Monday, August 29, 2016

The Price of Living in Kuwait

Lets start with the new increase in gas prices in Kuwait - Coming to a pump near you on September 1.

Kuwait Increase in Gasoline Prices - Calculator:  Here is some'in interesting:   a fuel calculator of how much you are paying now for gas in Kuwait (by care make/model/year) vs how much you are about to pay with the random increase in price:  I supposedly own a Chevrolet "Caniro".  That must be Arabic for Camaro.  Hmmm.  I'll be paying about 3 KD more per fill up.  Good times.

Question:  Where is the money going?  To repair streets?  To enforce traffic laws?

Maybe they could reduce costs if (now get this...) the gas stations were self-serve and accepted credit cards at the pump.  Holy sh*t - now there's a thought!

It's not like Western countries where gas costs more because it is imported and then gas companies pay millions in marketing.

Are you here to save money?

Ya know - people used to come to Kuwait to save money.  Not so anymore.  You think you can save here, but you just get by.  My Kuwaiti friends (who enjoy lots of government subsidies) are just scraping by at the end of the month.  Food costs are pretty high here.  Rent is outrageous (and don't believe the hype about rents decreasing - that's BS).  You can't own anything, so you are giving your money away for free to building owners and often you don't even get maintenance with that - even when it is in writing.  For what I pay in rent, I could be paying a mortgage on a VERY nice property in the US.

I didn't come here to save money (but word of advice to my younger self:  save money!).  I came for a different quality of life.

Quality of Life

When I came here, Kuwait was a lazy little laid-back town where you weren't so drained from work that you could get around to see all your friends and do a few activities that made you happy.  Like parties on weekends or whatever.  Now, I'm afraid to go to parties for fear of raids or being harassed at checkpoints (and I also can no longer stand the loud music and smoke).   I am too physically/emotionally drained to see friends because I'm working hard and stressing about things that perhaps I shouldn't be.  Getting to and from anywhere is a stresser:  Traffic is so bad that I don't want to leave the house anymore.  Literally. You have to have multiple eyes around your head to see predator drivers coming at you from multiple angles. Shopping is not fun.  You have to plan your logistics:  Pick a route, time of day, day of the week, location with easy parking access.  It's all a big pain in the azz.  People are downright rude and you feel like you get shot down if you try to be polite, smile, or make small conversation (in any language).  Of course, I'm generalizing, but when you get poked enough with small pins you get deflated and don't want to do the things you used to do.

Melancholy after vacation?

I write about this stuff usually right after I return from a vacation.  But I've been writing about it/thinking about it more often over the past few years.  The re-entry into Kuwait is becoming more difficult. Is it because I'm getting a little older (29++) or is it just that things are changing here?  Maybe a little of both?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sanctions planned for dodgers of DNA – No tolerance

So, the entire country of Kuwait is about to be DNA tested.  To include Kuwaitis, non-Kuwaitis (stateless) and expats.

It's about to go POMPEI up in here!  Maury say:

Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, Aug 21: The Ministry of Interior expects thousands of Kuwaitis not to come forward for the DNA test because they fear losing their nationality, reports Al- Shahed daily.  (DG comment:  Emmmmm.... I don't think that's why, but ok...)

The daily put this number at approximately 200,000 saying these people got their nationality through fraudulent means.

However, sources close to the issue said the ministry is prepared to take legal action against those who reject the DNA test to the extent of withdrawing their citizenship. Official sources at the Interior Ministry said failure to undergo DNA test to obtain the e-passport will not be tolerated by the government which is determined to set a time limit to undergo these tests and failure will mean cancellation of passports and issuing a travel ban against them even to the GCC states.

The sources added the Ministry of Interior represented by the General Department for Citizenship Affairs shall remain in touch with other government institutions and terminate the services of those who refuse to undergo the DNA tests and also suspend free medical treatment in government hospitals.

The sources also said the government will impose a ban on their transactions of all kinds and their siblings will not be accepted in government schools.

The sources pointed out these measures will not be arbitrary or chaotic, but in accordance with legal norms, and shall be as stated in the provisions of the Kuwaiti nationality law which is in force with regard to withdrawing nationality of those who have acquired it through fraudulent means.


Ok, so how are they going to count all those kids that don't belong to they Kuwaiti daddies?  Did they obtain their nationality fraudulently?  One has to wonder what will happen. I believe that there may indeed be a wee bit of chaos on all levels of society following these tests.  Should be fascinating.