Posts Tagged ‘Expats in Jeddah’

I happen to notice a small fire in the woods by a few scores of lumberjacks in the forest where I live as an expatriate. This is an incident occurred in the heritage village of Ushaiger which is situated 200 km from Riyadh. Ushaiger is one of the oldest towns in the Najd region. According to social media and few websites including Okaz, a model named Khulood walked the village in a short dress breaking the strict dress code implemented by laws in the Kingdom.
Although I see nothing wrong with a girl wearing a short skirt and traveling to any sites (besides religious places). But I have to forward few of the points towards the incident happened in the heritage village.
 
1) KSA’s strict dress code on women has to be applicable and under such law, she should be treated as per the law. And let me clarify that this is not my opinion.
 
2) Like seriously, who wear short skirts on historic places??? This is absolutely silly and beyond any common sense! Tourists in Arab countries like KSA and Jordan wear track suits, track pants, long shorts etc. Even the female Westerners travel to such places wearing an abaya (loose over-garment) to maintain the dress code as per the law.
 
3) The reactions on the social media sites are mixed. Some have demanded to arrest her or kicking her out of the country. Few considered her act as brave and there is some number of people who consider it welcoming with freedom of expression. Those who want to read the reactions on Twitter can hashtag with the name Ushaiger in Arabic.
In a country where the women are not allowed to drive, the coming years can meet the demands of change and accept the freedom of expressing. But will take a lot of time to accept this.
 
Being a staunch supporter of personal freedom, my opinion is that the local sharia laws have to cut loose the grip, ease the environment and make it welcoming. There was a time back in the 80s and 90s when the ladies in the Kingdom have to hide their hair and wear plain abayas. Now it has become a fashion and has nothing to do with the religion. Gender mixing is already seen in the public places. So the social environment is not to be confused with Islamic principles. You cannot judge on the basis of the dress if the lady is provoking and abusing her religion or if she is a Muslim or not. What about the mannequins in the shopping malls displaying much shorter dress than the one in this incident?
 
What happened in this incident was a silly display of show-off but this act will raise a lot of eyebrows on the Ifs and Why-Nots across the Kingdom.
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Click the link above and read the article. This news is presenting the precise situation of the construction of depressed multinational circumstances in an economy struggling to escalate employment opportunities among the citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
 
University Of Business and Technology (UBT) organized a job fair where 40 companies offered some 3000 employment and training opportunities. To utilize the chance, Saudis, as well as expats, reached the door knocking but while they entered and arrived at the fair, the non-Saudi job applicants realized that the offers were limited to the Saudis only.
UBT didn’t bother to mention in their event program that only Saudis will be considered for the jobs. Result? 1000 non-Saudis or expats showed up who were eager to work with the recruiting companies within 48 hours! 48 hours!!! I didn’t witness the show but like other readers and observers, imagine the peak of misunderstanding. The non-Saudi candidates would have been in the queue and when their turns finally have come, they would have been immediately rejected or informed on their faces that they are not entertaining the offer to you expats! Now read their faces and do the maths yourself. After this, the expats would have become a hurdle or an obstacle on the path of job-seeking Saudis going towards the recruiters. 
 
With the growing tensions among the expats who are students or seeking jobs, this event can be observed in many ways:
 
1. There is a tremendous demand of expats from the field of business & technology who are willing to join and boost the economy. If one job fair can unintentionally fetch 1000 CVs in total from two different companies then imagine the total numbers.
 
2. At the very same time and location, 4000 Saudis are reported to show up which again shows how much is there a potential to generate the economic measures.
 
3. The article repeatedly records that the representatives of the recruiting companies in the job fair were ‘surprised’ and ‘shocked’ to see so many expats applying for the job. Their state of getting shocked and surprised is the sign of negligence and ignorance which falters the people responsible in the ministries and the administrations that they fail to notice/observe that the sweat and the blood of the expats are playing the most dynamic role in the economic progress of the country.
 
4. Another very important point which should be in focus after being surprised and shocked, most of the developed and developing countries who progress in their economy, do not consider the color, race, religion and the country where the job seeker belongs to. Because the candidates of any diversity are welcome to join the firm, considering the impression that they will benefit the company and the economy of the country overall. And that is how the teamwork is done.
 
Considering or prioritizing one national over the other in KSA or any part of the world builds disputes and rifts, brings cultural and ethnic misunderstanding, causes depression and theorizes a protest for the justice. Ignoring an individual on his/her nationality instead of considering his/her qualification, experience, work efficiency and compatibility will always bring a wrong impression. How would an expat aim to stay in the kingdom and think for the goodness if he/she is rejected for his/her not being a Saudi? And if being Saudi is must then the nationality should be granted after a minimum stay of 5 Islamic or Gregorian years. There are thousands and thousands of cases where an expat like me is born and raised here. On my 33rd year, a guy like me, after all the life spent here, is clueless about his future after reading and listening all the rules and observing the tensions created by those rules for the expats.
 
That is not how the country is led by prioritizing the locals and completely ignoring the expats or firing them from the jobs. A wrong example is created globally to the observers because of most of the people in America, Europe, Australia or even in India, are working and studying together as a job seeker who is eager to fulfill his/her dream/ambition to become something and a student who is aiming high with no distinction and divergence.
 
5. With the state of being shocked and surprised also indicates the hatred when one stated in the article, “We don’t know how they got in and who let them in”. This sounds like if the organizers forgot to fix the notice board outside the job fair that “No Beggars And Dogs Are Allowed”. Shoo Expat! Shoo!
 
Being born and bred here in this country, being a son of my city, Jeddah, I advocate for the employment of the Saudi men and women who hold a lot of promises in their chosen fields. I do wish that the citizens, like the expats, should boost the economy by their contribution. But but but not by cutting or firing the expats from their jobs to replace us with the Saudis but by creating employment opportunities, so the citizens and the expats can together help and stabilize the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
 
May Lord bless the King and the Kingdom. Amen.

I AM SAMI NAIK