Monday, July 31, 2017

Dear Expat-Bashers

And I might add:  Specifically those in law-making positions:

Kuwait National unity law number 19/2012,  includes “criminalizing any form of agitation and incitement of public through any means, instigating hatred and disdain towards any sect, initiating sectarian or tribal crises, and publishing ideologies to encourage racial, class or group discrimination or the superiority of a certain race, group, color, origin, doctrine or lineage to others.” The law also penalizes whoever commits such a crime by “a maximum of seven years in prison and/or a KD 10,000-100,000 fine.”

What are your intentions, young man?

Well, I should say, "older man."

In my 22 years in Kuwait, I've had 2 relationships where I was head-over-heels, madly in love.  That's not to say that I haven't had other relationshits, but these 2 were the biggest and meant the most to me.

It's easy to find "love" (or a perception/idea of "love") in Kuwait.  When you first come here, if you are dating someone from the Arab culture, you are charmed by all the flowery words, even poetry, that you hear.  They make it sound as if they've never seen a woman like you.  But you quickly realize that that's the culture: everything is OTT and you're not so special.  All the females are special.  And princesses.  You're just girl-of-the-moment waiting to be won over (and most likely, inevitably "screwed over" at some point in the future).  The same flowery poetry that he's quoting to you, he's quoting to the next few females he calls or texts.  Or picks up in his car driving down the street.  Or meets in the mall.  Or at work.  Or standing in line at the co-op.  Whatever.

When I first came here, I loved the hunt.  I wasn't into anything serious.  It was fun (and an ego boost) to go out and see how many numbers that I could go home with.  More than likely, never to be called.  It was a game.  Hunting on the Gulf Road on a weekend night with my BFF was what we looked forward to.

But somewhere either I got older and more jaded to it, or realized what a tiresome and even cheap game it was.  It  lost its appeal. I didn't care about the ego boost.  The novelty had run its course.

So, I met the occasional potential through going to parties with friends.  But that lost it's lure too.  The music was too loud.  The smoke was too thick.  The lights were too low.  You couldn't talk to anyone and even if you did, they were more about hooking up for the night with the hoochies in the room than talking to respectfully-dressed good-friends-of -their-good-friends.

And my good guy friends who had guy friends kind of put the block on anything. Their guy friends wouldn't go near me for fear of offending my "brothers."  They would sit there and give me longing eyes all night, ask a few questions about me and then I might or might not see them the next weekend when the group got together for barbecues or whatever.  It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't the one with the problem (was I too ugly or too something or what?); potential guys weren't talking to me because it was ayeb:  the Arab brother respect code.

So, back to my story about intentions and the 2 long-term relationships:

The Man:  He showed me his intentions within the first 2 months of meeting.  "I WILL marry you."  Followed by a ring.   I had met most of his group of friends by then.  To be followed by his family - including his sisters (mother and father were dead).  We started talking about having kids. We lasted on/off for about 6 years, but we had a major issue:  He was already married.  (Say what you will about me, but she knew and I like her a lot.)  I just couldn't do the second wife thing and the logistics are really hard!  We tried for a while, but it just wasn't happening.  To this day, I love his kids and we send messages once in a while. His wife is a dear person and I wish her well and I hope that they're happy.  He and I no longer speak and that is probably for the best.  Although I miss his advice and his sense of humor and perspective on life.

Why was he different?  Because he made me feel secure from the start.  I was included in his life with family (even though ok it was weird by Western standards).  Some of his friends didn't approve of our relationship and he stood up for me.  I felt secure with him.

Mr. Clean (who I later referred to as Mr. Dirty or something like that):  He showed his intentions within the first 2 months of meeting also.  This time, he didn't ask me to marry him, he started with his father, the head of the family.  Then I was invited to their home to meet everyone (and to get their approval).  I think inevitably, his father loved me more than Clean ever did.  We hit it off immediately and he told Clean to marry me.  We dated on/off for about 3 years, but we had a major issue:  He is a cheating, lying, money-stealing asshole.  (Tell us how you really feel, DG.) I caught him at too many things.  He eventually got away with around 2,000 KD of my money which I haven't been able to recover, and asked me to buy him a Lexus.

Why was he different (in the beginning)?  Same reason.  I was not only included, but immersed in his family life. His sister was a best friend.  All the little kids in the family loved me.  I knew his whole extended family and they all accepted me.  It was about security.

So here I am now.  I have someone in my life that doesn't make me feel secure. This guy literally walked through my door with a big smile on his face.  He is a cousin of my dear friends.  It started off like a honeymoon, but at this point,  I don't know if his parents even know about me.  "When someone tells you who they are; believe them":  He has also told me that he doesn't want to get married for 10 years.

And look - let me just stop right here and say that I'm not a big fan of marriage.  I sincerely admire people who can make it work, but I haven't seen a lot of that and I can only pray that I'm that kind of person who can make it work.  But I know I have a short Aries/Irish fuse and it isn't always pretty. Regardless:  It's about the intention.  It is about knowing that you want to be with someone for the long run (regardless of the "type" of marriage or how it will turn out).

So when I don't get the security I want, my mind and my heart start to wander.  Faith is a bad thing to lose in someone. It has a domino affect that makes other pieces fall.  He has redeeming qualities:  He's faithful and loyal and my family loves him (he's Arab-American and works for my family's business). He's got his security, but I don't.  ... and he's starting to fall off my radar.  And that's where I'm at.

Disclaimer:  After  Clean,  I took a vow to stop having relationships and concentrate on my dog and K9 training. To set the story straight:  My dog is still the most important man in my life.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Female Expat Beaten at Animal Hospital

I don't know if you've seen the film clip being circulated on social media, but it is a short video taken in Royal Animal Hospital in Rai.  A man in dishtasha was arguing with a blonde lady at the reception desk, when he suddenly spits in her face (not once, not twice, but three times) before taking off his aghal and hitting her with it.

Lovely and oh so respectful.  To a woman.

Then, other staff members joined in trying to usher the man out of the hospital lobby, wherein the man's wife suddenly jumped in on the action and started beating people.  Classy.

All of this is recorded on a variety of their CCTV cameras (his furious face clearly visible)- and turned over to the police.  The man has since been arrested and the whole country is abuzz over how despicable his actions were.

Person held for beating receptionist in animal hospitalArab Times KuwaitKUWAIT CITY, July 15: An unidentified person wearing the national dress has been detained for interrogation for beating a female receptionist at a hospital in Kuwait that is taking care of animals, reports Al- Qabas daily. The incident has been recorded by the hospital’s surveillance camera. The man appears angry and is seen asking something to the receptionist before attacking her and other hospital staff with his Oqal. The man reportedly got angry when the receptionist, angry at the man’s behavior asked him to leave. It is not known why the man turned angry.


So here is my point:  If the people at the highest levels of lawmaking (parliament members) in the country are going to incite hatred of expats, I expect more of this type of behavior from the dredges of society who have now been validated to express their racial hatred publicly.  (I can say the same of the top politicians of my own country as well of course.)  I do find it rather ironic (appropriate even?) that the 2-legged animals chose to manifest their violence in a 4-legged animal venue, however.  The 4-legged animals were well behaved and did not partake in the mayhem.

