Sunday, September 23, 2012

Shinu Ya'ani

Kuwait Times had an article on my favorite Kuwait-home-grown YouTube group, Shinu Ya'ani in this week's issue of, "Friday Times."  I love these guys.

Kuwait Times, September 21, 2012
By Nawara Fattahova

Media censorship and the prevalence of access to the Internet from any place at any time has given birth to a new popular satire created for Kuwait audiences and uploaded onto YouTube.  The show, called Shinu Ya’ani (so what?) was created by a group of young Kuwaitis.  Shinu Ya’ani is the name of a sarcastic Kuwaiti serial of video clips.  The clips differ in length, some are only two minutes long while others run for more than 10 minutes.  Most of the time the videos include a warning at the beginning which states:  “this clip is not suitable for children.  The following clip may contain improper scenes of language for those who are under 18 years old.”

These funny and sarcastic clips discuss various issues from our community.  Some are about the linguistic differences in various Arabic dialects.  For instance, what can in one dialect mean a dish, in another Arabic dialect is a reference to a body part.  One of the most recent Shinu Ya’ani short clips shows a teacher who is asking a student to mention different types of animals.  When he asks about mammals, the student starts imagining girls scantily dressed n bikinis. Another clip shows an Arab, non-Khaleeji (Gulf) man ordering food in a Saudi restaurant.  When he hears the name of one dish (mataziz) his imagination is provoked by linguistic associations to the word for buttocks because this particular word has a different meaning in his country.

Some clips are directed at fighting negative phenomena in society in an action-style short drama.  In a 10-minute clip an Egyptian restaurant staff member, who is visibly exhausted, is taking an order from a young man calling from his diwaniya.  The caller is making fun of him, while talking to his friends and showing them photos in his mobile, while asking the staff member to repeat the menu and hanging up without ordering.  Soon, the employee’s patience has run out and he heads to the home to kill everyone in the diwaniya, one by one in their house or street.  One of the victims was chatting with his girlfriend, and about to see her naked on the video-cam, when he was killed.  The restaurant employee doesn’t kill the last person in the diwaniya, because he shares some party items with him.

Other clips discuss problems many people face – such as flats for rent.  When the main character goes searching for a flat and finds wearied men renting the flat, they force him to sing songs after kidnapping him.  Another clip shows the daily life and habits of Kuwaiti men when visiting a diwaniya and the topics they speak about, how they fight, and how they behave.

Even in satirical form, Shinu Ya’ani has aired many hits already, offering a glimpse of life in Kuwait, albeit in a humorous way.

- end -

It is too bad that there are no English subtitles because I think English-speaking people living in the community would get a kick out of the movies.  I'm happy to see that they are getting more exposure.  This is the type of humor that used to be a lot more prevalent in Kuwait:  lighthearted self-deprecation at its best.

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