Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fire Tornado

(I wrote his as a draft before my "Epiphany" post.  Decided to post it now.

I guess fire tornado is descriptive of my current circumstances because it sucks up all the air around it and destroys stuff in its path and eventually burns itself out.

I haven't talked to anyone about this. Well, that's not true.  2 people know.  But it has been going on since April.  I didn't want to make a formal announcement for fear of jinxing myself (which I do on the regular).

I went to see my family in the summer and didn't tell them about it.  I'm pretty sure everyone knew something was going on with me.  I was constantly on the phone and running up to my room to talk in private.   I got a few questions; the hardest-hitting was from my nephew, "Who's the guy?"  Standard response:  'The only guy I have is furry and has 4 legs.'

There is a guy and there has been a fire tornado.

I didn't think that I could love someone that much again.  Honestly.  After all the shit that I've been through in the past few years, I was determined to stay alone and out of harm's way.  (That even includes friendships.)  Then for some unknown reason (F you, Cupid!) I was in the middle of it again.  I was back to being in that teenage love where you spend hours on the phone together, and any little thing out of his mouth would make me giggle, and my heart was all a flutter.

I would wake up to the sound of his voice on the phone.  We would call and message each other constantly through the day.  And I would hear his voice the last thing before going to sleep every night.  It went on like that for months.

I don't trust easily, but my whatever that primeval girl-gut instinct is told me that everything is ok.  He's WITH you.  And that's it.  You know when people say, "I just knew he was the one."  That kind of thing.    I could be myself with him.  I trusted and I tested him at every given opportunity just to make sure.

Monday, September 26, 2016


I have been quiet about relationships for a while now.  I've been dating a lovely man for the past 6 months.  I will call him, "Wazza" because he's always calling me, "Butta" which can translate to "duck" or "chubby" depending.  I think he's using both terms.

I didn't want to jinx myself by saying anything - even to my family.  It had been going so well.  Every morning he would call me just as he woke up and he would call the last thing before he went to sleep. During the day, we texted each other constantly and he picked up the phone on the first or second ring every time - no matter where he was or who he was with.  He EARNED my trust.  And this even went on while I was in the States on vacation.

Everything was going great.  Until he stopped calling and stopped texting. I blamed him.  I really did.  We were discussing something and we had a little minor (I though) argument. He said that I had made several mistakes lately and he would talk to me about it, but after I had calmed down a little.  Well, I did something stupid and turned my phone off.  He called only once the next day and I was still angry with him.  He stopped calling.  Then I blocked him so I don't know if he called back or not.  Then I unblocked him (so effing childish - I know!!!)  Ok so if you unblock someone within 24 hours its still ok, right?

 This isn't the first time.  Everything seems to be going well and then BAM - something seemingly small and it's over and its like the guy never wants to talk to me again.

So I do what every "rational" Western woman does - just brush it off as an "Arab man thing" and move on.

After ten days now of crying bouts and depression over my Wazza (which translates to "goose" in Arabic, by the way),  I started praying for an answer. I have only confided in 2 close friends and they are bewildered.  Both blamed him.  So did I - until this morning.

I asked and I was answered.  You know that place in-between asleep and awake when you are most open to discussion with all things in the spirit world?  That's when I got it.

Have you ever seen, "The Christmas Carole?"  Well, a man thinks he's in the right about everything (obviously he's not because he's mean and he's a cheapskate, but I'm not comparing him to me zacteley).  He's visited by 3 ghosts:  Past, present, and future, who show him what he has done wrong, what he is doing wrong, and what could happen in the future.  It was kind of like that, but instead, I saw a timeline of my life and my serious relationships.  All were serious enough for the men to be considering marriage.

I saw it from their perspective, not mine.

Ya know when people say that if something happens repeatedly, the problem is probably with you?  I didn't see my problem.  Last night, I was SHOWN my problem.  I have hurt people.  And I haven't listened to the warnings they have given me along the way.

I started thinking of other men I've crushed.  There have been a few and I owe them an apology also.

