For Sunday February 3rd 2013
Between Us Only!
There is something that I will share with you today that I have not disclosed before – apart from what I had already said before that as far as I am concerned I feel that people in family relationships and their interfaces is where people misbehave badly and inappropriately – after the Offices environments! From the same behaviours, attitudes, focuses and approaches from the office environments – that a few Baizas more in your pockets make you think that you are unique and special – and you can afford and do look down on those less fortunate than you – or are just struggling to keep their heads above water!
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When it comes to family relationships – this is a more bitter pill to swallow – however sugar coated – and it is more hurtful and painful than the offices’ environments – because here in family relationships you expect better treatment and results – especially if you have been a family member that liked your family – and have actually contributed in more ways than one!
What hurts more is the patronising, condescending, marginalising and belittling approaches, attitudes and focuses – and even coming from junior ranks (by birth) – and just because they are making money now – and you have long stopped doing so!
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You may not ask for favours and or for special treatment – but this does not change anything in outlooks and perspectives! It is as if you secretly do – but do not want to show yourself openly and publicly that you do!
When I went on Hajj a few years ago – I had called all my children and family together and gave them written Instructions – a will type of thing – in case I do not return alive from the Hajj. It is part of the rituals and requirements of Hajj anyway to do so!
During the 1960s after independence of Tanzania – our late parents sold everything we had in Mafia Island – and moved over to Zanzibar – only to return penniless after the bloody revolution of 1964 back to our previous island of Mafia. A lot of family members that had not moved had a field day to see that once that well off family (not really rich) had returned hungry and desperate! One of our uncles had vacated one of his houses to accommodate us.
It was a very difficult and hard time for us in the family – that is why many of us ‘explode’ when some miscreants want to include us in the categories and groupings that they think we fit – instead of us letting decide for ourselves – what we really want for us – which is that being from the stock of the family that went to Africa to look for a living at the darkest time of our history – we have returned back home! Nothing more – and nothing less!
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I then vowed that from the first day I started to work – I will give my full salaries to my late Father. That night I could hear my late father sob – so being naïve and not knowing – I asked my late mother why was dead crying yesterday night – and she said – son – you made him cry because of what you did!
What I wanted to share with you also is this element that I am now a happy at home retired person – and under no pressures – family and or otherwise – to find jobs for the teenagers out of high school and colleges – and especially as my job was in Human Resources (HR)!
It came at a just right time with the increased pressures now! I remembered clearly my last nasty experience was a family relative from the home town insisting he wanted a job that ‘must pay him at least minimum 350 OMR’ – otherwise he will stay at home – though he just finished secondary school with low passes averages! Years later he was still looking for that salary – and hopping from one job to another in his pursuits!
The worst part in family relationships is when people play with their lives in making hasty wrong awful decisions with serious consequences and repercussions – and expect family members to salvage and bail them out – and sometimes it is never ending – from one saga to another – and still expect the same results. I forget now who said it – but a stupid person is one who makes the same decisions – time and time again – and expecting different results the next time!
People have their own lives – and their own direct families to look after – and sometimes there are a lot of shows and facades of ‘families being together’ – but it is the anathema of outsiders that they are more concerned about – rather than really being together. People are real good actors – and actresses!
Nowadays I feel great and elated – away from all these pressures – especially job related ones! The Westerners and The Expatriates in our land do not realise and appreciate on these pressures being placed on us the locals – and they look at us – weigh us – according to their own outlooks and whims! The concept of extended family is something they do know exists in society – but just pretend not to notice and or feel it! The ironical and sad part is that some of the expatriates are even worse off than us in these regards – but put on a brave front and façade that they are still different!
Sometimes the situation can go to real across the borders and extremes – not only being cursed behind your back – or even in front – but being treated like a pariah – and even be discommunicated, debarred and excluded as a family member anymore – by the same judge, jury and executor! Family pressures can really be daunting and damning – however careful and watchful one can be!
By Majid Al Suleimany