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Monday, July 2, 2012

OFW guide: Trouble awaits expats who ignore public decency rules

As every country has its own rules and customs, some expatriates run into trouble for disregarding certain laws and regulations, including public decency rules.

Here is a brief rundown on public decency rules in the three countries where many Filipinos are located:

United States
Estimated number of Filipinos: 3,166,529*

According to the website of Kwintessential, a UK-based company specializing in intercultural communication and interpreting services, rules and customs on decency vary widely in the United States as the country is a melting pot of immigrants from various cultures.

While it says that etiquette and clothing are more relaxed and informal in the US compared to other countries, it encourages people to know the decency rules in the area where they are located.

Saudi Arabia
Estimated number of Filipinos: 1,512,539

According to Kwintessential, if people are invited to a Saudi Arabian home, they must dress conservatively and greet the elders first as a sign of respect.

The site also said gving gifts is not the norm in Saudi Arabia, and when people there are given gifts, they do not open them when received.

Men are discouraged from giving flowers as gifts but women can give them to their hostesses.

When offered Arabian coffee and dates, people must accept them even if they do not eat them.

When it comes to eating, people must sit cross-legged or on one knee if the meal will be eaten on the floor.

United Arab Emirates
Estimated number of Filipinos: 636,154

According to the news site Gulf News, in the conservative UAE, kissing intimately in public and other acts of public intimacy (such as sexual intercourse) are not allowed but couples are permitted to hold hands.

People are also not allowed to wear very short shorts, nor are they allowed to wear skirts above the knee.

They are also advised not to wear skimpy or provocative clothing. The UAE also does not allow people to cross-dress, under pain of being punished by the law.

When swimming, people are expected to wear the proper swimming uniforms (bikinis are allowed for women provided they do not go topless or wear thongs). - VVP, GMA News

* Data based on the 2010 Stock Estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas

According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), as of December 2010 the top four destination countries of Filipinos, in order, are the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

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