Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why Saudi?

I remember once we were having an argument at work. A colleague was complaining that she hated living in this country. She said she did not feel free at all. Besides having to put on the abaya in this scorching heat, she entirely depended on a man to drive her around. She rattled basically about everything. And guess what? She was not the only one. Male colleagues were also complaining, and the females were trying to point out the fact that they, the men, were even more fortunate.

Now the point is, many of us were told of the life we would live in Saudi once we moved over. We accepted it because we were ready to move in search of new ventures and treasures. When we come over, reality strikes us in the face like a storm in the early hours of the morning. I recall how shocked I was when I went in search of a job at an institution. I asked for the ladies' waiting area. I was told that there was none, but I could wait in the ladies' toilet because that's where the female workers sit during their break. Okay, men and women (non-relatives) do not have to sit together in public places, but what was this crap about ladies sitting in the bathroom! 

My husband once told me of his experience at Taif. He was working on a project, so he had to spend a few days at Taif. He had the habit of calling every evening and on this fortunate day, he happened to run out of units. He quickly rushed to the closest and only mall he knew in the area which sold recharge cards. At the gate, he noticed that there were guards and an old man had just crossed. In his mind there was nothing wrong with men going in. While he was crossing the gate, a guard politely stopped him and told him that he could not get in because he was single; apparently it was family day. Whew! What a waste of time. This is Saudi; rules are rules.

We knew this country was conservative, yet we decided to come and live here either with our families or with friends and colleagues. As a Saudi colleague once put it, "Why do expats come here and complain? Saudi Arabia is our paradise. We love our country as it is. Why come and decide to move around unveiled and tempt our men with your beautiful hair? Why do women come here and insist that they want to be given the right to drive? Why, why, why? Please do not come if you are not prepared to live according to our standards?" 

Come to think of it, he had a point. Why come and complain? We were not forced to come here; maybe out of family obligations, but no one put a yoke around anyone's neck to come to Saudi Arabia. Live, love and enjoy the best of Saudi Arabia!


  1. We are complaining because the system is not good and not because it pleases us. There are many issues which are not addressed in this country because they are considered a taboo; I would not dare mention them here because I might write a whole book.
    The sponsorship system in itself sucks. I would not imagine someone threatening me at work because he got my passport? Common men! This is the modern world, no longer the colonization era.

  2. Same thing, this country is like this, if you want to stay here, stay like a fool without complaining or else go back to your country! we don't have any right here because we are expat and yes, we are not forced to live here so we don't have right to complain...


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