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Monthly Archives: August 2011

18+ Kuwait’s Streets of Sin

Many an expat, and locals as well, complain of the prevalent lawlessness on the streets of Kuwait. From reckless drivers to absent minded ones, all roads eventually lead to the same unfortunate destination: Tragedy.

This is The Autobot Graveyard in Kuwait.

These images are not for the faint of heart.

This is a Range Rover, looks alright, right?

 

Wrong. These are the burnt out remnants of the interior of the Range Rover

 

The Range Rover front view. This car was worth around 4000-5000KD. How much would you pay for it now?

What people fail to understand is that the road is the coldest, vile, ruthless, creation they will ever encounter.

The road does not care.

 

This is a BMW 523i - roughly 6,000-8,500KD

BMW from another angle

 

More of the BMW

 

The Drivers Seat looks unscathed

 

The road does not care who your father is, nor who your mother is. It doesn’t care who you know, it does not care how much you earn, it does not care if you are the sole provider for your entire family, it does not care what make or model your car is, it does not care how expensive your car is. It does not care whether you are a local or an expat, it does not care how old you are, it just does not care.

Jeep SRT

 

This is a Camry, 3,600KD+ before

 

This is the Camry from the inside

 

Front view of the Camry

This is the result of the reckless speeders. If only it were only their lives that they put at risk, how many of these disasters do you think happened to someone who was just at the wrong place, at the wrong time?

Side meets Side

 

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And another thought to ponder; how many of the drivers and passengers walked away, and live to tell the tale of their horrific accidents? And how many victims passed away, whilst the drivers of these vehicles lived on, forever tormented by the blood on their hands?

Audi, a luxury car...

Audi Front View

Lexus, another Luxury Car.

 

Same Lexus...

Unsalvageable...

I will leave you with a story. A personal tragedy I witnessed. This is no urban myth, no tale told to frighten drivers into not conforming and obeying traffic laws, I lived this incident. It is the story of a boy, a few years my junior, (let us call him A) a couple of years ago. In celebration of their grades, his friends dad had brought him a car, despite his being 16 at the time, below the legal age to drive.

This friend took two of his friends along with him on a joyride, one of which was A.

Now A had not told his father that he was going out with his friend, and as the hour drew late, his father worried and called A’s phone.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

An answer.

But it was not the voice he expected to hear, and they would be by far the harshest words he would ever hear for the rest of his life.

It was an officer, who informed him that his son had been in an accident, and had died on the spot.

I walked in A’s funeral, I watched as they laid A to rest, as the sand filled up the grave, and as the people walked away.

A was the same age as his friend, whether the driver himself lived or not, I do not know.

Slow down, your life is waiting for you.

What happened here? Each car tells a horrific tale of a tragic accident

Side swiped

Devastation...

For the windshield to be broken inward, I fear the worst..

A Motorbike...

 

The Dodge, from a different angle

Dodge Charger, previously 6,999KD. Now...

Hood wide open

India Business Visa Part III – The Return

I stood before the first counter, heart pounding, ears pumping, short of breath, I may as well have been awaiting the results of an examination…

My previous posts (here & here) regarding my ordeal in applying for a business visa to India served to make me weak at the knees as I waited for the clerk to find my passport.

The seconds dragged on, his shaking of his head did not help one tiny bit.

He came to me with a womans passport, set it before me, took my receipt, looked at it, looked at me, gazed at the picture attached to the passport, once more looked up at me, and then after accepting the fact that I was not a red-lipped, long haired woman, he turned around to return that passport to its place in the sea of passports strewn upon his desk, and finally, came up with mine.

I held my breath, awaiting another shake of his head and a “please re-apply” jibe.

He placed my passport before and turned away, back to his routine.

I flipped through the pages of my passport hungrily.

And…

Success

How to Spot Online Hoaxes & Scams

Lets face it, its a dangerous world out there, with those who prey on the gullibility/naivety of others, and at times it can be quite devastating to say the least.

Chain Mail. Previously, the definition of chain mail used to be (Middle Ages) flexible armour made of interlinked metal rings.

In this age however, it has take on a whole new meaning.

