Friday, January 13, 2012

What's A Wasta?

Have you heard the word wasta before and wondered what in the world people are talking about? Have you noticed people talking about vitamin W but were too shy to ask in fear of exposing your lack of nutritional knowledge? Are you new in Saudi and have been asked the question ayndak wasta but didn't know what to respond? Well chances are if you didn't know how to respond, you most likely don't have wasta!

Wasta translates roughly to "connections" or "influence" and the Arabic origin means "intermediate". Basically a wasta (also known as vitamin W) is a very influential person with good connections who can get things rolling for you. The wasta can be a relative, a friend, a business acquaintance or in some cases even a stranger.

In Saudi-Arabia a wasta is often a person from a royal background or family of enormous wealth. It will never hurt to know a high ranking influential Saudi Prince. They can pull the right strings and many obstacles will suddenly disappear. Royals are all about wasta!
On the other hand a wasta might be just a random someone that your friend or relative knows who happens to be in a position where he can influence others. He or she could help get a person a job, and sometimes things work the opposite way, they might also get you fired easily. Wasta is often used by Saudis to land a place in university or a job in management or other sought after placements. The sad truth is, the person who used wasta to obtain that position often went past many much more qualified candidates. That's why many Saudi companies have incompetent and unmotivated staff. Because of their wasta, they won't have to fear loosing their jobs even if they don't perform very well.

With good wasta a person can get practically anything done. Wasta can be more valuable than money. Having wasta makes life in Saudi much easier for the person with it, but for those without it or those impacted by their actions, it does the opposite. Wasta could be described also as the root of corruption.


A wasta is sort of like a genie in a bottle, but better. Instead of three wishes you can get as many as you wish!

Watch this educational and funny video to find out exactly what is meant by the power of vitamin W...

12 comments:

Kris said...

LOL! I loved your wasta link! My husband has access to some good wasta, but has too much honor to use it for his benefit. I love his honor more than his wasta! lol!

Noor said...

Wasta is a funny thing here I did a post about it to awhile ago lol Saudis are something else :p

Anonymous said...

Definitely a corruptive tool..

MAHARUKH said...

in love with dis... do drop time on my blog too...

Angel said...

LMAO It is unfortunate that this is what people need to get what they want, whether it be marriage, a job, getting land etc it is very sad indeed

Laylah said...

Kris-you've got one honorable man! Would he use it in emergency cases though?

Laylah said...

Noor-yes, they are :D

Laylah said...

Maharukh-thanks for stopping by, nice blog you have :)

Laylah said...

Angel-true, it's sad and it corrupts society, and it's also unfair to people who try to do things on their own, have someone with wasta come and take that from you.

Kristine said...

I sure do Laylah! He does use it to help other people though.

Abdullah of Arabia said...

I use to think arabia have monopoly over WASTA but in fact recently I found an interesting example of WASTA in the EU.

In the Wikileaks Wasta said to be wide spread in Greece. Wasta there called (MESON) and this quote from Wikileaks from US embassy in Athens:

''Using one's friends in high places to get something done that otherwise would be impossible -- a practice called "meson" -- is such a standard practice that it is sometimes difficult for even the most forthright Greek to know where the corruption line exists''

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/02/06ATHENS369.html#

So Wasta may be had been transmitted to Arabia through the translated Greeks books centuries ago.

Laylah said...

Abdullah of Arabia-thanks for sharing the interesting example, I was not aware of this.