Monday, June 28, 2010

Kuwait Times Statistics

Kuwait Times Article today.

1,020 Kuwaiti women marry expatriates over 5 months 38 couples take pre-marital tests

KUWAIT CITY, June 27, (Agencies): Director of Legal Authentication Department Waleed Al-Mawash has disclosed that 1,020 Kuwaiti women married Asian and Arab expatriates from January until May this year, reports Annahar daily.A total of 11,258 marriages took place during the said five-month period. Al-Mawash said 2,759 Kuwaiti men married Arab or Asian expatriates while 117 Bedoun couples tied the knot during the period.
According to Al-Mawash, as many as 604 Kuwaiti couples got married and divorced in the same time period. Also, 182 Kuwaiti men who married Arab and Asian women got divorced, besides 53 Kuwaiti women who married Arab and Asian men. Nine Bedoun couples also split in the said duration.
Meanwhile, thirty eight couples appeared on the first day of opening the new pre-marital examination center in Mubarak Al-Kabir Governorate, a health ministry official said Sunday.“It is a successful start, with work smoothly flowing and applicants voicing content over quick and easy procedures,” Director of Pre-marriage Center of the Department of Social Health in the Ministry of Health Dr Yaqoub Al-Kandari told KUNA.Four centers are now operative, less than a year after opening the Mubarak Al-Kabir center, as all centers are fitted with all the necessary equipment and supplies, as well as all technical and administrative crews and will operate through an integrated automated program, he added.He stressed that the new center will facilitate and save time and effort of residents of Al-Ahmadi and Mubarak Al-Kabir areas.
The rate of safe marriage certificates that have been issued so far since the application of the pre-marital examination last August is 97 percent of those that are submitted for examination, Al-Kandari pointed out.Test results take some five days to process and are valid for six months to authenticate that couples are free from contagious or hereditary diseases.

604 couples married and divorced within 5 months. 1,020 Kuwaiti women married Asian and Arab expats, seems like the women are finally choosing who they want to marry.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ruffled Feathers

Blogging has been a little slow lately. It's just too hot to go an explore. After seeing the comments made today it seems I've ruffled some feathers amongst the locals. I personally think it's funny as hell to see people's reaction about my experiences. They seem to think I just want to speak negatively about Kuwait. That's not the case. Hello people!!! It's a blog, which means you write about anything you want. I write about my experiences, KEY WORD: EXPERIENCED.

If I had a KD for every time I was called racist I would be rich. I've written several times, if you don't like what I have to say then don't read it. I had 8 comments today, obviously from local people who seem to be offended by the truth. They respond with anti-American comments and the most common one, "if you don't like it leave". No I think I will stay and make your lives miserable. Truth hurts I guess. Some of them must be hitting the E because they seem to be hallucinating about my topics. One guy went off about the government schools, I never said Kuwaitis don't graduate.

I was going to write about something else but the mentality of these people baffles me. I read things I don't agree with but I don't go and attack the writer because I wasn't in their shoes. I don't even write things I really want to say because of the country's censorship. There's no freedom of speech here. Ask the Kuwaiti journalist guy who's in jail for writing his opinion. If I really wrote what I thought I might have an angry mob searching for me. Once again for those who call me racist and barbaric and madri shino, your comments don't bother me. I've been in Kuwait for over 6 years and have lost all sensitivity to verbal assaults.

I've developed a thick skin since being here and I know the kind of people behind these comments and in reality I don't care. I publish all comments both good and bad. I'm not afraid of criticism. Here are a few comments made today. I got tired of looking for all of them so here's a couple lovely comments.Fact is I love stepping on people's toes and getting a reaction.

Everyone of them is anonymous of course.

1.There is nothing wrong with government hospitals. Hate these fucking Westerners who view Arabs are sub humans lacking brains. Fuck off if you don't like our country. My ancestors worked their asses off for the new population to get treated when unhealthy. ''These so-called doctors''-no they are certified doctors. Fuck off, asses. You don't like Kuwait? Leave then. No one is forcing you to stay and further destroy the country. I hate hearing all of those Westerners complain on and on about Kuwait. If you don't like it, LEAVE! It's called freedom of movement.

