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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Name & Shame vol 3: They Must be Retarded

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no handicapped sign

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no sign here either

The most offensive action that has no excuse is the persistent use of capable people of handicapped zones. It cannot be justified in any way other than that the person responsible has to be mentally retarded, or believe they are better than everyone else hence are entitled to use spots designated for the handicapped. The police need to throw the book at the delinquents. Punishment to the full extent of the law. Maybe then they’ll learn to appreciate and count their blessings of health and physical well being.

RunQ8 has been postponed

Due to unsteady weather, today’s RunQ8 event has been postponed until further notice. Announced officially via Twitter & Facebook page.

RunQ8 Tomorrow at 9am

Time for the annual 10K of Kuwait; RunQ8.

This year, the event shall start at 9am, warm-up at 8am and, for those that havent picked up their race-kits yet, try to be there by 7:30am.

Yesterday I took a practice run in preparation for tomorrows race:

And now a message to the Q8FootSoldiers, this route shall be our weekly run, as the track was amazing. Starting off at the Ministry of Energy at the end of the Gulf Road, heading towards Souq Sharq.

Now we just need to set a time, preferably not early morning as we saw how amped up people were for that.

So, Foot Soldiers, ready to run?

The Wikipedia Blackout & Freedom of Information

For those that are wondering, yes, Wikipedia is down for the moment. The reason is simple, Freedom of Information.

The internet is a glorious creation that allows users to share information readily and with relative ease. Whether it is a written piece of information or otherwise, the beauty of the internet is that since the best things in life are free, everything on the internet should be available for free (so long as it is not a physical product).

Hence, the idea of mp3s and movies, being downloaded for personal use, should not strike anyone as bizarre. When the music industry and the film industry come out and say that we are losing billions of dollars to piracy, they are assuming that everyone who downloads music would go out and buy the records.

They would be awesomely and thoroughly mistaken.

If mp3s were no longer available, I would listen to the radio 24/7.

If movies and series were no longer available, I would go back to watching TV.

I download not because I would pay for the product, nor do I download to profit from attempting to sell it, I download because it is there, and I enjoy it, and movie producers and actors and artists are already paid a fortune for their record sales, I do not see how the concept of downloading will affect their bottom line.

So Wikipedia is protesting, in the most peaceful way they can, that they will not stand for these piracy laws if they are passed (SOPA & PIPA). Hear what Wikipedia has to say:

Nothing like this has ever happened before on the English Wikipedia. Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people’s access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world.
Why? SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won’t be effective in their main goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.
He who controls information, can influence the entire population.

Now we have a conundrum, for without established rules and regulations, law and legislation, there is anarchy. Mankind has continuously proven, time and time again, that in the absence of order, chaos ensues. However, on the other side of the continuum, too much rules and regulations, laws and legislation cripple freedom of expression and creativity, allowing mankind to fall into mediocrity.
Give people the 

choice, 

but do not take away their 

freedom and liberties.

Running Shoes Blues

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The fallen three and the Chosen One - Out with the old, in with the new

A lot of people choose to make a huge deal of running shoes, which to me is quite absurd. If the shoe is labelled as a “running shoe” at the store where you purchased it, then it is a running shoe. Period.

There is always the talk of you get what you pay for, and that expensive items are usually best etc. However, I would never shelf out more than 20KD per running shoe, unless of course that shoe has the ability to run for me, or comes with a gas tank and a small engine (better yet, rocket-propelled).

The main question you have to ask yourself is when do you change your running shoes? Most experts have the time period at 6-months, some less, some measure it by distance. This quantified method of keeping track of your time of purchase or mileage would differ from person to person – suppose one only ran a few times during 6 months? Suppose they were running on a treadmill or at the track, that differs from tarmac. Too many considerations, hence the best method is to simply play it by ear.

That means, once you start feeling discomfort during your runs, i.e. shin splits or ankle pains, tone down the pace and know that it is time to jump ship and change shoes.

There is a great way to buy running shoes, the golden rule so to speak –

If it is on sale, buy it.

It is a matter of personal choice, those are my two cents.

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The Red & Black Attack is Back!

The past few days have been spent softening up the soles of these shoes for the RunQ8 event taking place this Saturday. If you are participating, keep an eye out for me, I’ll be the fool jumping over the place markers!

See you there!

When Will People Ever Learn?

WHATSAPP WILL NOT BE A PAID SERVICE!

Two words that are the bane of every internet advocate’s online life: FALSE RUMORS.

Some people are so innocently gullible they fall for the tricks of the savvy and sad internet users who post false messages on forums asking you to circulate an email in order to raise money for a child suffering a grave illness.

