People want change from monotony


Al-Riyadh newspaper

When I worked for the Saudi Telecom Company in the 1980s, one of my colleagues was a Filipino secretary. His only ambition was to immigrate to Canada. He spent five years working in the Kingdom while waiting for a visa. During this period, he paid off the mortgage on his apartment in the Philippines and saved money to get married.

“Why do you want to immigrate to Canada?” I asked him, although I knew the answer to this question. “I’ll get double the salary and live happier than I am doing here,” he said.

He did immigrate to Canada. For three years, I did not hear from him until one day I saw a job application on my desk with his name on it. I was surprised because I thought he would earn more in Canada and have a better life there. I picked up the phone and called him. I wanted to know why he wanted to return to the Kingdom.

He said everything went as planned. He went to Canada with his family and even found a job there. However, he realized that he was unable to save any money. His earnings went to pay for his upkeep, whereas when he was in the Kingdom he saved a lot of money, paid off his mortgage and even got married.

“I found that you need to spend money if you want to have fun in Canada. If you want to go the movies or a concert, then you need to pay a lot of money. I used to tell my friends that working and living in Riyadh was like being in a prison. But I realized that the prison allowed me to own my apartment in the Philippines and get married,” he said.

The walls of the prison my Filipino colleague was talking about are about to shatter. Saudis have recently attended concerts with Cheb Khaled and Yanni. Moreover, the American actor John Travolta recently visited the Kingdom. Saudis have enjoyed the concerts of Muhammad Abdo, Rabeh Saqar and Abdulmajeed Abdullah. All this was not possible in the past.

When I was a child, eating out at a restaurant was a social stigma. Today, almost all Saudis eat out. People want change because change is important. Nobody wants to live a monotonous life.