Thursday, March 31, 2011

From Today's Headlines

Nothing New
‘Kuwait human rights situation deteriorated drastically in 2010’
Situation of Bedouns remain same: KHRS

The society also highlighted the fact that the situation of Bedouns has remained the same, despite the establishment of a new agency to handle their affairs under the direct supervision of the Cabinet. The Central System for Remedying the Status of Illegal Residents (CSRSIR), headed by former lawmaker Saleh Yousef Al-Fadhalah, studied Bedoun files in 2010 (DG: "file 13") and agreed on the need to find lasting solutions to the problems of these people. Due to its recommendations, the concerned authorities have stepped up efforts to close the Bedoun file in the next five years.

Diplomacy 101:  Wife Beating
Kuwaiti ambassador absolved in wife bashing

KUWAIT CITY, March 30: The Court of Appeals upheld an earlier verdict and refrained from punishing a Kuwaiti ambassador accused of hitting his wife. (DG:  WHYYYY??  What message does that send to the rest of the world?)  The woman is said to have suffered permanent disability as a result of the beating.

According to the Public Prosecution, the ambassador who was based in South America allegedly slapped the wife and damaged her eardrum after the woman confronted him on his relationship with other women, and he got furious.

- - -
Is this what they're teaching in Kuwait diplomatic school?

It is HER fault for asking about his affairs!  How DARE she!

Poor woman.  I hope she has some super glue, a power drill, some duct tape, and a shovel... that's how I roll....  There's a lot more things you can do when the enemy is sleeping next to you in bed at night (or eating what you're serving for dinner... yummm chopped cat whiskers).    South America.. I'm thinkin' low-cost mercenaries...snakes in a limo...home of the machete...voodoo....1001 types of untraceable poison....

This has nothing to do with my previous paragraph... really....

I helped a Kuwaiti woman years ago in Virginia whose husband was repeatedly beating her, bringing home STDs from his adulterous affairs, and terrorizing their children in drunken rages.  She didn't know about domestic abuse hotlines, restraining orders, local police response times, and people who wanted to help;  I introduced her to a whole new world.  Fortunately for her, he had put the reaaaaally nice house they owned in her name.  Her kids decided to stay with mom in the States and continue their education.  When he confronted them, their response was "We were born in America. We're American. We're staying." 

Here's my philosophy:  Keep it in your pants or get a divorce.

...and I am going to reserve my opinion on polygamy for now cause I don't feel like getting into that discussion.... from my personal experience, it don't work out so good.  Equal is never equal.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Whatup OSN?

Is it just me or does OSN's programming suck all of a sudden?  Where have all the series gone?  Where is all the good programming?

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz  BO-RING!

I went through all that trouble to get a stupid new decoder with Dumb & Dumber technicians for this??  Dayam, I hope the bootleg decoder industry catches up and soon.  Even KTV is looking better right now.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sandstorms and Flu and Puppies oh my!

I love this video.  "Oh my Gowd!  Gowd nose...."

I completely slept through most of the sandstorm.  I got wacked with the flu-stick but bad (sorry I couldn't make it to your chalet, Sheikha Girl - I was looking forward to it)  and my only salvation were the 2 bottles of Nyquil that Stella brought me from the base (God Bless You, Stella!!!).  So...I'm sitting on my (then white) sofa with Desert Dawg (who takes care of me when I'm sick)  in an inebriated semi-coma when I turn my attention to the smoke rising from my kitchen.  What tha fuuuuuuuuuuu????  Did I leave something on the stove - again? (My mother has always warned me that I would start a fire someday.)  The wind was blowing and it sounded like Dorothy was out in the twistah.  Oh yeah, now I remember where I am... it's dust.  Dayam.  Time to get off the sofa and go wet down towels to stuff under the door frames (yeah, similar to what  you would do in a fire - as the dust is smoke-fine) and get out the duct tape to cover the sides of the window frames (because ab-so-lutely nothing in this country is built to any kind of code and there are gaping holes between the wall and the window frames).  Crap.  And I was enjoying my Nyquil buzz.

About the same time, The Romanian (who has received news from the North) sends me an SMS saying, "Big storm coming."  In Kuwait, you really don't know what kind of storm to expect.  Hail?  Rain?  Sand? Political?  Name that storm.

This one was the worst in about 8 years.  I remember being out in one way back before contractors came to Kuwait.  It was at night and we were driving somewhere; you couldn't see over the hood of the car (that's "bonnet" in Briddish).

Anyhoo, I went to sleep and slept through it.  I woke to a gnarley brown mess on my floor, my kitchen... I couldn't deal.  Called in my "Facilities Manager" (aka my maid) who swept in with a vengeance and cleaned everything.  She's like my (not so) White Tornado.  Between her and the Bengali street sweeper guy who I pay to clean my terrace, they were like a cleaning dynamo.

I HAD to go to Wafra yesterday.  I felt like poop warmed over, but I had to.  There was no other time to do it and I promised to take a donation down to K'sPATH shelter during their open day (which was great by the way) while the puppies were out and while we had the opportunity for photo ops.  I promised a bunch of people including The Man kids and 3 others.  I even asked my friend for the use of his car (thanks J that was so sweet of  you), but decided at the last minute that I didn't really need it, but I did really need it after all.  Bummer.  Anyways, too much planning for me to back out, so I went.

[I'm sorry, Pretty Girl.  I didn't mean to be so mean to your driver man.  I just have this fear of losing you kids out in the desert somewhere and it made me nuts that he wouldn't keep up with us. (I freaked out losing you at the US Embassy - this was worse.) Gotta keep the convoy in line of sight and youse were nowhere to be seen. I didn't know how the weather was going to be on the way either.  However, no excuse for losing my cool and saying some not-very-nice things.]

We all made it out there okay and got to do the photo op, eat some donated sweets by the Sweet Tooth Bakery:  Shout out!   They are amazing. I must have eaten half their tray (one is never too sick for sweets, is one?).  Yummy treats like red velvet cake balls, mini cupcakes, brownies, some kind of cheesecake squares. Place orders 24 hours in advance at 9738-4393 or e-mail  What a great idea to donate and promote!  You go, girl!

[Here's a follow-on marketing idea to all the small food businesses out there:  Donate and promote to business groups like the American Business Council, Association of the US Army, British Business Forum, Canadian (can't remember their name).  These groups have large memberships (100+) with representatives from large organizations in Kuwait.  If you did the same thing (provide a box or two along with your cards/fliers) at their monthly meetings, you would be sure to get referral business.  Write to me if you need contacts and/or assistance.]

My friend, FairyGirl, and Pretty Girl spent lots of time playing with the cats. FG, there is no way your husband is going to let you have another cat; think divorce papers...

We drove home and bulldozers/dump trucks were clearing the sand dunes off the highway (306 Wafra Road).  No joke - there was that much sand blown onto the highway.  They're building a whole new township down that road (Sabah Al-Ahmad Area) and I don't know how those people are going to live there and drive down that road.  It seems crazy to me to plunk a whole new town into the middle of the desert, but hey - they did it with Vegas.

I was in bed by 7pm last night and couldn't make it to work today.  I feel guilty missing work when I'm sick (unless I really hate my job - which is notatall the case these days).  I'm also missing the first day of a training course that I really need to be in (I'm lost in the new industry).  I'll probably go get nebulized tonight at IC (I should really just buy one of those machines and nebulize myself) and be all perky come tha mornin.

