Saturday, April 07, 2007

Thinking like a Kuwaiti

Daily Column
Thinking like a Kuwaiti
Published Date: February 21, 2007
By Dr Sami Alrabaa Mohammed

Al-Saleh writes in his column in Al-Qabas, Feb 19 the following, implying/referring to Kuwaitis in general:
Work is something sacred. Do not touch it. Postpone your work until the day after tomorrow if you can't postpone it until tomorrow. Do as little as you can and make the others do the job for you. If you feel like working, take some rest until that wish evaporates. Work is healthy. Therefore leave it to the ill. I would add, also implying/referring to Kuwaitis in general:If you have Wasta, (if you are well connected), why bother with the law. If you have Wasta, why bother to learn and exert yourself. You will get the job you want and the others (expats) will eventually do the job for you. As a Kuwaiti skip work. Because you are a Kuwaiti you will never be fired. Wear an Islamist mask and behind it do whatever you want. As an Islamist you must be pious. Pretend you are a devout Muslim. Go to perform noon prayers. From there go home. If people ask where you are, we will say you are praying. Make a list of excuses from "work". One day, your wife is ill, the other, it is your son Mohammed, the other Ali, etc. If you are a high profile official, do what Islamists tell you. They would love you and leave you to do what you want. Make debts, borrow a lot of money and buy whatever you want. One day, these debts will be wiped out. Carry on asking what Kuwait can do for you, but never what you can do for Kuwait. Do not forget to sing: I love Kuwait. Throw your litter out of your car. Litter all over. Public places are no-man's land. Why do we have Bangladeshis? They would be jobless without your litter. Leave all your bulbs and A/C on all the time, waste as much water as you can. Only the dumb pay their electricity and water bills. Do not read. Do not inform yourself. The more you know, the more depressed you get. The more you learn about other societies, the more you are convinced, you live in a mad house. Wrong are always the others. Although you are as corrupt as the others, as lazy as the others, blame it on the others. You are perfect, but not the others. Committees made out of Kuwaitis spawn only other committees. They are not built to propose solutions. In public, condemn Western "decadence", but in private enjoy its products. Praise local traditions, no matter what anachronistic they are. If you employ an expat, exploit him/her as much as you can. They should be thankful to you that they earn a couple of dinars. Back home they would die of hunger. When international human rights organisations blast Kuwaitis for ill-treating expats, refer them to the humane labour laws in Kuwait. Do not learn from expat colleagues. Punctuality and hard work do not pay off in Kuwait. Expats are there to do the job and not to learn from. Never teach your kids "Do it yourself". Otherwise, they run the risk of learning independence, discipline, and creativity. It is cheaper to get all these things for KD 30. It is not worth it. Have you ever seen a Kuwaiti reading a book in a public place like, parks, cafes, or libraries? What kind of books do Kuwaitis buy? Books about deciphering dreams and cooking. If Kuwaiti women were free, really free and not shackled to the rules of tradition, not to say suppressed by men, they would expose men and prove that they are simply paper tigers. Men know this. Therefore they subordinate women to their will, arbitrarily. Do you know why Kuwaiti men, for that matter most Arab men, walk at least two to three steps ahead of their wives? They want to shield them from the lusty eyes of male strangers. Men-women relationships are abnormal in Kuwaiti society. This abnormality is justified by anachronistic norms and pseudo-Islamic rules. Roman women envied their Muslim counterparts for being allowed to fight and conduct business transactions. Nowadays, most Kuwaiti and Arab women need the blessing of their men for every movement they do.
Now, expats are addressed:If you are an expat, just do what makes your Kuwaiti employer happy. Never disagree with your boss or Kuwaiti colleagues, even if they do not have the slightest clue. On the contrary, keep flattering them. Honesty does not pay off in Kuwait. Keep your advice and frustration in yourself. Lock them up. If you are an expat teacher, do not be demanding. The more students complain about you, the shorter your employment chances will be in Kuwait. Students must have enough time to play video games and watch TV. At roundabouts and queues give way to Kuwaitis, regardless of traffic rules. Do not rush Kuwaitis at government departments. They hate speeding at work. In some areas, the speed limit is zero. Besides, the poor Kuwaiti employees, they stay up late at night fulfilling their social duties. Do not expect a "thank you" from a Kuwaiti. You are doing your duties. Kuwaitis are not racist. Assigning demeaning jobs to Bangladeshis and Indians is simply a kind of division of labour. Generally, a Kuwaiti man does not bring his wife to your mixed social gatherings not because he is misogynist. It is because she does not want to. She prefers to stay at home and wait for her husband. Some Kuwaitis believe that their maids are robots. Indeed, some maids show no feelings, never complain, and speak like robots: Yes, no, ok, etc. That is why some Kuwaitis make their maids work for 24 hours.

Do you find yourself?? I do in some parts and I am an expat living here (maybe too long already)...


boojam said...

Hi Evil, thanks for your comments on Life in a Duststorm, I saw your video, truly frightening. It reminds me of a Thursday night in Wafra, when I accidentally stumbled on similar crazed loonies, burning rubber and crashing cars, watched by an enormous crowd. That was freaky. Thanks also for the offer of Deutsch lessons. A German lady friend said to say 'serbus' or something similar at every opportunity and I would be all right. Not convinced. You have an interesting blog; I'll drop by again. boojam

Evil Knievel said...

it's "servus"... means something like "hello" but it's not "proper" german. But she's right ... it will help you to get along. at least a little.
And thank you for calling my blog interesting! It's not half as interesting as yours!

Orchidz said...

I strongly disagree with the columnist. I've never heard of him so i dont know what category of a kuwaiti he falls into. To me he just hates the "salaf" or "ikhwan"(pious kuwaities).Thats discrimination! Cmon I have religious people working with me,they are the ones who work harder thn anyone else my working place. Im not saying thats true to all, nobodys perfect afterall, plus not everyones the same so why overgeneralize. Arrogant columnist, thats why i hate reading personal columns. IT was funny him mnetioning the sons as Mohammed and Ali..So typical of him to think that these are the names such men name their sons.I mean every home has that name.
But i have to say i agree with the typical kuwaities with the idea of wasta and ditching work leaving the expats(the smart people) do their dirty work for them, and i think it sucks. enough said hehe:p nice choice of article.Very debatable