Monday, October 19, 2015

this and that

More On Omanisation: 

A few months ago the CEO of some steel company in Oman had to resign for saying aloud what lots of bosses here say in private. I don't work for the company, so I have no idea if what he said was factual / fair/ unbiased/ bullshit/ or what. It WAS a bit weird that his apology was published as an advert in the papers. Was that because what he said was wrong, or was it because what he said was too close to the truth to make the powers that be happy? You guys tell me, I'm at a loss.

This leads into  an article in the Times of Oman titled

The first thing I thought when I read this (with a growing sense of rage and disbelief) was that I cannot believe that the OCCI has come out with an argument that holding one's employees hostage is fair practice and excellent labor policy. My second thought was that the OCCI is doing an outstanding job of serving their corporate masters protecting the interests of the businesses in Oman, who would clearly much rather hire a foreign worker than an Omani worker.

One need only look at the comments section at the times of Oman to get some idea of what a contentious issue this is for both sides. One also gets an inkling of the sort of intellectual horsepower employers are dealing with, and it is DIRE on both sides. Honestly, looking at the TOO comments section one would think that half the Omani and Expatriate population  have taken up competitive lead paint licking or undergone voluntary lobotomies. You get a real taste of what HR managers in the country are up against.

I have already written endlessly on the subject of Omanisation,

  1. Here,
  2. Here,
  3. Here,
  4. Here,
  5. Here,
  6. Here,
  7. And Here, 
So I think you guys know why I think the 2 year ban is not only not beneficial, but outright harmful to the Omani economy and our drive towards Omanisation, but one thing I failed to mention in previous RANTS articles is the importance of having a country where as many people as possible are really fucking good at what they do and are really fucking good to work with and for. The A-team, vs the B team, if you will.

As I mentioned before, a quick browse of the comments section at TOO should make it very clear that;

  1. We already have a lot of B-team expats and Locals. 
  2. These B-team individuals have opinions, and like the Tea Party in the USA, they won't let facts or data get in the way of a poorly articulated argument. 
  3. Some fuckwit has gone and given these morons internet and facebook accounts. 
  4. We need better people crafting our economic and labor policy.

Now that Expats, Omanis and the Chairman of the OCCI hate me equally, let's continue, shall we? 
  • For all the Expats out there saying "we are invaluable, and the country would fall apart without us" please remember that you can be replaced at the snap of a finger by someone more desperate for your job. You are not a special snowflake. 
  • For all the Omanis who are saying "If you don't like it, Leave" rest assured that the expats that will inevitably replace the existing ones will be even less talented, and have fewer options outside Oman, and will likely be even more desperate to hang onto their jobs at any cost. Don't expect an improvement in knowledge sharing or interest in the future of the country, much less the future of you or your fellow Omanis.  
  • There are expats that are good for the country, and expats that are bad for the country. We need our labour law to be designed to make the country and working conditions MORE attractive to the A-team foreigners. The two-year ban means we are less likely to attract top-notch foreign talent and instead get the B-team. 
  • We need to find a way to make it less attractive for companies to hire a foreigner, possibly using economic incentives, across the board minimum wages based on job classification,  and allowing foreigners to change jobs as easily as Omanis. 
  • We need a complete and total reform of the Omani Educational system so that it produces kids with the skills needed to enter the workplace, and some actual perspective on what entry-level work is like.   
  • We need a labour market that levels the playing field so Omanis and Expats can compete, based on performance and experience, for the same jobs, with the same benefits, without nationality coming into the equation. 
As it stands, nobody really wants to hire Omanis. And why would you, when all the labor laws make it so much more attractive to hire a foreigner?

Second, regarding current events over in neighbourly Yemen:
You would literally have to be dead to have not noticed the proxy war in Yemen, where the key players appear to be (in no particular order) Saudi, Iran, UAE, Bahrain, hired mercenaries, Houthis, Qatar, Al Qaeda, People who back Hadi, Dead women and children,  and Assorted Unfortunate Yemeni People. It is a complete shit-show.

Oman has the noble distinction of being the only sensible country in a 700-mile radius, and has smartly refused to participate in the GCC military offensive. We are not sending troops, and as far as I am aware, we are not allowing our airbases or naval ports to be used to support either side in the conflict. Whilst rumours indicate lots of grassroots and financial support for the Houthi faction coming from individual Omani citizens, the government has been admirable in their role as mediator and peacemaker in this conflict. I hope the Muscat Talks prove that we, as Arabs, can occasionally see the big picture. Well done, guys. The whole world should be proud of the example we are setting for diplomacy.

So here's the shit that really scares me stupid: There have been quite a few war casualties coming from the emirates and if you read the papers out of Abu Dhabi, the hyperbole is astonishing. 3 days of mourning, lots of quotes from important people calling these poor kids "martyrs" and stating outright that they died in Yemen "Defending the UAE" Just like the US soldiers in Iraq are "Defending America's Freedoms"

Bullshit. The UAE, Saudi, Qatar and the rest and  are sending our young men (and whatever hired mercenaries they can recruit from Africa / Pakistan) off to die for a political and religious war that has nothing whatsoever to do with "Protecting Freedoms", "Restoring the Democratically elected president" or "Defending the Sovereignty of the UAE".

No, really, stop laughing. These were actual quotes in the papers about how these autocratic Gulf Monarchies are "Defenders of Democracy!" Defenders. Of. Democracy. You can't make this shit up.

Our glorious GCC leadership is sending our young men off to die because we don't like Shias, We don't like Iran, and fuck those crazy Qat-Chewing Yemenis anyway.

The rhetoric coming out of the UAE and Saudi media sounds scarily like the rhetoric coming out of the Bush Administration circa 2004. Let us not be as stupid now, as America was then.