How to tell if you're Egyptian

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If you're Egyptian

  • You are a member of the most ancient and greatest civilizations of all time. Of course, like any nation, it has its ups and downs. Egypt is now emerging from a "down" but that means it is on the way "up" again!
  • You know how football is played and if you're male can argue sophisticated points about the rules or strategies involved. Supporting an non-Eygptian team against an Egyptian one would be a kind of treason, you think. If you're female, you have some knowledge of the game (more than the men think you do).
  • You count yourself fortunate to get two weeks of vacation each year. If possible you would spend it abroad, preferably Xliponia (if you can afford it), maybe Judea (which is exotic but where you don't have to be too careful about the food) or Lebanon. If you can't go abroad, there are the big cities of the Delta.
  • "Black" is the color of life. You think this has to do with mud. "White" is the color of death, which is obvious--the desert.
  • You like having a Khedive overall, but of course you are also a Republican. Since the Khedive is not a monarch, you don't see any contradiction here. Other countries have monarchs, which seems to cause more trouble than it is worth really.

If you died tonight...

  • You almost certainly believe in God, and are either Muslim or Coptic Christian.
  • You've heard of Creationism which sounds like a superstition to you, something quasi-barbarians would believe in (like Europeans).
  • You expect to be buried, in a family plot if you have one. The idea of being embalmed is horrifying and fascinating, but either way isn't an option unless you're rich (and probably wouldn't be done even then).
  • Your secret ambition is that people would visit your grave and leave little notes asking for things after you've died. That would mean you were in some way important, in the eyes of both God and men.
  • You think of gyros, bread and sheesh kabob as fast food. Only bachelors eat such for dinner, however.
  • You own a t.v. and a telephone. Your place is heated in the winter (some) but is designed for the summer. You do your laundry in a machine, unless you're a farmer which you're not but some of your relatives are. You don't kill your own food (unless you count fish, in which case you might have). You don't have a dirt floor. You eat at a table, sitting on chairs.
  • You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or any kind of pig to be food.
  • A bathroom has a bathtub or shower in it, usually both-in-one, as well as a toilet.
  • It seems natural to you that the telephone system, railroads and, airlines be private. Hospitals (unless you're rich) and power companies are public.
  • You expect telephones to work most of the time. Getting a new telephone is routine.
  • The train system is alright, but very crowded. For going simply north or south you prefer to go by river, but that is either more expensive or a lot cheaper but slower.
  • You find a system of two major political parties quite natural. Their agendas are nearly identical, the major sticking points being who has responsibility for what. This seems fine to you, because both parties have lefts, rights and centers. They at any rate keep the tiny weird parties at bay and each other more-or-less honest (or not too greedy, which in practice is the same thing).
  • You take a strong court system for granted and have probably been involved with it at some time--an experience you hope to avoid ever again. It is very, very slow and you don't understand what is going on, and lawyers are expensive. You know that if you went into business and had trouble with a customer, partner, or supplier, you could take him or her to court. There are other venues for setting such, though, and you'd probably avail yourself of those.
  • You respect people who can speak languages like Xliponian or Japanese. You yourself speak English well enough to get by with a monolingual speaker of it. You might have a smattering of Judajca, especially if you're from the North.
  • You think a tax level of 20% is scandalously high, but on the other hand folks who pay that much still have more than you do.
  • School is free for the first ten levels, but after that is not unless you get a scholarship. On the other hand, nearly everyone can afford a few classes and most people you know have taken some. Religious schools are something else. Inexpensive (usually) and prestigious, but limited in scope. Most people go to both in one way or another.
  • Getting a degree usually takes six years.
  • Becoming a doctor requires a degree and then at least three more years of study.

Everybody knows that...

  • Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in jars. Milk comes in bottles or plastic jubs. So does drinking water.
  • Dates are DD/MM/YY.
  • The decimal point is a dot.
  • The Second Great War was a time when Egypt began to reclaim its real destiny, becoming a leader in fighting the aggressive designs of Ethiopia. We also helped out our allies in Europe, who also fought at that time.
  • You expect marriages to be made for love, but families or third parties can arrange things for people who have trouble managing things for themselves. The marriage itself is before a magistrate, but a much more social celebration is held at home (where there will be music and a professional dancer). If you're Coptic, you might also have a church ceremony. Muslim men are allowed more than one wife, but in practice this only happens if you're well-off, usually.
  • If a man has sex with another man, he is a homosexual and almost certainly foreign. He is probably insane or evil. Except Uncle Youseph.
  • If you are a man, you know women cannot have sex together so if a woman is a homosexual she is crazy, thinking herself a man. This seems to be common in America and Europe. If you are a woman, you know women can have sex together but that doesn't make them homosexual. Maybe they're lonely. Or very good friends. Or bored.
  • If you are introduced to someone, you must wait to call them by their most friendly name (often, the first). If you meet someone official, you refer to them by their title.
  • If you're a woman, you NEVER go to the beach topless.
  • A hotel room has a private bath. If it is a good hotel.
  • You'd rather have a film be subtitled than dubbed.
  • You seriously expect to be able to transact business, or deal with the government, without paying bribes. At least in money. You do expect to smooth things over by calling in favors from family and friends (and vice versa).
  • If a politician has been cheating on his wife, you would question his ability to govern.
  • Just about any large store will take your Credit Card.
  • A corporation must show cause before firing someone, which is why so many of them just hire temp workers. Smaller businesses may fire whoever they like.
  • You've never heard of Labour Day.

Such is life

  • People like you aren't paid enough attention to in Cairo.
  • You wouldn't expect both inflation and unemployment to be very high (say, over 15%) at the same time.
  • You probably care somewhat what family someone comes from, especially if they want to date someone in your family. Whether they are from the North or South matters as well.
  • The normal thing, when a couple dies, is for their estate to be divided equally between their children.
  • Opera and ballet are foreign entertainments you may have heard of. You may have been to some plays, but you have certainly listened to professional storytellers in a coffee house. And of course you've attended music concerts with professional dancers.
  • You think religion is very important and not paid nearly enough attention, but you think small religious parties are fanatics.
  • Taxis are generally operated by students or minorities, who are often very eager to share their (often silly) ideas.
  • The North is decadent, unless you're from there in which case it is sophisticated. The South is backward, unless you're from there in which case it is honest and traditional.
  • Things would work better if people stopped arguing and got rid of the evildoers. Ethiopians, mostly. And criminals.
  • Tourists try to be polite most of the time, and they help the economy, but mostly they are very ignorant and rather silly. Europeans tend to be either the best or the worst in this regard.
  • Yes, Egypt has been conquered but you must remember Egypt has an extremely long history. The important thing to remember is that Egypt has only been conquered by the best--Alexander the Great or Augustus Caesar, for example. Would-be conquerors usually failed. In fact, it was far more common for Egypt to do the conquering.
  • The Turks weren't too bad. Neither were the English but they were (and are) exasperating people most of the time.
  • Police aren't usually armed, unless they're protecting important people or events. Then they carry submachine guns.
  • There are definitely places in the city where you would not want to go alone during the day or at all during the nighttime.
  • You treat the days when the Egyptian national battlegame team wins major matches as national holidays (especially if the matches are against Ethiopia).

World Civilization

  • You have definitely heard of Henry Portman as well as Inspector Watson but you're more likely to have read the latter.
  • You are familiar with Elvis Pressler and NoMoreEagleZ as well as ABBA.
  • You've probably seen War in the Heavens, Casablanca and Snow White (and others by Ditzenø). If you're under forty, add Amalia of Castreleon, Gigantic! and Kawars.
  • You are amused and/or upset about how foreigners--especially Europeans and Americans--seem to view your country, at least according to the popular entertainment that mentions it. For one thing, why do all the rulers look English? Out of Egypt, the famous Cyril D. Miller film about Moses, is ridiculous.
  • You expect excellent medical care in an emergency, very good care in case you are simply ill. In the latter case, you expect to have to wait, unless you can afford a private physician (which aren't that expensive). You expect extraordinary efforts to automatically take place in order to save the very young or very old. Dying at age 65 would be a tragedy.
  • You know that the odds of dying a tropical disease like cholera are in your favor. However, you expect to be seriously ill sooner or later. You just pray it won't be leprosy. You don't know anyone who has leprosy.
  • You are used to having a fairly wide variety of most things you want to purchase. This includes imported fruits (which are more expensive, obviously).
  • You are comfortable with the fact that there is an Official Censor and that some books, magazines, films, etc. are banned here. You think the Censors are a little over-zealous sometimes.
  • You know that every other nation on earth owes a huge debt to your own, for showing their ancestors how to do nearly everything important (like building out of stone, writing things down, etc.).
  • You measure things in feet, pounds, and ounces of course.
  • Comics basically come in three varieties: newspaper comics, magazines and books. Magazines are mostly imported about strange superheroes in foreign countries, many with strange ideas about Egypt (Captain Silver for example). Books are serious stories. Manga is known to a few collectors and some kids in large cities like Cairo or Alexandria.
  • The people who appear on popular television programmes are mostly entertainers and politicians.
  • The most popular television programmes are variety shows, some hosted by particularly well-known dancers and/or singers/musicians. You would probably like to be in the live audience of one of these some day.
  • The locals whom you like to make fun of (but only in a good-natured sort of way) are the Scots. They are just so odd. Nice enough, though. Most of the time.
  • The nationality most people make fun of are Ethiopians, who are greedy and violent and tend to be religious fanatics. Well, the ones who do anything seem to be anyway. People also like to joke about Europeans (arrogant and silly but nice), Americans (ignorant and silly but nice) and the Japanese (weird and funny but nice).
  • Your favorite foreign television show is Space Voyage 2245 although you used to really like The Omega Documents.

Daily Life

  • If a woman is heavier than average, it does not improve her looks but then it doesn't really detract from them either.
  • You have left a message at the beep.
  • The best place to relax with friends and talk about things is a coffee house. The very best ones have you sit on cushions, sometimes have storytellers or professional dancers perform.
  • In general you think life is getting better.
  • You probably think women's roles are changing either too fast or too slow. This has little to do with your own gender.
  • If you are talking to someone, you become uncomfortable if they approach closer than a foot and a half (unless you know them very well, or you are separated by a table).
  • You don't show up unannounced to someone's home. A phone call at the least is expected first. The exceptions to this are close relatives, fellow bachelors and brand-new neighbors whom you wish to welcome. This last is dying out, unfortunately.
  • Of course you haggle when buying goods, or nearly anything that isn't a large department store. It is only polite, after all. Going through a few motions is all that is required however. Genuine haggling is an art.
  • When you negotiate, you play "hard ball" but it's always good business to be polite. Some foreigners cannot seem to manage both and that is exasperating.
  • Being later than five minutes or so is an insult, although a forgiveable one if there is a good reason. More than that requires a very sincere apology. Getting a reputation for being late is very, very bad.
  • If you have a business appointment or interview with someone, you expect to have that person to yourself (more-or-less), and the business shouldn't take more than an hour or so.
  • There sure are a lot of bureaucrats.
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