Where are you din­ing tonight?!

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Dr Ha­mad Al-Asi­dan

Iam not go­ing to talk about the ‘brooms’ bat­tle at Shuwaikh in­dus­trial area, the Ard­hiya scuf­fle nor the Hawalli mur­der and the dis­as­trous af­ter­math of each of these in­ci­dents in ad­di­tion to the con­se­quences that made some peo­ple dare crit­i­cize Kuwait and in­sti­gate law vi­o­la­tion, which were han­dled by the in­te­rior min­istry ac­cord­ing to law to main­tain law and order.

What I am talk­ing about are the state­ments made by an of­fi­cial who is sup­posed to be care­ful about the words he uses in ad­dress­ing the pub­lic, be­cause he knows that he would be ac­count­able for each word he says, as such state­ments are usu­ally deemed re­flect­ing of­fi­cial view­points when made through an of­fi­cial me­dia chan­nel. The mis­take was great es­pe­cially since nei­ther the of­fi­cial nor the min­istry he rep­re­sents did any­thing to re­duce the im­pact of such state­ments and avoid the bad im­age about the poli­cies that min­istry adapts in deal­ing with ex­pa­tri­ates.

Speak­ing to Kuwait TV chan­nel about res­i­dency laws and ex­pats re­sid­ing in Kuwait, the of­fi­cial made ma­jor mis­takes while talk­ing about them ex­press­ing his own per­sonal view point. He said that there is a large num­ber of the ex­pats liv­ing in Kuwait with­out the state hav­ing any need for them. Well, I might agree to that. Yet, along with so many ci­ti­zens, I strongly dis­agree with de­grad­ing and in­sult­ing ex­pats, let alone that in­sult com­ing from an of­fi­cial.

That of­fi­cial re­viewed the lux­u­ries ex­pats en­joy by liv­ing in Kuwait, claim­ing that they re­ceive free ser­vices. He even claimed that they get free din­ners by swarm­ing to wed­ding halls to en­joy var­i­ous buf­fets there. Fur­ther­more, he talked about ser­vices the min­istry he rep­re­sents does not pro­vide and he knows noth­ing about, that is health ser­vices. He also de­duced that all ex­pat males have their wives work to earn more money ‘Mashal­lah,’ as he said. In short, this of­fi­cial made him­self a judge and ac­cord­ingly made a study to in­crease the fees ex­pats pay, end­ing the ‘free’ ser­vices he be­lieves they get. He ar­gued that other GCC states ‘milk down’ ex­pats mak­ing them reach a ‘mi­nus’ state in terms of monthly wages by the end of each month, while ex­pats in Kuwait spend noth­ing.

I be­lieve that the of­fi­cial’s state­ments about ex­pats were way be­yond ra­tio­nal of­fi­cial ones. Did he in per­son study the num­bers of ex­pats flock­ing to wed­ding halls to dine for free? How many ex­pats can dine for free if we know that 3 mil­lion ex­pats live in Kuwait? Does Kuwait ac­tu­ally in­clude all that num­ber of wed­ding halls? These are mere rhetoric in­quiries to re­fute the of­fi­cial’s state­ment con­cern­ing free din­ners.

In ad­di­tion, do all ex­pats, half or even one quar­ter of them need metic­u­lous care­ful health care in­volv­ing radiology and tests that cost the state mil­lions of di­nars? Then, what about the hun­dreds of mil­lions, or even up to one bil­lion Kuwaiti di­nars, the state has so far col­lected from health in­sur­ance im­posed on ex­pats and the loss of con­sid­er­able sums of those into the pock­ets of in­flu­en­tial ty­coons and the health min­istry’s help­less­ness to get them back? What hap­pened to the health in­sur­ance hospi­tals they were to be built by those mil­lions and al­lo­cated for ex­pats, es­pe­cially since the health min­istry ap­proved build­ing three of them, but they only re­mained in blue­prints?

I be­lieve, and many ci­ti­zens agree with me, that the of­fi­cial was ab­so­lutely wrong and abu­sive in what he said about ex­pats who con­trib­ute to de­vel­op­ing Kuwait. if ‘His Ex­cel­lency’ had seen one, two or ten ex­pats seek­ing free din­ner out­side a wed­ding hall, that does not mean that all ex­pats dine freely. If ex­pats liv­ing in other GCC states reach a ‘mi­nus’ bud­get by the end of the month, so many of them reach that state be­fore the 15th of each month here in Kuwait!

You are an of­fi­cial and have the right to make any de­ci­sion and im­pose any fees you see fit in your line of work be­cause that is part of your job’s du­ties, and your se­niors are the only ones who de­cide to ap­prove or re­ject what you pro­pose. Yet, you have no right to slan­der large num­bers of peo­ple liv­ing with us and coserv­ing our coun­try with us. we do hope you would re­con­sider what you said and ex­plain your­self in a way that re­spects the dig­nity of so many ex­pats who were of­fended by what you said. We also hope the in­te­rior min­is­ter would say some good word about this is­sue be­cause ex­pats are used to that from him!

— Trans­lated by Kuwait Times

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