God save civilization.


Canine Clubs in Kuwait: Trash Talk and More

I'm not naming names, but OMG the drama that goes on in the dog clubs in Kuwait.  I try to equally promote different canine clubs and activities because I think everyone is working towards the same goal: education and promotion of the sport in Kuwait.  They've made huge strides over the years and there is a lot more dog-ownership and subsequent service business operation in the country.  But... everybody talks trash about each other.  It is constant.  In general (like many other aspects of our community), there is no unity.  It is sad. And it is occasionally just downright vicious.

There is a huge row going on right now and legal action is being taken.  I'm going to be intentionally vague but I'll give you a metaphorical anecdote as to the situation:

Once upon a time, there was a shop owner.  He bought the shop and paid for it with his own money. Kept it running for years.  Everybody enjoyed the benefits of the shop and people enjoyed visiting to get advice.   Over time, several people volunteered at the shop.  Perhaps some of the visitors even liked the volunteers better. They did great work.  They brought in more customers.  Everything was going well until....

The volunteers decided to take over the shop and claim it as their own.  They went to (the equivalent of) the city council and said, "We held an election and everyone decided it is ours now." and suddenly, the shop keeper was no longer welcome in his own place.

Now, it is great that the volunteers are doing so much.  Everyone welcomes their hard work and dedication.  However, if the shop is not yours; why not just open another shop and go into friendly competition?  Why is it necessary to use the same branding as the man's shop and to push him out of something that he has built, paid for and is legally his?

As a strong believer in karma (and hey "what's right and what's wrong" for that matter), I'm waiting with popcorn in hand to see how this is going to play out.  Such drama. Such a small country.  I'm rooting for the shop keeper.  At the same time, I hope that the volunteers will start their own organization and get on with it.


August 2, 2017 Update

So now there are lawyers in both Germany and Kuwait involved.  Karma may come sooner than expected for some.  And it is getting nastier.  Fake social media accounts have been created with photos taken from others' Facebook accounts.  Bad accusations, etc.   I'm watching with popcorn in hand.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Labor Hotline: Kuwait Society for Human Rights



Arab Times
July 12, 2017

KUWAIT CITY, July 11: Kuwait Society for Human Rights has launched a “hotline 22215150” to raise awareness of migrant workers in Kuwait of their various legal rights and duties. Khalid Al-Hamidi, Chairman of the board of Kuwait Society for Human Rights, said that the hotline operates in five different languages: “Arabic, English, Filipino, Hindi and Urdu” in order to receive as many inquiries as possible about labor laws, ministerial decisions and legal procedures to protect rights.
He pointed out that this contributes to the reduction of abuses and violations that occur against migrant workers. He also added, “Through the hotline, legal advice can be sought as it will be answered by specialized experts and it provides a service of responding to all the migrant workers’ questions on laws and procedures concerning labor rights”.


He pointed out that the hotline received many complaints, including: “cancellation and transfer, recovery of passport, claim for financial dues, final cancellation of travel and a number of problems faced by migrant workers.” He said that, during the past period 802 complaints have been received of which 259 are of cancellation and transfer, 175 of claims for financial dues, 122 of passport recovery, 78 of malicious absence, 68 of work suspension without payment, 46 of final cancellation of travel with claim for financial dues, 38 of violation of contract items by the employer to increase working hours more than stipulated in the Labor Law and 16 of work injury. He noted that the complaints were distributed according to the language into “243 in Hindi, 101 in Urdu, 306 in Arabic and 152 in English.” 

The hotline is one of the activities of the project “Together to educate migrant workers in Kuwait”, which is being implemented in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kuwait to educate workers in Kuwait on their legal rights and mitigate the violations they face as most of them result from the workers’ lack of knowledge of their rights.

--- end ---

I think this is a great step in the right direction.  It's also fabulous that a foreign country (The Netherlands) has stepped in and helped implement this project for Kuwait.  Outstanding work.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Tanfastic Salon

The former owner of Tanfastic Salon, Maja, asked me many years ago to stop by and I never did.  Maja has sold it and moved on.  Last night, I finally went in for a mani/pedi and spray tan.  They're located right behind Fanar Mall in Salmiya.

It's a nice salon in black, white and grey colors, with half a dozen professional pedicure chairs with massage.  Those chairs are a huge selling point for me.  I literally hate being bent over a tub of water to have someone do my feet.  It is much more relaxing to be able to recline and have the chair massage me.

I asked for a French shallac mani and a regular French pedi.  Great job on the hands.  The feet - not so much.  Two different ladies working on feet and hands. I don't think the pedi lady knew what she was doing.  She put on one coat of base first and then the white line.  She seemed totally mystified when she went back to do the second base coat, covering the white line, as to why you couldn't see it anymore.  WTF?!  I've also never had a pedicure when Vaseline was applied on the wet nails directly after.

Great Shallac mani.  No issues. She knew her stuff.

There were several other customers coming and going and the mani/pedi took FOREVER to finish because these 2 ladies were the only ones working there!  They constantly stopped to answer the phone or to help other customers.  I have a feeling if Maja was still there, things would have gone differently.

The spray tan was probably the best I've ever had anywhere on any continent (in terms of product).  Streak free and the lady (same one doing the pedi) has 8 years experience.  I didn't come out orange and the coverage is great.  I had a few small issues with the procedure - mainly that it took so long and I had to stand naked in front of a house fan for 30+ minutes, left alone, until it dried. Also, something to think about:  If you are large-breasted, you're going to need to bring a tube or strapless bra to hold up the girls to have the undercarriage sprayed; otherwise, you will end up with "D" shaped white areas underneath.  Not cool.

The main issue that I had with the spray tan was the environment.  Holy shit.  The room itself is fine, but the door they have is frosted glass with lines of transparency through them.  And no door lock. I was more exposed at this salon than I ever have been at my GYN's office, so the least they could do would be to have decent privacy for customers.  While I was there, other customers were walking by the door and looking in at me holding up the twins, buck neked.  To make matters worse, anytime the spray lady walked out of the room, she obviously got great joy in leaving the door open so anyone walking by could see me standing there - either holding my boobies (for an hour in total) or spread-eagle standing in front of the fan.  That is just WRONG.  (If you go there, bring a roll of masking tape so  you can cover the transparent parts on the door.)   I shouted at her finally to close the door and so she then left me standing there for (no joke) 40 minutes while she went to change out of her uniform to go home for the day (no doubt, SHE changed somewhere with better privacy).  It is a large salon and there were no other customers so I guess she didn't hear me calling her.  A lot.  And loud.

Spray Lady recommended (3-4 times actually) that I get into the UV tan machine to dry off the spray.  I explained to her (3-4 times actually) that skin cancer runs in my family and that if I didn't go out in the sun because I don't want to destroy my skin - why should I get into a UV tan machine??  Right.Over.Her.Head.