Before we get into specifics, let us differentiate between the types of chain mails out there, of which there are maybe 3:

1) Harmless Mails. Emails that ask you to send to 10~20 people and something will appear on your screen, or someone you have a crush on will call you in 2 days. Comical, but not maniacal.

2) Aid mails. Please help find “so-&-so”, please forward, if you were a parent you would want this email forwarded. Also harmless, yet very dubious, some are true but severely outdated, and the method used is crude at best.

3) Phishing scams, and these are the worst. They start off with “Congratulations, you have won ….”, and then feel free to enter whatever it is you wish here.

Over the course of my online life, I have received a myriad of hoaxes and online scams. From the ever popular Michael Hunt missing child hoax, to the ever recurring “I am an attorney/ barrister in Malaysia, and my client was a very wealthy man who shared your last name, has passed away, and you can collect his inheritance, just fill these forms and send me some cash (link to a ton of these emails).

Lets not forget the ever popular African King in need of assistance, with billions in gold/ diamonds. Or the super popular Green Card Lottery Scam.

 

Tell-tale signs of Phoney messages - unprofessional emails

Visa Payment processing instructions
The fees must be paid using Western Union money transfer and will be processed by the U.S. embassy in the United Kingdom.
Western Union is a leading provider of International person-to-person money transfer. With more than 150 years experience and 245,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories, Western Union is recognized for sending money quickly, reliably, and safety.
You can send the payment in U.S. dollars or equivalent of your local currency.

Click on the following link to find the nearest Western Union agency and send the fees payment :
Find Western Union Agency
If you are unable to find a Western Union agency near your location, you may ask a relative or friend to pay the fee on your behalf.

After you find a Western Union agency you need to go with cash money, an identity card(e.g passport or national identity card) and send the payment to the U.S. embassy agent address in United Kingdom:

Name : Duncan McIntyre (who is Duncan, and why is the US Diversity Lottery money going to him?)
Address: 24 Grosvenor Square
London, W1A 2LQ
United Kingdom

The payment must be sent to the above U.S. embassy agent address in United Kingdom because the U.S. Government decided this based on the diplomatic relations with your country.

At first I thought that all these methods were crackable, but then they evolved to being bogus job offers and job applications, I have reported a few to their original companies, informing them that their name was being used in a scam.

The medium has even evolved; you can now expect to receive phishing scams straight to your mobile phone, from places as far off as Germany.

Some people are naive. They believe that they can make money from nothing, that this is their opportunity, and some even said so what if I pay this person $100, they will send me $1,000,000. Maybe I can scam them.

What they do not realise is that with your details i.e. passport number etc. the scammers can steal your identity.

I am not here to judge, only to educate. Now keep in mind, I have fallen for some of these phishing scams, initially at first, but I wised up later.

First thing you need to do is THINK! Did you enter a lottery for the UK? USA? No. Hence, how did they get your email? Bogus.

Second. GOOGLE. Take a big chunk of the email, copy it and paste into Google Search.

Third. PAY ATTENTION. If you really did win the lottery, why is it being sent from an email @live.co.uk?

One time I received a scam from a phoney DV Lottery set-up. the email was from a .org/.us site, and the perpetrator actually spent the time to build up a phoney site, although it did look shoddy and unprofessional of a government institution.

Fourth. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FREE MONEY. These emails promising money for account details are most likely either phishing scams (in which you lose money) or high-end criminals who are laundering money (in which case, you committed a felony in aiding them).

There is a giant BUT here, one which happened to me personally.

I received an email from a person “claiming” to have checked my blog, liked it, and had a client who wished to place an ad link in 2 of my articles.

Now, at first I was skeptical, so I ran a Google search on the email etc. and came up empty handed, hence I agreed this must be bonafide, and since I really wasn’t asked to do much, i.e. pay money or anything, I humored her.

I informed an associate of mine of the content of the email I received, and she ran a Google search on the content, and presto, had a hit. Someone, somewhere, had received a very similar email and said it was a hoax, claiming the lady had asked him the exact same question she asked me, but in the end, nothing happened.

I had already replied, and thought, oh well, must wait to be discovered some other time.

