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Middle Eastern Culture

Fudd

Banned
May 1, 2004
1,038
0
0
Well I just finished a orientation class about middle eastern culture for a possible 6 month and I find that it is very different from what I'm used to. Some things that I learned are (just befor I dozed off):

1) Don't shake hands with your left hand (that thing about wipping your ass)
2) Do not show anyone the botton of you feet (very insulting to them)
3) Don't ask anyone how their wife is (females seen to have a very low status in that culture)
4) No pork (don't understand that one)
5) No alchohol allowed

It's gonna take a bit of getting used to.

Anybody, here ever worked long term in the middle east? Anything else I should know about?
 

chiefwiggum

Guest
Jun 10, 2004
415
0
0
Calgary
The low status of women is a fundamentalist interpretation of their holy text, which, if you read it carefully, actually holds women in a sort of exalted status, worthy of protection at all costs - it is the extreme translation of that concept that generally results in oppression.

As for the no pork (that would be a toughie....mmmm, spareribs), there is a passage in the Koran which prohibits the eating of animals with a cloven hoof.
 

Eden

Banned
Jul 27, 2004
366
0
0
watching from the sidelines
Fudd

I have had many foreign exchange students, (sicko's I did not mean that!), shall I clarify, I run a homestay for internation students!! I can find out stuff for you if you would like, but don't want to post in public, if you would like pm me and I will see if I can help!!
 

rickoshadows

Just another member!
May 11, 2002
905
0
16
61
Vancouver Island
Muslims don't eat pork for the same reason Jews don't. Pigs are considered unclean.

The no alcohol thing is really tricky. It is forbidden for a good Muslim to use alcohol, but it doesn't mean they don't. There are also two rules, Arabs will never get caught, you will.

Another thing to get used to is the distance between you when you have a conversation. In Middle East culture, they will have a conversation with their faces only a few inches apart, which is well within our personal space. At a reception you will see Arabs moving towards westerners as they back up, before you know the Arabs are chasing the westerners all around the floor. Its funny to watch when you know what is going on.

rickoshadows
 

tom2morrow

New member
Jan 16, 2005
24
0
0
Kansas City
In my experience, there's a great deal of variation one country to another. You need to talk to someone from the specific country you're going to. Some things you didn't list that I discovered:
Never speak to a woman you don't know, look her in the eye, or look at her in any way. They'll be checking you out from behind their veils, though.
Don't take with you any magazines or books with suggestive photos or artwork. Definitely no porn, but even women's mags with sexy covers raise eyebrows. This can be embarrassing (or worse) if your bags are opened in customs.
Always wash your hands just before you eat.
In many areas, nonmuslim women act much as they do here, but in public you need to avoid touching or acting intimate (leaning in close to speak, etc.).

If you're lucky enough to be invited into a person's home, though, you may find that many of the restrictions of the street are relaxed. For example, the women may remove their veils or even change to western clothes.

But as I said, there is much variation person to person and country to country.
 

Fudd

Banned
May 1, 2004
1,038
0
0
Thanks for the info everybody.

So in summary:
No, pictures or magazines of women.
No booze.
Talk to men up close.
Don't talk, look, or touch any women.
Forget about having any fun, leave dick in Canada. :(

I wonder if I'll beable to use the internet to hit this site?
Hope someone else gets sent.
 

dirtydan

Banned
Oct 7, 2004
1,061
0
0
53
A burp after a meal is a compliment, but it is not to be taken to the extreme.

Oh yah be damn sure to tell them that you are not an American, that you are from Canada, a country that has long suffered at the hands of the American swine. :D


Note to LD, just joking. :)
 

LonelyGhost

Telefunkin
Apr 26, 2004
3,941
0
0
there are lots of travel guides on-line that will tell you all you need to know about visiting or living in a foreign country.

not all cultures consider belching a good thing ... so watch your sources.

the best thing is to educate yourself by reading what people who have lived there wrote and if you are not sure about something then politely ask about it.

And ignorance of the law is never a defense so watch what you do and where you go ...
 

