Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Inside Outsider

Many children of mixed marriages in Saudi Arabia (usually the father is Saudi and the mother is not) have identity issues. They do not particularly feel accepted by or part of either of their parents’ cultures. Certainly when my son moved to Saudi Arabia at 14, he felt much more American than he did Saudi. Had he been exposed to the Saudi culture at a younger age, perhaps he would have felt differently. Or maybe he would have felt even more confused about his identity.

I’d like to introduce you to “The Inside Outsider,” who is half-Saudi and half-American. She and her siblings were raised as “citizens of the world,” attending schools in Saudi Arabia, America and Europe. Now in her mid-30s, she is married to a Saudi man and is raising her own children. They live in KSA but travel frequently outside the country, exposing her kids to the many wonders and complexities of our globe.

The following is sage advice and unique insights she has for newcomers to Saudi Arabia who are trying to fit in and make a normal life for themselves in this country that has many cultural roadblocks in the way, as well as attitudes hostile to the modern world. So here, in her own words, is “The Inside Outsider.”


About this place they call "Saudi," I have a lot to say about it. I have many feelings that are buried deep down inside, and for the first time, I am going to bring them out. I am turning my thoughts and feelings into words; these have been building up since childhood.

Saudi Arabia is a unique place. It’s a place where the ancient wisdom that it was once renowned for is long gone, buried under the mineral and black gold that seems to have given it new character and personality. A wisdom that has no more value, a wisdom that is now considered worthless and those who try to practice it are shunned and pushed aside. The ancient leaders of Arabia, the well-known prophets, scientists, romantics, poets, and many others would be appalled at what it has become today.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia often reminds me of the television series "LOST." It is a place with a strange power that controls everybody - a power that is unseen, unexplained, scary, yet resourceful. It is a place that is a "goldmine," a "safe haven," and a "no mans land," where if you place yourself properly, you can get away with murder - literally. This place attracts the most insufficient, unprofessional, unethical, dishonest people from all around the world. It attracts people who cannot make a decent living, people who have been convicted for something minor or even major, people who escape taxes, people who cannot get it together in their own countries – they all come here.

Saudi Arabia has a very low standard for anything ethical or professional. Its people are lazy, consuming, demanding, self righteous, spoiled and incapable. During the past 20-30 years, they have been in a slumber induced by a lack of leadership and tight controls on everything, which retarded any kind of growth. Losers from other countries come here to make a quick buck. I personally know and can name a few. These people come from all walks of life - the Americans, the British, the Indians, the Bengalis, the Filipinos, the Egyptians, etc, etc.

Saudi residents tend to group together to create little clicks, gangs, mafias - whatever you want to call it - survival groups that are bonded by the same goals, mentality, and mind set with strong loyalties to each other. These groups are very difficult to infiltrate if you are not like-minded. They are based on a commonality that each individual has while excluding any others. This grouping can be among siblings, extended family members, school friends, college friends, colleagues at work, or specific social classes and groups. If you find yourself trying to fit in, you will not be able to unless the majority in the group find a commonality that they can accept you for. They are in control not you; so don’t even try to fit in.

This is where I tell you not to be concerned with cultural differences or racial differences, because these are not what the society is based on. I don’t feel like there is a real culture in Saudi Arabia anymore. Society doesn’t practice true Arabian or Islamic behavior of generosity anymore. No more open homes, free food, kind words, smiles, helping hands, or anything that the Arabs or Muslims were previously very well known for. There no longer exists the Arabian Knight on a shiny white horse.

Don’t be afraid; be proud that you don’t fit in. I personally felt extremely reassured and relieved when I realized that I don’t fit in fully and that I never will. I have been brought up in a multi-cultural home, which is non-judgmental, considerate, kind and forgiving. I was ecstatic when I finally accepted that I would never be a full part of the Saudi people of today. I may never really fit in anywhere, but I know that the human characteristics that really matter in the end are the ones that I want to practice and hold on to even if that means that I am estranged from my own “home town.”

