Bloggers Gathering: Unprofessionalism on Launch Day

August 8, 2011. A milestone in the world of bloggers in Kuwait.

A new social group has arisen, the first of its kind in the Gulf, to pull together the many bloggers of Kuwait and create a unified, strengthened, gathering of bloggers.

Bloggers Gathering ID Card and Paper about Blogging

I heard of the event through a fellow blogger whom I am proud to call my friend, through Twitter.

I was quick to sign up on the website, and head toward the Regency Hotel in July, a wee bit after posting my embellished post about the death of iBlooogle. That trip in itself shall be a subject for a future blog post of mine, for there was a valuable lesson learnt worthy of mention, on that very day.

Suffice to say, I was eagerly awaiting the much anticipated launch of their first social event, the Ramadan Ghabka.

Earlier this week I received a phone call from a charming fellow confirming my attendance at the event. I asked him if it was ok to invite my brother, who will be a featured writer on this blog (watch out for his new column!).

It was yesterday or the day before, that I received another phone call, at 12am, from a charming lady, informing me that I had been chosen, based on the content of my blog, to participate in the debate that would be held during the event, and I would just be required to answer some questions. Would that be ok? I eagerly said, YES.

Now, as with anyone who has a chance to appear on television, I was unrestrained in my happiness, and went on to tell a few friends, as well as family, that I would be on TV on this night. So please tune in to any Kuwaiti channel to see me.

The event was slated to start at 9:30, I was there by 9:20, having cut prayer in order to make it on time.

At the door, I signed in with a friendly organiser who handed me a plastic card bearing the details of my blog, its logo, and the sponsors. A very professional touch that I am most esteemed to carry around.

After I took my seat, the staff at the hotel were beyond courteous, I even broke my caffeine fast and indulged in a nice, steaming cup of Arabic coffee, shaking the vessel in the end to signal my content.

The clock dragged forward, with no seeming start to the event. Tables were empty, but slowly filling out. I was displeased to see that despite the organizers having informed the attendees to dress formally, either a suit or a dishdasha, here were a few gentlemen scattered amongst the sea of dishdashas, sticking out like sore thumbs, as they were nay dressed in a dishdasha or a suit, but t-shirts with the most obnoxious drawings on them; hardly a dressing for a gala event such as this.

The cameramen in the evening seemed to not notice the presence of men at all, as most of the media attention was focused on the (beautifully dressed) lady bloggers amidst the gathering. That in itself was inopportune, I believe I was on camera for a startling 5 seconds, enough time to flash a pearly smile, before the scene was shifted abruptly to a lovely lady in a gorgeous dress.

At 10:50pm, the music stopped. People stood up in unison for the Kuwaiti National Anthem. And afterward, a beautiful Quran recitation by Fahad Al-Kandari signaled the beginning of the evening.

I was following every word, whispering to my brother, be sure to get my walking up to the stage on camera. Get my good side. Should I keep my glasses on or off?

Childish? Maybe, that is how I acted and I will not amend it in my writing. I was excited, my word would be heard, my opinion voiced to a group of my peers and colleagues. What more can any blogger ask for?

After a great opening speech, and several other speeches to follow, a guest was introduced who would lead the debate. I am not great with names, only facts.

I was suddenly bursting to go to the bathroom, for all the times for my bladder to start calling!

I held it in, and prepared to take to the stage, as I had been informed. I counted 7 seats, and roughly 100 or so attendees, feeling all the more special to have been chosen for such an honor.

I wondered how they would call on the guests; did they have a list? Would someone come to guide me to the stage?

Much to my utter disappointment and chagrin, a group of 6 bloggers were lead to the stage, and I was not one of them.

To say that I was heartbroken would be an understatement.

I am not a melodramatic person. I believe that if you inform someone that they would be part of an event, and then fail to include them in that event, without as much as an explanation or an apology, then you have committed a grave error. For you have no right whatsoever to give me hope and then yank it away from me like that. It would have been better had they not called me and asked me if I accept participation in the debate. I would never have felt bad about it. However, now, I do.