Osiris

Member
Oct 8, 2004
137
0
16
Vancouver
You have to research the exact place you're going to, but these are some general guidelines:

1. For holiday photos, the mosques have some of the most lovely frescos you will see anywhere. Try to take some photos during daily prayers, so you have people in the photo to add atmosphere.

2. It's considered high praise to tell someone their wife looks hot, followed by the flattering question, "Are there any more at home like her?"

3. When greeting someone, after shaking hands, wipe your left hand on their right sleeve. This is a gesture of trust.

4. If the local police or military stop you to ask a question, start a loud, heated argument with them. Simply answering questions and following their instructions is seen as a sign of guilt.

5. Make jokes with the customs agents about going to Bahrain to pick up British stewardesses and drink your face off. Then, ask if they've ever been there.

6. Serving coffee is an art, rivalling the Japanese tea ceremony. Always take yours black, followed by a smile, saying, "I take it dark, like my mistresses."

That should get you on your feet. Otherwise, the consulate of the country you're visiting should have some detailed info. You'll likely have to correspond with one to get a visa etc. anyway.
 

LonelyGhost

Telefunkin
Apr 26, 2004
3,941
0
0
Osiris said:
You have to research the exact place you're going to, but these are some general guidelines:

with advice like this the guy should just stay at home and rent Midnight Express...
 

mustangjoe

New member
May 17, 2004
1,043
0
0
Fudd said:
Well I just finished a orientation class about middle eastern culture for a possible 6 month and I find that it is very different from what I'm used to. Some things that I learned are (just befor I dozed off):

1) Don't shake hands with your left hand (that thing about wipping your ass)
2) Do not show anyone the botton of you feet (very insulting to them)
3) Don't ask anyone how their wife is (females seen to have a very low status in that culture)
4) No pork (don't understand that one)
5) No alchohol allowed

It's gonna take a bit of getting used to.

Anybody, here ever worked long term in the middle east? Anything else I should know about?

#1 Rule. Don't reveal too much info about yourself.

It's a 5 month working trip to Iran, correct? A Iranian gov't contrat. You're suppose to go over there and teach them a thing or two about running things efficently. Only 2 people are going from Vancouver. Yup.. I know both of you. I'm am pretty damn sure you ain't of of the guys I have in mind, so by process of elimination I assume you are the other guy.

My lips are sealed. I might just call you Fudd tho the next time I see you tho.
 

mustangjoe

New member
May 17, 2004
1,043
0
0
Fudd said:
Anybody, here ever worked long term in the middle east? Anything else I should know about?

yeah... It's hot as hell there
 

Hondius

New member
Aug 4, 2004
17
0
0
Get ready to have men grab you by the hand in the Souks. Apparently it's quite natural to them but it really freaked me out the first time someone did it to me.
 

luckydog71

New member
Oct 27, 2003
1,117
0
0
70
Washington State
dirtydan said:
AOh yah be damn sure to tell them that you are not an American, that you are from Canada, a country that has long suffered at the hands of the American swine. :D


Note to LD, just joking. :)
DD, I doubt an American would get into Iran at this time. However if they did let an American in and he declared his nationality, he would need to be crazy.

You would not find me anywhere in the Middle East right now. But even when I travel into Asia or Europe, the best approach is to keep a low profile and keep to myself.

I try to avoid comments like:
- Haven’t you guys learned to speak English yet?
- What the hell is RMB, can't I pay you with good old Yankee green backs?
- This country is filled with foreigners.

I have not started wearing a Maple Leaf patch yet or using an Air Canada tag on my luggage.
 

rickoshadows

Just another member!
May 11, 2002
905
0
16
61
Vancouver Island
luckydog71 said:
I have not started wearing a Maple Leaf patch yet or using an Air Canada tag on my luggage.
You should try it sometime, you will have a lot more fun.

rickoshadows
 

rickoshadows

Just another member!
May 11, 2002
905
0
16
61
Vancouver Island
rickoshadows said:
You should try it sometime, you will have a lot more fun.

rickoshadows
On secod thought, don't, the last thing we need is to have Canadians thought of as disrespectful and ignorant of other cultures.

rickoshadows