This place has to have a purpose for you, besides it being a home. You have to find something that you can only be able to take advantage of in such a country - maybe like completing a higher degree because of the long empty hours you will have affording plenty of time to study, or work experience that is unique, or exposure to others who may get you a foot in the door somewhere. Make this place work for your personal gains. Don’t just exist here for the sake of your children; they will also never really fit in. Let them be who you want them to be, not who you think the society will accept - because it’s not going to happen. They should be good people with beautiful human characteristics, with universal rules to follow - people who can live anywhere in the world and make you proud.

Always make sure you have an escape - yes, a way out! Always keep your passports with you, especially the American ones. Make sure you have the consulate’s number with you at all times. Always have a plan that will get you and your kids out of here if necessary. Most Saudis have and or seek dual citizenship for this reason - an escape route. Those who don’t have dual citizenship truly envy those who do. People may mistreat you only because they know that you and your kids can leave if you ever wanted or had to, and that the American government will support you as a person no matter what. YOU ARE THE UNTOUCHABLES, and that’s why you feel the hate.

Of course there are many good things here, but you must wade through the bad and scrape it off before you can see or appreciate the good. That’s just the way it is - the most annoying stuff just gets right up into our faces. In my opinion it is one of the most difficult countries in the world to live in. This place is “special” in many different ways. You will find those few and far between people whom you will not be able to live without. These are the people who will appear when you are most in need and they can keep you afloat. These people will be your friend no matter where you go, and they are in the same position you are in, so they understand.

Don’t be who you are not, and don’t try to change. That is the biggest cause for distress and depression when living in Saudi. Because no matter how hard you try to please family members, friends, or “the group,” they will never appreciate it and never be pleased because you are just not one of them - and you will never be. It’s the painful truth; they will just laugh at you and talk about you behind your back. So be your beautiful Californian blonde self and enjoy being that. Their envy is killing them!

A very strong tool to use in Saudi is silence. If they can’t hear your thoughts they can’t control you. If they can’t see what you are all about they can’t get to you. Saudi people are experts at reverse psychology and mental manipulation. They have a skill at finding your weaknesses and going for you. If they don’t hurt you today, they will tomorrow. Keep your thoughts to yourself and that is your power against them.

I know that it is tough because you must live in survival mode constantly. You must become accustomed to protecting yourself and building a strong defense mechanism. It is exhausting and sometimes not worth it. But if you choose to live here, this is the advice I have for you. This is what I have learned living amongst them as an “inside outsider.”


  1. Wowww. That is some heavy stuff. I can't imagine having to constantly be on your guard... I know it happens with Western women who marry Emiratis as well. Even if the woman is a very good, practicing Muslim and does not do anything she "isn't supposed to". It's sad that some families put their culture before Islam. :(

  2. Very powerful post. I can't imagine living like that and I'm sorry that some people feel like that.

  3. I find she is a little too critical about Saudi although she does bring up some valid points, like the whole citizenship issue for children who has one parent thats not saudi.
    Also, I think Saudi with its sudden wealth did get a lazy culture, honestly if all the foreigners were to leave the country would collapse.
    unfortunately this whole 'Saudi better than none Saudi' is supported by the law

  4. Its even sadder that families put culture and islam above love and good heman behavior - i wonder what separates us from animals!!! Allh will indeed be v unhappy at how this land has turned out

  5. Groupism.. bullying... teen mentality... in adults .. lovely lovely place KSA.

    been there done that and she is 100% correct, never ever try to change to please someone.

    There are a lot of close minded poeple inthe world, i've however nnoticed the most racist ( nationalitywide, religionwise) and sexist humans only inKSA .. all under the cover of pious islam , no different than high school girls.

  6. Susie...this woman has guts to put her words in print. Why do people who feel like this remain in a country that treats people in such an insensitive way. I don't get it. There is no way I would want my children to go through this. Women in this position are between a rock and a hard place. Life is too short to live without freedom and respect. Such a mystery to me.

