Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Kuwait National Day and Liberation Day Post

Liberation Day is THE day when I feel patriotic towards Kuwait, but I don't celebrate with the masses. I didn't go on Gulf Road. I didn't dance in the streets.

I bought my whole office pizza for lunch in dedication of the holidays.  That made me happy.

I have witnessed the escalation of holiday "celebrations" over the past years into something that has become an event for hoodlems/hywanat;  who (formerly) foamed, (and now) super-soaking people with water guns, throwing eggs at and harassing  people, and genuinely acting like disrespectful animals on the streets.  Where is the fun in that?  (And what the HELL have their parents been teaching them?)  I'm too old for that shit.  I don't want to get stuck in traffic for hours and for what?  I stopped celebrating about 5 years ago when 2 monkey-boys literally catapulted outa nowhere on top of my car to tear down the US flag I had (on one side - Kuwaiti flag on the other), throw it on the ground and stomp on it.  Phuck that.  I don't need to take part in all that.

There are also odd new aspects of the holiday celebrations in Kuwait:  I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but there has been an enormous influx of cars with Saudi, Qatari, Emirati, and even Omani plates on the holidays.  Many of the cars were full of young men; some even driving recklessly between cars or partying like they owned the streets. All the cars were decorated in joint graphics - I guess showing the solidarity between the countries.  [I would really like to see a car like that with American/Kuwaiti graphics (and not have it be pestered by wanna-be convicts for having a US flag on it). A whole lot of people don't remember - and should.]

I celebrate in my own way; by remembering what really happened (because I was participating in the events of 90 and 91);  By remembering people who helped free this country who are no longer remembered by their flags waving on cars.  You don't see British and American flags for sale during the National/Liberation holidays anymore. If you fly them on your car, you become a target of mischief.   That's ridiculous.

Further, it really bothers me to hear Iraqi music being played on Liberation Day (it also bothers The Romanian who was in Kuwait when the Iraqis invaded).  As someone who still bares the psychological scars of those days; this offends me.  It disturbs me that the same people responsible for the deaths of true heros like Asrar Qabandi (and all 600+ Kuwaiti POWs) are still living free and well; while Kuwaiti kids (many who are younger generation relatives of those people) are playing Iraqi music and dancing in the streets.  Sorry to those who might say that, "Let's all just forgive and forget."  or possibly, "It's just music."   I don't forget.  It wasn't very long ago. Out of respect to Kuwaiti brothers and sisters who lost their lives during that time, and many more who are still living with horrific memories of what happened to them and their families - often through torture - I don't want to hear Iraqi music on the 26th of February.  There are MANY Kuwaiti patriotic songs that they can play.

So our group did our own thing - away from the crowds -  and I have been too busy to write about it, but I will later.  We went to the desert and had barbecues and wore things that commemorated Kuwait.  We played music by people like Abdullah Ruwaished who served their country during the occupation through national songs.

I remembered Sheikh Saud Nasser Al-Sabah who we quietly lost this year.  This was the first Liberation Day without him - and HE orchestrated much of the assistance required to allow us to be living now in a free Kuwait; not the 19th province of Iraq.  Where was his photo on cars or placards?  I remembered him on this holiday and how he served his country with dignity and respect.  I quietly thanked him for helping me get here.  And one of the people working for him:  Thank you, Sheikh Ali Duwaij Al-Sabah, for approving my training with the Kuwaiti female volunteers at that time.  I promised you I would get here someday, and here I am.  Your kindness has never been (and will never be) forgotten.

And speaking of not forgetting....

If you are reading this in Free Kuwait, thank an Allied soldier!

Coalition of the 90/91 Gulf War: 
US, Saudi Arabia, UK, France, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Canada, Italy, Australia.

Thank you all for your service and your sacrifice in giving us all freedom to do what we do here now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

PETA Responds

This is the response that I received from PETA in reference to the form I filled out "Report Animal Abuse"/dogs being poisoned in Kuwait:

Thank you for contacting PETA about animals being poisoned in Kuwait. We share your concern for the animals and have passed your message along to our Cruelty Investigations Division.  If you haven’t done so already, please contact animal advocacy groups in Kuwait about this case. Local activists will have access to information about relevant animal protection laws and how to file complaints with the proper officials. To find animal rights groups in a particular area, consult, a Web site that offers an extensive listing of organizations categorized by country.  We also recommend contacting the World Society for the Protection of Animals ( and the Humane Society International (; both organizations are dedicated to fighting animal abuse internationally. For more tips on activism, please also visit Thanks again for writing and for everything that you do to help animals!

Kuwait and the Officialy-Sanctioned Policy of Poisoning Animals

It is very difficult for me to even write about this but I will.  It has been all over 248’s blog as well as others this week – especially after a group of non-aggressive dogs was poisoned to death this past week, outraging many in our little community.  I wanted to provide links to similar stories (and maybe you can provide more).

The poisoning of strays (and domestic) animals has been a long-standing, officially-accepted practice in Kuwait for many years.  It is an “accepted” method by some who say that the strays are vermin.  While I agree that there needs to be a humane way to reduce the number of strays in Kuwait, I do not accept poison as the method. 

