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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, March 04, 2007

You Might Be From The Middle East If...

We've all heard Jeff Foxworthy's skit about "You Might Be a Redneck If...", from his standup routines and his wonderful Blue Collar TV show (I love it!), but here's an interesting variant.

Now, I know next to nothing about growing up in the Middle East, save what my good Israeli and Lebanese friends told me about, in University.

Interestingly, they listened to a lot of the same music, saw the same TV shows, and generally behaved in ways not dissimilar to what an American and a Canadian might experience, each in their own part of the world -- oft-combative, separate, but together.

I found it in a newsgroup some months ago, and saved it, for just such an occasion.

Now, some of the following may not make any sense to me, or to you come to that, but it is always wonderful to see what a culture chooses to self-identify as nostalgia.

Brackets, comments mine. I'm respectful of other cultures, but this person got up my nose with his superiority complex -- one with a distinct anti-American tinge.

When that happens, watch out.


YOU MIGHT BE FROM THE MIDDLE EAST IF...





1) You watched Captain Majid. And you wanted to be just like him.

[ed.- I'm guessing Captain Majid like their Captain America or Cap'n Crunch]

2) You drank Bebsi, Fanta, Sun Top, Tang, and Canada Dry.

3) You're STILL shaking the sand out of your shoes.

4) When you wanted fast food you got a shawarma.

5) You think American restaurants should serve lamb. With rice.

6) Bebsi was cheaper than water. So was gasoline.

7) You remember when 80*F was cold, 90*F was cool, 105*F was warm, and 115*F was hot.

8) You wanted Saudi Arabia to go all the way in World Cup 1994. And cried when they didn't.

[ed.- So what, even I wanted them to do well. That was an AWESOME team!]

9) You know a friend who won a free car from the local mall. Twice.

10) Gulf Countries: Arabic is the 1st language. Urdu is the 2nd. Filipino is the 3rd. English is the 4th.

Balad Ash-Sham: Arabic is the 1st language. English and French are tied for 2nd.

Egypt: Egyptian is the 1st language. Arabic is the 2nd... musris, seriously: learn how to pronounce the jeem. It's jamah, NOT GAMAH.

11) Some dumb ass American asked you if you rode a camel to school. And you told him that you've seen more Rolls Royce, Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus automobiles on the streets of Riyadh or Dubai than you've ever seen in the USA.

[ed.- right, "dumbass", I get it. Tell us who is wiping their bottom with their hands again?]

12) Your school had classes canceled because of a truck bomb or a SCUD missile attack.

13) You know what the Burj Al Arab is.

14) You had satellite TV and never heard of cable until you came to the USA.

15) There are no lines at amusement parks. Push, shove, and run your ass off to get the bumper car before the other guy.

16) Airport workers offer to carry your bags for you and you say no.

17) Friday was the official weekend.

18) People who DIDN’T bribe got into trouble.

[ed.- Baksheesh baby]

19) There was no such thing as a non-smoking section. Anywhere. Even airline flight crews smoked on airplanes. In the aisles. Beside the no-smoking sign.

20) Your parents told you it was too hot to go outside.

21) You know that 3 people can fit on a motorcycle, 8 people can fit in a 5-seat car, and 20 people can fit in a 12-person minibus.

22) You actually tried to surf a sand dune.

23) Your car or your parents' car was equipped with dual AC's.

24) The best Arab restaurant in every city south of Syria was Yamal Ash-Sham.

25) You've seen scorpions and sand vipers in the wild.

26) You lived in a compound.

27) Casio G-Shock: the only watches you've ever owned.

28) You bought a dagger. And a sword.

[ed.- Better than an Uzi...]

29) Almost every McDonalds was two stories tall. The rest were three stories tall.

30) You never saw a building made of wood until you came to the USA. Everything was made of cement, brick, and marble.

31) Your front lawn had a rock garden instead of grass.

32) Your parents paid to get you out of military service.

33) You watched BBC, CNN International, and Al-Jazeera... and consider American news to be for entertainment purposes only.

[ed.- Al-Jazeera came courtesy of the BBC, many of whom interned at CNN in Atlanta. Dork]

34) Lion Bar and Kit Kat are the greatest chocolate bars of all time.

35) Your school had armed guards and concrete barricades.

