When it comes to innovation, the UAE has “almost” become syonymous with the word.
From the tallest building in the world, to the numerous applaud worthy apps made by the MOI to ease citizens and residents minds when it comes to getting into accidents etc. They’re even thisclose to greenlighting drone health technology.
But almost does not get the job done.
For the past year and a bit, the UAE has been struggling with trying to keep up with the growing tourism that has resulted from their position as a global, cultural capital of the world. Everyone is going to Dubai, from Hollywood film stars to Japanese drone tourists.
Also contributing to the UAE’s tourism are GCC Residents in the Middle East. Back in 2012 the system was simple – depending on your title in your residency you were given visa-on-arrival. The Emirati’s decided to upgrade this system and have attempted to kick start an evisa, the likes of Turkey. However, in this regard, the UAE has failed miserably.
In October 2015 it was said that the move from visa-on-arrival to evisa was to permanent. However the website simply failed to function as intended. Many people were left in limbo, having applied for evisas and not receiving them in time (the UAE evisa takes 3-7 days, the Turkish evisa takes 2hrs).
Fastforward to 29 April 2016, all flight operators to UAE are informed that visa on arrival is cancelled, and everyone should apply for an evisa. Again, the system fails. Specifically, when filling out the details requested, you cannot get past the “designation”, which is supposed to function as an autocomplete entry, whereby you enter the details, it shows up on their system and you select it (A drop down menu would be much easier).
Now I have tried to apply for the visa countless times, I can even tell you that you cannot “proceed as guest” and submit a visa request, you HAVE to sign up to submit a request. On Chrome and Firefox, everything works fine up to the designation. On internet explorer, which unfortunately remains the go-to explorer for all governmental entities, the page refuses to load.
The website in question is GDRFA.AE
Now to go to Dubai you are left with one option – book through flydubai, who charge 30KD for the visa (online it is around 20, if the website works, which it doesn’t).
Further making matters worse; the embassy does not process visas, nor are they capable of solving the website dilemma.
To err is human, to blame it on others shows true management potential.
That was a quote FB reminded me I had shared a few years ago, that possibly holds true in the following anecdotal scenario with a twist and a lesson to be learnt. So, let us commence with the story telling!
Yesterday, I found myself in a rare euphoric state of knowing my own mistake and laughing hilariously at the fallacy of my assumptions. You know what they say, when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me, me being myself. I mean, it is possible to mistake bad BO with the smell of rotting flesh right? Right?!
It started off like any other day really, but to know the full extent of the story, we must go back a few days, just a few mind you, I will not bore you with the story of my birth.
(Trust me, everything is interrelated, and will come full circle at the end).
My house electricity had been acting up, switching off completely at the most inopportune times. At first I dismissed this as the governments way of reducing the electricity bill, however later events would prove I was the only one being affected. (Story #1)
Earlier last year, having only lived in my apartment for a few short months, I came to discover a shocking revelation; the guest bathroom ceiling was leaking. Water leaking onto plaster makes for a vile combination of rot and decay.
illustrative purposes (not my actual ceiling)
The ceiling was completely demolished and left barren for the better part of 9 months, where I had to endure frightening sounds from above whilst attending the call of nature. Several visits from the plumber later, and our only option was to wait it out, for apparently my upstairs neighbor was renovating his bathroom which caused leakage through my ceiling. Fast forward to 2016, and a new aluminum ceiling was installed. With a light bulb in the middle. (Story #2)
Last week I had gone on a short trip to the motherland, the house was completely empty as my wife also traveled. Luckily (for her) I returned first, and was greeted with a smell most grotesque. Having gone through a ritual of watching horror movies with my visiting brother and his wife, the telltale signs of a haunting is the smell of rotting flesh. Which is what my house smelled like upon my return!
Fortunately for me, it was neigh a matter of demonic manifestation, but a simple power outage, that resulted in a power failure in the entire household, causing the fridge to thaw out. Word to the wise, never, ever, ever, EVER buy and keep chicken liver! My wife was fascinated by a recipe she learnt from a friend, and I would later learn that the blood content of liver is quite high.
Feeling nauseous, I set about the task of throwing out pounds and pounds of thawed out meats of all kinds, from bovine to poultry and aquatic. That left the simple matter of cleaning up the freezer, which I set to with Dittol in one hand and a handkerchief in the other. I thought my gruesome task was complete. I thought wrong.
Simultaneously, and quite unrelated (or so I thought), the bathroom had begun to leak again. Remember how I said the ceiling was aluminized? Well, the water flowed down to the middle, where it found a light bulb, and began dripping down said light bulb. Electricity, water…
So I called the hares, and he showed up with his assistant. Now upon entry into my casa, I registered BO. Naturally. There are acceptable levels of BO, and then there is the Seinfeld BO:
Now in my house, the kitchen (where my fridge is) is directly opposite the bathroom (where the leaky ceiling is). So the hares and his assistant were standing in the middle. Upon deliberation, they noted that there was nothing to be done in my apartment, and went upstairs and never returned.
I was left to my own devices, now every time I walked in the hallway between the kitchen and the bathroom, my nasal passage was assaulted an odor so ripe it can only be likened to the odor above. Beyond that, it resembled a rotting corpse. I went into a soliloquy about how one can be so unaware of ones odor, and even complained to my wife a few times. The smell seemed to center right between the kitchen and the bathroom. A brain-dead zombie-like spectre haunted the hallways, spewing its vile stench into any nostril that dare cross the threshold.
I kept looking around for any telltale signs that might have been left behind, a ragged cloth, a wet footprint, anything. To no avail.
At that point, my inner blood hound took over and I began furiously sniffing around the area, to detect the source of the malicious odor. I found myself sniffing behind the fridge. A faint scent! I sniffed down lower, lower, and lo and behold, I found the source of the discomfort!
When the fridge had thawed, all that blood and muck had to go somewhere. I was under the impression it remained stagnant on the bottom shelf. However, I discovered that the fridge had a drainage system, and a tiny, removable receptacle in the back that fills up with whatever enters that drainage. Now mostly it should be water. However in this rare occasion, it was in fact, blood.
I removed the receptacle and washed it profusely with Dittol, and even poured some down where I believe the drainage system to be to flush out any remnants in the pipeline.
And that is the story of how I falsely accused a haris and his assistant of smelling like rotten corpses, and discovered that fridges have a drainage system.
It saddens me to have to report this, as I relied heavily and boasted wholeheartedly about their services (link 1, link 2, link 3) in the past. That was of course until recently when I discovered that their contact number no longer showed a Kuwaiti local number, shortly after that, orders were backlogged and drivers were careless and uncaring.
Complaints of any written kind, either email or through their website, fell on deaf ears (or blind eyes), the only way I saw to receive one of the items I had purchased was to contact their customer service, in Dubai.
If you check their website now you will be shocked to see the prices they are charging, down to the 3 decimal point for the fils, mainly due to it being converted from Dirhams.
It is with great sadness that I inform everyone that as an online retailer, souq.com have forever abandoned their loyal customers in Kuwait, leaving naught but delivery men in our vicinity, and no office to handle complaints.
One of my orders has been pending now for over a month, despite delivery being mentioned as maximum 9 days.
What’s happenin’? (in tune with Tupac – Letter to the President)
We find ourselves now in the month of April, and as such I feel it is pertinent to give you an early heads up that this year, if all goes according to plan, you will notice Muslims around you celebrating on September 11.
Customary greetings during Eid
Firstly I need to get something off my chest, the entire world calls it 11-September, so get with the metric and enough of this 9/11 nonsense. Logically, dates follow an ascending order, from smallest to largest, so its days – month – year, like 10s-100s-1000s when we we were learning arithmetic in elementary school. Anyhoo, that is neither here nor there, so I digress.
Yes. This year Muslims will be celebrating Eid Al-Adha, an auspicious religious festival that dates back to the dawn of man, specifically Prophet Ibrahim, or as you call him, Abraham, specifically when he was asked by God to sacrifice his son, Is’haq, or as you call him, Isaac, as a test to his faith.
[37:102] Then when he was old enough to work with him, he said, “My son, I see in a dream that I am slaughtering you, so take a look, what do you see?” He said, “O my father, do what you are commanded to do. You will find me, God willing, patient.”
[37:103] Then when they both submitted and he placed his forehead on the ground.
[37:104] We called him, “O Abraham,
[37:105] you have believed the dream?” Thus, We surely reward the good doers.
[37:106] This was an exacting test.
[37:107] We made a concession for him in place of a great slaughter.
[37:108] And We preserved his history for those who followed.
[37:109] Peace be upon Abraham.
[37:110] We thus reward the good doers.
[37:111] He was one of Our believing servants.
Said concession was a Ram.
The same is mentioned in the Old Testament (here).
And as such, every Eid Al Adha, Muslims around the world partake in sacrificing of animals. Now before you jump up and down screaming PETA, you need to understand that there are certain rules regarding how the sacrifice (which sounds way worse than it really is btw, almost archaic), how the animal must not be harmed prior, how it must not see the blade, how a swift blade has to be used (not serrated) etc. The animal is then distributed amongst the poor. If memory serves, you keep a third, gift a third to friends and relatives, and donate a third to the poor and needy.
As you can see, we’re more alike than you think.
So you might ask, why this year? The Muslim calendar follows the lunar year, which moves back 11 days every year, so the timing of the Holy Month of Ramadan (fasting) moves annually, as do all other religious holidays.
So you might ask, why does it move back? Well, so everyone feels what it is like to fast at different times of the year. I remember when I was in university Ramadan was in September, now it is June. You get to fast in all seasons.
I am no religious scholar, most of what I wrote above was in jest. However, the point is the celebrations are religious, and should not be interpreted in any other way.
If Donald Trump tries to sell it in any other way, know that he is a pompous, arrogant, blowhard full of hot-air.
And if you don’t believe me, ask Google:
The dates may change as it depends on Lunar sighting, however, should it not, you’ve been told!
It is extremely impossible to find a horror movie that truly reaches out and scares the living daylight out of you.
More often than not, slasher movies have made their unfortunate way into the “horror” genre, completely setting it askew. We are no longer terrorized by ghosts, demons or spirits of the undead, rather a macabre, disturbed individual with a penchant for sharp (or blunt) objects.
For the past week, we (my wife and I, along with my brother and his wife) have been trying to up the adrenal high of fright night by finding movies that truly send chills down our spines. We only found two winners, and several flops when it came to so-called supernatural horrors.
We’ve come up with a quick guide for getting your scare on:
more often than not, the sequel will butcher the original, regardless of whether its a prequel or a spin-off (case in point – Sinister 2).
never go by ratings! we’ve been stung several times by movies that received such amazing accolades online, however failed to deliver (case in point – The House on Pine Street).
The more a supernatural entity is featured, the less scary it becomes. Ghosts should only be shown sporadically, with dramatic music for maximum fear-age. Giving them more screen time diminishes the scare-factor. (Case in point – Insidious 3).
never go by the description of the film! Several c-list movies, made on budgets, have amazing trailers and stunning descriptions, however they fail. Horrendously. (Insert several titles here).
If you wish to get your scream-game on, we suggest you try the following two titles:
The latter is a budget film, however delivers excellent scenes. It really made use of “found footage”, and much like Cannibal Holocaust, appears to be a film within a film, question the very reality in which it exists.
More often than not, we’ll find ourselves on the receiving end of a one finger salute, a flipping of the bird, a middle finger…
When driving back home, I make sure to let any offender know exactly what I think of them (especially on crowded streets) should they have the misfortune of transgressing upon me.
Here however, I keep my windows rolled up and my fingers inside the car, so as to avoid landing on the wrong side of the law should the insultee take offence and attempt to press charges.
Believe it or not, insulting someone whilst driving is a punishable offence. It happened to me today (I refuse to call it Karma) and I did what any warm blooded person would do, I noted the car licence plate number and decided to attempt to press charges.
Went to the closest police station (walking distance) and recounted my terrible ordeal to the police officer, who asked me to wait for the Station Officer, who was not there. So I waited a little while then left, and returned later, adamant to see justice run its course.
The shift had changed and a friendly officer was seated at reception. I recounted my ordeal to him. His first reaction was to find out exactly where it occurred, so as to slide me off to a different police station (jurisdiction) but when I insisted he had it wrong, he told me that I could press charges, then a case would be filed, and I would have to go back and recount what happened, and they’d call the transgressor in for questioning, at which point he could say that it was in fact I who had done that to him!
I asked what he would do if he were in my place, he said if he were not in his uniform, he’d just ignore it and move on.
So I took a page out of his playbook and decided to let this matter go.
A word of warning though the owner of the vehicle with the registration 10-79134…
الحياة خيارة، يوم في يدك، ويوم،،،،
(Do not attempt translation with Google – instead, ask you nearest Arabic speaking friend to explain)
The first law of Customer Service: The customer is ALWAYS right.
However, it would seem the CSR agent in charge of Boubyan Bank’s social media account (on Twitter) was absent the day they taught that class.
Here is an article I wrote 5 years ago regarding CSR at another bank in Kuwait, The Commercial Bank (link) entitled “Customer service, The Commercial Bank of Kuwait has it right!”. So you know I am not specifically targeting Boubyan Bank, I am merely a dissatisfied potential customer voicing my indignation.
How does Boubyan Bank choose to respond?
When I tried to respond to that tweet today, I found out it was deleted.
Shame on you for responding on behalf of a corporation with the wherewithal of an infant.
Let’s face it, we live in troubled times where everyone from you, your neighbor and your telecom provider are struggling to make ends meet. The financial crisis is showing no sign of turning around any time soon, and quite often this forces us to think outside the box in terms of how to maximize income, hopefully without reconsidering our values.
Ooredoo, or Wataredoo as I like to call it (it will always be Wataniya to me) is not doing so good financially:
In an attempt to earn an extra buck (without selling their collective kidneys), they resorted to the oldest trick in the book:
Look at the message in 2015, and the same one in 2016. Notice anything different?
Wherever you can.
However you can.
Without incurring extra cost.
Here is an idea; a dynamic screensaver that automatically launches on all idle phones receiving your signal, funneling a subliminal message to “Eat at Joe’s”…
The world of banking is quite fickle; in Kuwait, it is extremely fickle. As an employee, you cannot receive a salary without having a bank account, so everyone is aware of every banks requirements.
As an NBK Customer, I quite enjoy their services, their locations and most importantly their online banking.
That being said I like to live by the advice of Warren Buffett, “Do not spend then save, save then spend”, I do so by having a secondary bank account to which I transfer monthly savings in order to prevent myself (or my wife) from spending them. I usually opt for savings accounts to see a meager return on these savings.
I’ve tried several banks in Kuwait, most notably The Commercial Bank, Gulf Bank and Ahli United Bank.
Never have I ever in my life been told that I need “Branch Manager Permission” to open a savings account, except at Boubyan Bank. Their reasoning? It is only for Kuwaiti’s.
Now this is not my first rodeo, I checked the banks website to find the following:
Not only are they racist but sexist too, Males only?
Granted, their premium account is geared for Kuwaiti’s only. It says so right there in black and white in the conditions. However the page for the savings account simply states the following:
Do my eyes deceive me or does that clearly read “individuals only” as in not corporations/companies?
When I visited the branch and was informed of this, I thought for sure the employee must be joking, but the serious look on his face made it apparent he’d never laughed a day in his life, and so I gave their customer service a call only to be informed that yes, it is also only for Kuwaitis and that it is up to the Branch Manager to decide.
Think about it. This is a SAVINGS ACCOUNT. They are effectively telling you, your money is no good to us, based on where you come from.
What is the logic behind this? God knows.
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The concept of “coupon cutting” is foreign to Kuwait, however, the practice of obtaining coupons is much easier than you think.
I for one am plagued with the conundrum of – I want to buy, but I don’t want to pay that price. Especially when it comes to food. As a child I always wondered why on earth a pizza costs so much, even though the components are so cheap. Until I understood overhead and cost allocation (much later on in life). When I learnt of Goodwill (not the charity, or the movie, rather the intangible asset) I flipped – we’re being charged extra because a restaurant is famous?!
Well guess what? Coupons are in fact available in Kuwait – and much easier to attain than the manual labor intensive process of coupon cutting! All you need to do is head on over to Sheeel.com and voila! Almost a new deal every day, specifically gastrointestinal!
Now, fair warning – MAKE SURE YOU READ THE TERMS! Some restaurants require advance reservation if you are to use coupons, others do not deliver to all areas of Kuwait, the rest might not have Dine-in facilities. Some restrict the number of coupons you can use per visit.
All-in-all, it is a good way to enjoy a great meal at a fraction of the cost.
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