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Bahrain: No Eating, No Drinking, No Smoking – And No Work?

In the Bahraini blogosphere this week we hear from a blogger who wants a job, and a blogger who wishes he didn’t have a job. There's also a student entering her final year, unemployed teachers, and an MP who thinks Muslims shouldn't have to work during Ramadan. One blogger reveals that there are fifteen ways to spell his name. And a ‘football widow’ tells her story!

Work ethic?
Last week we had a round-up of posts about Ramadan, some positive and some negative. This week a Bahraini MP announced that Ramadan is not a month for working. Mahmood tells us the story:

And [MP Mohammed Khalid] wants to ensure that those who do want to work during the Holy Month don’t get in the way. He will now issue a parliamentary wish backed by those guardians of Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Al-Menbar political bloc, to restrict work hours during Ramadhan to four whole hours! – but only to Muslims. Non-Muslims be damned and you should be grateful that you actually run our country for us throughout the year and in Ramadhan in particular. What do you have to complain about?

Employment ethics
Mohammed AlMaskati is also wondering about the large number of foreigners employed in Bahrain:

We have grown used to cheap labor, to pay BD40 for a live in housemaid for a month’s full work (just around $3.50 a day), the same for the worker at the cold store (local grocery store) or the shop attendant. But, how “cheap” is exactly cheap labor?
During the past 30 years the number of expatriates in Bahrain doubled 6.44 times, this surge of immigrants puts a significant pressure on the state’s resources because of the government’s support for public utilities that is in addition total international remittances that raised from 162 million Dinars in 1994 to 484 million Dinars in 2001. … 484 Million Dinars worth of remittances to outside countries, could you just imagine how much good this could do to our economy if it was just cycled around? How many businesses will strive or how many families would benefit? Can you imagine how much electricity, water and basic resources those expats and free visa workers require everyday? Could you imagine the pressure this means to our limited water and electricity networks? Our “governmentally supported” already crippled health system? Our already overloaded roads? Sewage, security, transportation and even governmentally backed food resources? … Businesses doesn’t want to pay a decent wage. Consumers don’t want expensive produce. Locals still refuse to work in the lower level of the work ladders.

Employment search
Many Bahrainis are having a hard time finding a job. Tito84 has just returned to Bahrain after finishing his degree in Britain, and has discovered that getting work is not as easy as he thought it would be:

Prior to my arrival here, I had this perception that job hunting in Bahrain at many firms is a piece of cake and not as complex as the British system of recruitment where a candidate had to go through many stages in order to fill the vacancy. In fact, this is true because many firms and entities in Bahrain only require you to attend an interview where little and simple questions are asked or may be to do a simple test that hardly tests your true knowledge.

Although he was offered some jobs, they were all with extremely low salaries:

I was thinking with such qualifications, employers would at least offer suitable positions and generous income. I was surprised how most (if not all) would not offer me any positions other than those lowly paid ones. It is not that I consider those jobs as “insignificant”, but I was thinking that people with less knowledge can handle those kind of jobs, and then what is the point of me being away for more than 5 years trying to obtain best education as possible, then come back to be offered positions which has no or little future career development?

Tito84 has some advice for jobseekers, which you can read here.

Yagoob tells us about the complicated situation for those seeking teaching jobs:

The summer period is when the mass employment occurs and job applications are given and the applicants attend exams and interviews for teaching jobs. Male Bahraini applicants were noticeably low (I know this because the recruitment department use the classrooms that are right next to my office and see them on a daily basis for 1-2 weeks).
Now some of these Bahraini applicants are unfortunately not up to scratch either with poor knowledge in their field of study (most of the applicants are graduates from the University of Bahrain) or do badly on their interview.
Naturally if you don’t do well in either your exam or interview you won’t get hired… Simple, eh?
Not in Bahrain…

Find out why here.

Still studying
Kawthar still has a year at university before she needs to worry about finding a job – she's just entering her senior year:

وبعد ساعات تبدأ نقطة البداية لـ Senior ـيّة , أكاد لا أصدق هذا الحدث, فبعد ساعات أطأ بقدمي السنة الرابعة لي في جامعة البحرين, وأنا بالأمس قد كنت لتويّ في السنة الأولى! تضيع منّي الكلمات, ولا أجد سوى دمعة مترقرقة أحبسها وأغص بها بين المقل!
After a few hours the senior year will begin, and I can hardly believe it. After a few hours I step into my fourth year at the University of Bahrain. Just yesterday I was in the first year. I'm lost for words, and I can't even find an overflowing tear between my eyes to keep back or to choke on!

