Important Notice

It is not my intention to denigrate Saudi Arabia or its people. It’s like everywhere else, there is good and there is bad. I would rather focus on the unusual and the humourous. Offence is not intended.

“The country is not perfect. The media cannot be trusted, mistreatment of religious minorities is common and there are some that live in fear.” You can decide for yourself whether that statement is about Saudi Arabia, the UK, or any country for that matter.

To quote the Joker, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

That is all I will say about either subject.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Western Myths #9: All Saudis Are Rich

As ever the media has a lot to answer for.
The only Saudi images I ever saw in the West were of rich people and palatial settings. All I was told is that vast amounts of oil money flood into the country, there is no tax here and women are oppressed.

It reminds me of how amused I was when I saw England portrayed in the USA as an idyllic green land of historic buildings, quaint people and cucumber sandwiches at high tea. (Good work, tourism board!)
Obviously rich Saudis and historic English buildings exist (hell, even the cucumber sandwiches exist) but they’re not an accurate representation of the whole. So you’ll have to forgive the Westerner who assumes from afar that all Saudis are wealthy. It’s stupid of course, but assumptions often are when they’re based on bad information.
There is plenty of hardship here in Riyadh. I frequently see people begging by the side of the road (another instance where a full ninja abaya comes in handy.)

Our cultures may have their differences but from what I’ve seen I’d estimate that the Saudis give money to beggars about as frequently as the English. Still, nothing wrong with being a Terry Tightarse, eh?


Balqis said...

I want to marry prince al waleeed

Here in Mct begging is forbidden by law and in fact when you go round you think is all perfect, but then as you go out of town is full of poor people and they often come asking at the door

Life Out East said...

Begging in Saudi, not everyone rich and driving a Bentley!! Like many I've always thought that Saudis are just rich from birth. I've never met a poor one yet (though I've never been to Saudi either).

Omair said...

Oh!! How I despise this sterotype. Up until now my foreign friends think I live on an oil rig with a marina full of the world's biggest yachts.

Truth to be said, few years back when I was at school, we had a charity day. Me and my mates brought boxes and filled it with all types of daily needs. Then we went to the some parts of Jeddah, known for their poverty, to give it the people there. My point is, those people are well under poverty line. They can't even provide water for their families. They have roofs made of metal sheets, if any. All memebers of the family live in the same room and usually they're in huge numbers. It really made me feel guilty. They really could use some charity.

sameer said...

2 b honest, outside of saudi arabia, especially in da westernworld as well as asia, afrika, and south amerika, saudis do have a reputation of being filthy rich, lazy ass bums, big paunches, blondes on both sides,mega gamblers and arrogant and sly businessmen--- they r always portrayed as living in huge big mansions, having harems full of beautiful and young women,girlz, and boyz---i have personally seen in five star hotels in dubai,cairo,london,paris,geneva,los angeles how big saudi businessmen fly in and book suites for da whole week or so and r very high gamblers and prostitute service users---yet when i went 2 saudi, i was disgusted at how average saudi women were begging and even some forced into prostitution----YES, believe me there r poor saudi females, who have been rejected by families, relatives, or whose husbands have died or who have been divorced and beg foreigners, westerners 2 take them in as maids thinking da foreigner will marry them and take them back 2 western europe, north america, australia, asia. I myself had been approached several times by few saudi females who were so desperate---i felt so pity and heart broken from inside. its just a shame that this is happening in a country which is controlled by a mega rich family but doesntcareabout its female citizens who r poor or have been rejected by their husbands,brothers,family and relatives.

Anonymous said...

well, I live in Khobar, suadi arabia..and am saudi..
most beggers in saudi 99.999% are not saudis....they look like saudis for you ..but not for me..simply they illegally immigranted..just like what maxicans do in Unlce Sam..any way..they exploit the "Hajj" and come to the country..never return to thier home...and some of their home countries avoid this issue when the saudi goverment brings it up.
They just beg for money and some of them sell drugs..some of them are good people, I have to mention this.

bottom line..saudis represnts only 60% or may be less of the population..
I myself never seen a saudi with no home or no car or cell phone..and never seen a saudi eat less than three meals a day..


ozzi said...

im a saudi my self and i dont want to 'glorify' my countrys wealth, i believe that generalising all saudi's to be wealthy is a form of arrogance and naievty. yes the country is known for its large oil reserves but that does not necessray refelect on the society. i believe that the middle class is fading out and the gap between rich and poor is increasing. perhaps the wrong perception of saudis arises when the upper class of society travel abroad where some spare no expense on what ever they do and live the luxury life to the fullest. where as others are struggling to earn a living and strive their best to keep a roof under their families heads. these people arent exposed abroad thats why flase judgments occur about the saudis. you need to understand that the country is runned by a monorachy which means wealth is not distrubted equally among citiznes, only those who are privilaged gets to have the big chunk of the fortune.

alcondor said...