36) Stores closed during prayer time.

37) Restaurants had ladies sections. Swimming pools had women-only times.

[ed.- Yes, ritzier hotels in America also had that. For black people. God forbid people should be tainted by having to swim next to a woman or a black person. Don't worry. White people also said it was for "cultural reasons" back then too]

38) Your mom and sister wore an abaya, even if they weren't Muslim.

39) You and your friends all thought you were gangstas.

[ed.- As well as half of the Upper East Side]

40) You or your neighbor had a driver.

41) Most people on the road don't realize there is a speed limit. Neither does the police.

42) There is NO such thing as Israel. It is Palestine.

[ed.- Indeed. You'd think such rich countries could afford to provide their schoolkids with maps not dated 1877]

43) You've been to a gold souk.

44) The movie Aladdin was banned by the government. So were Pokemon.

[ed.- No clue. Wanna give this a go? Especially Pokemon]

45) You got back at your friend by pointing at him and yelling, “Yahood!�? when you were in a downtown Damascus Mosque. Your friend was hospitalized for the worst slipper-beating in recorded history.

46) You owned Titanic, Jurrasic Park, and Star Wars Episode 1 weeks before they were playing in U.S. cinemas.

47) You currently own a cellphone that will be sold as the "latest technology" in the USA... in a year.

48) Bizza Hut had beef bebberoni.

[ed.- What's up with the P becoming a B? It's like my mother's Germanic switching of Ws for Vs. "I vant to vatch Tee Wee"]

49) You thought KFC stood for Kuwaiti Fried Chicken.

50) You still think Herfy was better than McDonalds.

51) Everyone at school played football aka "soccer". If there were desis, then some people played cricket.

52) Sports stores were always 90% football aka "soccer" gear, and every kid ended up buying a number 9 Ronaldo Brazil shirt.

53) You know that camels can spit. Far.

54) The image of one camel mounting another is still burned into your childhood memory.

55) There was actually a point to owning a SUV and now you're extremely pissed at how the USA has transformed a true off-road utility vehicle into a fashion statement for "soccer moms."

[ed.- A lot of us are pissed at that too. But I think rather for different reasons than a cheap shot at loving, concerned suburban moms]

56) You know for a fact that bedouins can drive Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols, and other 4x4 SUVs better than anyone else on the planet.

57) You ate dates all the time and couldn't believe that they are considered exotic to Americans in "Raiders of the Lost Arc."

58) You've seen a sword dance. At a wedding.

59) You've smoked sheesha aka argheela aka hookah aka hubbly bubbly but are shocked to find that the pipe would be considered drug paraphernalia in the USA.

60) You know that the Greeks took shawarmas from the Arabs and just renamed them gyros. And you're outraged.

[ed.- Of course. God forbid disparate cultures come up with similar ideas, because that's what the land yields up. You think we're the only culture to eat pasties in a village fete?]

61) You've actually been in a sand storm and you know sand stings.

62) You laughed at how tiny the ants are in the USA.

63) You might not be able to play the drums but you CAN play the daff.

64) You know that bedouins can make random, completely unsynched clapping into something that actually sounds like music. Especially if they are waving a sword around.

65) You drank mud aka Turkish Coffee.

66) You cried when you realized you couldn't buy goat milk at U.S. super markets.

[ed.- Man, I cried too. But I truly balled when I didn't see the haggis anywhere]

67) You know that monsters do exist. They are called camel spiders.

[ed.- AAYYYYYYYY!]

68) You rode ATVs, dirt bikes, and jet ski's... when you were 8 years old.

69) You started driving cars on your dad's knee... when you were 4 years old.

[ed.- so what, so do a lot of people in rural communities otherwise known as the boonies]

70) You still prefer a siwak to a toothbrush.

[ed.- yipes, is this is a toothpick?]

71) Top 3 uses for your shahata (slippers): Killing cockroaches, smacking or throwing at your friend, and actually wearing them when the asphalt is too hot to go bare-foot.

72) You or one of your friends thought hamburgers have ham in them.

[ed.- This was actually mentioned in an episode of "Little Mosque on the Prairie", a Canadian sitcom...]

73) You root for Saudi Arabia every World Cup... and when they are eliminated, you root for Brazil.

