Hark denizens, expats and locals! This blog is specifically for you! Kuwait's one-stop-shop for Intriguing titles that MEASURE up to the content. From social gatherings to local news, this blog has it all. The main aim of MyBloogle is to give you a good read, leave you with a smile, and hopefully have you tune in once again as a regular reader! Home to the Q8FootSoldiers running initiative in Kuwait!

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Porsche showndown on the 2nd Ring Road

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One of the greatest pleasures in driving along the streets of Kuwait is being in the presence of such fine pieces of machinery and German ingenuity. It is always exciting to be at the forefront of the traffic light, eagerly awaiting the light to turn green, mentally picturing yourself to be at NASCAR, hearing the all to familiar words of ‘Gentlemen start your engines!’ Before roaring off in a tire squealing frenzy.

In my minds eye, I pitted the above two vehicles in a drag race of fastly furious proportion, albeit their complete unawareness of that fact, and lack of adrenaline pumping competition ensued. Next time I will be sure to remember to wave my checkered flag before them!

In the end, the Cayenne was victorious over the Panamerra, mostly due to the entrance of an unforeseen participant, a woman, to the Panamera’s left.

And that is how the drive back home is made more entertaining, so go ahead and let your imagination run WILD. Be young at heart. (Please note the cars pictured above were NOT racing, only in my mind)

Editors Note: according to our automotive expert and friend Dalal, the above are NOT considered Porsche’s, according to her, “if it ain’t a 911, it ain’t a Porsche”. We apologize for the error Dalal!

Who is Responsible for your Child’s safety? The Villaggio Tragedy

What is the price you put on a child’s life?

For a country that was recently touted to be have a Multi-billion dollar investment in education, as well as  launching the WISE prize last year, worth $500,000, a Qatari Nobel prize for education endeavor (link) the price of children’s safety is not taken into consideration.

The truth about the tragic events that took place at Villaggio Mall in Qatar are more gruesome than initially understood, as if the death of 13 children was not heart wrenching enough (link):

The inferno at Doha’s Villagio mall on Monday killed 19 foreigners, including 13 children, four teachers, and the two firemen. The authorities have ordered that the mall owner and four other senior mall staff be arrested, reports said.

As smoke and flames surrounded the nursery, two of the four teachers sent farewell text messages and made their final calls to family letting them know they would not be coming home.

“I’m dying,” one of the three Filipino teachers trapped in the fire told her aunt in a text message before she succumbed, according to Marilyn Evangelista, the victim’s friend interviewed on the Al Jazeera English television channel.

Another teacher, also from the Philippines, called her husband to tell him that she and the children were “trapped, the smoke is too thick,” according to Evangelista who then broke down in tears.

Citing an unnamed official from Qatar’s Ministry of Social Affairs, the influential local daily, Al-Raya, said the Gympanzee nursery on the first floor of the mall where all 19 victims suffocated to death was “not licensed.”

local and international media networks cited witnesses claiming that some of the sprinklers in the mall malfunctioned and fire exit doors were locked.

The deaths drove hundreds of both Qatari and foreign nationals to a vigil in Aspire park near the partially destroyed Villagio late Tuesday as mourners lit candles and posted notes in honour of the fallen victims and their grieving families. In attendance were Jane and Martin Weekes, parents of the New Zealand triplets whose pictures were plastered across newspapers in the Gulf on Wednesday. Consoled by friends, the grieving parents wept, clutching their childrens’ toys in their hands.

“Lillie, Jackson and Willsher came into this world together and were inseparable as siblings, best friends and the joy of our life,” the couple said in a statement.

“Tragically they left together after only two short years. A time that was lived to the full everyday with us laughing, playing, waking us at all hours of the night and simply being the sunshine in our world.”—

These terrible, tragic events that transpired in Qatar have raised serious questions as to responsibility and parents on a global scale.

No parent should ever go through the pain of losing their infant child, least of all after leaving them in the care of seeming professionals, in an upscale mall, where they are under the impression that their child’s safety is paramount. They were sadly, sadly, mistaken. It is the pinnacle of unfair that they pay for the mistakes of others in such a manner.

Is it ever really possible to trust the safety of your loved ones to strangers? Bearing in mind that the world is as random as random comes, so many things can happen that you do not even plan for in the slightest of ways.

Take for example a tragedy that happened in Kuwait; a man working in Kuwait finds a job for his brother who is living abroad, he brings his brother over, the brother is processing his papers to finalize the job, the office tells him to come back in an hour, as he is walking around the office to kill time, he is hit by a car and passes away on the spot.

Yes. That happened right here in Kuwait. And yes, it happened to someone I know.

If one is to sit down and think of every worst possible scenario that can occur, they would never leave their house, or allow their loved ones to leave the house either. We would become a nation of cave dwellers, suspicious of any and all who approach us requesting assistance or aid.

