Category Archives: Awareness

Being a woman sucks…

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not degrading, i’m empathizing!

It sucks being a woman trying to join a gym in Kuwait – for example, if you haven’t noticed, there are gyms on *ALMOST* every street corner in Kuwait. Some are what I refer to as “sweat lodges”, an underground haven for muscle-bound monstrosities where an annual membership can run you as low as KD35 (FOR TWO PEOPLE!).

As you can probably guess, these sweat lodges are exclusively “male-only”.

Said sweat lodges are not the norm, so consider that as just “Extra info”.

Mosey on to Kuwait-gyms.com (link) and you find that an annual membership for a male-only gym can be purchased for as little as 150KD a year.

Women, on the other hand, are dealt the short end of the stick. According to the latest population statistics (yes this took a fair bit of searching coz I like to be thorough with my articles – here), women represent around 38% of the population of Kuwait, and due to this “minority representation”, they are charged an extra KD 100 for their gym memberships, where they start at 250KD.

What makes matters worse is that not all “decent” gyms are represented on kuwait-gyms. I personally know of a male gym that runs you 120KD a year that isn’t on the list. The point this, these “off-sheet” gyms are also few and far between for women, if not entirely non-existent.

The pink tax… It’s real.

Sorry ladies.

How to add your son as a dependent born abroad in Kuwait in 8 steps

Belated Happy Father’s Day to all dad’s out there.

In keeping up with tradition, i’ll write a BRIEF about the requirements to add your son as a dependent, if your son was born abroad and came into Kuwait on a visit visa.

Step 1: request your company to type up a request to add son as dependent.

You will also need the following documents:

  1. Work Permit – also available with your company mandoubs.
  2. Original entry visa + copy.
  3. Civil ID copy both you and your wife.
  4. Passport copy both you and your wife.
  5. Passport original + copy for your child.
  6. Attested and translated (if required) marriage certificate.
  7. Attested and translated (if required) birth certificate for child. (FYI: Translation is about 3KD per page and takes at least one day to complete).

Bundle all these papers together and head out to your local residency area; Hawally used to be the roundabout near City Center Salmiya, but has since moved to Mishref. So you head over there first.

Step 2: go EARLY. During Ramadan they started work officially at 10AM, however we had to queue up at 8:00AM to get a number to submit our documents. If you show up at 10, you won’t be given a number, and you’ll to come back tomorrow. They start taking in applications by the 10’s, and early, so they start before 10AM.

Step 3: once you get to the counter, the guy will stamp “sponsor came in person” and “to be raised to head of reception”, you’ll find a sign that says Head of Reception, go there with your documents, he’ll stamp “no objection” for you.

Head back to the counter that sent you there in the first place, he’ll take a closer look at your papers and give you another stamp and a signature. He’ll also ask what number child this is, fees for first child are 100KD.

Next you head inside and take a number for “computer processing حاسب الي”.

Step 4: once your number is up, present your documents, do not make my mistake and take a number for new borns, that is a whole other different thing.

So, you present your docs, they’ll print a paper for you with your child’s unified number. At the same time, a request is processed for you to get a civil ID number.

go to the PACI website after two days and check if the civil ID number is issued. Once the civil ID number is issued, write it down and head to the Health office (Behind Mubarak Hospital in Jabriya) to pay 31KD for health insurance. KEEP THIS DOCUMENT SAFE! YOU WILL NEED IT FOR RESIDENCY.

They will give you the grey card as well.

Step 5: head to any printing shop and ask for the health check document, they’ll type it up in your child’s name. Take that sheet and head back to Mishref.

Remember the head of Reception? Go back and see him again, ask him to stand that document for you, he will. You don’t need to go early, later during the day, the crowd requiring his attention will have thinned.

Step 6: take that stamped paper and head towards route 85, right across from the NBK branch there you will find a place called “ports – موانئ”, where you will take this document, along with a copy of your civil ID, a copy of your child’s visitor visa, a copy of your child’s passport and the original.

