Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Desis, Multiculturalism, Saudization, and Marriage: Part I—From Birth to Career

By Chiara


© Suehyb AlKhatib 
 
I am very pleased that Abdullah has agreed to contribute a post about his own story of a culturally mixed life in Saudi Arabia, and the potential marriage implications.

I first met “NidalM” as a commentator on Qusay’s excellent blog Precognitive (highly precognitive and cognitive both!). NidalM’s wit and intelligence, shone through his comment on Qusay’s post, “Saudi Asstronaut” about the plight of Mazen, the Saudi divorcé boastful about his sexual exploits in Jeddah on a LBC programme.

Since he weathered well a comment of mine on his vocabulary, I was inspired to check out Abdullah’s blog, NidalM Photography Blog, a subset of his professional photography site NidalM Photography which includes a striking portfolio with photos from the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Now his blog is a must visit! Truly wonderful photos and commentaries on life and his trekking adventures in Saudi and beyond (to Kenya too)!

Abdullah is 23, born in Pakistan, but raised in Saudi Arabia since the age of 1 month. Both his parents are Pakistani, although his mother was raised partly in Tanzania. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Saudi Arabia's prestigious King Faud University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), and a Master's degree in Financial Engineering from the prestigious University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He currently works for a Saudi investment company, and does freelance photography work part-time.

I was pleased to discover what a good writer he is in a longer format, and happy to have him contribute his 2-part personal essay, Part I below, and Part II in the next post.




© Abdullah Mohiuddin The Ambassador Bridge linking the US to Canada

I sighed as I looked at the US border protection officer dissecting my passport. I drove the 4.5 hours (plus another hour for "border patrol") from Ann Arbor to Toronto, to visit family, literally every weekend while studying at the University of Michigan. And yet every time, the same exact thing.

"Where did you say you were from again?", the officer asked me.

"Pakistan, like my passport says", I replied with a blank face. It never helps to have a personality at international border crossings.

"But it says here your visa was issued in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia", he gives me an accusing stare.

"Right", I replied, "that's where I live".


"For how long?".

"20 years", managing to put my best smile in.
"20 years?! Doesn't that make you a Saudi then? You look like a Saudi to me [I sported a goatee in those days]. Do you speak Arabic?"

"Uhh, yes I do. But I'm not Saudi. I just live there."

That pretty much sums up every conversation about my origins I had in the United States (that and whether I was related to Rafael Nadal). It would seem that a Pakistani, living his entire life in Saudi Arabia, and sporting a very American accent, is too much for a lot of Westerners to comprehend. I don't blame them. Things are rarely very simple in Saudi Arabia.






© Suehyb AlKhatib, Me with a goatee!

I was born in Karachi on a cold winter's morning in December of 1985, a day after Christmas. A month after my birth, my mother would move permanently to stay with my father in Saudi Arabia. For the next 20 years of my life, I would be raised as a Pakistani amongst Saudis, visiting Pakistan for a few weeks every year. It's a strange life, living in a foreign country and visiting your home once a year.

Only, it wasn't really like that.

The truth was, I always felt like a visitor going back to Pakistan--arriving at the airport to huge fanfare and being paraded to relatives' homes; months filled with endless dinner invitations, weddings, and sightseeing; hugging it out with the grandparents; and catching up with cousins. It was all very amazing, and yet all very wrong. It wasn't real life, just a very long vacation. I hate to admit it, but I would always breathe a deep sigh of relief reaching home in Saudi Arabia. To my young and very naive mind, Saudi was home.

Saudi Arabia wasn't an easy change for my mother either, at least at first. Raised jointly in Tanzania and Pakistan, she was used to being very social and sociable. In a strange country, with few friends, and even fewer opportunities, as a woman, to go out and meet others, this was literally torture for her. She tells me stories of how she spent her first two years in Saudi without doing anything but wait for my dad to return from work. "Worst two years of my life", she tells me, "and I'm glad it didn't last long". At 1 year old, I guess I wasn't much of a conversationalist.



© Turki Shoaib. I recently went to Kenya. And part of my reason for going was to see the places my mother had toured while growing up. She always described a life of endless safaris and meeting amazing people.

All that changed when my dad accepted a teaching position at one of Saudi Arabia's leading universities. We moved into a university compound, and my mother made dozens of friends literally overnight. And I grew up in a melting pot made up of University professors, and their families, from every corner of the globe--ranging from Saudis, Pakistanis, and Indians, to Americans, Canadians, and Brits. The white kids tended to stay to themselves. To be on talking terms with one was the epitome of "cool". As a nerdy kid with an eyepatch, I just didn't make the cut.