I sabotage my relationships with men.  I get insecure, angry, impatient and eventually most people will want to move on from that.  It is terribly negative.  After they move on, I get horrible depression that gets worse every time (like now - I'm really in a bad way).  Then I blame the guy.

Wazza isn't returning my texts or phone calls.  But, I sent him messages apologizing.  I know it isn't going to win him over, but I had to do it.  I know I hurt him.  I feel terrible today (worse than any day in the past 10 days).

Why do I do this?  Fear of rejection:  I get in the first strike.

I know dogs, so I'll put it in a dog-analogy:  what happens to me is like separation anxiety.  When an owner leaves the house and the dog gets nuts and eats all the furniture and tears up the walls and things.  When the owner comes home, the dog is calm again and all happy and tail wagging, until the next time he/she leaves.  Are they ever coming back?  What will I do?  What will happen?

(I'm not using this as a crutch, but I think it may be part of the reason why my relationships with men go like this):  When I was 3, my parents got divorced. (My mom told me the story because she said she will never forget it.) My dad came to say goodbye and he was crying and I was crying and screaming, "Daddy don't go." My first relationship was pretty much the same - the guy left.  And then after that.  I was young and so were the guys, so that's what happens, but maybe I twisted it so I wouldn't get hurt:  Now I push before they go away.  That's the way I see it anyways.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm trying to analyze myself to see how maybe they can fix me.

My first call was to a therapist this morning.  Soor Center - return calls! OMG.  I want to get help with this.

Work relationships are no issue. I'm tough and no separation anxiety there!   This is just something in my personal life that I haven't dealt with.  Maybe my personal life would have turned out a lot differently than it has if I was more aware of this before.

Thank you, God, for giving me gifts.  This insight/vision/dream (whatever you want to call it) was a blessing.  And a wake-up call.


September 28 Update

Some of you have commented that yes I might have treated him bad, but he could have tried harder.  I'm in agreement there.  He just walked away and after many messages from me, he is still choosing (a choice) to ignore me.  I question myself, but then I do question him too.  If he loved me enough, he would be here.  I wouldn't let anyone suffer, but not someone I love for sure.

So to get a reality check, I called Bunny (my man-advisor) and told him about my self-revelation.  I also apologized because I said that I wasn't a very nice person while we were together.  His response:  laughter.  "Honey, all women are like that.  A man should know how to deal with it."  Oh.  Hello.  I wasn't expecting that.  Totally different perspective.  So I was neurotic with him.  I know I had difficult moments with him.  I remember what happened next:  bouquets of flowers sent to my office.  Yeah, that's right.  Dude sent ME flowers for my shit.  Huh.  And through it all - we are best friends.  Thank you for reminding me of all that, Buns.  We talk about everything - everything.  I mean - everything.  I can tell him the raunchiest dirty joke and he hits me back with one equally as raunchy.  I think the man in your life should be your best friend and have the ability to "get over it".

Ok, but still - I know I need to deal with my problem too.

My friend who knows me well sent me the below encouraging remarks and it is so true and close to how I feel that I thought I would post it below.  She's been through similar issues. Trust issues.  I've used the word, "paralyzed" many times to explain to myself how I'm feeling.  I do get out of bed. I do my hair and wear my best-butt-hugging skirt.  I do all my work stuff (even harder and more professionally - I'm also sick with the flu and on a shitload of drugs that seem to be helping my productivity), but I'm just stiff.  I find myself staring out into nothingness as soon as I get home and everything hurts.  My dog throws the ball (at my head) and I don't notice until he starts whining for me to snap out of it.  It bad.

No word from Wazza.   I've tried repeatedly to apologize.  Its like grieving for a dead person without the death.  You wonder where they are and what they're doing. His toothbrush is still in the bathroom.  His hair brush sits where he left it.  The cologne I gave him is on the counter.  There are reminders everywhere.  Driving down the street.  Sitting in my living room.  Passing places where we used to go.  Popcorn.  Horror movies.  Machboos.  The list is frickin endless.  I hate it.

Anyways, here is my friends comment and it is how I feel.

