GhannamHello, once again, my honorable readers. In this article, I would like to talk about my experience while I was in the United States and the shock I encountered right after I arrived home. My experience is a little comparison between the two countries, and I leave the final judgment to the readers.

1 – In the US, I had never heard a car honk at me at a traffic light or honk at me to move my car. But here in Kuwait, many people use their horns more than they breathe.

2 – In the US, I had never seen people park their cars on green landscapes or illegally in front of shopping malls, blocking the entrance and exit of the malls. But here, you would need at least an hour to wait for the ‘honorable driver’ to come to clear the way for you, without even saying ‘sorry.’

3 – In the US, whenever you walk in the malls, parks or recreation centers, you are greeted by the majority of people with a smile. But here, whenever the entire family goes out for recreation, the parents are grumpy, and if by mistake you look at the wife or even the husband, you may end up in a fight for a ‘mistaken stare.’

4 – In the US, we tend to respect the law everywhere we go and never litter in public places in fear of the law, most importantly in self respect and in respect for the cleaners. But here, nobody cares: people litter the streets or throw a lit cigarette butt from the car windows, which could set your car ablaze if there was a gas leakage.

5 – In the US, while waiting in queue anywhere, you would see high-ranking officials waiting behind you without interrupting the queue, because they respect everyone who are standing and wait for their turn whoever they may be. But here, while standing in line for an hour, an ‘honorable’ person intrudes and breaks the line and gets his service done with no respect to those who were waiting. And in this case, you need to take it easy; otherwise, you would end up in trouble.

6 – In the US, many services are selfserved, like those in the gas stations and food marts, where you can see everybody take his turn and wait in line to get his things settled, without yelling or disturbing the peace. But here, I, at one time, noticed a police patrol with two policemen use the microphone of the police car and yell at the small grocery store asking for a Pepsi and Snickers. Besides that, many of our guys are so lazy waiting for their chores to be done for them without taking a minute to do it themselves.

7 – In the US, when you get pulled over by police, you would be greeted and asked politely for your driver’s license and car registration and told also why you were stopped, but here, a lot of the policemen will wait for you to come to them to ask them why you were pulled over. Many of them become disrespectful to defenseless expatriates who sometimes are left waiting for long to get their documents back and if the police were approached, the expats would get a swift and harsh, ‘GO WAIT IN YOUR CAR.’

8 – In the US, I have not encountered people flashing their high beam lights on me at night or during the day, as they know that this may lead to serious consequences and it is against the law. But here, it seems as if you are in a wedding, as many drivers flash their high beams to let them go and if you don’t, you would end up beaten or killed.

9 – In the US, the domestic helper has all the rights and can sue her or his employer if mistreated. But here, the worker can be tagged a criminal if she or he complains about her or his employer at the police station.

Till the next article, insha Allah.

By Talal Al-Ghannam