Bahrain, a small yet vibrant island nation in the Arabian Gulf, is an enticing destination for Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) seeking new opportunities. While it offers a range of prospects, understanding Bahrain’s unique rules and regulations is crucial for a successful OFW experience.
This guide aims to shed light on “Things that are not allowed in Bahrain.” Our mission is to provide valuable insights that will help you, our valued OFWs, navigate this captivating kingdom with confidence. From local customs to legal restrictions, this article serves as a vital resource to prepare you for your journey while steering clear of potential pitfalls.
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.
What OFWs Need to Know About Restrictions and Rules in Bahrain
The information presented in this video comes from a YouTube channel named “Itsme Khriz.” In this video the vlogger talks about things that are not allowed in Bahrain. In one of her latest uploads, the vlogger delves into the topic of ‘Prohibited Practices in Bahrain.’ This informative video draws from her own firsthand experiences as a Filipina working in Bahrain. If you want to watch the full video, then click on the link below:
- Initial Apprehensions:
- Held fears about working in the Middle East due to stereotypes.
- Influenced by worldwide perceptions of the region.
- Contrast with Expectations:
- Expected strict dress codes, like the abaya, based on television portrayals.
- Anticipated conservative clothing norms in Bahrain.
- Reality Check in Bahrain:
- Experienced a stark contrast between expectations and reality.
- Discovered Bahrain’s diverse cultural norms and communities.
- Recognized that conservative dress codes exist, especially among older Bahrainis.
- Conservative Locality Experience in Budaiya:
- Encountered disapproval for wearing shorts in a conservative area.
- Advised to wear abaya or ‘bestida’ in such locales.
- Realized the presence of deeply traditional values within Bahrain.
- Growing Comfort in Bahrain:
- Over time, adapted well to life in Bahrain.
- Briefly forgot about conservative enclaves.
- Multicultural Gudaibiya Residence:
- Currently resides in Gudaibiya, a diverse neighborhood.
- Embraces a liberal attitude towards clothing choices.
- Noted the bold fashion choices of Ethiopians in the community.
The vlogger openly admits that back when she was still in the Philippines, she held apprehensions about pursuing work in the Middle East. This hesitation largely stemmed from the stereotypes and preconceived notions she had heard about the region from various sources worldwide. However, her perspective underwent a profound transformation when she finally set foot in Bahrain, and it marked a significant shift in her worldview.
Initially, she vividly recalled everything she had ever seen or heard about the Middle East on television. These portrayals often depicted stringent dress codes, with individuals facing repercussions for wearing attire deemed too revealing. In her mind, Bahrain was no different; she expected a strict adherence to conservative clothing, such as the abaya, to be the norm.
However, upon her arrival in Bahrain, she was swiftly confronted with the realization that truth often diverges markedly from the preconceived notions we hold. Indeed, Bahrain comprises a tapestry of diverse communities and locales, each with its own unique cultural norms. In some areas, especially those inhabited by older Bahrainis, a more conservative dress code is indeed the prevailing standard.
During her stay in Budaiya, a notably conservative locality, the vlogger had a memorable encounter with an elderly woman who reprimanded her for wearing shorts. The shorts weren’t particularly revealing, but they did expose a portion of her thigh. She promptly apologized and was advised that, in such conservative areas, it was customary to wear an abaya or a long dress, known as ‘bestida,’ when venturing outside. The incident served as a poignant reminder that, even within Bahrain, there exist pockets of deeply traditional values and expectations.
Over time, the vlogger grew so comfortable in Bahrain that she momentarily forgot about these conservative enclaves. In her current residence of Gudaibiya, she finds herself amidst a diverse community comprising people of various nationalities. This place embraces a more liberal attitude towards clothing choices. Here, individuals are free to wear attire that reflects their personal style, even if it leans towards revealing clothing. The vlogger particularly noted that Ethiopians, in particular, flaunt a bold fashion sense, often opting for attire that many might consider quite daring.
Things that are Not Allowed in Bahrain
Here’s a summary of the items discussed below:
- General Conduct:
- Avoid physical altercations; fights resulting in harm can lead to legal consequences.
- Do not enter Bahrain using a fake name or false credentials; this can cause complications, especially in emergencies.
- Maintain monogamous relationships; multiple relationships have led to harm or even death.
- Never drive while under the influence of alcohol; strict penalties apply, including fines, imprisonment, and license suspension.
- Respect local customs and laws, ensuring compliance with cultural norms and legal regulations.
- Cultural and Social Norms:
- Respect Islamic customs; during Ramadan, refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours.
- Maintain respectful and considerate public behavior; disruptive conduct can be seen as disrespectful, especially during cultural events.
- Exercise caution with public displays of affection, including holding hands, especially in conservative areas.
- Specific Regulations:
- Observe strict smoking regulations; smoking in enclosed public spaces is prohibited.
- Be mindful of internet usage; certain websites and content may be blocked or restricted.
- Homosexual acts are illegal, and there is no legal recognition or protection for LGBTQ+ rights.
- Ensure you have the necessary work permits and comply with local labor laws.
- Exercise discretion regarding sexual orientation and relationships.
- Seek permission when photographing individuals, especially women and children.
- Hitchhiking is illegal and unsafe; it is not recommended as a mode of transportation.
- Participation in public protests and gatherings requires prior permission from authorities.
- Strict traffic laws apply, including adherence to speed limits, seatbelt use, and no mobile phone use while driving.
- Observe public transportation etiquette, offering seats to the elderly or disabled and queuing when boarding buses.