"I hate that (Wazza) did this to you. It leaves an awful feeling of abandonment that you have zero control over. I know it all too well. You feel helpless, hopeless, and at a complete loss. I get it. Sometimes the feeling of helplessness would leave me feeling almost paralyzed. As if getting out of the bed was too much effort. I believe it hurts even worse when they've infiltrated our lives on every level -- so everything you look at, hear, smell, eat, or do reminds you of 'him'. Yet they've managed to keep their life rather isolated. They go home to a bed you've never been in, live in a house you didn't spend endless days and nights at, hang out with people you may have never met, go to places you might not have been, etc. So not only can they just walk away but they walk away without reminders. Even more shitty.

Best news ever; you WILL heal. Get out of bed, do your hair and makeup, go get a cup of coffee or take Mikey for a walk. Or, go to the grocery store and buy something totally indulgent (DG note to self:  STOP charging on credit cards!!!), make your favorite meal (DG note:  I can't eat.  Sandwich a day - tops), and hang out at home watching reruns of Sex and the City :) "

I can't tell you how much comments like this mean to me.  And you know how much I love you, girl.  You've been a rock more times than I can count; anchoring me from afar.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Conference to announce results of national survey on violence against women

I don't know if this will be in English.  Looks like most likely in Arabic.

A press conference to announce the results of a national survey on violence against women on Saturday September 24 Sayer Hall at Assembly

From Twitter, Kuwait Human Rights Group @kuwaithr

Saturday, September 17, 2016

26,000 workers needed, 1000 arrive weekly

This is so stupid.  How many workers in Kuwait are deported monthly/weekly/daily?  How many more are waiting deportation in "centers"?  Ick!  So as planes full of deportees depart KIA, planes full of new laborers are shuffled in.  How is that cost effective?

Not only that, but this article seems to target real-estate owners throughout Kuwait who are "suffering" from lack of occupancy.  Is it just me or has anyone else NOT seen a significant drop in rental prices?  I think most landlords would rather cut off their nose to spite their face:  leave apartments empty until months/years from now, someone comes along who is willing to pay their price.


Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, Sept 14: The number of workers needed for the environmental fuel project is about 26,000 and around 1,000 employees of various nationalities have been arriving weekly for this purpose, reports Al-Rai daily quoting sources from Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC).
Sources affirmed 65 percent of the project has been accomplished and 80 percent is expected to be done by the end of the current fiscal year on March 31, 2017.

Sources disclosed the labor force for the environmental fuel project has solved part of the problem related to empty buildings and apartments for three years in Fintas, Mahboula and Mangaf.
Sources said the contractors prefer these areas due to their proximity to the project sites while recent reports mentioned that 60 percent of residential buildings and apartments in these areas have been empty for three years so the rental fees reduced significantly.

Sources added the target number of workers as per previous plans is 50,000 at the peak of the project, although the contractors will present their plans next month to determine whether they will execute the work with this number of labor force or reduce it.

Sources confirmed the workers involved in the project solved about 30 percent of the problem faced by the residential real estate business in the aforementioned three areas, although several residential buildings are still empty.

Talking about the empty residential buildings in Hawally, Salmiya and Farwaniya; sources pointed out the buildings in these areas do not attract contractors because they are far from the project sites. Sources explained the role of KNPC is to open a labor file at the concerned government body, indicating other functions such as hiring workers and housing them are under the jurisdiction of subcontract

DNA Database Project

Arab Times

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 15: The Washington Post, an American newspaper, described Kuwait’s DNA database project as “an idea from a bad science-fiction novel” with an estimated cost of $400 million, reports Al-Jarida daily. (DG comment:  Oh!  Is that funded by the new increase in gas prices?!)

The newspaper quoted geneticist Olaf Riess who argued that the law on DNA is a “huge attack on genetic privacy” which seriously risks Kuwait’s international reputation, adding that “compulsory DNA testing of all citizens and visitors sounds like a nightmare, but this is the new reality in a wealthy Gulf State.”

The daily revealed that various groups and delegations have reached out to Kuwait’s government to cancel the law; indicating the letter of the European Society of Human Genetics, whose current president is Riess, to HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah called for amendment of the law.

