NEWSPAPERS published the advertisement of a foreign company which runs a terminal called T4 (Terminal 4) at Kuwait International Airport. This terminal has been dubbed as the ‘celebration terminal’.
Even we as Kuwaitis, or at least majority of us, have not seen the domains of this dream terminal being used. We only see it in newspapers and social media when informing the public about celebrations — four celebrations so far.
Despite that, majority of us have yet to see the promised airport. Back to the advertisement posted by the company in some of the Monday newspapers, the company wants Kuwaitis to apply for technical or official positions.
This made me imagine that with all the pomp of the opening ceremony for the terminal, the necessary manpower to run it has yet to be completed. In a similar context, one of my friends sent me a clip of an Emirati traveler at Dubai Airport.
Through the clip, this Emirati informed us that the airport is operating an electronic portal. I did not understand what he meant, given that I heard a lot about opening electronic portals in majority of our service ministries but the positive change has yet to happen.
The routine and bureaucracy continue to haunt us, let alone the use of ‘wasta’ which continues to plague our public establishments, may Almighty Allah prolong the lives of officials and those supervising work flow in these establishments.
Back to Dubai Airport, the clip showed the Emirati putting his passport in his pocket. He then went through the immigration desk and at some point flanked by immigration officers who smiled at him without stopping him.
At the electronic gate, a green light appeared and the door opened for him. The green light meant his passport details were examined and his identity verified for security clearance. All this happened while his passport was closed and inside his pocket.
The clip overwhelmed me with two feelings: first is happiness over seeing the level of development in civilization and travelers’ comfort that my brethren in Dubai have achieved. Second is embarrassment and sorrow over our situation.
We used to be first in line, but now, we are at the end. The reason behind this setback is the mentality of those handling our public affairs anywhere we go, especially in dealing with civil servants of our well-guided government — particularly those assigned in our obsolete airport and the departments operated by misery, strain and disturbance among citizens and expatriates who frequent these departments. These departments are known for dealing with the public in a rude manner as I have written about such interactions more than once.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli Former Minister of Oil