June 2, 2010

Saudi Arabia- an oasis for us, losers

That's right. Losers by society's standards. So, if you have no place to go and nobody wants you, come on over to Saudi Arabia- you will be in good company. What's more, you will rediscover your dignity as well as save some cash.

How so? OK, I'll give you an example. Let's say you are a glamorous young man aged 20-35, handsome and popular with women. You are a party animal , exercise freak , are quite good-looking and given to flirting with the opposite sex. Or, you are an up-and- coming young executive set on succeeding in the corporate world. Saudi Arabia should be the farthest thing from your mind. Do not come here! You would be nuts if you did.

Now, if you are a balding, paunchy, middle -aged loser, past his physical prime, and with a life full of disappointments in every area, including romantic and financial, with a divorce or two behind you, who is feeling that the world has largely past him by, come on over- you are going to love it!

By coming here, many things will be working in your favor: you will be one of the few Westerners in a country filled with Third World laborers on low salaries. Your wages will be higher than those of these workers, and most Saudis for that matter. Also, because there is no sales or import tax, everything here is cheap. You can rent a good car for some $400 a month, including insurance. That is , if your company will not give you a car. You can take taxis for next to nothing, if you do not want to drive. Food of all kinds is plentiful and everything else is Chinese-made and dirth cheap. You get SR ( Saudi Riyals ) 3.75 to the dollar. Within the local Indo-Pakistani laborers' economy ( these are the people that provide work force for the Kingdom) one Riyal has an almost the same buying power here as one dollar in the US, or one pound in the UK. If you shop where such drudges shop, which is almost everywhere, you will be able to live the same lifestyle as you would if you had a salary of $10,000-$12,000 a month back home. I mean it.

Tired of seeing the younger generation pushing you out of your job? No more. All people here have individual contracts and jobs assigned to them. Westerners here rarely compete against each other, but are supportive and helpful to one another for the most part. In a place like Saudi, a guy that would cut your throat back home will most often than not become your best friend.

The economy is based on oil revenues, not taxes or credit. Money is rarely a problem. As one of my co-workers used to exclaim with his toothless smile-" Let the petro dollars flow!" And they do flow. You will stop losing your sleep thinking of how you are going to pay your next month's rent. Housing and utilities are usually provided and paid for by employers. Work is easy- no one is worried as much about getting fired for under-performing or not going the extra mile. You can look forward to an enjoyable and rather easy day at work.

Worried about your retirement? I guess you should be as you are not contributing to Social Security here, but, instead, every month at least two thousand dollars is deposited into your bank account back home. After three years, it's a lot of money- buy a house, rent it out, and you can retire somewhere nice.

Fed up with watching all those attractive young couples back home making out in the parks and walking lovey-dovey down the street while you are putting Rogaine on your bald pate and wondering where all those years have gone? No more! There are no such couples here, only married ones, and the wife is covered in black robes, head-to-toe. They are not holding hands or anything like that. Most of the time you do not see women, period, so, that eliminates any feelings of jealousy, inadequacy and forlornness on your part. Everywhere you look, you see male workers from the Indian Subcontinent and the Philippines. How do you fare compared to them socially and economically? Not badly, I must tell you.

You can now dress any way you want, shine your bald spot unto the world and feel just great! You are no longer keenly aware of the fact that women do not pay attention to you anymore- there are no women to pay attention to anybody in Saudi Arabia. You are among millions of lonely middle-aged men here most of whom are happy to be making their $300-400 a month and sending it back home to Bangladesh. Except that now you are seven to ten times richer than they are. A truly enviable position to be in.

As a Westerner ( “Khawaja“- that is how they will call you, my Gringo friend) you are seen as being high-class even by the Saudis, let alone the Third World nationals working here. When you walk into stores, people smile at you and say "Salaam Aleykum". They know that you have power and money- at least they think you do and that is how they perceive your status here-you are a rich ambassador of the West.

When your (paid!) vacations come rolling around, and these are usually at least twice as long as what you get back home, you head for exotic destinations where a man's age does not matter as far as women are concerned. A fat, bald, ageing Western "loser" is a highly desirable boyfriend, husband ( and customer) in many S. E. Asian or E. European countries. Once you hit those famed night spots in Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta or even Kiev, no one will see you as a loser anymore. Not there , anyways.

As soon as you learn to compartmentalize your international life and see Saudi as a place to work, while other countries as places to have fun and romance, you will have finally understood the formula to success- assign duties to countries and do not wait for countries to assign duties to you. That's what it's all about. Each place should be appreciated for what it's worth- not more, not less.

So, if you feel like a loser back home, and you have let happiness slip away from you; if you feel like you got beaten in the rat race, come on over to Saudi Arabia. You will be able to put your vanquished history behind and start your life afresh among the golden dunes of the Magic Kingdom. Just watch out for those terrorists- they can get quite obnoxious at times.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post Dave. Ive reread this at least 5xs now.

Are you still writing?

Are most of the jobs in Saudi Arabia you're talking about manual labor?

How long of vacation do you typically get?