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 2013

Kuwait MOSAL: Expat Appreciation Non-Existent

Expats are people too!

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor has recently decided that expat employees serving tenures of 30+ years are to be terminated.

(link)

YOU'RE FIRED! Don't Pass Go. Don't Collect Squat

YOU’RE FIRED!
Don’t Pass Go. Don’t Collect Squat

What about citizens that have served 30+ years you ask?

Kuwaiti nationals holding leading positions in the public sector and who have worked for more than 30 years have been encouraged to retire and special incentives have been promised to those who leave by June 30.

And of course, Kuwait being a working state for expats, whereby expats can only remain so long as they have a steady source of income i.e. a job, and given that the world economy is as it is, the axed employees of MOSAL will have no other choice but to either find employment elsewhere or return from whence they came.

Kuwait depends upon the services of expats for health care, education and infrastructure. With each passing day, the expat situation grows more intense.

God only knows what tomorrow holds.

Legally Running a Red light in Kuwait

With all the recent expat security measures taking place in Kuwait, the most frightful of all being deportation for traffic violation, expats are extremely concerned and averse to doing anything “questionable”, opting to rather walk beside the wall,  an Arabic proverb that may have lost meaning in translation much like “steer clear of danger and sing to it” (ابعد عن الشر وغنيله) than be arrested for jay walking.

Red Light

Not this expat!

One of my ultimate, all time favorite adrenaline rushes is running red lights. And I get away with it too.

No I do not have wasta.

However, when I say “running a red light” I literally mean, RUNNING a red light; as in on foot!

Just call me The Flash!

Just call me The Flash!

Just the other day whilst partaking in my usual 23KM run covering the 40, the 3rd Ring Road, The Gulf Road, Maidan Hawally and finally 4th Ring Road all the way back home.

Yes it did so happen that at that particular intersection of Tunis St. with the 4th Ring Road, as I proceeded to run the red signal on foot, that I heard, much to my dismay, a siren flare at the exact instant I crossed, which also happened to be the exact instant the “other” traffic light turned green. I looked to my right towards the oncoming traffic and the origin of the siren expecting the worst, after all expats have been deported for less!

Fortunately, it was an ambulance, and it flared the sirens to get people to move out of the way as the light had turned green.

Crisis averted.

However, that being said, do ensure you are safe when crossing a red signal on foot; rarely would a driver look anywhere except ahead when on the front line and seeing the green light. Most (myself included) floor the gas pedal and kick off with a gusto.

That being said, it still is an invigorating achievement to shoot for a turning light and cross before the devil knows you’re there.

Happy running!

And remember all, the Q8FootSoldiers (link) will be running their way to glory this Friday morning near Marina Crescent. The meeting point is the fountain close to Pizza Express, at 6:30am. All running levels welcome!

The FootSoldiers strut their stuff this month in Bazaar Magazine!

 And if you should so happen to be driving down the Gulf Road heading towards Jahra on an unsuspecting evening on a weekday, and come across the sight of a runner between the 3rd Ring Road all the way down to Marina Mall (sometimes) or Sha’ab Park (most of the times), do say hello them/me!

Why Traffic is an Issue in Kuwait

The world at large is watching as Kuwait imposes incredibly strict sanctions on traffic law violating expats – deportation. Many are wondering why go to such extremes? Why are expats getting the heat for traffic violations? What actions would be taken against a citizen with a similar blemished record as an expat facing deportation?

In a country where the ratio of expat:citizen is 2:1, it is sound mathematical judgment to assume that there is a 75% chance that an accident involves an expat, and then a 50% chance that it is their fault.

The result of such accidents can be seen as follows:

image

image

image

image

This is a shot of the “front” of the car.. now nonexistent

image

image

Having not been at the site of these accidents, one cannot jump to a conclusion as to assign blame; however, the fact remains that these accidents DO happen and they happen FREQUENTLY.

Is deportation the answer? Can it positively affect the rising tide of apathetic speeders?

Only time will tell.

How Facebook Saves Lives in Kuwait

The general consensus in the business world, at least amongst the few that do not believe in the power of social media, is that Facebook is a hugely time consuming affair that distracts employees and can lead to several million Dollar’s worth of lost productivity (link).