Commenting on the issue, constitution expert and lecturer in the College of Law at Kuwait University Dr Muhammad Al-Faili affirmed the DNA Database Law has many constitutional loopholes, the most important of which is limiting the right to choose whether to undergo DNA sampling or not; let alone allowing procedures that violate the right to privacy.

Al-Faili stated the constitutional judge will deliberate on the matter once it is presented to the court to balance between protection of the right and breaching the right for security purposes. He explained the judge will look into existing guarantees that protect personal privacy, determine risks of violating privacy, present a verdict from the European Court for Human Rights which ruled that storing the DNA of innocent people is a violation of their rights and their privacy – the ruling that led Britain to change its policy in storing DNA samples.

The daily said Kuwait’s tourism industry and business will suffer, given that no tourist or business executive would want to spend their time in a country which takes their DNA samples upon arrival, indicating the law will have a major impact on Kuwait as a host of conferences and hinder tourism.
After the bombing of Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque in June 2015, Kuwait’s Parliament ratified a law obliging every citizen, expatriate and anyone visiting the country to submit a sample of their DNA.

The Ministry of Interior considers the creation of DNA database for citizens and expatriates a way of protecting the country from terrorist attacks, while the new e-passports will be issued to citizens only if they submit their DNA samples.


Kuwait always seem to end up on the negative side of international press.  Unless, of course, there is a Guiness Book world record to be broken.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Saudi Film about Dating: Barakah Meets Barakah

I SO want to see this!

A Saudi comedy about dating? See it this weekend (in UAE)
Gulf News
September 7, 2016

Mahmoud Sabbagh doesn’t want to rock the boat so much that it sinks. He just wants to rock it enough to bring about social reform in his country.

The Saudi writer-director filmed Barakah Meets Barakah in 25 days, made entirely in Jeddah. The satirical romance is Saudi’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars, making it the country’s second-ever submission (Wadjda, submitted to the 2013 Oscars, was not nominated.)

It premiered — and won an award — at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. And on Thursday, it hits theatres in the UAE. According to Sabbagh, two scenes were cut locally — one involving a hand gesture, and the other including ‘mild profanity’.

“But it’s a comedy movie. People need to chill out,” he laughed, speaking to tabloid! ahead of a private premiere in Dubai on Tuesday.

“This film is about freedom, it’s about censorship, and it’s about public space. In my opinion, public space in Saudi has become more limited in the last thirty years. It’s less diverse. You see less presence of women, people of minorities and foreigners in the usual streets,” he said.

But no one wants to watch a film about public space. It’s a ‘very boring theme’, to hear Sabbagh say it.

“So I had to do the classic boy-meets-girl. I tried to do something very original, something avant-garde, something that defies the dominant storytelling techniques. The movie is about Barakah meets Barakah — in public,” he said.

The film is masterfully done, an independent, low-budget passion project that exudes commitment from the cast and crew in every scene. It’s victorious both for its ability to engross the viewer with a gradual exposition of details, and its razor-sharp cinematography, submerged in warm hues.

The film opens with a shot of Barakah staring at a hot pink bra like it might have the answers to the universe. He’s a simple guy. A municipality worker, best friends with a loud-mouthed, grumpy old man named Uncle Da’ash, who’s the neighbourhood’s go-to person for regressive life advice. Barakah dwells in a rundown apartment and spends his free time unenthusiastically cross-dressing for his role as Ophelia, Hamlet’s female lover, at a theatre no one cares about.

Then there’s Bibi. The discontent internet celebrity who uploads lacklustre ads to Instagram with only her mouth, chin and neck visible. Mayada, the controlling woman she calls her mother, hounds her to shut down her account while simultaneously taking photos of Bibi’s bare abdomen for her own account, Heavenly Hips. Bibi is well-off, living in a sprawling beach house and offered millions to market face creams, but she’s consistently dissatisfied with her restricted life.

When the two meet, a reluctant romance begins. But where could they possible hang out in Jeddah? They conjure up different scenarios — a dinner date, a day at the beach, a night of listening to music in the car — that all end the same way: the police shutting them down.

“This beach is God’s, not yours,” Barakah says at one point, when he’s disallowed entry because he’s a single male. This question of which spaces belong to whom is a recurring one.

