I once lived in a country called Lalaland, a finger sized oil rich kingdom clusters on Middle East map. Then, it was a good place to live, though there were teething issues common with all new states. It was relatively cheap, the money I earned was good and went a long way, there was decency among its people, strong ties to past traditions and Islam and a Ruler who was shrewed but very balanced and generally fair; it was a blessed country.
Then the Ruler died and Lalaland became even more prosperous, developing so fast and so hard, it amazed the new Rulers and threw them into a heady frenzy; even the sky was not a limit. Whatever that could be done bigger, better and flashier was taken on. Money poured in, modesty out, the country was prostituted to the highest bidder. A healthy population feeding on fish and dates for thousands of years took to fast food and welcomed diabetes and hypertension epidemics. Whites and Arabs became immune to laws of the land; native were seldom apprehended and Whites had their hands slapped and given suspended sentences for even serious offenses. Rulers marred new, more modern, more powerful wives, Liquor and prostitution, unheard or strictly controlled ago, went public and flourished.
Bizarre episodes of greed and patronism fueled amazement and anger which was quickly suppressed and soothed by easy money and power. Consider:
1. A car registration plate with number 1 was auctioned for USD 1,000,000; other numbers like 5, 10… sold for similar crazy sums.
2. The Ruler won every horse racing and endurance event he raced or fancied.
3. Half baked laws were put into place only to be rescinded in a few days or amended so many times, nobody knew what it was supposed to fix.
4. The State (or some pot bellied, pot smoking cousin of a cousin to the Ruler) decided where people slept, how many families lived together, who was or was not permitted to give a ride to a college to work…
5. A country boasting of the richest of rich saw labourers sleep in chicken coops; rape and forceful detention of maids from poor countries rampant and plight of labourers so dismal, it made Saddam Hussein seem an angel.
Still, people from all over the world flocked to Lalaland, undeterred. New building got taller still, cars fancier, jam packed roads jam packed some more, glimmer and shine glitterer, deals dirtier, rotten morals rotted even, the West got aped open armed and I migrated back to the US; had to keep my sanity.
Now, there are signs of the dam busting; property prices correcting to 20%? Layoffs a word actually spoken, people actually leaving…
What next? Look out…the shit is going to hit the fan.