Oh - I had a terrible fever dream last night.  I lost my 90 year old great-aunt in the parking lot of Macy's and left her there to fend for herself;  then, I picked up our 2 family dogs and was trying to stuff them into a toy car; then, went home and was ignoring my mother because she was being neurotic about something/everything (I actually hid from her which I would never do - and I would never ignore her regardless of how neurotic she may be); and then I was cooking stew (which was yummy) only to discover that it was our 2 dogs.  What IS that???  I hate those dreams!  Pharmaceuticals?  Je ne sais pas, mon amis. 

And on a happier note...

It's almost time for Desert Girl 29th Birthday (again) countdown.  Oh how I love this time of the year.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trippin with Style

I met one of the most stylish women a few weeks ago when The Romanian and I went to visit our interesting lawyer friend -  and I really like her.  She has been here in Kuwait working on a project for the past few months and I really wish I had met her before as she's leaving Kuwait today.  I'm just going to call her "Style".  She has great fashion sense and love her make-up and hair (she couldn't get an appointment with the fancy stylist who is renouned for great bob styles, so she went to a Sri Lankan around the corner in Salmiya and OMG - one of the best haircuts I have seen!).  She is the kind of woman you might see walking down the street in Paris, but seldom see in Kuwait.  Usually, that kind of girl comes with an attitude, but not Style.  The Romanian, our Bitch Barometer,  normally has a hard time warming up to people (she can sense a bitchy attitude from a distance of about 20 miles and then takes evasive maneuvers), but she liked Style immediately and I was very happy to see it.  They're both from Romania, but quite different people.  I think that Style is more of a child of the globe (as she says, she hasn't spent much time in Romania in the past several years.)

Within a few months, Style managed to glean a LOT of information about Kuwait:  People, culture, politics, etc.  - much more than many people I know who have lived/worked here for years. It was surprising and refreshing at the same time.  She asks a lot of sincere questions without any agenda and does it in such an exuberant way that you want to tell her more.  I'm surprised that The Romanian opened up to her so much in such a short period of time.  (In the 13 years that I have known her, I think this is a first.)

The Romanian and I took her to shop for gold last night.  We met at the Sheraton and had some giggles over coffee in the hotel lobby.  The Sheraton lobby is always good for people watching (and having people watch us).  Then we went to the always-smelly Souq Watiya to shop for gold.  Although they have the very best gold prices in town, the place smells like a combination of armpit, samoosa, and cigarette.  I can only stand it for so long.  There used to be the best little samoosa stand in town in the middle of the mall, but it is gone now, replaced by equally-as-smelly popcorn.

We decided to try Mubarakia after not having much luck at Smelly Souq Watiya.  We stopped first at my very favorite place, Malik Saj ("King of Saj") in the corner behind the mosque.  I love it there and they have the best hameesa in town.  The 3 of us ate 2 plates of shrimp hameesa, 2 plates of mixed grill, 3 salads, 3 drinks, tea and desert and it cost just over 10KD.

Style ended up buying a ring; a small reminder of her trip to Kuwait.

Last weekend, we hung out with Spanx, Butterfly, Slaperella and Style; going to Muhallab in the Palms for lunch and then to P2BK to walk off the seafood lunch. We are known at Muhallab for being a rowdy table of girls, but we were a little OTT this past weekend. The whole Team Girl loves Style and we are really going to miss her a lot.

Style, you have family here now and anytime you want to come back, we will welcome you with open arms.  Have a safe trip my friend and thank you for gracing us all with your positivity.

Bedoun Articles Birth Certificates and Terminology

Bedouns apply for ‘birth certificates’
Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, March 21:

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has started receiving birth certificate applications from Bedouns, reports Al-Seyassah daily quoting Assistant Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Abdulkareem Ja’afar.

Affirming the ministry intends to issue 40 birth certificates a day, Ja’afar said the submission of application forms will end after two weeks.  He explained the officials register applications alphabetically to ensure smooth processing. He also advised the applicants to submit copies of birth notification, security card and marriage contract. 

Ja’afar disclosed the procedure went well on the first day, except a few people who did not follow the alphabetical system.

He said the ministry will later collate the documents and send them to the central authority, which will issue birth certificates to qualified applicants.

- - - End - - -

Okay, how jacked up is this “issue birth certificates to qualified applicants”.  Qualified for what?  To be born??   WTF.  Yet another example of why the Bedoun issue needs to be resolved.  They can’t even get birth certificates and need to be QUALIFIED to get one.  You can’t get a piece of paper saying where and when you were BORN?  PA-phuckin-THETIC.

And what if someone doesn’t follow the alphabetical system?  Are they disqualified?

And Arab Times - WTF is up with the apostrophes????

Kuwait Times
Under Article Titled:  Al-Salem denies rumors of tensions in ruling family

  Sheikh Ahmed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah….
Commenting on the bedoon issue, Al-Salem refused the name (what name?  Bedoun? Kuwait Times....) and insisted on calling them non-Kuwaitis. "We all came to Kuwait and were not Kuwaiti in the first place," he said. "We later on became Kuwaitis after we showed our devotion and dedication to this land. Those people will have to prove their dedication and devotion as well." He concluded by saying that true bedoons did not participate in recent demonstrations.

- - - end - - - 

 I prefer the name "Non-Kuwaiti" to "Illegal Resident" on documentation (although I still don't like "Non-Kuwaiti"  Perhaps just "non-documented resident" would be more politically correct for now).   How can  you issue official, governmental documents to people and then put a phrase on there that states, "Illegal"? Nonsensical conflict of terminology.

Sheikh Ahmed is correct:  No one in Kuwait came from Kuwait. Everyone in Kuwait is from somewhere else.  Most people in Kuwait have origins from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Iran. There is evidence that humans existed in Kuwait tens of thousands of years ago, but that was before there were names for land.  Greeks were here too on Failaka - 325 to 150 BC I believe.  Are their descendants qualified to get nationality?  I think that the nomads that settled in Kuwait during those times probably didn't show a dedication to the Kuwait, but were more likely here out of a necessity for survival and food. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lance Corporal from KMOD has "Wardrobe Malfunction" Inside Salmiya Mall

You can't make this sh*& up.

Man goes naked in Salmiya mall
Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, March 20: Police have arrested an unidentified lance corporal who is believed to be in his 20s and working for the Ministry of Defence for committing immoral acts inside a commercial complex in Salmiya, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily.  According to reports the corporal took off his pants three times in front of the people following which several people called the Operations Department of the Ministry of Interior. However, during interrogation the youth denied the allegation. He told police his trousers are loose. The youth has been referred to the authorities.
- - - End - - -

This happened to me once, but not in a mall.... Its amazing how your bra and panties can both be too loose and fall off at the same time.  It was shocking, really.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

K's PATH Shelter Open Day this Saturday

Bring money.  There is no ATM and the closest one is far, far away.

Kuwait Marriage & Divorce Statistics

Report reveals increase in Kuwaiti men marrying non-Kuwait women
Additional information shows that 35% of marriages end in divorce
Sunday,20 March 2011
By:  Rashed Al-Eid

KUWAIT: A recent official report has shown that 14.2 percent of Kuwaitis have married non-Kuwaiti women, mainly other Arab nationals, according to marriage contracts signed over the past five years. Reportedly, 85.8 percent of spouses are Kuwaiti.

