The Disintegration Of Kuwait


A few days ago I attended a conference in Dubai.

I attempted to check in at the ‘Kuwait Airways’ desk at Dubai Airport, amidst a frenzied crowd, and was told there was ‘an eight hour delay from the ‘Kuwait Airways’ side’

The crowd around me, consisting of families and businessmen were cursing the state (“What is wrong with our country?” and “Why are they refusing to develop it – where is our money going?”). There was anger in the crowd, pure venom. They didn’t care if Emirati citizens or foreigners were listening – they have had it with Kuwait’s lack of services and mean, tight-fisted ways and they were verbally generous.

We scurried, managing to transfer our tickets to Emirates Airlines – departing at the original KA time – at the brand new, gleaming, high-tech Terminal Three (there was a work-in-progress metro rail outside that looked like something out of ‘Epcot’).

The trip was smooth. Even in Economy passengers were treated with the utmost respect and service was excellent (if it were Economy in ‘Kuwait Airways’ the personnel would have treated us all like garbage, especially the Asians).

A perfect landing by the Emirates pilot was briefly interrupted by a screeching brake.

We are sorry ladies and gentleman, there was a driver who managed to speed across our tarmac during our arrival,” said the pilot. Passengers burst out laughing, “Yes, we definitely are in Kuwait now!” they hollered.

We exited our planes and were met with crowds of laborers and tourists, cigarette smoke, filthy ambience, dim lighting and the obligatory pink airport signs – yes we had arrived at Kuwait Airport, a far cry from whence we came. But hey, its home isn’t it. We were relieved and content.

Two days later, the electricity goes off in my neighborhood, for three hours. The Ministry of Electricity’s line was constantly busy. I went to check the local transformer/electrical building and found expatriate Ministry of Electricity technicians waiting, unable to do anything (“Please call the Ministry,” they implored me, “we are waiting for the hajji Kuwaiti engineer.”). They wanted my help in contacting their ministry – think about that for a minute.

This morning I open a newspaper and see quotes by Ministry of Electricity Under-Secretaries admitting there will be more power cuts this summer. Bloggers and columnists have been writing about this crisis for over five years – why didn’t the government do anything about it? Oh wait, they spent half a billion on decrepit generators that didn’t do the job – genius.

Let me say one thing to the movers and shakers (and I know for a fact you, your kids and your relatives follow this and other blogs): enough is enough, get your heads out of your posteriors, forget your egotistical, tired summits and conferences, and get working for the state, for this country. It is time you provided basic services to people without humiliating them – there is a resentment and anger towards government and officials in this country that you are not aware of.

We are a rich country. Use our resources wisely and work for us – that is what you are there for: public service.

Patience is not indefinite. And God won’t forgive those who don’t take care of their flock.

17 thoughts on “The Disintegration Of Kuwait

  1. More and more i feel there is something not right
    Are there two Kuwait’s ? do the people who can change not feel traffic ? not feel electric cuts ? not see unemployed Kuwaitis because of bad Kuwait university policies ? not fear the fact that expatiates are 3-1 Kuwaitis if not more ?

  2. تلومني لين حجزت عالاماراتية مع انهم معطيني تذكرة عالكويتية ببلاش؟
    للأسف المشكلة عميقة جدا جدا جدا
    و محد راضي يعطي هالديرة مجال للتنفس و الاصلاح
    الفساد يزيد مع الوقت و كأن هناك سباق منو يفسد اكثر من الثاني
    و التشكيلة الوزارية الأخيرة واضح انها تحتوي على نية مستقبلية للفساد و الافساد
    و الله كريم

  3. @ForzaQ8; stats I see say 15% Kuwaiti, 85% ex-pat labor, so more like 1 to 6?
    Amer – I am seeing incremental progress, but you are right – why incremental? With Kuwait’s riches, there should be processes and infrastructure and a bureaucratic cadre with guards against corruption. I am seeing progress. I recently had a great Kuwait Air experience, even. The plane was only maybe 15% full, they took good care of all of us.

  4. Fuck ups are inevitable. There’s never been a country without power failures, never an airline without flight delays but our problem isn’t a problem with money (or lack there-of) it’s immaturity.
    Immaturity and a lack of accountability. We whinge and moan about how things are going downhill and yet never sit down and ask the following:
    Why did the power go out?
    Why was there a delay in restoring it?
    When how can we prevent it (or delay the inevitable) ?
    And should it happen again what would it cost to have back up generators running in the neighborhood?
    pouring money into something does help but only if it comes with a maturity, accountability that we sadly have yet to develop ……

  5. I have to agree with everything you said, thats why I refuse to fly Kuwait Airways. Its a disaster and its falling apart! Very sad that we can’t even build a damn power station! It doesn’t take much, just pay one of those big firms to do it from Europe, Japan, or the States and have it funnel through a Kuwaiti company. I honestly don’t care if some people make money on the way but let their be some sort of stability with our country! We are renting from Qatar for Gods sakes, we are renting from people who mocked us last year! How humiliating is that, they have a surplus!
    We don’t have an economic city due to the dumb restrictive laws! Its all very sad!