My problem with these people however is that they are creatures of habit. At first the messages were being circulated via email, in the early days of Hotmail, then it moved onto Facebook, and Gmail and now, WhatsApp has also been targeted.

Its the same trick, just a different medium. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

The rumors of WhatsApp becoming a paid service are GREATLY exaggerated, you need only check the WhatsApp website to ensure that this rumor is just that, a rumor.

Some people derive a sick sense of pleasure from pulling these sad ruses.

Do not give them the satisfaction.

Google EVERYTHING before sharing.

Specters on the Streets of Kuwait – Investigative Bloggerism

Specter – A ghostly appearing figure, is not an uncommon sight on the streets of Kuwait.

Apparitions dressed in long flowing gowns of white, grey, black and beige, dashing across the streets on Kuwait, catching unsuspecting motorists unaware. The slamming of the breaks, the squeal of tires on the cold tarmac road, a lifeless creature of black and pebble, is frequently heard by those within its immediate vicinity.

These specters however have yet to be called ghosts, for they are of the living, despite risking their lives on a daily basis to cross the street, whether it be to get a taxi or catch the bus in the early morning, or return home in the late evening.

This long stretch of road is perilous, in the dark it is almost impossible to make out these shadowy figures as they dart across the streets, more often than not resulting in fatalities. The reason being there is no pedestrian bridge in the area, despite it being residential.


View Larger Map

I am referring to the Airport Road, or route 55 in Kuwait, which runs from Shuwaikh near the intersection with Jahra road, all the way down to the Airport roundabout, crossing several areas in between.

There are exactly 3 pedestrian bridges on this road, two are near Khaldiya, between Jahra Road and 3rd Ring Road, then between 3rd Ring Road and 4th Ring Road. The final one is after you cross the 4th Ring Road, where Yarmouk is to your left. After you cross beneath the 5th Ring Road, there are no more pedestrian bridges, despite Farwaniya and Khaitan being there. The residents are forced to cross the street on foot for lack of proper crossing methods, and what is the result? This:

KUWAIT CITY, March 23: The Criminal Section in the Court of Appeals upheld the verdict of a lower court, which acquitted a Kuwaiti woman of causing the death of two children when her car ran over them while they were crossing the Airport Road on their way home from school.
Attorney Bassam Al-Asousi, the woman’s lawyer, said his client is deeply sorry for the death of the children but she denied any wrongdoing.  He pointed out the children did not use the pedestrian bridge on the main road where the minimum speed is 80 kilometers per hour; thereby, putting their lives in danger.  He argued the woman was not driving beyond the speed limit and she did not expect anyone to cross the road, since there is a pedestrian bridge in the area.  She tried to avoid hitting the children, but it was too late because they appeared on the road suddenly, leading to their death, he added.

(link)

The peculiar incident regarding the tragedy above is that I directly know a person who witnessed it. The deaths occurred near Khaitan/ Farwaniya area, where there are no pedestrian bridges. The speed limit up to Yarmouk is 80km/h MAX (meaning 100km/h MAX) after Yarmouk, the speed limit becomes 100km/h to its end (meaning 120km/h MAX). That is where you find most people crossing the street, in the area where the speed becomes 100km/h.

Regardless of where you choose to live, life is precious. Preserve it.

Is Tolerance too much to Ask? Human Rights Watch Kuwait

is Tolerance too much to ask?The report by Human Rights Watch (here in English and here in Arabic) regarding the treatment of transgender women (men who underwent surgery to become women) in Kuwait by Police Officers has sparked massive outcry on the Twitter-verse, with many proclaiming that Human Rights Watch (HRW) should keep out of Kuwait affairs as this subject matter is sensitive, and tackles the issue of cultural identity.

As of right now, no country in the Arab world no country (or very, very few) has rights for any transgender individuals. It is illegal to dress as a member of the opposite sex in the majority Arab Countries, hence, the idea of being a transgender is thoroughly frowned upon and viewed as a shame to the persons family.

However, it is important to realize that transgenders do exist, and it is also their right not to be discriminated against.

This is an internal issue, granted, but it is an issue that must be tackled on a proper platform.

Kuwait Times have a report on the harassment that occurs in Kuwait (here).

These individuals make up a fraction, albeit a minute fraction, but a fraction nonetheless, of the Kuwaiti population. They are human, and should not be treated as animals. If indeed they are being brutalized by the authorities, then it is their right as citizens to be protected. Although one can argue that in essence, they are in fact breaking the law, hence authority intervention is necessary. It is a huge grey area, but one that deserves attention. It cannot merely be swept under the rug for fear it would damage the national image.

Here is a nicely written piece on the issue of Sexuality and National Heritage (link).

Kuwait Times had run an interview once with a troubled teenage transgender boy (first degree Kuwaiti) who underwent surgery and was shunned by his father, mother, brothers and sister. The Police officers who would arrest him would, according to him, ask for his number. The full article can be found here , a few excerpts:

I have four brothers and one sister; I’m the middle son between my brothers and the spoiled brat. All my brothers and sister treat me really badly and ask my father to kick me out of the house – they don’t want me with them. Maybe my father hasn’t thrown me out yet because he is afraid for his name and reputation or maybe it’s love, I really don’t know, but how can a parent that loves their son wish him to die because he is a transsexual?

I’ve had four nose jobs, Botox injections in the face and lips and collagen in my butt. I had my Adam’s apple removed, underwent body liposuction and hair- removal. I pluck my eyebrows, fix my nails and treat my skin to Moroccan baths to keep it clean and smooth. I use face and body creams constantly, I inject my face with oxygen to keep it glowing and healthy. I use feminine perfumes and sexy female underwear and I always take care of my outer appearance, but the major change that occurred to my physical appearance is my silicone breast implant,” he explained.

What is so hypocritical in the story was the policemen who caught me, shaved my head then tried to sleep with me. This is not all – if any policeman stops me in the street and asks for my number and I refuse, he will threaten to take me to the police station,” he revealed.

The issue of transgenders in predominantly Muslim countries is rarely discussed openly, despite its widespread occurrence. It is not an easy issue to tackle, for the matter is not black or white, there are several shades of grey.

Indonesia, the country that boasts the highest number of Muslims in the world has its own issues with transgenders, but these transgenders are practicing Muslims (link & link).

We are not asking you to accept something, only not to be quick to judge. Everyone deserves a right to free living.

Tolerance

Unconscious Impressions – What we Leave Behind

What we leave behind

The past is a great frontier for self discovery, it serves as a guiding compass to your aspirations, by highlighting who you were and what you used to do. The past is a snapshot, and depending on the strength of your memory, it can be a very clear, or very vague picture.

I decided to visit my friends in the company I used to work for, and I ended up getting more than I bargained for in terms of nostalgia and memories. All of the sudden everything came rushing back, this was my desk where I worked diligently (or not), this was the fax machine I used to send out faxes, there is the coffee machine/ water cooler. The friends I still remembered made their way towards me to inquire as to how my life has been since leaving. It was a serene moment of meeting my former manager and the rest.

I met a person who I knew by name, despite never having had any interaction during my 2-years in the office. Short of her name and knowing her husband as a friend, her and I had little in common.

As one does, you develop a habit of speaking too much when in love and on the path of marriage, so I let slip the fact that I was looking forward to starting my life with the woman of my dreams. The reaction I received was shocking, to say the least. This married woman looked me up and down and said, “you are getting married? I never would have thought! You are 25? I thought you would not even consider it until 35! Say shes from where? I never guessed you would marry someone from there! What? She’s veiled too? Oh I never saw this coming!”

I was very much amused by this, and wondered what sort of impression we impart on those that share the same space as we for a period of time? True, her and I had not had any direct contact except the occasional polite hello, goodbye. Then it dawned on me, she sat in my immediate vicinity for almost 2 years. Every word I had said, every conversation I had with a friend, every joke I laughed at, she heard. And in her mind, she had developed a psych evaluation of me, and based on that she formed her thoughts.

And that is life, we do not merely affect our friends alone, but rather everyone we come in contact with.

I have a bad habit of judging strangers, either in the street or when we first meet, and there is no greater slap to the face than judging someone poorly only to have them treat you nicely, which has happened to me a dozen times. I digress.

Henceforth, this is a habit I will surely kick to the curb.

Always strive to be the you that makes you proud. I was amused by this incident, and learnt plenty from it. Hope you do to.

Name & Shame Volume II – Illegal Turns

“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” Jackson Browne

This rather simple quote has very complex ramifications, for it is in the absence of supervision that the true mettle of a person is shown, sadly enough, the mettle of those below is despicable.

At the intersection between Route 55 (airport road) and road 80 (Jahra road) the following 3 cars were seen taking an illegal U-turn, just to avoid a mere 10M drive to where you are allowed to take a U-turn.

I hope that some day the Police in Kuwait can depend on pictures such as these to fine people such as those. No caution shall be taken to mask their identity, hence their numbers are visible to those that want to look closer.

People have become reckless when it comes to driving, so long as they believe no one is watching, by no one I mean authority. They run red lights with no remorse, drive at break neck speeds in side streets, park wherever they so choose with reckless abandon.

Someone is watching, never forget that.

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August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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