Overall, the report has shown that divorce rate is estimated at 35 percent among Kuwaitis and 38.5 percent among Kuwaitis married to non-Kuwaiti women.On the other hand, the report has indicated that about 2,798 Kuwait women married to non-Kuwaitis.

Regarding divorce, it has been reported that 17,810 cases of divorce have been registered over the past five years, including 15,042 involving non-Kuwaiti wives. Divorces also involved 2,173 Arab nationals married to Kuwaiti men, 424 Asians, 28 Africans, 53 Europeans and 83 Americans.
The report, which was issued by the Central Department for Statistics, headed by Dr. Abdullah Sahar, the number of marriage contracts for Kuwaitis in the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 is estimated at 50,753 including 43, 571 for those married Kuwaiti women against 7,182 for those who married non-Kuwaitis. Kuwaitis, according to the report, have married 5,816 Arab nationals, 1,004 Asians, 66 Africans, 113 Europeans, 153 Americans and 6 other nationalities.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

British Embassy - QE II Birthday Bash

I guess I shouldn't call it a "bash" because that term is too American.  It was a quiet, elegant reception.

Can I ask you something:  Why am I such an idiot?  I should know that these things are going to take place on the lawn.  I wear my cute 3.5" heels and then, I am poking spikes into the terrain all night.  I have leg cramps from standing on my tiptoes.  It huwts!  These embassies should pay me for aerating their lawns (ya know - it is the best way to keep your lawn healthy).  Perhaps it is yet another conspiracy... hmmmm.  The other ladies there told me that they were all wise to the need for flat shoes.  Some had been there before in heels and some within their group had even taken their shoes off.  I'm American.  They would spot me and brand me as a vulgar yank if I took my shoes off.  So, alas, I stood under a tree on the comfort of bricks where I would be sure that I wouldn't topple over (most likely into/onto some ambassador or VIP and end up on the front page of the newspapers with the title, "Vulgar Yank Takes Dive into Minister of Foreign Affairs As Impeded by Inappropriate Footwear...")

The British Embassy's lawn isn't as big as the American, but it is very nice. The weather was puuuuuuurfect and so was the ambiance and hospitality.  Those Brits sure do know how to throw down a par-teh.

I liked that Mrs. Baker walked right up and asked me (and the lady standing next to me) about the sound quality of the speeches from where we were standing.  She was so cool.  She wasn't flanked by bodyguards and was totally down to Earth.  She said that our honest feedback was good.  (Honey, I tell it like it is.)

I also liked that I saw our own lovely ambassador at a reception where she wasn't the headliner for the night; she was much more relaxed than I have seen her in a while.

US Ambassador Jones:  For the love of God, woman, WHAT are we going to do without you??? Don't goooooo!   I wish I hadn't seemed like such a simpleton the first, second, third... times I met her.  As my mother says, "A blithering idiot."  I guess I was just too intimidated and I don't make sense when I'm nervous at that level.  Now that I know what a down-to-Earth and approachable person she is, I feel like I wasted time.  We could have been buds.  We could have hung out.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  Well, okay, maybe we could have had an interesting conversation about interesting stuff like the Bedoon issue. I would love to hear what she thinks and where she sees it all going.  (You can still call me, girlfriend.  We can go down to Mubarakia and grab some shrimp hameesa and chai haleeb and hang out.)

I went to Her Majesty The Queen's Birthday party alone. I thought my friend who had invited me (I guess?) would be there, but she was out of the country (did you do that on purpose?).  I saw a few people I know, but really not that many.  When I'm alone, I tend to be somewhat of a trouble maker and I was in a terribly mischievous mood.  I was on my best behavior because they're BRITISH and they are very proper (unlike me) - although I didn't have to curtsy or anything like that; but I was still up to no good...  (Slaps, where the HELL are you when I need you?  You are the most proper friend I know and yet the most mischievous and you would have come in very handy!)

Let me say that the talent (men) was better at the US Embassy, although there were still some hotties at the British.  Because it was a smaller area,  you literally got to bump into them too (fun or not fun...). 'Ooooh, I am sooooo sorry...' (eyelash blink, eyelash blink, pout, pout).

I met my Sheikha friend's brother. You can tell from his pictures that he is a kind person, but in real life, all that positive energy just envelopes him.  Being the brash American I am, I plowed through the crowd to say hello (not exactly "tackling" him, but purty darn close).  How easy would it be to tackle someone on the British Embassy lawn, I wonder, wearing 3.5 inch heels, doing the ballerina dance on my tip toes?  Are you getting the visual?) Would it be rude to call my Sheikha friend's married brother "a hottie"?  Well, okay, gotta be honest - he's a HOT-TIE.  Yes, he is.  (Call me! We can go to Mubarakia on a different day than on my gal-date with the US Ambassador and we can hang out and have hameesa and chai haleeb while the weather is still good...)

... now I'm just cracking myself up...
Back to my story....

The Brits played classical music at their party while the Americans played a soft rock and oldies.  The Brits served Shepard Pies; the Americans served barbecue (and a lot more variety of foods - maybe because there was a larger area/more freeloaders - uh, I mean guests).  The Brits didn't serve alcohol (SHAME ON YOU!  Where is your national pride?!); the Americans served  (can I say it?  No, that wouldn't be PC and I might get someone's panties in a bunch.  I had a smoothie....)  They were different but equally nice.

I'm not prejudice just because I'm 'merican:  I belong to both the British and the American business associations and I like both very much.  The British Business Forum holds their meetings at the British Embassy which is nice.    

Thanks, British Embassy, for a really great evening and for outstanding hospitality.

and just so youse know ... I used up all that pent-up mischief on the way home on the Gulf Road, returning the air-kisses I received from boys in cars (I guess I was having a good hair/make-up day - or perhaps it was just something in the weather...)

"To Rest in Peace' Film

Jewaira posted about this movie by Fawaz Al-Matrouk called 'To Rest in Peace', as his thesis film at USC.  I just saw the trailer  (and it made me cry) online and I want to see the whole film.  It looks POWERFUL.  As Jewaira says, "based upon the true story of his uncle during the Iraqi invasion in 1990, who seeks the proper burial of two bodies left in a car."

'To Rest in Peace' Trailer from Fawaz Al-Matrouk on Vimeo.

I'm glad to see people making films about the invasion.  There needs to be more and I think there will be.

Good for you, Fawaz!  It looks amazing and I wish you a very long and successful career.

Why do I care so much about the Bedoon issue?

I write a lot about the Bedoon issue and do my darndest to help.  It is an issue that I strongly believe in helping to resolve to end the suffering of this group of people.

My personal experience with the Bedoon began when I met Hilal Al-Shammari (and Shammari can be spelled many different ways in English:  Shemmari, Shimari, Shimmeri, etc.  They are all part of the Shamar tribe).  Hilal was a big, sweet man who reminded me of a gentle teddy bear.  I had just arrived in Kuwait. 

My friend, Salah, from Florida (who I knew in the US) helped me ship my car to Kuwait and Hilal was helping me out on the receiving end.  Salah was formerly Bedoon, but with the help of someone in the US, had gotten US citizenship.  His two brothers were in Australia getting citizenship. Their cousins and other family members have Kuwaiti nationality.   They tore up their travel documents in-flight and flushed them down the toilet in order to get political assylum when they arrived in Australia.  This was years ago and the laws have changed a lot since.  Now, the brothers would probably be returned to Kuwait where they would spend an unspecified amount of time in the deportation center if not jail.