... And I believe those who order it and conduct it to be Godless creatures who have no religion, soul, or morality.  My gut impression is that people are sitting in the comfort of their offices, ordering others to carry out the task for them, so that their hands are not tainted. 

In 2007, I brought a field of dead horses to the attention of the Arab Times and PAWS (links to stories below), prompting them to take action.  It turned into a blame game:  NOT of who was inhumanely killing horses, but who 1) was to blame for dumping them and 2) who was to blame for not picking up the carcasses. 

The stories outraged the international horse community (I was contacted by journalists from the UK, France, and US) with many forums and sites discussing the ethics of selling horses to Kuwait.  I don’t know what the outcome of the story is:  If racehorses (often injured by being run too hard by owners) are still being killed via T-61 and dying an inhumane death.  The racehorses I saw were indeed treated like vermin.

It appears from the photos of the dogs recently killed that cyanide was used.  Cyanide is the main ingredient in rat poison.  It is a very slow and painful death (similar to T-61 usage) whereby the animal bleeds-out internally and drowns on its own blood.  There is nothing humane about it.  Cyanide may come in many forms - pellets or powder. 

Many domestic pets in Kuwait over the years have died by accidentally ingesting poison left out by the Municipality/”baladiya” (if that agency is the one responsible).  The poison could be left out anywhere in Kuwait; no notices are placed.  So, if  your pet or your child somehow gets hold of it, it is an awful and tragic death.  Have children (or others) already died from this?  Are there statistics?  Would we know?

It is actually much more humane for an animal to be shot in the head.  Personally, I would prefer that way to go than being poisoned and writhing around on the floor screaming in pain.

The Kuwait Times and K’SPATH have taken up the sword in regards to the issue of the stray dog poisoning and I hope that they will continue the fight.  It is traumatic for anyone dealing with it and fighting for the cause.  It saddens and changes your view of people and humanity.  My prayers are really with them.

What can you do? 

Well, let the international community know.  It seems that what happens here is more often about “saving face” than “saving grace”.  You can fill out a “Report Cruelty” form online at PETA.  They have sent people here to document the inhumane treatment of sheep and helped to create a more humane/halal system.  Get on the forums and tell people what is happening here.  Write to the Arabic newspapers and voice your opinion.

People – make some noise!

Below are links to information about both the stray dog poisonings and the mass slaughter of racehorses in Kuwait.  WARNING!  All are graphic.

Poisoning of Racehorses in Ahmadi:  2007

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Justice for Asria Samad Abdul's horrific murder

In July of 2010, I posted about a horrific murder committed by a couple here in Kuwait who ran their maid over with their car. They were both just sentenced to death.   See my original post HERE.

I commend the authorities for taking the stance of equal punishment for all under the law.  I also commend decent, compassionate people like lawyer, Sheikha Fawziya, for taking up the cause of  a poor guest worker to her country.  God bless you for your kindness and tenacity.

Arab Times
21 February, 2012

KUWAIT: The Criminal Court sentenced a Kuwaiti couple to death yesterday after they were convicted of the first degree murder of their Filipina housemaid. “This sentence is a testimony of justice and in line with all religious canons that call for punishment of criminals,” said the victim’s lawyer Sheikha Fawziya Al-Sabah in her first public statement following the court’s ruling.

In mid-July 2010, 34-year-old Asria Samad Abdul was tortured by her employers before being run over several times by a car. After their arrest, the couple confessed they mistreated the maid daily and when they feared she would die, they took her to an uninhabited area in Kabd and crushed her to death under their vehicle to give an impression that it was a hit-and-run accident. Police later found out that the couple had earlier mistreated several other housemaids.

Sheikha Fawziya said she would demand for a “large financial compensation for the victim’s children who became orphaned as a result of this misfortune”. “The victim came to Kuwait looking for a better life, but her fate led her to two criminals who murdered her and disposed her body in the desert for no crime she committed,” she said. The lawyer stressed she will continue representing the victim’s children in the case until they obtain the compensation she is demanding for. The couple has the right to appeal the sentence.

“We were confident on the impartiality of the Kuwaiti justice system and the capability of Sheikha Fawzia Al-Sabah to uphold justice for the late Asria Abdul,” Rea Oreta, Philippine Vice Consul to Kuwait, said in a statement, adding that she hopes that the case would further strengthen the resolve of Filipino Overseas Workers to fight for their rights.

By Ben Garcia, Staff Writer

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kudos, US Embassy Kuwait

Ok, so in previous years, I have been a little whiny about the US Embassy here in Kuwait.  However, in all honesty I can say that there have been big improvements over the past few years; starting with the tenure of Mrs. Deborah Jones (someone who I like very much) to today under Ambassador Matthew Tueller (who I have met a few times now and seems to be a very down-to-Earth and approachable guy.  I also like him because I have heard he is well educated on the Bedoun issue and is in favor of fair/humane resolution.)

My biggest gripes in the past about the US Embassy have been just getting through security and the level of manners of those who you have to deal with before you even get in the door.  Previously, there were only grunts and gestures from most of the guards and those at the "reception" counter either spoke very little English or were rude in general - like they owned the place.  Yeh!

