August 2nd

As the state wrangles over Iraqi UN compensation payments, rising corruption, unemployment, visa trafficking, electricity and water dilemmas, and a myriad of other usual problems, let us look back at August 2nd, the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait (that’s right Mr. Kuwait Government, the Iraqi invasion and occupation, not the ‘Baathist‘ invasion, not the ‘Saddamist’ occupation – you can’t rewrite history).

There is nothing to say really. It’s all been said elsewhere and it’s all been said in the following article ‘A Soldier’s Diary: A Kuwaiti Volunteer Looks Back at ‘Liberation’ – you’ll know what we went through and how we feel about Kuwait in its current incarnation.

بين سيمبا و موفازا

في البداية أود التوجه بالشكر الجزيل للأخ العزيز عامر الهلال على دعوته الكريمة للكتابة في مدونته التي يُطلق عليها اسم ديوانية المدونين , و في الحقيقة كنت مترددا للكتابة في مدونة هلالية كون أغلب قراءها اعتادوا على قراءة المواضيع المكتوبة باللغة الانجيليزية , و لكني قلت لنفسي اكتب يا ولد واللي فيها فيها , شكرا مرة أخرى

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منذ قدوم ابنتي سلمى الى هذا العالم و أنا أحاول جاهدا تجاهل دخولي عالم الأُبوّة و الابتعاد المتعمد عن التصرف كـ رب أسرة حاله حال بقية الآباء , ربما كان السبب في ذلك احساسي العميق بأني لا أزال شاب مراهق يعيش الحياة بحرية و بلا التزام , و عادة ما تبدأ المعركة قبل موعد السفر مع زوجتي – و حماتي – كوني كنت أرفض رفضا تاماً اصطحاب سلمى معنا في السفر قبل بلوغها سن الخامسة نعم , أنا أريد أن اكون الطير الحر الذي لا يضطر الى دز العربانة أو التوقف عن التجول في المجمع التجاري لاطعام ابنته في موعد وجباتها الخاصة أو أخذها الى الحمام استجابة لنداء الطبيعة , و لكن ماذا أقول ؟ فقد نجحت المدام – و حماتي – في اجباري على اصطحاب سلمى لرحلتي اللندنية الأخيرة لا أنكر بالطبع أن السفر لأول مرة كـ أب له متعة خاصة لم أكن أشعر بها من قبل , فمتابعة و ترقب ردة فعل الأطفال و هم يكتشفون العالم الجديد شعور ممتع فعلا , فهي لأول مرة تشاهد حديقة , و لأول مرة تشاهد شوارع التسوق , و لأول مرة تشاهد حيوانات غير مألوفة في بيئتنا الصحراوية كالسنجاب و البجعة و البط و الغراب و بما أني أحد هواة العروض المسرحية , فقد كان لا بد لي من أصطحابها الى مسرحية ليون كنج المعروفة , و قد كانت المسرحية ممتازة للاطفال من خلال الأغاني و الرقصات و الألوان و الديكورات و الشخصيات , الا أنني كنت طوال العرض مشغول عن بطل المسرحية سيمبا لمراقبة تفاعلات العلاقة بين الأبناء و الآباء بين الحضور و قد لفت نظري أحد الآباء الذين كانوا يجلسون في الصف الأمامي , فقد كان هذا الأب متحمسا للمسرحية أكثر من طفله , يفتعل الضحك بصوت عالي و يفتعل التفاعل مع أقل حركة لأي ممثل على المسرح محاولا لفت نظر ابنه لاستيعاب لحظة السعادة – الرائعة – التي يعيشونها معاً , لا أنكر أنني في البداية استهجنت ازعاج هذا الأب و كنت أود أن أقول له هوِّن عليك , فهذه مسرحية أطفال و الجميع يعرف القصة , حاول أن تقلل من الأكشن رحم الله والديك , الا أنني بعد تقمص شخصية سيجمونت فرويد أحسست بأن هذا الأب انسان مشغول في العمل طوال الوقت و هو لا يرى ابنه بالقدر الكافي مما يجعله يشعر بالذنب , و بالتأكيد سيحاول أن يستغل المسرحية للتقرب الى ابنه و مشاركته فرحته قبل أن ينتهي الويك إند و يعود كل منهم لمشاغله الخاصة و القطيعة لا أخفي عليكم أنني شعرت بالحزن قليلا عند هذه اللحظة , فقد بدأت أفكر بالانسان و حياته , فهو يقضي النصف الأول من حياته يقاتل للهرب من سلطة الآباء و يتذمر من سيطرتهم , و فور النجاح في التخلص منها و التمكن من استنشاق هواء الحرية و الاستقلال يتزوج الانسان , و ينجب الأبناء , ليجد نفسه فريسة فخ آخر و هو ارضاء الأبناء و الخضوع لهاجس التقصير عليهم و الشعور بالذنب الأزلي ان تعرضوا لمكروه بسببه هذا هو الانسان و هذا قدره , أما بالنسبة لـ سلمى , فقد استمتعت بأول ربع ساعة من المسرحية ثم استسلمت لسلطان النوم العميق , و لا عزاء للميتين باوند

Where Is The ‘Green’ In Kuwait?

