Friday, September 14, 2018

Exiting expats impact economy – SPECIAL REPORT by The Kuwait Times



Exiting expats impact economy – SPECIAL REPORT
Kuwait Times
September 14, 218
As foreigners leave, services and real estate sectors slow

KUWAIT: “We sent our kids home today,” said Lissy Antony, fighting back tears that welled up in her eyes as she walked out of Kuwait International Airport’s departure area with her husband Antony Joseph. For Antony and his wife, parting with their young children Alan and Alena was a traumatic experience. And for their two children, aged 12 and 10, saying goodbye to the country they considered their home presented a psychological and emotional crisis.

As Kuwait introduces new rules and regulations as part of Kuwaitization, thousands of foreigners are either being laid off or restricted from taking up jobs in key sectors. While many expats are compelled to tighten their belts by resorting to the painful remedy of sending their children home, others are left with an even harder choice – leaving the country before things get worse.

While some are quitting Kuwait because they lost their jobs, others are doing it of their own volition in the face of a situation they call “beyond their control”. As the number of foreigners leaving the country rises, the impact has started to ripple through the economy, affecting sales in almost all retail segments – from automobiles and garments to food and beverages and household goods. “For decades, Kuwait remained an Eldorado for expats, especially for Asians. Not anymore. I think it is time we folded up,” said Riyas Ahamad, an Indian engineer working with an oil company in Ahmadi.
According to Expat Insider, Kuwait ranked last in a global poll about working abroad. Respondents reportedly considered a set of indicators including quality of life, ease of settling in and overall general satisfaction. Kuwait came 68th, a position it already held from 2014 to 2016, while it came second to last in 2017, the report said.

‘Lean and mean’

Large-scale retrenchments are taking place in the private sector too. As part of cost-cutting, private universities and schools are firing expats while organizations and hotels are easing out expat staff as part of their new strategy to become “lean and mean”. Many Asian schools admit, albeit secretly, that a large number of parents like Antony have opted to take transfer certificates of their wards to relocate them to their home countries amid radically “deteriorating financial conditions”. Several others are sending their families home as they find it hard to balance their monthly family budget.
“Be it the exorbitant fees for medical services, high petrol prices, new visa regulations or taxation moves, the tide is inexorably turning against expats,” said Alfred Williams, a lecturer at a private university in Kuwait.

“In most consumer segments, there is a palpable drop in sales. Usually there is a lull in sales during summer, but this time it has been slightly higher,” an executive at a supermarket said on condition of anonymity. However, he said no official estimates are available yet for the quarter.
According to a recent report by NBK, growth in its consumer spending index eased to 6.5 percent year-on-year in July. The consumption of durables was flat in July with growth easing to 7.3 percent year-on-year from 10.8 percent in June, as the sector continued to feel the impact of seasonally lower demand during the summer months. Sales of cars, furniture, and luxury items were weaker, while spending on electronics picked up, the report added.

Flats for rent

If the sudden spurt in ‘Flat for Rent’ hoardings across the country’s residential areas is any indication, one can assume that demand for apartments is in a fairly steep negative price trajectory. “During summertime, usually there will be a drop in demand for residential apartments. This is the time when expats normally seek a ToR (transfer of residence). But this year, we see an unusual trend. The number is surprisingly high,” said Anand Kumar, a supervisor at a real estate firm in Mahboula.
According to Al-Shall economic report, percentage of vacant buildings dropped slightly in the first half of the year, as per PACI figures, increasing to 11.2 percent. They numbered approximately 22,800 buildings out of a total of 203,800 buildings (23,400 vacant buildings, out of a total of 202,400 buildings in the end of 2017, i.e. 11.6 percent).

Hundreds of residential apartments in Kuwait are lying vacant currently amid declining demand and availability of newly-built apartments. Interestingly, apartment owners have begun to show more flexibility towards their customers, either to retain occupants or woo new tenants. In many residential areas like Abbassiya, Salmiya, Mangaf and Fahaheel, building owners have reduced rents to keep their properties occupied. As the rental market in Kuwait is oversupplied currently, rent declines in the country vary from roughly 2.5 percent up to 10 to 15 percent, according to some estimates.
“There were four flats vacant in our building two months ago. But today, there are eight flats vacant in the building,” said Yousef, a Pakistani taxi driver who stays near Don Bosco School in Salmiya.
Market experts are of the view that property owners and tenants may be in the process of converging on a new lower equilibrium price in tandem with building valuations and high vacancy rates for apartments – approximately 13 percent – according to the Real Estate Association. “We anticipate prices in this sector to stabilize only if the gap between demand and supply narrows. We don’t expect this to happen anytime soon because currently the market is oversupplied and the demand appears very weak,” said Fakruddin Ali, a real estate expert.