Stuck in the rat race
Evil Odd has a job, but is wondering about the direction of his life:

So your life is progressing well. You have a job that pays the bills, brings food to the table, and a bit left over to do nothing with. The place you're living in is fantastic and your bed is so comfortable that you feel embarrassed when you tell people you're insomniac. You speak a couple of languages, play a musical instrument, and eat fancy meals more often than others. In your bedroom cupboard, you have a couple of degrees and a professional qualification that is on its way.

Things should be fine. You should be happy. After all, you're meant to enjoy life, aren't you? You should feel content and have some sense of satisfaction, or maybe a sense of pride that you've done nothing but study and work over the past seven years of your life. But nothing about that impresses you.

It feels like nothing is fine. Your old usual social self is becoming more introverted by the day. No one is funny, interesting, or worth having a conversation with. People get on your nerves nine times out of ten, and rather than trying you have decided to completely give up on them. … And this is what you have come to. Your old multi-dimensional self is turning into a one dimensional being with no other purpose but to work, make money, and buy things. It bothers you that you have succumbed to what you despised only a few years ago. You would like to bring the old you back, but it just doesn't seem like you have enough time. The damage is already done, and this new you, is someone that you will have to deal with from now on.

Spell check
Let's turn to Yagoob – though in fact that may not be the way to spell his name:

My name has been bastardized for most of my 23 tender years and here’s a list just to give an idea:

Yaqoob
Yaqub
Yacub
Yakob
Yakoob
Yakoub
Yocoup (this was on my university ID card for three years and I still receive alumni letters from the uni under this name)
Yacup
Yacoob
Yakup
Yagoob (but this one is acceptable hence the name of this blog is ~Yagoob’s Dome~)
Yayoob
Yaboob (don’t even start!)
Yocoob
Yocoub

Phew! Even Shakespeare didn’t spell his name that many ways!

A match made in heaven?
We end this week with a sad tale from a ‘football widow‘, Seroo:

…I think I can say I understand sports.

Growing up, I never interfered with football games on TV or the strange language of baseball players between my brothers. I got it – sports are important to men and that's just the way it is. It never bothered me, I never thought of it. When I went to college, I even became an avid football supporter – I became the girl who jumped on her chair and screamed in the face of a rival team's supporter when my team won an important game. … Towards the end of my college years, I met this guy and I kinda liked him. He was pretty cool; he was smart, funny, down to earth, a bit of a geek, listened to some cool indie music. He was also a crazy sports fan and I thought that was pretty cool too. I actually thought it was important to like a guy who liked sports, because it gave him something to feel passionately about. Not so cool that he felt so passionately about my team's rival football team, but I pushed that aside. He had other good qualities in him. So I didn't think too much of it.

Soon enough, I started dating this guy. The first week of our official courting we spent watching Euro 2004. Our first summer was spent explaining the rules of the NFL and rugby. The rest of our courtship was filled with endless football games, international competitions and even lazy days watching darts. I didn't really mind, I was pretty easy going about it. I toned down my hooligan ways and let him explain things to me I pretended I didn’t know already. It was sweet.

However, then the couple got engaged, and Seroo started seeing the sports addiction in another light:

I thought I got it, I thought I understood sports. I mean, we even spent that summer watching the Ashes, remember? Wasn’t it nice? Couldn’t it have just ended there? I know that would have been asking for too much because I had to face reality: This was it, my fiancé is a sports lunatic. Fiancé has even asked that our wedding date does not clash with any major sporting events. And when I mockingly asked what game could be more important than our wedding day I should have known what would happen next: Fiancé’s silent blinking face stared at me as in his head he named all the major sporting events which he could not, under any circumstances, not even his wedding day, miss watching live.

Now that's obsession! Poor Seroo… She finishes her post with advice for other women suffering in the same way.

More from Bahrain next week…

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