Jean-Jacques Cornish

I am betting the Kuwaitis won’t change their working week

It is said other Arabic countries will follow the United Arab Emirates in adopting a Western working week.

From this year, the UAE has observed Saturday and Sunday as holiday instead of Friday and Saturday as is the case in most Islamic countries.

If there are further changes, my money is that Kuwait will not  lead the field.

Certainly a Western week would be more efficient, as the UAE maintains.

No doubt the army of expatriates who do the menial work in Kuwait would welcome it.

On Sunday night, these expats gather after church and literally fill public spaces.

If it were to happen, it would mean the working week for Kuwaitis would expand from three-and-a-half to five days.

I was invited to Kuwait to observe elections in the nineties.

“What do you think of our democracy?” a reporter asked me.

“Well you still have no women voting,” I replied. “So there is some way to go.”

The oil-rich Kuwaitis, who had just been liberated from a brief Iraqi occupation when I visited, are the most pampered people I have encountered.

The oil which is the source of their wellbeing snd obviates the need for any Kuwaiti to pay tax doe not require pumping.

Most of irises from natural pressure to the wells above sea level.

It is then piped by gravity down to the terminals for shipping abroad

Kuwaitis have free education and, when it comes to tertiary learning, they get bursaries to study abroad if the course they chose is not offered at Kuwaitis universities.

Equally they have free health care with treatment abroad paid for by the state if it is unavailable at home.

A married couple is given a house and generous allowances for each child born.

It was well nigh impossible to arrange interviews with officials when I was there. They were never in their offices.

The Kuwaiti working week goes thus:

Monday is the start of the and there is no need to peak early. So go home at lunchtime.

Tuesday is the second working. Flexitime rules in Kuwait, so start at 10am and leave around 3pm.

Ditto Wednesday.

Thursday is the eve of the weekend, so prepare for it by going home at lunchtime.

Friday is the sabbath. No work.

Saturday is the second day of the weekend. No work.

Sunday, well the practically the rest of the world it not working on Sunday, so why buck the trend. No work.

Who would blame a Kuwaiti for saying if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.