Sunday, April 29, 2007

What's the point?

My husband's friend was in an eyeglass shop chatting with the guy behind the counter when a veiled woman entered by herself. Completely disregarding the fact that there had been a customer there before her she proceeded to thrust a broken pair of glasses at the Indian man behind the counter.
"Fix them", she demanded
"I'm not able to sister", the man says politely.
"Thor int? (Are you an idiot?)", she growls.
"They can't be fixed sister, you'll have to pick out another pair of frames", the poor guy pleads.

The 'veiled threat' then proceeds to angrily rummage through the various frames on display. After a few moments she locates a pair and puts them on over her face veil. She turns to my husbands friend and asks:

"Heloo? (Do they look nice?)


Cairogal said...

The treatment of Indians and other guest workers (particularly from the subcontinent) in the Gulf is atrocious, and the antithesis of Islam.

Sand Gets in My Eyes said...

I agree with Cairogal but can't help but admit that the absolute fuinniest thing I see here are veiled women who pop their glasses on ocer their veils. Like you, every time I see them I get an image of It in my head - hehe just like your picture.

On a serious note tho, I've always you think that the veil makes some women believe they can act even worse, since their identity is concealed?

Cairogal said...

"Cousin It" :)

Do I think some women think they can act worse because they are concealed? Perhaps. Many times women of other nationalities wore niqab in the UAE supposedly hoping that they would actually be treated differently: more respect, better prices, etc. I think that, in general, it's harder to treat someone like shit when you have them looking you in the eye-something that likely wasn't the case in this shop.

L said...

That's in interesting point you made SGIME. I actually had never thought of it that way but it might play a factor. Then again some people have no problem acting like rude assholes even when everyone can see them.
Anyways, I've heard and read so many horrible stories on the news and on blogs about the way southasians and africans are treated in the Gulf, it kind of makes me wonder why they would even want to work there. My uncle went to Saudi Arabia to work and came back after less than a year even though he had no work in Egypt because he was treated so badly.
I'd like to think that these are the exceptions though, rather than the rule

PS: that picture reminded me a little of a Mr. Potato Head without the nose or the mouth :)

saudi stepford wife said...

You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat the guest-workers here. I've said it a million times, I always advise my Asian friends AGAINST working here. I've seen too much.

I remember giving one very sweet, well-intentioned young British-Asian woman a hefty dose of Saudi reality when I told her she really didn't want to marry a Saudi, and all the reasons why not. I wouldn't have given the same advice to a Caucasian sister but she'd be treated differently. Calling someone a Hindi(Indian) here is synonymous with calling them stupid!

I can't say that any of these women are making a conscious effort to behave badly. You'll find most of them talking to their own children like this! They mean nothing by it, it's just the way they talk. You gotta hear my mother-in-laws mouth! She's the kindest woman, generous with the little amount she has, loves her children madly, and treats the housekeeper as a member of the family....but OH...her mouth! And this is with her loved ones!

Saudi Jawa said...

The 'veiled threat'!! That was great!

As a Saudi of Asian descent I can relate to the plight of the poor optician. You wouldn't believe how differently people treat me when I shed my thobe and wear western clothes, especially in non-Hijaz cities where most people haven't heard of weird people like me :)

Desert Flower said...

I don't think all women have such dirty mouths. I think some women talk like that with expat workers because they know they can and because they feel they are above them. I think some workers are even afraid of Saudi women because they have been known to cause trouble for expat workers.

I see many women who are nice as pie and use nice language with everyone but the expat workers. As a matter of fact men as well as women do this. Now do I think that it is intentional on their part...mostly no.

However most Saudis are raised with the mentality that this is how you talk to the workers and that there is a degree of superiority. It is in fact normal and they really don't see the rudeness.

I pointed it out to my husband how it must seem really bad to an Indian when you tell someone are you hindi {in other words are you stupid} what must they think when they here this expression? I'm sure they feel bad and disrespected.

My husband and his family are really nice to the workers but are naive to the inferior under tones that go on.

Now you all know why I refuse to wear my glasses when I go out. I truly couldn't look more

Anonymous said...

That picture does look like Mr. Potato Head!!!

Much of what goes on here in the gulf goes against Islam, moral values & ethics. In fact, in the “infidel west” people in general seem to have better morals & ethics than here without any moral police chasing them with sticks.

Carol said...