Salah arrived in Kuwait and we started hanging out with Hilal.  Those were the days when the "family sections" in restaurants and cafe-tents were a lot more common.  Salah and the gang invited me to many dinners before I wised up and figured out that they were having me go with them just to gain access to the females on the family side!  (A "crime" that did not go unpunished by me later.)

So, we became friends and Hilal and I got closer.  We started going out to eat and shopping together (in the days before Al Kout mall was there).   He helped me fix things in my new apartment and took my car to get serviced/fixed when it needed it.

I had my eye on a beautiful piece of art; an antique wood carving cut from a single piece of wood in intricate designs of birds and foliage.  I looked at it for months and Hilal finally went down and bought it for me.  It still hangs on my wall.

I eventually met most of Hilal's family.  He introduced me to his mother and from behind her niqab, I could see that she wasn't terribly pleased.  Hilal wasn't concerned at all.

Unfortunately, Hilal's feelings for me were not returned. I cared about him, but more like a brother and friend.  We cut most ties soon after he started talking about marriage.  We still talked on the phone, but that was about it.  Salah talked to Hilal and said something to the effect that I was "out of his league" (which is not true and I felt bad).  It all had to do with feelings.

Months passed and I went on to do other things.  One night, he called me and sounded very upset.  He wanted to come over to talk.  When he arrived, he was visibly shaken and started sobbing.  I couldn't understand everything that he said.  I tried to get him to calm down, but he said he had to leave.  I told him I would always be there for him 24/7 if he needed me. I called later, but no answer.

That was the last time I ever saw him. 

About a month later, I was somewhere and saw a mutual acquaintance.  I asked about Hilal.  The man's answer was, "He's dead.  And he owes me money."  I thought it was a joke.  Who could be so incredibly cruel?  I called one of Hilal's friends (a business partner) here in Kuwait who said that it was true, but told me that he had died of a heart attack (trying to soften the blow for me, I suppose).  Hilal was only in his 30's.  I still didn't believe the story.  I called Salah.

Salah related a story that I wish wasn't true.  Hilal had gotten involved with drugs and had spent most of the money he had accumulated with his long-time friends in business partnership.  He felt desperate and  (I assume) decided that suicide was the only way out.  One night, he stopped his car on an street overpass, left his wallet and keys in the car, and jumped.

Hilal was Bedoon.  One of his business partners was an older Kuwaiti man (a very good man who is well-known in Kuwait for his former soccer career) who had known him since Hilal was 10 years old.  The man tried to help him establish a business and get a better life.  My assumption is that when Hilal lost the money to drugs, he felt ashamed and confused.  I know - people will say that he didn't have to kill himself and it goes against God and all that; and it does.  However, I can't imagine the desperation he must have felt in feeling that he had no other choice.

I blamed myself for a long time not being a better friend or for not handling my relationship with him better.  But the reality is that there was nothing I could have done.  It was a horrible period of my life (I found out about Shamlan's death within months of Hilal's so it was a very dark time for me - come to think of it, around this time of the year).

I remember Hilal all the time.  I look at my wall art and see him smiling.  I see an older model Jeep and see him.  I drive around town to places where we used to go and I see him. [Sadly, I remember him when I see an overpass.]  And I remember him when I meet other Bedoon people who are ashamed to tell me that they are Bedoon.  I always wonder about their situations and if there is some way that I can help.

...And I take it very personally.

Interview with Amna Al-Shemmery, a Bedoon Woman; & DG Commentary

I keep telling my Bedoon friends that they need to get their voices heard.  Local people/citizens of the region know of the Bedoon problem and have for many years.  There has been much written about Bedoons in Arabic, but not English. 

Westerners (and even many who have lived here for years and years) don't have a good understanding of the issues.  I've seen some even shun the entire concept as if it is something dirty that they can't talk about. That outrages me!   The Bedoon aren't just "those people that are demonstrating."  These reactions come from intelligent, educated people (and many in positions of authority who could make a difference in someone's life). Many of these people don't even ask WHY the Bedoon are demonstrating. Perhaps they get their information from only one source.  Perhaps they don't ask questions or aren't interested in learning different aspects (good and bad) of the country in which they live.  No place in the world is without problems. No place in the world is perfect. (And this includes where I come from.  Please refer to Native American Indians for example.)  God created contrasts.

  • I urge anyone who doesn't know about the Bedoon situation to drive out 5th Ring Road to Sulaibiya and see where the Bedoon live.  Talk to Bedoon people.  You may be surprised how many people you think have Kuwaiti nationality are actually Bedoon.  The greeters at Sultan Center wearing national dress are Bedoon.  The security men in national dress at the malls are most likely Bedoon.  Go talk to them.  Ask questions!  Make friends.  Several of my Bedoon friends are the most humble, gracious people you could ever meet. 
  • We will have a new US Ambassador to Kuwait in August.  Will he/she have a good understanding of the Bedoon issue?  Who will help educate him/her?  I believe that Mrs. Jones is well-versed on the Bedoon issue.  I wholeheartedly hope that the new Ambassador will be as educated and inquisitive (and I pray, as compassionate) on Kuwait's issues?
Other Westerners (like me) can't tell the Bedoon story for the Bedoon (as much as we would like to).  Who is going to listen to me and what do I have to do with it?  It's not my story.  I'm not Bedoon. I'm American and I don't face the same difficulties (and believe me - there are a lot of problems in the US too).   Bedoon people must talk about the issues and discuss their individual personal problems and life experiences so that people will take note and listen.

We, as humans, tend to only see issues as "someone else's problem" until there is some way to find a common, human ground; it must get to the heart and to make it personal. "Community involvement" isn't limited to your company donating funds for the annual raft race (for example).  You can do it for free by being knowledgeable about the country where you live. 

Until very recently, most Bedoon people were afraid to even discuss it for fear of reprecussions.  This is a great article and I hope I see many more like it.  I am also proud of her for using her full name.  She must be a very strong woman and I applaud her for her courage.

Bedoon friends - Tell your stories!  People will listen if you speak up and Inshallah - help.

[Note to B Al-S ("Pretty Girl"):  I want you to be just like Amna!!  Start writing and continue talking to people.]

Amna aspires for a brighter future Bedoon woman inspires many

Published Date: March 04, 2011
By Sunil Cherian, Staff Writer
Source:  Kuwait Times Friday Paper:
Amna Latif Al-Shemmery completed high school a few years ago, and at that time, believed that all doors have been closed, in terms of pursuing higher studies. A studious young girl from Jahra, Amna saw her Kuwaiti classmates go to college while waiting to enroll into a suitable college. Amna who lost her mother when she was in grade two, had never fallen into a depression except during the four-year waiting period. "That was the time," Amna recollected, "I hated myself for being a bedoon.
Four years later, Amna enrolled into a Bachelor's Degree program in Education at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET). Now working as a teacher, Amna serves as a role model to her two younger sisters, supports her unemployed father and student brother. She was promoted to a higher position last year, bought a car last year, an iPhone last month, and has just applied to pursue a Masters degree.
My dream," Amna told me, "is to secure a scholarship which I'll not get. If I were a Kuwaiti, the situation would have been different - I'd receive all kinds of support." Now that Amna has to set aside a lion's share from her earnings for her family, she believes it may take a longer time to complete her Masters degree. Her two working sisters, great friends and co-supporters have fully supportive of their older sister, except for Amna's decision to delay her marriage.
Marriage is an issue," a thoughtful Amna said, "I don't want to talk about it." Amna who is thankful to her father who has, in her words, 'played both father and mother's role' in her life has a pleasant disposition towards life. Her bedoon father remained a widower after his Kuwaiti wife's untimely death, "No, it's not that I'm against men. I don't want to get married to someone who is less qualified than I am. It can create issues." Several of her friends, Amna told me, remain unmarried. Right now, marriage is not a priority. Studies are, she said.
Amna represents a large population of women who are educated, employed, independent and ambitious and prefer to choose partners from an equal, if not higher, social strata. Some women suffer because of their decision to remain spinsters and feel better about it. For most others, 'it's not the end of the world,' as Amna puts it.
But don't you want to continue the good family tradition?," I asked her. I don't know, but I'm willing to be surprised.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Too good not to repeat

From Expat in the City (too good not to post).

