For people who have never been to Saudi Arabia, the fact that we are one of the biggest producers of oil often gives the impression of affluence. And in major tourist attractions around the world, every Saudi tourist is thought to be a member of royalty. That’s why I believe it’s important to show that that privilege and extravagance is only true for a very small and shrinking faction of Saudi society. Some of the rest are well-off as a middle-class. And then we have the majority; people living from paycheck to paycheck or some who can’t find jobs. This is a link to an anonymous blogger who has taken it upon himself/herself to contrast the wealth of our highest-class up against the conditions of the poor and some run-down government facilities such as hospitals and schools.
The growing unemployment rate and the rising numbers of households who cannot make ends meet have been a throbbing headache for those in power. Dr. Al Qosaibi was called in to rescue the government once again as he had with the health sector but even he could not do much when up against the stubborn muttawa ideology. Every common sense proposal he tried to implement was shot down by the dogged fundamentalist.
It is depressing that in a country where there are nine million people brought in on worker contracts, many of whom are low-skill, our own Saudi youth go to waste from joblessness and idleness. Young women not being able to take jobs because they cannot afford a driver to transport them to work or they are told that their job goes against our religion and traditions. Banking jobs are believed to be unblessed by God. Hospital jobs and any other jobs that involve working with men can get in the way of a woman’s marriage prospects and are simply forbidden by many families.
Young men who have to compete in a market where a Saudi’s basic salary could get the employer three men from India, Sri Lanka or the Philippines. I know that some accuse Saudis of being pompous and lazy but I know for a fact that the majority are hardworking and hungry for opportunity. These imported workers are willing to work ten to twelve hour work days and even live at nearby cramped quarters assigned by the employer. And all at a salary that could barely sustain an individual in Saudi Arabia, never mind households. How could a Saudi compete with that?!
To read more about poverty in KSA, here’s a link to a previous post.