According to experts, building prices remain in negative territory. More than 75,000 flats in Kuwait are empty and need to be “absorbed” by the real estate market in four to five years, a recent study warned.

The balancing act

Kuwait has adopted a two-pronged strategy in the face of a volatile oil price scenario to reduce dependency on oil and balance the demography by slashing the burgeoning expat population in the country. According to UN estimates, Kuwait’s current population is 4,206,085 as of August 2018. Expatriates account for about 70 percent of the country’s population, with 1.1 million Arabs and 1.4 million Asians.

“For policymakers, it is a tightrope walk. No doubt we need to purge the illegal residents of the country and bring the number of expats down to a sustainable level. At the same time, expats are a critical component for the economic growth of the country and its sociocultural expansion. So the focus must be on the quality of the expat population while we adjust the demographics,” said Kareem Ibrahim, a professor at a private university in Kuwait.

By Sajeev K Peter

--- End ---

I read a story yesterday that there will be an anticipated 5 MILLION expats in Kuwait to complete the Silk City project.  So, this is (from my perspective) a typical Kuwait scenario.  Its cyclical.  Purge the country of expats (knowledge, experience) and replace with more expats that need to adjust to the country, take time for the learning curve - even at work as each country has its own unique work environment.  And all that only IF they decide to stay in Kuwait past a year.  Regardless of the pay, it isn't for everyone.  

Expats who have been in Kuwait for decades (the ones who are leaving now, by the way) are walking away with their knowledge of and loyalty to Kuwait.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

El Cajon - the Big Box Man

I haven't posted about personal stuff for a while and eeeeeverybody loves a good story, so here goes.  I didn't want to write about it before so I wouldn't jinx it.  I also had to put a little distance on this because it was still too raw to write about recent events.

I fell in love about a year and a half ago.   We moved in together. He cooked amazing breakfasts for me and took my dog for long walks.  We called each other constantly, sent text messages and little video clips.  We spent Saturdays in bed watching movies and eating popcorn.  He became (after a learning curve) amazing at doing things for me on special occasions like decorating on my birthday and Valentine's Day, flowers, cards, little surprise gifts.    It was long-distance at first which made it hard, but building blocks towards something bigger.  He was 100% loyal.  I never had to question him with other women or doubt my trust in him.  It was all very comfortable and natural and the kind of relationship most of us hope for.  But nothing is ever perfect in any relationship.

Sidebar:  I always struggle with pseudo names on the blog to keep the characters anonymous.  He's from a suburb of San Diego, so I'll call him, "El Cajon."  I didn't realize that the English translation of El Cajon is "big box" or "drawer".  Fascinating....  Maybe I should just call him "Big Box" since he's a big guy of 6'4".

The Dream:  I believe in the messages contained in dreams.  I rarely have dreams with this amount of clarity and emotion:   Several weeks before meeting him, I had a dream that I was in love with a very tall American man who worked at Camp Pendleton in California.  He was leaving to go back to California (to see his daughter) and said he would return as soon as he could.  He had a black dog named Sara that was always next to him.  Before he left, he gave me a necklace with 3 hearts; one was engraved with "happy birthday", the second with "Happy Valentine's Day" and the third was blank.  He walked away and I literally woke up sobbing and screaming, "Don't go!"  I also still felt completely in love with this dream man.   (Ironically, EC is very tall and worked at Camp Pendleton and is American.  He didn't used to like dogs, however, and to the best of my knowledge, doesn't have a daughter - who knows.  Overall - very accurate.)

I met him when his cousin brought him to my apartment.  He was visiting from San Diego and looking for a job - could I help?  Our eyes locked and we spent the next few hours talking like we had known each other for years.  I love those experiences; old souls, who you have only just met.  He was going back to San Diego after first going to visit his brother in Muscat and asked me if there was any way I could go there to see him for a few days.  I booked a room at the Al Husn at the Shangri La.  We had a 3-day honeymoon and that was it;  THE most romantic 3 days of my life:  Wine delivered to the room at sunset that we drank on the terrace. A private beach that we went to every day; ate hamburgers and had mojitos on the beach.  Hours just hanging out and talking.  (Followed by other romantic trips like taking a private jet to Turks & Caicos with my family - courtesy of my sister -  trips to Savannah and several to Virginia.)  (Although, notably, I was never invited to San Diego to meet his parents - yet we regularly spoke on the phone.)