Kuwaiti woman blackmails men with their nude pictures
Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, March 13:

An unidentified young Kuwaiti woman is being interrogated for involvement in blackmailing public figures including some Members of Parliament and their immediate relatives, reports Al-Shahed daily quoting security sources.

According to reports the woman would lure her ‘victims’ to her apartment in Salmiya and then take their pictures when they were nude.

Security sources say police were tipped off about the dirty game played by the woman and most of them refused to file complaints against the woman for fear of getting involved in a scandal. Police acting on information allegedly set a trap for the woman and caught her red-handed.

They have also seized from her CDs depicting well-known personalities in compromising positions.

... when your 1000KD gift is just not enough...

I wonder if they'll turn up on the internet...
I wonder if my "favorite" MP is in there....
For once I approve of the use of apostrophes in the paper (they usually drive me crazy, but in this case, I don't think a victim is really a victim)
How difficult was it to 'lure' them?  ("Come upstairs and see my pretty pigeon...")


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Article: MPs, human rights groups condemn violence against bedoon protesters

Published Date: March 13, 2011 Kuwait times

KUWAIT: A number of MPs and local human rights organizations have strongly condemned the use of tear gas and batons by security officers to disperse bedoon (stateless) protesters attending demonstrations to demand their human rights in Taima, Sulaibiya and Ahmadi on Friday.

The cabinet failed to commit to the promises they made to the bedoons' [parliamentary] committee," said prominent anti-government MP Musallam Al-Barrak. Speaking to Al-Qabas, he pointed out that the cabinet had given assurances that a decree offering bedoons a range of basic rights would be passed before the March 8 parliamentary session, "but they failed to live up to their promise as usual.

Fellow MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan urged the interior minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud to avoid "using violence against demonstrators", suggesting that beating people carrying Kuwaiti flags is "inappropriate," reported Al-Qabas. MP Hassan Jowhar also expressed his "utter rejection" of the use of violence and "turning bedoons' protest areas into warzones.

On her part, MP Dr. Aseel Al-Awadhi said that the government's announcement of a decree offering human rights to stateless residents "is a step in the right direction" to resolving this decades-long problem, adding that "practicing the right of peaceful demonstration must not by suppressed.

Another parliamentarian, Dr. Rola Dashti, was critical of the bedoons, however. Whilst acknowledging the right of people to express themselves and protest peacefully, Dr. Dashti accused the protesters of damaging Kuwait's reputation and assaulting police, saying, "Damaging the state's reputation and attacking police officers is unacceptable." The MP urged the Ministry of Interior and protestors alike to stay committed to the law.

MP Ali Al-Deqbasi, meanwhile, asserted that no good could result from the use of violence, adding that good could only come in this instance from enforcing human rights for bedoon people. Al-Deqbasi accused the cabinet of stalling over the imposition of its decree giving bedoon people basic human rights.

Another MP, Yousef Al-Zalzalah, was also highly critical of the government's handling of the situation, saying, "The way the government is dealing with the bedoon issue reflects its lack of serious will to solve the problem.
Fellow parliamentarian Adnan Abdulsamad also slammed the government over the situation, asserting that "the government's continuous neglect of the bedoons' human rights made the problem more complicated," while MP Mubarak Al-Waalan questioned whether "the use of violence and tear gas the best method which the government could use in ending the issue?

Another MP, Salwa Al-Jassar, was strongly critical of the protests by bedoons, however, suggesting that they pose a threat to national security and calling them "unacceptable practices which stall the process of solving their problems." She called on the interior ministry to maintain the country's security and "reject any attempts to threaten it.

MP Adel Al-Saraawi also condemned the protests, calling them an "abuse of freedom of expression to insult Kuwait and its sovereignty," despite the protesters carrying many Kuwaiti flags and other symbols expressing their pride in the nation. He added at the same time that "practices seen recently from stateless residents are incited for the purpose of demanding random naturalization which we all refuse and reject.

Two local human rights organizations have also issued statements condemning the security forces' "unjustified and excessive use of force" in dispersing the bedoon (stateless) protesters. In its statement, the Kuwait Human Rights Society (KHRS) criticized both the cabinet and parliament for failing during its March 8 session to enforce the decree recently passed to parliament by the government for approval, which is intended to provide Kuwait's bedoon residents with a range of basic human rights. The KHRS a
lso condemned the "excessive use of force in firing tear gas against peaceful protesters in residential areas," also slamming the arrest of some of the protesters and calling for their immediate release.

The KHRS statement also demanded the introduction of "mechanisms to follow up on the enforcement of bedoons' rights," reported Al-Qabas. Another organization, the Kuwait Society for Basic Principles of Human Rights (KSBPHR), also strongly condemned "the use of tear gas against unarmed protesters who went out to protest in demand of their basic rights, which they have been deprived of for decades.

The organization urged the Ministry of Interior to employ a calm and measured approach to policing demonstrations by bedoon people, although it also indicated that "Bedoon residents ought to keep in mind the regional repercussions of their actions before they attend demonstrations", urging bedoon people to give the government's Central System for the Remedying the Status of Illegal Residents (CSRSIR), the latest state body set up to resolve the longstanding problems facing Kuwait's bedoon population, time
to find a solution to their problems.

Article: Kuwait rights body urges govt to release detained Bedouns

Arab Times, 13 March 2011
Kuwait rights body urges govt to release detained Bedouns
Security forces accused of using excessive force
KUWAIT CITY, March 12, (AFP): Kuwait Human Rights Association called on the government Saturday to free people arrested during a crackdown on a protest by stateless Arabs demanding citizenship and other rights.

The independent rights body called for the “release of all those arrested during the events on March 11 without delay and without pressing charges against them.”

Media reported Saturday that security forces arrested dozens of stateless Arabs, locally known as Bedouns, during and after the protest.

The rights association also accused security forces of using excessive force in dispersing the protest and using tear gas canisters inside people’s homes.

About 500 demonstrators took to the streets in Jahra, west of Kuwait City, immediately after Muslim prayers Friday, while hundreds protested in two other locations.

Stateless Arabs, estimated at more than 100,000, protested last month for three consecutive days until officials gave them assurances their grievances would be addressed.

But parliament refused on Tuesday to debate a bill that would give them civil rights because the government, backed by many MPs, said it preferred to issue executive decisions granting those rights rather than a law.
The rights association said the government and parliament should immediately adopt legislation granting the undocumented people their basic rights.

Kuwait launched a crackdown on the Bedouns in 2000, depriving them of health care, education and jobs.

Caribbean Boat Party

Caribbean Boat Party

Caribbean Association Kuwait (CAK) and the Jamaican Embassy are organising a boat party for 18th March. A sunset cruise with tunes and Caribbean cuisine included in price. 

