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I cant stand those pesky expat types

(65 Posts)
poppydoppy Sun 30-Jun-13 20:07:33

I have a (now EX)friend who has just returned to the UK from the Middle East talk about transformation, She cant leave the house without the Maid in tow, lost all ability to clean, cook or look after her children. She looks down her snooty nose at all things British and slags the UK off at any given opportunity yet shes having an operation on the NHS (despite not living here for the last 5 years) and sending her eldest to Uni here (home status)
Mrs Bucket, springs to mind.

LayMizzRarb Tue 02-Jul-13 16:52:53

Have you listened to yourself? You criticise your friend for sneering about 'Indians' yet you are generalising about 'expats'.

From what you say, your friend sounds like a narrow minded idiot. Move on. Don't bother researching expat threads or racking your brains for anecdotes that validate the picture you want to paint of her. Move on......

Winterwood Tue 02-Jul-13 14:45:21

This might make some of you smile.

TheRealFellatio Tue 02-Jul-13 14:10:36

data. Bloody autocorrect.

TheRealFellatio Tue 02-Jul-13 14:09:55

I have held off until now from commenting on this thread, and have typed but deleted several responses. I am please to see that there have been several very honest, measured and balanced opinions/responses from people who, like me, actually live as expats in the middle east, and understand first hand what is real (the good, bad and the ugly) and what is mere stereotype, fantasy and wild supposition.

I have often heard this phrase on MN and never thought I'd actually use it until now, but:

The plural of anecdote is not date. wink

mateysmum Tue 02-Jul-13 06:17:15

YABU to tar all ME expats with the same brush. Agree with all the comments above about expats who are obnoxious are probably obnoxious wherever they live. Having said that, Dubai does encourage these tendencies and there are a lot of people there who get inflated ideas of their own self-importance just because they can afford a bit of home help. These are also usually the same people who are the first to have to dump their cars at the airport and flee when financial disaster strikes.

My maid has schooled her son and built a house on her salary from me. She was respected and loved and paid an above average wage. I could not have managed without her.

Those who look down on their native country from abroad, tend to be the ones who are insecure and have to talk up their new life to make the move seem worthwhile both to themselves and their friends back home.

Toadinthehole Tue 02-Jul-13 05:46:04


The difference is that you know you're messy, and are content with that (which is fine, as long as those you live with don't mind). By contrast, DW and her family all regard themselves as tidy, and live in spotless houses cleaned by the maid.


DW and her family are unversed in the various ways of minimising mess that (in my experience) most people just know. I am sure it is because they have never needed to learn them.

Why spend time tidying when you can hire someone to do it (along with laundry, ironing, gardening, minor repairs etc) for less than 5 pounds a day?

imademarion Mon 01-Jul-13 21:34:59

I've been an expat all my life and met the full spectrum from entitled arses to full-on gone native.

I think the UAE attracts a certain type though. It's almost impossible to meet UAE nationals, especially women, in the normal course of a day. It is very difficult to feel that you will ever fully integrate or really experience the local culture beyond the desert safari camel riding tourist sops.

The majority of residents are subcontinental, who brought their own kind of snobbery with the caste system. The British and other Europeans, in the main, stick very much to their own kind. Society there (5 + years ago) did not encourage mixing.

My DH and I both worked for local companies, so had colleagues from many nationalities and we all socialised together. Sadly, mainly at each other's houses as some people felt really uncomfortable being in certain bars or restaurants that were seen as exclusive for a certain nationality.

The breathtaking level of ignorance and mis- placed superiority you refer to certainly exists but I believe, thankfully, is on the way out.

borraxohastaelalmanacer Mon 01-Jul-13 20:37:45

I'm an expat in the Middle East (Dubai, to be specific)
We, like most of our friends, employ a maid and a driver. We treat them fairly and with respect, as we would with any employee or colleague anywhere on the world.
However, in my experience, the (very small) monitory of expats who act like spoilt, stuck up idiots are actually given very little time by the rest of the expat community.
Not all expats are dicks. Some of us are just people wanting to try something different for a multitude of reasons.

LondonMan Mon 01-Jul-13 15:28:38

DW is a South African. Her mess-making abilities are remarkable.

Based on people I know, none British, some who grew up with servants and some who didn't, I think it's more likely that this is just a personal characteristic of hers than that it's explained by her background.

Fluffymonster Mon 01-Jul-13 15:20:00

It may not be typical but I certainly recognise a 'type'.

Perhaps some people just forget what it was like before maids, cheap childcare, having someone cook/clean for them etc.

