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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Mentality of Kuwait’s Water- Squirting-Squids

Lets face it, if you haven’t booked your ticket by now already, chances are you are going to be stuck at home for this long weekend holiday in Kuwait celebrating National and Liberation Day.

Word of caution to any first timers; avoid going out at all costs. AT. ALL. COSTS.

Already you will realize that street corners are bedecked with kids (and adults alike) shooting water guns at passing cars. If you thought this was a neighborhood initiative to offer free cleaning services after the tumultuous weather we had this past week, think again.

Ever since the “Great Foam Ban” of 201X (all the previous years have joined into one blur), the “Poison-of-Choice” for festivities was Foam (in a can) which became outlawed and contraband by the authorities as a result of the havoc it wreaked on cars (and in addition to a group of ladies spraying hair remover onto unsuspecting victims).

Not ones to shy away from festivity, the people of Kuwait were quick to find a replacement for the foam cans; the dreaded water guns. The bigger, the better was always the motto, and as we look out over the horizon from our vantage point in the city, we see a cloud of dust settling over, promising to cover the streets in its hazy embrace.

You will also realize that every seller, from cornerstore baqala to toy shops and even traffic light hawkers have begun peddling their plastic water receptacles for varying prices depending on your budget.

In addition, you will also notice the presence of a myriad of “Out-of-Town” licence plates, from all over the Gulf Region, Saudi, Qatar, Bahrain and even as far as Oman. Everyone is here, with one destination in mind: The Gulf Road.

Tomorrow the Gulf Road will be transformed into a battle ground of wet proportions. Everyone will be out with the sole purpose of “getting wet”, you would assume this would call for the people to be dressed in wet suits, however they do not.

Driving down the Gulf Road will be beyond a catastrophic nightmare. A snail in a salt shaker would probably move faster than you that day.

All forms of modesty and decency are discarded as people wage water wars along the Gulf Road. Strangers will unite and butt heads up and down the street. Little fat kids will walk around hauling gigantic water guns, some come with their own neat little water pack on their back like ghostbusters.

Mosques along the Gulf Road will diligently turn off the water in the bathrooms, much to the chagrin of mosque goers. However, water coolers will have lines as far back as a bridal gown store with a 90% discount on branded dresses during wedding season.

The people amass an unquenchable amount of water shenanigans throughout the year that comes pouring out on these two days, and then is forgotten once more till next year.

It is sad to see such a momentous occasion in the history of this Nation being taken so lightly and viciously. Who amongst you remembers exactly what is being celebrated, or why?

February 25: Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah’s reign was so central to the evolution of modern Kuwait that when he died in 1965, the date on which he had ascended the throne in 1950 (February 25) was designated National Day.

February 26: Liberation from the Iraqi Invasion, designated Liberation Day.

But no. Everyone looks at it as a moment to run around like crazy people in a watery war zone.

I was almost arrested last year when doing something constructive to commemorate the occasion: Running 25KM up and down the Gulf Road, at risk of life and dryness. Not this year. I am out of here for the holidays.

Stay Dry.

The Forgotten Marketing Channel – Customer Service

Companies take note, we live in the age where it is not about what price you set, but what your customer will eventually get in terms of service that distinguishes you in the field.

Customer Service: The Forgotten Marketing Channel

Via Salesforce

What the Blackout in Kuwait taught us

We are unprepared.

The power outage in Kuwait took many people off the grid for prolonged periods of time; in excess of two hours. Traffic was disastrous, houses were in disarray.

what people were searching online

what people were searching online

Our first realization should be that we are the pampered generation. Everyone took to their iPhones, Sonys, Samsungs, HTCs etc. to serve as flashlights, those of us with a little foresight (and a bad case of hoarders syndrome) still maintained a few “Old School” telephones, the ones that are turned on by holding the “cancel call” button and locked by holding the Star button.

Everyone, including a friend of mine, insisted to use smartphones as flashlights, when I posted to Facebook stressing that I could not remember how to turn on this ancient piece of equipment, I was ridiculed. After a while, I figured out how to turn on the LED flashlight, and kept it on for the duration of the outage.

