Qatar’s proposed “Tower of Death” Tribute to fallen Migrant Workers

In a move that is definitely the brain-child of a twisted Engineer, Architecture collective 1Week1Project has proposed the development of a bleak-looking memorial building to mark the number of migrant workers who have died in Qatar building the infrastructure for the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. (link)

As you might have heard, Qatar has not been having a very smooth ride towards its aspirations to host the 2022 World Cup. Before the allegations of bribery, the news of unsafe and inhumane working conditions that the laborers building the city are subjected to, which is highlighted in this video, took center stage:

The proposed idea to build a “Tower of Death” for the fallen migrant workers, as a “Tribute” is preposterous at best!

tower of death

If I were a visual artist, I would have turned the color of this tower into the Qatar Flag, however as I am a writer, please try to read this and envision that

The proposal by 1Week1Project, which is based in France and Chile, has advocated building a towering structure made of giant stones, one for each dead worker, who make up 400 of the approximately 1,000 deaths.

A crane is planned to be placed at the top of the structure, which will add more stones to the tower as more deaths occur in the run up to the start of the tournament in 2022.

The whole idea seems insanely morbid and vile. The higher up the tower goes, the more deaths there have been. What kind of “tribute” is that? Who would look at that tower and feel anything but contempt for the backers of such projects who put zero value to the lives of their workers?

Would it not be a better idea to direct all the money earmarked for this Tower of Death towards a fund benefiting the families of the deceased migrant workers? Just a thought perhaps? The families of the deceased will never travel to Qatar to look up at this tower, smile, shed a lone tear, feel that their loved ones death was a sacrifice for the greater good, turn around and board a plane back to their country.

The Problem of Public Transport in Kuwait

Let’s face it; public transport in Kuwait is a nightmare.

traffic in kuwait

Despite its growing population, Kuwait is thoroughly lacking when it comes to methods of public transportation; the public only have two options – expensive private taxis or one-of-three bus companies.

More often than not, these buses are terribly maintained, spewing black smoke and noxious fumes at other motorists on their daily commute to and from work.

The fumes bother not the driver nor his passengers, they do however cause severe discomfort to others in the street, say a father driving his young daughters home from school during midday. If you are unfortunate enough to be caught behind these giant monstrosities during traffic, you have very little chance of escaping from behind them. In the absence of an army-regulation gas mask, your chances of comfort are slim to non.

gas mask driving

“So honey how was your day at school?”; “gmgneskneksnfkskjdsef….”; “that’s great sweety”

It is not that law enforcement is not doing all it can to combat the situation, on the contrary, Officers from Traffic Sector issued 940 citations for various traffic offenses and impounded 147 buses to garages of the department. (link)

However, more often than not, and as is the case in Kuwait from personal experience, the fine imposed by the police as a result of the transgression is a mere fraction of the cost to fix the transgression. In other words, bus companies favor paying fines as it is cheaper than fixing their buses.

Now I am not sure of the case of buses, when it comes to private vehicles, all cars impounded by the police for safety purposes (i.e. spewing black fumes) are ordered to redo the registration renewal inspection, and will be failed by the officer should the error not be corrected.

Something needs to be done by the MOI to combat get these buses to conform to health and safety standards once and for all.

If Citybus can offer free wifi on its routes, then all bus companies can afford to fix their buses.

Non-Halal Meat in Kuwait?

An Iowa-based food supplier is accused of marketing its products as halal to Muslims worldwide in Kuwait, UAE and Malaysia, when in fact its meats were  not.

(link)

The lawsuit says that Midamar employees would remove the label from the Minnesota-based plant and exchange it for a label from a Nebraska plant where kill practices are certified as halal.

In the West, halal meat is a delicate rarity for which shop owners charge premium prices knowing full well that Muslims will pay it in order to keep up their protein intake. Once upon a time in Hyderabad, India I joked with a waitress by asking her if the fish was halal. Now I believe the joke is on me, as I never thought I would have to ask the same question in Kuwait, a predominantly Muslim country.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, the company could have been misleading customers since inception, for many, many years!

The defendants, brothers Jalel and Yahya “Bill” Aossey, are charged with 91 other counts of making false statements on export certificates, wire fraud and money laundering. (link)

Which begs the question, who is importing from this company in Kuwait? What are they branding it as? And how long have they known?

There was a post on Facebook recently stressing something about Americana minced beef.

What is strange is that this is not the first time such allegations are made against this company, it happened in 2012 as well. Even stranger is their “defense”: The corporation has strongly refuted the allegations and called them a “religious matter” that the U.S. government has no right to regulate.

Watch what you eat, even in Kuwait. All is not as it seems.

Abbas Alizada: Afghanistan’s Bruce Lee

In every generation, there is one. Fortunately for us, he has returned! Although his country of a origin is a little skewed to the left!

The internet has been abuzz with the sudden rise to fame and prominence of Abbas Alizada, dubbed Afghanistan’s Bruce Lee.

Take a look for yourselves, the resemblance is uncanny:

All Abbas

All Abbas

Afghan Bruce Lee

On the Left, the Real Bruce Lee, on the right..

On the Left, the Real Bruce Lee, on the right..

Abbas strikes a pose

Abbas strikes a pose

Self Explanatory

Self Explanatory

Left - Game of Death, Right - Death Game!

Left – Game of Death, Right – Death Game!

Abbas

Abbas

images (1)

 

Not only does he look like him, he has trained himself to fight like him:

By studying the films, he learned Bruce Lee’s moves and how to handle the “Nunchaku” chain sticks, made famous by the actor.

Life is hard in war-torn Afghanistan, and especially for a little boy with big dreams. Abbas Alizada was 14 when he got hooked on Bruce Lee action movies. For a few months he trained at a Kabul sports club, however his family could not afford for him to continue. He was needed back in the household to earn an income. The situation became even harder after his father Mohammad Reza suffered a stroke which left him partially paralysed.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30399187

Invasion of Privacy: level – Internet

Level 1000

Integration is scary. Very Scary.

In the digital age of the internet, all our questions are directed not to our friends but to our browsers thru various platforms, mobiles, tablets, laptops etc. Suppose you are searching for a query such as “guide to buying used Rolex’s” for example, or searching for tickets from X to Destination W.

Now keep in mind that nowadays everyone is logged into Gmail/ Facebook whilst searching Google.

The result?

Targeted advertisements.

Everywhere you go.

Facebook ads, Google ads. Both have joined forces to remind you of your search string, showing you watches, advertising airlines and entice you to spend, spend, spend.

It is like a stalker just beyond the horizon, unseen but you can still feel their breath on the back of your neck.

Stalker

And the problem is; there is no way to stop it.

This is the price we pay for information.

Too much? Or not enough?

You decide.

Early Signs of Corruption – Buying votes with Chocolate

In what is undoubtedly the first of its kind news in Kuwait, a primary school boy is caught “buying” votes with chocolates outside his school.

(link)

Now, this could very well be the case of media blowing news out of proportion. Let’s look at some interesting facts from school:

1) Children are presumed to be innocent during the early years, therefore all actions done in said years should not be looked at with the eyes of an adult. I cite Burt & Ernie as references to this example whereby as children growing up we merely viewed them as two friends living together (much like Chandler & Joey in Friends), not as poster-puppets for the LGBT movement.

berternie

2) During school, when a student had their birthday, they would usually bring some form of “treat” for the class. Not in the form of endearment, but as a form of celebration.

3) As a child in school, I used to give chocolates to my French Teacher, Madam Namet. It was not a form of extortion or “buying grades”, we had an agreement whereby if every I pronounce Sept (i.e. Seven) with a then I would give her a Mars bar.

4) A teacher can hug a child without it being perceived as “Sexual”.

According to the article, the student  “was seen outside the gate, handing out chocolates to his classmates in exchange for their votes.”

This strikes me as strange as I do not believe a child is aware of the concept of “rigging” an election or “buying” votes. Especially since this is probably not a “paying post”.

Then again, the little devil could be guilty as sin, purposefully passing out candy as a means to an end and therefore barring him from the elections is actually a good lesson to teach children the value of ethics.

Update: Kuwaiti woman Finds Filipino Mother

Upon reading the badly titled article on Arab Times, I put a few peepers out on forums to see if we could help the lady find her mother, fortunately for us, the story had made headlines in the Philippines and the following video was shared with us through those forums:

Although we do not speak Tagalog, we do believe the search is over :)

Now, if any Kabayan out there would be helpful enough as to translate the gist of this video and post it in a comment, we would be EXTREMELY GRATEFUL!

A similar situation had also occurred in neighboring Saudi, where a woman searched for a nanny she had known almost two decades ago (link).

I wonder if I can ever find Maneeka, my beloved nanny from before the Gulf War?

@VIVAtelecom still Living in the Past

Much of what we grew up with is now an ancient relic, recorded in the annals of history as the stepping stone of technology, from Walkman’s and Discman’s, to Floppy Disks and even CD drives.

Everything we once knew is dwindling into non-existence.

Not according to Viva Kuwait tho!

Check out this link (here)

Capture

 

Do you see what we are talking about?

Especially when you compare it to this link (here)

MSN RIP

RIP old friend

 

Dear Viva, in case you have fallen behind the times, please kindly note that MSN messenger is no more.

We, the internet population of Kuwait, suggest you rather replace it with something more current, and hip.

I heard there is something called Whatsapp, that the kids are talking about these days, are you familiar with it?

 

@NBKPage – Trapped Inside the Box

Back in the day, when my Dad was trying to teach me mathematics, he had a favorite phrase for me:

انت حافظ مش فاهم.

You have learnt, not understood.

Imagine you are solving an equation, you have memorized how to follow the steps and are rubbing your hands together in eager anticipation of applying your new knowledge to solve this bad-boy.

But wait! They throw a curve-ball at you, something that is not in the manual, a wild card. And all of the sudden, you are left feeling defeated and stumped.

A smart person that thinks outside the box however, is not defeated so easily, and hence my dad’s voice always resonates in my mind when I am confronted with people that do not think outside the box.

Capture

That is exactly what WAS going to happen to me at my latest visit to NBK. Allow me to explain:

As I said before, I recently finished paying the installments on my car (insert applause) (link). Now I wanted to remove the pesky line on my vehicle registration which reads “required for installments” (مطلوب للاقساط).

Now, for those that do not know, any transaction you wish to transact with the bank requires your Civil ID.

Why?

Proof of identity.

Now, during my current well-timed and synchronized maladies, all the following occurred within mere weeks of one another:

1) Changed jobs – requiring residency transfer.

2) Paid off car loan.

3) Vehicle Registration Renewal.

As my residency was being finalized (i.e. Civil ID preparation), I wanted to request the “Clearance Letter” from the bank to submit to the DMV when renewing my registration. Now, I did not have my civil ID, but being the sharp tool in the box that I am, I took my passport, with my newly minted residency inside.

The employee at the front desk, trained to repeat the same line over and over again, requested my Civil ID.

I explained my story.

Her first reaction: No.

Again, I explained that the Civil ID is a form of identification SECOND to a passport, which is legally accepted everywhere in the world. Everywhere.

She tells me she must check with her manager.

I breathe a sigh of relief and imagine that the manager will instruct her to process my paperwork.

She returns and says, “My manager said No”.

At this point I am irate and request to speak to the manager myself. I walk into her office and inform her that, my residency is renewed (not only that, I gave them external copies of the passport and the residency to make their life easier, so they did not have to sift through the passport themselves) and that my passport is a valid form of identification, much better than the Civil ID.

She tells me that she fears “the guys upstairs” will reject it because the Civil ID is not there. She then picks up the phone and calls them, and they said ok.

“Please process his paperwork.” She says to the front desk.

Time lost for explaining the obvious: cannot be recovered.

I can understand if the front desk does not have the authority to make logical decisions, but for a manager to not understand the concept, that takes the cake. The inability to deviate from the process slightly and think about what the process hopes to achieve and whether or not it is achieved is obviously asking too much of the front desk, and branch management.

Initially the bank told me they needed one week to process the paper. This was then brought down to 3 days at this branch, and it actually only took one.

I wish they had taken 3 days though, because they made a mistake on the sheet:

Capture

 

According to the phrase highlighted above, my car was not “Required for Installments” (للاقساط), it was in fact “With installments” (بالاقساط).

Comical.

“Yes I’d like one car please with extra hummus, hold the Mayo!”

Kuwaiti Woman Hunts Filipina Mom – seriously Arab Times? Calling out to Evangeline D. Reginaldo

A title is all you need to capture the attention of a reader. More often than not, that title is used as a form of slapstick intrigue, compelling the reader to click and see what is the matter.

Only this time, the title used is a far-cry from the actual story.

Kuwaiti Woman Hunts Filipina Mom (link)

Female Hunter

At first glance, this reads as a tale of vengeance of retribution. A Kuwaiti woman hunting a Filipina Mom who offended her in some way.

However the reality is much more heart warming, tear jerking and endearing.

The actual story pertains to a Kuwaiti woman (now 21, married with a son), born to a Filipina mother, whose father divorced and sent away, and for the past 12 years believed her mother to be deceased, only to discover that her father had lied to her. Her father passed away in 2011, and she is now seeking to be reunited with her birth mother, who may or may not be alive, and may or may not be in the Philippines.

You can read the full story through the link mentioned above, but in all seriousness, the writers over at Arab Times need to get their titles straight.

The word “hunt” carries a negative connotation, at first glance. According to the Oxford dictionary, the first definition is pursue and kill (a wild animal) for sport or food; whereas the second definition is search determinedly for someone or something.

Now, we have established that the Kuwaiti woman is searching determinedly, however for who? Why? What happened? A simple “For Her” would have immediately jerked the heart strings of all readers into wanting to know more, as opposed to feeling dread as to what this Filipina mother must have done to this Kuwaiti woman to incite her to hunt her down.

Our thoughts, prayers and well wishes go out to Fatima, we hope you find your mother, your son’s grandmother.

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August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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