That is not the way to live.

However, on the same note, going by the belief that everything will be ok and everyone is doing their utmost to preserve both their safety as well as that of those around them, is a false assumption.

Villagio Mall was no run-of-the-mill mall; it had plenty of luxury brands inside, and a Gondola ride reminiscent of Venice.

How could the safety of children, CHILDREN! be put on the back seat in favor of profits? How could such a facility not be properly equipped to handle a fire? How could people scamper for their own lives whilst leaving children behind?

In other news, the parents of six children who died in a house fire in Derby have been charged with their murders and are due to appear in court. Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jessie, six and Jayden, five, died in a house fire on Victory Road on 11 May. (link)

These tragic events give us a clear moment of pondering, how can we guarantee the safety of our loved ones?

And the answer is; we cannot.

There is an urban myth that is widely retold amongst the masses, it tells of how a frantic mother whose son was travelling by plane was worried as to the weather that day. Her son went to sleep and asked his mother to wake him up for his flight. She did not wake him up. And as is true in most cases of mother’s intuition, the weather caused the plane to crash. When she went to wake her son up, in an almost Final Destination-esque twist of fate, she found him to have died in his sleep. Whether this tale holds any merit is not for me to answer, however the idea behind it is, we are all pawns on a chessboard, every step is predetermined in the greater scheme of things.

Can we protect ourselves from all the dangers in the world? Short of living in seclusion, the answer is no.

Can accidents happen? Yes.

Can we prevent them? We can attempt to.

 

How Adults Take Advantage of Children

The conundrum of bigger is better has always plagued the minds of men, from the wee age of childhood.

In this case, we refer to bicycles.

As a child growing up in Kuwait when children were ACTUALLY physically active, before the age of Wii & Kinect, of World of Warcraft and PS3, your bike was your best friend, your companion.

At the time, I  had a BMX Bicycle, sleekly colored in Camouflage. I loved that bike. It was the perfect size for me. I had always been a child of average height (not freakishly dangly).

However, the other kids around the block had bigger bikes, and I was the runt of the litter much to my dismay. Owning a larger bicycle meant higher status, owning a bicycle that was uniform in color meant having the ability to spray paint it and add custom Pirate flags to the back wheel, as well as rolls upon rolls of colorful electric tape.

Now, back then, as a child, I had no concept of brands or value. A bike was a bike, and this one was equal to that one. One time I had separated from the pack to get my tires inflated, and whilst I was there a man came along. An older man. An evil man.

He had in tow a big, grey bike. My eyes immediately lit up upon seeing it, and he pounced at the opportunity. He told me that he had brought it for his son, but it was too big for him. His son’s bike size would roughly be the bike I currently had. Would I care to trade?

I didn’t need to be asked twice! So forgoing how much my branded bike was worth, I willingly gave it up to ride along on the bigger, non-branded bike, much to the surprise of my friends, as well as my parents. I even remember attempting to pull a wheelie only to end up landing on a bottle, breaking it, but not damaging the tire!

At the time, I was less than 12 years of age, no where near the age to legally be able to enter into a binding contract exchanging goods with another person, that transaction would be null and void in any court of law!

Suffice to say, I learned a valuable lesson that day. Perception is the key determinant of value. And there is a market for everything, you just need to find a buyer who wants it bad enough.

My ill gotten bike would not last long, as a while afterward, I grew tired of it and asked my dad to buy me a new one. This time it was a racer, with gears on the handles and everything. We tied up the old bike near the roof, only to have my then best friend break the lock, commandeer the bike, give it a full makeover and claim it was his.

It was later repossessed as apparently he had failed to make the payments on the accessories he had bedecked it with.

Still, he repeated the process with another one of our bicycles.

Fool me once, fool me twice.

Hook line and sinker.

How NOT to Run after Girls in Kuwait!

An important lesson when running after girls in Kuwait… Make sure they are not on two wheels!

The following scene took place at Mishref Walkway, between the hours of 7-8pm (local time), last Sunday.

Ladies, worry not! This is in fact an anecdote of entertaining proportions, if you had been there, you are guaranteed to have laughed your socks off at the scene!

As most might be aware, there is a group out there that meets every Sunday & Tuesday at Mishref (and Wednesday near the Scientific Center) dedicated to promoting the proper art of running. They call themselves KuwaitIRC (Kuwait International Running Club – Follow them on Twitter)

So, Sunday’s brave bunch ventured forth on a journey of great proportion and distance, a 10,000M run in a time span of under an hour. There are those who due to excessive injury had to pull back and regroup, however the rest carried onward, huffing and puffing as they went along the road from the parking lot all the way to Burger King and back.