  7. Profound and sad insights into KSA.

  8. Whoa! Thats some post! I feel you have poured out your heart in words, Susie. Well written, honestly written...

  9. I admire her honesty. Her advice is true in any difficult situation, be true to yourself.

  10. I think it all depends in the family, some families are really open, like my family, so adopting the inner family life is easier. But the lady in this post seems to live among sharks and a horrible crowd. My heart is with her.

  11. Saudi Arabia is a poisonous example of Islamic government and the lot of women there is horrifying. I think if more Muslims fought the abuses that are committed in the name of Islam they would be trusted more when they immigrate to the west.

  12. In Saudi Arabia, we have tribes and families. In Jeddah, Makkah and Madena, we are families not tribes because our great ancestry emigrated a long time ago to those cities due to trade, Hajj and so on. I myself have 7 mixed roots and my wife has 5 roots and it is very common in families to this region. Some of our families been in the region over 600 years and yet if you visit the Saudi forums in Arabic, you will be amazed by the racism against the locals of Jeddah and calling us names because we are not adopting their tribal habits. Thanks God we are not adopting their habits - I cannot imagine having female family members as oppressed as theirs. There is no law to stop racism in Saudi, so they will talk as long as there is no law!!!!

    Our country is controlled by minorities which have the people and made them live a strange life. If Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) saw what is happening, he will be shocked by how our country sabotaged the image of Islam by applying nomadic culture which has no relation to our religion, such as covering the face or banning women from participating in many things, human rights issues, etc. Anyway a monarchy system is not Islamic to begin with (I hope I will not be jailed hehe).

    You hear people talking about the royal family as if they are prophets, while they are the very reason why our country is so damaged. We want to prosecute the people who caused the problems in Jeddah, but the weak people are being scapegoated while the rich and powerful princes are not held accountable - they own land and make a fortune selling it to the people to build houses!!!

  13. We locals of Jeddah know as a fact that tribal families are really envious people, so God help us! Sadly the uneducated tribes have succeeded to control the whole country and you can see a big wave of tribes moving to Jeddah and making a mess in the city, taking advantage of us because we tolerated them. When you sit with these people, you will be surprised at the amount of envy and racism they have toward us.

  14. I think this woman has obviously had a negative experience and that is a shame but many other mixed marriage children do not have that experience. In fact the opposite is often true, the mixed marriage kids are very well accepted and admired.
    The writer has highlighted the problems in this country, many of these problems probably exist in a small community in the US for example.
    Laziness and a sense of entitlment are not unique faults to Saudis.
    As with every country there are positives too which she has not touched on.
    IMHO her negative attitude has attracted negativity.
    I find her whole attitude whiney, complaining and irritating. She sounds no better than the people she is criticizing.
    She should have left years ago if she hates it so much, or maybe she is not as different as she thinks....

  15. The “inside outsider’s” experience with Saudis is similar to mine. What a terribly negative people who are full of self-entitlement, self-agrandizement and bigotry against all who are not their “own.” They even hate their own and always look for the negatives with which to gossip and put other people down.

    There is always a feeling of being amongst middle-school students, what with the backbiting, the jealousy, the trying to lord it over everyone.

    The problem is that Saudis are very unaccomplished as a society. There is little that Saudis have given the world. As another person mentioned, without the massive amounts of expats, Saudi Arabia would collapse since Saudis themselves do not have a work ethic. Even getting the oil out of the ground is done by expatriates. One has to wonder why Saudis feel so superior when they have nothing to show for it and little to offer the world; once the oil is gone what else is there? Religion will not feed hungry mouths.

    Thus far, no one has shown what is positive about the kingdom. It all seems negative, especially for women and nonSaudis.

    Why anyone would voluntarily live in KSA is beyond me. I do not believe that I could love my man enough to want to be so disrespected, living like a nothing— in KSA.

    I admire your loyalty and courage Susie, but wonder about your husband and why he would subject you, the love of his life, to such degrading treatment to live in a society that is a failure on the world scale.

