Coming from multi-cultural TnT, I knew about Ramadan but it had never impacted my life in the way it does living out in the gulf. Here, I am hyper aware as my everyday life is affected. Last year I escaped to the UK after 1 week. This year I’m caught up in the fiasco that is the British Passport service so don’t think I’ll be leaving the peninsula any time soon.
In all cultures, knowledge is assumed and lack of knowledge is punished, so to fill this probable lacuna, I signposted my staff to the following site – Doha News guide Ramadan and informed them of the salient points:
- Non Muslim staff working hours remain 7-3
- Muslim staff working hours 8-1 – any work outside these hours will be treated as overtime and as such has to be agreed in advance
- No drinking, eating, chewing of gum in public space including desk and inside your car
- Kitchens on the fourth floor are available for use but best to avoid foods that need re-heating as the smell travels
- Aides are not allowed to make drinks
- Female staff to be more conscious of dressing appropriately – personally I suggest trousers, tops with sleeves – and have a scarf or jacket to hand
Every year, there is a news report of someone falling foul of the rules around Ramadan.
Have you ever been tripped up by a foreign culture?