It is on the return journey that the most peculiar thing happened. As I was running by a female cyclist was heading towards me, she happened to drop her water bottle from atop her noble metal steed. Given the blaring music in her aural cavities, this slight went unnoticed by her. However, my eagle eyes were quick to discern the notable black object laying across our path. My running comrade attempted to call out to her, in vain, and decided to go upon his merry way.

Fearing for this girl’s hydration, I knelt down to retrieve the lost water bottle and set forth on a return journey to catch up with the lady.

The night was dark, and in her mind, I must have seemed quite the sight, running up to her with my arm extended, a pointy black object in my hand. She pedaled away faster, looking over her shoulder at the crazy man attempting to catch up. It would appear to be something of a Three Stooges meet Alfred Hitchcock affair, with fewer props and great one liners.

She pedaled on as I ran to return her lost treasure, slowly but surely closing the gap between us, moving as fast as my tiring legs could carry me. The funniest moment would be as I ran along side her, tapped her shoulder with her water bottle, and handed over her lost item. Her gushing words of thanks were but a distant echo as I fell back and ran off into the darkness, a noble knight in minimalist running shoes, once more to recommence the remaining distance to the finishing line.

Let that be a lesson to all who strive to run after girls in Kuwait, make sure they are not riding bikes, and that you are properly hydrated!

MyBloogle Milestone – Thank You All

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of YOU.

This is not your average blog in Kuwait, and as of yesterday, MyBloogle has reached a milestone of over 100,000 reads in under a year.

We thank everyone that has made this possible; our local audience in Kuwait especially (as well as everyone from all corners of the globe that has tuned in, except bots, and spammers!), from Twitter Birds (and yes, they are in fact Birdettes) to Facebook friends, to Botomba subscribers etc. Everyone that has ventured forward and clicked a link to read what was written here, we thank you.

The reason I do so is because through your continued support, I have discovered a side of me I never knew existed, the writer within, so for that discovery, I thank you.

Special mention goes to those that retweet what they liked reading, as well as those who commented, either in the comments section or via Twitter, as it is always a pleasure to get feedback.

Extra special mention goes to those that have taken the time to help animate the page of MyBloogle, either by providing our snazzy new logo (we’re looking at you @ccraitza and your amazing talent and endurance on the track!) as well as our resident photo-maker (she know’s who she is).

For the next 100,000 reads we strive to remain as ever vigilant when it comes to news in Kuwait that piques our interest (not merely restaurant openings and saloon offers etc), to offer advice to expats both in and arriving to Kuwait on the general order of things, and of course, the readings, the creative writings.

To everyone that has returned to read more, once again, we thank you and we promise never to disappoint in terms of serving our initial plan of entertaining you.

Be on the look out for more segments to come, including a wacky business humor for the office droned workers (such as myself) and the trials we face on a daily basis.

In closing:

The Avenues Mall Name & Shame Parking Offenders

It never ceases to amaze me the depth to which people drop when doing something as simple as parking their vehicles when heading out to a mall etc. You have the shameless folks who believe that the handicapped parking zones are for their own personal usage (a friend alerted me that in some areas of Kuwait there are signs that read take my handicap along with my parking spot) or the ignorant who park improperly at turns etc. making the process of maneuvering to avoid them a very tiring task, all because they simply cannot find the time to find a proper parking spot.

The Avenues Mall has a rather ingenious way to deal with said offenders:

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A quick stroll around the parking lot at yesterday evening (JAM PACKED) would show more than a few of these beauties strategically placed on vehicles that have either parked in incorrect areas (i.e. sides etc) or, as was the case with the gem above, used the handicapped parking zones for themselves.

No words exist that can sum up my feelings of vile and repulsiveness at any and all that proceed to park in such ways. Why they believe they are better than everyone else that strives to follow order and park properly  is beyond me.

Avenues Mall should be patrolled by Police, with tire clamps for the likes of those above. They should be made to realize that they are just as important as everyone else.

Big thumbs up to the Avenues Mall; you may not be able to curb the smokers inside the Avenues, however this is one decent step towards civility in the parking lot.

The Most Helpful Person in Marina Mall

Picture this; you are driving over to Marina Mall, anxious to get out of your car and enjoy a pleasurable shopping experience, when all the while, you are worrying about finding that perfect parking spot close to the entrance.

You pass by a car and suddenly its rear lights turn on, had you hesitated for a millisecond, you would have been able to get that spot, now it goes to the anxious and grateful driver behind you.

You drive around, and around, and around, until you find this man:

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and he signals you to an available parking spot.

Every time this man helps me, I give him a little something. After all, parking at Marina Mall is free, and any contribution, no matter how small, will go towards helping this man, who continues to help us.

Now if only there were similar men at the Avenues! I can never quite navigate my way properly to Careffour the first time!

Concorde Marina Mall Kuwait needs to understand the Importance of After Sale Service

The key word to any luxury boutique is Specialized Service, correct? In this day in age, it is not enough to merely brand a product as luxurious, other perks must follow. For example, the packaging must be high end, heck, even the shopping bag needs to be branded.

