I am delighted that someone out there has finally woken up to the fact that what our labour market seriously lacks is WORK ETHICS.
It doesn't matter how many more millions - or even billions of dinars - we pump into training and rehabilitating our 20,000 unemployed people for jobs on the market if we don't focus on infusing this into those programmes.
The Labour Ministry has said that it will spend at least BD30 million on training Bahrainis next year and an undisclosed "lesser" amount the following year.
So far so good, because if we really want to find a solution to this mounting problem, which could grow out of proportion and cause chaos overnight, we really need to spend money.
But wasn't it only in recent history that BD25m was siphoned off for what was supposed to have been the magical solution for our unemployment problems?
The deal was that the Labour Ministry would be restructured, the unemployed trained for the jobs market and we would live happily ever after.
Whatever happened to our BD25m? I know this isn't the issue and I don't want to probe too deeply. What concerns me today is how much more do we need to spend to teach people that work is an essential part of life, that people work to live and live to work and that without something meaningful to do, a person's life is worthless?
How many more strategies do we need to draw up to teach people to wake up early, show up at work on time, take fewer days off sick and spend their hours at work doing what they are supposed to be doing - working, perhaps?
It doesn't matter if it's your first job or you have a PhD in the field you are working in; it means nothing if you have been merely keeping that chair warm for 30 years; and no one cares if you are the only one in your specialisation to have ever set foot in Bahrain.
What really matters is how professional you are in doing your job; how dedicated you are in serving your community; and how much you respect yourself and your job.
Introducing work ethics into training programmes is a sound policy, which I hope would be followed through to the end.
Let's start with the work ethics of those implementing training programmes. Their mission should be to serve Bahrain and only Bahrain. There should be no hidden agendas, no favouritism and no abusing the system for personal gain!
I hope I have made myself clear. Now get back to work!
TWO policemen are behind bars for bribery. They were caught in an undercover operation following a tip-off from a man who claimed that they had promised him a job as a policeman in exchange for money.
On the one hand, I am over the moon that the Interior Ministry has provided us with this scoop. We didn't ask them for the information. We had no inside knowledge. They supplied it voluntarily!
I don't know if this is a one-off, or whether we will get to hear about more horror stories from their closed quarters in this era of open speech and democracy.
I don't even know whether we will be given access to information and be able to tell our readers what the fate of those who abused their responsibilities towards their profession and their nation would be.
On the other hand, I am scared. Scared because we put our trust in our police force and the last thing we want to hear is that some are corrupt, take bribes and abuse the very principles of the system they are being paid to uphold.
I realise that not all people are the same. I understand that if one policeman is corrupt, it doesn't mean that all policemen are. But I also know that if there is one rotten apple in the barrel, we need to empty it, and weed all the bad ones out before we end up with a stinky mess.
While I applaud the Interior Ministry for having the courage to make this announcement in black and white, telling the whole world that it is cleaning up its own backyard, I would want to see more openness.
By this I mean, I would want them to tell us what is going to happen to those who have abused the trust placed in them.
Like any other citizen, I want to know what the punishment of those who have let the system down would be.
For it would really be a shame to announce that we do have corrupt policemen and then do nothing to show what was done to them to serve as a deterrent to others and build back some trust the system urgently needs.
Vol XXVIII NO. 179
A friend of mine called me yesterday wailing and crying.
I had thought that there was a catastrophe, or perhaps someone had died.
But no. Her problem was with a colleague of hers…who was cooking her lunch in the office during lunch break.
Before my friend knew it, she was gasping for fresh air. The entire office reeked with the smell of cooking fish. There was smoke everywhere. And the fire sirens didn’t go off, because there simply wasn’t a fire siren in the building! But we will not go on about safety in the work place now because it was no longer an office. It was a dirty old kitchen with very bad ventilation.
And what was worse, was that my friend had a business meeting scheduled in 10 minutes.
She had to cancel the appointment and evacuate the office and was still angry about the situation way into the night.
When she told me about her ‘situation’ I was simply speechless.
It took me back to the days when I was at university and had to teach in a government school for three months as part of the requirements for my Bachelors degree in English and Education.
Do you know what I saw in the teacher’s room everyday? No. This isn’t a scene from an Egyptian sit-com. It was real. The honourable teachers had their vegetables sprawled all over their tables and were busy chopping cucumbers, aubergines and lady’s fingers to name a few. Of course, they were also peeling potatoes and carrots and exchanging recipes, among other things!
What is it with people who have ZERO respect for their workplace? If the aforementioned woman was mad keen to fry her fish and eat it, why didn’t she go home to cook her offensive meal? And if those teachers were so torn between wifely duties and their teaching profession as teachers, why did they find it so difficult to make a choice?
A woman’s place is in the kitchen indeed but this is no excuse to bring the kitchen to the office.
Make up your mind woman…there are a lot of jobless people out there! Who says you are indispensable?
It's back to school again. Tell-tale signs are all over the roads in terms of cars packed with bouncing children; parents driving with their offspring hanging out of the windows; responsible parents driving with them on the front seat and even more responsible parents zig-zagging through traffic at breakneck speeds - without their seatbelts.