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Kuwait, large, empty patches and plots of desert land around homes, bridges, buildings – many in central Kuwait and inside neighborhoods – why can’t they beautify or ‘green’ the areas: palm trees, grass, parks – anything?

Kuwait should plant millions of palm trees like the UAE at least – if any city needs additional oxygen it’s hot, dusty Kuwait.

I am sure they can arrange a grossly overinflated tender for that…

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Kuwait Should Be A Secular State

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A Mosque In Downtown Kuwait

As radical as it may sound, the above title is absolutely true of all Democracies!

It is by no means contradictory to Islamic Sharia, far from it – It actually protects Islam and Sharia and all religions from misuse and misinterpretation, if only the opponents read wisely.

With all the factions coming up in Kuwaiti Politics these days – with each considering the other blasphemous – the political waters become murky to the electorate with regards to the choices they make.

If one considers that voting for HADAS or the Salafists, for example, would initiate the reshaping of the government into an Islamic one, the same would be true for the Shiite groups, the Liberals, the Tribalists, and so on.

To counter this fear – while providing equality to the entire population – the Kuwaiti Government needs to be reshaped Kuwait into a Secular State. Within this state, Religion is protected, in all its various forms and definitions, while the Rule of Law keeps it in check, so that no one religion or belief can demolish or defame the other. At the same time, the Government held accountable by each religious group so that no particular favoritism is given to any one group with regards to rights and obligations to the State and its Head.

This, in essence, is the very definition of a true Democracy. Anything else is a workaround. By that I mean, a twisting of the facts in order to address the development of a particular agenda that may or may not be productive to the society at large.

An ‘Islamic Democracy’ means the implementation of Sharia Law onto everyone, referenced by the power monger’s own interpretation of this Law, be it Wahaabist, Taliban, Hadas or Hezbolla.

A ‘Tribalist Democracy’ means the ‘Bani-Somethings’ exert their will and influence onto all those that are not of their tribe.

A ‘Liberal Democracy ‘means the right to throw wild Animal House style parties at college (to some, at least!) without concern for the more moderate of our society, and so on…

But the biggest threat of all, the one we are surely to face if these latest elections results don’t provide the needed results, is an Authoritarian Government, where the individual’s rights and obligations are subject to the whims of the ‘Ruling Elite’, unabated, unobstructed and unchallenged.

Here is where the line was drawn back in 1961/62, when Kuwaiti society decided to implement a constitution that would protect them and their generations from this type of rule. Here we are, 47 years later, deciding on what type of government to represent the people.

In my blog, I posted many entries about how to select and decide upon the right candidate for the job, and I’m reinforcing this point again here: By choosing wisely, all these political groups and their agenda’s will be limited it, but if they come into power, they will modify the government’s ‘modus operandi’ so that it becomes more ‘user friendly’ to their agenda, therefore, we the people will be at their ideological mercy.

In short, Kuwait should be a Secular State in order for all ideologies be absorbed and protected for their individual followers. Everyone has a right to think and say what he or she likes, as long as these actions to not infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others. Everyone should also have a right to be protected from corruption, as long as this protection is not extorted into a new form of corruption.

Pre-Marriage Checkup or ‘No Marriage’

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The new marriage law providing for pre-marriage checkup will be in force on Sunday, August 2, 2009, Assistant Undersecretary of Kuwaiti Ministry of Health for Medical Services, Dr. Yousuf Al-Nesf announced Wednesday.

Why?

“The aim of the legislation is to ensure a healthy and happy family and eradicate the hereditary and communicable diseases in Kuwait”, said Dr. Yousef Al-Nesf during the announcement.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Al-Hamoud, supervisor of family affairs at the Justice Ministry, said if the results of the lab tests proved that the would-be marriage is unsafe due to the illness of one or both of the partners, the marriage contract would be cancelled.

“A marriage officer is authorized to solemnize a marriage only after receiving a certificate that verifies that the couple conducted a checkup and were physically fit,” Al-Hamoud reminded.

The survival of the fittest or is it catalyzing the process of being the fittest ?

