The story goes as follows:

MANAMA: Bahraini youngsters who think the world owes them a living were blasted by Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi yesterday.
"You want the government to give you houses, you want the best salaries, you all want to start at the top of the ladder," he said.
"But what you forget is that you also have to make an effort. You cannot start at the top. You have to work your way up."
Many young Bahrainis are "misfits" in the working world, outpaced by foreigners who single-handedly do the work of three or four of them, he told the Young Arab Leaders Summit, at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.
But Dr Al Alawi said Bahraini youngsters were not solely to blame for what he called "disaster in the making".
"We as a nation have to take a large part of the blame. We have been complacent to let it reach this stage," he said. Dr Al Alawi urged youngsters to seize the opportunities that surround them.

Since Bahrainis are under qualified to do the jobs of expats and since it takes three to four Bahrainis to do the job of one foreigner (four to do the job of an American and three to do the job of a European to be more precise and to quote our esteemed minister more accurately) why shouldn't we hire a foreign Labour Minister to replace Mr Al Alawi?

Way to go Wonderland!

Just a silly thought .. on a silly day!


Unknown said...

if anyone is to blame for Bahraini youth being under qualified it is the educational system in bahrain. i am a government school graduate studying in Finland, im currently doing a masters degree in management and leadership here. im completing my 4th year, and for the first 2 i had to play catch up, cause non of what i learnt in Bahrain was even close to what i needed to know to be able to manage successfully in a university.. and its not just the high schools that are a problem, what i learnt in my first year in my basics of marketing course, which was in intensive 3 week course, my friends had to cover in 3 different marketing courses in 3 terms!! and its not that what i am studying is so advanced, its the system in Bahrain that is so behind...

as for Bahraini youth wanting to start at the top, i have actually noticed that and seen it in my daily life in Bahrain.. it saddens me to see that.. most of my friends here in Finland have to work a part time job while studying just to be able to afford the very basic needs such as eggs and milk, even though education is free in Finland to all.. its not that their families cant afford to give them the money, its that this is how the culture has raised them, this is how they are happiest... someday i hope to see this in Bahrain

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

What you are saying Alabdul makes 100 per cent sense. The educational system is poor and doesn't gear up people to a working environment and our social system and work ethics are in a limbo.

It is just that while I agree with some of the comments the honourable minister made - I am appalled that a Bahraini Minister stood up in public and said that it takes four Bahrainis to do the job of an American and three to do the job a European.

What on earth did he base his assumptions on?

ThinkPink said...

This is really sad! i can't understand for the life of me why someone in such a position would make generalizations when it came to working capabilities and race and nationality.

Maybe Mr. Minister, needs to take a walk around most of the high-rise offices in the Seef and Diplomatic areas to figure out for himself that it's not the nationality of the person but rather the ability of each individual.

Such shame, surely not good coming from a government figure, you don't hire a person based on race, gender, creed nor nationality, why in heaven's sake did he bring nationality into his address at the YAL summit?

Shereen ! said...

The Youth Round Table that took place was to address these issues. The reason that AIESEC came up with this idea was to put away all the stereotypes that companies & students have about each other. Maybe what the minister said might not bee like by some people (specifically mentioning some nationalities) but it is true. Foreigners are more productive than most Bahrainis and that is what he was trying to say. This guy IS a Bahraini and wants the best for Bahrain, if he didn’t care about us the Bahrainis, he would never have given such a message. This was his way of getting to students and getting them motivated not to follow the previous lazy generations.

It is very easy for us to blame the educational system (which I complete agree is total bull) but lets deal with it. Not having the best education does not mean we cannot work or are not capable of the work given to us. There are certain nationalities that come to this country with only secondary education yet they do much better at work. Why is that? Because they work their asses off.

Why do most foreigners work so hard?
- They got nothing else to do in this country. Most of them here are without their families.
- Spending more time in office also evolves free internet, free coffee, free phone calls etc
- Spending time outside the office involves spending money doing other things.

I am not generalizing this to all foreigners, I am only saying this out of my personal experience with many foreigners working with me in the Bank.

The minister is right; maybe with his speech yesterday he got to some people. Maybe if these some people worked more ethically, other people would learn from them and maybe just maybe our generation will allow Bahrainis MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Thanks Shereen. Yes, while some Bahrainis may be lazy and disillusioned about the realities of the working place and while I personally have strong thoughts about work and work ethics - I found parts of his statement - as a MINISTER - insulting.
Now... if you or anyone else was at the meeting: did he speak in English or Arabic? Is there a copy or recording of what he exactly said??
I see that he retracted some of what was mentioned in today's GDN.. but he still didn't explain to us how four Bahrainis are worth one American!

Westy said...