  16. I'm sorry coz dunno if this is true, but I read in the news feeling different happens to even Katrina Kaif. I remember coz I thought she was very popular, but she had the same feeling alien as me?

    Personally, I had nice reception by Saudis during my hajj. They even returned my lost bag to my hotel. We had sooo many gifts - food, zam zam, nice messages! TQ! Even my immigration officer was laughing, like they're havin fun working. الحمد لله ♥

    Still, my comments also was deleted/irks by mostly Saudis. (^v^)v It hurts, but I always thought maybe I did something wrong. Yeah I kinda not get that. But there's lotsa things I don't get... just be happy with what works. I enjoy Mecca & Medina. There's no super popstar glorification as much, and I like that.

  17. This is powerful writing. I agree with Lori Skoog: I don't understand why this is put up with.

  18. I am stunned by the perfection of the words that this woman has used to describe Saudi Arabia, I am a mother of 4 children who was married to a saudi national who when divorced was forced to leave my children with a man who was a drug addict, alcoholic, and sexual pervert, did the judge care,no because it was his right to have the children, I met wonderful people in the 10 years that I lived there but the Saudis overall are as described in the post, the good ones are few and far between, they are a corrupt society that I pray Allah will destroy, I cannot believe the misdeeds that country gets away with, they are barbarians

  19. Susie...if these are actually your words...than this post is the most honest and forthright you have written since I started reading it about 3 years ago. Other posts were fluff with touches of seriousness...with hints at the true nature of Saudi. Now here it is with warts and all exposed...and the sad thing about this post is that I know it can also describe Bahrain...and from what I hear other Arab states as well. They are all seemingly cut from the same cloth...with various differences that are not too important when you come right down to it.

    Individuals are the saving grace of the Arab world..because taken as a whole..they are sinking into a pit of self delusion and self destruction of their own making.

  20. I have led a fairly sheltered existence since our move to Saudi Arabia. Each person has his/her own unique experience living in KSA, but I've not experienced enough yet to feel I could write as an expert on the Saudis or the expats. But I can certainly write about my various experiences and impressions. My own relationships with my husband's family members have been nothing but pleasurable and very positive.
    I feel fortunate that I have been accepted and embraced by "The Outsider" and as a result, my quality of life in KSA has been enhanced tremendously. When I was the target of an upsetting rejection, she helped me to understand much of what she expressed here about the cliques, the jealousy, and the ugliness - and especially that I should be proud that I wasn't like my rejectors. "The Outsider" is not at all a negative person. I think it is obvious that what she has expressed here resonates with many others and rings true. It places a glaring spotlight on issues that exist in KSA that many would rather deny or sweep under the carpet.

  21. Well said Marianne, you summed it up in a nutshell. It's sad that those of us involved in these relationships don't know what the country and it's people are truly like until we are in too deep. We just don't understand the level of dishonesty and its acceptibilty. It bothers me as an American that we consider this country an ally when by any standard we should have nothing to do with them.

    Coolred - yes the UAE is exactly the same I have lived there as well. And you're right about individuals - you do meet some wonderful peopel, so said that they can't deviate from the cultural expectations.

  22. Marianne,
    Your comment:

    "There is always a feeling of being amongst middle-school students, what with the backbiting, the jealousy, the trying to lord it over everyone"

    really resonated with my own impressions, formed by reading many pro-polygamy blogs over the last few years.

    These women, co-wives, describe the after-life in Hallmark card language. Their cooperation is seems based on a simple concept: the more you suffer in this life, the greater your rewards in the afterlife.

    Their emotions, and quality of feeling seem high school in nature to me, which is what the condition of polygamy seems to induce in grown women.

    I gather that is part of the objective. Keep women in a condition of permanent childhood.

  23. Does "The Outisder" herself have a blog that we could follow next to yours?

  24. I do think that she is right in so many things... I do feel however, based on the sentences "So be your beautiful Californian blonde self and enjoy being that. Their envy is killing them!"


