Yemen is a country in the Middle East. Officially known as the Republic of Yemen, it is located in western Asia. Yemen is bordered on the north side by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is the second largest country occupying the Arabian Peninsula.
But do you know: how Yemenis view men staring into women’s eyes? How Yemenis view public display of affection? How Yemenis view cross-gender touching? And how Yemenis view women in relation to men? Find out all these in the following 10 interesting facts about Yemen.
Government: Provisional Government
Official language: Arabic
Currency: Yemeni Rial
Population: 25,408,000 (2013 Estimate)
President: Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
Interesting Facts About Yemen
1. General Yemeni Greeting
In general greeting between men and men, women and women, and men and women, the most prominent thing noticed is the handshake. Among men, the hand shake may linger and even lead to hand holding. But the interesting aspect is in cross-sex greeting, there is little or no touching.
2. Indirect Communication
Yemenis tend to be more indirect in their communication. This is because this helps them to avert confrontation, which something they really hate. It also helps them to save face. As a visitor, always appear polite in speech and do a lot of listening.
3. Personal Space
Personal space is not something that really matters to Yemenis. But this is when it is between people of the same gender. Cross-gender, personal space is respected to a great deal. And in fact, such space us usually more than an arm’s length. Interesting, right?
4. Strictly No PDA
In Yemen, one thing that has no place at all is public display of affection. If you feel so strongly about someone, even if that someone is your wife, you would need to bottle up that feeling till you get to a private place. No hugging, kissing, or any kind of necking in public.
5. Avoid Staring Into Women’s Eyes
Direct eye contact is what is prevalent in Yemen during conversations. Also, Yemenis don’t forbid staring. However, the interesting advice: male foreigners should avoid staring directly into the eyes of a Yemeni woman and foreign women also avoid staring directly into the eyes of Yemeni men.
6. Male Dominant Society
Yemen is a male dominated society. Men and women are rarely seen alone together since public display of intimacy is forbidden. In effect, mixed-gender activities usually take place with other people around to prevent untoward developments.
7. Things to Wear for Women
Men are considered superior to women in almost everything. Although this is gradually changing, it is interesting that women must still always appear well covered. They must cover their head, their arm, and their legs; and they must also never wear tight fitting and/or revealing dresses.
8. Law and Order
Yemeni laws are usually strictly enforced with little or no mercy. It does not matter whether the one breaking the law does so deliberately or ignorantly. Breaking Yemeni laws usually leads to stiff penalties such as long jail terms or even worse, depending on the offence.
9. Dress Code for Foreign Women
It is true that foreign women are not under any obligation to dress the way Yemeni women are expected to. However, here is the interesting recommendation for foreign women: wear dresses that are modest and cover the arms and legs well. Nothing too tight fitting or low necked should be worn.
10. Official Events Dressing
For men, especially foreign, all official events require formal business dresses. This means you must put on a full business suit. Avoid wearing any kind of revealing clothing as such would present you as unserious and disrespectful to them.