Culture clash Bahrain December 3, 2007Posted by Aella in Bahrain, Culture, India, Lebanon, Manama, Pakistan.
I must say living here sometimes is confusing. When I lived in Lebanon I met mainly Lebanese people and through them I learned about the culture, their habits, traditions and also parts of the spoken language. Now, in Bahrain it’s totally different. Here I daily meet people from several different cultures and I mean cultures that has hardly anything in common. People from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Bahrain and other Arab countries (I won’t mention the Western cultures cus I am quite used to them).
Now, I am not quite sure what I am trying to say here but ehm, what I mean is that it gets confusing trying to figure out the cultures from these different countries. For example, many Westerners I meet think that all Arab countries have the same culture. Nothing can be further from the truth of course. If you compare for example Lebanon and Saudi (since I have lived in both these places) you will find that these countries haven’t got much in common at all. When I meet an Indian for example they are quite different from my experience than say people from Bangladesh. I know the history of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan (not in detail) but still they are very different people in their own right.
I like to know some words and phrases of the people that I deal with on a daily basis but here I am faced with the prospects of having to learn some Tagalog, Hindi (or urdu even?), Bengali and of course also the Bahraini spoken Arabic (which I haven’t managed to pick up any words from yet). Do I sound like a sick person? Ah perhaps, but I do find it useful to know some basic phrases when dealing with people.
I must say it is confusing. One might say, but people speak English right. Well, that doesn’t really help when I really can’t understand what they are saying at times. I find for example the Indian accent really hard to understand. For some reason the Pakistani one is easier. I can stand like a question mark and say Uhm sorry what did you say when someone confidently explains to me that – No that’s not cheese it pudder! Pudder? This man laughed at me and say yes Pudder. I then carefully asked if hmm that was something Indian? He then laughed hard and went over to a cupboard and took out a box that had the letters B U T T E R written on them…. Aaaah butter!!!! I exclaimed in a really surprised voice feeling as if I had made a major discovery that should grant me some kind of a Nobel Prize..
Anyway, I guess in time I will have learnt some about living here.