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Why Are expats So Stuck Up?
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Saudi4Ever



Joined: 25 Mar 2004
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 6:59 pm    Post subject: Why Are expats So Stuck Up? Reply with quote

Really? Rolling Eyes
I have read on here how miserable everyone (but John), yet when I see other western expats out and about then they are not even happy about seeing each other. i nearly trip over my abayah ever time I see someone western looking so I can get close enough to hear if they are speaking english! I see plenty in the malls and grcery stores and they do not even greet each other. I on the other hand greet everyone with a nice warm smile Very Happy
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Paul in Saudi



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 391
Location: Doha, Qatar

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, real weird.

I cannot even get people to come over to my house for holiday dinners.

Sort of like getting cats organized.
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ohman



Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 239
Location: B' Um Fouk, Egypt

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saudi4Ever--

Are you a Saudi woman? Are a woman in Saudi?

I don't know what to say about western women being unfriendly, but as for the men:
Israel doesn't exist
Pork is blasphemous.
Women are nearly as detestable as the first two. (Said a student to me and a class concurring, |womna drive like donkey, woman who drive must be killed)

So, in Saudi, if a man named Hesrhel, porcine quadra-ped
or a woman approached me, for my own safety, I would pretend not to be invisible.
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:21 am    Post subject: Re: Why Are expats So Stuck Up? Reply with quote

Saudi4Ever wrote:
I on the other hand greet everyone with a nice warm smile Very Happy


Good for you, Ms. Ever. I'm sure you and I would get along famously. I am known for my sunny disposition and generous, welcoming manner.

Inside, though, I am stuck up, and I can tell you why: I'm so effing wonderful that there are v-e-r-r-r-y few people who are good enough for me.

Now tell me the truth: Didn't you suspect that, just a little bit?

Sincerely yours,

BD
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11694
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:48 am    Post subject: sane ? Reply with quote

In Saudi Arabia and adjacent countries, attention should be paid to Rule 3b of Scot47's "Guide to Etiquette in the Gulf"

"3/b. When meeting other foreigners in Saudi Arabia always assume they are insane unless good evidence is available to the contrary."

Copies of this book are available on request after the payment of a modest fee in Intergalactic Credits to my account on Tralfamador.
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree.

Saudi ex-pats are - with someexceptions, of course - among the most po-faced and insular people I've met. I think it comes as a shock to us EFL teachers to meet such people, as generally EFL teachers travel not for the money, but for the "experience" of living abroad. Of course,that isn't always the case in the Gulf, but at least in the EFL world you do meet a lot of interesting people who have travelled and take an interest in the country they're visiting - not just their pay-packets.

I reckon things are getting even worse, with the expat "community" witdrawing even further behind their barricaded compounds. Scot,I'mnot sure if most Saudi expats are "mad" - I find a lot of them are just dull. Which is much worse.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12018
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got to admit - this thread, and the preponderance of agreement about the "stuck-upedness" of ex-pats in the Kingdom, puzzles me. That's because it was never my experience. But that could well be because I wasn't much of a "social butterfly" and pretty much confined my socializing to my colleagues and their families when I was there - and that amount of social contact was ample enough fo me. We'd celebrate the holidays together every year and there were poker nights and other activities. True, I didn't try to strike up many acquaintances when I was doing the grocery shopping or down in the souks - but then, I don't do that here in the States, either. But on those few occasions when I did have a conversation with an ex-pat complete stranger, I don't recall being rebuffed at all. From the response here, though, it looks like I was the exception to the general rule - and if so, I'm glad that was the case.
Regards,
John
P.S. One other thought - I've had colleagues who WERE "social butterflies" and I can't recall their ever making the complaint, either.
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Saudi4ever,
Has it not occurred to you that if EFL teachers suffered a wild desire to meet fellow Britis or fellow yanks they would have stayed in their home country?

Has it not ocurred to you that they might have seen more than enough of their fellow nationals in the staffroom or office?