I should explain that I know El Cajon's entire extended family in Kuwait.  I have for decades.  His cousin, Hmood, has been like a brother to me over the years.  So, it made it easy to be with EC, already knowing a lot about him.  EC got to know - and become - part of my family.

Getting to know you....getting to know all about you....
EC has a quick temper and a stubborn streak (both unfortunate attributes that I also possess; Pisces and Aries; water and fire) and with any little argument, he would call, "drama" and want to bolt.  (I love the fact that he said, "You're too Arab.  You're full of drama.")  By drama - I'm not a runner, I try to work it out. Maybe not using the best communications skills I should, but at least I communicate.  But... I get it; that's the way people are now.  Instead of communicating like the adults (we supposedly) are, people choose just to leave.  There are no more real, lasting relationships because people (one or the other) just aren't willing to put in the effort.  People (usually men) these days just choose to hook up without a serious relationship (because that would entail work and perceived "drama").

By the way, my philosophy on ANYONE who says, "I hate drama" is usually the main perpetrator of drama.  That should be an immediate flag.

So whenever we had a problem, I would usually back down and be quiet (rather than being accused) and we would still have unresolved issues (which gee - is just what happens when you can't or won't communicate).  Little things snowball into big things, resentment builds up.

The few times we had problems that I openly discussed, he would get furious (and he's not a shouter or an arguer, but an inwardly-furious, smoldering, storm-brewing person).  You can tell by the evil looks, the head turns, and the passive-aggressive "punishment"; usually in days of silent protests or disappearing acts.  It happened a few times.  Ok, I understand the concept of "space" but say the words, "Can you give me a little while to process.  I need space... a break."  Be a man and just effing SAY it, don't disappear.  (Like last Christmas when he went to visit his family and didn't call me/pulled a disappearing act from Christmas Eve until several days after Christmas!  That's just mean.)

So when we had an argument that started with deodorant (did I just say "deodorant"?  Yes, I did), it ended with him saying that he was going to move out.  It wasn't just about deodorant.  I was in the process of closing on a house that I bought in the US and under a lot of pressure and asked him to help me with some stuff around the house.  He said he doesn't do housework and he "never goes in the living room, so why should I clean it?  I warned you.  I'm under a lot of stress!" (work-related apparently, not closing on a house).  It was one of the few times I pushed back instead of trying to placate the situation.  THREE days of silence later, when he's still in the apartment, I asked him if he was ok to cuddle again.  "No, I'm moving out at the end of the month."   I felt numb.   No one likes threats.  'Ok fine.  Why wait 2 weeks.  Leave now.'  So he did.... and proceeded to tell friends and my family (not me) that I had kicked him out and that he really wasn't going to move out permanently; he just needed space.

My sisterfriend said that living with me and my purchase of a house was maybe too much for him; and that perhaps he felt pressured/controlled/confined -  like I expected him to move into suburban life someday and become a husband.  That was not my intent.  Real estate has always been part of my plan with or without him. The house is for my (and my dog and cats) future.  And he's welcome to buy his own real estate.  I wasn't trying to box him in.  It was an investment!  MY investment.  EC was the one who asked to move in with me in the apartment.  But again, if he felt this way - or any other - he could have articulated it to me.  Use your words.

When I had the man-balls 2 week after he walked out to ask him to talk about things, he told me (gleefully with a sparkle in his eye - guess he wanted to retaliate some more)  that he "didn't know how to tell me" this, but he "wants to be just friends."  I suggested we maybe go talk to a therapist and work on our communication.  "No!  I like the way I am and I'm not going to change.  I know myself."  He ended the very emotional conversation (ok I was emotional) with, "Have a good night."  Have a good night?  How the phuck am I supposed to have a good night?  Or those to follow?

I love hard; I hurt hard.  I'm not going to apologize for it.  I am who I am.  I stay hurt for a long time.  

I usually don't want  to get involved in another relationship for a long time either.  I wasn't looking for him when he (quite literally) walked through my door.  I was content with my dog and K9 hobby lifestyle.  So, I'm going back to that.  Unfortunately, I have to see this guy every.day (except weekends).  Every day.  Why?  Because I found him a job - and close.  That makes it very difficult and emotionally-trying for me.  I've asked him to leave.  It has got to be humiliating for him.  But he won't.

I've tried to be "just friends" and put on a professional, business-like appearance, but that's not working for me. I'm not a hypocrite (read the poem I wrote in another post, "I can't be just your friend").  I don't have a poker face and I usually end up taking jabs whenever I can.  Then I feel guilty because that is unkind.

I don't want to believe that he got what he wanted out of our relationship and just put an end to it. That quite simply, he didn't/doesn't want me.  Was it all fake?  Was I being used?  I don't want to believe that all the help I gave him in lifting him up in his career (and his confidence) was for nothing.  Little things like regularly sending encouragement cards or gifts when he wanted to quit an go back to San Diego and messages; bigger things like financial assistance that was promised to be returned and never was (it isn't about the money, it is about the content of his character).  Now that he's doing VERY well and I needed his help, he walked out when he knew I needed him.

Those actions (not words in the air) resonated, making me question/doubt all that came before.  How can you just walk out in a day on someone you love?  How can you - in days and months to follow - look them in the eye and act like you never knew them romantically and shared that life?  That you're just some kind of business associate?

"You're too kind, you give to much."  I'm not going to apologized for it. I am who I am.  And unless you prove me wrong, I'm going to be kind to you.  

And I'm no angel and I'm not blaming him for everything, but for sure for how he "made a decision" (as he said)  to end it abruptly without trying.  Like we meant nothing and it wasn't worth it for him. He decided FOR me. For us.  For a future together.   I never cheated or lied or did any of that.  I was 100% loyal and he (and his family) could (and did) count on me for just about anything.  But, I'm also stubborn and have a firey temper (usually lasts in a hot flash and then disappears just as quickly).  Do I believe that I am worth fighting for? Hell yes.  No one is perfect.  No one has things they can't improve upon.  I just thought it would be together, so I felt (and feel) terribly betrayed.  It was the way he "decided" to do it.

I spent several months wishing we could work it out.  Trying my best.  Sending him messages that were never returned.  The only return he gave me was on business matters.  I know - I humiliated myself by sending him messages, and maybe I should have played some kind of a game, but I tried.  One returned, "I miss you too" would have made me happy.  I say that phrase to my real friends almost every day.   I've never ended a relationship with someone that I couldn't be friends with - or acted like he hated me or just ignored me.  I find it very uncomfortable and not-at-all necessary.  Especially since we run into each other on a daily basis.  Especially since our families know each other.

Dear, well-meaning, well-intentioned friends and family have told me, "move on" or "stop bringing up his name." Yes, I get it.  They mean well.  But hearing those words seems to diminish how I feel and how much it all meant to me and what I feel was done TO me.  It's grief.  It is mourning. The person I knew has died, replaced by someone I don't know.   We all deal with it in our own ways.   I read something recently that said, "the mind has been altered by the trauma where the person can't forget, and therefore can't let go - regardless of how much effort they put into trying. .... this spiritual/positive/inner peace stuff may be invalidating."  They have to deal with it.  And in my own way, I write about it.  Or write poetry about it.  Or bore my poor mother to distraction by talking about it.

And this to the small-minded/nothing-better-to-do blog haters out there... you are now going to send me anonymous mail saying, "I see you're with another fuckboy again...." or, "You keep picking losers" or "the wrong ones."   Bring it on, little bitches and pray that karma isn't watching you because it all comes around.  I am strong enough to handle anything your words can throw my way.

In my years of running this blog, I have realized/learned/been educated on the fact that everyone has problems (and if you have turned your energy into hate directed towards others - then you, my friends DO have a problem).  Most people are not vocal about relationship problems.  It's private.  Even fewer discuss their relationships publicly on the internet. (In private, I write him daily letters that I will never send.  I vent how I really feel about detailed, specific events with him and it is VERY therapeutic!)   It's unfortunate that I'm no longer blog-anonymous as I used to be, but I don't do this to hurt anyone (or gain anything other than the comfort of writing my own words) and I wouldn't write about it if I thought he would ever see this.  This is my therapy.  And perhaps it will make someone else feeling bad feel a little stronger knowing that we all have struggles together.

Everything is meant to be; good or bad.



Importing/Exporting a Pet (AKA family member) to/from Kuwait?



