Tal Bukra, Come Tomorrow – A common phrase in Saudi Arabia

Tal Bukra is a common phrase for people living in Saudi Arabia. For foreigners, it is a strange term with meaning “come tomorrow”. People working in Saudi Arabia governmental departments are easy going. They don’t get panic for efficient and speedy working. Wherever you go for any issue like the opening of bank account, Saudi embassy, and other corporate departments, you have to wait for a long time and many times you have to hear this phrase ‘Tal Bukra’.[irp]

It means you have to make several trips to a respective department for completion of a tiny job. They don’t care whether you are in hurry; account or document o an urgent basis or any related thing. People visiting in Saudi Arabia feel irritated for slow processing issues in Saudi Arabia. Though life is easy going in Saudi Arabia and it has several attractions as well but it results in slow performance. Slow efficiency hinders development and expertise of individuals and businesses. Many people residing in Saudi Arabia will complain to you regarding the postponement of their ID cards, Passport or any other document processing for several days or even weeks.

A friend of mine narrated a story to me related to this “Tal Bukra” habit of Saudi departments. He visited SIM issuance office for getting a new SIM card. The officials there asked him to bring copy residence permit for the issuance of SIM card. He had not the one and tried to get a copy of the permit from some nearby shop. Just due to prayer break he came back there after an hour or less time duration. The officials asked him to visit the telecommunication office after a couple of days due to the national holiday break. He was in urgent need of SIM card, despite this he waited for two days and right after that, he was asked to come tomorrow. He got the SIM card finally after 3 to 5 visits to SIM card office. This is an exceptional story; it does not mean getting SIM card always take that long time.

Another friend in my circle told me a similar story of opening a bank account in a bank in Saudi Arabia. He had to wait for a long time for verification of information related to his professional and even personal life. After so many visits and a long wait, he still had to wait for a week for activation of his bank account and could transact money after a hectic procedure. For such persons ‘Tal Bukra’ is a horrible term as they had to endear much pain and stress due to this terminology of officials.[irp]

Such practice slows down the working efficiency of departments. This slow pace in Saudi Arabia is somehow painful but is one of the major attractions of Saudi Arabia. People residing in Saudi Arabia are easy going and time taking. So, the departments follow the same practice at large.

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