Sunday, March 31, 2013

Foreigners are to blame for everything

I ran into an old friend the other night (Lebanese) who said that all everyone is talking about are the plans to eliminate the number of foreigners in Kuwait; some overt, and some aimed at charging expats separate prices for services/items.  He was overtly upset by this, almost to the point of taking a personal offense.

C'mon - has the Kuwaiti blame game extended this far?  Why does Kuwait stagnate so much?  Because everybody is busy pointing fingers and blaming other groups (until recently, domestic groups) and meanwhile, the country is floundering in a cesspool of  bad business while the rest of the Gulf is excelling.

They even want to mandate a separate price for gasoline for foreigners and Kuwaitis.  Puhleeze - have you seen the lines at the gas stations in Kuwait?  They can't figure out how to install updated (current-century) gas pumps.  How would they handle separate lines/separate pricing?   (I long for the types of gas pumps they have in the States where you can just swipe your credit card and go.) 

Then, the  plans for apartheid in the healthcare system, segregating foreigners from Kuwaitis with different operating hours for both.  Yeah, that is definitely a step in the wrong direction.  Imagine that happening in Western countries; suddenly imposing the same laws on any foreigners... let's say Kuwaitis would have to wait until the afternoon for treatment at a London hospital.  It would be the end of the world.

Cutting 100,000 jobs to foreigners per year.  Okey dokey - let's start with the street cleaners, domestic workers and drivers.  Bada bing.  Put your big girl panties on and deal with it yourself.  Or perhapsee waiters and waitresses.  From my perspective, following the first 3 categories I mentioned above, the largest number of current foreign-hires are wait staff and restaurant workers (kick ass, Shaya!).  (Let's be real - the only businesses that thrive in Kuwait are food-related.)  So, I completely agree - less of all of those categories and more jobs for Kuwaitis.

I was so happy to see young Kuwaitis serving customers through LOYAC's internship programs.  Is there shame in those jobs?  No, and the kids loved it.  They had pride in their accomplishments and a sense of responsibility.  Is that a bad thing?  LOYAC's model is simple:  Do something for your community and for yourself.

Why are countries like Qatar and Dubai thriving?  Because they are working in cooperation with their foreign/professional workforce (just look at the number of universities and hospitals they work with).  They LEARN from past results of business models brought in from other places; other ideas, other perspectives.  You don't see countries like Dubai trying to cut expat jobs; they open the door to other nationalities.  Come on in!  Buy our land.  Add to our flourishing economy and tourism sectors.  Bring your families!  Spend, spend, spend.  Hey, now that is a novel idea:  Benefiting the local economies.  Huh.

I love Kuwait and I hate so see all this negativity.  Open your minds.  Stop blaming, start moving.


Anonymous said...

OK the main words I did'nt see in your column is PRIDE Kuwaitis lost their pride years and years ago when they decided they would give it all away by turning the national sport into LAZINESS and hire maids, drivers etc to do every single thing for them. At the same time they decided to fill their time they would add GREED and CORRUPTION to their daily lives of LAZINESS and VOILA! this is where we are.

NamesNotShirley said...

Well said DG! Bravo!

Traveler said...

The corner that Kuwait seems to be working itself into is one where everything exists solely to serve Kuwaiti's and anyone who isn't gets nothing but gets to pay for it.

The danger in that is when people feel they have no part in society, they stop contributing to it and start to destroy it -- first by ignoring it and then intentionally.

Look to ancient Rome for an example of how that works out in the long run.

Chirp said...

I'm Kuwaiti and I am offended by this!
What a lot of Kuwaiti people have forgotten is that without the help of these foreigners Kuwait would not be what it is today. They came in the early years as teachers, architects and doctors (etc) to help this country grow. Even today some jobs are only done by expats.
Yes they may be here for the money, but who leaves their country and family for shits and giggles, there has to be a benefit, but many of them love Kuwait and call it home. And many kuwaitis get offended when some expats call Kuwait home.

Anonymous said...

This is so true .I know some Kuwaitis who acctualy try doing work,who try to achieve something, but the majority don't even try. The foriegners are the ones who work so hard for their money yet they are treated like shit.Who are thier maids,their doctors,the drivers and the street cleaners? The foriegners! The Kuwaitis have totally forgotten what they had in the past,they used to be enthusiastic,friendly,welcoming. When they made the GCC the business began to decline,it was a horrific disaster, yet the Kuiwatis don't feel like they have lost anything. After a Kuwaiti child finishes school, most of the time they won't try to become achieveres, no that's why the the foriegners are here right? Instead they just go off becoming police men and soldiers and prance about with money in their pockets. While the school children who have worked hard work as doctors or scientists that work long hours for their wages without fully achieving what they have wanted to become.

That is Kuwait for you.