The lady who runs Cyrus Pettravel used to be a volunteer with KSPATH.  I remember working with her to help a dog in need years ago.  I wasn't aware of her pet travel service until I saw a post on Facebook recently.  PLEASE pass along her information to people who either want to bring their pet to Kuwait or ship them home (or even help a rescue or two to get out).  

NEVER leave a family member behind.  They don't recover; they suffer.

Friday, September 07, 2018

I can't just be your friend


If you really love someone, you don't leave.



I can’t just be your friend
As much as I miss being your friend,
and your love and the person you spent your time with.
The person you could share your problems with.
The person who knew you best;  and now not much at all.

I can’t just be your friend
Because part of me now hates you
For the betrayal I felt (and still feel) when you left
As if I was nothing
As if we meant nothing.
I can’t be a hypocrite and pretend.

I can’t just be your friend
Even though I wish you the best
And watch your life evolving
Knowing that I helped you achieve your goals
And now you are soaring in a different direction without me.

I can’t just be your friend
As we are in a pretend friendship.
Not really being friends like we used to be.
We are now in a mode of suspended animation.
Stating pleasantries and smiling.

I can’t just be your friend.
As our families are our friends separately.
Because we are now just acquaintances.

I can’t just be your friend.
Because you died the day you left me.
The you I knew walked out the door and never returned.
I don’t know this person to be friends with him.
My friend is gone and nothing and no one can bring him back.
The man I knew never would have stopped being my friend.

Friday, July 20, 2018

$1.8 billion bad debts for laid off expatriates

AKA "Shooting yourself in the foot."

Ok sorry, but I have to giggle....  Once again its a matter of lack of planning.  Rather than a slow, calculated transition to Kuwaitization, they decide to fire thousands of foreign workers effective immediately.  And gee - guess what happened? 


$1.8 billion bad debts for laid off expatriates
Arab Times 7/20/18

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s efforts to create more jobs for nationals by releasing foreigners working in the public sector has created a problem when thousands of laid off expatriates became unable to fulfill their financial obligations towards local banks.

Recent Central Bank of Kuwait data shows the total bad debts for expatriates during the past four year reached $1.8 billion, a sizable portion of which comprise the debts of foreigners who were laid off by the government, according to sources. Eighty five percent of those debts are owed to local banks, while the remaining 15 percent are owed to financial facilities companies.

The number of expatriate employees in state departments dropped by 70 percent in the past six months, according to official statistics released by the Central Statistical Bureau and Civil Service Commission, thanks in principle to the government’s ‘replacement policy’ that targets the complete ‘Kuwaitization’ of the public sector’s manpower by 2022. The number of expats in the public sector dropped to 80,000, compared to around 340,000 Kuwaiti employees as of the end of June.


--- End ---

My thoughts:
Perhaps the Government should forgive the loans?
Aren't the lender companies (owned by Kuwaitis) pissed off?
Aren't the real estate companies (owned by Kuwaitis) pissed off?
The only businesses I can see making money off these mass terminations are travel agencies and relocation/shipping services (which are a 1-shot revenue source); rather than prolonged addition to the economy like loans might be.
I thought there were one or two economists in parliament.... hmmmm......Didn't see this one coming.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Public Adverts for Humans for Sale in Kuwait

This is sick.  When will it stop?  I have actually seen EXPAT forums with EXPATS talking about how much they would pay for a maid.  (As in buying from their sponsor.)  Disgusting.  How can you not find this offensive?   How do you rationalize slavery??  Well, in these sick-o's minds it goes like this, "Well, they were doing better than they would be in their home country...."  Ick.  (Following this logic:  Perhaps your daughter would do better being sold to someone than she would in your home country working in a fast food restaurant, no?


Arab Times
9 July 2018  (not 1818....but 2018...)


Rights groups sound alarm over domestic workers for sale Advertisements

Such practices will affect Kuwait’s global reputation: Bouqreis
(DG:  Ya think???)
KUWAIT CITY, July 8: Widespread advertisements in electronic applications explicitly saying “Domestic Workers for Sale” are among the individual practices rearing heads to distort and block Kuwait’s efforts in fighting human trafficking in the face of confident steps taken to preserve its white dress in this regard, reports Al-Rai daily.

Human rights groups in Kuwait have sounded the alarm, cautioning against complacency with declarations of this nature that waste the effort to preserve Kuwait’s international image in terms of human rights. While noting that Kuwait did not ratify the Migrant Workers Convention, its officials considered the imbalance was not due to the absence of laws but leniency in its application.
In this context, Khaled Al-Humaidi President of Kuwait Society for Human Rights affirmed that “sale and purchase of workers and offering them as a commodity via social media is considered trafficking in humans with full integrated elements and cannot be seen in any other angle.”
He stressed that human trafficking operations are in fact a very serious and cruel crime that humiliates and denigrates the human soul by treating them as a commodity instead of a person. “This is a flagrant violation and exploitation of human rights — especially for women working in the domestic sector, he added, saying serious crime is perpetrated against the individual who loses his or her humanity and entity and freedom in deciding the place of work when they are exploited either for material gain or other purposes in cases where they are made to move to another place of work through coercion.”

Monitored

Al-Humaidi concluded that Kuwaiti Society for Human Rights have monitored a large number of cases of human trafficking on social networks and service sites, and “in response to this dilemma, we call upon the concerned authorities to act and arrest traffickers and hold them accountable without complacency, in recognition of the obligations of the State of Kuwait to promote human rights and the fight against trafficking in humans”.

Secretary General of the National Association for Family Security Dr Mariam Al-Shammari had a different opinion. She defined human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, harboring or receiving of persons by means of threat, use of force or other forms of coercion such as abduction, fraud, abuse of power or exploitation of a situation of vulnerability.

She classified human trafficking into three main groups; trafficking for forced labor, sexual exploitation or trafficking in human organs. According to this definition, advertisements for the sale of domestic workers in Kuwait are not considered a real and practical type of trafficking in humans; rather, it’s a mistake in the use of the term (which was circulated unconsciously or unaware of the dimensions of its use or the abuse it represents).

For certain reasons, a family may wish to do away with the services of a domestic worker or driver, while the other party also wishes to remain in the State of Kuwait for work. National Association for Family Security rejects this type of advertisement because it imposes suspicion and envisages domestic worker as a commodity that can be sold or exchanged. She pointed out that “the State of Kuwait, its humanitarian leader, government institutions, and civil society organizations rejects everything that touches human dignity and fights human trafficking.”

“Yes, we have noticed the presence of advertisements for the sale of servants and resignation of servants on social media. It is a mistake using the term for transfer of services, because it is contrary to Kuwaiti and international labor laws,” statement said, noting “it affects the reputation of Kuwait, so we must prevent its spread and correct the misconceptions about the way domestic workers move from one house to another to prevent the use of the term housemaid to housekeeper.” It’s the duty of the government to prevent and criminalize advertisements that harm the State of Kuwait.
It is also necessary to conduct an extensive information campaign to introduce the rights of the parties to the contract, such as working hours, leave and end of service benefits. It should also include penalties in case of violation to guarantee the rights of both parties, while protecting the right of the employer to prevent him from falling into trouble in the wake of the ignorance of labor law, and to prevent exploitation of employers and domestic worker by some service offices

Human
Hadeel Bouqreis — proprietor of a school for human rights said what is happening in Kuwait, as regards the sale and purchase of domestic workers under the eyes and ears of government institutions and civil society organizations, is called trafficking in human beings in a situation where a person is sold from one family to another in a trend resembling the revival of slave trade era.
It amounts to deprivation of rights of domestic workers, which also contributes to promoting the concept of trafficking in humans. She added, “Certainly such practices will affect Kuwait’s global reputation in the field of rights, because when you translate the vocabulary of the advertisement it shows the reader that what is happening is a form of sale, and these words unfortunately are sometimes circulated as “I bought a worker”. All this makes us confirm the translation of those ads indicates “human trafficking operation”.

She continued “Kuwait is one of the countries that did not ratify the Migrant Workers Agreement, and there are companies trading in workers who pay huge sums to come to Kuwait. We have seen the UAE human rights committees addressing violations in employment contracts, while we have in Kuwait a number of problems unresolved so far. The new domestic labor law is not applied and there’s no monitoring mechanism to follow up these laws.



--- end ---

So, why isn't someone meeting with these "sellers" and making deals, then arresting the offenders? Ironically, if you posted an ad saying you were selling yourself for sex on the internet (aka prostitution),  you'd have a bunch of law enforcers on your doorstep in a heartbeat....  aint that a thang?  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I hear my neighbor being beaten by her husband every night. What should I do?