I was surpised upon receiving further communication from the person, Sarah was her name. And it did not sound like a bot (more often than not, the barrister hoaxes are sent by bots, not persons, hence the verbatim copy of the body text being sent from various emails).

 Long story short, I was paid for those two links, and the money received went to purchase this domain. Fancy that.

So long as she wasn’t asking me for personal/ financial information, there was no harm in humoring her, and it came in my favor in the end.

Also, I remember watching a show a while back in which they sent out that chain mail asking for bank details and promised to pay $10,000 (or $1,000 cannot really recall), from all the people they sent it out to, one elderly man responded with his bank details, and they went to his house and gave him the $10,000. Now mind you, this was strictly for the show, its not what happens in real ife.

And in the end, you can take a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink.

 Always check Hoax Slayer (link) to know when someone is trying to pull a fast one on you.

Stay safe, it is a dangerous world out there, especially online.

Night of Virtue in the Grand Mosque of Kuwait 26 August 2011

The night of the 27th of Ramadan is a most auspicious night, The Night of Virtue:

The Passage in the Holy Quran referencing the Night of Virtue

Its English translation:

In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful

1. Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree)

2. And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?

3. The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months).

4. Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibrael (Gabriel)] by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees,

5. Peace! (All that night, there is Peace and Goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.

Laylat Al-Qadr is the anniversary of the night that the Qur’an was revealed. Muslims believe that revelation of the Qur’an occurred in two phases, with the first phase being the revelation in its entirety on Laylat Al-Qadr to Gabriel in the lowest heaven, and then the subsequent verse-by-verse revelation to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel.

The verses above regard the Night as better than one thousand months. The whole month of Ramadan is a period of spiritual training wherein believers devote much of their time to fasting, praying, reciting the Holy Quran, remembering Allah, and giving charity. However because of the revealed importance of this night, Muslims strive harder in the last ten days of Ramadan since the Laylat al-Qadr could be one of the odd-numbered days in these last ten (the first, third, fifth, seventh or ninth).

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River of Black (women) on the right, River of white (men) on the left

 

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after the prayer, heading home

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no pushing, no shoving, people are just walking

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heading toward the exit

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اللهم تقبل يا رب العالمين

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in between the prayers,

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light sprinklers, much like restaurants, to keep a cool atmosphere

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Water

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heading towards the central Mosque

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Inside the central courtyard; doors to the inner mosque now closed

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To accommodate the thousands of attendees

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The troops of volunteers ready for deployment

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Carpets were rolled out in every available space

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The Volunteers were out in full force

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Preparations for The Night of Virtue started the previous Night

You May As Well Be Driving Naked in Kuwait

Without a seatbelt in the Front seat, the title of this post is true, you may as well be driving naked.

As if that in itself were not problematic enough, you have certain individuals, both men and women, that drive with their children in their lap, or an unrestrained child in the front seat. It is discomforting, and thoroughly depressing, when you see such complete and utter disregard for the welfare of your own flesh and blood.

Road safety rules, which I once thought to be extremely simple and understandable, appear to be difficult concepts to grasp for some.

What happens when you sneeze? For a millisecond, you are blinded. It is in that infinitesimal period that an accident can occur, you could be blindsided by a reckless speeding motorist, you could lose control of the vehicle as it falls into a pothole, so many distractions can cause such disastrous consequences. Imagine the distraction of having a child in the front, or worse, on your lap, tugging at you, screaming, demanding attention, whilst your eyes are meant to be focused on the road and the road alone.

It has not become a strange sight to find a car packed to the brim with children, with a child sitting on the arm rest as well as the lap of the driver.

Where is the regard for safety?

Parents should know better, and the authorities must enforce a Zero Tolerance Policy in this regard.

And worse, how common has it become to find someone driving whilst checking their BBM for new messages, or sifting through contacts on their Smartphones? You can literally look into their cars and see that their eyes are focused not on the road, but on the device in the palm of their hand.

In the future, I will dedicate a post to the recurring problem of accidents in Kuwait, be on the look-out for a snazzy title.

( This Post is dedicated to you Mark, thanks for bringing the idea to my attention!)