    "Those who don’t have dual citizenship truly envy those who do. People may mistreat you only because they know that you and your kids can leave if you ever wanted or had to"

    Somehow she comes off as a snob...

    This reminds me of Christopher Wallace's "I don't know why they hate us, is it our ladies? or I drive mercedes?"

    She has issues... we all do.

    Yes, envy is there... it is one of the seven deadly sins if you are a biblical person... always will be there, one of the reasons of envy is the opportunities to create (tremendous) wealth are not accessible to everyone, and the boom made those who caught the wave, light years ahead of those who did't.

    Those that marry western women, or have a western mother, usually have wealthy saudi fathers/families... which of course makes them, even if they were the children of a saudi mother, the envy of all women, because they can wear "Cartier wrist-wear with diamonds in 'em"

  25. This is a very bold post and expressed very clearly what the conditions are. I was also hugely educated by the various Comments. Susie I have just started reading your blog thanks to you, I have just got insights into a world thta I would have never known.

  26. I am an American woman married to an American man and we both worked in Saudi Arabia. He for eighteen years and me for fewer years. We there for so many years taught us many things, including the ups and downs of life--like living anywhere. The woman who wrote this has problems and would have problems where ever she would live I imagine. We enjoyed our Saudi life. We had friends, travelled inside the country and out, worked, camped, shopped, partied, etc. We were sad to leave and miss it very much. I would suggest to this woman and all others who don't care to be happy there to leave. Get out. Don't stay. The country will be better off without unhappy people there. I believe with all my heart that if you aren't happy in Saudi Arabia you won't be happy anywhere. Life is pretty much what you make it. If you work isn't the greatest there, make up for it in other areas; make friends, do interesting and fun things. If your marriage is sagging there; make friends, help less fortunate, do something, to make up for it. "you must wade through the bad and scrape it off before you can see or appreciate the good". Your cup not only half empty. It's empty. Somebody needs an antidepressent! Or a life change. Leave!!

  27. I am not arguing with the fact that she has not had a good experience. But i think it is wrong for her to generalize so much. I think it completely depends on the family you have there and also your husband etc.

    Its the same here in UAE.. i have read a few comments above saying its the same in uae. And again, it all depends on who you are socializing with and what your inlaws are like.

    I think it is extremely unfair to group a whole group of people on only a section of them.
    I have heard so many people talk about their inlaws and how horrible they are and then of course to group all emiratis or saudis etc with them. How can you do this? All thanks to God that my in laws here in UAE are the most loving and wonderful people.. all the of UAE women i have dealt with, have been nothing but lovely and inviting. My friend on the other hand has had the complete opposite experience. I am not saying she is wrong, her experience is hers. I am sure she is not lying, but please do not group a whole "lot" of people on just the section you are involved with.

    just my opinion!

  28. @ I miss Saudi Arabia ....
    Living the Saudi life is much different than being an expat. You can't make any kind of comparison.

  29. Nothing to do with how nic or bad the extended family adn mother inlaw is. Children of mixed parents are looked down upon. My kids have a saudi dad and i'm indian.. They treat you marginally better if you're white/western women as a mom , but for kids of saudi/indian or one of the oter asian countries.. lord help them.

    Saudi's like to pretend fairness, hospitality etc., in reality they are one of the most racist people i have ever seen. Boy are we glad tobe in USA.

  30. Miss Saudi Arabia is an American, married to an American who no doubt lived a very different life in Saudi than someone married to a Saudi. Foreigners typically live in compounds that are free and open compared to life for ordinary Saudis. Foreigners can associate with others and even gender mix and “party” under certain circumstances.

    I agree that unhappy people should leave. However, that is clearly not always possible if one’s spouse wants to stay and has family obligations, as appears to be the case with Susie. Her son, however, did leave.