  6. There you go folks:'Ministry%20officials%20reject%20American%20expert's%20offer%20to%20solve%20power%20crisis'%20
    Kuwait: ‘Ministry officials reject American expert’s offer to solve power crisis’
    29 May 2009
    KUWAIT CITY – An American expert, along with his team, is said to have approached the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW)Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW)Ministry of Electricity and Water with an offer to solve Kuwait’s power crisis within 30 days, reports Al-Shahid daily. A source revealed ministry officials have refused to deal with the expert in spite of their knowledge of the latter’s ability to address complicated power problems. He claimed a senior official, who declined the American’s offer, prioritized personal interests like other officials who are not keen on solving the problems completely, so they can continue to demand for extra load due to the weak network. He said the senior official prefers temporary solutions, hence, the recurrence of problems at major and sub stations. “Delaying solutions to the problem is not in the best interest of the ministry due to the worsening situation, which might lead to a breakdown of major stations, and then the ministry will attribute it to excessive power consumption,” the source lamented. Meanwhile, MEWMEW will award the contract for supply of smart meters by the end of July to the winning company to pave the way for the implementation of the project according to the specified conditions, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily.

  7. Where is the root cause my fellow bloggers ?
    It’s the attitude of investors, managers, owners and the government.
    The attitude needs to be rectified along with planning (where it matters the most… I guess at the top level first) and then implement those plans meticulously over a large scale with RULES that are made for improvement.
    Now, the focus is on planning, investments implementations and rules.
    If the young generation attitude doesn’t change, the future is grim my friends.
    Someone said, “Necessity is the mother of all invention.”
    In Kuwait, “Necessity is the mother of all development”
    If there is no need, there is no motivation; No motivation, no development.
    Yeah, we guys need to talk about our present and plan for our future generations.
    I say, we take the word to the Dewaniyas.
    A truly strong leader is a dire necessity now.
    ~ Soul

  8. This clearly shows how SENIOR officials on TOP can affect the society at large.
    I am amused !
    ~ Soul

  9. My company exhibited in Abu Dhabi last week. The exhibition buildings were not yet completed – but very impressive. As usual, I compared it to Kuwait in my mind and it suddenly shocked me! When our Mishref Exhibition area was being built in the Eighties, Abu Dhabi didn’t have a sewage system! They are WAY ahead of us today. Why? Because we have been sleeeeeeeeping for years!
    You mention Kuwait airport. I look for signs of fire exits at the airport. I’m calm and ther is no emergence – and I still haven’t managed to spot one! That is PATHETIC! I mentioned it to the airport security office who looked at me like I had something stuck on my forehead.
    I love my country and want to see it at its best… Not sure those in charge share this feeling. I am an optimist most of the time – but my patience is really being tested!

  10. A single spark is enough to make a wild fire.
    We keep our focus on that little spark.
    ~ Soul

  11. Ur blog amer is excellent, however, the message you r sending will not be delivered…..why? because those people dont read english and dont blog. 🙁

  12. The state that Kuwait is in is very side. All around us, GCC countries are taking the initiative to develop programs that will advance them both in an economic and educational sense. (Saudi Arabia with their 10×10 Program, UAE with their laws, Qatar developing educational cities). Yet, we have been stuck in the same place for so many years, refusing to move forward on things that need to be done!
    We really need to get our act together, or were going to be so far behind that catching up will seem too hard to accomplish.

  13. Kuwait: ‘Cabinet should solve power crisis’
    © Kuwait Times 2009
    09 June 2009
    KUWAIT: The power crisis is a major issue which should be resolved by the Cabinet, said Saleh Al-Musallam, Deputy Assistant for Distribution Networks at the Ministry of Electricity and Water(MEW)Ministry of Electricity and Water(MEW). He held the Ministry responsible for the escalating the crisis and called for spreading awareness on electricity conservation.
    He indicated that the major problem is the breakdown of transformers in residential areas, as each malfunction costs the Ministry around KD 10,000 in repair work. He added that regular maintenance has reduced such incidents when compared to previous years.
    Furthermore, Al-Musallam said that the Ministry is making concerted efforts to resolve the problem by taking necessary measures. He said that some transformers should be replaced, stating that such procedures take time to be executed. He added that those transformers prone to technical glitches were the ones inferior in quality, imported to the country post-Iraqi Invasion, reported Al-Qabas.
    The official explained some of the preventive measures taken, including a plan to create separate maintenance contracts for every governorate. Also, he pointed out the reasons that caused power outages. Most of the cases can be attributed to faulty wiring that supplies power to transformers, and the rest are caused due to lack of proper maintenance.

  14. Power cut in Salmiya
    Published Date: June 13, 2009
    KUWAIT: An electricity transformer explosion in Salmiya on Thursday night caused a power cut in Block 2 in the area, as well as in a number of local malls. Meanwhile, Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Bader Al-Shuraiaan has continued with his previously announced plan to reform the distribution networks, with the ministry announcing that it will be conducting radical improvements on 4,000 electricity substations. A Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) official said that the plan is part of a comprehe
    nsive strategy to solve the distribution network’s problems, reported Al-Watan. These have been responsible for the majority of power cuts, the official explained, and show that a wide-ranging maintenance program is needed, with investment in substations the first step in this strategy.

Comments are closed.