11 May 2008

Can you hear me now? "Kuwaitis are materialistic"

Upon leaving a friend's fancy baby reception (istiqbal) at a hospital; my friend, M, makes a comment about how the Kuwaiti society has become materialistic and "shinsawi? ba3ad...".

She said, there's really nothing to do about it and you have to play along.

Although that sentiment is not new, I find that the people who make such statements are often justifying their excessive behavior*.

Putting a stop to the "let's top that" attitude takes some effort and gumption.

A long conversation followed about society, materialism, and our role in it but these are my thoughts:

We create our own realities, live our own lives.

"We" are not "chithee". You are.

(1) We choose our social circles.
Although we don't choose our family, we do have some say in our social circles. If it bothers you so much, or you're trying to get out of it, don't be around people who are self-obsessed and materialistic. (I'm not saying its easy...I'm saying its possible.)

(2) We choose to care.
Very few people actually deeply care about what we do, wear, etc. They need a topic to discuss. People won't care that you didn't have a fancy baby reception at a hospital, they don't want to worry about inconveniencing their selves by having to visit you at home. Some might talk because they have nothing better to do.

The problem is that regardless of how strong or mild the social pressure is, we don't want to have to deal with it. We don't want to stand up for what we believe for a single second.

Isn't that why we end up with a crazy hospital bill (that has little to do with the medical care we received)? To have other people come in dressed to the nines only hours after having a life-altering experience, choosing to spend that precious time away from our babies and partners?

Isn't that why we buy cars that take up a big chunk of our monthly income? To prove that we have money to other people. God forbid we actually live within or below our means. That would mean we're middle class .

And I truly apologize for this statement but if your parents are rich and you have a crazy expensive car that you can't buy on your own, then you're a mooch.

Today's lesson: Quit complaining. This is a mess of our own making. Let's work on fixing it.

*She recently bought a car worth around KD 25,000. She makes around KD 600 per month. Her car note's around KD 250. And complains about being penniless before the end of the month.


Salah said...

Do we have a free-will?

Check this article

eshda3wa said...

im so glad i dont face problems like that simply because i dont have a social circle!


my roommate and her hubby are always broke, they take money from both their parents, and its never enough.


cz we have to keep up appearances.
just sad!

Big Pearls said...

it's getting crazy..I've even heard about a fancy reception had while her baby was in critical condition in the intensive care unit!

Anonymous said...

its sad ...sadly i am gonna get into high credit if i go for my new car!

Hasan.B said...

The hospital reception really surprises me! Why would a women want god knows how many people visiting her just few days after labour in the hospital!? Hospitals are not made for visiting.

On regards to your last part I totally disagree. It is up to the parents to decide. Plus sometimes something that seems expensive to you might seem very cheap and convenient for others. What you said about the car can be applied to anything from clothes to shoes, which does not make sense really. Plus what do you mean by not being able to afford it? Does that mean before or after working? Cause if it is before being employed then the person wont be able to afford almost anything by his/her own. People should not be judged on what they have or what do their parents give them. It is up to their parents. As long as the boy/girl do not act like a spoiled brat then there is absolutely no problem

G.E&B said...

salah: thanks for the link! (We DO!)

eshda3wa: what young couples go through is just SAD!

big pearls: yeah I've been to one like that too.

amu: but you're doing it for you (i'm assuming from reading you)..

hasan: a lot of times parents set their children up for failure. They don't want their children to have less than their friends, they buy then expensive cars that they wouldn't be able to afford with their first job's pay. When it comes time to buy a second car, they feel like they HAVE to buy something as grand as their first car because they don't want to take a step down.

That's what I meant by "not able to afford". If I can't afford something five years into having a job, then I can't afford it before I get a job.

Anonymous said...

il7imdila a lot of families in q8 can afford a lot for their kids and they shouldnt be stingy with their kids bas at the same time they should teach them the value of money.
We live in an extremly judgemental and materialistic society and its hard to keep up appearancs.
For example my cousins kid who is 9 is asking for the Cartier love bracelet cuz everyone in her grade has it!!! When i was 9 I wanted the "magic diary" madry shisma!!
I know what it feels like to be around ppl that are extereme spenders. Il7imdila we have money bas I can't spend as freely as some ppl, ya3ni I can't look at three pairs of new sergio rossi and buy them on the spot my mom would kill me, but I have friends who do that.
Okay sorry for the long reply :)

Delicately Realistic said...

I for one am NOT having a reception in the hospital.

I want to spend my day recuperating and bonding with my new baby.

My plan is to get a very small room so even my close family members come, pay their regards and LEAVE ! They can all see me later when i feel like it.

Wallah at3ajab min hal 7areem...u just had a baby yanked out of u...and ive seen deliveries before, they are TRAUMATISING events...how in the world can woman stand to be pampered and dressed up, within a few hours and receiving guests is beyond me.