Monday, April 23, 2012

The culture chasm: On the wrong side of the law

Dubai: Expatriates have found themselves on the wrong side of the law — jail terms followed by deportation for public indecency and obscene gestures. Alarming, worrying, yet true. The accused have been guilty of acts ranging from flashing a finger at someone to consensual sex in public.
The recent court cases reported by Gulf News not only illustrate this, but point to a far more insidious subtext — cultural misunderstanding.
An expatriate who considers the middle finger as a commonplace gesture in his country, now finds himself in an uncommon position — in front of a judge for the very act. He may also not realise — until it is too late — that apart from obscene acts, certain overt physical gestures overlooked in his home country are punishable in his host country.
Would you call this a case of misunderstanding? Or would it be fair to label expatriates as culturally ignorant?  Read more in

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