Here you will need to pay 10KD to buy a stamp.

Once your number is called, present your documents, along with the original passport – they’ll stick the stamp inside and stamp it, then send you to room 8. at room 8 they’ll ask for your child’s age, if they are under 2 months old, you are good to go and skip to the next step.

If they are over two months, they will print a document for you to take to your local clinic – مستوصف where your child received their vaccination. If the child was vaccinated, go there, go straight to the vaccination folks, give them the paper, they’ll sign it (re. CHILD MUST HAVE BEEN VACCINATED) and send you to another office for a stamp.

Step 7: take that paper, stamped by the clinic or if you skipped here because your child is under two months, head to room 4, which is basically the window in the corner of the room where you presented your documents, right behind the stamp machines. Give them the papers, they’ll then take them, thank you and say head back to Mishref for the final fight with the dragon.

Step 8: show up early, between 9:30 and 10. Immediately take a number for 1) Payment and 2) Residency.

go pay the required amount in CASH despite the sign outside saying KNET, crazy I know. you’ll get a receipt, now sit and wait, watch the numbers role.

When your number is up, head to the counter, present your documents along with the paper you got from paying the 31KD for the medical insurance, smile, go outside.

After a while a cop will come out calling names, receive your passport, check residency, check expiry, smile, leave.

 

#Howto #Kuwait – Check whether someone is in Kuwait or Abroad

It has been a long time since our last post, a lot has happened since then; I’ve run several races, gone several places and enjoyed the addition of a new member to our Family (more on that, and him, later).

Off the bat, THIS IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION WEBSITE! What we do here is offer our opinion on certain things, that should not be taken seriously! Now that that is out of the way, let’s get down to it.

Kuwait is a business center – people here are either studying or working, or the grey area in between. Often times, we find ourselves wanting to know more, and the official way to get that information is long and tedious.

How can you tell if someone is in Kuwait or abroad? Suppose you have someone on your sponsorship and they ran away, if they commit any crime, it’s on your head, if they are abroad, it may be difficult to cancel their residency unless you know they are in the country.

So how do you do it? If you ask the people in charge, they’ll say you need to send a mandoub to some Ministry to get a statement of movement of the person, which requires time, lots of it.

Simply, you use this following trick:

(for the following trick you will require the civil ID number of the person in question)

Step 1:

Go to the MOI website (where you check for your driving licence fines)

Step 2:

Click on e-services link

Step 3:

Click on “Violation and Fees Payment Gateway” (link – may not work directly, you’ll need to follow the steps above)

Step 4:

click on “traffic” and enter the CID of the person in question, regardless of whether they drive or not.

Proceed with the search, this will be useful for one piece of information only; the unified number.

Copy it, and click on “new searc” (or go back to step 3, but this time, click on “immigration” for the search (not traffic like step 4)

Step 5:

Enter the number you copied into the search window.

Step 6:

For the next act, you will need someone that reads Arabic, or use Google translate (translate the writing in green). There are three options; either there will be a sentence written stating that “the person is clean” (this means they are IN the country), or “the person is outside the country”, or “the person has the following residency fines”.

And there you have it, you can now tell who is where, and proceed accordingly.

Update: The complete unprofessionalism of @BankBoubyan social media handler

The first law of Customer Service: The customer is ALWAYS right.

However, it would seem the CSR agent in charge of Boubyan Bank’s social media account (on Twitter) was absent the day they taught that class.

Here is an article I wrote 5 years ago regarding CSR at another bank in Kuwait, The Commercial Bank (link) entitled “Customer service, The Commercial Bank of Kuwait has it right!”. So you know I am not specifically targeting Boubyan Bank, I am merely a dissatisfied potential customer voicing my indignation.

How does Boubyan Bank choose to respond?

@KFHgroup @Gulf_bank @warbabank @NBKpage @AltijariCBK

When I tried to respond to that tweet today, I found out it was deleted.

Shame on you for responding on behalf of a corporation with the wherewithal of an infant.

Where to find Kuw-pons in Kuwait

The concept of “coupon cutting” is foreign to Kuwait, however, the practice of obtaining coupons is much easier than you think.

I for one am plagued with the conundrum of – I want to buy, but I don’t want to pay that price. Especially when it comes to food. As a child I always wondered why on earth a pizza costs so much, even though the components are so cheap. Until I understood overhead and cost allocation (much later on in life). When I learnt of Goodwill (not the charity, or the movie, rather the intangible asset) I flipped – we’re being charged extra because a restaurant is famous?!

Well guess what? Coupons are in fact available in Kuwait – and much easier to attain than the manual labor intensive process of coupon cutting! All you need to do is head on over to Sheeel.com and voila! Almost a new deal every day, specifically gastrointestinal!

Now, fair warning – MAKE SURE YOU READ THE TERMS! Some restaurants require advance reservation if you are to use coupons, others do not deliver to all areas of Kuwait, the rest might not have Dine-in facilities. Some restrict the number of coupons you can use per visit.

All-in-all, it is a good way to enjoy a great meal at a fraction of the cost.

What’s not to love?

Kuwait vs. GCC in terms of inflation and salary

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As you can see from the info above, the net effect of inflation offset by salary increase in the private sector is the lowest in Kuwait, due to the fact that the inflation rate is second highest in Kuwait.

It’s going to be a tough year.

Dear Smokers – Stay Out

I’m no Wolverine, but my sense of smell is quite uncanny.

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Yesterday, whilst partaking in a leisurely run around the local park, I noticed the following occurrences:

  1. A smoker dressed in sports clothes, puffing away at his cancer stick whilst walking around the park.
  2. A smoker puffing away on his cancer stick besides the park.

What do these two have in common? They both stink.

Contrary to popular belief, cigarette smoke does not smell good. It does not smell good hanging in the air, it does not smell good landing on furniture, it does not smell good on your clothes. Period. In fact, one of the worst stenches in existence is smoke + cologne, a killer combination.

Getting back to the topic at hand – cigarette smoke smells bad. It lingers.

Short of the government passing a law banning smoking in all public spaces, we’re stuck with having to share spaces with these self-destructing humans.

How about a live and let live policy?

Sustainable Youth Initiative Feb 2016 – The Montage

We hope everyone had as much fun attending as we did organizing, and we had A LOT of fun Organizing!

Sustainable Youth Kuwait Community 5KM Team Run Review

At first people were skeptical, how could this event be free? What was the catch? Are the medals for everyone or just the top 3? Last 3? What is going on here?!

Yesterday marked the first time I ever took part with a group to organize a race, under the banner of Sustainable Youth.

Sustainable Youth is meant to highlight the fact that our own youth is in our hands; by living a life of activity, we can remain forever young. And that is what was most prevalent yesterday; looking around the participants, seeing happy faces, young and old, veteran runners and newbies, all united in their quest to have a great time.

Our goal was simple; the race would not be won by the first person crossing the finish line, rather by the last. For each participant crossing the finish line earned their team points, if teams were unequally distributed in terms of numbers, the age-old mathematical trick of cross-multiplication helped to level the playing field.

#SYQ8 #4forfitness #raiseawareness #Kuwait #healthy #physical #active #sports #Fitness #exercise #foreverfitq8 #freefitness #Running #Mindovermatter #yourhealthmatters #healthyq8 #tiretodaybettertomorrow #buildothersup #4awareness #4teams4health

Team GreenIsMean! 

As an organizer, I was proud of the event we put together on such short notice, we had around 4 weeks from the time our project was approved by En.v to the time we had to implement the event, at that time I had managed to get 50 people to sign up and be interested in the event, of course it was no walk in the park from there.

Registrations, confirmations, cancellations, requested affiliations, suffice to say I lost a few friends along the way, but I ended up making MORE FRIENDS than i’d lost, so all-in-all, it was quite rewarding.

#SYQ8 #4forfitness #raiseawareness #Kuwait #healthy #physical #active #sports #Fitness #exercise #foreverfitq8 #freefitness #Running #Mindovermatter #yourhealthmatters #healthyq8 #tiretodaybettertomorrow #buildothersup #4awareness #4teams4health

The Yellow Sparows! (gentleman in the top right was a last second addition, who drove by after the race had started, got out of his car, asked to be signed up, got back in his car, drove to park it, then ran the race and to the finish line – which is as you recall, THE ORIGINAL STORY BEHIND OUR VIDEO!”

The email we had made for the event had a problem; Google refused to let us send out bulk BCC emails, so I had to rely on my personal email for that, with around 14 different threads and 100 conversations or so.

Participants: We had 112 participants show up, out of a total of 156 we had heard back from. 72% attendance.

Food: in excess.

Giveaways: plenty remained, everyone was accommodated.

On race-day some people showed up that were neither registered or waiting list, we took them in as well.

We recruited the registered runners to help us out behind the table, special mention goes to everyone that stepped up and helped make this event a success.

It has been referred to as the M&M’s run, and the Skittles run. And we love the names!

The first four to cross the finish line, surprisingly, were one from each of the 4 teams! Red finished first, however as we said from the beginning, it was never about who finishes first, but this just goes to prove how equally the teams were distributed!

Now, I must step outside my role as organizer and critique the run I organized, as I have made a reputation of doing:

Cons:

1- Demarcations were not clear

When I arrived at 7:30AM that day, I had one mission in addition to organizing, demarcating the path – I’d printed papers to stick up along the path, to make the race a series of 500M runs. The day was very windy and the papers were quite flimsy. After I got to Salwa Al-Sabah hall and turned around (2KM & 3KM markers) I was putting up the before last marker (4KM, at the Sultan Al Jazeera area) when security showed up. Now security along the path belong to Marina, and we’re hosting the event at the Scientific Center ON Marina’s walking path. So of course they required authorizations, paperwork, approvals etc. Which we did not have from Marina. Fortunately, they let it slide and even gave me a ride for 500M in their electric car.

(props to @thescarletzeaster for being my executive manager and handling all phone calls as I went for a run!)

2- The start line was chaotic

We apologize profusely to Tami590 for her injury, which was as a result of OUR oversight, in that the start line was LONG, and the two poles in the middle were unseen by the people in the back as they began their run, so we sincerely apologize for that oversight.

3- No music

Planning the event on a frugal budget and having our mind focused entirely on the run made us miss entertainment, however we sincerely hope that the antics of @mradamantine made up for it!

4- Finish line banner placed on floor

Runners favorite moment is running through the finish line, however the one we had made was quite heavy, and was presenting a challenge both hold up and run through, so we decided to put it on the ground and have people run over it instead.

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Team Red Rage!

5- Everyone was running back

Initially we had communicated to our participants that only captains and co-captains would run back, however, when we saw that everyone was motivating everyone to run back, and that we had plenty of eyes at the finish line to tell us who had crossed before and who hadn’t to ensure no extra points were given by mistake, we decided to allow the people to motivate everyone!

What was beyond amazing was how everyone rose to the opportunity and motivated their team, not just caps & co-caps.

6- No ambulance

We contacted the MOH, they approved our request, an ambulance WAS supposed to come, however, nothing. We also contacted the MOI and got police approval, as well as the governor of Hawally to gather a crowd together, and yet no police came.

Pro’s:

1- as far as first events go, this was not that bad!

2- we reached out goal of motivating people to motivate others, which was something one of the mentors at En.v was skeptical we would achieve. I remember clearly he kept saying, you are assuming. What he failed to realize however was that in my core, I am a runner, and I KNOW how runners are. We’re the people who are over-eager and always happy to help strangers, we give advice when needed and remain silent when needed. We show support by running shoulder to shoulder with strangers and motivating them to reach their potential.

3- M&M’s and Skittles, the shirts were mutli-colored, the people were as different as you could imagine. Older, younger, faster, slower, smaller, bigger – but it wasn’t in how different we all were, as opposed to reflective we were of each other’s spirit – that of sustainable youth. Running is one sport where you can be as competitive as you want or as friendly as you want, there are two extremely and a million places in between where you can land.

4- Everyone was happy, no one was competitive, everyone was co-operative. Your individual finishing time did not matter, what mattered was your team’s collective finishing points, and guess what? we had points going up to 55 minutes, but EVERYONE was done by about 48 minutes, which is no small feat!

5- the t-shirts came out looking awesome, the logo was awesome, the medals were awesome, the trophies were awesome, the recipients who were captains were flabbergasted (especially our most influential runner who was not even paying attention to the guy on the mic as he sang him praise!).

What happens now?

If you think this is the end, you’re thoroughly mistaken. I saw the amount of fun people had, and save for one individual who had something negative to say about the race, we aim to ensure everyone is this happy again.

Our first time was free as it was completely funded by En.v, we plan to see where we can go from here, knowing full well the pricing of standard races in Kuwait.

The hope now is to find a sponsor willing to put their name on this project and write it off under Corporate Social Responsibility, now comes the difficult part of writing it up and pitching it, so if you know anyone that might be interested, please do send us their details.

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The winner’s and inaugural champions – Les Bleus!

Thank you to everyone that contributed to making this event a success.

Special mention goes to the wives of runners, who prove that behind every great runner there is a great wife that sacrifices and volunteers to help the common goal be reached, we were fortunate to meet two such lovely ladies (3 including my wife).

#SYQ8 #4forfitness #raiseawareness #Kuwait #healthy #physical #active #sports #Fitness #exercise #foreverfitq8 #freefitness #Running #Mindovermatter #yourhealthmatters #healthyq8 #tiretodaybettertomorrow #buildothersup #4awareness #4teams4health

The champions!

Instagram – The Selfish Kid on the Social Playground

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Once upon a time, I remember waking up and suddenly finding a flood of “memes” on my Facebook page.

Soon after, all social media seemed to integrate, with overlaps all over the cyberverse. Click a link on Facebook and it transfers you to Twitter, and vice versa. And then there was Instagram.

And people thought it was good. Share pictures, write essays, use hashtags. It was a golden age.

Until we realize that Instagram is a very, very, very selfish app.

Unlike its peers, Instagram, or Insta as the cool kids are calling it these days, does not allow you to embed links, anywhere, except on your profile as “your website”, you try to enter a link in the description or comments on a photo, nothing happens. No blue font, no blue underline, seriously, it’s like someone killed the Smurfs.

Ergo, this leads me to conclude that in terms of a call-to-action app, Insta is thoroughly lacking.

Case-in-point, I am attempting to organize an event for next year, I did my due diligence, gathered data, created a registration survey, people signed up when asked via email or Facebook, however, on Insta, despite several reposts and “likes” on those reposts, nothing materialized in terms of new registrants for the event (free) or even likes on the events FB page.

The most people are willing to do on Insta is double tap the screen, other than that, it’s an instant waste of time.

For more information on our event, please click here

We are a group of socially active global citizens in Kuwait hoping to raise the awareness of the masses to embrace a more active lifestyle, and hopefully inspire them to in turn motivate others to take the “Sustainable Youth Pledge”, a document that will be circulated soon representing a promise from you to yourself to become more physically active, and what better time than at the turn of the New Year, Resolution season?!

This is our project, which will culminate in a never-been-done-before kind of run in Kuwait. The timing of which will hopefully be within the first quarter of 2016.
So sign up to participate in our campaign to raise awareness regarding the link between Mental & Physical health, community integration and fostering of global citizenry. Spaces are limited, sign up now!

To take part, please click here

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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