2.How the hell are all of the posts purely opinion and not meant to harm anyone?All of your posts are offensive.

3.''The kids who go to government school are hardly given a chance to succeed in life. Why doesn't the Ministry focus on education?''
I went to government school, it was easy for me to succeed because I was educated at a government school. Your moronic attempts to depict government schools as inferior, base schools are amusing. Children who attend government schools have just as much chances as succeeding. You do not know how government schools are because you have never attended them nor taught at one. There is nothing wrong with government schools and the majority of high school Kuwaiti graduates who end up attending Western universities getting degrees in Sciences are government school graduates. My mother worked her ass off for 17 years to attend Nottingham University...Government schools and the test results from government schools are much higher than those of private schools, especially when comparing government school's secondary test results to those of British schools.
Children in government schools perform better than children in private English schools. And who said Kuwaitis don't graduate from high school? Almost 100% of the current adult population of Kuwait have a high school degree. I have no idea where you are obtaining your ''information'' from, I find it hard to believe Kuwaitis don't graduate from high school. Government schools and the students in them are competitive, their averages are exceeding 90% unlike private schools and what I am curious about is why you believe Kuwait isn't offering their children an opportunity to succeed. All of the adults around me have graduated from high school and university, all of the current teenagers are on their way to graduating. I have never met a Kuwaiti who hasn't graduated from high school.Maybe the lower class 'trophy wives' is what you're referring to. As a whole, Kuwaitis do graduate from high school and university. I didn't grow up in a professional family, my parents do all work and all of my friends, relatives, distant relatives, and my whole family has graduated from high school and university.
The government requires males to complete high school in order to formally apply to the military, it is a requirement. Kuwaitis can't just not graduate from high school and obtain a job with a good real solid salary. Those who become high school drop outs end up being paid little and most of the times hoping for marriage to a man with a good solid salary, these are known as trophy wives (not by the men, they don't have to be attractive, they just need to conform to society). No one in Kuwait can get a real high salary without graduating high school and university. It's a social taboo to not graduate from high school. Getting 60% in government schools is the equivalence of 'F' there, and is very rare. While at English schools like Gulf English School, getting 50% is the top grade in the class.
No one can achieve 90% these days at the private schools my children are enrolled at, the majority of which are very well known and respectable. Government schools are doing better than private schools, that is an established fact.I don't understand why Westerners often perceive Kuwait as a third-world, barbaric country.What on earth is going on here? If you don't like this country, just leave. No one is stopping you or anyone else from leaving.
The ministry does focus immensely on education. The government of Kuwait is focusing on education more than anything else. If they hire Westerners to teach, what jobs will the Arabs have? Arabs are poorer than Westerns, fact. In government schools, Arab teachers are respected. In private schools, they are not. In government schools, Arabic teachers are feared and highly respected. In private schools they are not because private schools hire any Arab to teach Arabic and religion. Private schools are weaker in discipline than government schools.

4.Anonymous said...
Kuwait is a first world country

I love blogging. I can debate from the comfort of my house instead of going out and dealing with it. Keep up the comments everyone! Hehehe!
Thanks out to those people who understand what writing is all about and don't take opinions to heart. Relax and chill people, life's too short to be angry.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Random Thought

Do those random people who appear in our dreams really exist somewhere or are they a figment of our imagination?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Storage Place

I've heard there was a storage facility built here recently, does anyone have any information about the place? There were some Americans who were given a 24 hour notice to move but I couldn't find out any info about the storage place for them. Any info is appreciated!

Friday, June 18, 2010


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

School is over Finally!

My mom and sister left yesterday for vacation in Florida and boy did they deserve it after this last year working at their school. I worked there for 2 months and that was more than enough for me. I have never met such rude and barbaric people before in my life. My husband warned me about those people but I went with an open mind. Now I see what he was talking about.

