OUTLOOK — By Arwa Al Hinaia — As I drive to work every day, I catch a glimpse of something that always fills me with admiration, appreciation, and content. It’s a view that continuously generates a feeling of compassion and recognition within me. Although this is a view that does not only materialise during my morning drive to work, in all actuality, it is something that is constantly right in front of us, yet we fail to see it as it is invisible to us. What I am alluding to are the invisible people who are always there, yet never really seen by anyone. We have become so accustomed to seeing them, that we consider them part of the background. Though they are invisible to us, they hold great importance to us and, to be fairly honest, are impossible to live without them.
Some examples of these invisible people are: the people, who I call the ‘Men in Green’. The men who stand under the scorching blaze of the sun to help keep our city clean. Without these men, our city would be at risk of becoming a big pile of filth. As children, we are taught in school to throw our garbage in the bin. Whoever breaks this rule will be asked to pick up what they have tossed and throw it in the right place. Sadly, this rule is broken by people as soon as they leave the classroom and are away from the watchful eye of the teachers. We behold several occasions where people fling rubbish out of the car windows while driving at super high speed. Plastic bags, tissue, paper, glass and plastic bottles are a few examples of the things that are hurled away. Not only it is dangerous to do such a thing, it is also a sign of incivility. To start with, the action of throwing things out of the window might lead to blocking the other drivers’ visibility which can lead to hazardous results. Secondly, it is a sign of disrespect and carelessness towards the cleanliness of our country. It expresses the lack of loyalty towards this country. Keeping the city clean means the people care representation of our nation. Last but not least, driving at such reckless haste means the driver does not care about the invisible people who might be standing at the side of the road waiting to collect what has been pitched at them. These acts prove what I mentioned earlier, that to some people, these workers have become only part of the background.
The builders are also part of this invisible group of people. When people are looking at a building that is being constructed, I wonder how many of us think about those workers. What are the risks they encounter every day? What are the difficulties they face? What happens if one of them is injured? These are questions that go through my mind when I see those workers standing on the very edge of a floor, connecting wires. Have we ever pondered the importance of these workers in our lives? Can we imagine living without them?
The other category of invisible people I would like to share is the category of the people who attend to us at home. These people can be both men and women; however, I would like to shed some light on the female workers as their presence is of bigger importance. Many, if not most, of these women left their families and countries in search for work and earn a living. Some of them come from the other side of the globe in order to obtain a better living for their families back home. Their contracts can extend to up to two years, during which they can only communicate with their families through phone calls. Their working days can extend way past what is stated in their contract. They toil for long hours but never get a ‘thank you’ in return. If one of them commits a mistake, she would be sent home on the first flight available. Why has it become so hard to show these invisible people our appreciation? Why is it so difficult to acknowledge them? Sadly, there are many people who fall under the “invisible” umbrella other than the ones I mentioned. My question is: they might be invisible now, but what will happen if one day they truly disappear?