How to turn White Backgrounds in Pictures Transparent

We’ve all been there, bloggers at least. You have a great picture you want to add to your blog, but unfortunately it looks hideous with a white background around it, making the webpage look tacky. Sometimes the image is already transparent, but most of the time, it is not. And for those who’s blog does not have a white background i.e. iBlooogle (link), this was a problem.

I faced this conundrum myself, and like any blogger, turned to Google! for my information needs. Unfortunately, it was all the same, primarily, with the phrase of “use Photoshop” popping up all over the search engine. Which would not have been a problem, as the site offered a very simple 101 for any, however, I am not averse with Photoshop.

Various combinations later, and I came across The Free Online Image Editor (linkwhich proved to be the answer to my prayers.

It is very simple to use, and with a few clicks and uploads, your image will be ready for posting to your blog.

 Enjoy.

(PS A gift to any who figure out what was made transparent on the front page)

How to get a Guy to do Housework

Mr. Maid

A secret weapon for the ladies, and a stark revelation of the guy mentality.

Housework. Lets admit it, nobody likes to do it, its something that has to be done, like a root canal, albeit more repetitive and recurring.

When asked to do housework, I respond like any warm-blooded, calculating, rational guy would; I whine and moan and try to talk my way out of it, as my time could be better spent doing a myriad of things (or at least ponder doing a myriad of things).

Personally, I think housework should be divided amongst the inhabitants of a particular residence, it is just a problem of finding the time to do it; as anytime that would be good for everyone is definitely not good for me.

So we have arrived at the point in which a guy is asked to do housework, and refuses. Being told to do something injures the male pride; Women have their periods, and Men have their pride, both are devastating and cause irrationality to ensue, and both affect their ability to play well with others.

Also, Men do not like being told what to do, some of the time, and hence, will argue just for the sake of arguing.

So it would appear we have reached a stale-mate.

 

So it would seem, but I have recently discovered, as an unwitting test subject myself, the key to getting a guy to do the housework. Whether that guy is cohabiting a residence as a husband, son, room-mate etc. It appears fool proof.

And here is how I came across this revelation.

Cleaning is A LOT like working out, repetitions, flexes, movements in different angles etc. Hence, cleaning can be considered a form of Cardio,  and it truly is!

So instead of asking your man/ son/ room-mate to clean the house, tell them to engage in a session of cardio, as they are getting flabby, or their arms aren’t looking as good as they should (play with their pride, not against it). And trust me, the results will be most pleasing.

Trickery is the Key.

This entire carpet was cleaned with that small brush. A Thoroughly intense Cardio Workout

Memories of the Playground – Monkey Bars, Swings & Jungle Gyms

Nothing in this life can ever come close to the innocence and carefree childhood.

It is as children that we learn our deepest, truest values, that we carry forward through adulthood and beyond.

The playground, the focal point of all childhood merriment and mirth, where tears of joy run rampant down smiling faces, coated with dirt as a result of pairs of happy feet running rampant across the sands.

The Monkey Bars

The monkey bars. At a young age, monkey bars were a nothing more than a maniacal form of torture, devised by some devious, cold-hearted, evil drill sergeant. The bars were always too high off the ground, much too high for the small, short legs of youth. I could never make it past the second wrung, with a running head start. My small arms were too weak to support my weight, that high up off the ground. One was always envious of the older kids that could travel from end to end, without faltering in the middle, and without the support of a parent, or more easily accessible, a friend on who’s shoulders one could stand.

Today, I actively seek the monkey-bars, and enjoy them more than ever, finally seeing them for the wondrous exercise machines they are, for pull ups or upside-down sit-ups.

A different joy is experienced now, with my legs bent at the knees, too long for the height it was made, attempting to recapture a lost memory.

The Kingdom of the Jungle Gym

The Jungle Gym, another wonderful structure on the playground, where many a game of king-of-the-fort were played, whether you chose to climb up through the inside, crawling your way towards the center, or from the outside, and balance atop the minaret-like top. Many a bruise were acquired on the unforgiving metal, but they were marks of pride, easily overshadowed by the smiles, the cries of pain unheard amidst the raucous laughter of enjoyment.