The 6 bloggers ranged in age from a 14 year old to a charming, sophisticated, American lady married to a Kuwaiti, who runs Yoga classes (link) in Kuwait (giving back to the community), a young, happy, Kuwaiti wife of 5 years, and 3 other Kuwaiti gentlemen of working age.

Bloggers Gathering ID cards, for registered people expected to attend, who did not show up

I sat there, disappointed, a million excuses running through my mind for my non inclusion. Of those one million excuses, I am sure that 999,999 are incorrect. However, there is one reason that is correct, and that is for the organizers of the Bloggers Gathering to know and me to eternally ponder.

So, allow me to answer the very questions I was supposed to answer on that stage, online, to any who would choose to read this.

I have been blogging since March of 2010, almost a year and a half now. I blog because I have an opinion, and I read blogs because I am interested in knowing of other peoples opinions regarding restaurants, events that are to take place in Kuwait etc. If not for blogs, I would not have had the privilege to partake in two sports I never dreamed of being involved in, Rugby and Gaelic football (link). Even going as far as to represent Kuwait in a tournament held in Dubai in the latter.

I blog because I have been in Kuwait for 25 years, born and raised, and feel I have a certain calling towards being a writer, that I hope to explore through my blog.

I participated on Kuwait Exposed, I participate actively on the Kuwait forum on Expat Blog, a participation that has lead to me being given the title of Kuwait Animator. Expat Blog is a place for expats, both current and hopeful, to ask questions and get answers from other expats. Whether it be on such items as rent, finding an apartment, purchasing a vehicle, or the latest social events. Feel free to check the website for yourself and see my contribution. I do not sing my own praise.

The reason politics is not discussed on blogs is because politics is a red line that none dare cross and rightfully so. Expats will not voice their opinions on Kuwaiti politics, a) because they do not vote and that will never change, b) because they can face deportation. The Ministry monitors social media for signs of dissidence. And it is their right. I discussed politics on iBlooogle, I discussed the rising oppression against Islam and Muslims (here).

I use my blog as a means to show the positive, as well as some negative, aspects of society, without insulting anyone. So far, I enjoy writing articles of praise when I receive good customer service, such as my posts previously for Pizza2Go (here), The Commercial Bank of Kuwait (here) and Pizza Hut (here).

Through my blog, I was introduced to a wonderful individual with similar interests as my own. It is my aspiration to get the people of Kuwait to partake actively in sports, hence my Q8 Foot Soldiers Initiative (link) and she, Rabaa Al Hajeri,  (link) embodies that, being co-founder of The 3 Club. It was a misunderstanding that I voiced on my blog (here) that lead to our introduction, and my subsequent retraction and praise (out of my own accord, not due to her request, she was very sweet about it).

Also, it gave me the opportunity to train for the 21K run with Kuwaits Running warrior (here), Yousef Al Qanai (here).

In summary, I love blogging.

At the end of the debate, signaled abruptly as the hour was closing in on midnight, it was suggested that the bloggers take a commemorative picture outside. That plan never materialized.

My Signature

My Signature in Bloggers Gathering's Guestbook notice the use of the national colors, Red, Green and Black with a white page, don't say I am not patriotic!

To the organizers of Bloggers Gathering, any event is meant to pass through turbulence. This time, I was the victim of a cruel joke, as my eagerness and happiness to take part were shattered when the debate came and went, and I remained as an observer in the audience. All those thoughts I had been formulating were laid to waste as a result of a misplaced call at the stroke of midnight earlier this week.

In the end, the evening concluded with a nice buffet, and I voiced my indignation to them personally through their guest book, and now publicly through this post.

Bloggers Gathering is a step in the right direction, but if the rest of the events will be as mismanaged as this, then forgive me for saying I shall not be a part of this gathering once more, for my feelings and emotions are not a play thing for you to toy with.

I am well aware that today the blogosphere will be abuzz with news on yesterdays Ghabka, everyone will be eager to sing praise to Bloggers Gathering. I shall be the single salmon swimming upstream against the current and voicing a nonbiased opinion on the matter.

 

It is not part of my repertoire to write rants, however I feel this is worthy of being the single exception.

Signed, a Dissatisfied Blogger.

 

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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