In many countries, including the United States and Australia, the thumbs up gesture means "good" or "terrific." In parts of the Middle East and Asia, giving a thumbs up to someone is the equivalent of giving them the middle finger in the U.S. The OK sign, with the thumb and finger forming a circle, also is offensive in many Asian countries as well as Brazil and Germany, although in Japan it represents money.
More facts about international gestures:
- In some places in Tibet, sticking your tongue out is a kind, welcoming gesture.
- Even a simple smile can be misunderstood. In many Asian countries, smiling can be taken as a sign of embarrassment or anger. Prolonged eye contact also can come across as rude or invasive in Japan, China, Korea and Thailand.
- The "come here" gesture made with the palm upward and the index finger curled, is used only to call dogs in the Philippines, and it signifies death in Singapore.