All that has gone away.  And the last several times that I've been there, not only have they immediately located my name on the guest list (imagine that!), but they have pronounced my name CORRECTLY and with a smile.  Shazayam.  The first point of contact guards (the guys on the street) smile and even joke and are very polite.  I like what I'm seeing.  It all screams, "Welcome"  -  which is all that I really wanted; to feel included at my own embassy in the presence of my homies.

Well, "included" has extended to people like my friend, Media Girl, who went out of her way (after reading some of my more negative posts about the embassy) to change my impression. I call it "process improvement."  My philosophy is that if you know there is a PR problem with the organization, don't pretend that it isn't there and that it is going away, but confront it positively and try to change it. Isn't that the nature of true statesmanship?   She did (kindly and diplomatically) and I am very grateful.  She also goes out of her way in extending invitations and being a wonderful hostess.  There are others like her, but she was first and took it as her mission to change my mind.  Thank you, girlfraynd.  I sincerely admire you (and I miss you!  When are we getting together?!  It has been too long.)

So, my latest compliment to the US Embassy comes today.  Je am impressed.  For the first time in my FIFTEEN YEARS in Kuwait, I heard a representative of the US Embassy, Ms. Wendy Ryde (I hope I'm spelling her name right), Consul General, was on FM 99.7 this morning talking about the embassy and their new program,"Ask the Consul."   It is all about answering people's questions about visa and other Embassy/US requirements.  Did you know that the US Embassy processed 30,000 visas in 2011?  Oh.My.God!  ... and I've heard that they are doing it with much more grace and kindness than in previous years.  (You don't want your experience at any embassy to be negative, so the people on the front line must really have the right mix of personality and professionalism.  They are basically "selling" the concept of tourism/trade to people wanting to go there.) And... it sounds like Ms. Ryde has the right personality for the job.  If I were going to be on the radio, I would probably sound like a babbling moron (not too far from the truth, as you know). Ms. Ryde has a great voice and quite welcoming.

She also talked about an education expo on tomorrow night (Feb 21) from 6pm to 9pm at the Regency ballroom.  16 schools/universities will be there and there will be reps from the Embassy and Amideast to answer questions.  I have to call The Man and make sure that he goes, so that Pretty Girl will have a better chance at a scholarship maybe.  Her year in the States through the exchange program  is almost over and the time for planning is already passing.  Yala!

Anyhoo, as a long-time American resident  in Kuwait, I appreciate the US Embassy's increased efforts.

By the way, the US National Day (which is actually the 4th of July) is coming up. The dates change every year.  The Embassy takes sponsorship donations to help offset the costs for the event. (I don't work there, have no affiliation other than friends, so I guess it is okay to say that, right?)   It is good bilateral PR and a good opportunity for companies to promote themselves.  Just sayin. Last year's event was huge (the 50/20 thang) and there were SO MANY restaurants that sponsored with food stands.  I thought I was gonna explode.  The US Embassy, Kuwait’s contact information is HERE

(You can also promote  your company by registering it through the Commercial section, site HERE.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Last Friday Night

POST NUMBER 1111!!!!

I had a looooovely weekend.

It started out at the Embassy.  The whole cast was there and more:  Gilligan, The Professor, Maryann, Ginger, The Skipper, Thurston Howell III, and Lovey.  (You guys figure out who the heck you are with the exception of Ginger who knows who she is.  Special K, you are Gilligan.  Sorry, but it's true.)  I got to meet my BazaarDude's loooovely and very funny wife.  The weather was perfect.  The company was perfect. Libations were perfect.  Great night.

Followed by the after-party at my place.  Am I just getting too old?  I fell asleep at 1 am when the guys were polishing off a bottle.  I was on my little sofa - and snoring - when I realized I should probably get up and go to bed properly before someone either drew a moustache with a Sharpie on my face or saved the memory for later to make fun of me (sheeet - I would!)  Ok, granted, I had 3 hours of sleep the night before (thank you, Stealth!!!  I LOVE talking to you all night!) and had been on  Arifjan all day.  Otay, so I'm not that old.  Forget it.

I work much harder with less sleep as I try to compensate.  I am a bit of a biotch, however.  Sorry Stella.  You only hurt the ones you love...

On to my story...

So then Friday night, it started all over again.  We had a great time at the diwaniya.  The usual/unusual suspects were there - along with a few new friends who I'm going to have to find nicknames for.  I hate that because the nicknames just come to me and one never knows when they are going to come.  Anyhoo, The Man was there and made quite an impression on Stella (and vice-versa!) who spent most of the night talking to him.  I'm so glad that we are good friends again.  It takes all that pissed-offedness off the table.  We had 6 people with the same names.  H&H, M&M, K&K.  Confusing, yet fascinating how that works out.   I think everybody had a good time.... those who can remember it.

My Irish Cousin played the Irish whistle. He tried to get me to sing, "She moved through the fair" - which is like my all-time favorite Irish song - but I wouldn't.  Partly because I was a leetle tipsy and the song reminds me of Shamlan and then I cry.  It wouldn't have been pretty.   Stealth was supposed to bring his oud, but he is a shy person (you wouldn't know it when he gets angry!) and doesn't like to play for audiences.  He played me a recording of him singing and playing and Oh.My.God!!!  Amazing.  I hope they both play for my Big 29th Birthday Bash (April 16th, people.  Mark your calendars.)

The Man hadn't met most of the suspects before.  He hit it off with Special K.  I don't know WHAT they were talking about out there, but it better not have been me (narcisist!).

We are all anticipating the arrival of Special K's fiance.  If she doesn't get here soon, someone (me) is going to punch him in the face for all the sexual inuendos.  Dude!  They're getting married here in Kuwait in a few weeks.  Fina-phuckin-ly!! I don't think anyone can stand it anymore.  No moving creature in Kuwait has been safe.

CheeseCakeGirl (I'm going to change  your name, but I don't know what yet) brought amazing crab dip which probably landed about 20 pounds on my hips.  I couldn't stop eating it.  I also couldn't figure out how she cooked it from the comfort of her hotel room.  Some people just gots skills. She had about 4 guys hitting on her all night and I had to send her a message to apologize for the pervs.  As a forte into Kuwait, my place must have seemed really odd.  Tee hee.  You survived!  I'm so proud of you!

The Romanian was MIA and I was very worried about her.  She went out and had BIG fun the night before (Thursday) and got home ... well, we won't get into that.  Let's just say that the merriment at mine didn't start until 8 and she was still asleep.  You go, girl, and when you do next time - take me with you!  Kabd Express, baybeee.

Thank you, people, for wonderful time (and for trashing my house).

This is why Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" is so apres peau....

"Illegal Residents"

Stop defending and start resolving!.  I'm glad to see the UN has taken this up;  It's done now unless they want the shun of the international community.

Kuwait defends label of ‘illegal residents’ at UN Al-Nasser presents report to ERD panel
Arab Times
19 February 2012

GENEVA, Feb 17, (KUNA): Kuwait defended the label of “illegal residents” to describe those who are not citizens and do not have a valid residency permit to reside in the contry, at the United Nations on Friday.

The Kuwaiti law of foreigners stay No. 17 of 1959 does not give foreigners the right of permanent stay in Kuwait without a valid visa and passport, Eman Abdullatif Al-Nasser, head of the technical office at the central committee for addressing the status of illegal residents in Kuwait, said while presenting Kuwait’s periodical report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ERD).

She added this label was given to those who enter the country by illegal means or those who fail to renew their visas because they are hiding their passports or official documents.

Al-Nasser explained that those people came to Kuwait for work, but after witnessing the advantages given by the state to citizens, concealed their passports and claimed to be indigenous people in order to gain the Kuwaiti nationality.

She pointed out that the number of illegal residents before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 amounted to 220,000, but this figure dropped to 117, 000 in 1992 as thousands returned voluntarily to their original countries.


Al-Nasser also refuted claims that these people are of tribal Bedouin decent (known for their constant travel across Gulf states) and that they were excluded from naturalization during the creation of the State of Kuwait.

Since the demarcation of Kuwaiti borders, urban and tribal areas that surrounded the wall of Kuwait City (at the time) were included, and Bedouin tribesmen, found in these regions, were all granted citizenship as were sea-farers within these walls.

Today, Bedouins represent the majority of the Kuwaiti population, as they have since 1952, she added.

Al-Nasser said recent official statistics put the number of illegal residents in Kuwait at 105,000 people.

The State of Kuwait has spared no effort to address this problem, she stressed, as two taskforces were formed to tackle this issue in 1986 and 1993.

In 1996, the government also formed the executive committee for illegal residents and assigned the Supreme Council for Planning to thoroughly study the issue and set a strategic and clear roadmap to tackle it.

Al-Nasser pointed out that the proposed roadmap stipulates sorting out illegal residents into several groups and handling each separately.

She, however, underlined that Kuwait has taken it upon itself to provide these people with free healthcare and education in addition to all other humanitarian needs.
 -  End -

It has always puzzled me that the authorities can give people official legal documents with the world "illegal" on them. 

This has been going on for decades. Don't you think the time has come?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Islamic Love Guru

(She's my new favorite person.  Do you think that Dr. Foz might change her strategy now?)

Arab Times
Valentine's Day ("Yom al hub")
February 14, 2012

 Enjoy sex, says Islamic love guru ‘It’s the core of a happy marriage’

DUBAI, Feb 13, (AFP): Emirati love guru Widad Lootah is not your typical marriage counsellor. She is an ultra-conservative Muslim who wears the full veil and talks a lot about sex.

On the eve of Valentine’s day, Lootah is calling on Muslim and Arab women everywhere to “embrace love and love making.”

“Don’t shy away from it, don’t feel ashamed by it. Enjoy it, you’re supposed to,” she said in an interview with AFP, adding that she is trying to break common misconceptions that sex in Islam is only about conceiving children.

“It’s also about having fun,” she said.

Dressed in a shroud of black revealing only her eyes, Lootah was frank and explicit about the importance Islam places on a healthy sex life. “It’s at the core” of a happy marriage, she said.

