Expatriate Casual Workers!

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For Sunday September 1st 2013

Between Us Only!

Expatriate Casual Workers!

I was reading this news headline (Muscat Daily August 29th 2013) titled ‘Municipality faces shortfall of workers’ – ‘Many decide to leave because of new contract system’! It seemed that many of the workers are now going to get reduced salaries and without allowances – and those who used to get up to OMR 260 per month – depending on their grades – are now going to get average of 150 per month!

Frankly and honestly speaking, sometimes the mind just boggles who actually makes such decisions that subsequently leads to such results and consequences – and whether the decisions were well thought and considered before thoroughly prior to make such random and hasty decisions?

In an article I had written on the same subject – over 10 years ago – I had said – These jobs (Municipality Cleaners) would be the last jobs to be Omanised – and even far after the last Expatriate CEO and Manager have left the country! These casual jobs have better future prospects than even the Management ones of their peers.

I went on – At 3 a.m. they are still cleaning the streets – whilst the rest of us all are snoring deeply in our beds!

Some years back – I was travelling one night at 4 am to pick a visitor at Muscat Airport – and I nearly witnessed a ‘nasty road accident’ – when one of the Cleaners had moved towards half of the road to pick up a tissue left on the road – and the poor man was nearly run over by a speeding car – even at this late hour in the empty road. I do not know what the rush was in for?

There are no takers for these jobs.

I am frankly convinced that our youth would prefer to live ‘on social welfare’ – as a worst case scenario – then go and do these jobs!

A long time ago some people had come to deliver a washing machine to my villa in Qorum. This is what I had written in my article – quote – The Angry Driver – He (the young Omani youngster) nearly ran over me as he was reversing the truck fast as I was guiding him through the gate. I asked him what gives? Or should I call the Police? He broke down saying that this job (truck driver) was the only job he could get!

So I asked him – Forgive me Son! What qualifications do you have? He said he did not even finish his final secondary school! Madam wife was annoyed why I was getting involved – when I told him bluntly that he should thank his ‘lucky stars’ that he got a job!

The Omani young boy turned to his Indian peers saying in their lingo – These rich people look down on us – because we are poor! Yes I live in Qorum – thanks to my Oil Company – but I am certainly not rich!

I could not hold back my laughter – because he did not know that I studied in Tanzania in Indian Schools from Class 1 Primary to High School! At young age I could even write my name – and my father’s – in Hindi – and embarrassing the boy even further!

At another occasion in another place there was an elder Omani with some Indian workers. When he saw me ‘he was guiding the other workers’ – and I had thought that he was the ‘foreman’ – but he had elected himself for the position. The real foreman (Indian) soon put ‘the show off’ man ‘right back to his position’!

When I studied in UK I stayed in a house belonging to a Pakistani. He came to UK and though had some certificates ended as a bus driver! He had saved enough to be able to get himself a house in the end!

Even if after a shift – if there was no other driver in the other shifts – or not turning up – as in many cases – especially in weekends and immediately afterwards – he would volunteer – and he used to get double rate for going extra shift! His local peers had all their monies go into bars and girl friends!

We should also remember – in conclusion – that the basic salaries for Omani Youth had gone up. This is a wrong time to reduce their salaries (expatriates) human beings as they are in ‘comparing and contrasting’!

As a Human Resources Professional of over 35 years – and Management Consultant, Expert and Advisor for over 12 years – I think a review is in order – under all the aforementioned – and with due and sincere apologies!

Take Care!

By: Majid Al-Suleimany

Biting The Hand That Feeds You!

For Wednesday – April 10th 2013

Spotlight – The Oman Daily Observer

Between Us Only!

Biting The Hand – That Feeds You!

And ending with licking the boot that kicks you!

In writing especially my book titled – A Cry For Help! – www.myown-ebooks.com – I was astounded and shocked beyond belief to find that some few expatriates in good positions and in our country having rather very poor, dim and narrow minded extremely prejudicial biased and racialist outlooks on the country! The more shocking part is that they are courageous and brave enough to say all these things without any fear or inhibition – the audacity of it all! They do not even attempt to cover it with a sugar coating – but give you the pill bitter as it is! I wrote the book – but it was just like talking to brick walls – and just wasted futile exercise for simply nothing! Even one Western CEO admitted to me that ‘he could not believe such things happened in Oman – you do not desrve such things to be done to you!

