Todd: When I was in Thailand I had experiences with bribery, and we don't really have it with government officials in the U.S., but I have to admit I thought it was really convenient, because let's say you are driving and you get a speeding ticket, or you do something wrong, in Thailand you would just pay ten dollars, twenty dollars and the whole incident was forgot. In my culture were brought up to think that that's really bad but I have to admit, I liked the fact that you would pay a little money, and then it was not on your record, because in the United States if you get a speeding ticket, or you do anything wrong then it's on your record, and it's permanent and that can affect your insurance payment and things like that, so it was this really weird feeling where I felt odd doing it, and I felt awkward doing it because it wasn't part of our culture, but at the same time I thought it was almost convenient. Have you ever had experiences like that?
Aiman: Well, I have two different experiences. Because in Syria it is pretty different to Dubai, so in Syria for example, you'd have to bribe the police officers even if you didn't do anything because that's how they live. But in Dubai they get really nice wages and they don't need your bribe. For example, once I was eating dates while I was driving. I was speaking on my phone, my mobile phone, and I was not wearing my seat belt, and I was not paying attention, and then the policeman asked me to pull over, and when I did, I didn't even know what was the problem, so when he came to me and said to me, "Can I have the car registration and license?" I said, "Yeah, sure. Please take one date, or a date, while I look for them." And he said, "No, sorry, I can't." And I was so upset with that. I said, "What do you mean you can't? Are you better than me? Is that what you're trying to say?" And he said, "No, It's illegal. I can't. You know what, just go. I don't need anything from you. Please go."
Todd: So the policeman in Dubai was very straight and honest. He can't except anything from a driver, and so he turned you down.
Aiman: Exactly. Because he turned me down, it is really bad in the Arab culture. He decided to just let me go. Please just go.
Todd: Really, so if somebody offers you something in an Arab culture, and you decline that's not polite.
Aiman: Not polite at all.
Todd: Well, that's very good to know.
brought up to
my culture were brought up to think that that's really bad.
In this case, "brought up" means to be raised from childhood.
- I was brought up to believe it is impolite to eat with your elbows on the table.
- Many boys are brought up to believe they should hide their feelings.
on your record
If you do anything wrong then it's on your record.
"Record" in this case means a criminal history or some other official record of your behaviour.
- If you are late for work more than 3 times, it will be noted on your record with the Personnel section.
- Many countries will not issue a visa if you have a criminal conviction on your record.
The policeman asked me to pull over.
In this case, "pulling over" is an action taken when you are driving a car and it means
to move your car to the side of the road and stop.
- Thanks for giving me a lift home. You can pull over at this corner and let me off.
- In Japan, you should pull over to the left and wait if you hear an ambulance coming.
The policeman in Dubai was very straight and honest.
When we are talking about people, "straight" means to be honest and not evasive nor to hide
- It is important to have people who are straight working in positions of authority, so that their power is not abused.
- When my sister had an accident, my father was completely straight with me about her condition and didn't try to protect me from the difficult truth.
turned me down
He turned me down, it is really bad in the Arab culture.
To be "turned down" is to be denied something.
- I asked Jack if he would go out for coffee with me, but he turned me down. I was so disappointed.
- When I asked my mum if I could get a motor bike, she turned me down because it was too dangerous.
Aiman compares Damascus and Dubai.
Aiman talks about the culture of corruption.
Todd talks about experiences with bribery.
Bribing in business.
Buddhi talks about the cuisine of Sri Lanka.
straight • turn down