Lootah noted that her 11 years as a marriage counsellor at the Dubai courthouse made her realise that “what happens (or doesn’t happen) in bed” is the main source of marital problems in the United Arab Emirates.

Public, and in many cases private, discussions about sex are still taboo in much of the conservative Muslim world, a reality she says contradicts Islam’s approach to the subject.

There are only two simple rules for sex in Islam: you must be married “and anal sex is strictly forbidden,” Lootah said.

The problem is, “there is so much shame and disgrace” associated with the enjoyment of sex in the Arab world.

Lootah is an adamant believer in bringing the discussion of sex out into the open, although at times doing so has proven it can be a risky business.

In 2009, she published the much-debated Muslim sex guide “Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples.”  (DG:  I wonder if Amazon has it....)
Her book, and her comments in interviews on the subject, initially triggered a slew of insults, condemnation and even threats against her life.

“They called me all sorts of things: crazy, vile, immoral, criminal,” she said. “Some even called me a traitor and spy for Israel and America.”  (DG:  A sex spy for America???  hmmmm)
Today, Lootah is probably the UAE’s most prominent marriage counsellor, known by her clients as “Mama Widad.”

Lootah has also vigorously lobbied her home government to introduce sexual education in Emirati schools.

For older teens, “it’s very important that we educate them, both males and females, about sex... we have to prepare them psychologically and emotionally for it, and we have to teach them about the act itself.”
But first, we must “educate the teachers so they can educate the students,” said Lootah, adding that such education would also help protect young children from sexual predators.

They have to be “taught what form of adult-child interaction is appropriate and what’s not,” she said. “We need to teach them so they know to recognise the danger when it’s there.”

She said the taboos surrounding sex have also contributed to high divorce rates in the Emirates and to generally unhappy marriages.

In about a month, Lootah plans to submit her second book, “Top Secret Volume Two,” to the government censors, and in traditional Lootah style, its pages will contain a lot of sex talk.

But this time, the topic of discussion is forbidden sex under Islam.

“It’s about homosexual and lesbian relations and their effect on the institution of marriage,” said Lootah, adding that she had to tread carefully given the sensitivity of the subject and intense emotions it stirs in the Muslim world.

When asked why she has taken on the cause of love and sex in Islam, Lootah argued that it was an issue of “women’s rights.”

“I can’t fix everything... but I can try and fix the role of women (in sex and marriage) in the Arab world.”
As for her opinion of Valentine’s day, she says Islam forbids the celebration of non-Muslim holidays.
“But if you consider Valentine’s day as a mere reminder to show one’s love to another, then why not? I don’t object to it,” she said. But “if that’s the case, then every day should be Valentine’s day.”
Any last words of advice?

“Experience love... even before marriage, that’s OK. But don’t do anything forbidden by Islam.”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Injured Dog

Last night, The Romanian and I were on our way to Mischief and saw a dog in the median of the street.  It looked confused and was just standing there.  We circled around and stopped with our flashers on next to the dog.  He was injured - bleeding leg that looked like it could have been broken.  We couldn't get him - he was about to run into traffic, so we tried to get traffic to slow down so that he could cross the busy road.

A police cruiser passed us, then put his flashers on and came back around us.  We explained that the dog was injured and if he gets into traffic, he might cause an accident. 

Okay, now the officers were really really nice guys.  But what he asked me kinda floored me, "Did you hit him?  Did he hurt your car?"  What?  I can't imagine hearing that somewhere else.  Did the dog hurt my car???

So they stopped traffic and the dog got across the road.  It was more to help US than the dog, however.

If you live in the area, it was Salmiya at the corner of Harun Al-Rashid and Baghdad Street in front of Shaab Park.  He wandered off into the big dirt lot.  We tried to catch him, but we couldn't. He looks like an adolescent Shepherd mix ; maybe 8 months old.

I sent a message to K'sPATH and I hope they were able to send someone to catch him/help him.  You try to help save them all, but sometimes you just can't.  We both felt like crap driving away.  He looked so scared and hurt and I just wanted to throw a blanket on him and hug him and tell him it was going to be okay.

Why are some companies so unprofessional?

Bien sur, I don't limit my question to Kuwait - it's just that I'm here and I'm frustrated.

I'm trying to find a catering company for an upcoming Kuwaiti wedding for around 400 people.  I've contacted several of the largest catering companies in Kuwait.  1) their e-mails bounce back. They are returned. One has a website that is permanently down.   So, I call.  2) No one answers the phone, the mailbox is full;  There is no other alternative to contact them. 

Why are they so stupid?  How much business are they losing?  Me, customer, will just move on to the next catering company.

Million dollar airport;  25 cent control tower.

Want the business?  Send me your quotations.  I'm looking for typical Kuwaiti wedding menus and want 3 options (low, medium, and high).  The wedding isn't until September.  Yala, impress me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Are you doing Who you love?

Et now, for a follow up to my “Are you doing what you love?” post…. 

Are you doing who you love?