Departing at 4PM returning at 8PM. Boat leaves from Sea Tours at Marina Crescent. Price is KD 8 for members and KD 12 for non-members. Please call 65182066/97275721 or email: for more details.

(Re-posted from Ladies who do Lunch in Kuwait)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Givers and Takers

I had lunch with a beautiful Sheikha friend a few weeks ago and she brought along her friend, A.  A didn't know me, didn't know anything about me, but sat down and looked at my coffee cup and started telling me things about myself.

"Oh boy!  You were MAD at someone.  Very very mad.  ... but you are happy about it."   'Why yes!  I am.' I told him with a big smile.

He told me that there are big changes coming my way and lots of happy times with friends (that's true).  He pulled out a playing card from his wallet and asked my friend and I to tell him what card it was.  I told him "9" and she said "7".  It was a 9.  "You will definately have big changes for the better."  Cool.  He also saw the name in Arabic for "tennis racket" very clearly and told me to remember him when it all made sense. (Otay.  Nothing on that one yet.  I don't see anything tennis-related in my future.)

I do confess:  I have been very very angry at someone lately.  It comes and it goes (with a few pointed SMSs now and then to make myself feel better) and I have got to say that really, I am angrier at myself for believing and trusting in this person and didn't see (or didn't want to see) what was going on.  It was a betrayal, and the last in a long series of them that I have been allowing to happen for the sake of maintaining the relationship.

Sometimes I just resist change when it could be the best thing to happen to me.  God has plans. God seems to have plans for me every year in the Spring.  Maybe it is "renewal" or "rebirth" with the change of the seasons.  It usually happens right around February or March (remember March 23rd?).

I know I'm a good person.  I don't take advantage of others and I do my very very best to help anyone I can because really - isn't it a blessing?  So when you give and give and give and then suddenly, you realize just how much you have had to give while the other person has given nothing in return; you end up feeling used (even though it was - realistically - your choice to give in the first place and you have to take ownership for that: So I do. )

It is my fault.  I like to give (and that includes my time which I consider valuable).  Some people like to take. I should be smarter about realizing the imbalance when it is happening, but I just don't.  I think that there are many people who mistake kindness as a sign of weakness or stupidity.  I've never been either.  I'm just an ENFJ personality type and can't/don't want to change.

So, when I got angry, I wasn't sad about it.  I was happy.  Its a blessing when God shows you something and tests your strength of character.  But you are not the only person who is being tested... takers can't take forever without having to pay a price. 

But then, I don't have to worry about that.  I sleep phuckin fantastic at night (mashallah!) with a clear conscience - and the love of a few beloved friends calling to ask me if I need anything.

... like my friend, Khaled Al-S (but that's for another post).... :)

When your paths finally cross again

Last night, I went with The Romanian to visit an longtime dear friend who we hadn't seen in years.  I ran into him and his wife at the embassy party a few weeks ago.  He was so happy to see me that he went to hug me before realizing where he was. His wife knows me so that wouldn't have been a worry.  I wouldn't have cared.  I generally don't; I'm confident and I don't care what people think,  but then I'm not in the public spotlight and he IS

Lots of controversy surrounding this dear friend these days and maybe he needed to talk about something else for a while.

Sometimes you lose track of your friends in Kuwait - even though it is very small.  You have busy lives and you just let too much time pass.  Before you know it, months have turned into years and you haven't seen them and then you are just occasionally waving hello from across some big hall and both your phone numbers have changed and you have no idea when the next time is your paths will cross.

Our paths crossed and it was NICE.  What was supposed to be a brief dinner turned into six hours of laughter and good conversation.  I had a great time and so did The Romanian.  Perfect night; perfect company; perfect atmosphere.

I'm dead tired today at work and I am going to have a very busy weekend, but it was so worth it.

We're meeting up with another group of friends tonight, barbecuing in Kabd tomorrow (advance shout out to Special K) with another another group and all our dogs, and partying later in B'naider.  I hope I'm awake and alive enough to do the work I have to take care of on Saturday.  I love being busy and happy.

What a great time of the year.  There is so much going on before it gets "holy-shit-it's-hot" again.

Bedoons plan rallies after Friday prayers

Bedoons plan rallies after Friday prayers
Published Date: March 10, 2011
Kuwait Times By A. Saleh, Staff Writer

KUWAIT: SMS messages, as well as posts on Twitter and Facebook are reportedly being used to urge bedoon (stateless) people in Kuwait to hold protests in Jahra, Sulaibiya and Ahmadi after this week's Friday prayers to protest against the parliament's failure to pass a recent government bill which would have seen them finally being accorded basic rights.

What's happening now are simply unacceptable delays and deferrals," said a number of the messages, with an informed source explaining that the calls for protest this week came after similar protests planned for last Friday were called off after the government put forward the bill which would see Kuwait's bedoon people finally attaining basic civil rights.

MPs Musallam Al-Barrak, Faisal Al-Mislem and Jamaan Al-Harbish have reportedly held meetings with a number of bedoon representatives in an attempt to defuse tensions, said the insider, adding that a female bedoon activist, Safiyya Khaz'al, is responsible for many of the SMS and online messages.  (GOOD for her!!!)
- - -

I wish I was brave enough to go demonstrate with them because this is a cause that I whole-heartedly believe in.  Maybe they would get more international attention if a few Westerners showed up with placards.  The embassies continue to send out warnings advising citizens to stay away from the demonstrations, but it would only take a few political activists to get the ball rolling (and then those could spend time in the deportation center... and then get sent back to home countries.. but...)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Government Fails to Deliver on Promises to Bedoon AGAIN (gee, what a surprise....)

... you might remember right before the National/Liberation holidays (when Bedoon were demonstrating in Kuwait) that the government promised to give more rights to Bedoon people - and to naturalize some. 

Well, they're at it again.... promises promises.  What a surprise.  It has only been going on for 50 years....  STOP talking, START acting, Kuwait!  They always talk about any OTHER issue "instead". 

I'm disgusted.  This is such a national disgrace.

Assembly votes against debating bedoons law

Published Date: March 09, 2011
By B Izzak, Staff Writer, Kuwait Times
KUWAIT: The National Assembly yesterday failed to debate a draft law stipulating civil rights for bedoons or stateless Arabs as the government and a group of MPs opposed to bedoons voted against the debate. The discussion witnessed strong exchanges between MPs Adel Al-Saraawi and Askar Al-Enezi over the issue, with Saraawi and MP Abdullah Al-Roumi strongly protesting at the idea of debating bedoon rights ahead of Kuwaiti issues.

Is it logical that now the rights of foreigners in Kuwait are more important than that of Kuwaitis," shouted Roumi, who strongly opposed giving priority to debating the bedoons draft law. Saraawi also said that the issue can wait and it was more necessary to discuss issues related to Kuwaiti people. Following exchanges, speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi adjourned the session for 15 minutes. When the session resumed, the Assembly rejected the debate by 30 votes against 18 in favour.

Pro-bedoon MPs wanted to pass the law to make it mandatory for the government to provide about 100,000 bedoon basic rights they had been deprived of for the past decade. The government said it will provide those rights in executive decisions rather than a law. It was not immediately known if MPs will succeed in making the Assembly debate the draft law today or not.

Instead, the assembly debated the issue of unemployed Kuwaitis and called on the government to adopt new strategies to find jobs for more Kuwaiti youths who are expected to enter the labour market. ….