And we all know how annoying it is to drive along congested streets every day.
With the road planners we have in this country, I am surprised anyone gets anywhere he wants on time.
To get from Isa Town to Manama, for instance, one has to set off a good 45 minutes in advance to reach one's destination in time.
But this isn't what annoys me the most in bottlenecks. What really rattles me is the fact that I can see other drivers up close and sometimes personal.
Have you noticed how many have given up wearing seat-belts? Do the morons know that those car "accessories" are there for their protection and aren't decorative ornaments.
I was unlucky enough to be stopped by a policeman at the roundabout. Since I was the first car, I had a bird's eye view of all those driving past me. Out of the 50 plus drivers who drove past, only SIX were wearing their seatbelts.
This made me cringe. This is 12 per cent of the drivers I studied in a little over three minutes. And the policeman waving at them to move, didn't even wink. I guess he has given up.
Why am I annoyed? I wear my seatbelt and ensure that everyone who rides with me is safely fastened up in his seat.
But there is a national responsibility and a role each one of us has to play to ensure that people are aware of the dangers such reckless behaviour causes.
The police should also be tough and impose strict laws to force those careless drivers to buckle up.
If they aren't concerned for their own safety and that of their passengers, then I am sure they wouldn't mind parting with their hard-earned cash for fines.
Fine them please and fill up the Traffic Directorate's coffers. The money could go towards a fund to purchase artificial limbs for those maimed in accidents and pay bonuses to traffic policemen to encourage them to fine more drivers who have made it a hobby to break the law.
I hate alarm clocks and the person who came up with the concept to create them, those who manufacture them and all who sell them.
But like them or detest them, I have to use them - and with fervour. I have three which ring for at least an hour before I should really wake up, making a real racket, just to force me to get my sorry self out of bed to face another day at work.
Actually, all the noise they make gives me a headache - not a good jumpstart for my day or for anyone else's day in our entire neighbourhood. And yet, I wake up and sleep drive to work, everyday.
Don't get me wrong - for I am not the lazy type. I do wake up early on holidays, and am full of life otherwise, especially when I leave the office at night. It's just the mornings when I have to come to work which are difficult, unbearable and seem to drag. And that's six out of seven mornings for you out there who have the luxury of a five-day week!
It's just that not everyone is enthusiastic about getting up in the morning to go to work - and I admit I am amongst this group of disenchanted citizens. In fact, I could be named Most Disenchanted Citizen of the Year for my immense hatred of getting out of bed in the morning. I despise getting out in the summer heat and leaving my cool crisp sheets behind and I loathe leaving the warmth of my duvet to face the bitter cold of winter.
But it's a fact of life which I have to face everyday. Like everyone else who is employed, I have a choice.
If I want a job - then I better wake up early and get to work on time.
And I better work, if I want to improve my prospects in life and achieve something tangible. And I better put all my power and might into what I do, if I want to climb the ladder and make my way to the top.
If this isn't what I am up to, then why should I wake up to begin with?
Sunni, Shia, Holi, Arabi, Bahrani, Hasawi and Ajami, to name a few, aren't the names of local exotic dishes you can find in traditional restaurants.
They are what we call each other to describe the ethnic and religious background we come from in our small Bahraini society. And I am using the word small on purpose, to belittle the sickening state of mind many have plummeted to in this age of modernity, reform and national reconciliation.
I find this name-calling business repulsive to say the least. It makes my blood boil because I can't find a reason why such a small society should be torn up and shredded by so many differences and allegiances, when the suffering is one; the happiness is one; and the destiny is one.
At the end of the day, we are all Bahrainis - the good and the bad; the 'original' and the 'not so original'; the ones from a pure Arab descent and the ones whose ancestors came from Iran or wherever; and those who claim to be have lived the land from time immemorial, those who came to Bahrain 200 years ago and those who were granted Bahraini nationality yesterday.
I personally am not ashamed of my background - and like many Bahrainis have a mosaic of traditions, cultures, cuisines and arts to enjoy and appreciate.
In my family alone, we have the Baharna (Shia Bahrainis) and the Arabs (Sunni Bahrainis) and the Ajams (Bahrainis of Persian descent), all living under one roof, eating the same food and laughing at the same jokes.
It isn't heaven on earth all the time as sometimes individuals may become childish and pick on someone else's accent, pronounce a word wrongly or do something which is culturally not acceptable from the collage of civilisation we have picked things from as we progressed.
But there is never mayhem, name-calling and back-stabbing because of one's ethnic and religious background. And no one is ever accused of treason against the state because he prays at this time and breaks his fast at that.
Like our ethnic background, we have inherited our religions and sects. Whether it is the wrong or the right type, is between us and Allah and not for Man to judge.
Bahrainis have lived together, embracing people of all kinds and faiths, and treating them equally over generations.
And now is not the time to create rifts for no other reason than to satisfy the whims of a few children who think that politics is a game they can try their hands at.
To those I say: Grow up and don't meddle in things which could backfire on you and society. This is not the way to show appreciation of one's homeland!