Before I get into the story if you get offended by some of the things I say about people in this country then please stop reading this article as I have received plenty of anti-American comments along with being called rude and racist. I post almost all comments good or bad so readers may see what kind of mentality people have. I'm happy to say good comments out way the bad so thanks to those who live with an open mind. Other people can't handle the truth and that's why they make rude comments, make a rude comment expect a rude remark from me.

This school is out in the boondocks in an area where civilization sort of exists. The school had it's KG graduation and so the principal thought they were finished with programs and the rest of the upper grades would have their on individual parties. Right? Oh so wrong. One by one the parents of grades 1-5 came in asking about the party for their kids. Their kids are supposed to have a program and receive certificates and gifts and food etc. The owner sides with the parents and says ok. So the staff has 3 days to come up with a song and dance, process the grades, arrange the party, make the certificates and calculate the grades to find the top 3 of each class.

If that wasn't headache enough the parents start bribing the teachers to make their kids top of the class. The mothers head to the Vice Principal's office to tell her their child has to be number one or they won't return next year. Are you serious? On the last day of the exams the parents wait in the office all day for results. They start calling and calling asking for results. Now these certificates are something found on the Internet and printed on photo paper. They won't get your child a job or a degree, I mean they can make the same things on their own computers so why are they so damn important?

Thank God I stopped working for the school before all hell broke loose. So the day of the party came and the kids got their cheesy certificates, not like any of them really deserved them because they weren't the best kids anyways but it's all about money for the owner. Parents started coming up to the principal asking about the gifts for the kids? OMG WTH? Why are people here obsessed with certificates and trophies? Hell you can go get one for a KD and not make a problem.

Then around 30 parents took off after the Vice principal cornering her in an office like an angry mob yelling at her and asking why their child wasn't top of their class. The vice principal is Kuwaiti-American and they were screaming and saying she's not Kuwaiti she's Indian. What's wrong with these people? They proceeded to call the American principal an Indian and was yelling at her. I really wish I was there with my baseball bat. The staff are Egyptians and Indians and will not stand up to local people so they ran and hid.

If that wasn't bad enough the owner told the principal and vice principal (who set up the whole school, furnished it, set up the curriculum and did everything on their own to make the school a nice place) they would no longer be principal and vice principal and they might have a job as a teacher with a 50% reduction in pay so take it or leave it. The owner also decided to take money from all of the staff for the days they missed. Now mind you he already took it from their paycheck during the month they missed but that wasn't enough he decided for every 3 days missed he would take one day's pay!

The principal and vice principal were the only ones who signed a contract with the owner so they should be entitled to their summer pay right? Sure! Minus the days missed and other amounts he decided to take out. He refused to pay the principal money for her ticket even thought it's stated in her contract. He felt he had paid her enough already. This is what happens when you don't sign a contract and you are not legally employed by a company. If your residency is not on your company and you don't sign a contract then expect to not get your pay and if you do expect it to be short. The owner takes advantage of the people who desperately need a job.

Then I found a clone of the owner. A local who works for the Amiri Diwan and owns a nursery school. He hired me as the director. I specifically told him I wasn't interested in teaching, I was interested in PR, marketing and business. He low balled the salary but I thought later he would increase it so I gave it a chance. I get to the school and it was a disaster. There were about 15 kids there and it was the graduation day. I found out the next day that once again this party was insisted upon by one of the parents who knows the school doesn't have a license so she threatened to go to the Ministry if they didn't have a party for her brat kid.

There was one baby about 8 months old. This poor baby was held the whole day, passed from teacher to teacher and maid to maid. No where for him to play. No supplies for the kids. No computers. There is one English teacher and one Arabic teacher and one assistant working in 3 rooms. So there are 20+ people wandering around the first floor of the house, the kids kept running into me and each other. What did I get myself into?

By the third day I had had enough. The owner was rude and wanted me to do 20 jobs at once. There was no budget, there was no marketing, there wasn't even a decent computer. The owner came in and I along with the English teacher had a discussion about the school. In the end he told me he wanted me to be the director/teacher/jack of all trades for 400 KD. The final straw was the English teacher telling me he hasn't paid her the salary for May. Aha a clone of the other owner. Get people who need money, don't sign a contract, don't sponsor them, just keep them for as long as they will put up with it.

