This blog contains opinions, experiences, thoughts and observations of the author from his day to day living.
It is subject to comments, criticisms and corrections, and all will be dealt with constructively and do leave your comments I would love to hear from you.
There is no intention to offend, discriminate nor degrade anybody or anything for that matter, only shared feelings, emotions and angsts at the moment.
Welcome to my world.

Monday, August 29, 2011

When In Rome Do What The Romans Do

Alas, I found an interesting article in the Arab News, the local English newspaper, although it was a month old issue, but I can't help but react to it. It is universal that when you are in another place, not even in another country, we have to be observant of the norms and habits of the people and its immediate surroundings. This is so in order to "blend" or "get along" with other's way of life. So much so when we are in another country, the very first thing we usually do is to learn the language and know the laws. Yes, the laws, what's allowed and not allowed, the do's and don'ts and what have you.
The article says about the how Saudis love to travel to another country during summer vacations and how difficult for them "to respect the rules of the country they are visiting." - Arab News 7 Jul 2011.
Those who are studying abroad too find out the hard way that living in another country and thinking that they can go away with who they usually are calls others to learn to respect and follow the rules.
"Many Saudis travelling for vacation claimed it had been difficult for them to respect the laws of the countries they visit because they do not respect their own laws in the Kingdom."- Arab News 7 Jul 2011.
Now that is something to ponder about, in my experience living in this country I have observed how the locals behaved and act as if they rule the world, I am not bad mouthing these people, I only share what I see everyday. Where in the world can you see a pre-teen kid driving a 2011 model Chrysler? Or hanging out the window of a BMW while another pre-teen friend of his drives the car as they sped a busy traffic, dodging other cars? Where in the world would you see people would cut you in a long que and claim that they are locals and they should be first? Where in the world would you see non-smoking sign room filled with smokers and when reprimanded will make all the effort to argue with you? How about the lack of etiquettes from the simple throwing of garbages to saying excuse me at any given situation? I see a lot of rules being broken left and right in all abandon and I really hated it when the only excuse they have is that they are citizens of these country and whether we find it offending and distasteful or not, we cannot do anything and just have to suck it in.
How lame and how sad, stories of locals abroad getting into trouble by breaking the host's country's laws thingking that they can get away with it literally can fill a newspaper. I won't even go far when right in my own workplace there is a big story that went around and was publicized in the net, but as much as I would like to say, I'd rather keep silent, but really it is humiliating.
An interview with a Saudi, who is student in UK claimed that "I was not taught how to behave in public places and how to respect traffic signs when driving."- Arab News 7 Jul 2011
I find this true, for instance, my neighbor's kids who were locals, which I think were from 6 to 10 years of age behave like wild animals on the loose. They shout, throw rocks at people, harass, break things (I saw one time how they break a car's front glass shield out of fun!) and where are  the parents? We expats have no right to intervene nor to reprimand as doing so will only get us into a more serious situation, or worst jail. So we just let them and pretend we don't see.
We are also expected to strictly follow their law right down to the last letter or an array of consequences awaits, which is really an irony when we see them break their own.
A married couple, a Lebanese woman and a Saudi interviewed vacationing relates, "My husband used to eat in Saudi restaurants and cafes using his hands. He never used a fork or spoon. This embarrased me especially when we sat in open areas. Being a Saudi was an excuse for him to ignore all senses of etiquette." - Arab News 7 Jul 2011
Being well-to-do has nothing to do with not following the rules but rather it should show how well-mannered a person can be. Education is the basic foundation for being well-rounded, respectful and obedient. Being observant is the key. A feeling of Superiority really just shows the lack of  feeling strong enough to compete with others on the useful side of life. He is not in harmony with society.
It seems to be a trait of human nature that when individuals - both children and adults - feel weak, they want to solve the problems of life in such a way as to obtain personal superiority without any admixture of social interest. - Wikipedia
The Romans did not coined the term when in Rome what the Romans do for nothing, people who travel to Rome hundreds of years ago are expected to follow the rules the city implements, and for those who breaks them will find themselves either a slave or in the middle of the arena and being fed to the lions.


  1. is it just me? or is your font and blog layout so hard to read?

  2. looks ok to me Zhari...i wanted it to have a more personal look, like I really am writing on a piece of paper...