Saturday, February 28, 2009

Misc Feb 09 II

If you have failed in your search for riches which is such a flaky and capricious thing to begin with, you are guaranteed not to fail in your search for cheapness.

There are places in the world that are so cheap that you are assured of becoming ‘rich’ there with even little of your Western money. So, if you did not make it in the West until you hit middle age, start looking for cheap places now!


Saudis have been getting bad rap in Western media for decades now. Either they are portrayed as religious fanatics bent on killing the infidel, or as arrogant, expensive shades- wearing profligates riding around in Land Rovers smiling with a sardonic and evil smile and throwing money around. They are always shown as either dour or haughty, which is complete falsehood.

An image of a dagger/bomb- wielding average Saudi with an angry expression on his face is a complete fabrication. If you base that on some terrorists from the lunatic fringe of their society, then every American should be portrayed as Jeffrey Dahmer and every Brit as Jack the Ripper.

If there is a nation that is somewhat similar to Saudis in behaviour, it is the Japanese. An average Saudi is a very soft spoken, immaculately polite and modest person. Always clean, with freshly pressed clothes and smelling just as fresh. Arrogance is against the Saudis’ religion. Saudis also exhibit very little racism as there are no visible divisions between blacks and whites. There are no black mosques and white mosques as the case would be in the Anglo world.

Saudis come from many ethnic backgrounds and reflect years of intermarriage with many races. Some Saudis even belong to Nordic and East Asians races and all are Saudis by law. There is no hyphenation. A Saudi is a Saudi. You can see lily-white kids and very black kids all playing together. A very African looking Saudi will say with pride- “ I am a hundred percent Arab!”

The Saudi nation has been a home to millions of foreigners for many decades, and it is very rare that you see angry Saudis attacking them for “taking jobs away” or telling them to “go back to their country” as would often be the case in the West. Or even in Africa. They have welcomed foreign workers, and also, pay Westerners higher salaries than they pay their own people. They bend over backwards to make sure that Westerners feel comfortable and stay there for a long time. The welcome includes free housing and utilities, free transportation to work and, sometimes, free food, free cars and gasoline, long vacations ( some as long as 3-4 months in a year) free school for children and even free clothing. No tax is collected from anybody.

Saudis are easy to get along with; easy to work with. Living among Saudis assures you privacy as well as absence of loud noises and loud music being played. People are quiet, shy, and very considerate of others. Your privacy is guaranteed.

What probably differentiates them from the Japanese is the fact that an average Saudi is not as serious-looking. They are generally in a happy, joking mood all the time, are smiley and accommodating. Saudis are especially so in the countryside.

There are still some intertribal frictions in the country left over from ages past, and there are occasional wacko terrorists who threaten everyone’s well being. Many Saudis, though, have died saving foreigners from terrorists in their country. Now, after enormous crackdowns and severe punishments, terrorism has been virtually eradicated and many Westerners who have left during the spate of attacks in 2003 have come back.

Contrary to the popular myth, properly religious Saudis do not consider Westerners to be “infidels” because they share the same God and the same monotheistic faith. Those who have said that about Westerners are very ignorant and ill-informed. They do however call Westerners Khawajas (from which the Spanish word Gabacho comes), which basically means something like “Gringos”, but it is not a pejorative.

Having said all that, Saudis have a very strict religion-based legal system and those who come to work in the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) should follow it because Saudis themselves follow it. When in Rome, do as Romans do. They do not force people to convert to their religion, but simply insist that they behave in a modest and proper way in public and do not violate local laws.

Many Westerners, including Black Americans who have converted to the local faith have been able to marry local ladies. Ethnicity does not mean much in Saudi Arabia.

The demonization of Saudis in the Western media is unfair. Do not pay attention to it.

An Oil Rich Customer is Always Right.

A British professor at some Oman university failed a young female student for absenteeism, being consistently late and not to completing the class assignments. When the lazy student desperately pleaded with him to pass her, he adamantly refused to budge and remained true to his principles that a person should be responsible for his/her actions (or lack thereof) and should reap the just results thereof. No passing grade was given in spite of her entreaties.
The girl went back to the mountains and consulted the tribal elders. The mountain tribe swept down into the city and virtually “stormed” the university. The student was passed, the British professor got fired.

Dismissed! Out the bloody door!

What is the moral of the story?
Don’t be so anal when dealing with people in these oil rich lands. Learn to be flexible. Relax your principles a bit. Or face a shameful dismissal. Got it?


Anonymous said...

Highly disagree on your characterization of Saudis. The way they treat labor class people especially from South Asia is despicable.

If you're writing from a western perspective only, then perhaps some of your stuff makes sense. But to categorize them as non-racist is absolutely incorrect. I have never seen a more intolerant population anywhere on earth. The way they treat South Asians at airports is sickening. And even Africans.

And if you are from a religious minority, especially Shi'ite, then it's even worse. This is a country that bulldozes graves of religious and historical figures and encourages their followers not to pay any respects to them.

I have personally seen letters from the Saudi govt asking Muslim embassies/consulates in Saudi not to allow their Christian citizens living is Saudi to use their facilities for Christmas, Easter, etc.

Perhaps the day-to-day religious zealotry of the average citizen is overdone in Western media. But their respect for humanity, civil rights, and minorities is pathetic.

Their rulers are so hypocritical, and the rich class can get away with anything. They drive their
souped up cars like madmen on the roads and are unconcerned about the safety of anyone else.

Most Saudis are lazy and they get cheap labor class to do all their dirty work. There are jobs Saudis will never do - they consider it beneath them to do domestic chores. And there are at least three different payscale in corporate/govt jobs - Saudis (highest), Western/White (middle), the rest, especially South Asian (lowest). This pay discrimination for the same job is nothing short of modern day apartheid.

Foreign citizens have no rights if they break the law. I completely agree that local laws should be followed. But sometimes you do it accidentally e.g. you get into a car accident. Your rights depending directly on your color and/or socioeconomic status.

To compare Saudi Arabia and the Saudis to Japan and the Japanese is ridiculous.

I do give credit to Saudi Arabia for arranging Hajj. They really don't have much of a choice, but their facilities and services are as good as they can be. That's about all the praise I can give them.

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything to add other than, glad you're back! I've always enjoyed you blog. Keep up the good work!