Do we need to accelerate the nature’s process by adopting such rules?

Are we morally justified ?

And The Beat Goes On

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“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul”.

George Bernard Shaw

Succesful Student Startups: Top Characteristics

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We all understand that money can be a powerful motivation.

Most of us don’t realize it, until we starting making some money by ourselves at regular intervals of time.

Students can be enterprising, independent and smart.
The question is how ?

They can do a lot of multi-tasking with their studies, researching into unknown territories, coordinating events, excelling at extra-curricular activities and so on.

Well that gets one, some good experience, dedication, time management skills, and people management.

However, students may be “Independent” financially.
Not because they are deprived of finances, but because it helps them understand the principles of generating money by their ideas.

How to convert an idea into a money making machine… ?

The product/service which probably may qualify to be a successful startup has certain characteristics such as:

  1. It caters to a specific need of a larger community or immediate smaller group
  2. It is easily accessible by different means (consider online access and never forget the traditional way)
  3. The demand for it is perpetual (lasting an indefinitely long time). It need not have to be in super high demand. It needs to be asked daily. E.g. Bread.
  4. It does not require a lot of investment at the beginning
  5. Can be coupled with other existing products/services (especially useful while starting, e.g. you can bundle your product or service with some other product/service. e.g. Think DELL and Microsoft)
  6. It can be started in a garage or in the basement. (no huge real estate requirements)
  7. Can be started with a single individual or two. Two is preferred.
  8. It can be described easily to an average individual
  9. Takes less time to monitor by the business owner (Spending an hour or two at the beginning should be suffice. Remember your primary objective is still to succeed at studies)
  10. Should be able to diversify
  11. Being aware of financial lessons which are not taught in classrooms, but gained by experience is a HUGE advantage when one graduates.

The idea here is not to make ONLY money, however in a long run, be able to learn how to shape an economy.

Once one masters certain principles of making money, money just keeps flowing.
Keep the input and output flow of money at almost the same rate.

Keep the money always flowing, never keep it static.
Otherwise one runs a big risk of not making more or even losing it.

The Disintegration Of Kuwait

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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.

كيف سيكون العالم بدون .. إعلام

قبل كل شيئ أود ان القي تحية عطرة الى موقع هلالية الذي يتيح لنخبة من المدونين ان يلتقوا في مدونة واحدة لكتابة مايجول بخاطرهم من مواضيع .. صحيح انني امتلك مفتاح دخول منذ اشهر ولكنني فضلّت عدم كتابة اي موضوع طائش خاصة الموضوع الاول الذي سيكون هنا وثانيا بسبب نسياني لكلمة السر مرتين متتاليتن
بداية أود ان اشير الى سؤال كان يجول في خاطري قبيل الانتخابات وربما كتبت عنه بشكل غير مباشر وهو الاعلام بجميع اشكاله (صحف – اذاعة – تلفاز – انترنت … الخ) وقلت حينها ان تلك القنوات هي الرابح الاكبر … كونها سعت بشكل غير مباشر الى حل مجلس الامة لاهداف مادية وسياسية وكونها تسعى الى ارباح في ظل ازمة عصفت حتى بجزر القمر
تخيلوا معي عدد الاعلانات الكبيرة والضخمة التي تم نشرها بالصحف ؟ تخيلوا معي قيمة الاعلانات التي تم دفعها مقابل ثواني قليلة في القنوات الفضائية !! بل تخيلوا معي قيمتها في الاذاعة والانترنت وما الى ذلك … وهناك ايضا البرامج الحوارية التي استضافت اشخاص لا دخل لهم لابمجلس امة لا من قريب ولا من بعيد ولكن بسبب العلاقات المتينة وبسبب اعلاناتهم التي تملا الصحف هنا وهناك
انفلونزا الخنازير .. جنون البقر … انفلوانزا الطيور … السالمونيلا والعديد من الامراض الاخرى الحديثة والقديمة انتشرت بسرعة البرق قبل وقوعها اصلا كل ذلك بسبب الاعلام … مع العلم ان المرض قد لايشكل اي خطر حقيقي الا لمن لهم جهاز مناعة ضعيف
الكويت صرفت الملايين على دواء لا نعرف كيف شكله حتى الان … وصرفت الالاف على اجهزة تم توزيعها على المطارات والحدود ولا نعرف كيف اصلا تعاملت مع آلاف المسافرين قبل قدوم تلك الاجهزة
باختصار … ماذا لو جميع القنوات الاعلامية لم تكن موجودة ؟

Kuwait Has Done Its Bit

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We’ve done our bit.

Now the Government needs to step up to the plate.