Secondly, my wife is a huge fan of candles, and we had many, many, MANY at home, in all shapes and sizes, smells etc. we set a great ambiance at home by using the flashlight to find the candles.

Most people had no flashlights, or those that did had no batteries for them.

If the blackout has taught is anything, its that the age of smartphones is not forever; come a catastrophe, or a small annoyance (let’s face it, on a global scale, what happened yesterday was no more than a mere blip on the radar) smartphones will drain themselves dry. Once that happens, we are left with no contact with the outside world.

Rules for the next blackout:
1) Invest a meager amount in a phone that is not smart; no internet, just calls and a flashlight.
2) Stock candles in the house, along with matches.
3) Flashlights – JiC the phone whose charge lasts a week decides to die on you.
4) Pack of cards – you have to keep yourself entertained somehow. Do people still play “Deal”?

Smart up! Ditch the smart phone in emergencies.

From Arab Spring to Islamic Caliphate – Coincidence, Opportunity or Design?

We do not usually partake in much politicking online, however recent events have forced our hands.

Conspiracy theories; who subscribes to such idiosyncrasies? The belief that nothing in life is by chance, that everything follows a hidden agenda, be it Alien, Mason or otherwise.

Let us examine the facts:

1) For the longest time, in all our life time (those born in the 80s/90s) the Middle East has been a hornets nest of strife – from the presence of the Israeli aggressor on Palestinian lands to the multitude of secular divisions that fueled countless wars and bloodshed in the region.

2) During that period, terrorism began to loom. On September 11, 2001, terrorism in the name of religion reared its ugly head, bringing about a new wave of fear to an already stressed global populace that began striking around the world.

[this event in itself is already rife with several conspiracy theories]

3) 17 December 2010, a Tunisian street vendor by the name of Mohamed Bouazizi, in the face of injustice, sets himself alight and unwittingly became the martyred catalyst of the Tunisian uprising (link), the first ripple in the wave that would eventually be referred to as the “Arab Spring”.

4) Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya followed suite (link).

I myself cannot believe that the single actions of one man miles and miles away can have such a diverse domino effect as to lead to the toppling of world leaders who had been in power for DECADES, in excess of my own time on this earth.

During the chaos, another incident happened that greatly contributed to where we are now:

5) The death of Osama Bin Laden – May 2, 2011 (link).

Which eventually lead to the birth of the new defacto Terrorist Organization: ISIL aka ISIS aka IS (more names than a PR campaign can spew).

According to this CBS report (link), the “group” was born in blood at Camp Bucca, which was known as the largest, and one of the toughest, American prisons in Iraq.

… at least 12 of the top leaders of ISIS served time at Camp Bucca, including the man who would become the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. CBS News obtained photos of 10 of them in Bucca’s yellow prison jumpsuits.

U.S. officials who worked at Bucca told us they were concerned that prisoners were becoming radicalized. The prison has been described as “a pressure cooker for extremism.”

Given the US Army’s propensity for by-any-means-necessary tactics, why were these radical elements allowed to survive and thrive? Everyone can recall the infamous Blackwater incident (link), and Abu Gharib Prison (link), there must be countless other cases where prisoners “disappeared”, those deemed too unstable or too dangerous. It would seem, for all intents and purposes, that Camp Bucca was not as much a PRISON as it was the melting pot from which the “group” sprung. Per that last statement, “pressure cooker for extremism”, you do not put such combustible elements together unless you are aware of what might emerge.

The “group” started gaining prominence AFTER the death of the “Serpent’s head”, and quite recently began appearing in highly televised and produced videos showing decapitations and burning people alive.

The “group” has flourished in areas where once-upon-a-time there was an iron first rule, however as a result of the Arab Spring, a power vacuum took place that funneled everything into a black hole of indecision, fear and murder.

For all intents and purposes, Libya is a war-zone, a country torn against itself. As is the case in Syria, and Iraq, and Yemen.

It does not seem likely, even for a second, to believe that everything that happened was a result of a street vendor taking their own life.

