Friday, October 23, 2009

The descendants of the companions

Saya terbaca artikel di bawah di Nampaknya apa yang diperkatakan oleh sebilangan besar mereka yang pernah ke SA atau bakerja di sana ada kebenarannya.

When foreign workers first come to Saudi Arabia, they consider us the descendants of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), that we are the best of God’s creatures and we are immune from any vice.

This optimistic outlook soon changes when there comes a conflict with the worker’s sponsor, or with the sponsor’s devilish sons, or with the neighbors throwing tomatoes and rotten eggs at them. These workers see the “descendants of the companions” — old and young alike — beating cats with sticks and shoes.

This makes the poor foreign laborers change their bright views of us. Before arriving in our country, they harbor a notion that they are coming to a nation that won’t inflict upon them injustices; a nation that is pure and unpretentious.

With the advent of modern technology, like the Internet or Bluetooth, the descendants of the companions have been exposed. In the past, people never talked about the crimes of rape and sexual harassment, but today we read and hear about these crimes every day. This shows that we are no different from any other society. Like other societies in the world, we have our ups and downs.

A study recently conducted by professor Abdullah Al-Rasheed about “virtue in Saudi society” concluded that about 70 percent of the messages circulated among youths contain pornographic content. The study also found that the memory cards of the mobile phones confiscated from Saudi teens were replete with shameful and violent scenes. Furthermore, a report by the Commission to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice purports Saudis constituted about 56.8 percent of morality infractions discovered by the moral authorities. This is a far cry from a virtuous society pretending to be pure and innocent!

The title “descendants of the companions” echoes back to a time when the title was bestowed on the Saudis by Asians before they came to experience or witness the dark underbelly of the society. With this revelation the foreign worker has bestowed a new nickname on the Saudi: “That guy with a lot of money.”I think we need to be more humble and reform our reputation. The figures mentioned by professor Al-Rasheed in his study were not his own invention. He took them from government departments.

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