Jillian R.

I did not come from an overly friendly nor courteous place. If you fell down on the street along with your bags, crushing you, some lady might just walk by and not even help you up. She might even feel a little irritated as now she has to walk around you. Darn you, couldn't you fall a bit off to the side? And queue cutting is kind of the norm. However with camera phones and social media these days, Malaysians are less bold.

When we moved to the UAE, it was a whole new level of indifference and rudeness. I was on line at Ikea one day and a mother; a local, nonchalantly sent her four kids ranging from 10 and below to cut the queue (there were maybe two or three people ahead of me), and with her head buried in her phone, walked away. Nobody said anything, maybe because they were kids. I wanted to say something but fortunately before I did, the cashier ignored them and continued serving people on line. The kids all yelled in unison "Ice-cream, ice-cream!!" And waved money at the cashier with their sticky, chubby hands - but ignored!

Just a few weeks ago, I was at the restroom in the mall, it was a small one near the exit so it only had one stall. I was second in line. The woman in front of me was a maid. I know because she was wearing a maid's uniform (I won't get into this degrading practice just yet). Suddenly, a woman comes in with her two kids and they sauntered past us straight to the stall. Because it was such a confident move, I thought they were coming to join a sibling or family member who was already in there. When the door opened, the person who came out was a stranger and they just walked in, I was appalled! The maid knew she couldn't say anything. And I wasn't going to yell at them through the bathroom door!

And here's the thing, we're not allowed to take pictures of people without their permission, no naming and shaming, not that I would waste my time doing so, but my point in, these rude, inconsiderate people are protected by law! And thus, have no qualms about taking up two disabled parking spots.

Moving out of the UAE and its culture will take time. We are still adjusting. Yesterday someone waved us in front of them instead of trying to mow us down with their shopping cart. I was touched by this simple, but completely normal act.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad in the UAE - if you have a baby/small child with you, all bets are off! I was on line at the supermarket once and a local woman insisted that I didn't bag my groceries myself and she loudly called over a bagger to help me, although I kept protesting! I always bagged my groceries myself, for a reason, but that's another story.

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