Sidenote:  Women (mostly Kuwaiti) who go to the UV tan machine more than the recommended 15 minutes per day:  Are you fricking CRAZY?!  Do you know how bad that is for you?  Do you have any idea how bad you are going to look later in life (that is IF you survive the cancer)?  OMG.  There was one woman who came into the salon and the workers told me that she comes in 2 times a day for 30 minute sessions.  Her skin is going to look like leather.  And then they're going to have to cut out those basil cells with a scalpel and she'll have big chunks of skin missing.  I had no idea that people were still that stupid.  But hey - nothing should surprise me anymore.

So now I have a dilema; go back for more great tan (with a roll of masking tape and something to keep the door closed), or never to return.  Does anyone have recommendations of other spray tanning salons that are good?


Monday, June 19, 2017

NO Import

Former friend who shall remain nameless cause I can't stand her.... (Oh yeah - I recall that I referred to her as "Mare" because she looks like Mare Wittingham, the actress... anyhoo...)   When she dumped her x-boyfriend, he got in touch (I suppose so I could be his one girl support system).  Boo hoo, she did him wrong.  Took money from him.  Dumped him.  He should have known better as he said.  He was warned by her x, x-boyfriend..  Yada yada.  (Yuh, he shoulda known.  He's married with 2-3 kids - I can't remember, but married.  Dumbass.)

Never met the guy in person for his therapy sessions.  Never wanted to, but listened to his drama for a while before he found another girl (I'm sure) and didn't need the support anymore.  Whatever.  Yawn.

So, once in a while he gets in touch.  I assume because he wants something. (This time, about a year since I last heard from him...)  It all starts like this, "How are you?  How's your family?  How's your job?  Is everything ok?" (interject some more chit chat BS small talk conversation here.)  Then, they finally get to the point.  Maybe during the call.  Maybe on the next call.  But it always comes....

So he texted me.  "I'm shy to ask you this, but can you help me with something?"   They're always "shy" (so why f-ing ASK?!)  Then, much later, they finally get to the point.  I had to wait an hour (musta thought that was a respectable amount of time between the introductory text and the actual voice call...)

"Can you help me with something?"
'Inshallah'
"You make me more shy with 'Inshallah"
'Kheir, inshallah.'
"C'mon!"
'Maashi.  Allah Kareem.'

THIS is how you should answer those in dire need (of something really stupid that they haven't gotten to yet),  It is the standard response to put a favor-beggar in his/her place.

(Yawn)

"Do you have a contract with the Army?"
'Why?'

Here
It
Comes
Hold on.....

"Can you bring in sex toys for my friend?"  (Yeah riiiiiight - your "friend")

What
The
Phuck?!
It's Ramadan!  It's bad enough that he's just totally insulted me in several ways, but... It's RAMADAN - and the last few DAYS of RAMADAN.  Have some respect.

(I didn't want to ask what KIND of sex toys.)

So he went on and on about, "You're American.  You can't bring them in?"  I'm like, 'You're a Kuwaiti ranking officer in the police force.  YOU can't bring them in?'

Technology is GREAT.  BLOCK/DELETE.



(Disclaimer:  To the best of my knowledge, the US Army does NOT import sex toys.  But if they did, it would make trips to the PX just THAT much more fun!)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Just go out!

Since my Rumaithiya Apartment Ordeal of 2015, I have become somewhat of a hermit.  My apartment isn't really what I would want it to be for entertaining.  Small living room.  Kind of weird entrance....  very quiet building where I can hear my neighbors and I'm sure they can hear me....  My former apartment was da bomb for gatherings and having people over.  No question.  It had a lovely terrace and a huge open plan living/dining/kitchen area.  It was in the basement so no one could really hear me.  Easy private entrance where no one could see comings and goings.

Note:  I still hate those former landlord people.  I shouldn't carry that negative energy around, but I do.  If they had only told me that they wanted more money, I would have paid it.  I paid 450.  I would have gone up to 7.  Monsters!  You didn't have to threaten and terrorize me!  Anyways, bygones.

Really, I see what that did to me.  It put me into a kind of PTSD where I am worried about who I can and can't trust here.  And I didn't want to socialize anymore. When you go through some really awful, traumatic stuff in your life, you immediately find out who your friends are and who they are not.  The people that I thought I could trust and depend on the most suddenly disappeared or inflicted additional drama on me.  I lost who I considered to be very good friends in 2015.  And I consider it all a blessing.  The truth may hurt, but at least I saw it.

Cut to 2017.

I get invited by friends or distant friends or even acquaintances quite often.  Most often, I turn down the invitations in favor of staying home in the peaceful comfort of my apartment with my dog and my cat. Yeah, that's some old lady shit, isn't it?  But it's true.  It doesn't take much to push me out of my comfort zone these days; even something as silly as, 'How far do I have to park away from your house?'  And then if it is too far or too inconvenient,  I find an excuse.  I'm making constant mental excuses to just stay home all the time.  And that's wrong.

I'm an active person (ok, well, used to be.  I guess mid-2016 was kind of my cut-off point for activity).  I used to go to parties. I used to go to business functions.  I used to do a lot of things.  (And I used to have a lot more to post about here.  When you are doing routine things like K9 training or surfing Apple TV for movies, there really isn't a lot of material, is there?)

Now, I reason in my head about how much traffic/road rage there will be just leaving my neighborhood. Should I really bother?

Recently, while at my favorite salon, Mirror Mirror, I met the new Executive Director of the American Business Council of Kuwait, Teresa.  She was kind and bubbly and literally talked me into attending an ABCK function.  I hadn't been in several years.  The owner of Mirror Mirror, Wendy (who has become a really dear friend) said she was going as well and wanted me to join her (she ended up paying for my ticket and I thought that was so sweet!).  Anyways, I went and saw people I hadn't seen in years.  I had a great time.  It was held at the Millenium Hotel and it was my first time there.  The food was FABULOUS and I was really impressed by the hotel.  And - BTW - the ABCK has changed a lot.  There is a new female Chairwoman and it is no longer the old white dude in blue suit organization that it used to be.  They have a lot more activities and the whole vibe was good.  Thank you, Wendy and Teresa, for pulling me out.

That was my first social outing.  Baby steps, Desert Girl....

My second outing was last night.  Kim (from Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait blog) has been inviting me for (no joke) maybe the past 3 years.  Being Hermit Girl, I found excuses when I could have just pushed myself to go.  Last night, I accepted a dinner invitation and I'm so glad.  She's got a lovely family and her apartment was more like a comfortable villa somewhere.  It was gorgeous and the whole night was lovely. I'm so glad I went and even though we talked for what - maybe 5 hours - I still felt like I could have continued (but had to work today!).

These occasions have given me hope for myself.  Maybe all is not lost.  Maybe I can actually  push myself to do more.  It's a start.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

KSPATH is Closing




I'm sorry, but WTF?  The only government-licensed animal shelter in Kuwait closing it's doors???