A - A Cry For Help!

The Book – A Cry For Help! – www.myown-ebooks.com

Recently I read two articles that still continued to shock me to the core! One article was one where a columnist (foreign) was indicating why he chose an airline that was not national to go home on holidays. Mr. Columnist has full rights to choose whatever airline you wish – but do we need the citizens need to know why the preference – and if there is anything you wanted others to know is between you and the National Airline (Oman Air) – we are passengers like you – and talking to us will not change anything – unless that is you want us too to follow you to abandon our national airline – for whimsical reasons!

The other was coincidentally a good Indian Columnist with his heart in the right place – and in remembrances – chiding a Westerner Blogger who is at the same time a Teacher in English at the University level in Oman – and residing in Oman – ‘is apparently full of malice and hatred for Palestinians and Arabs. His generalisations are morbid and so are his attempts to distort truth. Or what else can the reason be for such malice towards the Palestinians..? A good question indeed – and thank you very much for the bold daring action! I hope nothing would happen to you – we can only pray for the risk taking!

I thought these things had now stopped post The Arab Spring Uprisings – but you will forgive my ignorance – because I have been out of offices for quite some time now – and do not know what is really going on now! Incidentally, I am also being protected from hearing and getting bad news from my ‘caring advisors’ – because the last bad news nearly ended me in being hospitalised – being acute diabetic and with eyes problems on top!

I was actually talked out of ‘doing some rather unexpected actions’ on my part out of desperation and reciprocity seeking! What turned the tables for me is hearing my 5 year old granddaughter asking her Mum – Why does Granny look so sad and unhappy? Why don’t you ask him, retorted her Mother> The girl replied – I do not want to hurt his feelings more – and that did it! Our late Mother always used to tell us that sometimes messages that need to be given to us comes in the format of the innocent angels saying unexpected and unbelievable things to us! Just to caution and guide us accordingly!

A long time ago I was invited –n with other Staff – to a family home of one expatriate. I needed to go the gents – so I told my host my dilemma. I found it strange that he had to consult his Madam Wife first before showing me which toilet to use – which I found later belonged to the housemaid! The stranger thing happened next! As I was returning to the sitting room – I saw this big African parrot in the kitchen. Feeling like a cup of water I took a glass – and was drinking it when this upset and annoyed hostesses was drilling me what I wanted in the kitchen? This is not a place for guests! She verbally reprimanded me! Then she said ‘really awesome nasty things’ to her husband about my intrusions! Dinner was not served – but I pulled Madam out – and in the car explained to her why!

Next morning my good Western CEO wanted to know what happened at his deputy house? So I asked him point blank – do you really want to know to take remedial action – or just as a matter of courtesy – and nothing else more? So I told him – when I realised he really wanted to know! Soon we were on the loud speaking phone format with the chairman – who was kind enough to say to me – I want the CEO to know too – so we will speak in English! The poor Invitee did not know what hit him next – how it came into being – but there was a letter signed by him the CEO – and co-signed by me – The Head of Human Resources – for ‘regret that your position will no longer be required due to the emergence of two departments – and the other guy heading the department!

I guess as he was in the plane with his family he wished he was not so hospitable to invite the others to his house – company rented anyway! Sadly he had a very high well paid job – that he threw away – just because of his ‘biases and prejudices’ – and sadly and tragically against the people and the country that offered you the job in the first instance. I think he thought he was still in the other GCC country where such things still exist – but thank God – the doors are closing now in Oman!

A long time ago an Arab President had said – The friend of today can be the enemy of tomorrow – and the enemy of today can be the friend of tomorrow! With shifting allegiances and alliances – we need to prioratise – and watch things out now – who are our real friends – and who are not! We owe it to our destiny, legacy and our future too!

In one of the companies that I had worked – there was a circular for expatriates being posted to a certain country – that went through the Arab Spring storm! It just said – be careful of the office driver, the gardener, the cook, the office mate (locals) – because ‘they all work for the state’ – and will try to entrap you! Thank God I feel great and elated that we have a wise and benevolent leader – and the people are generally receptive in welcome and in hospitality – and importantly respectful of ‘the invited guests ‘ in our country. We have even changed our weekends to remain accommodating! What more do you want?

Take Care!