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Early contender for Quote of the Year

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January 28, 2008 11:09 by



Bahrain, Alawi, Asian tsunami“A lord with billions in Great Britain cleans his own car on a Sunday morning, whereas people of the Gulf look for someone to hand them a glass of water from just a couple of meters away.”

So speaks Majid al-Alawi, Bahrain’s labor minister, quoted in Asharq Al-Awsat. Fond of the colorful quote, he says the Gulf is in danger of being swamped by an “Asian tsunami” of expat workers because locals are too “lazy” and “spoilt” to do simple tasks themselves, and that the threat is “worse than the atomic bomb or an Israeli attack”.

I’ve heard these sentiments expressed several times in expat hostelries, but hadn’t expected it from a government minister.

Alawi, an advocate of the six-year residency cap for unskilled expat workers, wants action to tackle this imbalance. If GCC governments aren’t going to act on the cap, he might be right in attacking the problem at source. It will be interesting to see whether Gulf Arabs feel his tap-room comments are worthy of discussion.



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