Official notice from KSPATH:

Sheikha Fatima M. Al Sabah announces closure of Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat (K’S PATH)

  • Says “We worked very hard to improve animal welfare standards and set an example for new animal groups in Kuwait”

Sheikha Fatima Mubarak Al Sabah, the Chairperson of Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat (K’S PATH) announced this morning the decision to close K’S PATH by the end of six months that is December 2017. All animals at the K’S PATH shelter will be adopted out in Kuwait or will be rehomed in international shelters. No animals will be put down.

Dissolution of K’S PATH 
Citing reasons for closing K’S PATH, Sheikha Fatima M. Al Sabah explains that the K’S PATH team has worked very hard for the past 12 years to protect Kuwait’s animals and the environment and thankfully, much has been achieved through the years. Therefore the decision to close the Society is not based on financial or administrative reasons or as a result of any problem; but this decision was made based on the knowledge that Kuwait’s animals and environment will be cared for by compassionate people in the community. She further adds that the new animal protection and environmental laws passed by Kuwait’s Parliament reflect the progressive approach of the Government authorities to foster future generations that appreciate Kuwait’s natural heritage.
Thanking the Community
Additionally, Sheikha Fatima M. Al Sabah thanks all members of the community who have supported her and the Society over the past 12 years. She also extends her love and gratitude to the K’S PATH team of staff and volunteers, for their dedication and efforts in contributing to the welfare of Kuwait’s animals and environment; May the Almighty protect Kuwait’s people and animals.
The Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat was officially recognized as Kuwait’s first legal animal welfare and habitat protection society in 2014 by the Ministry of Social Affairs, and was founded in 2005 by Ayeshah Al Humaidhi who first established a shelter in Wafra to protect abandoned, homeless and rescued animals. Sheikha Fatima M. Al Sabah became a volunteer at K’S PATH in 2009, and became the Chairperson in a few years.
K’S PATH Achievements
In 12 years, K’S PATH has cared for over 18,000 animals across over 41 species including companion animals, farm animals and wildlife. The Society has adopted out over thousands of animals including relocations to regional and international sanctuaries. K’S PATH’s Marine Conservation Program launched in 2011 has conducted over 300 beach, island and desert cleanups, clearing over 80,000 tonnes of terrestrial marine waste, through the support of over 4000 volunteers. It also registered over 800 volunteers to help at the shelter and awareness events. K’S PATH’s Humane Education Program reached over 22,900 students across 40 schools and universities. Its humane animal control program is a compassionate and effective alternative for reducing street cat and stray dog population. K’S PATH is also the official country representative of Kuwait for World Animal Day.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kuwait: Number of empty apartments increases from 20,000 to 37,000

I'm sorry to laugh at this but hahahahahahaha.  Greedy bastards.

If they would drop rents to make it actually liveable here, the apartments would be filled.  I pay the equivalent of a 4 bedroom house mortgage in the US every month for something that I will never own - and hey, may be kicked out of at whim because the tenancy laws are not enforced and decent people like me are terrorized by land owners with ZERO repercussion.

Kuwait!  Be like Bahrain.  You know:  That little island down the way.  Bahrain is allowing foreigners (that's right EXPATS) to buy apartments and with that you get a visa for you and 3 family members for 99 years.  Their economy is picking up.  Expats are (get this, Kuwait) HAPPY.

So let me get this right:  Citizens are BMCing about a housing shortage and meanwhile these apartments are sitting empty?  Aint that a thang.  Why?  Because even Kuwaitis can't afford to live in many of these apartments.  And even if they can, investment companies are building apartments that are SO TINY that normal sized human beings (and their children) can't live in them. I've seen apartments that are so small that I could only fit my bed in the living room.  Greed. Greed. Greed.

Kuwait would rather kick itself in the head repeatedly than to better its own economy.

Arab Times
31 May 2017
Number of empty apartments increases from 20,000 to 37,000


KUWAIT CITY, May 30: With the fast-approaching summer and holiday seasons, the number of empty investment apartments in most parts of the country has been skyrocketing.

Statistics reveal that this number, since the beginning of the year, has increased by 17,000 and many new buildings will enter the market shortly. According to sources, the number of empty apartments increased from 20,000 to 37,000 after a huge number of expatriate workers decided to send their families back to their countries.

Many residential buildings are hunting for tenants, as owners are losing revenues. One of the main reasons behind this problem is the supply of residential apartments is much higher than the demand.
The monthly rent of a normal apartment does not cost less than KD 300, a cost not befitting the pockets of majority of expatriates currently.

The sources revealed that the investment sector witnessed a rapid growth in the past two years. According to data from PACI, there are more than 13,000 investment residential buildings in Kuwait, a number that is deemed big in the local market.


The sources indicated that they are expecting more 10,000 residential apartments throughout the country to enter the market during the second half of the year

--- end ---

So let me get this right?  Citizens are BMCing about a housing shortage and meanwhile these apartments are sitting empty?  Aint that a thang.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hypocrisy: Expat Bashing Alternative View in the Kuwait Times

Glad to see at least a few people taking an alternate view.

(Click on the photo to read)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

What? Not all women are prostitutes?

21 years in Kuwait. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've been propositioned for sex for money. (And a multitude of dumbasses asking me for massages through the blog. I give them the number to Salmiya police station!)  Its disgusting.  One time, following a car accident, the guy who hit my car called me a whore in Arabic, thinking that I didn't understand.  BAM.  Instant case. (The fine for him is only 40KD, but its an embarrassment and his long-bearded father was shamed.)   My female friends have had the same problems; men showing them wads of money through the windows of adjacent cars in traffic.  Exchanging phone numbers under the guise of getting to know you and then the instant proposition.   Do these neaderathals believe that all women are prostitutes?  If one man can look at me and instantly call me a whore, what does that make his mother?  His sister? His wife?  I don't dress provacatively and even if I did - that gives no one the right to assume.

I bring this up after a small article in the Arab Times in which a woman files a case against a man for propositioning her.  Good for her.  Good for the authorities for pursuing the case.  Good for the news media for publishing it.  Because most of the time, you don't hear about it, but it is everywhere.

Story goes like this:

Arab expat offers Filipina woman KD 50 for ‘fun’
Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, May 11: A Filipina woman filed a case against an Arab expatriate who insisted she visit him in his flat in Fahaheel area for immoral activities and promised to pay her KD 50.
The woman, who works for a domestic labor office, explained to securitymen that the suspect visited the office and requested for a housemaid. He took her mobile number for discussing details of the transaction.
However, he called her at night and urged her to have a sexual affair with him. When she refused, he visited her the next day at the office and demanded she visit his flat in Fahaheel area, promising to pay her KD 50 for sex.
She refused, requesting him to leave the office. When the suspect kept calling her mobile phone, she decided to go to the nearest police station and file a case against him.
Securitymen called the suspect on his mobile phone but it was switched off. They launched investigations to find and arrest him.

It makes me happy to see that this woman of strong character would stand up.  Doubtful that they will find him or take it any further, but just the fact that it happened and was publicized makes it worth it. Baby steps.

