My Husband and the Chinese Guy

Posted: July 30, 2010 in My Articles

A few weeks ago, as my husband and I were heading to our favorite café, we stopped by a small shop to get some simple stuff that we needed. I waited in the car, and my husband got out to get what we wanted quickly. However, it took  him longer than I expected. Looking out of the window, I found my husband talking to a Chinese man, who looks about 35 years old. My husband waved for a taxi, talked to the driver, and the Chinese man got into the taxi. I thought “ok…that’s my husband’s habit..he always likes to help strangers and foreigners”. Before I could finish that thought, the Chinese guy jumped out of the taxi seeming so frightened. My husband talked to him for a while and waved for another taxi, talked to the driver, and off went the Chinese guy.

A thorough explanation! That’s what I needed from my husband instantly. “A good story for your blog” he said and then started explaining that small incident, which says a lot. The Chinese guy was frightened to death. He was on a business trip for two weeks, and he had no idea about Saudi Arabia. My husband happened to be the only Saudi he met who could speak English and who was willing to give answers to his endless questions. He asked my husband about the safety of the place. He was looking around suspiciously worrying about being stolen or attacked. My husband smiled and assured him that this is the safest place on Earth. He emphasized that no one would rob or stab the guy for money. A while later, the Chinese guy asked my husband where to find alcohol beverages..he missed getting drunk according to what he said to my husband. He also asked my husband where to find girls because _ as he explained_he could not stay that long without a woman, and unfortunately he didn’t bring his girlfriend with him. Poor guy! Couldn’t tolerate life without sex!

Of course, my husband explained that this is a big “No” in Saudi Arabia. The Chinese guy exclaimed saying “You are very strange people!”

My husband laughed and helped him get a taxi. There was actually no time for in-depth clarification. When the Chinese guy got into the first taxi, my husband asked the driver if he knew the place where the Chinese man wanted to go, but the taxi driver said he didn’t, so my husband asked the Chinese guy to get out of the taxi. According to my husband, “Before I could finish my words and explain the situation, the guy jumped out of the car…he thought that I told him to get out of the car because there is danger! Again I assured him that it’s the safest place!”

When we went to the café and settled, my husband called the Chinese guy to make sure he reached his place safe, and he invited him to join us the next day for dinner, but he said he had to work. My husband was laughing during his conversation. After he finished, he told me that the man was wondering repeatedly “You are with your wife?!” and my husband had to be so humorous that he told him “Do I have a choice?” Of course, I almost spoiled the “butt” of the joke when I told my husband “Yes you do….go right now and choose anyone of the beauties sitting near us…I am sure they will be more than happy to have you!”

Fortunately, he didn’t take my comment seriously and the evening went well, joyously, and safely….we were talking all night about the image of Saudi men and how bad it is portrayed around the world…Well…that Chinese guy will carry with him a souvenir from Saudi Arabia about one example of Saudi men that the media will never highlight.

And sure, if the Chinese guy were a Saudi asking for a woman in a foreign country, we would find all the American bloggers revealing and exposing the reality of the bad, mean Saudi guys who are obsessed with drink and sex.

I believe bad men are everywhere; in Saudi Arabia, in America, in China…etc, and the good guys exist, too, but…you know this is not interesting to say because it is just an objective point of view.

  1. Qusay says:

    The difference is, men, looking for those things in their countries are not considered bad… looking for alcohol and sex is not considered taboo, not something to be frowned upon.

    Very interesting story

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      You raised a very important issue, which is the societies’ acceptance of such behavior…and I would add another question; if these behaviors are acceptable in Western societies, why are they resented by Westerners when Saudis do them?
      Saudi men ARE human beings you know 🙂 and they have the right to makae mistakes like other men…
      and let me just rephrase your point into a question: Is it acceptable for men from different countries to cheat on their girlfriends and/or to look for prostitutes?

      Thank you Qusay for your thought-provoking question.

      • angel says:

        I feel its not because of SAUDI , its because of SAUDI associated to ISLAM and Islam says “no illegal sex “and no drinks and people all around the world think that Saudis are true Muslims and they want them to be true muslims(they themselves never want to be good even if they are muslim) meanwhile they fail to understand that sauids are ordinary human beings .they way you said….

        Its haram if a saudi does it because saudis are portrayed ones who have multiple wives and sex hungry …and well its famous what saudis do when they travel to other countriess…

  2. Om Lujain says:

    very cute story.. lol.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Om Lujain says:

    very cute story.. lol.

    And I must add that men looking for these sex in other countries are looked at as BAD, immature, and perverted by most people. So I agree, I can imagine how bloggers and reporters alike would have a fieldtrip if roles were reversed.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      thank you so much Om Lujain for your comment…and I agree with you..I think that guy’s behavior is not acceptable even in open societies, especially by their women or girlfriends 🙂

  4. Chiara says:

    This is a very interesting story in many ways. The Chinese businessman’s knowledge of Saudi seems deficient on all fronts. Perhaps he has traveled in Muslim majority countries with more lax views on alcohol and extramarital sex.

    The whole story is unfortuanately a true one about a prevalent stereotype of Chinese businessmen. The stereotype has some basis in fact, particularly as there are still a lot of men with a wife in China and one in Hong Kong or mistresses in both places. Also the big deal, big booze, hired prostitutes type parties are not totally a thing of the past in Hong Kong business practices. Not to mention Wan Chai (home and workplace of Suzie Wong in the American film) still has a thriving prostitution business, as well as other normal businesses by day, and ordinary restaurants and bars as part of the night life of Hong Kong. From what I understand the new commercial centres of Mainland China are similar.

