Having been able to study in Jeddah throughout my highschool days and coming back to the Philippines to pursue college, I have come up with a short list of things people say to us who they call Jeddah Kids.
1. “Eh di nakapang Muslim ka din?”
Oh, because I’m wearing my typical everyday clothes, it’s now called “pang Christian.” No.
First of all, you don’t call it “pang Muslim.” I agree that they do wear it religiously, but apparently, the clothes have names. They are called Abaya, and the headdress is called Hijab (although people in my area in Jeddah called it a Tarha).
And to answer the question, we do wear Abaya, and wear Hijab when reprimanded by a religious police. Most of the time, they don’t really care.
2. “Eh ‘di may nakikita kang camel sa kalsada!”
For the nth time, I lived in Jeddah, and it’s a city. Camels don’t belong in cities; they belong in the deserts (and probably zoos). In my 3 and a half years of life there, I swear to all Gods in all mythologies in the world that I have only seen camels twice.
3. “Mainit ‘dun , ‘di ba?”
This is stating the obvious. Of course, it is widely accepted that Middle Eastern countries are the hottest of countries (not to mention hot-headed Arabs blabbering at you all day), and it is given that when a country has deserts, it is apparently a summer-all-year kind of country.
However, contrary to popular belief, Jeddah does have a winter season. I can compare the city to a PMS-ing girlfriend who could not decide where and what to eat and then blames the boyfriend why she’s hungry. One day the weather is flaming hot, and the next thing you know, you’re shivering under the blankets with horrible chapped lips.
4. “Arabo ka pala, eh.”
I do not have any idea how to explain this part. I may have Arab tastes in food and lifestyle (oh yes we do), but that doesn’t make me any more Arab, and any less Filipino.
Take note that the city has loads of Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other asian restaurants. It has compounds exclusively for American citizens, and for British ones. It has schools, and international ones, that accept mixtures of different decent and ethnicity. So don’t tell me that I am Arab for living in an Arab world (but I sometimes wished I was for some reasons.)
5. “Magsalita ka ngang Arabic.”
Gee, thanks for making me feel humiliated about my Islamic Studies and Arabic Language grades in Highschool. Thanks for the throwback.
My Arabic lexicon only contains words and phrases that can be used everyday, and they’re not even the best ones. I speak like a 1-year old Arab to be honest, or may be even younger. I am always messed up in Arabic language classes (I remember scoring a 9 over a 50-item periodical exam), and I hate being forced to read and write in Arabic.
To impress people with my Arabic language skills, I count from one to five in Arabic. That’s the only thing I learned in all my Arabic language classes. But people fall for it. All the time.