I ask this question because a very close friend of mine is in love with her male best friend.  He knows it.  She isn’t shy about telling him.  However, every now and then he insists that they are just friends while admitting that he loves her…. “as a friend”.  She’s having a major dilemma because she doesn’t want to lose him (they’re very close and talk to each other every day), but it is getting more and more difficult for her to be around him “as a friend” when she wants more.  She’s seeing feelings where maybe there aren’t any; maybe he’s sending mixed signals, maybe he just really doesn’t love her in that way.  How long should she stick it out to find out? For girlfriend, it has been almost a year with him and kind of a "love after first conversation" story.   Isn't it kind of sad to be around someone who seems confused about the way they feel about you?  I feel bad for her.  She's so nice and soooo pretty.

I’ve had plenty of male friends before.  I even fell in love with one and believe me – it was a shock to both of us.  It didn’t work out, but we are still friends now and I don’t regret taking the chance on him (and I think/hope he feels the same way).  If anything, I think it made us so close that really nothing can break the bond we have. No regrets.

So, what do you do?  If you can’t be with the one you love, do you just opt to love the one you’re with?

Je know that after heartbreaks, sometimes people just decide (often in this part of the world) to marry the next person who asks (and otay, if you're not considering marrying the next person; then at least giving him/her a chance).  Heck, I have quite a few Kuwaiti girlfriends (and a few male friends) who have done that.  I don’t know that I would use the term “regret” as what they have later – because they have loving husbands and children with them – but they still think about that one guy who stole their heart.

My Desert Girl advice to my friend is this:  If a man (or woman for that matter) loves you; he loves you;  spiritually, emotionally, physically.   He’ll want it all from you and with you; and he’ll give back as much as he gets in return.  While that includes being best friends, it is only part of the big picture. 

(Oh and younggirls:  if you do have something physical with that "special guy"  and then he dumps you; he was always a pig, never your friend, and you're way better off without him.  You can always tell your friends later that you dumped him because you discovered he has a small penis.  ... no, I'm not talking about you, Paragraph 4 above girlfriend.)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Following is a re-Print from Mona Kareem/Global Voices Blog.  The full story can be viewed HERE.

Kuwait: Parliamentary Election Marred by Violence

Written byMona Kareem

Today, 3 February, 2012, Kuwait will hold its parliamentary elections divided by five electoral districts, a system that was only passed in 2006 in response to blogger-led protests.

At the beginning of December 2011, two year-long protests previous led to the replacement of Prime Minister Nasser Al-Mohammed with his cousin Jaber Al-Mubarak and to the dissolution of the parliament for the fourth time since Al-Mohammed was first appointed. Since then, candidates have been working their ways towards reaching voters.

Tribal rage
Mohammed Al-Juwaihel, a candidate who tried his luck last elections but was removed for bribing voters, has always been a controversial person in Kuwaiti society. He went on television several years ago lunching an attack on those who have dual citizenship, comparing them to a sort of parasitic plant with no loyalty to the country, who should be stripped off their Kuwaiti citizenship.

He has also used the same language with the Kuwaiti stateless Bidun community and attacked certain Kuwaiti tribes, some of whom in response have attacked him in return.

On Monday 30 January, Al-Juwaihel gave another speech insulting one of the tribes, Al Mutair, saying he “will step on them”. After his speech, hundreds of Al Mutair tribes people went to his election tent hub in the Al-idailiya area, chanting, ripping up the posters depicting his slogan “Kuwait is for Kuwaitis.. only”, and at last burning the tent.

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So, fascinatingly, Mr. Juwaihel has been elected into parliament.

Friday, February 03, 2012

2 Million Ignored in 2012 Kuwait Election

Interesting perspective.

Kuwait Times, 3 February 2012
2 Million Ignored

It’s a shame that the agendas of all candidates that I have been watching for over a month now have ignored expats. Expat issues were totally extinct from the candidates’ agendas. As you all know, Kuwait’s population is a bit over 3 million people. Kuwaitis make up 1,300,000 of it according to the latest census. That means that we have around two million expats living side by side with us. I find it illogical to totally ignore 2 million people living with you on the same land, under the same sky who share every aspect, both good or bad, and day-to-day problems.

All candidates are talking about prosperity of Kuwait and how to enhance and advance life in Kuwait. But how can you talk about advancement on all levels when you ignore 2 million people living with you as if they are thin air and don’t exist.

Of course, I am not asking expats to be given citizenship. I am not asking anybody to scrap their debts or give them housing allowance or free medical services. I am not asking you to pay for their education or enroll them in government schools or Kuwait University. But I am asking you to acknowledge their existence and try to have inclusive agendas that protect the minimum of their interests.

I ask for rules and regulations that protect their pride and dignity. For instance,  I don’t see why an employee in my company needs to have my consent to get his or her driving license. I don’t see why I have anything to do with the mobility of my employees. It is basic human rights if somebody is eligible and capable to drive to do so. As long as someone is given a visa in my country, this means he should be allowed to transport himself. Why should he or she be under my mercy to drive around? Even when he gets the driving license, why does he need my consent and gracious signature to renew his driving license? Is it not enough that we annoy expats with red tape and loads of paperwork and rules and regulations which change almost on a monthly basis?
At least you can subsidize the low-income people with medicines which are available free of charge for us Kuwaitis but not expats. I do not mean any expats I am referring to the low-income ones. These people who are ignored are the people who build the election headquarters. They are the ones arranging the microphones and chairs. They are the ones who in the end of the night clean the garbage we leave behind. They are the ones preparing the sandwiches and shawarma we distribute at these occasions etc, etc.