© Mohiuddin Ahmed :D Me and my younger brother back in 1992. We had one good pair of eyes between us :) Arrrr... pass ye grog!

Growing up in this compound, it was always us (expats) versus them (Saudis). We fought over who got to play at the playground, who got to walk where, and so on. We had to deal with a lot of racist remarks (especially the Desi kids), but I admit we did take it too far sometimes as well. As we grew up and went to university, the cultural differences were more subdued. The foreigners tended to be coming from a more multicultural and competitive background, hence we tended to perform better. This meant respect from Saudis, many of whom would work with us on projects. We all learned. We all loved it. I got a job straight out of uni, and was promised a scholarship to be sent to the US. All these made me feel like I could call this place home--perhaps.





© Abdullah Mohiuddin. King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Where I grew up, studied; and, dare I say it, the one place in the world which comes the closest to 'my home'.

But then, the walls seemed to suddenly close in. Working in Saudi Arabia turned out to be completely different than the fairy-tale childhood I had. As a pre-requisite to working here, I had to transfer my Iqama (residency permit) from my father's sponsorship to that of the company. And that brought with it a chilling set of consequences. You are not free to switch jobs, not free to leave the country (even to Bahrain to catch a quick movie) unless your employer agrees. Should you and your employer get at odds, they can cancel your Iqama, and you are required to leave the country, within a months notice, even if you had been living there for decades.




© Abdullah Mohiuddin. The iqama might be a handcuff in disguise, but sometimes the people running the iqama system make mistakes. Invariably, hilarity ensues. If you can read Arabic, I am not born on the first of July, and am not an Electronics Engineer. They also transliterated 'Male' into my name there.

You are also required to work longer hours than the locals. And for a lower pay. In Saudi Arabia, the pay scale is as follows: Saudis and Westerners at the top, followed by Arabs of other countries. Then come nationals from South Asia, and at the bottom of the list, are nationals from non-Muslim developing countries like the Philippines. This is actual government policy, not something from observation, and is implemented in the payment system of most institutions. This includes companies known worldwide for their exceptional HRs, such as P&G.

While I have no qualms with my own employer -- they have been remarkably accommodating with exit/re-entry visas, even so far afield as Kenya, as well as my full ride to the University of Michigan--the stories that I do hear sometimes give me pause. I've given 20 years to the country (to be honest, taken more than I have given), but all it would take for me to be expelled would be for me to lose my job. In a way, it feels very unfair to be treated differently from people I've studied alongside simply on the basis of a passport.

Incidentally, this policy has resulted in a new practice among Saudi expats, especially in the South Asian community. That is, they will always look to complete their educations in the United States and other western countries and seek to obtain the citizenship abroad. With the new passport in hand, they return to earn triple to quadruple of what they would earn previously. Given Saudi's policy for never naturalizing its expatriates, most of this money that will never enter circulation in Saudi and most likely be sent 'home', to the detriment of the country's balance of payments.

On Saudization



The reasoning given behind all of this is, of course, Saudization. In an effort to improve local employment figures, political moves have been taken to appease the masses. The problem with Saudization is--as any economist could tell you--it doesn't work. In the short term it increases employments of locals, sure. But over the longer term, those benefits vanish due to lowered incentives for the locals to work hard (less competition = less effort). Many international companies will not open full-fledged offices in Saudi Arabia, simply because it's both too expensive to hire locally, and the level of performance of local hires does not measure up to what they have in other Middle Eastern offices (mostly in Dubai), which are composed mainly of expats. This means many Saudi jobs are now being 'outsourced' internationally = fewer jobs, defeating the whole purpose of Saudization, and causing an overall loss to the economy.


That's not to say Saudi's aren't capable! It just means that there aren't enough qualified professionals to meet the requirements of the industry. You can only have so many bankers, engineers and doctors. Once the smartest and brightest are hired (usually by the multinationals/ARAMCO), the remaining companies are forced to turn to less and less qualified individuals (which incidentally hurts local businesses more than international ones). The normal reaction in an open market would be to tap into another talent pool (i.e. internationally). Limit this, and you hurt your economy.