I am sure however that Rosemarie Sumali would disagree with that, as she recently proved to the world that Facebook is an incredibly diverse tool capable of saving lives. Her own life in fact.

She appealed for help on the social networking site Facebook on May 24 after being slapped by her Kuwaiti lady employer several times, locked up in her room and threatened to cut her fingers. (link)

Excerpts :

She screamed at me and said wait and you will see when my husband arrives, we will cut your fingers. I was very afraid and became desperate so I took my mobile phone which I have been hiding for a long time now and used it to post an appeal for help on my Facebook. That was my only hope to be rescued and I would like to thank everyone for alerting the concerned authorities“.

Which begs the question, what happens to all those unfortunate souls in similar predicaments with no social media to come to their aid?

Abuse of domestic help is an epidemic sweeping across the Country. It cannot be treated as an isolated incident.

Walk a mile in their Shoes

Walk a mile in their Shoes

How to Update Viber Contact List

Viber

Viber is an app that has fast replaced all “traditional” MTC networks, erasing all borders around the world and giving everyone the luxury of making calls to family and friends near and far. And unlike its predecessors/competitors Tango and its friends, Viber is here to stay.

Contested to be an app of Israeli Ingenuity to gather info, Viber is used by millions around the world.

The major problem several people face with Viber however is updating the contact list. You can only call contacts that have Viber, and it is extremely annoying to receive calls from contacts that have Viber and find yourself unable to call back because according to your phone, “contact is not on Viber“.

What to do?

Simple.

1) Delete the contact from your phone.

2) Add them again. (whether you use + or 00 is irrelevant)

3) Go to Viber app. Find the contacts page. Click menu – Update Contacts.

Voila.

Morons & Lawsuits – Passenger sues Qatar Airways for “chronic pain and dysfunction”

This day in age the words “lawsuit” and “moronic” seem to go hand in hand. The real culprits however are the foolish judges and lawyers that accept such outrageous allegations and give them time in the first place. Just a few months ago a school in the UK banned triangle shaped flapjacks after, and I quote, “a boy was hit in the face by a flapjack”. (link)

CAUTION!

CAUTION!

The problem is that society now placates morons as opposed to punishing them for their moronic behavior.

These issues are no longer “a thing of the West”, the inane lawsuits such as the person that attempted to dry their dog in the microwave, the person that stood on the open fridge door to fix a light bulb and the infamous “hot McCoffee” incident; Qatar Airways is now no longer a stranger as they battle their own lawsuit over an injury sustained after a passenger was hit by a drinks trolley (link).

It gets funnier:

John Karatzaferis has filed a lawsuit against the Gulf carrier in the Victorian Supreme Court, claiming an existing injuring was seriously aggravated when a flight attendant hit him while pushing the cart along an aisle during a flight from Doha to Melbourne in August 2011.

He has since suffered “pain, tenderness and limitation of movement” in his left knee, in which he already suffered arthrosis (a degenerative disease of the joints), his claim says.

He now requires an operation to fix the “chronic pain and dysfunction”.

Everyone is after a quick buck, and none come quicker than a moronic lawsuit for punitive damages. At the very least, in order to preserve its image, a company is forced to settle out of court, not for the outrageous amounts but a substantially less, although quite substantial, amount.

Only one sentiment is shared for such parasites living in society:

images

Dealing with Depression in Kuwait – You are not Alone

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in Kuwait.

What is depression? How can one be diagnosed as depressed? What is the difference between depression and sadness? Is there a non-medical cure to a non-chemical ailment?

The Arab World in general does not believe in diseases of the mind. If there are no physical signs (self inflicted wounds do not apply) then there is no actual problem, and many a time depression is merely treated as a temporary cry for attention.

Globally, over 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression, it affects women more than men.

The fact of the matter is depression is just as common as the common cold, and affects more people on a global scale. It does not differentiate between young or old, man or woman, boy or girl, resident or expat.

The causes of depression are limitless. They are as diverse as the people that walk this earth and equally as complex to define.