21 May 2017 Addition
Some boy-men here are really F-ing stupid!  

I rarely leave my house at night anymore for several reasons. First and foremost because of the traffic and the rage that everyone is feeling.  I don't want to "accidentally" ram my car into someone because they are an a-hole (it could happen).  Stay home, DG; Save a life.

But also because of the types of creatures that come out at night.  It is open season out there.  Friday night, I went to a wedding and I literally drove around the corner to pick up my friend (when did high heels become so uncomfortable?  I said it would never happen!).  Stuck in traffic next to 2 monkeys who propositioned me for sex with the both of them (through my closed car window).  Niiiiiice.

Went to the beach at Zor on Saturday to meet up with my friend's 16 year old Kuwaiti daughter.  She wanted to hang with me and my dog.  My understanding was that I was going to go with me, but she ended up going with friends and I met her there.  So glad that I took my car.  Did I mention she was 16?  She was wearing a leopard-print thong bikini with her diamond naval piercing thingy in. (I was wearing a summer dress.)  She took me to a not-so-secluded spot where approximately 70 young boys/men (under 20) had their cars on the beach and had music playing.  I felt like a grandmother and my dog was losing it trying to "protect" me (obviously feeling bad vibes).  We were getting a lot of unwanted attention.  I can only imagine what her bikini brought on.  EEEk.  So, I left.  But on the way to the car, I was followed by 3 monkeys not older than maybe 19.  One of them wanted to see my dog.  Ok fine.  Innocent enough. Until he told me that they could take me to another quiet spot on the beach... Then asked me for my phone number.  Me:  No, I'm married and I'm old enough to be your mother.  Monkey#1: I don't care.  Me:  Uh, I DO!...and then little dude stepped next to me and put his arm around my waist like he wanted to move in and kiss me.  Oh.No.He.Di'int!!  I gave Mikey the command.  Ears up; system armed.  Monkeys noticed and backed away.

Both incidents both verify my point that more and more "men" here seem to think that all women are prostitutes.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Dear Mr. Jassem Bu Hamad

Dear Mr. Jassem Bu Hamad,

I don't know you and you never even saw my face.  But today I would like to thank you for being the type of citizen that I admire and respect (and unfortunately, cross paths with less frequently these days).

We were both in the same pre-op room at Mubarak Hospital, waiting patiently for our turns for outpatient surgery.  You were behind the curtain on the opposite side from me and overhead a not-very-nice conversation by a fellow citizen and her son.

We were all there for the same reasons:  pain.  We were all being treated.  We had all had to schedule our surgeries (perhaps, like in my case, months in advance).  And then arrive at the hospital and wait for hours again.  I heard you say (then, at 9:30), that you arrived at 7 am.  I arrived approximately the same time and started all the paperwork and pre-op procedures. And waited.

When my turn came, I was escorted behind a curtain by the nurses to change into a robe and wait on a cot to be wheeled into the operating room. I passed a woman in a wheelchair and smiled at her; receiving a scowl in return.   I heard the woman loudly complaining (in Arabic as I'm sure she didn't think I understood) that a foreigner was being taken before her, a Kuwaiti.  She wanted to complain to management.  You, Mr. Bu Hamad, remained quiet.  The woman (of a family name I recognize and have friends from) had no idea where I was from. I could have been a Kuwaiti also by marriage (or birth) for all she knew.

Her son (maybe my age) arrived and complained loudly that his mother was elderly and should be taken first.  There were other elderly women of all nationalities in the waiting room.  None were complaining.  Many were in wheel chairs.  One woman had a breathing tube and was obviously paralyzed; her daughter quietly sat and dabbed a tissue to her chin, lovingly, as they waited.  None of these elderly women or their companions pushed forward or complained in any way.

Finally, Mr. Bu Hamad, you said loudly from behind the curtain, that we are all the same, that we were all waiting, that we are all human with mothers and fathers and children and that we all had scheduled surgeries and were waiting our turns.  The son had no better argument than to tell you in unspecific terms that it was not your business.  To which you replied, "Who said I'm talking to you?  I'm talking to myself."

And I'm thankful to you for that.

Thank you for standing up for the rest of us and for making me proud to spend a little time in the presence of a compassionate and righteous person.  There is too much hate in the world.  People who are either in bad health or with loved ones in bad health should understand the importance of kindness (and maybe karma?).

So if anyone out there knows Mr. Bu Hamad (with a very deep voice) and can pass this along to him, I would certainly appreciate it.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fish Dying in Kuwait - Again

In 2001, I wrote a series of scripts which aired on Kuwait Television in a series called, "Earth Visions;" an environmental documentary on the massive fish kill which took place in Kuwait Bay that year.  The estimate was 2,000 tons of dead fish - mostly meide (pomfret).  If you think dead fish around Kuwait it is bad now, I lived in Salmiya a block back from the sea and I couldn't get the smell of rotting fish out of my apartment for months.

In the article, I predicted that it would happen again (and again and again).  The causes are still there.

In 2001, before the Kuwait EPA was as big is it is today, the Government called in a team of Japanese experts to determine the cause.  I believe at that time they concluded that it was due to red tide; which makes sense because any pollution will cause algae to form; however there were several small differences (see below).  At any rate, the fish stopped dying at that time and people went back to doing what they were doing.  However, if you read in the article, at the time the Government advised people not to eat fish from the Bay for at least 2 years as a precaution. People were eating fish caught in/around the Bay within a few months.

There were a lot of  conflicting reports (as I have noticed there are now, some 16 years later).

2001



Earth Vision 
Director:  Noora Bourisely aired on Kuwait Television (English and Arabic stations) 
September - November, 2001, with video footage of Kuwait

Long before oil was ever found on the land of Kuwait, proud, hard-working people made their livings from the clean waters at the tip of the Gulf.  Oyster beds and sea creatures abound.  Pearlers and fishermen supported their families by harvesting the sea.

Today, Kuwait is facing a monumental catastrophe.  Fish and oysters are harder to find.  The cleanliness of the waters is doubtful.

Lately, if you were not able to notice the troubled waters by walking outside and smelling rotting fish on the shorelines, you have probably noticed the decline of the population’s favorite food at the dinner table.

No matter what cross-section of Kuwait’s diverse population you are from, chances are that you have regularly enjoyed good seafood meals here until recently.

Who would have though several years ago that you would ever hear someone in a local restaurant ask, “Where is your fish from?”  Several years ago, it would have been impossible to find a front-row parking space at any of Kuwait’s fish markets.

Many Kuwaitis and expats alike to turn to the sea for their livelihood – most prominently during the summer months.  Many people here own boats.  As you pass by the marinas these days, you will notice how many boats are in port – and it is not because of bad weather.

We have been hit by a nameless, faceless environmental terrorist.  In 1990, an enemy snuck up on the northern border of Kuwait.  In 2000, a silent enemy emerged in the waters of Kuwait when meide (or mullet in English) began to die mysteriously.