I have repeatedly seen what I would classify as an "attitude" among Saudi women that one typically does not see in western women or asian women for that matter. It is a kind of arrogance and without speaking seems to emanate this message of "yes, I am a Saudi woman and I am the best and I am number one and will be first." And yes, these are the women who will cut in front of you in the lines at grocery stores, shopping malls, food establishments, and any other place of business (like an optician shop) wtihout a second thought or care that someone else, whether it be male or female was ahead of them as it is their right to be first and served immediately. When I have been with my Saudi spouse when this has happened he just tells me to ignore it as they will not change their ways nor will they likely respond even if spoken to.

and yep... my vote also goes to a Mr. Potato Head style!

Another great posting SSW! When will you be syndicated?

hedoorientia said...

And I thought Pakistani women were bad...! (mid- and upper class, obviously)

I liked the anonymous comment:
"In fact, in the “infidel west” people in general seem to have better morals & ethics than here without any moral police chasing them with sticks."

hedoorientia said...


do you have a blog? If you do, I'd love to see it!
Your link (which I clicked a few times on other comments too) only points to an inactive profile...

Organic-Muslimah said...


I ditto Cairogal's comment on treatment of Indians.

However, really? I wish you caught that on video.


Anonymous said...

That was plain rude! I don't like pple cutting infront of me and no one better!The picture looks like that *person* in adam's family,the one uncle festo(?)dated. Hehehehhe. Yes, I have heard of stories of how pple that are not arabs are being mistreated in the ME. So sad but so true! sf

Carol said...


I hope you don't mind me responding to Hedoorentia from here in response to info on my blog (don't want to break any blogger protocols here...)

my blog is:


Sumera said...


That pic of cousin IT sums it up nicely.

Nzingha said...

I got you beat haha!! :)

And am I the only one to throw down over my spot in line? And this isnt just a Saudi thing I've went toe to toe with several Indian males as well. As loud as I am it isn't like I'm invisible according to Mr. Man EVERYONE knows I'm there.

I've also found that quite a few workers get nasty with me of various asian nationalities. I just had a word war with a guy in mcdonalds. What I'm american so i get your attitude? And black Mr. Man OH FORGET IT they treat him like he just got off the boat from Africa.. it gets ugly quick!!

Guess all nationalities have their share of rudeness. Even us well mannered americans.

saudi stepford wife said...

We have a non-blogging American friend here who appears to be the sweetest woman alive...until you cut in front of her in line. She'll "go postal" on unsuspecting line-jumpers, in English, and no-one understanding what the hell she's saying!

Now me, I can bitch in Arabic:)

The worst was when I was out-ta-here pregnant and woman where crowding me from behind, pushing me into a counter to get their medical records of all things. Pregnancy+heat+standing+having to wait+being pushed= a ballistic bitch!

Nzingha -I had a whole post planned on female Saudi rudeness but now I see I gotta check yours first. I've noticed you've already brought up so many of the same issues I think about and do a great job describing them.

Just curious, does your husband dress like a local (I remember you said he grew up in Hijaz) or does he dress contemporary. Just curious because Saudis come in so many shades I'd be surprised to hear he's treated rudely if he's wearing Saudi garb.

Nzingha said...

He dresses both traditonally and western. depending on what the mood is.. there are times he'll go out like a true Yemeni with a futah. he grew up in Jeddah, as Saudi as the rest (just not the passport) has the jeddah accent and still people be it Asian workers or even other Saudis. Saudi women are the funniest, they actually think Mr. Man is the driver so they uncover in front of him, than when they find out he is my Mr. Man they cover.. uhhhh don't get me started on that one.

Or the Saudi staff at a store, when we go out Mr. Man does all the manly talking.. when it comes time to pay they turn to me and say "is this what you want and will that be all" MR. Man all of a sudden becomes my driver rather than the man w/ the cash. I really do have to blog some of this because it can get real insane but funny.

أبو سنان said...

Ah, the joy of kind people. When I was living in Germany a few years back there was a long queue at the register in the grocery.

This older German lady steps in front of about 10 people and says "Ich hab' kein' Zeit". This means "I have no time".

Such manners.

dalioness said...

Hmmm, it seems I missed this post (I thought I read all your posts). Now I have to check if I missed any more!

Anyway, this was HILARIOUS!!! I don't want to comment on the rudeness much, but I certainly ain't one of those people who just stand there without a word or at least an EVIL look!!!