Sorry I'm not one to sit in that type of situation. I had a lot I wanted to say but decided to say this isn't working out. Kuwait is very small and one day you will meet these people again so it's better to go out in a good way as you never know where you might see them.

In the end my husband was right about the jungle people. I can't wait to see what kind of comments I'm gonna get about this. Put yourself in my situation, when your mother and sister are being attacked daily by uncontrollable people how would you feel? The Kuwait job market is getting smaller and smaller. Everyone has to have a B.A. in order to get any job, maybe even McDonald's. We try to do what we can to help our families survive but there are so many vultures waiting to take advantage of the little people.

Now all of the teachers are required to have a B.A. degree in English in order to teach. Americans have degrees in education which means Native English speakers may be out of teaching jobs unless they have subject degrees. Even teaching assistants who make 250 KD or less must have B.A. degrees. Back in 2004 expats were wanted and now our welcome has come to an end it seems. Even contracting has become a cut throat industry. But I did read today in Arab Times that Kuwait plans on making the country a commercial hub so maybe there's good news for the future?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OMG It's freakin' hot!

Now that the weather has reached the eyeball burning phase remember to switch off your water heater as I learned yesterday. Taking a shower at 2 p.m was liking putting myself in a sauna. In the Fintas-Mangaf area the water is trucked in which means the plastic containers are exposed to the elements. Burning hot during the day and luke warm at night.

Does underground water exist in Kuwait? I think it does in established cities but since this area is kind of new they just truck in water. Where does this "potable" water come from and what is it exactly? Maybe I don't want to know what it is. I know you can't drink it or cook with it and even the filter can't keep everything out of it.

The only thing about switching off the water heater is that when you want to take a shower at night the water will be luke warm but never cold cold. I've been in this area for over six years will they ever have water that doesn't have to be trucked in?

I think it would be beneficial to have underground water as the water trucks ruin the streets in Kuwait. Without water trucks there wouldn't be so many holes in the road and traffic.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Government Hospitals

My internet has been really crappy for the last two days so actually getting to my blog is almost impossible. I guess it's working today after waiting for 3 hours so let me write about something before it shuts down again.

My sister went to Adan hospital which is a government hospital for a problem she was having. The so called doctor told her she would have to have surgery for her problem or it could get worse and end up really bad. This problem comes at the same time she's supposed to go back home for vacation.

For the actual procedure she went to London Hospital which is about one step up from the government hospital but not as expensive as some of the other private hospitals. This doctor told her that she didn't need surgery as it was a swollen blood vessel and gave her some medication to take care of the problem.

I've been misdiagnosed here also and it's a scary thing when one doctor tells you to prepare for surgery which will cost 400 KD and when you go for a second opinion they tell you that surgery is not needed and hand you a prescription. I hate to think of how many people have been misdiagnosed and had surgery that they didn't need.

I remember a car accident a few years back that involved a bunch of teenage girls. When the paramedics arrived they were more concerned with the girls that were ok rather than the ones that were unconscious. When they got the girl who was knocked out they lifted her head by her hair in order to put the neck brace on. Shocking is all I can say. I found where they took the girls and my sister and I asked about her condition.

They said she is 19 and she fractured her pelvis and the doctors gave her a hysterectomy. What?? I must say if you can avoid accidents do it as you may not be hurt from the accident but have some part taken off by doctors who know nothing. I'm really scared of the paramedics after what I saw.

People with lots of money go abroad for medical so they have no concern about the government hospitals as they are for the poor, even though there are many Kuwaitis that go to these hospitals. I say be cheap on anything else but not hospitals and medical practices. People depend on these places for help. I've been to the government hospitals and they mean well but there aren't any clean sheets that are changed, people are piled on top of each other and you have to wait hours and hours for a doctor to give you information. The nurses can be quite rude also.

If you have insurance from your company and can go to private hospitals be grateful as there are others who take a 50/50 chance when going to government hospitals.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tourist Trips - AWARE center

Wooow it's so hot here these days. I hate going out during the day so I guess the exploring will have to wait until it gets cooler. If you're one of those people who don't mind the heat and want something to do with a group of other folks then AWARE center has a couple of activities this month.