How does one fix these issues? Well, here's an answer from a financial engineer and an armchair political analyst (the best kind!!). NATURALIZE YOUR EXPAT WORKFORCE. If someone is so important to a local company that they've employed them for 10+ years, it's a safe bet that keeping them around in the country would be a good thing. Not only does it increase the talent level of your workforce (you now have more talented Saudis), but with a definite avenue of naturalization, the now locals will spend more in Saudi, and will not take their money with them as they leave. There's also a psycho-social component. Children of successful people have advantages both intrinsic and extrinsic to be successful themselves. You probably want them around as well. This is a process that has worked well in the US, Canada, and the UK with high educational and career achievements among 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants (and is also the reason why you pay them exorbitant sums to come work for you).



Of course something like this is easier said than done. The topic of giving out Saudi citizenship is a real can of worms.

Abdullah has given us much to appreciate and reflect on already, before opening that can of worms.
Your comments? Your thoughts? Any bicultural/cross-cultural experiences to share?


Coming next...Part II--From Career to Courtship

33 comments:

Prince said...

Such a touchy and amazing Article.
Maybe i like it, because me too suffering from the same.

Regards
Saad

Chiara said...

Saad--Welcome to my blog, and thank you for your kind comment. I am sorry your are suffering from similar challenges. Does that mean you are a South Asian raised in Saudi? There seem to be a number of successful adults who have both benefited from and been challenged by that upbringing. Please feel free to share more of your story here. Thanks again for your comment.

NidalM said...

Regarding the Saudi refusal to do "less desirable jobs" leading to the necessity of foreign (Asian) workers:

Thanks for giving me the chance to post here :) It's been a pleasure working with Chiara, though I must admit Ramadan had slowed me down quite a bit.


And I completely agree on the "less desirable jobs". In the end, it is this factor that affects the country's unemployment rate more than any foreign 'job snatching' does. There are several social barriers to progress, but change is coming... but slowly, as all things in Saudi...
September 26, 2009 7:20 PM

Chiara said...

Abdullah--thanks for your kind words. It was a pleasure to work with you, and now I know how to use a Google Document!

I was curious whether you think the "less desirable jobs" would become more desirable if the pay were higher, or are there some jobs which Saudis would not do no matter what. Restricting "guest workers" or immigrants to a narrow set of positions which would not otherwise be filled, and at the same rate as the position dictates would be more in line with other immigration policies. For example, live in care givers (whether for the children or the elderly) have immigration advantages for Canada because there is a demand that Canadians don't fill. However, all provincial and federal labour laws including wages, time off, maximum hours per week, vacation pay, health care coverage etc apply as if the hire were Canadian. After a 2 year contract they can apply for regular immigration status, and work in any capacity, anywhere in the country, and 3 years later they can apply for citizenship. The program is restrictive in that the hires must have legitimate qualifications for the position, so not just anyone can immigrate in this capacity. However, it does protect the live in caregivers and give them a legitimate route to citizenship.
September 27, 2009 12:15 AM

Add said...

Loved the post! Being a Canadian son of an expat, and having been born and lived in Saudi, I can relate a lot to this post! Looking forward to the next one! :)
September 27, 2009 6:40 AM

Mightydacz said...

omg very nice essay ,very well said indeed abdullah is a great writer, from reading the article i can say to myself that i can relate to his story as an expat specially on the paragraphs after the picture of his iqama....wink lol...kudos to abdullah and thank you for sharing this to your blogsite...
September 27, 2009 8:55 PM

Anonymous said...

Excellent article and quite humorous indeed.... I loved your simple yet witty analysis of the whole "employ Saudi" issue...Just one last thing, Can one truly claim to be a good Muslim if they view some people to be "beneath them"?.
September 27, 2009 9:25 PM

Anthrogeek10 said...

Salaams to all,

It was said,
"In America, the attitude is "Its dirty work but somebody's gotta do it!" I encourage all Saudis to watch the humorous TV show called "Dirty Jobs" hosted by funny man Mike Rowe (http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/dirtyjobs/about/about.htm) and maybe it can change their minds as the Discovery channel believes..."

We know that culturally, even we Americans have issues with certain jobs. Why do you think those jobs are attended to by Mexican and other Latin American citizens? We are not completely immune. When living in bahrain and was wearing a Shalwaar Kameeze on my way to my first Pakistani wedding, I was attacked by the local population with empty bottles thrown from the car calling me some name.

Anyhow....Abdullah is very highly intelligent. I wish I was 20 years old. :-) haha! Alas, I am not any longer...lol

anthrogeek10
September 28, 2009 1:11 AM

Chiara said...

