Misfortunes encountered by neophyte OFWs in strange lands with strange cultures stem from ignorance. For this reason, Pinoy community leaders in the United Arab Emirates came up with a booklet containing tips on the proper demeanor to prevent getting entangled into any sort of trouble while in UAE.
Here’s a sampler from the book:
- Bathing suits to be worn only in hotel pools and private beaches
- For men, decent dress with no bold overtones; no cross-dressing for women-in-men’s body
- No PDA – public display of affection. This could put you in jail.
- Non-Muslims ought to respect Ramadan, Muslim’s fasting month by similarly fasting with alcohol, smoking, chewing gum, and being poker-faced — no singing or dancing
- If you don’t want them to frown on you, don’t eat or drink with your right hand. Left hand is considered ‘dirty’ since it is normally used for washing the you-know-what.
- Showing the soles of your feet or shoes means you are disrespecting them — like you treat them as soles or ‘dirt’/’trash’
- Don’t walk in front of a praying Muslim – don’ even stare.
- Don’t barge into a mosque if you’re not a Muslim. If you have to for some life-and-death reasons, ask permission first.
- Don’t point fingers to others – that’s also disrespectful
- If you’re riding a taxi, don’t seat beside the driver. That will be interpreted as being intimate which connotes moral looseness, being illicit, or proposing something illegal.
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications are often considered illegal or a controlled substance
- When you are maintaining prescribed medicines, make sure to keep them in their original containers. Always bring the prescription signed by your doctor or any documents pertaining to your use of the medicines.
- Illegal drug use or possession
- Don’t drink and drive. You can only drink alcohol in the bars of major hotels and only if you’re a hotel guest
- On times when you can’t help it, you may drink or possess alcohol provided you have a permit with the Ministry of Interior. Otherwise, you will be fined and/or imprisoned.
- Respect the police officer. Avoid obscene hand gestures or foul language when talking to them.
- Sex should be legal, strictly between husband and wife. In that case, no extramarital affairs to combat loneliness, no promiscuity.
The bilingual, English-Tagalog booklet was published by Filcom, a group of over 50 Filipino community leaders in Dubai and the northern emirates as their gift to compatriots in celebrating the 113th Philippine Independence Day. The making of the booklet, from data inputs to funds, was done in cooperation with Dubai Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, church groups, human resource and safety professionals, and teachers group under Filcom. Initial copies of 10,000 will be distributed for free on June 10, 2011 to all Pinoys in Dubai.
There are 400,000 estimated Pinoys in Dubai.