The branded shopping bag is such an important item that, the good folks over in China have actually created an entire industry from faking branded shopping bags (link)!

Concorde (Marina Mall) was offering an 80% discount on its items, which includes but is not limited to, Hugo Boss merchandise. Hugo Boss, the brand to which the likes of Ryan Reynolds have sworn fealty to:

In some industries, it is not what you wear as who you wear that sets you up in the company and opens doors. It is a solid fact of Faking your way to the Top (link): 

Nothing sends the message that you’re a put-together business type like dressing professionally. The fact is, appearance matters and putting some effort into your workplace wardrobe can pay off big.

as shallow as it may sound, dressing to impress is indeed a business norm. Hence, a recent customer of Concorde got in touch to share their story.

So, you decide to head in and purchase an off-the-rack luxury suit, it will run you in the region of 150-200KD. This would entitle you to some for of distinguishing baggage in terms of shopping bag, correct? Apparently, Concorde executives were absent when this lesson was being taught at business school.

Not only were no shopping bags of any form provided, even upon request, the salesman merely said “we ran out”, but also the suit case (the cover you use to cover the suit whilst travelling) was branded with the “Concorde” logo, as opposed to Hugo Boss. This may seem conceited on the side of the customer, but if you decide to carry yourself as a provider of luxury goods at premium prices, it is important to go all the way, and not cheap out on the details that give you brand image.

A quick visit to Concorde’s neighbor two shops down, Givenchy, yields entirely opposite results. A Givenchy branded suit case as well as a shopping bag.

Suffice to say, their customer shall not be returning for a second purchase any time soon.

 

Failure is Unimportant

“Sometimes one person’s inability to understand looks like another person’s inability to explain” – Dilbert

As Dilbert just proved to us, at times our impression of ourselves and our inability to find fault or criticism in our performance more often than not will lead to a deadlock of opinion. How can one remain free from bias when looking inward? It is not uncommon to criticize our own actions etc. behind closed doors with ourselves as the only audience, but to do so before someone else would make one appear incompetent.

It is at this time that one has to remember the wise words of Charlie Chaplin, “Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself”.

Yes. To err is human, but to be judged by others for an error is a task most unbearable to all. And yet, in doing so, we open ourselves up for betterment, which is a never ending task.

No one is perfect.

As you can see, there exist a great deal of lessons to be learnt from the simplest day-to-day activities. Even the funny pages can prove a great mentor on the path of self enrichment.

Moral of the story: read the comic strip and draw your own conclusions.

A Tool for Studying – Music & Memory

Do you listen to music? That’s a silly question, of course everyone listens to music! However, have you ever pulled out an old mix CD you made back in the days when burning CDs was “the thing” and listened to it, or scrolled upon a long forgotten playlist and found yourself almost hypnotically singing along to music you haven’t heard in ages? Or better yet, able to recollect the order of the songs, despite having not listened to it in so long?

Therein lies the true power of music; music can shape memory, specifically, our ability to remember. A song from the past can stir up pictures and events that transpired long ago, and be as vivid as though they were just yesterday.

There are numerous articles all over the internet (here and here) and findings such as this:

the melody of a song, in some situations, can facilitate learning and recall. The experiments in this article demonstrate that text is better recalled when it is heard as a song rather than as speech, provided the music repeats so that it is easily learned. When Ss heard 3 verses of a text sung with the same melody, they had better recall than when the same text was spoken. However, the opposite occurred when Ss heard a single verse of a text sung or when Ss heard different melodies for each verse of a song; in these instances, Ss had better recall when the text was spoken. Furthermore, the experiments indicate that the melody contributes more than just rhythmic information. Music is a rich structure that chunks words and phrases, identifies line lengths, identifies stress patterns, and adds emphasis as well as focuses listeners on surface characteristics. The musical structure can assist in learning, in retrieving, and if necessary, in reconstructing a text. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

It is that time of year again, where students are frantically attempting to cram a year or mores worth of knowledge and information into their already overloaded cerebrums before appearing for their examinations.

When you are done studying for the evening, listen to a few savory favorite tracks and allow your mind to wander amidst the pages you just completed. If you should find yourself faced with questions pertaining to said material, the music you heard serves as an anchor for the information you studied, recollect one, and the other will surely follow.

However, it should be noted that not all music will have the same effect; try to go for melodies and not lyrics, as you will be too engrossed in singing along that you forget the subject matter you are studying in the first place!

However, this gift is selective, so if it should not work for you, I claim no responsibility whatsoever in your inability to perfect said method.

You didn’t hear it from me!

Good luck to all those undertaking any form of exam, be it middle school, high school, university or doctorates (in the case of the latter, you really should be familiar with the process by now!)

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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