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this year’s blog action day is on the subject of poverty.

poverty is bad,… boooo!

but even badder are the circumstances that cause that poverty,… which usually take the form of some old  guy in a suit, in an ivory tower, who is pissed off cos this year he still hasnt hit the forbes’ rich list. or more precisely his trophy wife is pissed, thereby making his life miserable. and i’m sure we can all empathize with him.

but lets take a local look at the problem since people generally dont get it when you rammble on about africa etc,… and cos theres not much one can do except say “damn that sucks,… oh, hey did you watch last nights game?”

the story of poor expat laborers being taken advantage of is not new news here. neither are their working and living conditions. but there is one side of the expat sponsorship system that has yet to be fully addressed.

in most cases, if you come here to work for a company that will stick you in subhuman conditions, you are actually one of the luckier ones,…. atleast you have a couple hundred of you that can band together and break shit.

Every adult local here has a quota of expat domestic workers they can bring in under the number 20 domestic worker residence permit. this can range from 5 – 10 people. so many come as domestics, under sponsorship, get mistreated or arent even paid for their time, and then told to get the fuck out if they dont like it. but the domestic doesnt have any cash for a ticket home, so how does one “get the fuck out”?

how do you work to save money for a ticket, if youre illegally here?

well they have only one choice,… you make an arrangement with your sponsor ( or another one if your current sponsor will consent to transfering you).

the arrangement is something like this:

sponsorman will renew your residence, which is basically him signing a piece of paper and sending it to the minsitry. it will probably cost him half a day and maybe a KD5 stamp. ( ooh pricey!)

in return for a year or two of residencey, you get to pay the sponsorman around KD500-KD1000 for the “privelegde” of working here to save up some cash to buy that plane ticket. ( i wont say that this is only practiced by “some” people, but i will say this,… the sponsors who dont charge are few and far between )

now lets put this in perspective,… you work for no more than KD50 a month and yet you have to pay KD500 at the least, if youre lucky. KD500 is a good deal if you can find it here.

a bit more pespective?

ok,… i’ll assume the average reader will be making about KD500 a month, give or take a couple of hundred.

can you imagine having to pay private tax of KD 5,000 – KD10,000 just so you can make a living and dont get arrested if a cop ever stops you?

if you dont give your “guests” a fair shot of using the bathroom when theyre in your house or of leaving, then they are bound to piss on your rug. its quite simple really.

so what can you do about all this?

well first things first, dont assume that this is only practiced by “those” people. you can only do that if you know, for a fact, that youre family doesnt suck money from poor people like this.

go to the ministry and check out your mum and dad’s files, your brothers and sisters files, aunts and unkles, hell maybe even your own file since the parents might have brought some in under you,…. just say something like i want to bring in a maid but youre not sure if you still have enough on your quota.

then confront them if you only have a few maids, but your file says you have 20.

if you choose to skip over this, then i hope you enjoy your next holiday paid for by your dad knowing some poor schmuck is being exploited while youre sipping a latte in some trendy wannabe cafe.

if youre going to suck the life out of the poor, then atleast do it thru the stock market like the rest of us 😛

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6 Comments

  1. Tought provoking, yet true. Such an issue needs also to be addressed at a country level from where the laborers come. Unfortunately, some of the work force coming here, lives already in sub human conditions in bamboo houses with no prospect of work. Even if these prospect workers are aware of the challenges they will be facing, it might be a far better option from where they are. Having said that, it does not mean that we should take advantage of them and should provide them with human living conditions. Easier said than done@!

  2. I propose we cancel all sponsorship laws that promote legal slavery.

  3. I fear for these sponsors in their next life. There has to be a terrible price to pay for such callous exploitation of their fellow human beings.

  4. monsouli: i’m sure alot of them come ere knowing that there are problems, just not as bad as they actually are. its more a matter of personal ethics on this side than by employers and sponsors. by all means charge them for a residence since as sponsor you are responsible for anything bad they do,…. but charge them reasonably, and show up when the cops ask you to come instead of letting them rot in jail.

    don veto: i second your proposal.

    xpatr: youre a better person than me then cos i would rather the whole karma thing be true and they get their just desserts in this life as well as later on 😛

  5. Let’s band together and break shit.

  6. hehe 😀


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