Add--A fellow Canuck! Maple syrup with your Lahooh Bel Loaz or rose water/almond pancakes? LOL :) I hope you enjoy Part II!

Mightydacz--I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and hope you enjoy Part II. Abdullah has a great combination of writing and photographic skills to go with his wit and intelligence. I get your expat working conditions point! LOL :)

Anonymous--Glad you enjoyed, and "Aye, there's the rub" to quote Shakespeare in answer to your question about Islamic attitudes. Otherwise, I believe the Prophet's "Final Sermon" answered it quite well, and that would be in a short form "no".

Anthrogeek 10--Salam, and thank you for your thought provoking comment. Indeed, the US seems to tolerate or encourage an illegal immigrant workforce in certain sectors as a planned economic strategy.
Your experience of racism as an honorary "Desi" is disturbing. Perhaps you would care to elaborate a little here as you have elsewhere.
As to your final comment, yes, and remember your marriage vows! LOL :) :P
September 28, 2009 6:55 PM

NidalM said...

I actually followed that show on discovery pretty intently for a season or two. And heres the thing you learn, if you have jobs that people are unwilling to do, you end up paying more for them

A truck driver in the US is paid $30k/yr, one carrying dangerous materials, $60k. Thats what a fresh graduate from undergrad and masters make respectively. By contrast, I'd be surprised if a truckdriver in the Middle East gets paid more than $5k.

@mightydacz, You should hear the story where a police officer tried to peddle me porn... 0_0

@Anonymous Chiara has it right on. The prophet has said "No Arab is superior to a non Arab, no white superior to a black" as part of his farewell sermon.

@Anthrogeek, sometimes I wish I was 20 again as well ;P Life comes at you fast once you're out of university :s
September 28, 2009 11:37 PM

Qusay said...

U know, when I first came across Abdullah's blog, and until he said in a comment on my blog that he was Pakistani, I thought he was Saudi. The thing is, I am from Jeddah, many of my friends look like him, since they have Indian or Pakistani roots which go back many hundreds of years ago.

Just a correction " In Saudi Arabia, the pay scale is as follows: Saudis and Westerners at the top, followed by..."

The Saudi pay is lower than the westerner's pay. I have worked for almost 10 years, I do not own land, I could not afford it, I did not own a house, I could not afford it... and it is true that other nationalities get lower pay, but they end up owning real estate and are better off when they decide to retire to their own land when the time comes... not all of course...

I am with naturalizing the workforce, many people have only known Saudi since the day they were born, consider it home... and if they really want to... they should have the chance to really call it home.

Good knowing about you Abdullah, I have not met you, but I like you from your posts and now I respect you even more.

Good job mate... wish you the best.
September 29, 2009 1:05 PM

Chiara said...

NidalM--you are accurate about higher pay for less desirable jobs, including danger pay, shift premiums, isolated location premiums, etc. As our national newspapers informed us during their summer strike for more pay, Toronto garbagemen (garbagepersons) after 4 years make $26.00 per hour,ie 2 1/2 times minimum wage, plus benefits. This is roughly the same salary as for the graduate student TAs (Master's or PhD students tutoring undergraduates) who are part of the same union (Canadian Union of Public Employees CUPE).

Qusay--welcome, and thank you for your thoughtful comment. I must admit I shared the "What is he really" wondering about Abudullah based on his photos of himself and his comments. I am glad he shared his identities here in such away that many can relate, either being in the same situation or an analogous one. That he is so successful at it is an inspiration to others I'm sure.

Now, Saudi pay being lower than Westerners' is rather Shakespearean Iago-ish, must "rub him [the Moor Othello] to a quat [a sore]"--and rightfully so!
September 29, 2009 3:53 PM

Susanne said...

Oh yay! I am so happy to find a post about Nidal! I love his pictures from Kenya and am happy the jumping picture is here! (Wonder if it worked yet?!?!?! Ha, ha!) I love his sense of humor. :-) And, dang, he is precious even with an eye patch ... awwww. Thanks so much for sharing about your growing up years and your thoughts on Saudi nationalization. I also thought you were Saudi until I started reading your blog or found your Q&A meme on Flickr....somehow I found out. Anyway, loved this.

Thanks, Chiara! Great work! :)
September 30, 2009 4:03 AM

Chiara said...

Susanne--Thanks for your comment and kind words! Aren't the 2 of them precious with their eye patches! LOL :)
Be sure to check out Part II, more wit and pics(and Kenyan flamingos in the distance)!