Depression is defined as severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. It is the hollow feeling inside that something is missing. The pang of guilt or the twitch of fear that exist within the confines of the soul and cause vast emotional distress.

Depression does not necessarily manifest itself in violent tendencies or abnormal behavior. It could be something as simple as over sleeping, or lack of sleep. It could be over eating, or not eating at all. Different people react differently to depression and as such it cannot be a clear cut definition.

Mental health is a taboo subject in most households. Some may discuss it candidly, whilst others shy away from it with terror in their eyes, as though the acceptance of such a reality is equivalent to being diagnosed with leprosy in that the person would be forever shunned from society, an outcast for daring to blurt out such blasphemy.

The fact of the matter is, ignoring the problem will not make it go away. In fact, in this scenario, ignoring the problem further exacerbates the issue, causing the patient further emotional distress and driving them further down the deep ocean of depression.

In all facets of medicine in particular and life in general, it is better to treat the cause as opposed to the symptoms. Upstream prevention rather than downstream correction. However, when it comes to depression, a bit of both is crucially necessary. One will avoid further bouts whilst the other attempts to steer the patient towards calmer waters.

The rise of social media coupled with peoples immediate acceptance of the concept has left physical connections in tatters. No one bothers to speak anymore, relying solely on their fingers and text to get their points across. People can be sitting in close proximity to each other and yet still be miles apart, each one busy in their own online endeavor, further alienating those in dire need of comfort.

The time has come to finally see this ailment for what it truly is, and attempt to make amends, not with mockery but with compassion.

Ignoring someone’s cry for help is as detrimental as being the cause of their discomfort.

You are not alone

You are not alone

Kuwait Expat Affairs – Expat Expulsion

Gangs of New York was an amazing movie, its most memorable scene being the finale before the credits rolled, as the audience is given the opportunity to witness the burgeoning skyline, from hovels to sky scrapers, the unstoppable force of progress.

How does this compare to Kuwait? To any who were living here for a considerable period of time, say 20+ odd years or so, Kuwait has drastically changed.

Back in the 90’s, Kuwait was at its Golden Age, traffic was acceptable and the people were agreeable.

Fast forward to the early 2000’s; the Real Estate “Boom”.

Land owners saw an opportunity to further line their pockets with money by tearing down their previous buildings, measuring 3 or 4 storeys maximum, with 4 apartments per floor giving a total of 12 – 16 apartments, and replace them with 9-10 storey buildings, with 4 apartments per floor, meaning a total of 36 – 40 apartments. Everywhere you looked, Hawally, Salmiya, Midan Hawally, Farwaniya etc. witnessed the same rapid boom in construction. The downside? As the apartments got bigger, the roads remained stagnant. The infrastructure did not keep up with construction. Bottlenecks were surely to emerge and emerge they did.

And that is why we find ourselves in our current predicament. Traffic.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot stop progress. Progress is measured by expansion, expansion is apparent.

The general consensus seems to be Blame the Expats.

Hence, the following measures have been taken to curtail the results of progress:

1) MoI ‘Deports’ 1,285 Expats For Serious Traffic Violations (link)

2) Driving License Requirements For Expats Toughen (link)

The law will require expatriates to apply for a license under additional conditions, requiring them to possess “a legal residency of at least two years, a salary which exceeds KD 400 and a university degree,” however, there are exceptions to the law.

3) KUWAIT TO BAR EXPATS FROM MORNING TREATMENT (link)

 

Activists in the oil-rich Gulf state condemned the move, and opposition lawyer and writer Mohammad Abdulqader al- Jassem described it as “racial segregation” on Twitter. Similar restrictions are in place at other government agencies such as the traffic department, which handles applications from Kuwaitis only in the morning

 4) Lawmaker condemns anti-expats measures – ‘Punish visa traders not their victims’ (link)

MP Saad Al-Bous said penalties applied against expatriates should be proportionate to the violations they commit without the need for rash and unfair decisions that may adversely impact Kuwaiti democratic system. The lawmaker said that before deporting expatriates for grave traffic offenses, they should be given at least three opportunities before deporting them.