No saudi beg for money. There are programs created to provide furnitured houses for them and a car and food. The beggers you see in saudi are illegal immigrants and the goverments always run after them. they just dress like saudis so they kind them selfes.

There is no one single saudi with no house. or access to clean water or food. No single saudi

No one single saudi.. I am 100% sure cause my job in saudi is to provide these nessary things to saudis with no jobs.

I am a saudi and I know. Again, people you may see in streets beg for money are not saudis, they some time dress like saudis "white rope if he is a man and abaya if she is a women" so they can hide.

alcondor said...


people you may see in some parts of saudis beg for money are NOT SAUDIS. They may dree like saudis to hide them selves because they are illegal immigrants.

There are programs in saudi provide people with houses for free and a car and a salary if a person is jobless.

bagging for money is AGAINST THE LAW in saudi arabia. and the goverment run after those illigal immigrants. I am a saudi and I know.

Anonymous said...

Hey all. I am a Muslim who was born and raised in London, I am not Saudi. I want to share a common experience with you all. It saddens me deeply today when I see and meet saudi people. I have been to saudi a few times before and I have to say that the experience I have had with saudis has been far from pleasant (I realise that NOT all saudis are arrogant and difficult to deal with and that there are good and not so good people everywhere). People used to tell me, it was a language barrier as I couldnt speak Arabic. I studied Arabic for many years and am now fluent, yet my experience has still not changed! It really saddens me because people like me come to saudi arabia from all over the world and we bring with us so much love, expectation, hope and respect- only because we know that they are the modern day people of the holy places. Unfortunately saudis have taken this as a green light to boost their arrogance and rudeness against anyone who is non saudi. We only do this for the sake of god! All dreams comes crashing down when reality hits home and oh boy does it hurt. The 'holy land of the two mosques and of the prophets' is something that today is confined to the history books. How amazing would it have been if saudi people could have returned some of that love and respect back to the people, and if they could have been a role model today. Saudi people have been given a great blessing by god but I really feel like they are ungrateful for it. Saudi prides itself as being the face and the image of islam, the ambassadors of this religion. But Islam is a religion of love, respect, equality, cooperation, mercy, isnt it? I saw a very old turkish man in saudi once who was ordered to take off the white cloth on his head because he wasent 'saudi' and didnt speak arabic. And this was near the house of God! I looked up to the sky that night and I have to say that I honestly shed a few tears.

Remember - In order to be a good Muslim you have to be a good human being first. Peace to all. I apologise if I have offended anyone, but I just wanted to be honest.

Anonymous said...

well, first of all, i just want to comment on what "sameer" has said.
"how average saudi women were begging and even some forced into prostitution"
i am an average saudi woman, neither i nor any of the people i know have ever begged for money, alhamdulellah!
and prostitution!!!! commonnn, this tooo much!
don't u know that "zina" is forbidden in islam and that saudi arabia has very strict laws when it comes to this.
so yeah, u proved that u don't know what ur talking about, ur just a hater who wants to give a bad image about us saudis,idk why ur doin' this, maybe u just have nothing better to do.
"I myself had been approached several times by few saudi females who were so desperate" xD, u wish!

and for the article, maybe not all of us are "wealthy", but none of us is in need for begging!
i know because i'm an average saudi woman(or girl to be specific)
and by the way, following my belives and choosing to wear abaya doesn't mean that I'm "oppressed".
that's it, and have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

In the beginning the replica watch company was involved in chronograph watches and other precision instruments. Since the company placed great emphasis on chronograph watches the company worked closely with the aviation industry of many countries.

Ghassan Al-Amri said...

Please get your facts straight,am saudi and i know what am talking about. In a country where its overflow of budget is in billions to have 80% of its population live in rented houses,that most normal people pass by their month salary by a hardship to have an increase of goods by 1000% and only increase in the salary is 5%,where roads are broken,am not poor but if god forbids i get in a car crash or something burns in our house we would have a lot of trouble passing by.ask someone who saw it with his own eyes and lived it

Anonymous said...

Haha Saudis jumping To protect themselves what's the matter can't take critisim my arrogant oops I meant Arab freind?

Anonymous said...

I live in suadi arabia for 10 years. Yes, all saudis are rich, every family has at leafs one driver and one maid, some families have three or two drivers. the poor people in saudi arabia are not originally saudis, they are immigrants, usually indians, Pakistanis, Indonesians, Egyptians ........ those people live their whole life in saudi arabia and they speak perfect arabic, saudi dialect. But I have not seen any originally saudi person who is poor. they get crazy salaries and have no taxes. they have huge houses. but i have to admit that they are very nice and very very generous people. Saudi is just a different part of the world.