Top 7 Very British Problems

My sister-in-law sent me an article on 30 Very British Problems earlier this week and wanted to know what I thought of them. My response was “Yeah, definitely British problems.”

I spent a few years at university with great interest in studying and understanding Japanese society. Worked with a few of them and to a certain extent, I can safely say I know what their work ethics are like, how they behave publicly and what’s socially acceptable behaviour. Ironically, even though I’m married to a Brit for more than 4 years, his culture is still fundamentally new and at times, peculiar to me.

Therefore, such articles related to one’s culture never fail to spark interest in me. They highlight how much I don’t know about the Brits and most importantly, they allow Daniel and I to discuss our differences and mock each other. Great fun for us!

I’m not going to list what I think of all the 30 very British problems as a few are alcohol related (and we hardly drink even when I’m not pregnant). So, here are my thoughts on the Top 7 British Problems.



Really? If they’re walking in the same direction, I would just speed up and pretend to look ultra busy. Chances are if they noticed you, they’ll mention that they saw you the next time you meet. That’s when I would plant the “Oh! And you didn’t stop me to say hi?” bomb on them. How cunning am I?

A couple of days ago, Daniel had to run for the bus or stand in the cold for the next one to come in 15 minutes. He sprinted with all his might and just so happen, a group of runners in spandex appeared from the adjacent street and jogged in front of him.

Here’s what I would have done – Run ahead of them while saying “excuse me!”

Our dear British friend stopped running.



Daniel hates having haircuts in Germany. Apart from the language barrier, even the upper end professional hair salons seem to want to give him a fringe by cutting straight across. Thankfully we found a Japanese hair salon in Frankfurt! However, never once has he uttered his dissatisfaction to those stylists who supposedly failed to live up to his standards. At the end of the session and when they show him the rear of his cut, he would nod, smile and say “thanks”. All three actions which I would read as “satisfied”. Hell no, because after he leaves the salon he goes on about how the stylists didn’t do this and that.

Here’s what I’ve done in the past – sit in the salon with warm tears rolling down my cheeks and hot steam emitting out of my ears because I’m so bloody angry. Ok, that was when I was a child. As an adult, my face would turn so red like lava that spits out of a volcano and yes, I would complain and make them salvage the situation if possible. I’m a demanding customer when it comes to haircuts.



Why is this a problem? Can’t you just take the initiative to open the next door? That was what I thought when I was working in Oxford and had to open the endless number of doors for this guy behind me. He was utterly embarrassed and definitely wrecking his editorial brains (he was an editor) to think of different ways to thank me. He gave up and said I was too quick walking down the hall opening all doors for him.

Perhaps time to hit the gym?



Don’t we all love the Brits for being so polite? They apologise for everything under the sun.

If someone’s blocking the supermarket aisle and we can’t get through, Daniel apologises when we’re FINALLY allowed to get pass. Saying “sorry” is like saying “thank you”?



In Singapore, you can be fined for eating on public transports so it has never been an issue for me. However, since it isn’t against the law in the UK and Germany to do so, I have no shame whatsoever about eating on the bus or train if I’m feeling peckish. My sister-in-law says she can never do it! Bless her!

So why do Brits eat popcorn in cinemas? Does being in the dark help?


It must have surprised my in-laws how long it took for me to finish one cup of tea when they’ve emptied the mega box of PG tips.



Something similar happened to Daniel in Singapore. He ran for the bus, missed it because he slipped and fell hard on his right arm and broke it. This brave soul pulled himself up quickly, took his mobile phone out of his pocket to PRETEND to check for texts. He did all of that despite the sharp pain shooting up his arm that got his to A&E that night.

Oh, it wasn’t even the right bus he was running for.

For the full article, click on this.


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