Category Archives: Living

#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.

Review of Sustainable Youth Team Relay Run – Jun 16

As with any fledgling concept, there is always bound to be a few “snags” along the path towards a perfect event. This time we were no strangers to the problems, however, we’ll line up how we plan to tackle them in the future.

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Since day one we’ve been a provider of low-tech races. Our registration process seems to confuse people so let us break it down first before we get into the review:

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  1. You read about our event and are interested to attend, you are given a link to fill a registration form on survey monkey.
  2. We receive your information, through excel magic, we take the data and put it into tabular form.
  3. We send out a confirmation email asking people to confirm their attendance.
  4. People respond and confirm, we start assigning them to teams, again through excel and filters on age, gender and level of activity.
  5. We send out an email to the teams confirming their colors and getting the captains involved in motivating their teams.

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The problem is, people don’t check their emails often, much to my chagrin. I have 5 emails synced to my phone simultaneously, and some people cannot manage one.

What happens is they sign up, but don’t confirm in time, by the time they confirm, i’ve already assigned teams and they’re even, and we’re out of space.

Then those that confirmed and got assigned to team’s don’t show up…

Without further ado, let’s start with the cons:

  1. Did not start on time. People signed up, confirmed, got assigned to teams, and did not show up. Whats more, one individual who signed up informed me he needed a visa to come to Kuwait, at 1:30PM (race was at 10PM). People kept arriving late despite us requesting them to be there by 9:20PM.
  2. Time lost explaining concept. Despite having captains, several of the “casual joiners” who happened across our multicolored starting point wanted to participate, seeing as we had ample t-shirts available, and in line with our slogan of sports for all and all for sports, we let them in. Language barrier and sports barrier aside, they made for some excellent additions, specifically the veiled mother and her daughters and son, despite her daughter pulling out, the mother ran the race. Next time, we’ll make a roll-up banner explaining the race concept in two languages.
  3. Cotton T-shirts. I know, I know! Cotton t-shirts and runs do not mix! However, we don’t have the funding to get the t-shirts from abroad and store them until such time we have an event, so we need to get them locally, and dry-fit t-shirts are not readily available locally.
  4. Food shortage. Given that it was Ramadan we had hoped to provide people with a meal after the race, we were just short of 120 participants, and we’d ordered 150 meals. However, some people did not find meals at the end. suggested remedy – food for runners only. Runners were given wristbands for the race, at the end of the race, swap wrist band for meal. No band, no meal.
  5. Lack of coverage. Given that we are a very small outfit (only two organizers were responsible for getting the race up and running), we don’t have a camera person readily available. The timing also made it difficult to get people in addition to the short-notice-ness of the event – were asked to plan and execute in a very short period of time. Next time, i’ll invest in a camera myself and start taking pictures. However, despite this, we still managed to get some awesome shots courtesy of the super talented JCPQ8 (instagram) and the video by the awesome Baher Jaberi (link).
  6. Directions were not clear. We assumed when we said the Oredoo playground at Mishref Pedestrian walkway that people would know exactly where. Our bad. Next time, we posting the exact location on instagram.
  7. No medical attention. Trust me when I say, communicating with the concerned authorities is a hassle. Despite having MOH approval for our last race, no ambulance showed up. Same case this time. We apologize profusely to those that were injured during the run and hope you recover soon!
  8. Small stage. When we first envisioned this endeavor, we planned to MC from the stage, then later we added the idea of contests, however the size of the stage could not accommodate all willing participants. Remedy, bigger stage next time around.

Pro’s:

  1. First of its kind. The comments on instagram continue to bring a smile to my face, people actually enjoyed the event immensely, including the injured folk!
  2. In-tune with concept. When we first started, we wanted a race that was different that could be enjoyed by all. Looking at the pictures from the event, everyone enjoyed themselves, whether they were built as sprinters or not.
  3. Party so hard it was stopped by the police. ‘Nuff said.
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Lady in the black veil

The lady in the black veil is my new hero. She showed up at the event with her daughters and son and they all wanted to run. When the race started, one of her daughters opted to not run thinking its too hard. Not mom tho. She went for it. And everyone cheered. And that is the point behind SYQ8, there’s no cookie-cutter for runners, we come from all walks of life.

