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Mixed reaction on behavior of Kuwaitis with foreigners ‘Let’s learn to count the blessings’

In this week’s online poll, the Arab Times asked voters why there seems to be rising intolerance against expatriates in Kuwait. About 27% of the voters blamed it on the increasing cost of living in Kuwait. Respondents reasoned that when there is growth in population, the demand for essential commodities shoots up. Increase in demand leads to increase in price.

Some respondents disagreed with this view saying that with growth in population, there is growth in production too. “This should take care of demand, and so the theory that population rise creates demand is baseless.

Probably, poor distribution is the cause for scarcity and that’s an issue with management. Even when the population is small, bad management can cause starvation.” Twenty-six percent of the respondents named traffic jams for the rising intolerance. “The crowds at malls and on the roads are almost unbearable, and that is a clear sign that the population is outgrowing the capacity of the country’s infrastructure. “And everyone knows that expatriates outnumber citizens in Kuwait. And the frustration of the citizen is quite justified.” Others rejected this notion claiming that the increase in population is a sign of productivity and economic growth. “Kuwait should think of ways to constructively use this manpower to strengthen the country’s infrastructure.

To think of reducing population is allowing for the economy to shrink.” Fourteen percent of the voters thought that the unemployment among the Kuwaiti youth is the cause for rising intolerance. “Expatriates are seen as job stealers.

Expatriates compromise on salaries because of the disproportionate currency values between Kuwaiti dinar and some Asian currencies. The expatriate saves a lot while remitting. This gives expatriate workers an unfair advantage.” Other respondents said Kuwait has to hammer out a good population policy like in some western countries. “No expatriate workers should be paid below a citizen. This way we can ensure that quality is never compromised for the sake of cheap labor. And when you see an expatriate worker, you will know that he is there for his quality.” Some voters felt that expatriates were seen as a drain on the nation’s revenues, because a big chunk of the nation’s payments go to expatriates.

Some voters, 12 %, rejected the idea that expatriates are being discriminated here. They felt that expatriates are better off in Kuwait than in many other countries of the world. “Let’s learn to count the blessings. We are enjoying so many benefits in Kuwait, and we should be thankful to the people of Kuwait for letting us enjoy them.” Far from facing intolerance, we are being treated with respect as guests, they added.

By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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