Again this year, the enemy returned to exact a more dramatic and tragic consequence:
not only were meide dying, but also hamoor (or grouper), and other larger species including several sea mammals, a dolphin ad a small whale.  The enemy is still lingering on our sea borders.  Who is this enemy?  Who is to blame?  Why is he still here and why has the population seemed to have turned a blind eye towards recent events?  Will the enemy return next year or the year after to kill again?

This contamination is unprecedented in the history of Kuwait.  It is possibly the environmental catastrophe of the century.  When Iraq pumped oil directly into Gulf waters during its brutal occupation, the world condemned the act as an at of eco- terrorism.  However, the spills were contained and the following year, the fish returned as normal.  What is happening now in Kuwait is different.  The disaster and its impact is continuing and we can not be certain that whatever has killed the fish won’t return because the root of the catastrophe has not been found.

Casual attitudes may be the main culprit. People occasionally toss a soda can or plastic bag into the sea.  How can one small act be a big deal?  Destruction of natural resources begins with complacency.  Our relaxed attitudes are now keeping our children away from the beaches and islands of Kuwait.  It is keeping hamoor and zubeidi off the menu.  We al need to act together to do something now, before it becomes a problem which will take years to reverse.


What are the contributing factors?  We are looking at numerous factors, which may contribute to the problem – either singularly, or as a group.

Iraq has been a suspect by its diversion of the natural flow of water through the marshes of Shatt Al Arab.

An oil processing technique called “oil shifting” may be another factor to the fish kill. Until recently, Kuwait had not used this method.  This process pushes oil from below ground by the use of water and corrosives.  Used water is treated and sent back out to the Gulf.

Ground seepage from years of casual dumping – either in personal use of chemicals and used oil, or by companies and car shops – may take some of the blame.

Is toxic waste being dumped in Kuwait?  Is the problem possibly from tankers in the Gulf?

Microbes are most likely not the main cause of the fish kill because birds that have fed off the dead fish have not been affected.

Raw sewage has been periodically dumped into the water.  If you have ever been in a boat  close to Kuwait’s shores  in the summer, you will know that the sewage is there. If you  live within close proximity to any of the numerous sewage outlets, you will know that sewage is a problem.  Rounding Ras Salmiya in a boat on a hot summers night will make you wonder why nothing  is being done.

Are we swimming in a stew of waste and chemical by-products?  Many countries in other parts of the world have long-understood that water is a resource to be cherished.

What is happening with the fish in Kuwait?  Is it safe to eat fish yet?  What we know is that we still don’t know.  Explanations still vary.  Reports given to the public have been vague and general and lately, almost everyone you speak to has another report – often conflicting with what you’ve already heard.  Most people are still waiting for answers, but nothing is being provided.  We may not ever know for sure what killed the fish this year and we won’t be able to know if the fish will die again next year, or in the years to come.

Some of the population has started to eat fish again, thinking that it is safe, but is it really?  How do we know for sure that it is safe if there have not been any definitive answers to how the fish kill began?  If the reason behind the fish kill is not conclusive, then how can the problem be rectified so it won’t happen again?  What if the cause is infectious?  What if it is of danger to humans?

In August, we were told not to eat fish for 2 months, then later for 2 years.  Is it safe yet? The 2-month time frame has not yet elapsed, and obviously not the 2 year frame. Our love of seafood and the willingness to readily buy it and consume it may be putting us in danger.

The ecology of Kuwait’s Bay is fragile.  Many people don’t take into consideration how gentle this ecology is or how it can be affected by many variables.  We have to look at each variable to determine the answers – not just because of this year’s fish kill, but to keep it from happening in the future.  Once an underwater environment is changed, several things may happen in a domino effect.  Plankton will die.  Floor- dwelling creatures will die.  Small fish will die.  Larger fish will die.  Human life and activity will be affected.  Conservation of our marine ecology must start at the lowest level.


Reduction of oxygen in the bay

Several experts believe that a combination of the high temperature, high salinity (salt content in the water), and low oxygen concentrations in the bay may have been the cause of the fish kill.

What would cause a lowered oxygen in the water?  A high concentration of inorganic nutrients in Kuwait is most likely to blame.  It is likely that the nutrient from sewage, in combination with several nutrients released at the acqua culture site in Kuwait’s bay are major sources.  The sediment found in Kuwait bay (sienna) might also be an important source of inorganic nutrients if the water conditions are such that the sediment becomes mixed.

Bacteria

While searching for answers to the cause of the mystery, a name has often been coming up:  Streptococcus iniae.  Quietly, this killer is known to cause “mad fish disease.”

On October First, the Supreme Council for Environment concluded that this particular strain of bacteria was to blame for the dead fish in Kuwait Bay.

What is Streptococcus iniae?  Streptococcus iniae is a marine bacteria which was first observed in 1972 as a cause of disease among freshwater dolphins (pink dolphins) of the Amazon.  Until recently, findings of the bacteria in salt water have been rare.

The most familiar form of the Strep bacteria is  Streptococcus, group A, commonly known to cause “strep throat”, and impetigo (a skin rash).  Both are contagious. Streptococcus, group B  (group B strep) is a bacterium that causes life-threatening infections in newborn infants. Group B strep can also cause serious diseases in pregnant women, the elderly, and adults with other illnesses.

How does the marine strain, Streptococcus Iniae bacteria affect fish and what is “Mad Fish Disease”?  The bacteria causes the fish’s eyes to bulge and it will swim erratically (in circles or making dramatic moves) before dying.

How does this bacteria affect humans? The Streptococcus iniae, bacteria occurs in different strains, and until recently most did not cause symptoms in humans.  The first recognized case of infection in humans occurred in Texas in 1991 and a second in Ottowa, Canada in 1994.  In humans, the disease causes skin infections, fever, shaking, and in at least one case, meningitis.  During the time frame of 1995 through 1996, several people in Canada  were stricken with the “Mad Fish Disease” contracted from infected fish, which caused meningitis- like symptoms.  .

The disease is contracted through puncture wounds from fish bones or cartilage. Human victims responded favorably to antibiotics, but health officials in Canada advised people to wear rubber gloves when handling the fish.  Should we, in Kuwait, do the same?  There have been no local warnings to the public.

Other Streptococcus iniae-related fish kill phenomena around the world have included a  fish kill in the southern Caribbean islands in 1999– the first time that the bacteria was ever found in the open ocean.  At that time, the primary deaths of fish were concentrated to a bay.  Later, fish began to die in the open sea.  Again, the sea temperature was higher than normal, allowing officials to believe that the fish suffered from a combination of stress and bacterial growth.

 Interestingly, because the causes of the 1999 fish kill in the Caribbean were not readily known, several contributing factors, similar to Kuwait’s, were scrutinized: elevated sea temperature, a northern water flow towards the islands (turning the water a slightly greenish color), poor visibility due to nutrients and particles in the water, possible dumping of hazardous chemicals and toxic waste.  Sewage dumping also increases the likelihood of bacterial growth.

1999 – Red Tide in Kuwait

In the summer of 1999, red tide was blamed for a fish kill in the northern part of the Gulf.