The Dubai Visit Visa – Still stuck in limbo @moiuae

When it comes to innovation, the UAE has “almost” become syonymous with the word.

From the tallest building in the world, to the numerous applaud worthy apps made by the MOI to ease citizens and residents minds when it comes to getting into accidents etc. They’re even thisclose to greenlighting drone health technology.

But almost does not get the job done.

For the past year and a bit, the UAE has been struggling with trying to keep up with the growing tourism that has resulted from their position as a global, cultural capital of the world. Everyone is going to Dubai, from Hollywood film stars to Japanese drone tourists.

Also contributing to the UAE’s tourism are GCC Residents in the Middle East. Back in 2012 the system was simple – depending on your title in your residency you were given visa-on-arrival. The Emirati’s decided to upgrade this system and have attempted to kick start an evisa, the likes of Turkey. However, in this regard, the UAE has failed miserably.

In October 2015 it was said that the move from visa-on-arrival to evisa was to permanent. However the website simply failed to function as intended. Many people were left in limbo, having applied for evisas and not receiving them in time (the UAE evisa takes 3-7 days, the Turkish evisa takes 2hrs).

Fastforward to 29 April 2016, all flight operators to UAE are informed that visa on arrival is cancelled, and everyone should apply for an evisa. Again, the system fails. Specifically, when filling out the details requested, you cannot get past the “designation”, which is supposed to function as an autocomplete entry, whereby you enter the details, it shows up on their system and you select it (A drop down menu would be much easier).

Now I have tried to apply for the visa countless times, I can even tell you that you cannot “proceed as guest” and submit a visa request, you HAVE to sign up to submit a request. On Chrome and Firefox, everything works fine up to the designation. On internet explorer, which unfortunately remains the go-to explorer for all governmental entities, the page refuses to load.

The website in question is GDRFA.AE

Now to go to Dubai you are left with one option – book through flydubai, who charge 30KD for the visa (online it is around 20, if the website works, which it doesn’t).

Further making matters worse; the embassy does not process visas, nor are they capable of solving the website dilemma.

Stuck between a rock, and Dubai.

Flipping the Bird in Kuwait

More often than not, we’ll find ourselves on the receiving end of a one finger salute, a flipping of the bird, a middle finger…

TJ-Lane-finger-censored_20130319123712_640_480

When driving back home, I make sure to let any offender know exactly what I think of them (especially on crowded streets) should they have the misfortune of transgressing upon me.

Here however, I keep my windows rolled up and my fingers inside the car, so as to avoid landing on the wrong side of the law should the insultee take offence and attempt to press charges.

Believe it or not, insulting someone whilst driving is a punishable offence. It happened to me today (I refuse to call it Karma) and I did what any warm blooded person would do, I noted the car licence plate number and decided to attempt to press charges.

Went to the closest police station (walking distance) and recounted my terrible ordeal to the police officer, who asked me to wait for the Station Officer, who was not there. So I waited a little while then left, and returned later, adamant to see justice run its course.

The shift had changed and a friendly officer was seated at reception. I recounted my ordeal to him. His first reaction was to find out exactly where it occurred, so as to slide me off to a different police station (jurisdiction) but when I insisted he had it wrong, he told me that I could press charges, then a case would be filed, and I would have to go back and recount what happened, and they’d call the transgressor in for questioning, at which point he could say that it was in fact I who had done that to him!

I asked what he would do if he were in my place, he said if he were not in his uniform, he’d just ignore it and move on.

So I took a page out of his playbook and decided to let this matter go.

A word of warning though the owner of the vehicle with the registration 10-79134

الحياة خيارة، يوم في يدك، ويوم،،،،

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(Do not attempt translation with Google – instead, ask you nearest Arabic speaking friend to explain)

Award for Most racist bank in Kuwait goes to @BankBoubyan

The world of banking is quite fickle; in Kuwait, it is extremely fickle. As an employee, you cannot receive a salary without having a bank account, so everyone is aware of every banks requirements.