Bedoun file put on back burner
Arab Times
Kuwait City, March. 8:  
… Members of Parliament voted against discussions on the case of stateless (Bedoun) residents during the first parliamentary session after a month long-break and the case of Kuwaiti unemployment was reviewed instead. However, the session was adjourned before voting on recommendations to curb the national unemployment rate, due to lack of quorum, and the vote is expected to take place on Wednesday. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

International Women's Day

What a F'ed up day to pick for this!  I like the last paragraph....

Arab Times
Hayef slams bid to halt modest dress codes for female students
Islamist MP faults PM, education minister
KUWAIT CITY, March 7: Islamist MP, Mohammed Hayef, condemned liberal powers on Monday for attempting to halt the enforcement of modest dress code regulations on female students at Kuwait University (KU) and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET).

Speaking at a press conference, Hayef said that these regulations were created “after the appearance of negative phenomena in Kuwaiti society”, pertaining to Kuwaiti women’s manner of clothing. He added that the proposed regulation did not even fully abide by the Islamic dress code as it only provided regulations for women to cover their ankles and wear long sleeves.

“Professors of the ethics committee should seek to maintain the Islamic identity through modest dress codes as well as prevent excessive make-up that have no place in an educational environment,” the MP advised. Furthermore, Hayef held His Highness the Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, responsible as well as the Minister of Education, Dr Moudhi Al-Humoud. He accused them of attempting to create conflict between various political blocs to escape legislative pressure on reforms.

The Islamist MP noted that the principles of Islamic Sharia were not enforced within the National Assembly because liberals have been following the government’s ways.

“The government has been creating confusion on Islamic identity in order to undermine the status of the legislative authority and escape the people’s demands to dissolve the Cabinet and remove its prime minister,” Hayef concluded.

Meanwhile, MPs Dr Salwa Al-Jassar, Aseel Al-Awadhi and Rola Dashti congratulated women around the world on the occasion of International Women’s Day, which is commemorated on March 8.

Proud to be Kuwaiti 4th Annual Forum: March 16,17, 18, 19 @ Mishref

There are SO many events going on now that it is hard to keep up with them. Everybody is scrambling to do things before it gets "holy-shit-its-hot". 

Go check out Proud to Be Kuwaiti's expo.  These are young Kuwaitis in business - many with start-up companies founded through creative ideas.  Show them your support.
P2BK4 FORUM 2010

Date: 16, 17, 18, 19 March 2010

Location: Kuwait International Fairgrounds Mishref Hall 8
Timings: 10:00am to 2:00pm
5:00pm to 9:30pm

Proud 2 Be Kuwaiti is a non-profit organization found to promote youth businesses. P2BK organizes an event for all youth in Kuwait to meet up and interact in a business oriented environment and for bigger companies to contribute and help smaller businesses grow.

P2BK is the first and largest non-profit organization dedicated to support the young minds of Kuwait- entrepreneurs, talents, and achievements.

Office:          Tel: 65108888

K's Path Upcoming Events

It is no secret that I love K's PATH. :)

Karting Day

Join us on Thursday, 31 March at 5pm for a fabulous karting event at Pro Kart Racing!!!
Tickets to participate in the race are 15KD
Tickets for spectators are 5KD (includes a buffet)
 For more information and to download the registration form please click HERE
*Event sponsored by Porsche Pre-owned

Shelter Open Day

Join us for another Shelter Open Day on Saturday 26 March from 11am to 2pm.
Entry is free (donations are always appreciated)
A map to our sanctuary can be found HERE


Visit us at P2BK from the 16th to the 19th of March at the Mishref Fair Grounds.
For more information go to P2BK

See the K's Path website for more details. 

Diaper Cakes!

Sounds gross, right? ;)  Read on.....
A reader wrote to me and asked me to post this.  If anyone wants to help her, give her a call directly. I'm all about trying to help 1) women in business 2) people with creative ideas trying to get them off the ground 3) people who would take the time to write to me asking me for my help.  Here ya go, girl!
"I used to make diaper cakes in US, and mostly, used to gift them to friends/family. But having moved here and not being able to adjust to the work/social environment here, I decided to develop my hobby into business (if at all possible).
The problem is that having been away for all these years, I have lost touch with most of my old contacts and the ones I'm in touch with are not the right customer base.
I know this was pretty successful in the States, but never thought of starting up a business then. And here, I'm having a hard time getting the concept clear amongst the public.
I even spoke to a couple of gift shops, but everyone comes back saying that this concept would not flourish."
Personally, I think it is a great idea.  There are always naysayers here in Kuwait - who then turn around and steal your idea.  This is cute and creative and I hope someone will see the post and be able to further it for you.

More from them:

"Pampy Hampy- Hampers made of Pampers      

The latest rave at Baby Showers, kids birthdays & Parties today are DIAPER CAKES! (Gift hampers made of diapers for new borns and infants)

Diaper cakes make ideal new baby gifts - perfectly practical, and adorably unique.
These are non-edible but are 100% USABLE and parents of new borns and infants would cherish your unique gift FOREVER.

These are custom-made for boys, girls, unisex(neutral) and as per different themes and individual interests. 

What better can you gift the parents of new borns or other infants wearing diapers, than these Hampers, which are custom made as per each order.
If you wish to purchase one of our fabulous diaper cakes,you can contact us.   
Not to worry,if you have a budget in mind,we will work with you to  create one of our non-edible cakes per your requirements.
All these cakes are securely wrapped and can be delievered safely to its new home.    
To view samples, add "Pampy Hampy" on to your friends list or email: or call us at 55888085/97215376 "

Monday, March 07, 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

23rd Annual Raft Race 2011

Stolen directly from my friend on Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait

Aqua Park 23rd Annual Raft Race 2011

Friday 6th May, 2011. Call 94007666 - 22431960/1/2/3 (hasn't been updated yet)
FB [link] also waiting to be updated

Bedoun Stories in Today's Papers

Arab Times
6 March 2011

MP Musallam Al-Barrak revealed the committee will meet again next Sunday to prepare a draft bill on the issue to end the sufferings of Bedouns. He believes the recent demonstrations organized by Bedouns did not target the country, as it was merely an expression of the frustration of this group after several years of demanding their rights. 

“The government is currently studying the possibility of granting citizenship to some Bedouns, such as the senior employees at Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) (DG note - why put that first - should be at the end of the list), martyrs, those who participated in the national and liberation wars, those who hold high academic certificates, children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis, and children of the naturalized Kuwaitis,” Al-Barrak added.

Moreover, MP Askar Al-Enezi called on Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hamoud to grant citizenship to non-Kuwaiti women married to Kuwaitis, in accordance with Article 8 of the Citizenship Law.

He pointed out this is a humanitarian issue which, once resolved, will ease the burden of the Kuwaiti families. He argued most of these women came from Gulf countries and others are Bedouns, so there is no risk in granting them citizenship. 
Files of 2,000 Bedouns OKd
The Ministry of Defense has finalized files of about 2,000 Bedoun military personnel for naturalization and grouped them according to the categories (A and B) specified by the Security Committee, reports Al-Rai daily quoting sources.

Sources revealed the short-listed Bedoun military personnel met all the conditions, such as participation in Arab wars and meritorious service to the nation.  Sources said the wives and children of these Bedouns will also be granted citizenship. Sources confirmed the ministry is now waiting for the final decision of the Cabinet, which they expect to be issued soon because the government is keen on granting citizenship to the Bedoun military personnel.

