I've been here through a whole lotta parliamentary erections*. As I look around Kuwait at the erection tents these days, my cynical side can't help but wonder, "Which crook is going to get in next?" or perhaps "How much did that dude pay for his buffet while people are demonstrating for basic human necessities a 25- minute car ride away?"
Flacid: I just can't see the "progress" at least through all the promises I've heard politicians here make in the past 15 years. It still amounts to forming committees to form committees to talk about committees; and the loop continues.
Okay yeah, so in 2003, there was tremendous progress in terms of building and construction. I wonder if that was because people knew they could (and did) make quick money from foreigners moving into Kuwait to "rebuild" Iraq after the fall of Saddam? Or was it because investors truly wanted to make something better in their own country; re-investing in a now-safe environment free of the potential return of Iraqi forces? If the latter is so, then why just throw up cheap housing at 3x the rental fees of previous years? Why not build museums and cultural centers to show national pride? The cynic in me comes to the conclusion that making a quick dinar has been the catalyst.
Yes, thank you very much, we are getting better road systems in Kuwait. I’m very thankful for that. But if we had better infrastructure planning, then areas like Mahboula wouldn’t have been built without proper water, sewage, and even streets. There would be no need to tear up dirt roads, create enormous holes in the ground for sewage/water, and create enormous traffic problems. Mahboula is THE home of the inexpensive accommodation. It is densely populated and almost impossible to drive through. Where is the oversight?
Has there been progress in healthcare and education? Well, I’m not Kuwaiti and I don’t have Kuwaiti kids to know about the education system. I can say that I’ve personally found the healthcare to be getting better. Hilal Al-Sayer, in my humble opinion, made great strides in upgrading hospitals and services. Bait Abdullah is finally come to fruition only through Dr. Sayer’s and his wife’s personal dedication in fulfilling a dream to help children in Kuwait. Why not more like him? Why not establishment of a hospital that deals with children born with birth defects? There isn't one and guess what happens? People leave their kids in the hospital (sometimes at the advice of doctors) - alone! Educate and establish facilities to help families cope.
Law Enforcement: The investigators at police stations still need to write each and every report in longhand, for example. Nothing is completed on computers, so the investigators go home every night with stacks and stacks of pending cases. How is that even possible these days? This is part of the reason why if you get in even a minor traffic accident in Kuwait, it might take you up to several days just to report it. The police stations are in dire need of upgrading, as are many of the ministries. In that, I haven’t seen any progress since I’ve been here. I am extreeeeeemely happy that there are now female police and customs officers. They add a new/needed dimension to law enforcement, as well as creating jobs for women who are courageous enough to go into that once-male-dominated area. I would like to see female fire fighters as well. [Sidenote: Oh yeah - and how bout this: female taxi drivers. (Why is that taking so long??)]
And, this observer (and I am only that – I can only pass judgment from a personal perspective as a non-Kuwaiti) would like to see have more to do with business and law. Fix the roadblocks in the US/Kuwaiti Trade Agreement (and other international agreements) and get on with it. Bring transparency to government. (It would make doing business with international partners so much easier.) Update family law. Appoint female Kuwaiti judges; that’s bound to shake things up a bit. Set up a small business administration and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy involved in establishing a business. Create some kind of a government entity to promote better horticulture: Plant some trees whydontcha! I'm not even going to get into resolution of the Bedoon issue - as everyone knows how I feel about that: Grant nationality NOW to those who deserve it. The liberation was 20 years ago. You know by now who they are. You've got the DNA results. Stop making promises; say what you mean and mean what you say. Fix it.
Those are my thoughts in a nutshell. Bada BING.
*Yes, I did too mean to write that.