1037 Bribes

Aiman talks about the culture of bribing in business.


Todd: So, Aiman, now you actually are a business student, correct? You study business?

Aiman: Well, actually I studied business. I did my undergraduate in Global Business Management but now I'm doing my master's in International Material Flow Managament.

Todd: OK, so you have experience with the business field. You've worked as a professional. What job did you have before?

Aiman: IT specialist. An IT trainer and mainly a technical person in different industries.

Todd: OK, we bring this up because we both have experience in cultures with bribery, bribes. So, were gonna talk about bribery. So in your country Syria, what is something you would pay a bribe for?

Aiman: Well, in Syria you'd pay a bribe for anything. Everything. Even if you didn't do anything. You might need to pay a bribe.

Todd: So how does it work?

Aiman: Well if the policeman decided to pull you over you have to pay them something otherwise they'll come up with something to make you pay more.

Todd: So let's say … well can you give an example of something that you would have to pay a bribe for?

Aiman: Just driving really. You'd be driving and the policeman would just ask you to pull over and then he'll come and it means that he needs a bribe, otherwise he will just keep you there waiting.

Todd: And now how much would the bribe usually be?

Aiman: Usually it would be one dollar.

Todd: Really? Just one dollar?

Aiman: Yeah, but ...

Todd: That's so low.

Aiman: Yeah, but by Syrian standards. It's not. It's 50 Syrian pounds.

Todd: So basically, the problem is probably that the policemen make very low wages, so this is how they supplement their wages is by taking bribes.

Aiman: Yes, exactly. And the problem is that not only policemen do that but every government worker do the same so if you have to do anything, that has anything to do with the government or a public officer, you'd have to bribe your way through.

Todd: So like if you went to the city hall and you needed to get some documents, you would probably have to pay a bribe.

Aiman: Yes.

Todd: Now when you pay a bribe is this out in the open or do you have to put the money in an envelope and keep it secret?

Aiman: Well, it used to be secret but now it's more out in the open.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

bring something up


we bring this up because …

To "bring up something" means to raise the issue or introduce the issue to the conversation.

  1. "Today I would like to bring up the problem of late homework" said the teacher.
  2. Don't bring up the issue of my drinking problem or I will have trouble with the boss.

come up with


they'll come up with something to make you pay more.

To "come up with" something means to think of an idea or plan to deal with something.

  1. Don't tell my parents we are going shopping or they will come up with something to stop me from going.
  2. We'll have to come up with something to explain why we are not in class today.



By Syrian standards, it's not. It's 50 Syrian pounds.

"Standards" are what we measure things by and can then make a comparison. They have different meanings to different people and in different cultures.

  1. Fifteen dollars is a reasonable price for a main meal at a restaurant by Australian standards.
  2. By local standards it is not appropriate to wear short sleeves or shorts in public.

supplement wages


they supplement their wages by taking bribes.

To "supplement" something is to make up the difference for a complete result.

  1. These handouts will supplement the reading in the textbook.
  2. Two days of swimming supplemented the five days of running on my weekly exercise plan.

out in the open


Is it out in the open?

This means something is easily seen and not being hidden.

  1. Let's get it out in the open, I don't like the way you eat half my sandwiches every lunchtime.
  2. Fast food companies should get it out in the open and publish the ingredients of their foods.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
bring up • come up with • standards
supplement • out in the open
  1. We need to a good idea for the party.
  2. I never politics when I first meet someone new.
  3. The secret is now for everyone to know about.
  4. She tries to her diet by taking vitamin pills.
  5. The work at that company are very high.