Sunday April 28th, after Midnight
I hope this letter finds you and yours quite well. Unfortunately, this cannot be a personal letter. It must instead be a formal letter of complaint.
An incident happened at the teahouse last night that – I regret to say – may reflect poorly on the university in the short term from the point of view of some of our more traditional Pandaren. These are people who have – in the past – been on very good terms with the faculty at events the university has hosted and at informal occasions such as the teahouse.
To briefly explain the events …
Many of our Pandaren guests prefer to speak amongst themselves in our native tongue. Creating a homey sanctuary for those weary of the road was the entire reason for founding the teahouse. We wish to share the best of Pandaren culture within its walls, but it is 100% Pandaren. I apologize for repeating what you already well know, but it is necessary to explain the incident.
As is my usual practice I would switch back and forth between Pandaren & Common. Translating as needed. It was a great evening for me. Almost all of our regular Pandaren were there, as well as other guests. Everyone was getting along famously.
Midway through the evening one of our most traditionalist regulars came by. She is one of the three Topaz tigers who always come together. You have met and conversed with them at the teahouse in the past. Although she understands both lingua francas she prefers to strictly speak Pandaren. Even when it is only other Pandaren present and everyone else is switching back & forth. We carried on in customary teahouse fashion. Any patron who wished to was able to communicate with her – in exactly the same way as you did with Zhuo.
Suddenly, for no apparent reason, a young man named Mikail (whom I understand is part of the university staff) suddenly started shouting. He claimed that we had no right to speak Pandaren - “speaking in a language only they can understand” was the phrase he used. His tirade continued for a bit, along the lines of how rude we were being to him, how we should restrict ourselves to a language of his choice.
Understand that up to that point he had been served as promptly as everyone else, engaged in conversation by all in Common with the sole exception of our Pandaren guest, and had indeed been given personal attention by myself, Jingles, and several of our guests. The latter includes Zhii and Choii including him in their usual comedic banter, as well as more sober conversations with our other guests from all parts of the world.
What he was saying was shocking and offensive enough, and he was shouting it loudly enough, to bring all other activity & conversations in the teahouse to a halt. Such a disruption I needed to call him outside for a talk. To calm him down, to get him to realize he was in Pandaria, and most importantly to allow all the other patrons to restore their composure & return to what was so rudely interrupted.
But rather than listen to what I had to say – as both a proprietor and an elder – he continued adamantly in the same tone. Despite my making clear that his alternatives were either talking calmly with me, or me writing this letter, he apparently completely left the area, pursued by Sidda, at the cost of her interrupting an enjoyable interaction with other guests.
Ultimately it is my responsibility for what happens in the teahouse. I was compelled to formally apologize to my Pandaren guests. While they politely minimized the effect on them, it was clear from their demeanor that Mikail's outburst was a painful attack on the freedom we enjoy to speak our own language that has been purchased with the blood of our families.
Sidda had followed him apparently. Eventually he returned, accompanied by both her and Alice. He offered what appeared to be a curt & coerced rather than heartfelt apology. I pointed out to him that - while the apology was appreciated – because he had already chosen to walk away rather than talk to me that the consequence of my writing this letter still stood.
Our sole remaining human guest was a bit embarrassed. She completely understood, but had to sit quietly for nearly an hour while I was told in no uncertain terms how offensive (indeed, bordering on racist) the incident was. Three upset Pandaren ladies of some repute all felt that I need to be very specific.
None of we Pandaren go to Stormwind or Orgrimmar expecting everyone to speak our language. We hear many different languages spoken. We also don't expect to be privy to every conversation taking place in a crowded tavern or restaurant. They wish me to stress that, as he seems to want the freedoms of an adult (as do cubs such as Jingles) he must also accept the adult responsibilities and consequences that inherently go with those freedoms.
I was asked repeatedly over that hour – as was the perplexed Kul Tiran guest – if such behavior was typical of young humans and if it was to be accepted as normal. Sidda & Alice returned without Mikail at some point during that hour to make their goodbyes. It was clear from their demeanor that they realized what was going on & were given some reassurance that they were not responsible for his behavior.
No one is welcome in the teahouse who behaves as he did. For the sake of my other guests I must insist that he be barred from the teahouse until such time it is clear that he will behave with decorum. At minimum he must respect the landlord of any establishment he frequents.
The rest of you are of course as welcome as always. This incident does not affect my personal relationship with anyone else or with the University as a whole.
However some of my guests may not see it in the same light, as their questions about Human standards of behavior demonstrate. To give you some measure of the depths of the incident's affect, the conversation then turned to a discussion of how social interactions with other peoples in general should be brought up at the next Pandaren Summit.
Word of the incident will inevitably spread to those who take enough of an interest in the university to have contributed to the university's collection in the past. What influence it may have on their future considerations I do not know.
Speaking on behalf of all the Pandaren who were present – in their words as best as I can translate them to Common - since he is associated with the University and you as its leader are somewhat in the position of a parent we leave it in entirely in your hands what other consequences public or private should ensue.
Cordially, as always,
Landlord, Quilen & Cloud Teahouse
(( OOC: The next time I anticipate the Topaz Tigers - the offended Pandaren - to be around either Kunbo or Zhangshe is at the teahouse. This is a couple of weeks away. One or more of them do occasionally come to the Conclaves or the Debates, but this is much more irregular. Again, a couple of weeks away. However, it is very reasonable to assume that once they hear of our rp session - either OOC as an "assume it happened" or directly IC - that they will be satisfied with the outcome IC. On that basis I'm writing the following note to be added to the file. ))
To the Dean & other Concerned Parties within the University:
I am in communication with Kunbo. He in turn is in communication with the aggrieved parties. He assures me that the situation is resolved. As Pandaren our primary wish with outsiders is to share our way of being in the world. The steps we have taken satisfy what Pandaren would expect within our own society. Rest assured that in all senses the University continues to be on good terms with all the Pandaren of our acquaintance. Indeed there has been no interruption. Whatever minor need for diplomacy may remain can be handled by myself & Kunbo
I have taken steps to arrange an introductory meeting between Mikail and Genbuzhi as soon as possible. Genbuzhi is currently doing some work for me in Pandaria. He is not likely to next be in Stormwind for a few days to a couple of weeks. In the meanwhile I will make myself available any time outside of teaching hours to answer whatever questions our young gentleman may have concerning the process or about Pandaren in general. He is welcome to see me without appointment during my office hours. He is also very welcome to sit down with me over a pot of tea at our mutual convenience.
On this basis our young gentleman is once more welcome at the teahouse. We look forward to seeing him there and elsewhere.
Assistant Professor, Pandaren Culture & Antiquities