_ _ _

DG say....

Ok, so I will believe it when I see it (hopefully, it isn't just hachi el fathi), but at least it is in the news and getting recognition now.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Henna Salon

I'm not really into henna, but I am going to have it done for an upcoming Association of the US Army side event, the Kuwaiti Souq.  I found this henna salon and I thought I would pass the info along to y'alls.

It is quite a large salon.  They do both hands and feet/legs.  Average price for hands is 5kd per side (so back of hand and palm would be 10kd).  They also do mani/pedis.

They do black and red henna.  Almost all the women I saw there were having black henna done. They also have designs on the wall that you can choose from.  Check out the Madonna-glove-style!  A young lady offered to let me take a photo of her hand and said, "This is the new style..."  I'm like, 'Uh... sorry... but you are probably not old enough to remember when Madonna set this style back on her Like a Virgin Tour' (oops, showing my age again...)  Look how intricate these designs are.  Wow.

The salon is located on the same street as Edo and Villa Fairuz (opposite side of the street in Abha buildings).  From 30/Fahaheel Expressway, it is the 2nd entrance into Shaab (and from the 2nd entrance on the service road - the 2nd entrance).  On the Gulf Road, it is opposite from Johnny Carino's.

Fu....nny Kuwait News Items

My friend, J, and I always get a kick out of the Kuwait Crime sections in the local paper.  So, we send stuff back and forth for kicks....
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 19: Police have arrested a Kuwaiti man and Arab woman for indulging in immoral behavior. They were caught red-handed on a beach in Anjafa along the Arabian Gulf Street, reports Al-Dar daily. According to reports the lovers were caught in a hot embrace. They have been referred to a police station
Hmmm…"hot embrace" is a euphemism for what again?!Why not join party?: Police arrested a girl for consuming alcohol and referred her to Salmiya Police Station. The girl was stopped at a checkpoint where she cheekily asked a police officer  “Why don’t you come with me to the party.” The officer arrested her and got her car impounded.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to…
KUWAIT CITY, March 1: Police are looking for an unidentified man for allegedly taking advantage of his wife and forcing her to have sex with his office bosses, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily.
According to the complainant the husband invited his bosses to his home, treated them for coffee and forced his wife to sleep with them so that he could get promotion at his work place. The woman allegedly escaped from the man and sought assistance of her embassy. The embassy employee than accompanied the woman to a police station and filed a complaint against the husband.

He must have been pretty sure of his wife's capabilities...
Had it been ME, I would have first super-glued his appendage to his leg in his sleep and THEN reported him to the police.... but that's just me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

US Embassy National Day

I had a great time at the 4th of July party at the US Embassy last week. 
That’s right.  4th of July in February.  Well, there are several reasons for them to hold it on a different date.  This year it was held right before the kick off of the National and Liberation Days.  (Other reasons:  The weather is always better earlier in the year;  people start to travel for the summer; and the date is changed for security reasons.)
I went with Pretty Girl.  I think (hope/pray) that she had a good time.  She was a little nervous at first (the security was a little intimidating to a teenager visiting an embassy event for the first time), but I think everyone including the Ambassador and our hostess made her feel at home and cared for.  (By the way, no glitches whatsoever at the security desk, thankyouverymuch, R! )   
(I can remember being PG’s age back in the States and going to embassy parties – like at the embassy of Kuwait for example – and feeling intimidated and slightly overwhelmed.  Where has the time gone??)
A few times, PG said, “I can’t believe this is Kuwait…”  I told her to look around and remember, as it was her launching pad to the rest of her life (as maybe it was for me back on Tilden Street in Washington).  I firmly believe (and I have heard this from several other people including our hostess) that PG is destined for great things in her life.  I just feel it in my bones.  I have the great honor of being here now and being able to help the process a little.  She was extremely well-mannered (shout out to her parents for doing such a great job with her!) and polite.  She seemed to intuitively know people’s characters and made little remarks as we walked away that reinforced what I already knew about her.  Her observations were always correct. She had chosen a very pretty tunic with butterflies on it which was a very good choice for the social butterfly she is.
PG made some young Kuwaiti friends (also either in the exchange program or who had already gone and come back) and they were running around for most of the night. Almost every American fast food chain had a booth there, so it was hard to stay in one place.  (I opted to stick to smoothies thinking it was healthier, but on my 3rd  I decided - not so much.)  I lost her for about an hour.  I thought that she would be the only one wearing a purple hijab, but I counted 7.  (It is one thing to lose your own kid or a relative kid, but someone else’s kid is probably not a good thing.  I guess I have become a nervous nelly and I never thought that could happen.)
When we finally sat down at the end of the evening, we met some “interesting” characters (everything happens for a reason and I believe they were sent to deliver a message – keep your grades up!).  The gentleman we spoke to was an international law professor who was formerly bidoon, but who had been granted American nationality through his educational value to the country.  I didn’t know it until I asked him what his opinion of the bidoon situation is, as an international law professor.  Half an hour later, I was still fascinated by his interesting and amusing conversation of the subject (with several funny injections of “I’m looking for a wife…”).
It couldn’t have been a better night.  The weather was perfect, the lighting was perfect (reminded me of a square in a small town), the changing lights in the trees, the music, the fireworks at the end of the evening, the food.   I only had 2 (well 3) problems:  my skirt kept falling down (guess I have lost a little weight? I hope) and I wore the wrong shoes (I had no business in 3.5” heels on grass… but they looked cute, right?)
My friend who invited us couldn’t have been more hospitable and kind.  She’s always upbeat with a contagious laugh and always a kind word. She’s one of those people who never has a bad word.  I think she’s perfect for her job and I wish there were a lot more people around like her (especially to do what I love to do – connect the dots). 
And speaking of gracious people …. I am getting nervous about the possibility of Mrs. Jones’ end of mission.  I don’t want her to leave and I think I speak for a lot of people here also.  She is just good people, down-to-earth and approachable.  The fact that she knows the culture and the language so well is just icing on the cake.  She is the kind of person that I aspire to be; intelligent and diplomatic, yet compassionate and not afraid to show emotion once in a while.  As she did during her speech that night:  She spoke of a long-time employee at the embassy who she obviously was very fond of.  During her speech, she stopped because it was a fresh wound; he had passed away just days before and her voice broke as she spoke of him.  She also said how much her embassy family means to her.  After the speech, she walked around to each catering booth and stopped to talk to the people working there and to have her photo taken with them.  Looking around at their faces, they were all extremely honored by her gesture.  The true meaning of a graceful host is someone who can make everyone in the room feel welcomed and appreciated.  I think she went above-and-beyond.
For all my BMCing about the embassy and the problems (mostly just getting past the people at the front gate - call it "process improvement"), the changes that have come about during Mrs. Jones’ tenure have been amazing.  I truly admire her and her staff and most have been extremely kind to me over the years. 
I ran into (literally) so many people that I haven’t seen in ages;  the lawyer who helped me when I was leaving Agility/PWC, for example; several sheikhs that I never get to see (in Kuwait), and various old friends.  You would think that since Kuwait is so small that you would get to see your old friends all the time, but there is just never enough time here and the time that people have off, they like to spend with their families.  (Where did those relaxing Kuwaiti days go???)
Thank you, US Embassy, for a wonderful evening.
Thank you, Pretty Girl, for making me so proud.