“My character is very virginal. He’s an extremely simple, basic character that is based in his own universe. His conceptions of gender, self, love, romance, intimacy, all these things, are completely unchallenged, because he’s in the nature of his environment. Once a certain person comes into his life, everything goes into a whirlwind,” said Hisham Fageeh, the Saudi writer-comedian who plays Barakah.

At the premiere, he wore a white dishdasha, a dark blazer, and bright red sneakers, with his hair pulled up into a bun. He’s known Sabbagh since the two went to university together in America. Fageeh relocated to Saudi afterwards, where he held a job at Telfaz11 for a couple of years. He was homeless and jobless when Sabbagh reached out about the film.

“We weren’t really the closest of friends in New York — we were busy, and we both had our own scenes — he was in journalism, and I was in Middle East studies. But I respected his work,” said Fageeh. The two ‘flirted’ as creatives, with Sabbagh appreciating Fageeh’s satirical work on YouTube.

“He was like, ‘Listen, I’m doing a movie. It’s about public space.’ And that is so sexy to me as a concept. Because people are usually like, ‘Oh, boy meets girl, or guy trying to find himself.’ But this is about public space,” said Fageeh.

When Fageeh heard he would have to cross-dress, he was sold — a fact that Sabbagh confirmed. “Hisham was in because I know he’s a pervert in the mind, like me,” he joked.

Fatima Al Banawi, who plays Bibi, had never acted before. She was doing a Masters in theology at Harvard when Sabbagh, who’s known her since childhood, contacted her. They rehearsed for four months.

“As Saudis, we’re not used to seeing ourselves on screens written and directed and acted by ourselves… We’re so used to seeing ourselves portrayed by others. This film is by us, from us, to us. And to the world. It’s our attempt to present a picture,” said Al Banawi.

“It’s not every representation, because no such film or person can do that. But it’s one attempt to go about our stories, our city, Jeddah.”

The movie is twice interrupted by historical photographs of Saudi Arabia, with a voice-over narration that suggests the freedom of past generations as compared to present day.

“My movie is my submission to the national dialogue,” said Sabbagh.

“I’m comparing Saudi to Saudi — I’m not comparing Saudi to any other nation, not to the West, not to the East. It’s about Saudi in the ’70s and Saudi nowadays. In my opinion, the best way to compare a society is to compare it to itself.”

Fageeh found the film bold because it took two normative narratives to task.

“We’re challenging traditional media, because there is a certain tonation that happens in traditional media in Saudi Arabia. And we’re also challenging Western orientalist views of what the Arab world looks like, or what we want to be perceived as. A lot of times, a self-orientalisation happens,” said Fageeh.

“We’re working very hard to challenge that narrative, to make something edgy, and people really recognise that sincerity. I think that’s what makes our movie unique.”

Al Banawi said the characters reminded her of her friends, her cousins, her neighbours and the people she saw on Instagram.

Indeed, Sabbagh excelled at creating charming primary characters, but more importantly, engaging secondary characters, who have their own lives, priorities and demons to fight, becoming just as pertinent to the film’s storytelling as the main two.

So is that why Barakah Meets Barakah became Saudi’s submission to the Oscars?

“Every country is eligible to submit one entry, and we were probably the only movie [from Saudi], so they pushed our movie,” said Sabbagh, laughing. Sabbagh and the cast will find out whether the film is one of the five shortlisted nominees in January. He’s still fighting to screen the film in his home country.

In the meantime, Fageeh urged UAE residents to go out and watch the film for two reasons.
“From a selfish standpoint, we need money. From a non-selfish standpoint, for the love of arts. For the grace of arts,” he said.

“It’s been critically acclaimed, and we want to see if that critical acclaim holds up cross-continentally. The West love it. So let’s see how we do over here.”

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Job Interviews

(Note to my employer:  I am not looking for another job.  I have a great job.  I have a handsome business owner who is funny and intelligent and who respects my work. And will probably read this...  Mashallah. :D  No need to look around.)

