Dumb questions you have about other nations/cultures.

I know this has been done before, but I don’t see it on a search of recent threads. What questions did you have for people of other countries and cultures, but were afraid to ask?

For purposes of this thread, please don’t ask questions about other cultures based on race. “Why do black people…?” only leads to a trainwreck.

I’ll start.

[li]What’s the difference between Hindi and Urdu? If they’re mutually intelligible, how are they two different languages?[/li][li]Are turbans ritually donned every morning? Is the hair underneath washed? I watched a video once showing how to put on a turban… it required two people. Is this the case every day?[/li][/ol]

I’ve heard Hindi described as Urdu with a bunch of Arabic-Persian words replaced with a Sanskrit equivalent. I’ve also been told that most Urdu speakers can understand Hindi however most Hindi speakers cannot do the reverse.

Keeping with the headgear theme, how do bald Jewish guys keep their kippahs on?

I see a few guys with them on the train, but they disappointingly all have hair to pin them to.

Another one about Indian culture: What is that red dot? Makeup? A sticker? How long does it last before you have to apply a new one?

Why do they drive on the wrong side of the road?:smiley:

The stubble on my head is enough to keep a pretty good grip on it.
As Lisa Simpson once wondered about the red dot on the forehead of Hindu(?) women, “what’s the deal with that dot?”

Friends from the Subcontinent: what’s with the head shaking?

I now have an image of a velcro kippah. I’m sorry if it’s sacreligious, because this amuses me more than it probably should.

1)The written languages employ a different script and while the everyday language is mostly intelligible, the formal ones are rather less so, formal Urdu is bastardized Farsi. Also political issues play a role.

  1. If you wear a cap everyday does that mean hair underneath remains unwashed? As for turbans, they are of many different types, some are just cloths wrapped around, otters have a small cap around which the cloth is wrapped.

Like this? :smiley:

If you’re a Muslim woman, and you go fully covered, do you wear makeup regularly and “do” your hair?

If you’re visiting your women friends at their homes, or in places where just women are (like hair salons or … ? ) , do you take off your covering while you’re visiting them?

What about when you’re at home?

What do you do when someone drops by to visit? Do you keep one handy so you can fling it over yourself if it’s a man visiting unannounced?

Do people simply NOT visit unannounced?

In totally other curiousity, in places where tight underwear isn’t worn, what do women do about their periods? Pads only really work if they’re tight to the body, and I’m presuming that tampons aren’t really universal here either.

UK: Why can’t/won’t you drink in moderation?
Japan: Why so hyper for some media yet so reserved otherwise?
US: Other first world countries have rising obesity rates too but nowhere near as much as you. Why?

I use to be an apartment manager with a bunch of Muslim tenants, the wife of one of them wore the full black head to toe covering. Occasionally for mundane maintenance stuff I would have to call on them and the husband was often out, the wife did indeed have a spare covering that she would fling over herself when she spoke to me.

What was odd was that the wife (I had their lease docs) had a really stereotypical Polish name, like Kasia Waszelewsczki or something like that, and from the small bit around her eyes that I could see, she was just a regular (Polish) white chick. They were otherwise perfectly nice, normal people, just seemed sort of weird that a woman who probably wasn’t born into that particular religious tradition would take up such a strict observance of it. Or maybe she was born into it, whatever, it was odd.

Generalizations alert

While I worked in the Middle East (ME) I was often astonished at how attractive many women’s eyes were made to look, especially in most of Saudi where the dress code calls for a hijab and niqab, when only the eyes can be seen.

Shopping in malls (some where single men are not allowed to enter :() is huge in the ME. The clothes shops for women were enormous, varied and often expensive. Apparently at home they enjoy dressing up as much as their western counterparts - or maybe more as they can’t/won’t dress up in public.

Parties with many women (only) are commonplace (according to the tv advertisements :rolleyes: and hearsay) and they dress in their finest western-style clothing for them.

As far as I’m aware the women only beauty shops - again big business - go by the same rules.

When I’d visit a Muslim friend his wife would stay out of sight, usually in the kitchen or bedroom. There would always be a call beforehand, from the husband, to check it wasn’t a bad time to visit. This happened in the ME and UK.

It’s a custom to drink a lot, starting from around the age of 15 in the park, around friends’ houses, at house parties and sometimes in the friendlier bars. When I was younger it’d be cheap cider or beer :slight_smile: but I believe nowadays the booze of choice is alcopops. Drinking a lot is still seen as a right of passage into adulthood by many.

Most of my friends started drinking between 15 and 18 years, and getting drunk was fun, usually. The drunken brawls don’t happen anywhere near as much as they’re depicted in the media, the majority of young drinkers rarely get into trouble, most parents grew up doing the same and can see the hypocrisy if they stop their kids behaving in the same way ;).

Drinking during a lunch break when at work has almost vanished but drinking after work - especially on a Friday - is still commonplace. Saturdays can be spent drinking in a pub, as can Sunday afternoons, and no one would think less of you. It’s not socially unacceptable to get drunk a few times a week if no one else is harmed.

Most soap operas revolve around the pub :rolleyes: and advertising for alcohol is - from memory - very lightly restricted. Supermarkets have more space dedicated to booze than fruit and vegetables. You can buy (very bad) beer in some and it’s cheaper than bottled water :eek:.

The UK is expensive and crowded and the weather is often terrible, but alcoholic drinks and drinking establishments have had centuries to perfect their ability to give temporary relief from the drudgery of life. You can get beer, wine and spirits from pretty much any country on Earth in the bigger supermarkets. Anything that will suit your palette is available. You can also buy booze from most small convenience shops and it’s often available 24 hours a day. Basically it’s ubiquitous.

Why are Canadians?

Because they aren’t Americans. You might as well ask, Why are New Zealanders?

They are Americans. And New Zealanders are because there isn’t anything else to be in New Zealand. Well except sheep and brush. So why are New Zealand sheep?

To take care of those annoying Quebecians for you and buffer you against them.

WIthout Canadians, Quebec would either be an independent country (completely free to annoy you) or a US state (annoying you from the inside).

We’re Fatter Than America

British children ‘getting fatter at twice the rate of American youngsters’