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How the world works

Racial – or should I say ‘national’? – stereotypes may have become somewhat ‘non-politically correct’ in recent times, but that doesn’t mean that people refrain from either privately thinking them and/or uttering them publicly.

You know the sort of thing I’m talking about, and you don’t have to be a rabid signed-up UKipper to subscribe to some of these:-

The Greeks may have been great in ancient times, but now they just sit around, drink coffee, don’t work and don’t pay their taxes;

The Italians eat pasta, gesticulate a lot, all belong to the Mafia, their women get fat once they’re married and their tanks have one forward gear and three reverse ones because – when the going gets tough – they do a lot of retreating;

The French cannot be trusted; they do so well out of the EU because – no matter what EU laws and regulations are passed – they just adhere to those that suit them and ignore all the rest, unlike the Brits and Germans; they also smoke Gitannes, keep mistresses and some of their women are inherently streets ahead of ours in chic sophistication, beauty and sex-appeal … plus their rugger players don’t ‘travel’ at all well when playing abroad.

The Chinese operate in herds, build 20 coal-burning power stations per week, cannot think for themselves, execute their corrupt politicians and make pretty decent won-ton soup.

The world would operate perfectly if only the Brits ran it … because we always stick to our principles, do everything properly, efficiently and by the book – our only two drawbacks are that (1) we’re too humble and diplomatic to point this out to anyone and (2) every other nationality has far too much capital invested in being corrupt, inefficient and stupid to let us take charge.

stereotypesThe Russians are all thick, hooded thugs and gangsters who pay no attention to human rights and pursue what they see as their strategic geo-political advantage, backed up by un-democratic brute force, and don’t care a fig what anyone thinks of them.

The Americans are … er … just Americans – i.e. either liberal, pot-smoking pinkos who demonstrate a lot, or else whacky red-neck right-wing loonies who belong to the Flat-Earth Society and believe in Creationism and shooting first and asking questions later.

And as for the rest of the world – well, how long have you got?

Yesterday afternoon some people arrived to stay the weekend at my next door neighbour’s house, which he sometimes lets out. We noticed them standing around outside in the drive, wondering what to do because they didn’t have the key to gain entry – it was arriving later, with another member of their party.

Eventually we invited them to come over and join us on our terrace whilst they waited. They were okay people and over the course of the next hour or so we got to know them a bit better.

Two of them, a couple, were ex-pats living in Qatar and, as the conversation progressed, I learned a great deal I didn’t previously know about what life was like living there, as told by the gentleman:-

There are only about 300,000 Qataris in total – but there are a million or more ex-pats living there.

They are one of the few countries in the world that don’t lease their airliners. They have about 170 currently and another 200 on order, all of them fully paid for outright (at a rough guide price of £750 million per plane). They all drive Toyota Land Cruisers though nobody needs to pass a test to drive and, if a father wishes, he can pass on his licence to his eldest son provided he’s aged at least 14. They are probably the worst drivers in the world.

There is a rule in Qatar that, if the temperature ever goes above 50 degrees Centigrade, all outside work must stop. As a result, it never goes above 50 degrees – watch my lips, it does in fact go regularly above 50, but – in order that their workers don’t have to stop working outside, it never does so officially.

There is literally zero football culture in Qatar, so quite what will happen during the 2022 soccer World Cup, God alone knows. Apparently, the smart money has it that all the Qataris will fly to Dubai for the duration and just let the world’s soccer fans get on with it.

The British, of course, once ruled a quarter of the world and a quarter of the world’s population – they did this via colonialism – plus rigid rules, bureaucracy and teamwork, no matter what the weather or geographical conditions – and it worked. When they left India, for example, the Indians retained this approach, only didn’t do it so well.

As a result, in Qatar, the Indians occupy all the civil service and administrative roles – using forms that everyone must fill out in triplicate etc. … but nothing ever quite works properly or efficiently; the Pakistanis do all the manual blue collar work; the Africans and other do all the labouring work; the Filipinos and Thais do all the housework … and so the world in Qatar goes around.

As iconic British film star Maurice Joseph Micklewhite is once alleged to have said “Not a lot of people know that” … but I thought the readers of the National Rust might like to.


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About Arthur Nelson

Looking forward to his retirement in 2015, Arthur has written poetry since childhood and regularly takes part in poetry workshops and ‘open mike’ evenings. More Posts