My mother brought this subject up last night because my sister has been working with a consultant to provide them with better interview/recruitment techniques.  My sister owns a recruitment/placement firm for healthcare and IT professionals.  Mashallah, they are doing very well, but an ongoing issue with her office staff has been recruiting the right people for their sales and recruiting staff.  My sister is usually an outstanding judge of character and has often recruited some of her top sales people from positions at retail stores and other unusual sources; just because her gut has told her that they would be good producers.  Most of the time she is spot-on, but once in a while, she will recruit someone and they turn out to be (not a good fit).  Her business is also getting too large for her to follow up on details and her "people" needed better techniques for bringing in new office and consulting staff.

She discussed it with my mother, who found it to be a fascinating subject.  And so I believe it to be also.

The only question that my mother could remember from the many that the interview consultant brought up was, "Cite a situation at work that influenced your life."  These are the type of questions that allow you to understand a person's character; but also to define how the candidate may articulate/converse with others under pressure - which is exactly what my sister needs to know about her sales people.

I LOVE these kinds of interviews. They are thought-provoking and the interviews are just fun for me.  I guess if you were an introvert, you might have the opposite reaction to these types of questions, but then again, if you are interviewing for a sales or management position (and not IT where you don't have to talk to/convince people) then you might not find these psychological questions terribly enjoyable.

My #1 all time favorite interview was here in Kuwait at KGLPI (Kuwait Gulf Link Ports International).  I sat across the table from the Chairman, Dr. Mohammad Mazeedi, the CEO, and their HR Director.  They had obviously taken interview training and I found myself bombarded by fascinating questions!  (Bad memory runs in my family...) I can't remember all the questions, but they were similar to, "Tell us a situation where you had a conflict at work and how did you resolve it."  "What was your most memorable learning experience at work?"  "Who was your favorite boss and why?" By the end of the nearly hour-long interview, all of us were laughing.  I knew I had the job, but I sent them all flowers the next day, thanking them for the greatest interview session EVAH!

KGLPI  offered me the job but later rescinded it because my extremely unethical former employer - who had just terminated me to save money! - threatened to sue them for "stealing his employee".  And this was after he had terminated me and I was looking for a new job!  Dr. Mazeedi, who I admire tremendously, contacted me about 6 months after the incident and told me that he liked me and wanted me to know the truth of what happened.  I understood their predicament completely.  It was unfortunate because we would have made a great team.
I would like to answer this question, "Cite a situation at work that influenced your life."  I told my mother the story last night.  She had never heard the story before (or maybe I told her way-back-when and she didn't remember.  That's ok because I can't remember if I told her or not).  Again, this question has to do with your character and your perspective.  Some people might read into this as a business-related question:  "The day I got Windows 8, changed my life!"  Yeah.... ok.... there is no right or wrong answer.  They're just asking for insight.

Swede Nelson at SAIC was a high-level, tenured manager at the division where I worked.  I only had the blessing of working with Swede for about a year.  He was very knowledgeable and kind.  And, he had stage 4 cancer and must have been in a tremendous amount of pain.  That man came to work (although he could have chosen to be out on disability) wearing a morphine pack and ALWAYS wearing a smile.  He always had something nice to say to colleagues. He was always helpful.  He never let on that he hurt, or he was tired. You would never have known how sick he was.  That man influenced my life.  He helped form my work ethic (although seriously - if any of you know me in business, I (think I) whine about health issues quite a bit and I shouldn't.  Swede taught me that anything can be accomplished through kindness, humor, and a good attitude.  When he died, we all went to his funeral and service at Arlington Memorial Cemetery where he was buried with honors, befitting a man of his character.

Ok, so now that I have discussed what kind of interviews I like, let me relate which kind I hate....  I hope that I have had some influence on colleagues who use these "techniques" (or lack thereof) during interviews.  "Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?"  "Why are you leaving your current job?"  "Have you reviewed our website?"  Really?  Seriously?  Snore.  It is not 1950.  Get onto the Googly thing and research current interview questions/techniques.  That's my advice to junior staff.  In knowing how to interview a candidate, you then learn how you can better respond in an interview with a potential employer.  It's easy.

Here is a good article on the subject:

62 Interview Questions People Said Were Their Favorites