Do you make a habit in your home country of going up to completel strangers grinning like a mainac and expect other people to bond with you immediately?
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Saudi4Ever



Joined: 25 Mar 2004
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephen Jones wrote:
Dear Saudi4ever,
Has it not occurred to you that if EFL teachers suffered a wild desire to meet fellow Britis or fellow yanks they would have stayed in their home country?

Has it not ocurred to you that they might have seen more than enough of their fellow nationals in the staffroom or office?

Do you make a habit in your home country of going up to completel strangers grinning like a mainac and expect other people to bond with you immediately?


Stephen, I personally don't give a hoot. My beef is that these very same people will warn others from coming to Saudi and moan and groan about how boring it is. I raised this issue because if you complain that the saudis are unappraoachable and then you shy away from your own then just shut up and deal with it. It does not bother me if other westerners do not greet me. I have plenty of companions and am not the type of person that needs to always have something to do. It just irks me when people act as if saudi is the problem when it fact it is them.
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ntropy



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 639
Location: ghurba

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:03 pm    Post subject: po-faced Reply with quote

Love that adjective, "po-faced." Haven't seen it in print for awhile.
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
these very same people will warn others from coming to Saudi and moan and groan about how boring it is


Saudi is boring! If it wasn't we wouldn't be wasting time posting to this forum :)
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12018
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:41 pm    Post subject: Bored and boring Reply with quote

Dear Stephen Jones,
I'd say - An intelligent person is never bored - but heck, though that sounds good, it's just not true (or so I'm told). But I will say that I seldom had TIME to be bored when I was there. Work (and homework), exercise,
reading, the Net and SOME socializing can pretty much fill up a day. My personal opinion is that people who are often bored may well be boring people, ones who can't or won't find something to gainfully pass their time. And there's ALWAYS something, even in the Kingdom.
Regards,
John
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11694
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:14 am    Post subject: demons Reply with quote

Those who are pursued by demons do not function well in Saudi Arabia. Those who can find things to do with their time find it easier.

I agree with Stephen that it is not normal practice anywhere to go up to strangers in supermarkets and engage them in conversation. Would you do that in Milton Keynes or Des Moines ?
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saudi4Ever wrote:
My beef is that these very same people will warn others from coming to Saudi and moan and groan about how boring it is.


My own theory is that many expats cherish their anonymity and insularity in foreign cultures to a great degree. Some may be intent on reinventing themselves, and they may feel disturbed at meeting people who might recognize or awaken certain aspects of their character that might go unnoticed by the natives; or they may nurture fantasies of having gone where no one has gone before; or they may simply be sick of people from their own cultures, as Mr. Jones suggests. As Mr. 47 mentions, many expats (of his acquaintance, at least) display marked signs of eccentricity, and people may be avoiding you because they think that you must be a bit potty to appear in the time and place when and where they see you.

Your observation that these same people will warn others away from the country makes me wonder if they are trying to preserve their sense of isolation, or perhaps they are simply in the throes of an adjustment or acculturaton problem: "culture shock".

Now, don't take this personally, Ms. Ever, but there is also the possibility that your dilemma is due to something personal. Do you dress oddly? Is there anything alarming or unseemly creeping out of your nose or ears? ARE YOU SURE? Unfortunately, Ms. Ever, appearances are important in this world!

Yours,

BD
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 7:06 am    Post subject: Re: demons Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
I agree with Stephen that it is not normal practice anywhere to go up to strangers in supermarkets and engage them in conversation. Would you do that in Milton Keynes or Des Moines ?


I do it all the time. You're right, it's not normal, but I do meet a lot of people that way. For someone like me (I avoid bars, parties, and anywhere else I'm likely to run into smokers and drunks), it's essential to develop the ability to meet people whenever and wherever. I find that in the ME it's a great asset to be able to strike up conversations with people any time, any place. I talk to strangers on the street, in parks, in supermarkets, on planes and buses, anywhere. I get some odd looks sometimes, but for the most part people are receptive. It's my belief that many people feel a little lonely anytime they're outside of their social group, and will gladly share a word or two with a stranger if they can do it and feel safe.
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