[ed.- Bandwaggoners. This includes most of Haiti, too]

74) When driving in Syria, nobody stays in their lanes.

75) Syrian drivers don't honk when pedestrians cross the road at night. Nor do they slow down. They flash their lights and speed up.

76) Syrian drivers are completely shocked and confused if someone flashes his blinker light before changing lanes or turning.

77) A Syrian cop told you that the stripped white lines on roads are just for decoration.

78) America is called Emreeka.

79) You could hear the call to prayer anywhere in the city.

80) You covered your lunchbox with SunTop stickers.

[ed.- And I covered mine with "Facts of Life" ones]

...fascinating, no?

ADDENDUM: Sundries commenter, and one of my dear friends, Elko (El Kot) has done a much more interesting Bulgarian version in his blog:


"You might be Bulgarian if..."


My favourites include:

29. You carry liquor back here from your country in plastic sprite bottles under tons of clothing in the suitcase.

[ed.- LOL! I think Finns do that too.]

27. Your non-English speaking grandmother gives a shocked looked when you say 'pizza'.

[ed.- Oh dear, oh dear. Must be a naughty word in Bulgarian]

5. All your children have nick names, which sound nowhere close to their real names.

[ed.- Hehe, what on earth, though? Elkitch, Veruchka?]

Good stuff! I hope others do the same. If we Brits weren't so ordinary, and known for our eccentricities already, I'd probably do one for us, too.

Labels:

14 Comments:

  • This is OT but a remarkably amusing story.

    By Blogger JSU, at Sun Mar 04, 12:42:00 pm GMT-5  

  • YOU MIGHT BE FROM THE MIDDLE EAST IF...

    your lists never end!

    Thank you thank you! I will be here all week! Try the falafel!

    By Blogger Renato, at Sun Mar 04, 02:29:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh God, there goes Prince Michel again...he's a great guy, so funny, but I wouldn't pay him or Princess Michael of Kent too much mind, historically, JSU.

    Yes, it is true that this Bhopal person might be a Bourbon claimant, but in fact, if you're one of these reactionary, Opus Dei types, Luis Alfonso Borbón, is the only real heir to the Bourbon French Throne (not that poxy Comte de Paris person).

    He has two things counting against him in my eyes: He lives in Venezuela (yikes?! Run!), and he's a grandson of Franco...

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Mar 04, 02:54:00 pm GMT-5  

  • ...the picture at the top of the list is not a camel, but a relative!

    By Blogger Ron, at Sun Mar 04, 02:55:00 pm GMT-5  

  • YOU MIGHT BE FROM THE MIDDLE EAST IF...

    your lists never end!


    You know why right? Probably because he thought the topic is never dealt with by anyone, and the author obviously intended for this to be read by his fellow Middle Easterners (who speak English...).

    The whole list is a joke, in terms of attitude.

    Notice how he takes overweening pride about how he grew up in the lap of luxury, he had technology not available in the US, etc.

    Never mind that his region or his people had NO HAND in inventing any of the things he brags about -- cellphones, Rolls Royces, even Al-Jezeera as I mentioned, nothing.

    Basically, he sounds enthusiastic about a culture which condones, even reveres corruption, is derivative in the extreme, and can't even think of an original idea to ennumerate their points of pride (Lists and Top 100s being the quintessential American pasttime).

    Thank you thank you! I will be here all week! Try the falafel!

    Man, Second City isn't what it used to be. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Mar 04, 03:09:00 pm GMT-5  

  • "Top 100s"

    You mean he got bored before finishing, and just gave up 80% of the way there?

    That might also be typical, somehow...

    By Blogger JSU, at Sun Mar 04, 05:12:00 pm GMT-5  

  • These lists always leave more to be desired - compare to the "You might be Bulgarian if..." that I just put on my blog in response to this one.

    Here, the items are too many, and all over the place wrt style - especially the ones with Syrian references.

    I'm puzzled too with all the p's becoming b's - maybe they don't have the sound in arabic? Or it might be a linguistic feature, like when in Bulgarian the voiced consonants lose their voice at the end of words; thus "crab" is pronounced "krap", but is pronounced "krabove" when plural.

    Cheers,
    Elko

    By Blogger El Kot, at Sun Mar 04, 06:10:00 pm GMT-5  


  • You mean he got bored before finishing, and just gave up 80% of the way there?

