Why OFWs working for Saudi royal family must be well-behaved

Saudi Arabia has done a lot of things for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families in the Philippines, assuming that they are not on a family status and are working and living in the Kingdom alone.

    Working in the Kingdom has given them a certain measure of financial stability or, particularly for blue-collar workers, a sense of pride and power.

    Not a few live in a palace where a prince or princess resides. They talk with pride how it is to be there and what their responsibilities are.

    If on an errand for a royalty at a government office or private firm, they inevitably feel a sense of pride or clothed with power though they carry themselves with humility.

    It is because they have to keep the good image of the royals employing them. Most members of the Saudi royal family epitomize good values, including humility.

    I had two chances to meet or be near King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The first was during a meeting of donors for the then Prince Salman Center for Disability Research (PSCDR). He was still the Riyadh governor then.

     He stood a few feet away from a group consisting of donors, PSCDR officials and a slew of reporters.

   He stood alone in discreet silence, observant of what was going. Looking fatherly, he projected an aura of regal dignity.

    The second instance was when he was already the Saudi king. He spoke mournfully at the King Fahd Cultural Center on the occasion of the demise on July 22, 2002 of his eldest son Prince Ahmed due to heart failure.

    At the podium, he was a figure of infinite power but deeply grieving, getting the message across that he was submitting to the will of Allah.

    On a lighter vein, I had a meaningful and happy coverage of Prince Sultan bin Salman, the king’s son and chair of the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA).

    He requested that I covered the launching of a fund-raising project between the DCA and the local carrier Flynas for the benefit of children handicapped from birth. Beneficiaries were aged up to 12 years.

    The launching was held at the DCA headquarters on Exit 9 in the Saudi capital on September 3, 2014.

    On seeing me, the Prince approached me, shook my hand and said,”Rudy, you should cover us more often!”

    Of course, we would always cover DCA events, the association being at the time the only one of its kind in the Kingdom.

    DCA is one of the biggest charities for disabled children in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

    I also covered Prince Sultan bin Salman as founder and chair of what is now the King Salman Center for Disability Research (KSCDR).

    As he started one afternoon a press conference on a project of the center, journalists hurried, even jostled with each other, to put our recorders on the table in front of the Prince.

   Not yet used to modern gadgets at the time, like the iPhone, I hesitantly put my old tape recorder on the table.

    He blithely carried on with the presscon, flashing radiant smiles from time to time as he looked at all of us inside the room.

    Then he asked if we had questions. When he finished answering the last question, he pressed the stop button of my tape recorder in front of him as if it was part of the press conference he had just conducted.

    (Though no longer being used, like many of the pens of the prolific writer Noel Bulaong, a.k.a. Jose “Butch” Dalisay, Jr., I brought home my old tape recorder when I bade goodbye on May 24, 2018 to Saudi Arabia and Arab News.)

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