Turkish cuisine, exemplified by the dishes from Adana.
5. Worldview on Cultural Differences: Mr. Zahoor strongly advocates for respecting and accepting cultural differences. This belief, stemming from his diverse experiences, underpins his interactions and worldview. His approach highlights the significance of cultural sensitivity in an increasingly interconnected world.
6. Approach to Customer Service: Mr. Zahoor shared his approach to handling hotel guests, emphasizing empathy and adaptability. This approach is informed by his deep understanding of cultural subtleties. His dedication to ensuring that guests feel both comfortable and valued offers a key insight into effective customer service and the development of interpersonal skills.
Language and Personality: In an intriguing post-interview discussion, Mr. Zahoor shared his views on how adopting the speaking style of a language’s native speakers can influence personality. His multilingual proficiency adds weight to his perspective, though he is not a formal academic in linguistics or psychology. Here, you can find a more detailed exploration of Mr. Zahoor’s thoughts on this topic.
Mr. Zahoor’s life story is an inspiring mosaic of cultural, artistic, and culinary experiences. His journey demonstrates the importance of finding a place where one feels a sense of belonging and the value of supporting and recognizing talent, be it in children or employees. His adaptability and respect for cultural differences not only make him an excellent hospitality professional but also a person who embodies the essence of a culturally rich and diverse world.
The interview concluded with a gesture of appreciation, as I presented Mr. Zahoor with a gift of herbs from Palestine. This token was meant to symbolize my respect and appreciation for our diverse cultural heritages, acknowledging the rich tapestry of experiences and perspectives Mr. Zahoor shared during our conversation.
– [Link to the Interview Questions]
– [Link to the Audio Recording of the Interview]
– [Link to the Transcript of the Interview]
– [Link to the Guest’s Detailed Off-Record Opinion on Foreign Language and Personality]