Today, I sit atop the jungle gym and survey the surrounding grounds,  surprised at how easy the task of climbing there proved to be. My shoulders are too wide to fit amidst the small squares, I lament in my solitude, a King over a kingdom I cannot enter.

Now the thought that keeps me going is the thought of passing this fun to my future children, god willing.

Soaring to New Heights

The Swings, always crowded, and the only place where the loudest laughter resonates.

Nothing can ever come close to the intense thrill of reaching new heights, of throwing your feet before you to climb higher, and higher, faster, and faster; the feeling of emptiness clutching your stomach as you soar to new heights. Throwing your head back, albeit dangerous, always served to make the swing more exhilerating.

Today, time at the swings is spent with knees bent, our long legs serving as deterrents, always preventing the swing from picking up speed.

As children, we experienced a world different than the one we live in currently, where imagination ran wild, and nerves were made of steel. I remember climbing a rocket like structure, maybe 4~6M in height, sitting atop it, surveying the playground, and climbing back down, without a hint of vertigo or fear of falling.

It is that spirit that we miss this day in age, that inquisitive nature, that friendly demeanor, that makes one long and yearn for days long gone, when life was simple, and decisions were easy.

I can no longer find playgrounds nowadays, the laughter of children has been drowned out by the screeching tires of speeding cars and angry horns of impatient drivers, no parent would dare leave their child to venture out alone, despite how they used to do the same as children, for fear of what could happen.

Children now sit at home, fingers smashing away at game controllers, glazed eyes staring into a screen, zombie like in their activities. The sense of adventure quelled by the comfort of the couch.

The memories remain, a distant thought from a time past, that serve to bring a smile to this aging face, with a sense of adventure that can not be quelled.

Live life as though a child, forgive easily, love freely, laugh loudly and run fast. Enjoy, think not and worry not what others think, for in the great scheme of things, their opinions are but a moot point, their approval or disapproval is inconsequential, for in the end, it is your life to live as you see fit.

Smart Parking in Kuwait!!

This technology has been in Kuwait since 2009!!

I have never seen it!!

I was picking up a friend near Sha’ab, and saw this strange structure.

Kuwait’s biggest problem in all areas, Salmiya, Jabriya, Hawally, Maidan Hawally etc. is parking.

And yet, this technology has not been seen anywhere else in Kuwait, at least not by me.

Why is this not made a requirement, for all buildings in congested areas?

It does look like it has seen better days, but that is besides the point.

Have a look.

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3rd Hand Smoke – Another Silent Killer

The Poisons in Cigarettes

We all know the stories, we have all heard the tales.

Smokers Lungs

Smoking kills, in more ways than one.

We are all familiar with 1st hand smoke; and that is the smoke that smokers inhale directly into their lungs. This is the least deadly of all, relatively speaking, as it passes through a filter before entering the lungs. Since the smoker is consciously aware of this smoke, and its effect on their health, it is understandable that they take the risk. The other types of smoke however, the most potent and deadly, affect those around the smoker, effectively turning the smoker into a murderer.

They load the bullets, we Suffer the Consequences

2nd hand smoke is the smoke exhaled by the smoker. There is no intricate filtration system to protect our lungs from this kind of smoke, that hangs in the air like a deadly, silent specter, slowly drawing the very life away away the hapless, unbeknownst victims.

The Dangers of Smoke

3rd hand smoke, a recent addition to the list, is no less deadly than 2nd smoke, if not more so. And it is the stench of smoke that lingers on our furniture, in the car, in elevators, as a residue of the poisonous gas. Previously, it was given little attention, now however, it has been proven to cause certain ailments.

Poisons in cigarette smoke can linger on fabrics or hair, but a survey of 1,500 households found that fewer than half of smokers knew this.

Toxic particles in cigarette smoke can remain on nearby surfaces, as well as the hair and clothing of the smoker, long after the cigarette has been put out, and small children are susceptible because they are likely to breathe in close proximity.

I have lost friends for my adamant stance on smoking inside my house, as I detested the rancid stench of smoke on furniture, and hence disallowed anyone from smoking inside my house. They would have to sit in the balcony.

Be careful of the residue left by smokers, as it can unknowingly affect your health as well.

Components of a Killer

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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