Important Notice

It is not my intention to denigrate Saudi Arabia or its people. It’s like everywhere else, there is good and there is bad. I would rather focus on the unusual and the humourous. Offence is not intended.

“The country is not perfect. The media cannot be trusted, mistreatment of religious minorities is common and there are some that live in fear.” You can decide for yourself whether that statement is about Saudi Arabia, the UK, or any country for that matter.

To quote the Joker, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

That is all I will say about either subject.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

An Apology From A Conceited Englishman

You can take an Englishman out of England, but you can’t take the England out of an Englishman.
Any anthropologist will tell you that when analysing other cultures it’s imperative to cast aside your own bias and preconceptions. I am not an anthropologist and I am not analysing Saudi Arabia or its people, however I think the same rules should still apply to a certain extent.
In case you’re wondering, I think the UK is a bloody awful place. If I was to start a blog about the UK it would be hundreds of pages of complaints about rude people, crappy weather, rude people, crumbling infrastructure and did I say rude people?
But if there is one thing the Brits are justly famous for it’s our queues. We get the occasional queue jumpers of course, but generally the sanctity of the queue is respected. Also, the Brits are courteous drivers. This is something I didn’t realise until I left. Living abroad can sure put things in perspective.
So what have I been focusing on when talking about life in Saudi Arabia? The driving and the queue jumping! The only things we get right (or at least less wrong than elsewhere) in the UK.
My wife is not British and she’s just taken great pleasure in knocking me off my precarious soap box. KSA, accept my apologies! I promise I also intend to discuss the good, such as the beauty of the desert, the excellent architecture and the excellent food!


Yousef Raffah said...

I expected this from a wise man like yourself. We all know every place in the world has its own "taste" of "pros and cons".

I like your blog ;)

* Y || said...

I am like this sometimes too. Seeing the speck in the UAE but forgetting the plank in SG.
I lived in London last year. And I can assure you that I do have complaints as well. Heehee. XD

Margrave said...

Exactly :-)
If England was so perfect I'd never have left to broaden my horizons. What would have been the point?
Though it goes without saying any critical comments will be removed immediately... ;-)
I like London, but I hate the drunk idiots who spoil it at night.
You can't blame the drink, only the people doing the drinking.

Life Out East said...

Bad driving! Rude drivers!! I seem to remember the drivers in Cairo being politer then here in Bangkok. I've never been to Saudi but i can't imagine they drive worse than Thais. As for queues, don't get me started.

I agree that we English are far from perfect, and neither is the rest of the planet, but we do a good job of taking ourselves a little less seriously than some others.

Thanks for your comments about my blog. Cheers!

Margrave said...

I remember one crossroads junction in particular from Bankgkok. As a demonstration of the survival of the most aggressive it never ceased to amuse me. There were no lights and no one cared about the STOP signs so everyone would go at once and try to weave around eachother. Almost everyday I would think to myself "if they'd only be more polite and give way sometimes then the traffic congestion would half!" The most ironic part was that they'd stationed a policeman at this crossroads but all he did was look on with the disinterested nonchalance of a man who'd seen it all before.
I never thought I'd say this but you have it easy in Bangkok! The traffic congestion is certainly very bad, but the driving pales into insignificance next to the Saudi "wild west" driving!
Oh and my enjoyment of your blog was tempered by my jealousy of a man who is still living there! :P

Balqis said...

Why you so afraid to criticise ?
Is obvious that when you swim into a different culture first thing you see, are the things you miss and that you're used to have normally in 2 seconds
The Arab race has this problem, they do not like critics and so it takes 10 years to make progress instead of one
They have to learn that critics can be costructive and helpful

Elizabeth said...

You make it sound almost like a constant arc de triomphe! Having screamed my head off once or twice while circumnavigating that thing, I can only pray that your KSA driving experience isn't nearly as bad. I drove in Germany for three years, and the biggest concerns were 1) the Dutch driving their winnebagos in the left lane, and 2) the Audi turbo-diesel station-wagons barreling along at 250 kph. Love your blog, keep at it!

Anonymous said...

you are being faaaaaaaar too kind.....and i think everyone commenting here knows it too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Margrave,

its a fact that a person from different culture & upbringing will always see ..prons & cons of other culture .. even if saudis go to other countries..They'll be first to comment on .. so why u want to appologize..?? for wht ??
its ur blog... u can well say good & bad..

Reader in UAE