Educating Expats on Vitamin Wasta in Kuwait

The following incident truly took place, and hence it is opportune to discuss this matter with all expats that make up the Three Million population of the State of Kuwait, especially those who are newly arriving, or those that have been here for a short time, or even those unfamiliar with the following term:

Vitamin W

We’ve all heard the word “Wasta” at one point of time or the other, during our stay in Kuwait. Also known as nepotism (i.e. favoritism), and colloquially referred to as Vitamin W, wasta is a term misunderstood in Kuwait.

The scene referred to in the opening paragraph was quite peculiar, never before seen in all my 25 years of association with the State of Kuwait.

A newly arrived expat, a friend of a friend, had had a touch of trouble with a person with a local friend, and said local friend threw around the word “wasta”, this may or may not have happened mind you, I am not entirely sure, what I am sure of is that one fine morning I was asked to go to the Jabriya Police Station to act as translator. Mind you I am no lawyer, the extent of my law background stems from an acute interest in all books by John Grisham, as well as televised series such as Boston Legal.

The cause of the incident is not what I am here to share, at least partially. Our newly arrived expat friend had heard the word “wasta” being thrown around and feared for their lives, as apparently they understood that Wasta could make them disappear.

The Chief Inspector in charge of the station was quick to address their query, upon my translation, and laugh it off. He explained that a) Kuwait is not a lawless land, b) no one can just “make you disappear”.

This is a response to the idiom of “I can deport you, I’m a national“, amongst threats of guilt-free physical violence.

If a person is deemed a threat to national security, or committed a breach in the laws of the country, then and only then can they be deported from the country. It is not at the beck and call or the whim of the national to deport an expat for say, reaching for the same item in a shopping boutique, or vying for the same parking spot in a parking lot.

Wasta is a local term for a global pandemic. All countries, institutions, companies and facilities experience it in one form or another.

Wasta is a term that has seeped its way into every aspect of life. It is the weed that has grown in the garden of equality. Life can function without it, make no mistake.

Its existence is Undeniable, however its influence is Debatable.

Rest assured expats of Kuwait, Wasta is nothing more than the grease that oils the system, nothing more, nothing less.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

error: Sorry, Ctrl+C/V disabled; if you wish to use this content please contact us :)
%d bloggers like this: