Addressing the 1,000 Pink Elephants in the Room

Being the astute student of current events that I am, it is impossible for me to turn a blind eye to the Kunation’s current juicy, topic of discussion. It is time to address the pink elephant in the room, the proverbial sword of Damocles hanging over everyone’s head.

The granting of KD1,000 as a gift from his highness, The Amir, to the Kuwaiti people. Rumor has it this amount is to be augmented by a further KD750 from one other official (The Crown Prince? I am totally unaware of the system after the Amir to be honest) and KD500 from another.

A purported grand-total of KD2,250, or roughly $8,000.

Now, let us begin the dissection.

First, it is a grand show of solidarity on behalf of the Kuwaiti populace. This tiny, minute country on the Arabian Gulf which boasts the world’s strongest currency.

What deeply saddens me though, is the reaction of the people.

No doubt many of you read the “other” blog (hehe, cheeky devil I am) and must have seen that the post dated January 17, 2011 has generated an overwhelming response from Kuwaiti citizens and Expats alike. There are several mixed views, from both sides ironically. Some expats are congratulatory, some are cautionary, others are speculative and wondering, “well where is our share?”. Perhaps most intriguing is the reaction of Kuwaiti Citizens who believe this further personifies Kuwaitis as being “lazy” and getting money for nothing, whilst others were quite receptive of the amount, vowing to spend it wisely, whilst others will blow it on accessories and what not. Perhaps the most disturbing comments are those of citizens attacking the complaining expats; there have been words tossed around such as “second class citizens”, and the most used line was “if you don’t like it, leave, you have no rights”.

It saddens me to read such comments, from both sides mind you, expats and citizens alike.

The problem is, the comments of the few which are spiteful, are always taken to be the general consensus of that particular faction, as they say in Arabic الحســنة تخــص والســيئة تــعم (please feel free to correct my spelling if I am mistaken). Those few expats who complain about their “dues” will reflect upon the entirety, as well as those few Kuwaiti citizens who brag, boast and complain as to how they will spend the money (albeit they may be joking), and the other few who took accusatory stances and condemned all expats as money-hungry blood-suckers who should go back to their own countries if they are not happy here.

I will not start with the cliché argument of “we are all one” and “flower power”. What I will say is, why do people take things so personally?

It shames me to believe that in this country that has come so far, this mentality of inequality still remains. And let me tell you, from the stories I have been told, it has come far:

My grandmother, god rest her soul, and grandfather, god rest his soul, came to Kuwait to work in the medical and educational fields respectively. I remember my grandmother telling me stories of how Kuwait was a barren desert-land, infested with mice and rats, with no running water in some areas. Stories about receiving postal letters, transportation, attending functions etc. really, Kuwait has come quite far.

Another view from the eyes of an expat; I have spent the better part of my 24 years of age here, I was born here, I was raised here, I went to school here, and I now work here. Kuwait has changed. The golden age would have been the 90’s, when rents were reasonable and apartments were spacious. Key in the construction bubble, and all the buildings of old which were 4 stories at best, 4 apartments to a floor, were razed and replaced with their gargantuan doubles, with half the space and double the rent. True, there are no taxes, but the cost of living in Kuwait has been steadily rising with salaries held stable, stale comes to mind.

An expat employee in the ministry of electricity has received the same salary, from before the Gulf war, till quite recently when the Cabinet approved their overdue increments.

Can you imagine that?

So, not all expats are living a high life of luxury, some of them are struggling, but that is not the concern of the Kuwaiti citizens (unless they add to that burden).

Expats are here in Kuwait by choice, not by force. We are all transients, so at one point of time or the other, we are all destined to leave this country or be buried here (as opposed to having our mortal remains expatriated). Whether it is living conditions, climate, education, work prospects etc. that keeps us here, it is unilaterally by choice. There is NOTHING wrong with going to where you get the most benefits. Not one place is perfect, so like they said, Kuwait is a paradise compared to other places, even nations such as the USA or UK. In the end, it is all relative.

On the other hand, not all Kuwaiti citizens are filthy rich and rolling in it, as many expats are inclined to believe.

The media has painted Kuwaiti citizens as being lavish live-style leaders, who spend more than they earn, take out loans to go on vacation, drive fast cars and live in large mansions.

“Cradle-to-Grave” benefits is a term used to describe all Kuwaitis.

However, even this seemingly perfect system has had unfortunate individuals fall through the cracks, as is apparent in the “other” blogs follow-up.

To some, that grant will be a welcomed respite, a breath of fresh air, a loosening of the strangle-hold of debt and impoverishment.

So why should the expats complain when the likes of these unfortunates receive this grant?

The minority (who represent the majority) will always feel like they’re efforts are unrecognized. The majority (who are a minority) i.e. the citizens should not take such feelings personally, as it leads to the breeding of animosity.

The reason I stopped viewing CNN.com was due to their bias reporting, and the fact that every ignorant hick who felt the need to parade their idiocy online were left unrestrained; it lead to several, disgusting comments attacking Islam, to which I said no more.

As a society, we are in need of restrictions, and guidelines. For without them, without authority, there will be chaos, as is evident by the overwhelming responses to that particular post.

Let not the deluded perception of a few tarnish the thoughts of the many.

In closing, a few passages from the holy quran:

{وَعَسَى أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَعَسَى أَنْ تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ} [البقرة: 216]}
        ( إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ )
قال رسول الله عليه الصلاة والسلام(كلكم راعى وكلكم مسؤولن عن رعيته) فيجب ان يعلم هؤلأ انهم سيوسألون عن تلك الاموال يوم القيامه فماذا ستكون إجابتهم أمام الله عز وجل قال تعالى
 (اليوم نختم على افوههم وتكلمنا ايدهم وتشهد ارجلهم بما كانو يكسبون)

And on another, completely unrelated note, The Ministry of Electricity and Water issued the following statement; 2013 power shortage imminent.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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