Monday, December 3, 2007

Why do we live here?

I just got back from a vacation in London a week ago. If you're wondering why I didn't post anything on this blog since then it's because I proposed to my girl in London, she said yes and I was just reveling in the joy of being engaged! Now that the effect has worn off (to a certain extent) I am back to my blogging ways!

For the most part of my travels in the past, I didn't really bother about coming back to Kuwait from a vacation. Probably because it didn't matter that much at the time. On this return journey however, I just got this sinking feeling as soon as I landed into Kuwait. Partially because I was missing my fiancee. But more than anything else, it was because I was back in the land of the rude. In a country where the phrases "please" and "excuse me" have as much value as a screaming nun in a cemetary! I was transported from a land where people (although snooty) are polite, to a land where people are snooty, impolite and to a certain extent downright dumb. I refer to the people at immigration desks (including the women). Does it really cost them to be polite? Maybe smiling is something they reserve for weddings or hitting on people of the opposite sex and think it is wasted on travelers coming into the country but at least be civil instead of yelling out orders.

Makes you wonder doesn't it? If it wasn't for the money, we'd be long gone from here! Damn shame!


Lord Raj said...

Congratulations, mate.

Good to know that someone is having a good love life. Enjoy.

Lord Raj said...

About why we live here, well I was born and brought up here. and as much as people might disagree, I find life here EASIER.

I can't think of anyone else tolerating me as much as they tolerate me in my office.

I can't think of anyone back in India or in Europe even offering me a job in the field I am working now in..

There are people who have experience that is more than my age.... and not to mention a much better qualification.

Furthermore, as you put it, the money matters :)

Perhaps, because I have spend most of my time here, I find it easier to get things done here.

Anyways.. Congrats again and all the best.

Lord Raj said...

BTW, in the above comment, I was just speaking for myself.

No way is that binding for everyone else.

Just thought I'd mention this and make it clear. Don't want to be accused of generalising.

BarryUno said...

Thanks for the wishes mate. The topic of my engagement surely merits a separate post!

On the state of the people in Kuwait, what you've said is sad but true. Most of us have become so accustomed to the life here that we will find it difficult to be anywhere else. And to be honest, life is quite easy here. Most of us (reading this post)hardly use public transport. We don't pay taxes so we don’t have to file our tax returns at the end of every year like they do in the US. We don't have to pay environment tax or garbage tax like they do in Europe. The telephone service is free. Gas is cheaper than water (mineral water at least)

So in many ways we're all a lot more comfortable than we would have been if we were in another country. However, we have also come to a compromise. Our cultural and social development is stunted. We start becoming more and more like the locals. A perfect example would be my time management. When I had just come down to Kuwait from India I was spot on with regard to time and keeping my appointments. I later learnt that in Kuwait, most people take meetings for granted and can keep you waiting for anything between 10 minutes to an hour! And slowly this mentality started seeping into my ethos as well. Sad, eh? Another thing of note is mannerisms. We seem to have lost our manners here. People are just downright rude. At first it might have been the locals but nowadays even the Bangladeshi cleaners can get downright nasty with you if you're too lenient with them. Finally, this place makes you more and more racist and prejudiced (which is why I used the Bangladeshi comparison here). So while most of us have come to a compromise on this and have decided that money means a lot more to us than morals and principles, a lot of us have started thinking of other options. Damn shame!

Rubick said...

Congrats on ur engagement dude.No wonder u were missing in action on ur blog!
Why we r here is definitely a question that is complicted.We r here cos of the money.We r here cos some of us may or may not be able to get the same kind of jobs elsewhere with the same perks.So here i agree with raj.
On the other hand barry is right too.Its too easy here compared to other countries.Even india where we come from presents us with a difficult life.My parents for ex. love it in q8 and they r finding it hard to leave this country.
for most of us its a matter of getting used to the place and whether u like the place or not u have to admit that we have all got used to it.

Rayboy said...

Welcome back to KW, dude... I think the country missed people like you!. :-)

Lord Raj said...

Damn, Something wrong with the follow up comments option.. I DIDN'T GET ANY EMAILS.. (nothing wrong with your blog settings, guess my gmail has issues.. screw it).

Barry Do agree with your views. Have no reason not to.

Been to London and the people are definitely alot more civil. Can't say the same about the US though.. but screw it.

About racism and all.. yaar, I have actually seen worst cases happening in India (not getting into details, but trust me mate, it is BAD).

About the unprofessional manner .. couldn't agree with you more.

So you joining up with the rest as well. hmm Well, when in rome...

I haven't been able to get that into me yet though.. Still end up being punctual, be it for a meeting or be it for a project deadline.

That has had its advantages (promotions, performance bonus, a good word), but it has had it's draw backs too (more work load, more pressure, tighter deadlines)..

The good part is, I get to yell back :) (yes I do get a kick out of it, although after an hr - when I have managed to cool down).

Rubick - a very well balanced and well worded comment.

I believe you and Barry are also born and brought up in Kuwait. Correct me if I am wrong, but was Kuwait always like this?

I don't think so.

So who is really to be blamed for the present situation?

Well one could blame the yankees (one does tend to blame everything on them)

We could also blame Saddam (why not? )

We could blame Iran (going with the flow)

Or.. we could take a look at the changing demographics and the population composition and structure and arrive at a very different conclusion, which MIGHT NOT BE WELL RECEIVED BY MANY.


Just my view

BarryUno said...

Thanks Ray, Rubick! It's god to be back although I do miss the bars and grills in London! ;p

Very interesting observations raj. I have spent a large part of my life in Kuwait apoart from the US and a almost a decade in India. having lived here before the invasion, I have managed to see a lot of difference in the attitude of the locals and expats here.

Expats are a lot more demanding than they were back in the day. This is of course largely due to the fact that most second and third generation Indians in Kuwait (this could apply to other Asian groups as well) have had access to better education in the past decade. The nineties have opened doors for a lot of Asians to get inside Europe and the US for their further education. Besides being exposed to western principles & management styles have made us a little less tolerant towards injustices and we tend to stand up for ourselves a lot more than our parents did earlier!

Racism? There is a lot of it here but then again, we are all rasist so it doesnt even matter that much anymore. in fact I think Asians are more racist than white people for some reason! ;-)

Lord Raj said...

yes THEY ARE (personal observation)

Amaroq said...

Non-smiling workers, rudeness at every corner and those who look right through you like you don't exist. Wow went on vacation and returned and nothing changed so I guess it wasn't a dream after all. But I will still be my southern self and smile and be polite in the face of all of it.