of gold and glitter – 1

All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.

by William Shakespeare

The middle east as a whole is infamous for work environments that are toxic, highly political and ethically challenged. KSA is no exception. The money draws people in and many of them lose their integrity (assuming they had some in the first place). The immigration laws are such that money will always be the most obvious reason for coming to the country. With 2 year contracts as the norm, many Western expats are here for the short term, hoping to make enough to retire a little earlier.

One description/explanation that keeps popping up for the morally challenged (esp expats) is that they are insecure. Thus they plot and scheme, attack, lie and conspire against their co-workers. After years of working with insecure males (in other parts of the world), I firmly believe that a major reason for insecurity is the assumption that others are like them. People project their responses and values onto others- they assume that everyone acts like them. Thus if they cheat, they assume that everyone cheats. If they lie, they assume that everyone lies. If they act like they know everything even if they don’t, they assume that everyone else is also full of hot air. If they act against people, they assume that everyone acts against them.

Thus the insecurity problem persists- perpetuated and reinforced by the very people that are brought in as “role models” to make the workplace more professional.



For all the Myers- Brigg fans and critics amongst us, the Typealyzer web-site analyzes the author of a blog based on their writing.

The results for my blog (not at all what Myers- Brigg says I am on regular tests):

The analysis indicates that the author of https://ruhsa.wordpress.com is of the type:

ISTP – The Mechanics

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.


This show what parts of the brain that were dominant during writing.


Sometimes typecasting can be fun 🙂

P.S. I ran my old blog (which has my research and more professional writings on it) and this time the results were slightly different

INTP – The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.


This show what parts of the brain that were dominant during writing.



I received this questionnaire on my blog yesterday. It would be great if everyone could help out. Responses should be sent to n.alrajhi(at)gmx(dot)com


A westerners experience in Saudi Arabia is a research project I’m doing for my ENG writing class as a investigative report at my Uni in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I was hoping you can participate in this online interview questionnaire I am doing. So please help me with answering these questions here, I would really appreciate it!

Do you also mind sharing this with some of your expat friends?

Interview Questions (please elaborate and explain):
1. What’s your name? Where are you from? Age, personal status (single, married)?
2. Why are you residing in Saudi Arabia?
3. What compelled you to make that decision and come to KSA?
4. Did you have any fears, reservations and stereotype about Saudi? Do you still have those fears?
5. What are the main difficulties that arose once you arrived?
6. What has been positive about your experience?
7. Do you live in a isolated compound? Why?
8. Do you socialize with Saudi’s?
9. What’s the main lesson you have learned while you are in Saudi?

Thank you for your time!
Add anything you think will be helpful!

Saudi Royalty – 1

Saudi nationals are very protective of their King and tend to treat the royalty with a lot of reverence. My disclaimer up front is that I am NOT doing any royal-bashing, I am simply trying to get a handle on the governance structure of this place.

As far as I have found, since the foundation of the modern country, the kingdom has been ruled by the founder, followed by his sons. All the sons are in their 70s to 80s and the remaining members are not very healthy.

What I recently found out was that there is an Allegiance Institute that has been formed in 2006 to decide who will be the next ruler, smoothly.

Saudi kings (you can get a detailed family tree here or on Wiki):

  King: relation Mother rule
1 Abdulaziz al-Saud
founder Sara bint Ahmad al-Kabir bin Muhammad Al Sudayri 1932-1953
2 Saud bin AbdulAziz
son Wadhha bint Muhammad bin Burghush 1953-1964
3 Faisal bin Abdulaziz
son Tarfah bint Abdullah al-Shaikh Abdul-Wahab 1964-1975
4 Khalid bin Abdulaziz
(died of natutal causes)
son Jauhara bint Musa’d Al Saud 1975-1982
5 Fahd bin Abdulaziz
(died of natural causes)
son Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi 1982-2005
6 Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
son Fahda bint Asi al-Shuraim 2005-
7 Crown Prince:
Sultan bin Abdulaziz
son Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi next in line

What is more interesting are the tribal lines and the sheer number of kids that everyone around here knows about and consider you a tad slow if you do not realize they exist 🙂

I was planning on adding the table of the wives and kids of the founding king however the numbers are a little more than I had realized (the count of his kids ranges from 60+ to 90+) and different sources give different info. It’ll try to reconcile the info and it should show up in another post!

Saudi embassy website

The Saudi embassy web-site is really quite helpful. There is a wealth of info about the Kingdom embedded in it – the side menu changes sometimes and new links open up that were not there before. I am guessing that they have updated their web-site navigation several times but the changes were not propagated well resulting in hidden tidbits that pop up once in a while.

Images of Riyadh: Downtown Riyadh- at night

Riyadh comes alive at night. Here are the same two towers at night, and the bumper to bumper traffic between them.

PB200016 PB200014 PB200031

Faisaliyah Tower, Olaya Rd traffic at night on the weekend, Kingdom Tower.

The Golden Triad: Power, Money, Religion

Q: Where does power come from in today’s world?

A: Depend on where you are.

In the US we have a nominal separation of church and state. What does that really mean? As is, religious values are deeply embedded within the judicial system and now are creeping up all over. Prop 8 is a great example. The Margaret and Helen blog stated the dilemma very succinctly : “If marriage is an institution supported by this country then it must be made available to all of its citizens according to the law.  If however, it is strictly a religious institution then a constitutional amendment determining who can and cannot have access to it is sort of missing the point.  Religious freedom except for people who are not religious is a mutually exclusive concept.” For those that did not follow the issue, the Mormon Church was HUGELY influential regarding the passage of prop 8.

Before I digress too much…the separation of church and state really means that the church (religious institutions as a whole) do not have an automatic claim on power. The have to resort to the same tactics as every other special interest group: MONEY. Basically, power can be bought by the highest bidder and it’s an equal opportunity auction. The bottom line: everyone wants/needs money (money and power have a closed loop that is reinforcing)

Europe is slightly different in the way it separates secular and religious, with immigration from northern Africa and Turkey forcing lines to be drawn. Basically, religion is officially not supposed to exist in the public arena. It clearly does not have any power based on itself, and it cannot use money in the same way as in North America. The bottom line: power needs money, and religion needs power  (note that the circle is not complete and all 3 institutions are getting weaker).

Saudi Arabia is a different animal altogether. If you look at the history of the Saud empire, and how the country was actually formed (pre discovery of oil), religion legitimized power through an alliance. Today, power has acquired money yet it still needs the nod from religion. This creates a unique dynamic where power cannot just do what it wants and continues to need to negotiate with religion. Religion on the other hand does not need money and already has power through proxy. The bottom line: religion and power feed off each other.