In light of nine Australian men getting arrested in Malaysia for stripping down in their underwear, bearing the Malaysian flag, after Aussie Daniel Riccardo won the Malaysian Grand Prix. A foolish joke gone completely wrong. So It got me thinking, are tourist travelling to foreign country well prepared and with the proper respect to its laws and customs?
Clearly these young men, who are aged in their mid-twenties, were having a joke and a bit of a laugh. A prank gone wrong but one they would have got away with in Australia. But sorry, not in Malaysia. Add the fact that all these nine-men were all wearing the same underwear representing the Malaysian flag suggests that this was a pre-meditated and careless prank.
As I said, in Australia, this inappropriate joke would get a laugh or perhaps a shake of the head in disgust by a fellow Aussie, then perhaps a little move on notice from the police. In Malaysia, these men are looking a maximum two-year jail term.
It goes with the old saying perfectly, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. It is a saying that needs to be stuck to the forehead of every single traveller who enters a foreign land. Study the rules, the customs and show respect, even if you find the rules quite observed and odd to the everyday westerner. It is not for us to judge; it is for us to oblige and obey.
Some countries are lenient, some are down the middle and then some countries are strict to the extreme. Just ask the American student who is doing 15-years hard labour in a North Korean prison for stealing a political poster from a hotel.
Of course even to the humblest human being, that punishment is far-fetched. But North Korea is on another level when it comes to strict penalties and tourist need to be extra cautious when in. Or stay away completely if you don’t think you can behave. Because the final punishment is not worth it.
Travellers, do your research of any country you plan on visiting. Learn the customs and learn the laws. There is plenty of information on the big wide world of internet to help you. So follow the rules and you will find you will still have a lot of fun and entertainment in the country you visit. Even if their customs seem strange to you.
As always, all onions are my own and I ask that you travel with caution and keep safe.