September 30, 2009 4:28 AM

NidalM said...

@Qusay, Chiara, The payscale revision is news to me! But then again, I'm not all that surprised. Here's hoping that people start getting treated as per their merits rather than their passports...

As for the issue of land. While its true that foreigners own land back in their countries, in the process of being an expatriate, the meaning of 'home' changes...

@Susanne, Glad you found the post as well! Sadly no, my ritual of Masai dancing has not paid off. I might have just disproved Masai spirituality... or maybe it only works in Africa ;P
September 30, 2009 11:27 AM

Chiara said...

NidalM--I agree fully that pay should be by merit rather than passport, colour, ethnicity, religion, race, and might I add gender! Women in professional fields still earn less than men, including in North America, and "mommy tracks" don't fully explain it, leaving gender as the only explanation according to well done studies.
So true that "home" changes and some are caught totally off guard by reverse culture shock, feeling like foreigner in their "homeland", and having others treat them as such.
Regarding Masai spirituality...I hope you haven't upset one of their jinns! :( LOL :)
September 30, 2009 3:56 PM

Anthrogeek 10 said...

Chiara said:
"Your experience of racism as an honorary "Desi" is disturbing. Perhaps you would care to elaborate a little here as you have elsewhere."

I thought I elaborated enough. :) It really was just that, walking down the street being a normal person when two bottles were thrown my way and one hit me. They were thrown from a car. I was appalled. My now ex at the time was quiet and really reserved for a few days after that....

I was pinched in the behind by a Saudi kid in Seef Mall on Eid. My now ex husband threw him up to the wall and told him "If you ever touch my wife again, I will get you thrown in jail". I pressed charges. lol


If the World Bank, USAID or IMF were not "festival elephants", poverty actually could be eliminated. I am happy for things like the Grameen Bank...

anthrogeek10


As to your final comment, Chiara, yes, and remember your marriage vows! LOL :)
September 30, 2009 4:30 PM

Chiara said...

Anthrogeek--thanks for elaborating, and adding. Now enquiring minds want to know--what did the authorities do when you pressed charges?
Grameen Bank is a wonderful model. Sometimes I think about writing a paper on how such a model might work within families, eg, in large extended families there are often members who have less capital, and less of a credit rating, who might receive micro loans from other family members, as opposed to a gift, or a silent partner startup investment that is never repaid. It might help the person feel more responsible and accountable and help with dignity. Family honour would serve the same function as peer honour in the Grameen model. Hmmmm, one for the to be written pile. :)

To your LOL :) a LOL :)!

Glad you are commenting here, and I hope you comment on new and older posts as well. See what strikes your fancy!

You seem like a woman who has just freed herself from Arabic language homework! LOL :) :P :)
September 30, 2009 4:52 PM

Wahhabi Backward Mullah said...

Being a desi whose two brothers were born in Saudi and who spent 18 years of life in Saudi, I am pretty much in agreement with what Abdullah has said.

I, however, feel that such change will not come overnight. Most of the people in Saudi love Islam. Islam must be used to propagate such message and that might increase the credibility of this opinion among Saudi masses. I think if we will make empty statements without considering the context of a Saudi society, we will not be successful. It has to be somehow taught to the Saudis that Islamically and hence on Sharia basis, desis must be given equality and justice.

Those were my few cents. I think I have Nidal on my flickr account :p. But did not know hes desi.
November 9, 2009 9:23 PM

Chiara said...

Wahhabi Backward Muslim--thank for a very high value few cents comment. Indeed, substantive social change comes slowly, from within, and from evolution of the existing societal paradigms. Yes, NidalM keeps us all guessing!

Welcome and thank you again for commenting.
If you would like to contribute your own personal story please contact me at chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com
In any case, I hope you will also comment on older and newer posts. All the best!
November 11, 2009 7:52 PM

Single4now said...

It's unfortunate that there is a pay scale based on your nationality and skin colour. I'm especially aware of this in the Middle. I doubt this will change much and is one of the things I extremely dislike. You work hard, you get paid accordingly. How hard is it to follow this rule? However, the government puts the Caucasians in top positions to gain recognition from foreign governments. It puts it's locals at top positions because they are their citizens and few in number compared to the expats and tries to give them a reason to get educated. The expats are a dime a dozen and disposable. One goes, another will come to replace him/her. This attitude make you realize this country may be where you've spent most of your life but it's certainly not one to call home.
November 16, 2009 8:29 AM

Single4now said...

