Since the 1930's Expats have been in Saudi Arabia. They were brought for their willingness to work, their knowledge and their unique skills not possessed by the local population at the time. Doctors, Oil Workers, Teachers, Cartographers and Engineer's were among some of the first brought to the Kingdom.
As the years went on and the oil flowed, the Kingdom became rich beyond imagination. As it did, all forms of workers were brought in, because of course the rich don't do their own work, such a situation is not unique to Saudi Arabia, but is International. You will not see the Queen of England putting her laundry on the line, nor will you see an American CEO or Wall Street type mowing his own lawn, it just doesn't happen. However, here in the Kingdom, things have changed over the past 80 or so years. It's no longer good enough to be here and be Saudi. These two things combined with 15 Riyals will buy you a small cup of coffee.
Which brings us to the problem facing the country today. The Government isn't giving out free money anymore, Aramco isn't hiring just because you want them too. Work ethic is waning drastically or in some cases is non existent. Skills are lacking and for many, the foundations that constitute the basis for higher learning are non existent. Unemployment is high and the expats are taking the blame.
If were too blame, why do I have students who can't write a multiplication table? Why do I have students who when taking a pulse must wait the entire 60 seconds because they can't multiply by 4 or even 2. Now that I've learned my Arabic numbers, I even allow it in Arabic, and yet a good 50% of my students have serious problems with it. Why did Arab News have to publish an article stating that science has proven that seizures are not related to Jinns? Why do I have serious problems with students cheating? Why do students laugh when I tell them they can't cheat? Why did I receive a threat last year? Why did a student tell me that he wasn't talking with his neighbor during a test, but rather that they were "praying" and then hatefully dismiss me with a wave of his hand.
And why, with all of this going on...do I get the feeling that the Kingdom and their Saudization plan still wants to get rid of us? Who will take my place? Part of the original agreement was that I helped and worked with a Saudi instructor to show him some tips and tricks in regards to EMS education...no such instructor has ever been assigned. The guys I've talked to at the SRCA want nothing to do with the school.
Last week, I thought it was just my employer, I thought that their shuffling and backsliding position on our future here was just related to money. This weekend though I spoke with three other Americans at three different companies...two of them have the same feelings. The three of us together all get the feeling that were getting ready to be pushed out, no notice, no warning, just show up at work one day and be told to go home, "Thanks guys". It seems to us, that the problems are getting pushed off on the easiest and most obvious scapegoats...US! Arab News, recently published an article claiming that expats threaten the security of the GCC with our "refusal to integrate"
I had a long talk with my new boss on Wednesday, I explained my concerns, and laid out my position. Calmly and eloquently I explained that stay or go was fine with me, but that I had a family to look after and I needed to know what the plan was so that I might prepare. Strangely enough, he agreed and said that seemed more than reasonable. He has pledged to find out what is going on by the end of next week.
Tomorrow, I start teaching classes, in 8 weeks I may very well be on an airplane heading home. Only time will tell. This day to day uncertainty that gets so old so fast, is Saudi Arabia. You have to wonder if the Saudi Employers have any respect for us at all, or if by agreeing to come, we reduced ourselves to slave status and are therefore not entitled to the rights that normal humans beings could expect.
"Epilepsy is Curable, not related to Jinns"
"Expat population could threaten GCC security"