    ”I believe with all my heart that if you aren't happy in Saudi Arabia you won't be happy anywhere. Life is pretty much what you make it. “

    Life in Saudi is what the powers that be allow—which is very little that the rest of the world considers normal. Most people cannot go up against the Haia or the government in order to do as they like and “make their lives.”

    For most people living in the free world, no amount of love or money could induce them to move to such a country with its draconian, dark-ages, discriminatory rules and regulations.

    Telling someone who is under such restrictions— restrictions that Miss Saudi Arabia clearly did not suffer—that she needs an anti-depressant is very dismissive and unfair.

    Stereotypes are all too often true. The exception is not the rule in any of the Gulf States. All one has to do is to read the papers and study the statistics in order to learn that the stereotypes, more often than not, apply.

  31. If I were to marry and live in the ghetto's of the USA I would have truly terrible things to write. And they would be true. But to generalize them to all Americans would be wrong. This writer has clearly had negative experiences- but to generalize against Saudi's so personally- not just the system and a sub-culture smacks of bigotry and racism.

    If I had children with a Mexican father- and all I did was trash Mexican culture I imagine no one would accept it- and my children would have issues. I think she disrespects her own children when she generalizes and denigrates Saudi's- the people as a whole- rather than the system.

  32. My children are mixed and trated badly by saudis intheir school.. i don't disrespect them or saudi culture, i love my saudi , but i hate their backward thinking and racicism. however much i respect my husband and kids and the lovely saudi culture, there's no accounting for their racism, it is truly a closeminded society . to the isideoutsider.. you are better off relying on yourself , to hell with those saudis . everyone is unique and no matter who says what don't change. they will never accept you. so why bother

  33. ”I believe with all my heart that if you aren't happy in Saudi Arabia you won't be happy anywhere. Life is pretty much what you make it. “

    The comment above is not realistic and especially if you come from a free country and must live by Saudi rules. Those rules can suck the life out of a body and even men if they are used to a more democratic and fair way of life. My husband and I would have trouble living on a compound in KSA because it is still 'not real' never mind outside the compound even with our Saudi family support.

  34. Anonymous said...
    ”My children are mixed and trated badly by saudis intheir school.. i don’t disrespect them or saudi culture, i love my saudi , but i hate their backward thinking and racicism. however much i respect my husband and kids and the lovely saudi culture, there’s no accounting for their racism, it is truly a closeminded society”

    Can someone post what exactly is “lovely” and positive about the Saudi culture? All we ever read is how unlovely it is.

    The origins of that racism, bigotry and supremacism can be traced directly to Islamic scripture, the base of which is the Qur’an which states that Muslims are “the best of peoples, evolved for mankind”Quran 3:110, that Jews are of apes and Christians of pigs, Qur’an 2:61, Qur’an 5:65, 7:166 that Muslims should not be friends with Christians or Jews 5:51, that women are inferior 004.034, etc. There are ahadith claims that the prophet himself called blacks “raisin heads.” Then there is Hell Fire for Jews, Christians and Pagans. Qur’an 98:6

    Scholars dispute that the Qur’an is specifically antiSemitic. They claim that the book and other scripture are pretty much an equal opportunity discriminators against all non-believers and specific sects of Muslims who are not quite equal in the eyes of the superior Saudis who are sunni.

    Furthermore, the Saudis have been taken to task many times for the hateful, racist, bigoted passages in their school books and pamphlets distributed in mosques worldwide. It is widely publicized how poorly the magic kingdom treats expats, especially those from third-world countries who are often quite literally used like slaves. Arab News repeatedly features story after story on that including the starving, torture maiming and murders of such expats. Evidently, the slaves of Allah consider themselves superior to all peoples because Islam tells them that they are so.