Just wondering, is there a way to comment on Nidal's photographs? Or perhaps it's just my browser.
November 16, 2009 8:31 AM

NidalM said...

@Wahhabi Backward Mullah

I think its ironic that a people who were once the forefront of Science must now be reasoned with, not through logic and knowledge, but through religion.

And I didn't realize I have you on flickr! What's your ID? Send me a message :P
November 16, 2009 11:43 AM

Chiara said...

Single4now--Yes you can definitely comment on NidalM's photoblog. There is a comment section at the end of each post, and you sign in with name and email address, and then can submit your comment either as a guest or by joining Disqus. I assume that is what you meant. Check out his site: nidalm.com

An excellent observation on the rationale behind the hierarchy among workers.

Please send me an email to chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com as I have a question to ask. Thanks.

NidalM-you might have something to add to how to comment on your pictures. Thanks for replying to comments here--ironic indeed.

Wahhab Backward Mullah--just wanted to prove I could get your name right! LOL :) Also I do hope you will comment on newer and older posts!
November 16, 2009 8:04 PM

Single4now said...

Chiara - Yep, I have discovered the comment system on the blogs but it would be great to be able to comment on his pictures in his portfolio as well. :)

PS: I've sent you an email. :)
November 17, 2009 3:10 AM

Chiara said...

Single4now--I got your email thanks. Hopefully Abdullah will find time to enlighten us soon! LOL :)
November 17, 2009 8:23 PM

Single4now said...

There are certainly benefits of living in Saudi but it makes a difference when you put in so many yrs into building your life in a country & it hits you that when it comes to retirement, you cannot permanently stay there. Actually, do correct me if I'm wrong on that part but in a lot of Middle Eastern countries, you can live there only as long as you are working. Plus, NidalM mentioned how a company can put a ban on you and you have to leave the country, which is rather unfortunate for all the work/yrs you've put in. Most people appreciate western countries because they at least have the ability to apply for citizenship and permanent residency and get paid according to the work they've put in. Generally, there is only a small difference, if any, between the non-citizen/non-caucasian and a citizen/caucasian pay. In contrast, the pay difference is extremely obvious in Middle Eastern countries. This leads to eventual frustration and higher job dissatisfaction.

It would be great if SA and other countries consider some leniency on the matter but I highly doubt that would happen any time soon.

Chiara - with the current news of the shooting at Fort Hood, I'm hoping it doesn't have a backlash against American Muslim doctors, inshaAllah.
November 19, 2009 5:34 AM

Chiara said...

Single4now--I agree completely. The backlash against Major Hasan, and the increased discussion of homegrown terrorist is bad enough!
November 21, 2009 3:09 AM

Chiara said...

PS I agree, that being forced out after a lifetime of work in a place is difficult even if you plan for it.
November 21, 2009 3:10 AM

amnafatani said...

I loved it. Amazing wit and humor made me fuzzed between wanting to skim through and finish it quickly and reading it at a slow pace to swallow and chew.
Can't wait to start the part II!

Chiara said...

Amna--Welcome, and thank you for commenting on my blog. Your excellent new one is already on my blog roll on the right side bar.

I am glad you liked this post. Meet me at Part II! LOL :)

aalia said...

I've known Nidal from twitter.At the beginning,I thought that he was Saudi but then I discovered that he's not.I didn't know how he is feeling :( I'm against"Saudization"or "Men before Women",we should consider the employee as a person and look to his/her qualifications.I'm Saudi but because I have non-Saudi origins,many people made fun of me like they usually do with people who have "non-Saudi" origins.I've had foreign friends practically all my life.It's so unfair how they are treated:( They grew up here and this is home for many.In university,a lot of them are rejected except for the gifted or who have Saudi moms.The gifted students,ironically,can major in specific things,since medicine is a very competitive major,they're not allowed to major in it.You know, my sister's friend only got in university before midterms by a week and she was able to score really high.The way they're treated in University is so obnoxious.In school,many of my friends were laughed at,sometimes I was laughed at because I'm their friend.honestly, I see KSA as a lost cause,and if they don't appreciate someone like Nidal,it's their loss

Chiara said...

Aalia--Welcome! Thank you for your comment, and sharing your own experiences and those of friends, which gives us a broader perspective. Thank you as well for including a link to this post in a tweet. I hope you enjoy reading Part II and will also read and comment on older and newer posts.
Thank you again!

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