Must respect local customs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 1997, 12:00am

Over the last few weeks I have noticed that there has been an alarming number of letters from people outlining the problems with living in different countries and not being happy with the conditions they have to put up with from local residents.

Of course I am not trying to justify the racial treatment or scornful comments that these immigrants have to put up with but I feel it is very important to point out that we are living in countries that are not our natural homes by birth; we must be prepared for a culture clash.

The letter titled 'Migrants mocked every day' (South China Morning Post, February 13) seemed to point out that the gentleman wanted to live, of his own decision and choice, in a foreign country and show no respect for the local laws. I have lived for a number of years in a variety of countries in Europe and the Middle East and the simple fact that always remained for myself and my wife was: we are in this country of our own choice, we must respect the local customs.

For example, throughout the Middle East there is a month of fasting, Ramadan, where during daylight hours it is forbidden to be seen eating, smoking, drinking or spitting in public. Any offenders will find themselves behind bars. A bit extreme, maybe, but those are the local laws and they have to be obeyed and respected. If the individual does not agree with laws they are more than welcome to leave the country and take up residence elsewhere.

After being in Hong Kong for more than two years I initially found it disgusting to see people frequently emptying their throats loudly and obviously in the most public of places.

Add to this the disgraceful treatment of animals and the all too apparent rudeness of a lot of the local residents, and one might wonder why migrants would want to live here. However, the underlying fact is simple; if you don't like it, leave.

If the conditions in your chosen place of residence do not measure up to what you want, then the choice is completely up to you. Either accept the conditions that are presented to you, or don't.

A JONES Western