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Friday, 1 May 2009


I have been working abroad since I was 23 years old. Now I am already 30 and I must say that I have learned and realized things from my seven years of stay here in the Middle East.

1. When you are here in the Middle East, your salary will depend on your passport and not on your expertise. If you are holding a Western passport, then that will be your ticket to a higher salary compared to your Far Eastern counterparts, even if FEs are more qualified than the Westerns.

2. Sticking out your middle finger to a local can be your one way ticket home plus 25 days of imprisonment. Yeah, I know that for us, it's just a normal every day thing that we seen on the streets. Here, it's different. It's one of the highest forms of insult to a local here so be careful on how you act towards locals even though there are times that you really want to stick that finger out, it's better to keep it for your self.

3. Stability, that's one word that is not in their dictionary. Even if you are working hard and has been serving the same institution for a decade, if they want you to go, then you're gone. No buts, no whys, no hows.

4. All meat here are halal, meaning they were slaughtered after the butchers have given some prayers first. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think it's illegal to sell meat that is not halal.

5. There is no personal mailing address here in the Middle East. Also, all your correspondences should be forwarded to your company PO Box. So, if you are planning to order something online, make sure that the address you give is your PO Box address and not your home address, or else everything will screw up!

6. A life insurance will come handy here because you'll never know what will happen next especially there are many crazy drivers around.

7. People literally live by their credit cards and will not be able to survive without them.

8. You should never ever speak fluent English if you want to be understood by many.

9. Even if you are a professional, people will still brand you as a housemaid because they think that Filipinos here are either a nurse or a nanny.

10. Obtaining a driver's license here is more expensive than buying a second-hand car and more difficult than taking the bar examination for lawyers. Even those who really are driving from their home country for years still fail the driving test not because that they don't know how to drive properly but because officers here are too strict. However, after all the hardships of obtaining your driver's license, there are still more undisciplined drivers around than the good ones.


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