The Arab Spring was a success in Tunis, partial in Egypt and a failure elsewhere, where pretenders to the throne arose to challenge the status quo.

Also, keep the following in mind; the armies of the Middle East (not to be confused with the 5 Armies of Middle Earth):

Capture

 

Of the 13, the largest in terms of Active Frontline personnel, 3 of which are currently for all intents and purposes, immobilized; Yemen, Syria & Iraq.

Of the other 3, two are already embroiled in skirmishes across their borders (Egypt & Lebanon) and Jordan has been drawn into the fold with the murder of its pilot.

The question arises, despite having knowledge and information regarding weapon’s caches, training schools, depots and other strategic intel, why would Egypt and Jordan hold off on taking action until the murders of their delegates?

My Mother, My Treasure

February is a glorious month in the Kuwait calendar; people scramble to book tickets to travel for the National and Liberation Day holidays (that quite conveniently happen to create a nice extra-long 4 day weekend this year!) in addition to the plethora of discounts, given Kuwait’s Hala February festivities as well.

images

Hala February has progressed quite steadily since its inception, encompassing a parade nowadays in addition to multitudes of prizes, draws and discounts making it the busiest month of the year. From radio to television, mega-mall to corner-store baqala, everyone is getting in on the Hala February Festivities.

Further, February features the one day of the year the world has come to the consensus to jointly celebrate love; Valentine’s Day. Yes, that one day of the year where all women go doe-eyed and all men spend insane amounts of money to out-valentine other men (oh, did you see what your friend Adam did for his wife last Valentine’s?), from buying flowers and chocolates (or chocolate flowers and flower-filled chocolate for the health conscious) to locking poor defenseless teddy bears in cages painted red as a token of “love”.

I have never forgotten Valentine’s Day; in fact, I always celebrate it. Since it has been deemed the international day of love, it also happens to be the day of birth of the most important person in my life; my mother. People always wondered why I celebrate Mother’s Day in February, despite it landing in March, for in our family, Mom’s birthday was in February (hence Mother’s Day), and Dad’s was in March (you guessed it, Father’s Day!).

Yes, the stars aligned and the universe set its cogs in motion for this angel to be born amongst us on this most celebrated day of the year. When it came to sacrifice, she sacrificed a lot for us, as my dad was also born and raised here, she was uprooted and set new roots in Kuwait. She worked tirelessly with my father to provide me and my brothers with an education that most people back then criticized them for, citing the back-then crazy fees charged by English Schools (wonder what they think of prices nowadays?), most times working double shifts and holidays/Fridays at the pharmacy, and still finding the energy to help us with our Arabic and Chemistry homework (Dad took care of the rest).

images

Looking back at our childhood, I cannot find a single memory in which my mother was not a part of. Everything from admiration to berating, and all things in between. There was that one time at the age of 5 or so I coyly asked my mother to show me what “signature” meant, then I attempted to forge hers on my Arabic dictation test on which I had scored an abysmal 2/10. Suffice to say I was caught, and from that point forward never dropped below a 9.

We spent hours upon hours strolling the lanes of Souq Mubarakiya, back when all the roads were made of sand not pavement. It was the ideal place to be on weekends, with a touch of history as well as many bargains. As children my brothers and I took full advantage of these, running from one toy store to the next as they called out the age-old bait of “everything for 100 fils”, we would grab everything within arm’s reach and then turn to our mom with broad smiles from ear to ear. She would of course thin the selections down, knowing full well these toys would be mercilessly shattered by the same time next week.

All visits to Souq Mubarakiya ultimately must culminate with one activity; a visit to the snacks shop close to the parking lot, run by the same brothers for all these years, serving the tastiest samosa’s and other friend goodies which despite being so bad for you are oh so good!

If Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, there is no greater love to celebrate than that of a mother’s. Take advantage of this month’s festivities to pamper these queens that walk amongst us, take her shopping (avail the best discounts!), followed by an idyllic stroll in Souq Mubarakiya and culminate it with a dinner and a gift, which will always fall short, for what gift can you possibly give to the woman that gave you life?

Love.

Happy birthday Mama Omaima.

To Hate a #Muslim #ChapelHillShooting #MuslimLivesMatter

Antisemitism: The intense dislike for and prejudice against Jewish people. Brought about around the time of the holocaust, and ever since used as a yard stick for any action that displeases Israel – Sweden recognizes Palestine, Antisemitic; Helen Thomas tells Israel to get out of Palestine – Antisemitic, anyone acknowledges the senseless murder en masse of the Palestinians, Antisemitic.

latuff-getting-rid1

But what is it called to hate a Muslim? To have prejudice and negativity towards them for the actions of deranged individuals, that share no sentiments to the religion which they claim they represent?

American Sniper, Hate, Anger, Anti-Muslim, Hollywood

The backlash of American Sniper

Will anything be done against those that take to Twitter to post negativity on Muslims? Highly doubtful.

We are in the wake of the cold-blooded murder that took place in Chapel Hill. The media is calling it as it is; a “Man” who killed three Muslims.

Chapel Hill, Murder, Anti-muslim, Hick

Firstly, I do not believe that there can be any comparison between what happened in France and what happened yesterday. The murderer did not commit the crime in the name of his “Anti-religion”, it will merely be labelled a hate-crime, whereas the terrorists in France were bragging almost as if they wish for it to be held against them, that this is for religion etc. etc.

Those in France had labeled themselves as terrorists by their own hand, not that of the media.

Make no mistake, the actions of this deranged individual are deplorable. The media should not attempt to insult our intelligence by insinuating this arose over a dispute regarding parking.

Hicks described himself as an atheist on Facebook and posted regular images and text condemning all religions. Police said he handed himself in last night.

In a statement released on Wednesday morning (local time), Chapel Hill Police said that a preliminary investigation suggested the crime was “motivated by an ongoing neighbour dispute over parking”. (link)

This is not the same as Charlie Hebdo. However, the reaction SHOULD be the same. This was a hate-crime. 3 individuals in the prime of their lives gunned down senselessly by a cowardly savage who will most likely claim temporary insanity and be released in a few years time.

He killed them with his own weapon, which he will defend under the Second Amendment.

The First Amendment defends their rights to publicly state outright that they hate Muslims and all religions.

It is funny how the First Amendment is thrown out of the window when the word “Antisemitic” is used.

Holocaust_Remembrance_Day

The point here being when a Muslim is killed it is seen as normal; millions have died in Burma (link) and the media does not bat an eye towards that; no, they have ice bucket challenges and Nigerian girls being kidnapped to worry about, cartoons demeaning to Muslims and clever hashtags popping up to support them, and terrorists in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria etc. to report on, what is the death of a few million Muslims?

carlos-latuff

(I dare you to search for the images of the atrocities being committed in Burma – warning, they are not for the faint of heart, and they are ongoing).

If the Muslim world were unified in way as to direct the media’s attention on the atrocities being committed against Muslims, maybe then there would be a semblance of net neutrality.

If there were a word that can be touted to mean discrimination and murder of Muslims, that was thrown about on the internet, maybe then a there would be net neutrality.

00-carlos-latuff-shhh-denouncing-israels-war-crimes-is-anti-semitism-2009

For now, What is it called to hate a Muslim?

Sadly, the answer is – Normal.

Whatever that word may be, that should be what to call the tragic murder in Chapel Hills.

Kuwait blackout

image

Power is out in Hawally.
My dad works for the Ministry of Electricity and Water, he’s heading out now.
Apparently an entire grid came down.
Stay tuned.

Your name impacts your hireability in the Gulf

We’ve heard of favoritism, nepotism and sexism, but have you ever heard of Namism?

we did not just make this s*it up

we did not just make this s*it up

Case in point, Bayt.com; one of the strongest online recruitment websites in the region, send a periodic email entitled “How visible were you to employers in the last two weeks?” which includes the following table:

namism

 

I can almost imagine the conversation:

Manager: HR! We need an employee… no, I don’t care about their qualifications, skills or years of experience… no not even where they are located, just get me someone called AYMAN ASAP!

PS my name is Ayman.

FIFA warns Qatar about Outsourced Team

If you can’t train ’em, buy ’em.

That is the moto by which Qatar lives and breathes; outsourcing its competitive requirements to stars from other countries.

A player is contracted to come play for Qatar; whether it be Football, Handball, Basketball etc.

Said player is then given a “sports-port” a sports-passport, becoming honorary Qatari citizens in order to represent Qatar on the international arena.

Firstly, Qatar offers to host the 2015 Men’s Handball World Championship.

Handball_2015

Second, Qatar brings an All-Star Squad that managed to place in second, according to Wikipedia:

France won the final against Qatar 25–22 to win their fifth title,[3] a first in handball history while Qatar won their first ever medal. (link)

Here is the said dream-team:

QAT

A very Mediterranean looking team, wait till you read their names:

qatar team

 

A quick rundown of the Arabic names of the players (common sense really) :

Hassan Mabrouk (born 29 July 1982) is an Egyptian-Qatari handball player (Egypt)

Abdulla Al-Karbi (born 10 June 1990) is a UAE-born Qatari handball player (UAE)

Kamalaldin Mallash (born 1 January 1992) is a Syrian-born Qatari handball player (Syria)

Youssef Benali (born 28 May 1987) is a Tunisian-Qatari handball player (Tunis)

Hamad Madadi (born 7 July 1988) is an Iranian-born Qatari handball player (Iran)

Hadi Hamdoon (born 5 February 1992) is a Qatari handball player (Qatar)

Mahmoud Hassab Alla (born 22 November 1986) is an Egyptian-Qatari handball player (Egypt)

Ameen Zakkar (born 15 June 1994) is a Syrian-born Qatari handball player (Syria)

The others are from Montenegro, France, Cuba, Bosnia & Spain.

So out of a squad of 17 strong, only 1 boasts ACTUAL QATARI DESCENT. That’s less than 6%.

The last time this many different nationalities met was at the U.N.

Sepp Blatter, chief Poncho at FIFA, has warned against such shenanigans when Qatar hosts the World Cup in 2022 (link).

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has warned Qatar against putting together a team of imported players for the 2022 World Cup. Blatter described Qatar’s team in the recent Men’s Handball World Championship as an “absurdity”.

“The nation of 2.2 million faces the huge challenge of forming a competitive national football team by 2022. However, this cannot be achieved by quickly naturalising players because unlike the IHF, FIFA does not allow this,” said Blatter.

Unfortunately Mr. Blatter you are incorrect in your statement; Qatar does NOT have a population of 2.2Million, it was 2.1Million as of January 2014, of which 14% are Citizens, that is only 296,296 (seriously, the actual number is 2,116,400 total). Meaning slim pickings.

This is reminiscent of “The one with Joey’s Porsche”:

images

10aboxes

I’ll leave the how to your imagination.

@Qualitynet_Q8 Terrible Customer Service & Infoconnect offers

Last month during infoconnect, Qualitynet struck out on two fronts – having terrible offers as well as terrible customer service.

During Infoconnect, when all ISP’s supposedly offer their services at discounted rates, Q-Net failed by doing the following:

a) Having exorbitant renewal fees much above their competitors despite offering the same exact level of service (others win at customer service).

b) Cutting short subscriptions should people choose to take advantage of the purported, alleged “sale” that was being had, i.e. if your subscription ended in June and you chose to renew in February, you would lose out on your original subscription from Feb-Jun (3 months).

This lead me to write up a post on their shoddy offers.

Screenshot_2015-02-08-14-55-51

Lo and behold, they responded via twitter (during infoconnect) with the message below:
Screenshot_2015-02-08-14-56-02

Hoping to bury the hatchet, I provided them with my mobile number via DM as requested believing something good will come out of their social media customer service.

To this day I have yet to receive a call from them.

I will be vigilantly scanning the papers awaiting any offer that comes along from any other ISP that actually cares about its image with its customers to have the common decency to follow up with grievances.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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