As an NBK Customer, I quite enjoy their services, their locations and most importantly their online banking.

That being said I like to live by the advice of Warren Buffett, “Do not spend then save, save then spend”, I do so by having a secondary bank account to which I transfer monthly savings in order to prevent myself (or my wife) from spending them. I usually opt for savings accounts to see a meager return on these savings.

I’ve tried several banks in Kuwait, most notably The Commercial Bank, Gulf Bank and Ahli United Bank.

Never have I ever in my life been told that I need “Branch Manager Permission” to open a savings account, except at Boubyan Bank. Their reasoning? It is only for Kuwaiti’s.

Now this is not my first rodeo, I checked the banks website to find the following:

Not only are they racist but sexist too, Males only?

Granted, their premium account is geared for Kuwaiti’s only. It says so right there in black and white in the conditions. However the page for the savings account simply states the following:

racist bank 2

Do my eyes deceive me or does that clearly read “individuals only” as in not corporations/companies?

When I visited the branch and was informed of this, I thought for sure the employee must be joking, but the serious look on his face made it apparent he’d never laughed a day in his life, and so I gave their customer service a call only to be informed that yes, it is also only for Kuwaitis and that it is up to the Branch Manager to decide.

Think about it. This is a SAVINGS ACCOUNT. They are effectively telling you, your money is no good to us, based on where you come from.

What is the logic behind this? God knows.

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed in this post is the writers own personal opinion and no other. This website does not offer any form of advice to anyone. It is simply a means for the author to write their personal view on their day-to-day dealings. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. mybloogle.com makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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.

“Let it Rot” campaign against fishmongers a success in Kuwait

Kuwait is made up of a multitude of people of different nationalities, creeds, religions etc.

What happens when all these people decide to unite and say, “enough is enough”?

Well, their demands are met.

Case-in-point, last week a friend sent me a message regarding an initiative that was taking place in Kuwait entitled “let it rot” in response to fishmongers ridiculous rise in prices of their wares.

This message was sent via Whatsapp, it was mostly in Arabic detailing the prices of the fish per kilo etc. and how they were exorbitant. The plan was simple, for one week, everyone refuse to buy fish until appropriate remedial action is taken. Given the article posted on Arab Times (link) the campaign was a success, “The first positive result of the campaign was seen when the price of Zubaidi fish dropped from KD 15 per kilogram to less than KD 5”:

let it rot

Now how about a similar campaign for rents?

@Cinescapeq8 and the Family Seating Fiasco

The cinema is a wonderful place to be; so many movies have an added taste when viewed on the big screen.

However, thanks to the archaic laws of Cinescape Kuwait (KNCC), the art of enjoyment is thoroughly lacking.

I am talking about their segregated seating policy.

Don’t get me wrong; I am aware we are in a Muslim country that dictates certain decorum, however, in its essence, this rule is outdated at best.

However, assuming that families really do want their privacy, IT SHOULD NOT BE FROM OTHER FAMILIES!

Case in point, yesterday I decided to take my wife to the movies, as always I book my tickets in advance to select my seat and save me a buttload of hassle. Having been going to the cinema as a bachelor for a long time I felt a sense of entitlement to finally book seats in the family section. That would not transpire however because of this:

stupidity of cinescape

 

“You must have atleast two vacant seats beside your seat in the family section”

what kind of stupid, moronic rule is that?! As you can see, there is a stalemate in the family section in this particular screen because once you select the middle seats, the entire row is closed off. If that is the case, and the entire point of the family section is to allow ONE FAMILY (of 2) to occupy an entire row all unto themselves, then by all means, go ahead and keep the stupid rule.

However, if your aim is to sell tickets, then this is by far the most detrimentally moronic rule I have ever come across, and I know a thing or two about moronic rules.

Many a time, actually, every time I try to book a ticket since I became a “family man”, I have been forced to select seats in the bachelor section, due largely in part to the stupidity of the rule above whereby my selection of seating would be extremely limited.

Not saying that there is anything wrong with sitting with bachelors, however, families tend to be quieter.

KNCC really need to get their act together and update this rule.

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.

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