The main cultural issue in Kuwait
Kuwait is a class oriented society with the lines clearly drawn and understood. There are four tiers: The Kuwaitis are far and away at the top of the social system, wealthy and powerful if for no other reason than they are Kuwaiti, and seemingly able to get away with anything, including breaking laws meant for everyone else.
Then there are the professional ex-pats, including Westerns, Egyptians, Palestinians, Lebanese and other mostly Middle Eastern nationalities who manage businesses or are in a profession requiring a college education.
Third is the labor and service force. The labor force is made up of Egyptians, Pakistanis and Indians doing manual labor and the ubiquitous construction and building. On the same level is the service force which is mostly Filipinas and Chinese working as cashiers, waitresses, sales clerks, fast food workers, salon and hair professionals. Included in this class are the tens of thousands of Lebanese and Egyptian taxi drivers, etc. At the bottom of the ladder is the domestic help, mostly Sri Lankan, Filipina, and Indonesian ladies who clean, cook, and care for Kuwaiti children as live-in servants.
It is rare to see a Kuwaiti working in any capacity at all back then, as they receive money from the government and their savvy investing gives most Kuwaiti families enough wealth to live in opulence, although many seem to go through life without a purpose other than filling their time with the most entertaining leisure activities they can find.
What is Wasta?
connections or corruptions in the Arab world?
– Every Arabs Main Source Of Freedom
It literally means ‘intermediary’ or ‘Nepotism”, but it is used to refer to having a connection inside some institution, providing someone else with a privilege or preferential treatment and facilitating things, usually in a not-so-legal manner.
The prevalence of wasta across the Arab World is regarded by many as an intrinsic part of the culture and a way of conducting business. Wasta has become deeply embedded in Arab society and is often regarded as a family obligation.
As a result, “those who have wasta can jump the queue and acquire permits, get jobs, obtain favourable rulings from agencies, get government contracts and benefit from government rules that limit competition.” With the right connections, it is said that “wasta can solve almost any problem.”
This can be seen as either positive or negative, depending on your point of view (and whether you’re the recipient of it or not).
I have posted underneath this article, what this issue looks like today. After, doing more research while getting out and about in Kuwait during the holiday, I am now positively thinking, that looking up to other cultures and adapting is not such a negative thing after all. I missed the fact that Kuwaiti’s are finally inspired to work for themselves, taking control of their own businesses and influencing the future of their community (Although Wasta is still going on, which is a shameful reality, as success does not exist without it).
I will post more content relating to this subject.