The vlogger provides a candid glimpse into the nuances of life in Bahrain, highlighting a range of activities that are officially prohibited but, in some instances, persist beneath the surface.
Alcohol Consumption in Public
The vlogger underscores a strict no-alcohol policy in public areas in Bahrain. However, she paints a vivid picture of the lengths to which some individuals go to enjoy a drink by the seaside. In fact, some resort to ingenious methods, such as disguising alcoholic beverages inside soft drink bottles or juice containers. Despite their efforts, the vlogger emphasizes the inherent risks associated with such behavior. Bahraini authorities maintain a vigilant presence, with frequent police patrols that actively inspect gatherings. If caught, individuals risk severe consequences, including imprisonment, substantial fines, and even deportation back to the Philippines.
Public Display of Affection (PDA)
Another facet of Bahrain’s social landscape is its strict stance against public displays of affection. The vlogger, however, points out an intriguing contradiction she’s observed during her time in Bahrain. She notes that, despite the prohibition, public displays of affection do occur. This apparent discrepancy has left her somewhat perplexed. She theorizes that some individuals may engage in PDA with confidence, assuming that as long as no one complains or records their actions to report to the authorities, they might go unnoticed.
Part-Time Work and Cohabitation of Unmarried Couples
Officially, part-time work and unmarried couples cohabiting are disallowed in Bahrain. Still, some Filipinos discreetly seek part-time work, and cohabitation happens despite being against the rules. The vlogger emphasizes that these observations don’t imply official approval but rather highlight the complex interplay between cultural practices and legal regulations in Bahrain.
It’s crucial to avoid physical altercations at all costs. Engaging in a physical fight that results in harm to another person, such as cutting or injuring them, can lead to severe legal consequences. If someone files a complaint against you for physical harm, you may find yourself facing imprisonment. Verbal disputes should be handled with care, but resorting to physical violence is strongly discouraged.
Identity and Documentation
Bahrain places a high premium on accurate identification and documentation. Entering the country using a fake name or presenting counterfeit credentials can lead to a web of complications. For instance, if a person were to pass away in Bahrain while using a false identity, repatriation becomes nearly impossible. The hospital may withhold the body due to incomplete or falsified documentation. Therefore, it’s imperative to maintain accurate and valid identification at all times.
While having a romantic relationship is not prohibited in Bahrain, it’s advisable to commit to one partner. There have been unfortunate cases of individuals facing harm or even death due to involvement in multiple relationships. In the interest of personal safety and cultural respect, it’s prudent to maintain a monogamous relationship if you’re in one.
Bahrain has strict regulations regarding driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are caught driving while intoxicated, the consequences can be severe. The police employ breathalyzer tests to detect alcohol levels in drivers. If you fail the test, you will face legal penalties, including fines and potential imprisonment. The duration of your incarceration can vary, and the severity of the penalty depends on the level of intoxication and any previous violations.
Other Restrictions in Bahrain
In addition to the ones mentioned earlier, here are some other important restrictions and regulations that you should be aware of in Bahrain:
- Respect for Religion: Bahrain is a predominantly Muslim country, and it’s important to show respect for Islamic customs and practices. During the holy month of Ramadan, it is forbidden to eat, drink, or smoke in public during daylight hours.
- Public Behavior: Public behavior should be respectful and considerate. Loud or disruptive behavior, especially during religious or cultural events, can be seen as disrespectful.
- Holding Hands: While holding hands between married couples is generally acceptable, it’s advisable to avoid public displays of affection, including holding hands, in certain conservative areas.
- Smoking Regulations: Smoking in enclosed public spaces, including restaurants and shopping malls, is prohibited in Bahrain. Designated smoking areas are provided in many public places.
- Internet Usage: Bahrain has strict internet regulations, and certain websites and content may be blocked or restricted. Be cautious about the content you access online.
- Homosexuality: Homosexual acts are illegal in Bahrain, and there is no legal recognition or protection for LGBTQ+ rights. It’s important to exercise discretion in matters related to sexual orientation.
- Work Permits: If you are working in Bahrain, ensure that you have the necessary work permits and that your employment is in compliance with local labor laws.
- Photography at Sensitive Sites: Be cautious when taking photographs, especially around government buildings, military sites, and critical infrastructure. Always ask for permission when photographing individuals, particularly women and children.
- Public Protests and Gatherings: Public protests and gatherings require prior permission from the authorities. Participation in unauthorized protests can lead to legal consequences.
- Traffic Violations: Bahrain has strict traffic laws, and violations can result in fines, license suspension, or even imprisonment. Obey speed limits, wear seatbelts, and avoid using mobile phones while driving unless you have a hands-free device.
- Public Transportation Etiquette: When using public transportation, be mindful of local customs and etiquette. For instance, vacate seats for the elderly or disabled, and stand in queues when boarding buses.
Taking Control of Your Journey in Bahrain
When it comes to your life and experiences in Bahrain, and in any foreign land, you are the captain of your own destiny. The key to a fulfilling life abroad, as in any place, lies in understanding and respecting the local customs, laws, and cultural nuances while cherishing the freedom that living in a diverse society brings.
OFWs are in demand for certain professions in Bahrain, and thus, the country is a lucrative destination for many Filipinos. However, as in many places, harmonious living thrives when you recognize the delicate balance between personal liberty and societal norms. While you enjoy the freedom to shape your own destiny, it’s equally vital to navigate this newfound chapter with cultural sensitivity, legal compliance, and a deep respect for the diverse tapestry that makes up Bahrain’s vibrant society. By doing so, you can truly savor the richness of your overseas experience while fostering a sense of belonging in your newfound home.