He also said that with regards to laborers recruited by visa traders, these people should not be deported and instead be given enough time to legalize their stay by obtaining residence permits from other companies, because these laborers have committed no mistake as they entered the country through a proper work permit.

He said that according to statements by officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, there are around 1,000 paper companies and if we suppose each company employs around 10 expats on average, then that means we have to deport about 10,000 workers. Instead of deporting them and recruiting new workers from abroad, it is better to allow them to legalize their stay and benefit from their experience.

And the end result?
Expats deportation hurts Kuwait labor market – Visa trafficking flourishing (link)

The announcement of a government plan to deport 100,000 expatriate laborers annually has negatively impacted the labor market as the cost of recruitment has gone up while visa trafficking has increased, a top unionist said in a recent statement.

No Comment

No Comment

Kuwait Expat Affairs – Medical Care Segregation begins June 1st

Expats make up two thirds of the population of Kuwait, working all levels of jobs from street cleaners to CEO’s of corporations in Kuwait.

There are 20 government hospitals in Kuwait:

Al-Jahra Health District 24575300
Al-Jahra Hospital 24575300
Capital Health District 22450005
Al-Amiri Hospital 22450005
Hawalli Health District 25312740
Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital 25312700
Al-Sabah Specialized Medical District 24843999-24838334–24838219
Al-Sabah Hospital 24812000-24815000
The Psychiatric Hospital 24843900
Zain Hospital for Ear, Nose and Throat 24846912
Al-Razi Hospital 24846000
Natural Medicine and Rehabilitation Hospital 24874330
Infectious Diseases Hospital 24870133-24870469
Maternity Hospital 24843100 – 24842100
Chest Diseases Hospital 24849400
Ibn Sina Hospital 24840300
Farwaniya Health District 24887298
Farwaniya Hospital 24888000
Ahmadi District 23940600
Adan Hospital 23940600

A link to the news can be found here, and the following are excerpts from that article:

Kuwait is to bar foreigners from attending public hospitals in the mornings fronm June 1, local media have reported.

The decision comes after complaints in parliament of Kuwaiti patients having to wait for treatment at public health facilities because of the large number of expatriates.

Kuwaitis will be given priority for medical checkups at public hospitals and clinics during the morning, with foreigners only able to access doctors in the afternoon, unless it is an emergency.

Last month, it was reported that staff also will be segregated according to their nationality, with Kuwaitis working in the morning and expat doctors in the afternoon.

The move is seen as favorable to Kuwaitis while reducing the level of care given to expats, who make up about two-thirds of the Gulf state’s population but would have fewer hours they could seek medical attention.

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle

Watch out for Runners & Cyclists!

In the rush that is the 21st Century, it is not an uncommon sight to witness people literally running into each other and remain completely unapologetic during the whole process.

However, when it comes to almost running over a runner when a person is within the comfort of their own vehicle, that is where society needs to draw the line!

A quick trip to the Gulf road on a Friday/Saturday morning, and during the week for the more adventurous thrill-seekers will greet you with sights of packs of cyclists and runners honing their skills on the oh-so-dangerous stretch of road.

So far I have been the victim of two, rather three, mishaps. 2 occurred to me as a runner, and one most unfortunately occurred during my early cycling days.

1) Whilst running down a main road, I saw a car sneaking in from a side road. I kept steady to my path, falsely presuming that the driver would look both ways before entering the main road. No such luck, I felt the side of his front bumper brush up against the heel of my foot.

2) More recently, as I was running along the side of a main road, heading with the direction of traffic mind you, a lazy driver parked on the side (illegally on yellow-black pavement) decided to disembark from their vehicle. Unfortunately for me, the minute they decided to open their door was the precise minute I was running by it.

3) My infamous cycling incident highlighted here

Dear Drivers, I am well aware of your presence, you would have to be blind not to see a car on the road, however, I do not appreciate your infernal horns, so kindly cease and desist! If you see a runner/cyclist on the road, steer clear of them!

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

error: Sorry, Ctrl+C/V disabled; if you wish to use this content please contact us :)
%d bloggers like this: