Thursday, November 27, 2008

No you're not in Kansas any more, dumbasses

I followed the Dubai beach sex case with interest, having been a Middle East expat myself.

These two broke the cardinal rule of Gulf State expat life: appearances must be maintained. In the Gulf states, keeping up appearances is everything. There appears to be very little drunkenness, adultery and fornication, and such that does appear is heavily punished. There is of course no lack of drunkenness, adultery and fornication among the locals, it's just that great lengths are gone to to keep it private. If you don't keep it private, you can expect to get dealt to. So if you're a typical Kuwaiti yoof, your parents ship you overseas so you can shag Western sluts for a few years until you've lost enough spunk to be capable of getting married. After that there's the maid, who won't dare get pregnant unless she wants to "commit suicide" by hurling herself from the balcony, and there's the apartment you maintain somewhere with a Filipina in it. Drinking is done in the privacy of your own home or Filipina's apt, and drunk driving not indulged in unless you have very influential friends. Your wife will have to settle for making friends with attractive young ladies and inviting them all round for coffee while hubbo's at work (which he won't be for more than 5 hours a day).

The expats of course are not Kuwaitis and have a different set of rules to live by. They are stratified by their value as a commodity, with Whitey (well, Westerners anyway) at the top and Bangladeshis at the bottom. Whitey in fact occupies an entirely different stratum from any Third World expat, again on the basis of commodity value. Third Worlders are a buyer's market- they're queuing up to get into the Gulf States, so there's always plenty more where that one came from. Whitey is a seller's market - not that many Whiteys want to live in Kuwait, so you want to hang on to the ones you've got. For this reason, Whitey can get away with stuff that would see Third Worlders in jail. As an example, one evening I was out with 2 Indian guys. We came to a Police checkpoint, and the Indians got out their ID cards. I realised I'd forgotten mine. The Indians freaked out - we were in deep shit, these motherfuckers were going to throw us in the cells, what was I thinking? We got to the front, the cop carefully inspected the Indians' IDs, glanced at me, then waved us through. It was rather hard to ignore what this said about our differing statuses as far as the Kuwaiti authorities were concerned.

But from the cops point of view: (a)what Whitey is going to be in Kuwait as an illegal immigrant? We usually can't wait to get back out of the place with our money; and (b)Whitey is going to be the valuable posession of a rich and presumably influential Kuwaiti - leave him alone unless he's doing something in public.

That's the important bit - leave him alone unless he's doing something in public. Kuwait is even more conservative than Dubai and alcohol is an illegal drug. Fortunately, my apartment block had a walled garden out the back with a swimming pool and bar, so party time was most weekends. It's kind of obvious to the surrounding neighbourhood that Whitey's building is hosting another raucous pissup, and in fact the people in the buildings overlooking our garden could watch us doing it. But the cops never came, because we were obeying the rules - it was behind our garden wall, kept among fellow barbarians.

All good. But: if we'd been mug enough to take the pissing up and poolside groping across the road to the beach, the cops would have been along to cart us down the cells in no time. There are rules, and it's best to stick to 'em. I didn't feel a whole lot of sympathy for Acors and Palmer.


Cactus Kate said...

One of the most sensible things you've ever written PM.

When in when in Thailand or Indonesia (or any of the aforementioned Arab states), Western women shouldn't turn up to the airport wearing tank tops, short skirts and jandals unless you want big trouble.

Common sense which sadly is not that common.

Anonymous said...

"One of the most sensible things you've ever written PM."

Which still doesn't make it anything great in the sensible stakes.

That said, I agree with the main point but think that the portrayal of the locals is an example of gross bigotry. They're generally pretty decent enough people. Not deserving anyway of those gross generalized insults, and especially not considering the depths to which the left, PM's ideological demographic, have dragged western society.

Psycho Milt said...

Thank you Kate. Yes, tank tops and short skirts in public would get you arrested in Kuwait.

It was a fairly ugly post by my standards, but if you live outside the West for a while you get to notice the ugly reality of the kind of human social relationships that we tend to do a good job of hiding. In the West we like to pretend everybody's considered of equal value - it's not true of course, but we do such a good job of pretending it is that it's a shock to go somewhere where they don't bother with the pretence.


Great Post PM.
Very informative.
I can't see Kuwait taking off as a tourist stopover, can you?

But yes, when in Rome...

Pity the Islamists don't follow that policy when they move to Western countries.

Just my opinion said...

Indeed. Too many silly buggers treat the world like it is their Kiwi backyard. No wonder so many OD on beaches or get arrested for being idiots. Good post!

WAKE UP said...

Dead right Milt. And to Kate's "When in Rome..." I'd add "...and if you can't, don't go there".

The spectacle of Western tourists going offshore in order to indulge in some behaviours that are not only offensive to locals, but would be equally likely to offend some back home as well, has bugged me for years. It's no only impolitic, it's stupid, and diminishes our claim to higher moral or democratic ground.

Not that that excuses the host country's own stupidities - but if you dance with the devil, you get your arse singed.

WAKE UP said...

While I'm here, however, I have to add that, as overly generous hosts ourselves to endless tides of immigrants from those elsewheres, we need to toughen up on preventing the importation of their own stupidities along with them. There remains a very clear reason why the migrant flow is East to West, which is - it's a better place to live.