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.

Saturday, 16 December 2006

A Word About Holidays

In the UK we still have old fashioned public holidays called "Bank Holidays" (not any more they're not), in Australia they have pointless public holidays like the Queen's birthday (when it actually isn't) and Melbourne Cup day (a public holiday for a horse race), and don't even get me started on Independance Day in the U.S. (celebrate freedom from paying taxes to them but don't forget to pay your taxes to us!)
In contrast, Singapore celebrates (almost) all the major cultural / religious holidays of its citizens. So Christmas will be followed by Eid-Al-Adha which will then be followed by Chinese New Year. What a fantastic idea. The spirit in which they are all celebrated in is great too. It spreads awareness about other customs and probably helps to create harmony as well (hurray! a day off work thanks to the Muslims / Christians!)
So come on Western countries, you claim to be multi-cultural but what are you actually doing about it? How about swallowing your pride and learning an important lesson about multi-culturalism from Singapore?


* Y || said...

I'm a Sporean working in UAE at the moment.
I love this entry. :)
(Although I secretly wish we celebrated MORE holidays. Haha)
Did you live in Singapore before?

Margrave said...

Yes we had one great year in Singapore and have visited it many many times. I find it hard to stay away from chicken rice, duck rice, fish head curry, Crystal Jade's xiao long bao.....
Safe to say its one of my favourite places to be (and eat!)
Thanks for visiting the blog and enjoy UAE!

Margrave said...

Actually I wish we'd blogged it. The Glossary would have made good reading: wah piang oi, kiasu, kiasi, like that lah, nice meh?, ya lor, can or cannot?.....

* Y || said...

I'm impressed with your singlish!
And not forgetting the "So how?" (Which I never realized until an American pointed that out to me)
I wish you did blog. It'd be interesting to see how an expat views Singapore!

Margrave said...

Well as I've mentioned "queue jumping ninjas" and the driving here in KSA, I'm sure I would have talked about the kiasu driving in Singapore and the way that some people insist on standing a full 2 inches behind you when queuing in a shop. Kiasi, is it?!
I'd also have talked about the fact that women feel comfortable jogging alone at 11pm at night, the fantastic weather, the excellent MRT, the shops I love in Tao Payoh, the superb beer at Brewerkz.... I could go on and on and on... I wonder if retrospective blogs are an option.... :-)

* Y || said...

Ahhahaha! You haven't seen parents anxious about their kids' education yet. That can seriously be overly kiasu sometimes!
Nothing wrong with retrospective blogs :) I for one will read it. :)

Margrave said...

Ahh yes, the Singaporean approach to creating educated robots. Learn the poems by heart, but don't worry about the meaning! Oh well, at least they aren't shooting up in the school toilets like they are in the UK!

Balqis said...

I think is more a commercial idea than a pure bounty act
And it works cause in Eid all go there
In Europe it would be just a lost day at work

Anonymous said...

Having been brought up in Riyadh in the 80's I can promise everyone else here that the Singaporean driving skills are a vast improvement from the cannonball run in KSA. The one spot to totally avoid is the causeway to Dahran from Bahrain where "refreshed" visitors head back home. In Riyadh I remember the Datsun trucks especially for being about as predictible as an enraged camel, and the Jaguars/Porsches being in some of the most bizzare positions, burned out, somewhere vaguely near a road.

On the public holiday front Singapore's multicultural approach is great, but there is a small snag. Having been an expat for a European company, telling people that you are taking time off because it is Eid (Hari Raya in the local lingo), is difficult to explain. I am not hopeful on the festivals (Hungry Ghost) in Hong Kong.