(Photo Credit:  The Telegraph The King Khalid Foundation domestic abuse advert slogan simply reads:
'Some things can’t be covered – fighting women’s abuse together' )


I was on Facebook recently and saw a post in Kuwait (similar to others I have seen in the past) saying something to the affect of, "I hear my neighbor screaming at night.   Many nights.  I know her husband is beating her.  I can hear the children crying.  What should I do?"

My knee-jerk reaction is, ' Call the police, dumbass.'

What shocked me were many of the comments - by WOMEN.  Often advising not to call the police because it would "make trouble."  Fellow women.  Sisters.  Women who might be in the same or similar circumstances someday in their lives who need help.  Woman-the-f-up and do the right thing!

When are people's attitudes going to change?  Especially women's?!

Someone is screaming.  There are children involved.  If it sounds like a beat-down, it's a beat-down.  Call the effing police.

One comment (again by a woman and similar to quite a few others on the post) advised the poster to bake the woman a cake and try to befriend her.  Bake her a cake.  (Allow me to let that sink in.)  Bake her a cake.  Effing ARCHAIC!  Are we in 1940?  You can bake her a cake after the police haul her husband off.  You'll have plenty of time to chit-chat and have cake and tea while her bruises fade and her children get psychological assistance.


I know there are female lawyers and groups willing to help women in Kuwait with domestic violence emergencies, but I personally don't know the emergency numbers (and I'm super-nosy and keep records of this information, so obviously it isn't being publicized enough if it is out there).  Can anyone send me the contact information so when I see these awful posts, I can advise?



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Gluttony and Bad Traffic: My Ramadan

Thank you, Al-Hajeri/Al-Saraie Family!

Thank you, Kim! 

Happy birthday, girl!

Thank you, Al-Roomi family!

Thank you, Mom & Dad Al-Enezi!


I'm not fasting.  I have no shame about that.  What I do in Ramadan isn't to pretend - I just eat when invited.  And lately I've been invited - a lot.  I don't, however, think it is appropriate for my hosts (adopted Mom & Dad)  to tell me that I've gained weight and then insist that I eat heaping plate loads of food.  It isn't fair.  Tell me that I'm "too skinny and should eat more."  That will do it.

I'm loving the food.

What I'm not loving is the traffic.  Holy sh...  This year it is the worst EVER.  I've been in a lot of near misses this Ramadan and then the people who are at fault start honking.  Kuwaitis never used to use their horns before; it would have caused a fight. Not anymore.  We are a suburb of Egypt and the honking is ON.

Taken by ME, at 12:32 am in downtown Kuwait. 

So anyhoo, that is my Ramadan summary in a nutshell:  lots of food and bad traffic.  It was 107 today.  I was in traffic.  I had to eat to make myself feel better.  Yeah... that's the excuse....

Hope you all are having a happy Ramadan! :)


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

UAE announces visa reforms to lure investors, boost economy



 Arab Times
5/22/18



ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates has announced plans to allow 100 percent ownership and visa incentives to foreigners, in a bid to attract investors to boost its slowing national economy. The decision, taken by the UAE cabinet Sunday night, aims to lure “international investments and exceptional talent”, according to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al-Maktoum. 

(Continued...)

Meanwhile, in Kuwait...



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Al-Hashem Speaks on Behalf of Expats (AGAIN)


Talking out her (___) again....

Arab Times today:

“What experiences are we talking about? They (the expatriates) simply do not care about Kuwait’s development. Their main concern is getting high salaries, live a prosperous life in a country that has never asked them to pay any fees for all the services it offers them free of charge.” Al-Hashem stressed, “The expatriates have never worked even for one day to train the Kuwaitis and make room for them. I hope the decision will be implemented. I will be very keen that this agreement includes all foreign consultants working in the state institutions and occupies important posts in the country.”

B, please!  Are you speaking as an Expat?  Are you speaking as someone who fought for Kuwait during 90/91?  Are you speaking as someone who had friends that DID and left their friends, family, jobs, livelihood to help Kuwait?  Are you speaking for those of us who mentored young Kuwaitis in the local market?  Are you speaking for those of us who actually TOOK A PAY CUT TO MOVE TO KUWAIT and face uncertainties?  

HER main concern is getting a higher salary and living off the xenophobic fears of others.

Monday, April 30, 2018

I DO NOT GIVE MASSAGES. NOT NOW. NOT EVER.




Hey dumbass men:

I don't give massages.
Not now.
Not before
Not ever.

And if you write to me, I will report you; 
as mixed gender touching of any kind 
(including hair cutting) 
is illegal in Kuwait.