Culture Clash

When I read John Chilton's post about the American pastor that was arrested for flipping off a driver, it didn't surprise me much because I had a Canadian colleague tell me last year that her husband had been arrested for the same thing.

This sort of misunderstand unfortunately seems inevitiable in a country as diverse as the UAE. As an American, my first thought was: I cannot believe that the police took this seriously. I can only imagine the reaction that I would get if I were to call 911 back home and complain that a driver had shot me a middle finger. At best they would laugh at me.

However, reading the comments on the 7days page was very educational. Clearly in this culture that gesture (and insults in general) are taken much more seriously than in mine. (I also have to admit that I am now sort of curious what exactly that gesture means here now, too.)

I thought that comment by el7abbob was especially interesting: "If anyone suggests that I should just be a gentlemen let it go, I
would say SORRY. An arab doesn’t turn his other cheek to be slapped
again." I don't think that a lot of Americans would turn the other cheek either, despite what Jesus taught, but they would mostly respond by the same gesture.

The other thing that I never understand is this: The thing that caused this incident in the first place is apparently that the pastor would not yield to other car which was driving much faster than he was, which was rude, and then that driver apparently responded by flashing his lights and honking his horn, which was also rude. But, if that driver was in such a hurry that he couldn't wait for the other driver to get out of his way, why take the time to pull over and complain? Why take the time to call the police and make a complaint? If you have the time to do those things, don't you also have the time to wait for the other driver to get out of your way?


Anonymous said...

Too many people fancy themselves the pace car. He should have gotten out of the way.

However, it is silly to get worked up over being flipped off.

I recall being tailgated very closely once. No reason, just dude wanted to have his nose up my tailpipe. I simultaneously pushed down on my accelerator & tapped my brake & laughed as I saw his nose dip down in my rear view mirror.

John B. Chilton said...

Here it means take it in the backside, suggesting you are a homosexual. Culture clash: In one culture man on man makes both homosexuals; in another it is better to give than to receive (only the receiver is homosexual).