British Embassy releases full cautionary poem for holidays
The British Embassy is releasing on Monday the full version of its cautionary holiday tale, ‘Twas the Night Before Flying’.
The poem re-imagines the famous Clement Clarke Moore poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, as a story about fictional British expatriate Stu Nicholas and his poorly planned travel to the UAE. The embassy released the piece, written collectively by staff, in segments on its Facebook and Twitter pages along with links to lists of lawyers or graphics with travel recommendations.
The goal is to raise awareness among expatriates and visitors about local laws and customs, the embassy said. The poem has been read worldwide.
“We are delighted with the positive reaction to our poem across the globe,” said Edward Hobart, UK consul general to the UAE. “It sends a message to all, regardless of nationality, that it is important to familiarise oneself with local laws and customs whether you are going to live or visit a different country.
“As the poem rightfully concludes, the vast majority of expatriates know the laws, but this is a friendly and fun reminder to those who do not.”
Figures from the UK showed in July that there had been a 30 per cent rise in the number of Britons arrested in the UAE over the past two years despite a drop in the number of British tourists.
The UK has two embassies in the UAE, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. More than 100,000 Britons live in the UAE, and about a million visit annually, embassy staff have said.
‘Twas the Night Before Flying
‘Twas the night before flying, at Stu Nicholas’s house,
Off to the Emirates, along with his spouse.
The cases were full, but packed with ill care,
Banned medication inside - a customs nightmare!
He forgot to check FCO travel advice,
For that he might pay an almighty price.
With visa in passport and job contract signed,
A place of safe hiding, Stu looked to find.
He placed carefully his passport in a safe place
And carried around a copy that he brought in his case.
To the work Christmas party, off Stu went,
For an evening of dancing and merriment.
No holding of hands, or Christmas kisses,
Under the mistletoe, despite amorous wishes.
So time to go home after several spirits neat,
But it’s a crime for Stu to be drunk on the street.
He called for a taxi to get a ride back.
The driver was sullen, with no Christmas crack.
But Stu was polite and kept his calm,
And this gave the driver no cause for alarm.
So Stu makes it home to his new bed.
No prison this time, just a sore head!
He’s out Christmas shopping, enjoying the mall,
With Mrs Nicholas looking, all pretty and tall.
She likes skimpy clothes, and the weather is warm
Stu reminds her to cover up and respect the dress norm.
A few days later, Stu’s mother’s in town
Within hours she falls and cracks open her crown.
‘Don’t worry’ he says, ‘hospitals here are great’
But with no travel insurance they’ll cost a huge rate.
Mama Nicholas comes home with a bandaged head
She leaves with no photos, just an account in the red.
Stu feels rotten, but thinks ‘Christmas is near!’
So decides to meet friends for some festive cheer.
After having a dram and a jolly old time
He thinks “I’ll drive home, under UK laws I’m fine”
Yes you’ve guessed it, Stu ends up in jail
And spends the festive season out on bail.
‘Thank goodness I’m out, I’m not keen on jail food’
Stu says, as he leaves the prison in a foul mood.
And to show his disdain, raises a fist for a fight,
So finds himself back in the cells for the night!
So our message is simple, be aware of the law;
And you’re not all like Stu, of that we are sure.
From all at the Embassy, enjoy the season,
We love seeing you all, but not for the wrong reason!
Published: December 21, 2014 04:00 AM