Saturday, February 11, 2017

Singaporean fascinated with Iran

Hi Mr. Tan

I just returned from Iran and were taken surprise by the country, which is vilified by the Western Press and fed to the Singapore readers.

Iran turns out to be safest country in the Middle East. No military or Police personnel at Tehran Khomeni International Airport, named after the Imam who abolished the Iranian Monarchy in the 1979 revolution. No soldiers either at MRT stations, cinemas and shopping areas also.

The Iranian Govt pay particular attention to safety of air passengers by insisting passengers and luggage to go thru security twice before boarding. Female passengers are subjected thru bodily checks by female Immigration officials. And foreign tourists are free to roam the country without obstruction.

But getting visa approval took us about a month online, Singaporeans are among select countries to collect visas upon arrival.
The only sign of security are soldiers and police guarding Govt Admin buildings and the Jewellery Museum showcasing the Crown jewels of various Persian Kings and the last Iranian Monarch, with Crown Rubies and emeralds weighing 180 carats.

Every tourist is dazzled by the extravagant glitter on display. The luxurious Palaces of various Kings are just as magnificent and dazzling.

The various mosques in the various cities among the best, if not the best in the world in architecture and decoration. Almost every Iranian could understand English, as Parsi language, and a small section of Arabic, and English are taught in schools. With 60% female enrolment, women are treated with respect, as stated in the Koranic teachings of Prophet Mohamed. Women work as guides, university lecturers, bus drivers, and almost all professions. And only the very wealthy could afford more than one wife.

The Shiite Sect of Islam is the original religion as set by Prophet Mohamed and his nephew Ali, and very liberal in outlook and treatment of women, as long as women cover their head, arms and legs, with scarves hiding only half their hair is acceptable, after which the women are allowed to live as they like, even cohabiting with their men is quietly permitted.

And surprisingly even, the 4 religions of Zoroastrism, Islam, Judaism and Armenian Christianity coexist together in whole districts, with the people entering each other's mosques, temples and churches of worship freely, with great respect towards all religions.

You do not see Muslims entering churches in Singapore, as they follow the strict Sunni sect, a break away sect by Ali's descendants. As surprise, surprise, only less than 20% of Iranian Muslims in Tehran go to the moques, buy they pray at home maybe once a day.

And surprise of all surprises, Iran is much colder than many European countries, just imagine heavy snowing in the deserts.

Many foreign tourists, including from Europe fell sick touring Iran, or on the plane journey back home, with one woman being offloaded the plane before take off. Lucky for us DIY tourists, we brought 3 sets of thermal wear, wollen sweaters and socks, thick boots and waterproof long winter jackets.

And another surprise, the toilets are the squat type, so practise half squatting first for women folks.

Another surprise, the Iranians groom and dress themselves well, with women having perfect make up all day. So women folks, make up and dress well if you dun want to look like scarecrows in comparison.

Another surprise, we met many China tour groups from China, Hongkong and Taiwan, so fellow Singaporeans, be more adventurous, do not be frogs in a well, sticking to developed countries. The ancient Persian monuments of Persepolis and Minneapolis built by Persian Kings would take your breathe away. All UNESCO rated.

For all the animosity between USA and Iran, the Iranians still receive American tourists, still worship the US$. And when Trump signed on prohibiting entry into US for some Muslims, including Iranians, there was a big American flag at the airport entry, for every one to step on. But we stepped on the side, out of respect for any country's flag, not love for the Yankies.

Of course, the shopping at the bazaars for local handcrafts is mind boggling.

And last but not least, NS for every young male is obligatory, but you can abstain but the punishment is not jail term, you can't apply for a passport to travel abroad and you can't apply a driving licence, so almost 100% of males do NS, but if you are wealthy, you could buy yourself out by paying only equivalent of 5,000 Euros, or a male can be let off if he has to support his divorced mother, so the Prophet's teaching of "Heaven lies under the feet of mothers" holds true here.

A conclusion - Iran is fascinating, a tolerant, liberal Society, also pragmatic and flexible country, when a long queue forms at the ladies, the men would invite all female tourists to enter the Gents, imagine both men and women queuing together to pee. And Iran is an Islamic country. This is the best time to visit Iran, before it becomes commercialized and touristy.

Take not the hotels could be 5 star type, about US 180 per night, as luxurious as those in developed countries. Try the desert hotels right in the middle of the desert, ranging between 4 and 5 star type. Cuisine is European and Middle eastern and North Indian type, very healthy with raw salads for all 3 meals, not oily and spicy type, quite bland, but very sour, esp the salads, so we sprinkle on sugar and home brought Chilly sauce.

Try Iran at least once in your lifetime, best season to visit is Spring, we went in January to participate in a World Convention.

We now learn to take the Western MSM prejudiced reports on any country with a pinch of salt, with family members brainwashed by the West, pouring scorn on paying Iran a visit, we shrugged and said "Why Not".

By the way, Iran is promoting Tourism, the slogan is "Friendly Faces, Open Arms, Ancient Culture, Timeless Charms", all summed up aptly with no exaggeration.


Anonymous said...

You should become a shiite and see how you will be treated in Malaysia OR INDONESIA.

Anonymous said...

If Iran can impose all female visitors MUST cover their head with tudang why can't US or any countries demand no buqa or hijab in public? All visitors must comply because it it the RIGHT of Iran to impose this requirement and if visitors cannot comply then don't go. But I don't understand why US or Europe cannot refuse taking in the immigrants or US imposing a ban on immigrants? Have US or Europe or any countries lost their rights and sovereignty ? Why the protests in many countries against US foreign policies? Is it fair?
Why can UN demand the ME countries take in all these refugees. They are rich, and their wealth comes from the soil and ground and they don't work to create the wealth compared to US and Euro where wealth comes from working hard and tax payers to foot the bills if refugees are allowed in. Why don't these countries use this wealth to feed their own poor?( I am very sure there are poor who are in need of financial help). I would object if singapore has such situation .. there are many poor singaporeans who need help.
Someone is putting a gun to the heads of US and euro? Trump is right and brave to speak up and to do it. A new order is near.

Anonymous said...

Shiite is not original; it is the result of the failure to have a succession plan that was not foreseen by the force behind this religion that when the leader would die.

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