The trouble is they then have to work at keeping it all going, as they become so reliant that they sort of lose coping skills for 'normal' life - like being able to relate to their children, or deal with having an awful day, because it's just too easy to palm the kids off if they get a bit annoying. Or go out to a bar at the drop of a hat, and again, leave the childcare to the maid, whenever anything gets a bit stressy.

Sometimes I think if I had a maid I would too, but am glad I don't because it's too easy to lose perspective.

Annakin31 Mon 01-Jul-13 14:26:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shanghaidiva Mon 01-Jul-13 12:34:10

So - YABU re all expats
YANBU re your friend who seems quite obnoxious.

Shanghaidiva Mon 01-Jul-13 12:31:07

I have been an expat for 18 years -
I speak and try to read the local language (1000 characters and counting)
do my own cooking and look after my own children
have a driver and cleaner - both of whom I treat with respect and courtesy - as I would any other person.
I am sometimes critical of the UK, but can see advantages and disadvantages of all 5 of the countries I have lived in.
Some expats can be obnoxious, but not all.

specialsubject Mon 01-Jul-13 12:16:57

currently she is not entitled to use the NHS, however much NI she pays. It is done on RESIDENCE. That said, if she has returned permanently to the UK she is entitled.

this will change if the latest proposals go through.

she just sounds like an arse. Lose her.

Winterwood Mon 01-Jul-13 12:01:07

It is fairly typical of Middle East expats actually. It is easy to become used to the idea that you are somehow superior and many do, despite have few achievements to your name. I agree she can't have been as nice as you thought she was before she went. The more thoughtful and reflective types don't end up this way.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Mon 01-Jul-13 11:50:30

Maybe poppydoppy is looking for material for a Daily Mail Dubai bashing piece?

louisea Mon 01-Jul-13 11:28:39

You are also commenting on something that you know nothing about.

Salbertina Mon 01-Jul-13 11:02:14

That is an expat site for those in the ME, specifically UAE, i believe. Are you saying ALL expats live there? And all go to McDonalds (and speak like that when they do)?! Quite ridiculous generalisation. It's like saying "all Welsh people" or "all those who drive a Volvo"

CuChullain Mon 01-Jul-13 10:44:01

@ poppydoppy

Seems like you are going out of your way to find evidence that supports the title of this thread.

Have not looked at that link but people are allowed to criticise the NHS you know, its not a sacred cow. Sadly you will find racists in all walks of life, not just ex pats.

KarlaPilkington Mon 01-Jul-13 10:41:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

poppydoppy Mon 01-Jul-13 10:13:56

I have just been reading this expat site. I dont think my friend is a one off according to this site. What a bunch of racists. There is also another thread where they're slagging off the NHS

louisea Mon 01-Jul-13 10:09:57

Your friend doesn't sound very nice but don't tar all expats with the same brush. It is hard enough moving away from family, friends and support networks without being judged for how we cope/d while away. The adjustment when moving back home can be just as hard, if not harder, than the initial move overseas.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 01-Jul-13 10:02:39

Does she sound nice? No.
Are all ex-pats the same? Not in my experience.

SunshineandShandy Mon 01-Jul-13 09:57:00

You can't generalise Middle East expats like that OP. Your friend is up herself, but that is her, not everyone else.

We have a Maid. She is here to help me. Simple as. She keeps the house clean and she helps me with the children. We have no family out here and it works for us. She is happy, we are happy.

I know no one who would would say 'an Indian or a Filipino will be along shortly to clean up'. It sounds to me like you read the Dubai bashings in the Daily Mail too much and surround yourself with the wrong people.

CuChullain Mon 01-Jul-13 09:32:50

Your friend just sounds like an arse.

I am an engineer in the oil industry, I have had the privilege to live and work in a variety of countries and from my experience expats come in various guises and it is daft to pidgeon hole them all into one narrow stereotype. Yes, you do get the “I can be arsed to learn the local language watch Eastenders drink lager and only hang out in the English pub eating fish and chips’ types who I generally avoided like the plague. Most expats however, made an effort to learn at least a few words of the language, got stuck into the local cuisine, respected that’s countries customs, made new friends and generally grabbed the chance to experience life in another country as they knew they would only be there a few years and wanted to make the most of it.

I have employed a cleaner in the past, there is nothing morally dubious or exploitative about it, I did not treat them like shit, paid them well over the local wage and generally looked out for their family as a whole. My industry often operates in some pretty broken countries and while employing a cleaner in the UK may be frowned upon as being some kind of middle class Islington dwelling smug thing to do it is often a life changing opportunity for someone from Luanda/Gabon/Ghana/Lagos where well paid employment opportunities are exceptionally rare. I also found the cleaner to be more than just a ‘cleaner’, more often or not they helped teach me the local language, showed me where the best shops and markets were, introduced me to their music and culture and generally be a bloody good friend.

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