What Is Red Tide? Red tide is the result of a massive multiplication (or "bloom") of tiny, single celled algae called Karenia brevis, usually found in warm saltwater, but which can exist a lower temperatures. It is a natural phenomenon, apparently unrelated to manmade pollution. In high concentrations, K. brevis may create a brownish red sheen on the surface of the water; in other instances, it may look yellow green, or may not be visible at all. Some red tides have covered up to several hundred square miles of water. No one can predict when or where red tides will appear or how long they will last since they are affected by many variables such as weather and currents.

Reports of red tides have been recorded as far back as the mid 1800's.  Red tides can occur anywhere in the world and at any time.

The 1999 fish kill was different that what was/is being experienced this year.  In 1999, no where near the amount of fish died.  During this year’s kill, an estimated 2000 tonnes of fish died.

Is the Oil industry a factor through the Sea Water Injection method?

The oil processing technique, which has been used in Kuwait only during the past several years, called Sea Water Injection, has people wondering if it may be either a contributing factor, or the main reason behind the fish kill.  Sea Water Injection is used to pump oil from the ground by pushing oil from below ground by the use of sea water.The water is taken from the Sabiya power station, filtered, and sent via a 48 kilometer pipe to oil fields in northern Kuwait to inject the wells.  The Sabiya station started sending water to the fields only last year when the sea water injection started.  Many residents of Kuwait have questioned if this method of treatment has harmed the ecology, but officials continue to assert that the disposed water is waste free and clean of ha zardous materials.  The public continues to be skeptical, despite the reports to the contrary.

Officials reason that the used water has not been deposited directly into the sea, but onto land approximately three kilometers away from the sea, where sea birds drink from it.  So far, no information has shown that any of the sea birds has become ill. However, the number of migrating flamingos to the north of Kuwait seems to have diminished, as their migratory season starts this month.  None of us know if ground seepage from the dumping area to the bay has occurred.

There are plans for a 60 million KD project to re- inject water into the Burgan oil field instead of dumping it into the desert.  So far,  Kuwait Oil Company has been spending over 200 million dinars on environment-friendly operations.

Sooner or later – It reaches the sea
  

Regardless of your opinion of the cause of the fish kill – one thing is certain:  We must all take a closer look at our environment.  What we dump will eventually make its way into the sea.  Medical waste, sewage, chemical waste, oil and gas from boats, ground seepage from companies or manufacturing sites – all of the byproducts are eventually going to make their way in to the marine ecology and do damage. Did you know passing tankers often flush their empty hulls in Kuwait waters?  How does this make you feel?   None of us are happy with the outcome, but are we doing anything either individually or collectively to rectify what is happening in our waters?  If you see someone thrown trash into the ocean, does it affect you?  Perhaps not for the moment, but eventually when the beaches become dirty and the water unsanitary to swim in, it does affect you.  Is anyone being fined?  Penalties for those in violation of dumping must be levied.  There must be closer scrutiny of both individuals and organizations responsible  for massive  environmental damage.   All the signs are there - we need to do something.   The general consensus  is that whatever  killed the fish this year will return.   Why?   Because  no one has actually  done anything to fix it.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Where has the compassion in Kuwait gone??

I stopped by the Crowne Plaza this weekend for some pampering at Spa Aquatonic.  It was a lovely day.  When we pulled up to the valet, our usual guys weren't there.  There were a lot of new faces.  When we came out, one of our old friends who has been working as a valet parker for 15 years told us that the new GM has hired a valet parking service and that all the old parking attendants have been terminated.   Some of them have been parking cars there for over 20 years.  They were given their notices with no fanfare or appreciation.

When you share employee accommodations and work long hours for decades, your co-workers become your family.  How stressful it must be for these men to be given notice and told that's it!

I find it very hard to believe that the Bukhamseen family would knowingly do this to people who have been loyal to them in service for decades.  From everything I've ever heard about the owners of the Crowne Plaza, they are humble and decent people.  Perhaps they are just too busy to see (?)

One of my favorite aspects of the Crowne Plaza was going in and being greeted by name by the attendants.  They always had big smiles and treated all their customers respectfully; something that I immediately noticed has been replaced by the opposite from the new valet service.  I loved it that once in a while my old friends would park my car next to the door, or take the time to get the AC going high before bringing it to me.  They always came to shake my hand.  Always smiling.  They always asked how I was and if I had been away for too long, where I had been.  You can't easily replace this kind of personalized service by cutting corners on cost.  It is a service that many companies take years to earn:  customer loyalty.  And you certainly don't DUMP good people to bring in cheaper labor! How do people like that sleep at night?

I felt really sorry about this uncaring move.  Great. You lost one customer.  I've been patronizing the hotel for the past 21 years.  In fact, Sakura was one of the very first restaurants I visited when I moved here in 1996.  I refuse to grace their doorstep again after this. Some of us actually do have ethics and morals and stand for what we believe in.  It was very discouraging to hear.  It made me sad.

So, I knew I was going to post about it anyways and then I came upon an article today in the Arab Times, discussing the fact that many Egyptian fisherman had illegally been displaced from their homes in Sharq.  Full story here.  Their sponsor had already paid the April rent (and today is the 2nd).  They are supposed to be given notice or compensated, but alas, this type of crappy behavior is becoming the norm.  Where have people's ethics and values (and might I also add - religion) gone?  Is there no compassion?  Was that the first to be deported?

Two years ago, I was ready to leave Kuwait  and not look back after something similar; being kicked out and terrorized until I left the apartment I was renting.  I was subjected to psychological warfare and illegal behavior from my former landlord. They threatened to kill my dogs, damage my car.  They turned off the AC and electricity daily.  Threw dog feces at my door and then broke keys off in the locks so I couldn't enter. They put up baracades so I couldn't enter or exit.   I never thought that it could happen to me.  The police never imagined that a Kuwaiti family would be so blatantly awful.  But it happened and I am shaking right now just remembering;  Apartment rental PTSD.

Humans don't get the full brunt of the atrocities.  I'm on social media for animal rescues - quite a few of them, actually.  The amount of horrific acts of torture (many times by CHILDREN) in this country is staggering.  There isn't a week when (and I'm sorry to even write this, but the photos I've seen have caused SO much more damage) an animal isn't beaten to death, or buried alive, or tortured in some unimaginable (by sane-human standards) way.  It's pure evil.  What the hell is happening here?  Is anyone actually watching?

I love Kuwait.  It is so discouraging to see so many bad things happening. Compassion is so much harder to find these days.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

You're Invited! Lialy Line

Your invitation to Grand Opening, March 28 in Jabriya 

My very kind, very beautiful friend, Lialy,  is opening her boutique for lace clothing for ladies and children, as well as luxury lace bedding. All lace is made in and imported from Europe.  Please come and check it out! Promote women in small business!   