If Kuwait Times allows me, I need 24 pages to list the things they do. Don’t you think that they deserve at least one sentence from our candidates? Thank you very much and good day. We live in a shariah-abiding country! This is just a reminder.

By Badrya Darwish

Are you doing what you love?

I've mentioned this in previous posts, but I buy self-help books.  Most, I never read; or I skim through and scoff at other people's problems.  I find it a way to make myself feel better about my own life.

Every once in a while, I'll come across a book that I really like.

I had a friend who seemed to be complaining about just about everything in her life; how hard her job was; what a huge responsibility it all is.  I made a snap judgement call and thought to me, 'OMG, look at all she has and she isn't counting her blessings.'   She thanks God in prayers all the time and I'm sure that she really does count her blessings in ways that I don't know/see.  Let her vent.

I have one of those faces.  People tell me things about themselves without even realizing it.  I complained about that to a spiritual-minded guy one time and he looked at me and said, "That is a gift.  You should be happy that people want to confide in you."  I totally looked at it from a different perspective after that.  And it is a blessing (although I have to admit when the rambling starts, I kind of shut off and unlike a psychiatrist - I do NOT take notes.  I hear a lot of, "Remember?  I told you that..."  Em, lots of times I don't.  Me sorry.  For several higher-up friends, my memory loss really is to their advantage.).

Anyhoo, about the same time I was judging my friend-with-it-all, I saw a book called, Count Your Blessings, The Healing Power of Gratitude and Love, by Dr. John F. Demartini.  I bought it because I thought maybe I should give it to my friend (judgmental me again).  The book turned that judgement right back at me.  I love this book.  I use it as a workbook of daily affirmations.

One message has come up several times:  Are  you doing what you love?  And if not, why not change that.  This is a conversation that Stella and I have had a lot recently.  People go into careers for the job, for the money; but do they really love what they are doing?

You know me by now.  You've read my posts.  I've had a lot of jobs to pay the bills.  Do I love my job?  In my current situation, I love the people.  I also love that when I do something right, I get praised for it (again goes back to the people because I have never worked for anyone I liked so much as Stella.  She's a true friend in every sense of the word.)  I like the legal aspect of my job - it sometimes becomes like finding hidden code and I'm tenacious when it comes to getting to the root of the matter.

But for me, it isn't about the job. I am still doing what I love.   I have been able to do what I love outside of the paycheck (and I believe that everyone needs to find their passion/hobby whatever.)   I'm an EFNJ personality, "The Giver."  So my hobby allows me to give.

NOTE:  I believe that everyone should take the Jung Typology Test (online at that link for free).  It is very good to determine team dynamics - how personality types can be used to work together.  I took it as part of a hostage negotiation course to see how our team would work together and it was fascinating.  Also fascinating because the instructors noted that women are often the best negotiators because we empathize with the victim and care less about the money and focus on the safe return.  The company who held this course EXCLUDED all the women who took it when they finally formed their team.  Anyhooo...

So, as a "Giver", I like to help people.  I have found a way to do that outside of my workplace:  Through this blog.  Even something as simple as putting someone's mind at ease about little things; something small that a newcomer to Kuwait is worried about, and being able to alleviate some of their concerns.  That makes me happy.  I don't have to know these people, and in all honesty, I don't ever meet or talk to 98% of the people who have asked me questions. (Sometimes I am well-intentioned and really mean to meet up, but I just don't get to it.)  Maybe some readers don't even ever write to me, but years later I hear, "Oh, you're Desert Girl.  Your blog was a huge help when I first moved here..."  I love that.    I don't get anything of material value from helping people (ergo the day job); but I get tremendous spiritual satisfaction.  I know - almost on a daily basis - that I have done something good.

Am I doing what I love?   Yup.

(Stella, just buy the Irish cottage if that is your dream.  Find one. Work for it.  Go for it.  You can go back there every now and then and plant another flower in your garden.   .....And for the love of God, woman, write to Richard Branson for the loan!).

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Big Erection Post

I'm so tired of the election stuff.  I'm going to be glad when it's over.  I'm tired of getting SMSs in Arabic from candidates who invade my privacy (often in the middle of the night).  The worst offenders are:

Turqi Soud (3am.  Really?  Are you a booty call??)
Thekra Ayed
Al Motahdoon 

Maybe I'm wrong - the last 2 could be companies, but WTF.  They've bought a listing of phone numbers, don't you think they would have people's nationalities also?  Stop blowing up my phone and waking me up, a-holes.

Interesting Erection Factoid:  There are approximately 400,000 eligible Kuwaiti voters for this election, comprising a 50/50 split of male and female voters.

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a Kuwaiti friend.  He gave me his perspective of he elections and food for thought.  I asked him who he was voting for and he stopped and said, "You know.  I really don't know.  I was going to vote for the same guys I always vote for; the ones my family votes for; the guys I went to school with.

