Friday, April 18, 2008

The Identity Challenges

There is something about living in the Abu Dhabi that challenges every resident's identity in the most in-your-face ways. Here are some of my stories.

When I was reminded that I am Chinese: A few days ago, I stepped into a taxi and noticed the taxi driver "forgot" to reset his meter. After I politely pointed it out, the driver reluctantly complied, only after throwing back a disgruntled remark, "Chinese!"

When I was reminded that I am a Chinese woman: While on my way to visit a friend staying in a hotel apartment, the concierge staff stopped me - not only did he ask for my ID, but also took a copy of it. I found out afterwards another visitor who is a Caucasian guy didn't get this treatment. Hmm.

When I was reminded that I am a Chinese woman: Walking home alone at night, three Arab teenager boys cruised their bicycles along side of me and tried to start up conversation. After I ignored the annoyance as I always (and unfortunately too often) do, one of them started swearing at me. After a few similar incidents earlier the week, this just made the last straw on the camel's back - I turned on my self-defence face and called the cops while swearing back at the boys until they ran off. Not pretty I tell you.

When I was reminded that I am Canadian: While filing out my medical claim, I put down "allergy condition" as reason for visiting doctor. Apparently that was not enough, I was told either give a detailed reason and diagnosis or there wouldn't be a claim. *Sigh*

When I was reminded that I am Canadian: At least three of the office secretaries know my salary and oh yeah, the mail courier guy who delivers my pay slips. I guess it's somewhat of public information.

Personally I'm still struggling with these uncomfortable situations and make peace with them somehow. "All problems have at least one solution, including living with them." We'll see.

p.s. I want to thank those who responded to my previous posting on "Shu Man-Chu" - your opinion is greatly shared and appreciated. Cheers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kids say the darnedest things so I have been asked, "Are you a maid?"