Hey SBG,

yep I was in the room. The Minister was there trying to highlight the need for proactivity and vision amongst the youth. He was entirely misquoted by the GDN, never a reliable source of information. His speech was in English. He spoke about the challenges represented by having a large number of low-semi skilled labourers in the country and that the problem here is that there is alarge amount of untapped potential. He referenced other nationalities not to degrade peopel but rather as evidence that Bahrain can succeed, a vision and motivation.

I found his speech refreshingly honest, to the point and exactly what young people in Bahrain need to hear.



BuZain said...

What do you think of this perspective ?

Socrates said...

How about stopping all import of cheap labour from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand etc?

Is it part of the GATT agreement that the Oil-Bloated economies of the Middle East has to import cheap labour?

The minister is right, when he says:

"But what you forget is that you also have to make an effort. You cannot start at the top. You have to work your way up."

Yes, Minister. We need to start at the bottom. Let us replace cheap expat labour with local.

Construction is one of the biggest industries, activities, hobbies - in the region. It needs Masons, Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters - you name 'em! To take these jobs away from the expats, you don't need to go through an educational system which gives you the edge in management classes. What is required is training the youth in specific skills required for the vocation.

What sort of an Animal Farm, or an utopian orgasm is it - to dream of a Bahrain with all its citizens being university graduates?

Yes, the state has a big responsibility in setting up *competent* educational institutions. North America, Europe, Japan, Korea or even India have all invested a great deal of capital into the Knowledge Economy. Why cannot the states in the Middle East follow the same? Maybe it is because of structural flaws in the system - or it is something else.

It is easy to blame the state... in a country where the state is not well-defined.

From a westerner's point of view, in most countries in the Middle East - the state is run as a private entity.

Call it culture clash, or lack of cultural understanding of the idiotic red-neck or whatever.

Some of SBG's arguments are based on life outside a system.

For things to change, as SBG wants or the minister wants, the system (state itself) has to change.

Some would say that is a radical approach.

Maybe the minister did not have enough time or space to explain what he meant to say. In fact, it can also be explained in a manner that the minister is calling for a revolution.

Let's have citizens of a country working in all spheres, not just posh jobs.

Just how many Bahrainis would keep complaining that they don't have equal opportunities to get a posh job? The minister is asking them to learn new skills - to become a mason or a plumber.

There is nothing wrong in working hard.

Um Naief said...

i find something odd in that it has gotten out that he was praising americans and british... and everyone is up in arms about it. i think that a lot of expats work very hard - not all - because they're on contract and very easily can lose their jobs. i was raised and spent most of my life in the u.s., and i'll say this... working life is totally different than it is in bahrain. your ass would be fired if you fooled around like soooo many bahrainis do. i've seen it first hand time and time again... but in the govt sector. and yeah... i would have to agree w/ that.... as an american... i know i worked harder than many bahrainis in both of my jobs. in my first job, all the bahrainis sat around talking on the phone all day and did not want to lift their finger to do anything. and only did when they got in trouble and were made to do something. it was pathetic.

Westy said...

hey socrates,

at one point the Minister addressed the issue of semi/low skilled migrant labour saying that no, it wasn't ideal, and that one of the solutions would be to start looking at raising the minimum wages for these jobs so that it would be possible to actually support people on them. The challenge is that if Bahrain were to raise the standard wage for low skilled jobs it would make it less competative in the GCC. That this is an action that needs to be agreed upon across the board however othercountries are not so interested.

A question I have is: would Bahrainis really want to do the jobs that the semi-low skilled migrant work force are doing?

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

emmmm... too many ideas ..

As you see, we are back to square one.. and the issue of work ethics.

Work is an integral aspect of life and there are so many many many issues and strong opinions out there..

Lemme put a few ideas together in another post of how we can discuss all our ideas in a civic manner.

Those interested in joining the discussion, please email me on wordsword at gmail dot com and I will be more than happy to form an online discussion group to address all our concerns - one point at a time :)

s said...

i´m a european working in Bahrain and Im´doing it in a Bahraini firm. We are around 20 people and only 3 are bahraini, 2 are drivers the other is the owner.I asked him why this proportion of foreign staff: very clear: he told me he will love to give jobs to other baharaini and he tried before. He employed 2 bh. girls educated in london. They where slow, not accurate and they spent long hours chating and making phone, not really working. Soon they left. So he has to get people like me from abroad and payme probably 3 o 4 times more than to other members of the firm to be able to get the work done well. Attention!! the two girls studied atprivate college in London...I was in a public university...but I never had 3 cars, I had never lived in a villa and I had to pay for my studies and for every thing I wanted to have. I see that the problem is that the most of the bahrainis that had a good education abroad they never had to fight for anything and they have never be worried about the future, just about stupid status issues in this small sociaty. Other bahraini, the poor ones they never had the chance to get a really good education because here there is simply not.

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