    “Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 3:
    Narrated Anas:
    The Prophet said, “On the Day of Resurrection the Believers will assemble and say, ‘Let us ask somebody to intercede for us with our Lord.’
    (So they will go to Adam, Abraham, Moses and even Jesus. All of them find themselves unfit including Jesus:)

    and he will say, ‘Go to Jesus, Allah’s Slave, His Apostle and Allah’s Word and a Spirit coming from Him. Jesus will say, ‘I am not fit for this undertaking, go to Muhammad the Slave of Allah whose past and future sins were forgiven by Allah.’ So they will come to me and I will proceed till I will ask my Lord’s Permission and I will be given permission. When I see my Lord, I will fall down in Prostration and He will let me remain in that state as long as He wishes and then I will be addressed.’ (Muhammad!)”

    According to the above, the only one fit to intercede with Allah is the prophet who is not without sin, but will have all past and future sins forgiven, because Allah, it seems, likes Muhammad best above all of his prophets.

    It appears that as a result Saudis think that their poop does not stink, despite empirical evidence to the contrary. They are well aware that Saudis get little to no respect in the world since they have accomplished virtually nothing on the grand list of human historical progress, are trying to further their Wahhabi brand of Islam and are today completely dependent on the rest of the world for everything including food, medicine and technology. They also know that if it were not for oil, that their people would no doubt be living on less than $2.- a day, as do so many in Islamic countries.
    Once the oil is no more, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the Saudis if they do not educate their people and develop and diversify their economy.

  35. i can relate to this post. i'm also half-saudi and even my own family here makes me feel like an outsider. they don't know what compassion means.and yes saudi's are racists. they have the superiority complex going on

  36. asalaamu alaikum

    Frankly I think much of what she is saying is 100% correct...I'm a Western Muslim and my family lived in Saudi for awhile while my husband worked at a University in the EP and man...much of what went on wa sa HUGE shocked. There are some nice, open and welcoming Saudi's...but much of what she said does ring true. Just a bit of a note, my husband and I found the Shia Saudi's in Qatif and Saihat to be less like what she described and we can only attribute that to the fact they more in common with Iraqi culture and even Persian culture due to travel, trade and out-marriage. The Bedu origin Saudi's on the otherhand are indeed a blank slate to the outside world...although lazyness and a teenager/kiddie attitude in adults is common as well, throughout all segments...Sunni, Shia, Bedu or not.

    Yah it was an interesting experience...some aspects I miss, some aspects I dont...

  37. asalaamu alaikum

    Also I wanted to mention...since this was brought up...yes Expats-esp Western ones tend to live on compounds and dont miss with the locals or really know anything about the culture or society beyond face value. BUT, its an entirely different matter if you are a MUSLIM western expat. Even being western...if your Muslim you do have more chances for knowing Saudi locals and even befriending them. This is what my husband and I found. Through my husband who taught at a Saudi University we became friends with several Saudi families...I doubt that if we had been say Christian or Buddhist, or whatever, those families never would have invited us for Friday lunch with their extended families or took us on trips to their farms in Al-Hassah or to the Thursday suq in Qatif. So having a common faith is indeed a bond and it does open some doors. Although we live on the compound we really didnt live the compound life. All of our friends were either local Saudi Arabs or Expat Arab families...we also shopped at the local places and both of us know a fair amount of Arabic from religious studies and school. You know, so being an expat isnt necessarily the same for all expats...

  38. "If they don’t hurt you today, they will tomorrow"

    this is too much !!!

    I think the writer has a very bad persenal experince which affects the experessions of this article


  39. Since everyone's starting with their backgrounds: I'm writing as one from the second generation of Halfies (Half-Saudis) with both my parents being Halfies.

    I REALLY like this post.
    There should be an "Inside Outsider" forum or something! It reminded me of the first time I read Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and thought to myself how on the money the description was.

    It's cute how so many people are so passionately choosing sides on Saudi being a good or bad place to live in.
    Many of them may not realize the "backward" genuinely (generally) don't realize they're being so. I have stories to back this theory up.

    Now that my generation of super-Halfies are coming up, I wonder if this post will hold true for long.

  40. having experience of living in ksa-i feel dat are de real pagans as mentioned in holy quran--liars,decievers,--and what not
    -but itz not gonna last for long-dey will get perished soon..hate them