Pitfalls of a borrowed lifestyle...
News that demand for personal loans has fallen from BD681.3 million in 2004 to BD656.2m last year must have been welcomed with relief in many quarters - except banks of course!
Who would want to see his profits drop, even if it was an indicator of a number of things, including perhaps that people have started to realise the dangers of the vicious circle of being in debt, the futility of trying to keep up with the richer Johns, or have become so poor that no bank will risk giving them loans.
A number of banks have actually expressed their disappointment, blaming the Bahrain Monetary Agency for the fall.
While it doesn't take a genius to figure out the reason for their dismay, I find myself thinking how long will the Bahraini society continue to survive on loans, with many living way beyond their means to sustain false appearances.
Many youngsters, myself included, took the bait and reaped the short-term benefits of loans early on in their lives, only to regret it later as the repayments became a burden and one loan led to another, spanning a few decades to pay off.
I personally had to take a loan to buy myself a car at the beginning of my career, since every job demands transportation. As I climbed the ladder, I thought I needed a better car, to reflect my new status, if not my salary!
This called for another loan, even though I hadn't completed the first loan and you would assume that once bitten, I would be twice shy.
Since I had already borrowed money and was in debt, there was no harm in adding insult to injury and treating my mother to a new car too.
Well to say the truth, she deserved it and I shouldn't be bragging about it years later.
As I was already up to my eyeballs in loans, there would really be no chance for me to see the world and enjoy myself without having to borrow more money.
So a third loan sealed the deal and booked me holidays to Europe and the US, which I still boast about today - without mentioning that my travels and expenses were made possible thanks to bank loans and not my ingenuity in saving money.
Needless to say, I never enjoyed the thrill of a full salary as it was distributed as soon as it was deposited in my account, while the banks doubled, tripled and quadrupled their profit at the expense of fools like me who always think they have made a great deal, when in reality they have been taken for a ride!
* Amira Al Hussaini currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada