Civil ID copy is Proof of Identity in Kuwait

As an expat, and as a runner, I find myself constantly roaming the streets without my civil ID for fear of losing it, much like I lost the keys to my house 2 days ago (-_-) (>.<) (they slipped off the keychain as I was walking with my wife!)

We always read in the news that police arrest those that do not carry ID, I always saw that as a challenge seeing that I was never asked to produce it whilst running before, despite running in some pretty conspicuous places i.e. the island between the lanes of the Gulf Road! And since I was recently pulled over for having stickers on my car (which I had on since I bought it from the dealership 5 years ago), it seemed high time to get a proper law opinion regarding carrying a copy of my civil ID when exercising.

I sought the help of the awesome Fajer (link), friend to expats Kuwait-wide and regular columnist with 248am.

Here is her response:

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So there you have it folks; spend the extra time at the office copying machine, make a few copies of your civil ID and bombard it into your running garments; personally I want to make a wrist band with my civil ID on it that is laminated.

Now my dear wife asked, well what if the ID is fake – to which I replied, they run the number through their system and check to see if everything is clear.

This also reminds me of an incident that happened to me waaaay back in the day, I guess I was 12 or so; we were sitting outside our building in the dead of night, around 2AM, there was an AC repair shop annexed to the building and we were sitting in front of it, a police car passed, then it either doubled back or someone else came later and they asked for our ID. Now mind you we were literally 10 METERS from our house, and the stubborn policeman refused to let us go up to get our civil IDs; it was me, my elder and younger brother, and a friend. Our friend had his ID. After much bargaining, the officer allowed my younger brother to go get our IDs; he was able to find his and my older brothers, however mine was not where I thought it would be. He did bring me my wallet though and I produced all my bank cards in my name, which was the same family name as my brothers, however this did not interest the officer and he still wanted to take me in, citing I could have, at the age of 12, stolen the identity of someone else.

In the end, due to my loquacious attitude, we were let go, and the officer said that when he travels to Egypt, he carries a copy of his passport on his person, therefore solidifying the fact that a copy of your ID suffices as ID in the eyes of the law.

Memories :’)

Is age a disability?

Should old people be treated the same as the disabled?

Please bear with me, I am in no way, shape or form attempting to be rude to our senior citizens.

A friend of mine noticed that a car was constantly parking in the disabled parking spot at work. This car was not carrying any sign/ badge that the owner has a disability. It was later discovered that the owner is in fact a geriatric.

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Does this give them the right to use the disabled parking spot?

Now, I am not against preferred parking spots being reserved for the elderly, the ones that are all over the parking area, however the disabled parking should be strictly for those that meet the legal requirement and have attained the proper documentation to prove such.

A disabled parking spot should not be allocated as a designated parking spot for a certain individual, a “premium parking” if you will, based on their seniority. There are others in the company I am told of similar age that park in varying areas.

What do you think?

PS note that I am writing this on my own birthday, very aware of my mortality.

Setting Precedent – Expat Junkie evades Deportation in Kuwait

The law is fickle; to the educated mind, it is a minefield of mostly grey landscape, with few things ever being clearly black or white.

Take for example the following scenario:

A person, upon seeing a patrol car, attempts to hide from it, arousing the suspicion of the officers inside. They stop the person and find he has no ID, so they arrest him. Person drops clear plastic bag before getting into police car, which the officers note and upon inspection find that it is drugs. The person, now a suspect, confessed he was planning to consume the drugs.

Clear cut case right? Wrong.

According to the suspects lawyer, the arrest is to be nullified as the person was not a suspect to begin with, therefore making the whole process that followed null & void – i.e. illegal.

In an Arabic nutshell – ما بني على باطل فهو باطل, meaning whatever is built on a wrong foundation is incorrect.

Now, there are several ways we can take this news:

1) Feel terrible that a drug abuser is loose on the streets once more, and that since no conclusion can be established regarding whether or not he was actually going to consume the drugs or sell them, he could potentially be a drug dealer.

2) Feel happy that this sets precedent to police that they cannot randomly stop you and check you without a warrant.

Going back to the second point, now I am no lawyer so please do not take my words literally, however it would seem that in order for a “checkpoint” to be placed, certain procedures have to be followed and approvals sought. Police do not have the right to inspect you IF YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG – for example, I reported a story called the Mishref Marauder a few years ago; whilst waiting in the parking lot where a known felon was breaking into vehicles, I was beckoned forward by an unmarked car, which happened to be housing two undercover cops. When I refused to approach, they approached me, and checked my ID, he then asked to search my vehicle, which I did not refuse as I had nothing to hide. In retrospect however, I had the right to refuse them to search my car as they did not produce a warrant to do such. It should be mentioned that my reaction and the reaction of the Kuwaiti’s in the running group later when they arrived and were similarly asked questions by the police were COMPLETELY different.

(link)

It is unfortunate that we learn a valuable law lesson through this occurrence; I would probably assume his lawyer also filed that his “confession’ was obtained under duress and hence is also null and void.

justice is blind, kuwait, law, expat, deport, drugs, tramadol, police

News before the News – Predicting Tomorrow’s headlines

Let’s face the facts; the internet has taken ambiguity out of our daily routines. Where once we would wait patiently for the newspaper to arrive on our doorstep, or diligently whilst the intro theme played for the news at 11, nowadays it takes no more effort than a simple click to be bombarded with news from every nook and cranny of the world.

However; it is becoming a prevailing trend to find news articles leaked from Facebook. Videos tend to pop up on our newsfeeds without our consent, either viewed/shared/tagged by our friends, which leads to you either a) watching the video or b) reading the title and making a mental note of it or c) reading peoples comments.

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Now it seems that Facebook has become precognitive of tomorrow’s headlines, whereby today’s posts/videos are tomorrows news. Allow me to explain with the following examples:

1) The story of the cat stuck in the wall at a metro station in Cairo was shared (and re-shared) on Facebook several times. I read the news, felt bad for the cat, and moved on. At first I questioned the source, wondering how a cat can be trapped for 5 years. It made no logical sense.

No later than a few short weeks did an article in a newspaper, a verified source of info, confirm that the cat was rescued from its underground prison (link)

2) A few days ago a video made its way around social media of airline employees at Saudi Airport in Riyadh mishandling passenger’s luggage, tossing it unceremoniously onto the conveyor belt behind the scenes.

Lo and behold, the following article stating that the employees have been fired (link).

Now this is both a good and a bad thing; it is good in that the news has taken on a dynamic form whereby stories that arise on the fly are quickly dealt with.

However, it is bad in that journalists no longer need to scour the streets looking for a scoop, they need only log onto Facebook.

This can be viewed as the natural progression of printed media.

I digress.

NES Gala 2015 – a 13 year trip down Memory Lane

If someone were to tell me, 13 years ago (17 if you take it from the start date of my journey to high-school) that I would be sitting in the hall of the New English School watching my relative perform on stage, I would have taken you to the school nurse for possibly ingesting hallucinogens.

Last night, I had the opportunity to take a much needed, self-reflective trip to NES to watch the talents of 2015 capture the collective attention of the audience through the masterful handling of their instruments.

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Walking through the gates, my heart skipped a beat. It is amazing how so much time could have passed and yet so little has changed. Upon initial passage, the first change is that the seating area on the left is now occupied by rows of lockers, and the water fountains on the right were “replaced” of sorts by one HUGE water fountain, built-in.

The hall from the first staircase, which I remember vividly as the examination hall, has either shrunk or my tired eyes no longer remember it – 13 years ago it seemed as though it were massive – stretching 20 students in all directions from the middle.. I still recall how during one exam my table was squeaking, and how Mr. Straney propped it up with blue tack.

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Everyone stood for the playing of the national anthem, afterwhich the students took to the stage for their renditions of pieces made famous throughout history. As I looked casually to my left I spotted a familiar nikon camera behind a white mane and beard. To say that my eyes bulged at the sight would be an understatement; my jaw dropped and I was literally flabbergasted. Could it be, Mr. Johnson? The Biology teacher from 17 years ago? My relative confirmed this, and my expression changed to that of awe; for how little things had changed.

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It seems that when English schools began trickling into Kuwait, there was a meeting of all of the Heads in which they agreed that the four houses in any school would follow the Google Chrome color scheme (which leads me to believe that time travelers walk amongst us since Google, much less Google Chrome, did not exist back then in the 19-God-Knows-When) of Red, Yellow, Green and Blue (stated in the order of the limerick – R(ed)oy O(range)f Y(ellow)ork G(reen)ave B(lue)attle I(ndigo)n V(iolet)ain). Each school was given the autonomy to name the houses as they please; The English School decided to go by naming them after famous castles in the UK – Windsor (my house), Balmoral, Buckingham and Sandringham which if memory serves followed the following color scheme – Green, Red, Blue and Yellow. We moved to NES and suddenly the houses were named after Kuwaiti Islands – which was very confusing indeed! Now they have taken on a further metamorphosis, to what I can only assume is cooler islands (without reverting to Google for clarification).

[editors note: old habit got the best of me, and I Googled the 4 houses only to realize its still the islands of Kuwait but with different names – most likely Greek]

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The program was simply amazing with plenty a mirthful anecdote interjected to keep the mood light and jovial. The music was a delightful harmony of classic and modern, with songs that predate me as well as those that were released recently (fortunately I could sing along to a few – like Yesterday and All of Me although the first was a bit off which can be attributed to the intended pianist not making an appearance).

Given the number of ukeleles present, as well as guitars, it would seem pertinent to assume that they were being handed out to students as they entered school premises. The rest, their talent, being up to them.

The idea of requesting students to mentor other, younger students was by far one of the best things I heard that day, so much so I wished it were true 17 years ago, maybe it would have plucked the musical string within.

All in all, it was a truly delightful experience.

How to Unlock PDFs

In this day in age, almost everything and anything can be found online. Where there is a will, there is a way, and the best way is to discover the things in life that are FREE.

How many times have you found novels/ textbooks that you desperately crave, gained them in the soft form of PDF, only to discover that they are annoyingly protected against printing?

Even in cases where you PURCHASE the material legally, they are locked to prevent printing so as to bar you from replicating the PDF in bulk and selling it.

That is a thing of the past now; as everything has moved to The Cloud, computing has become a breeze.

So long as the info you seek to unlock is not personal in nature (in which case what is it doing as a PDF anyway, nerd?) you can mosey on to ww.smallpdf.com (link), upload your PDF files (mine was roughly 35MB in size), wait a few mins, then redownload it; with no lock on printing. They provide a variety of other services too:

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As always, use this knowledge for good!

The Taste of Gold – A Running Dream Realized @ArsenalSSKuwait

The goals of some peoples lives can vary in a myriad of different ways; this past Saturday, I had the chance to cross an important entry from my bucket list; to finish in first place in a race.

It started off simple; a blog post (and a friend) alerted me that a race was taking place on Saturday the 11th of April 2015 (one day after my first year anniversary with my lovely wife). It was free to participate, and donations were accepted for those wishing to donate. Initially I thought the weather to be too dusty to run, enter great friend (different than friend that alerted us to this event) that insisted he was going, so I followed suit.

Showing up at the start of the race, I began to scope out the competition; deeming two or three to be shoe-ins for first place. I fancied my odds of being top 3, however having already lost a race to one of the contestants (Captain America – CA) whom I pegged to come out on top, my hopes waned for first place.

Captain America won this round

When last we met, Captain America blazed a trail of glory ahead of me

At the sound of the whistle, the contestants were off, and after the initial frenzied vying for the top spot, I found myself at the front of the pack, with CA hot on my heels.

(Previously I had written an article on the power of peripheral perception for runners, and it plays a very important part in this story, read it here)

The KMs ticked away, and I could still hear CA behind me, just outside my peripheral vision unless I glanced sideways. I could also hear him breathing, hear his feet pounding the pavement behind me.

As the race progressed, negativity began creeping into my mind, making me acutely aware of the fact that I had not had breakfast, much less coffee or water, in the morning, and my stomach was beginning to complain. Almost in unison, my legs began to voice their discontent and plead with me to slow down, that it would be OK to let CA pass me, to just slow down a bit so they can relax. I began to be my own worst enemy, until I reminded myself that I had been in the lead since the get go, and it would be a shame to voluntarily give that up as we had just rounded the half-way point.

Pretty soon, the voice nagging me to stop was replaced with a whispered voice to push forward, to try harder, run faster, and dig deeper, echoing the mantra of the Insanity Workout I had been diligently following every day after going home from work – I would prop my phone up, play the videos, and move in sync with the instructor and his team mates. I synchronized my breathing and got my feet in rhythm with the mantra in my mind; you can do this, you have been training for this, do not let this opportunity slide, seize the day, carpe diem.

Almost ¾ of the way in, with CA still within arms reach of my elbow, I decided the only way to guarantee victory was to dig deep and push forward enough to build a gap between us, and try to maintain that pace toward the end.

My vision kept raising and dropping, looking towards the horizon for the finish line, and at my feet to will them to keep moving forward. Again they voiced their contempt, but the will to push harder was stronger than the groan to give up.

Sure enough, the distance put between us grew, and I began to audibly will myself forward, a strange sight I must reckon to all partaking on the pedestrian path at that day, however it served its purpose well, for the finish line was finally in sight, and I could neither hear nor feel anyone close behind me, and so I reached down for one last hurrah and took off for the red and white checkered balloons, as many a race have been lost by losing momentum near the finish line.

And sure enough…

Flash was justalittlebit faster this time

Flash was justalittlebit faster this time

The organizer held up the cup, high above her head, and I reached for it, crossing the finish line with cup in hand, finally etching my name in the long list of first place winners in races. My legs and body protested in righteous indignation, however the elation of having crossed the finish line first deafened their cries, as I collapsed on the grass to catch my breath.

Q8FootSoldier For the Gold!

Q8FootSoldier For the Gold!

Take what happens above and replay it every single time anyone goes for a run, whether practice or race, the negativity exists for all, the ease of giving up.

If you buy into it, you rest to run another day.

If you rebel against it, you get the gold.

Choose your path.

Kuwaitis heading back to the Barracks after 20 years

Drive around Kuwait and you are most likely to find most guys have the Big Guns Army Salute sticker on the back of their cars (if they have not been fined for having stickers yet!) although they have never seen a day in the life of a soldier, save of course for Saving Private Ryan, Fury and the long list of other war movies.

That is set to change, as The National Assembly yesterday passed a law requiring Kuwaiti men when they reach the age of 18 to undergo compulsory military service for one year and remain members of a reserve army until the age of 45.

The law, approved by 41 MPs and opposed by eight, will be applied after two years and stipulates a two-year jail term for those who prevent or evade draft. This will be the first time Kuwait reintroduces military service after stopping it for more than 20 years. (Link)

MPs passed a non-binding recommendation to exempt Kuwaitis employed in the private sector from military service in order to encourage citizens to seek employment away from the overcrowded government.

The events in Yemen, follow ups to the actions taking place to the North, have shown that the Gulf Region is now sitting precariously on the edge of a conflict that has existed in the region for decades. Now unfortunately it is closer to us than we care to admit.

How to use a Selfie Stick

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In Geography, we were taught that before a survey is stream lined, a pilot survey is released to ensure people understand the questions. At first, it seemed moronic to me to waste such time as you simply needed to dumb down the questions to the point where every Tom, Dick & Harry would definitely understand.

That being said, people have displayed an unwavering ignorance into the subtle art of the Selfie Stick.

First and foremost, people need to realize it is NOT a fishing pole, i.e. when using the selfie stick, ensure that the picture looks as “Natural” as possible, meaning DO NOT LET THE STICK SHOW.

I do not condone nor show support to the usage of the selfie stick, however, a “How To” seems appropriate given people’s gross misuse of this silly device.

Air Accident Database – Numbers & Words

Over the past few years, the world has seen its fair share of ugly airplane accidents.

Although the motives differ from one to the next, ranging from terrorist to technical difficulties, from suicide to strange disappearance, the path of lives shattered as a result of these tragedies lies long.

Here is a statistical review over the past few years:

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(further detailed info can be found here)

As you can see, 2014 has been the worst year in terms of air traffic accidents.

The latest one raising several red flags over how the airlines screen and test the mental state of their pilots.

It is no rumor that the captains aboard the flight have the final say in terms of passenger manifest; meaning a captain can bar a passenger from boarding. Given the latest occurrence, an upheaval of these archaic rules is in order, with the captain’s full medical history being made available to the pubic, giving the PASSENGER the opportunity to reject the captain.

If the people aboard that fated plane had been made aware of all that the media has been digging up as of today, do you think they would have willingly boarded the plane?

Transparency is required in order to ensure a similar occurrence never happens again.

 

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August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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