    There are some businessmen who have a lot of trouble with the isolation and loneliness of business travel, and easily find themselves in the hotel bar (safe from the mean streets) and with the lovely ladies who visit the bars (high end). I know this because I treated a number “high flying executives” (high up in their companies, travel a lot by plane to various countries on business) in Hong Kong. It is hard on them and families, but most don’t frequent prostitutes. The one who did and came to me for help about it was a Brit–married with children which is part of why he was worried about it. In his case there were other triggers that I won’t mention.

    I agree that looking for alcohol and sex in countries where it is not taboo makes it less of an issue for those outside places where it does, but there are stereotypes for Saudis doing so. Generally it is part of the debauched oil sheikh image that was the stereotype in some places before the deranged Islamist terrorist stereotype came to replace it.

    At the moment my city seems full of Saudi visitors and students. All very nice, and accomodating of my questions (some have had the misfortune to sit beside me for a period of time, eg coffee, lunch, bookstore–just missed a group on the train!), and master English well (some near native fluency). I refrain from telling them how much damage they are doing to stereotypes–because I’m nice that way! LOL 😛 🙂

    Great post!

  5. مها نور إلهي says:

    I never knew about this Chinese stereoptype and I was really astonished by the guy’s behavior…but your comment explained a lot of things….yet again, I don’t want to fall into the same mistake that I am criticizing , which is categorizing people into stereoptypes….
    And yes I remember the wealthy Sheikh image that prevailed in the 60’s through the late 80’s…

    The point here is that these types exist in every nation, but there is always a focus on developing countries and this is of course done by the media….

    I am against stereoptypes of all sorts and about all countries, but some still live and feed on the distorted and negative stereoptypes to SELL their blogs or newspapers …positive images don’t sell 🙂

    Thank you so much for your rich comment ..

  6. Chiara says:

    Maha–thanks for your thoughtful reply. I certainly agree with being wary of stereotypes, and that negative news sells, on blogs and in the media. Also there is a lot of broader social and political influence behind who is targeted when.

    On the other hand, stereotypes are often complex and usually contain their opposite, as well as some small grain of apparent truth that is magnified into THE TRUTH.

    Saudis are negatively stereotyped in a number of ways in a number of cultures, including other MENA ones. There is a huge dose of jealousy/envy no doubt, and a huge dose of generalizing from the behaviour of a few while abroad, including vacationing in other MENA countries.

    I find the greater concern is the perpetuation or initiation of stereotypes on blogs or in media that purport to be broader thinking and more nuanced. This gives the stereotypes greater credibility and more insidious “truthiness”.

    Seeking alcohol and sex are frowned on in most cultures though with fewer direct ramifications. Socializing in mixed company with alcohol as part of it is quite different than the traveling businessman who is looking for a bar and a hookup–no matter what the culture of the businessman or that of the culture where he seeks it. It does make a better story if there is a disconnect between the image and the action or if a stereotype is fulfilled.

    A really good topic! 🙂

  7. Seeker of knowledge says:

    Your blogs have been an interesting read whilst staying in Makkah (from the uk for umrah) it has reaffirmed my belief that their are very honest, educated and islamically intellectual people. Your husbands story and the post on hijab has given me hope for a prosperous Saudi Arabia. Reason being, for the past week I have been reading another blog by a Saudi citizen openly
    criticizing the hijab and glorifying the ban on hijab in France. We (Muslims) come from across the globe to learn and better our Islamic teachings from the birthplace of Islam and then to find out Saudi born citizens are openly criticizing Islamic teachings and yearning to be more westernized has been disheartening.
    However, your post has shed a ray of light and brightened up my ramadan 🙂

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      Dear Seeker of Knowledge,
      Your comment has really touched me and gave me the determination to continue writing and clarifying many vague issues about my country and religion.
      I am proud to have your comment in my blog!

      Thank you and Ramadan Kareem 🙂

      • Seeker of knowledge says:

        Dear maha noor (sorry if I have spelt your name wrong)

        Your country’s generosity surpasses all expectation. So far, I have not seen a row in haram which has not filled with generous quantities of dates after asr salat.
        I wonder if this is what utopia is like, as no matter if you are black, white brown or yellow we all stand shoulder to shoulder facing the same direction and bowing to one lord.
        Whilst writing this comment it has come to my realization that this wonderful experience will once again come to an end when I go back home next week.

  8. Almaha says:

    It’s strange how in this era of technology and information, some people still judge others by their race, religion, and nationality. Such people don’t bother to gather enough information about a certain group of people to understand them. Rather, they prefer to stereotype. Some of these have lazy minds, others want these stereotypes to be true.
    Besides, human beings are complex .Most are a hodgepodge of conflicting thoughts, behaviors, views, and beliefs. Nobody is consistent. So it’s not fair that I judge an entire nation as having the same mindset based on my experience with one individual from that nation, or on stereotypes.

    You have a wonderful blog. I read most articles here and I find them intelligent and so inspiring.

    • مها نور إلهي says:

      Dear Almaha,
      Thank you so much for your valuable and rich comment. I can’t agree more about what you said and it makes glad to know people who think like you.

  9. zinnia says:

    Dear Maha,
    i have only one word to say for the article above, “awesome” and one emoticon , ❤

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