But then I went to another candidate's speech.  She simply said one thing that made me reconsider, 'Don't vote locally.  Vote globally.  Kuwait needs people who are well-versed at international politics rather than tribal politics with the education and experience we need to take us forward.'  So I thought about the guys I usually vote for and they really don't have what it will take.  Of course, they all want to do what is best for Kuwait - they all should.

There are also new, young, fresh candidates out there this time and what they have to say is very good, but they just don't have the experience to back up their intent.

I don't think that it will matter who I vote for because if things stay the way they are now, nothing will change and this will be another ineffective parliament.  We are like Lebanon:  We've got so many secular groups in parliament:  Shiite, Sunni, Bedouin, conservative, ultra-conservative, moderate, etc. (DG - there are approximately 7 groups in parliament) and each is working on it's own agenda.  Divided, none will ever work together and there will be no progress."

He went on to say, "What Kuwait needs is political parties.  That way, they can work on unified platforms/agendas.  So, if one group wins, so be it, but at least we will be moving forward, not stagnating."

"As it is now, MPs can only monitor the government, not make any real change.  That's why I don't believe in any parliament that can work this way. It isn't about the candidates, it's about the system.  It needs to change."

DG:  I am quoting because this is what my friend actually said - not me.  But it gave me an interesting perspective.  There simply can not be unity when the country is so divided.

I really do love Kuwait.  I hate to see what is happening here.  It's stagnating and not just in a quiet/harmless way.

United we stand; divided we fall.

This election is different than previous in the number of foreign journalists in Kuwait. I've been approached by several TV networks (US and Australian) to give my perspective as a blogger.  That's new (and way flattering!). I love how my friends warn me, "Don't say anything bad about Kuwait."  Dudes!  You don't know me by now?  (Note, I haven't given an interview yet and when/if I do, it will remain anonymous.  No names.  No face.  I was actually planning to wear niqab and a tiara.  What do you think?)

The interest in Kuwait  may be a new take on the Arab Spring.  Kuwait has it's own unique problems and never before in Kuwait's history has it witnessed such violence prior to elections.

This week's riots only drive that sentiment further home.  One or two people can incite the entire Bedouin population of Kuwait to pure rage - and within days before elections.

Story:  Approximately 3 days ago, a single candidate (Juwaiyhel)  insulted a large Bedouin tribe (Mutairi). The tribe then burnt the candidate's election tent to the ground.  The following night, I heard (I could be wrong) that as many as 60,000 Bedouins of different families/tribes gathered to show their support and to appeal to the Government not to allow a candidate to further divide the country in this manner.  The candidate has left the country (again, from what I have heard).  This country was formed through Bedouin tribal wars and alliances.  Do not awaken a sleeping giant.  All it takes is one spark (ha ha - get it.  Burning down a tent... get it?)...

Prior to this, peaceful demonstrations in Taima, Jahra, to the North of Kuwait turned violent.  Bedoons* (people who for generations have not been given ANY nationality and remain stateless without passports, official documents, healthcare, secured living, etc) protested as the Government has promised to end their status problems and nothing has happened/little progress has been made in terms of rights. There are approximately 100,000 Bedoons in Kuwait.  Of that, they say that approximately 30,000 have legitimate reason to be naturalized.  30,000 people who are mostly  Bedouin with the potential future ability to swing votes (their numbers increase every year as more Bedoons are born into families).  With the onset of the Arab Spring, people in different political situations have found their voice.  Bedoons used this as a time to raise their voice in protest.  I won't go into further details in reference to Taima and the political situation here, but you can read my re-prints from media including YouTube.

Internet Police:  I'm not stating anything new here - this is all available on the internet and in print.

  • *I feel I always have to add a disclaimer because there will be people who will write in to say, "Those Bedoons came into Kuwait during 90/91 trying to get nationality and money from the Government.  They are all liars and thieves."  Em, I have quite a different  view:  While I agree that there are some who did this, there are many more who were here prior to the 1965 census - that landed them in a position of being stateless.  There have been DNA tests to determine who is who (which is controversial in itself - charging each person 85KD for a mandatory test and then never providing the results).  End the suffering of those who should be granted nationality.  
  • Please note the difference between "Bedoon" and "Bedouin".  Bedoon refers to those with no nationality; Bedouin are those who come from a tribal background - similar to Native American Indians in many ways. (Just look at Bedouin weavings and Navajo for example.  Reservations vs Taima.  Similarities.  Fassssscinating.)

I've talked to western people from various countries at various levels (including from some embassies) and we all go along, rather nonchalantly living our lives and having a great time. (Although a few have thrown the term "go-bag" around - which is really alarming.)

Hey - what's in your go-bag?

I hope you western people living in Kuwait are taking note.  All appears calm as we go to our jobs and socialize between ourselves, but it is really in your own best interest to become knowledgeable about where you live.   Gather perspectives.  Watch the foreign news.  Occasionally do a Google search on Kuwait to see what pops up.  Pay attention:

There is an undercurrent right below the murky waters.

So like, how was your weekend?  :)