My German-Jordanian friend and fellow blogger Euroarabe has a facinating post about the existence of the "Arab credit score." It is so worth a read I’ll highlight all of it:
When I came to the US, I found out (too late) about the credit report. If you are late paying any bills, it goes on a national record and affects your ability to take any loans out in the future, as well as sign up for credit cards, cell phones, rent an apartment, buy a house … even if you move across the country. We don’t have that in Jordan and other Arab countries as far as I knew. Then I realised we do. It’s called "your reputation" … and it something that comes along with being a girl. it’s just as important as your credit report in the US. One slip and everybody in the country finds out about it. Your reputation report is reviewed anytime you need to make important social and even career transactions just like in the US when you make financial contracts. The girls in my dorm were all intent on having hymen operations before marriage. Because losing that is equivilant of bankruptcy. Anyone living in the US knows what that will do to your credit report. It is obviously all a social construction and make-believe. The cult of virginity. The problem is, everyone is playing the game. I want to set up a online service where Arab girls can get their reputation report, instantly and for a small fee. Delivered online with personal analysis.
In fact, this is an issue of a bigger issue. Reputation in general is what follows you to the end of your life.Your reputation will determine how people will treat you, or whether they will avoid dealing with you. The perception the others have about you will rarely change. If you are known to be ‘stingy or bakheel’, not even if you donate all your wealth after being labled so, that people will change their mind about you. Likewise, if you were known for a good trate, your admirers will label you as such.
The thing about a small country like Jordan, is that you do not move much (geographically)to get out of the circle you’v always been in. As for the girls, the issue becomes magnified by 10 or 100 and concentrated on honor-related “integrity” ; or say , reputation or your credit report.
I love this post, it’s so right on. And I am sick of having my reputation weighed on a scale at the end of each day. They don’t realize I’ve already chucked it out the window while they’re still keeping score.
Funniest thing is, seems the rest of the family has to watch themselves cause otherwise it will reflect on my reputation, and since they’re tryng to get me married off – well, can’t have that now, can we?
My Mother, the Arab! Growing up in Mississippi in the 50’s and 60’s, Hazel preached “REPUTATION” to every day. As a child I saw it as an animal that must be well guarded or it would get loose and do something terrible.
As a teenager, Hazel’s line was, “Don’t do ANYTHING you wouldn’t want me to read about on the front page of the newspaper.”
!!! AH!!! can blogs blush? euroarabe.com is black and white and red/read all over now.
I remember seeing a comedy skit a few years back along these lines. Only the reports were based on male behavior. A woman forced her blind date to sit while she pulled up his dating record–which reported every mistake, doublecross, and indiscretion he had ever committed in his relationships with women. 🙂