Jabriya, Block 3, Street 111 building 129 Mobile 99395951 or25322903/ 25322603  Web:  www.lialyline.com  Instagram:  @ Lialy_line or http://instagram.com/lialy_line

video









Sunday, March 19, 2017

The politics of expat bashing: This week - Medicine

I'm getting physically disgusted to the point of bile-buildup about all the hateful expat-bashing that has become the fashionable trend in Kuwait lately.  I am particularly disgusted by the singular female MP who, in a shrieking tone, stirs up controversy almost daily about the expat "problem" here.  She, like Trump, is using hatred instead of compassion to incite the masses for her own political agenda; gaining popularity through malice.  Not nice.  Now warranted.  And not appreciated.

In discussion with some Kuwaiti (and non-Kuwaiti) friends, they sympathized but said that they agree that foreigners are overwhelming the healthcare system; especially as foreigners in Kuwait represent 2/3 of the population.  In an article today in the Arab Times, it gave reference to a study (unfortunately, not by name or who conducted it)  that indicates that foreigners are indeed NOT overwhelming the system; that the majority of the budget goes to Kuwaiti nationals.

In a press statement issued by Board Chairman of Kuwait Human Rights Society, Khalid Al-Hamidi Al-Ajmi, on March 19, in response to the report on the health support issue, where it was revealed that Kuwait bears about $2 billion annually to provide health care for expatriates and about $3.5 billion per year for health care services to citizens. The report concluded that the health support does not go to the expatriates in Kuwait.

Further, if a Kuwaiti is sent abroad (for realistic or non-realistic treatment of ailments - the later meaning that he/she had wastah to approve being sent), he/she is given a stipend of 100 KD per day for both the patient and a companion. Do the math.  Treatment plus daily stipend for long-term illnesses can be tremendously expensive when the solution might be to either hire outside or train Kuwaiti doctors to practice medicine at government hospitals in Kuwait with the proper tools and equipment.  That is not an expat problem.  Decades have passed and there is little progress.  Patients are still being sent abroad for treatment.

So now politicians are quibbling about the possibility of NOT allowing subsidized medicine to foreigners in Kuwait? I could possibly even remotely consider this if there were any affordable healthcare alternatives here, but there aren't.  If you purchase your own private medical insurance in Kuwait (individually and not through your employer company), you are looking at 600 KD and upwards per year.  If the majority of expats in Kuwait are "marginal" workers, they are making less than 100 KD per month.

I was browsing through Kuwait Times today and came across this article, which on first glance, I thought to be another piece of  trendy bashing.

I didn't see the author's name until I got to the end of the article.  It is written by someone who I respect and admire - a friend from the 'hood in Kuwait. (I didn't even know he was a writer until I saw the article as I rarely ask what people do for a living unless the volunteer the personal information.)   A man and his family who stopped when seeing me walk my dog past their house on the daily, and asked me to join them WEEKLY for their family dinner gatherings, "Just walk in any Thursday night.  No need to call or knock."  They are the kind of Kuwaiti family I remember from back in the day; hospitable, kind, and generous.  Welcoming to foreigners in their country; and not just by sentiment (flowery words), but through action and sincerity.

Price of Expats' Medicine
Source HERE

Instead of suggesting fees on expats’ remittances and making them pay the price of medicine, let us demand deporting them all without any exceptions, and let us then see how this country of inactivity would live without their services. Let us see how high garbage piles will rise outside villas and buildings and how teaching will become in public and private school that mainly relying on dictation and memorizing. Let us just imagine how hospitals and polyclinics would keep functioning without foreign doctors and nurses.

Let us also imagine who will ever replace deported expat construction workers and various technicians; how various state administrations will work when we do away with them; how our houses would look like without seeing a Filipina or Sri Lankan housemaid following a housewife, holding hands of obese children in various malls and co-ops, and how our houses would look like without cooks, maids and private drivers!

Just imagine evicting two thirds of Kuwait’s residents – the population of expats. What will happen to this state and its institutions? Let us just discuss the term ‘marginal laborers’ everybody is calling to deport nowadays. What is the definition of marginal laborer? Is it those people who add nothing to the process of production? If so, and out of justice, we ought to use the term to describe marginal citizens who add nothing to production, who are nothing but a burden created by our revenue policies. Who will be marginal then – those providing the service or the served ones?!

There is already a dreadful fact about disgraceful visa trafficking done by some ‘untouchable’ people beyond accountability simply because they are citizens who know all the ins and outs of corruption throughout state monitoring apparatuses and know how to avoid and manipulate some forgotten laws. However, the game of visa trafficking is but one example of endless corruption in various state institutions, and ending it will not resolve the issue of expat labor or end our state of reliance.

The consequences of most political and economic crises usually affect the weakest joints of any society, and thus burdens are shifted from those politically stronger to the weaker – those who have nobody to defend them except for some human rights activists, which, in our case, is an effort lost amidst an endless state of egoism and narcissism in Kuwait. Expats are being blamed for all economic problems after the fall in oil prices, which is very important in terms of making popular gains by people keen on winning the blessings, support and approval of a large segment of citizens by misleading them.

The majority of expats are not here as tourists enjoying Kuwait’s charming nature or historical landmarks. They are here to do certain jobs, which in most cases, citizens refuse or are even incapable of doing themselves. According to local daily Al-Qabas, 83 percent of expat laborers do not hold any university degrees. So, what do those who wrote the report expect? Do they want NASA scientists and experts to serve in their houses and clean their streets?!

Resolving the demographic problem after oil resources are starting to dry up will not be through political showing off, by shameful, disgraceful proposals and statements made by some lawmakers or by practices the government encourages and then fails to control. The solution is unachievable without exposing this fakery and deception dominating the entire state, without changing the concepts of work and school curricula and radically democratizing everything so that we can make a new reliable generation capable of building. There are no other solutions and this is a huge challenge we believe we are currently incapable of facing.

 – Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Jarida

By Hassan Al-Essa
(A kind Desert Girl neighbor)


Monday, February 20, 2017

Motorcycle Training Course

A shout out to my friends at TriStar Motorcycles. If you ever have the opportunity to meet owner, Jaffar Behbehani and his lovely wife, you are blessed.  Great people and always help with a cause.

I think these training courses are great and anyone wanting to own a bike should take it.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bark in The Park 2017



Kuwait Society for Protection of Animals and Their Habitat (K’S PATH) - Kuwait's first non-profit animal welfare organization to receive legal status from the Ministry of Social Affairs. We care for 300+ animals in our shelter in Wafra and hold many community events to build awareness about compassion to animals.

Bark in the Park 2017

Our much-awaited dog-centric event Bark in the Park is back! Join us on Saturday 11th March 2017 from 11 am to 4 pm for a doggy and family day out at the KOC Ahmadi 2nd Avenue Garden, our proud venue host We have fun dog competitions, fabulous prizes and great food! Meet other dog owners and their beloved pooches, or just drop by to show your support even if you don’t have a dog. For more info about the dog competitions, rules and venue location, please visit this page: 
REGISTER YOUR DOG & FAMILY SOON!
Hurry! Pre-registration and advance payment is required. Email info@kspath.org to receive the registration form. 
BOOK A VENDOR/FOOD BOOTH!
Are you a business looking to reach families and pet-owners? You can book a booth at Bark in the Park! Contact info@kspath.org to know how!