    That might also be typical, somehow...


    LOL, yeah, I did think of that. ;)

    But to be charitable, let's imagine he did that other American invention, the Top 10 -- and overachieved. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Mar 05, 12:40:00 am GMT-5  

  • ...the picture at the top of the list is not a camel, but a relative!

    LOL!! You're bad. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Mar 05, 01:05:00 am GMT-5  

  • We have the same joke, Ron, for the Welsh and sheep.

    Every nation has something, right. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Mar 05, 01:05:00 am GMT-5  

  • These lists always leave more to be desired - compare to the "You might be Bulgarian if..." that I just put on my blog in response to this one.

    Just linked to it!

    I hope your example leads others to do the same kind of list, Elko.

    Like say, an East German list, hint hint, Malte... ;)

    Here, the items are too many, and all over the place wrt style - especially the ones with Syrian references.

    Yeah, by their profusion, I am guessing the original writer was Syrian.

    It's curious, isn't it Elko, since technically a Bulgarian might be tempted to do a "You know you're from East Europe if...", but you went for a specifically Bulgarian list.

    It shows you there is no real Pan-Balkanism when it comes to such impulses.

    And anyway, the Albanians ruin the symmetry of everything. ;)

    I'm puzzled too with all the p's becoming b's - maybe they don't have the sound in arabic?

    I am guessing the same.

    In Romanian they don't do the Latin, "gua". It becomes "ba".

    Like lingua = limba, as you know.

    Or it might be a linguistic feature, like when in Bulgarian the voiced consonants lose their voice at the end of words; thus "crab" is pronounced "krap", but is pronounced "krabove" when plural.

    Ah! They have this in Russian too, IIRC.

    I love this thread for what it yields in international tidbits. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Mar 05, 01:10:00 am GMT-5  

  • I'm apparently 1/15 Bulgarian.

    Who knew?

    By Blogger JSU, at Mon Mar 05, 02:01:00 am GMT-5  

  • We have the same joke, Ron, for the Welsh and sheep.

    Every nation has something, right. ;)


    Isn't the Greek origin of the word "barbarian" based on their perception of other languages being like sheep bleats? (baaa baaaa)

    The Other has to be inferior, because I'm wonderful, right?

    By Blogger Ron, at Mon Mar 05, 03:04:00 am GMT-5  

  • LOLOLOL...this is great!

    1) Capt Majid was a cartoon
    2) There are no P's in the arabic alphabet so anything beginning with that letter automatically becomes a B. (father is BABA instead of PAPA)
    9) OH MY GOD!!!! The prize giveaways at the little malls and Al Fair stores...awesome!
    13) And it is BEAUTIFUL!
    15) They have no lines anywhere...period. Egypt is the worst!
    17) Depending on the country...Friday is the holy day and sometimes the weekend was THU and FRI sometimes FRI & SAT
    21) Saw a family of 8 on a motorcycle and sidecar in Egypt..wonder if I still have that photo, will send it your way!
    32) w/ one exception, the Kuwaiti Ambo paid the british military to take his son INTO the military. Tried to do it with the USN but we wouldn't do it.
    41) there was a speed limit?
    42) going to movies was a trip. Smoking was allowed so the screen was hazy. Any love sceen was cut and sometimes a piece of film of, lets say an fly walking across the back of a leather sofa, was inserted. And during the movie The Mummy, the sceen where the dude holds up the star of David and the mummy says, Jews, slaves of whatever, was a deleted scene. They banned Aladin because of the use of big noses by the animators. They felt it was an insult.
    48) there's the B for P again!
    74) the lines in Syria and Egypt are hand painted, crooked, and I think most people try to drive ON them instead of between them. A three lane road going into Cairo is now 6 lanes, there are no rear view mirrors on the outside of cars, and a dent is considered a Cairo Kiss...great driving!

    Addendum: the shortest period of time for an arab driver is the nanosecond after the light turns green and someone behind you is honking their horn to tell you to get moving.

    and...the hottest thing in the world is the steering wheel of your car in August!


    Victoria, thank you for this. I took a brief trip down memory lane and I so appreciate it. A great start to my day.

    By Blogger Caroline, at Mon Mar 05, 10:44:00 am GMT-5  

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