I've already written about the Grand Mosque and the House of Mirrors, these are the two places AWARE center will be taking the group to.

Saturday, 12th June, Guided Tour of the Grand Mosque:
For a rewarding, spiritual and informative experience. This is a 1 ½ tour of one of Kuwait’s most famous landmarks. People are requested to meet on location at 9:15am. Tour starts at 9:30am

Monday, 14th June, Guided Tour to “The House of Mirrors”
A splendid inside view of a most unique Kuwaiti home which has earned its title as the "House of Mirrors" For a grand display of art from two very dedicated artists. This tour is for adults only. Seats are limited, registration is required. Please forward your name, and telephone contact to to register for this tour. Further details will be shared upon registration.

As stated both trips will require registration.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Garbage Crisis

No matter how many Mercedes, BMWs, Lambos and RR we see here we have to remember we are in a third world country after all. I can't understand the garbage crisis here. Do they honestly think having one dumpster for 30 apartment buildings is enough? They just set out these dumpsters anywhere, open lot, in the street, side of the road or anywhere they can find a place.

I remember the days of growing up and going out to the dump with my grandfather. I think it's a Southern thing. We used to pack up the truck with old stuff and haul it off to the dump. I used to think it was so cool. Then we would pick up boiled peanuts and a slurpee and head home. I guess I'm just used to designated dumpster areas with decent size dumpsters to put the trash in. It doesn't make the trash area an eye soar and it keeps the surrounding area a little bit more sanitary.

I've watched the dump trucks here and boy are they different. The truck has a cable that hooks on to the dumspter and pulls it forward spilling trash as it empties. The worker guys don't pick up the fallen trash, they just leave a trail of it behind the truck. I think it's so gross to see rotting trash and have to watch out for liquefied melted trash as it streams down the road. It's such a safety hazard and totally gross. One would think with all the revenue coming in there would be some kind of waste management, right?

Of course certain areas are well maintained and garbage free, that's the best way to keep visitors from knowing the truth. Look at the areas surrounding the airport, those areas are extra clean and there are trees and flowers. That gives visitors the sense of cleanliness. Little do they know the forgotten areas where the rich would never be caught going to are garbage strewn and totally gross. Shouldn't the country as a whole be taken care of?

Here's an idea gov't folks, update your waste management sector with qualified people, bring in some new equipment and designate disposal areas in residential areas. Have a team check out each and every area assuring quality control. It's not like labor is so costly. I've seen the collector guys on the side of the road collecting trash. Hire some more of them and take them out to areas that need attention.

The loan dumpster for 30 buildings.

One of the ancient waste management trucks.

Dumpsters we use back home.

Our kind of trucks.

Back home working for waste management is a prime retirement job.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Some things I miss from the States

When we leave our home country there are always things we miss. It's not always the big things that we miss, sometimes it's the little things we cherish most. Going to a restaurant and getting a glass of water with lemon or drinking water from the tap. I guess I also miss running water itself, not trucked water that has living things in it, hence the reddish brown stuff leftover in the filters. Have you ever stopped to think what's coming out of the faucet when you take a shower?

I miss gallons of milk and slurpees. 7-11 and convenient stores. Although they do have gas stations with convenient stores everywhere else but here, and yes I see them slowly sprouting up in a couple places here so we'll see how that concept goes. There is no where for children to go and play. No decent parks that have lakes and greenery. In Qatar the houses are made up into compound type living. There is a wall surrounding the communities and inside these communities are parks, pools and activities for residents.

Of course there are restaurants I miss as everyone does so I've listed some that I miss. I'm sure someone will answer my post by saying "If you miss it then go home" that's a typical response for people when you talk about things back home instead of seeing it as an opinion and maybe making some improvements to the country.

FYI: I went to Avenues yesterday and they are opening up a BeniHana Japanese restaurant soon. Woohoo!

Remember tap water?

Third street promenade in Cali.

Santa Monica Pier.

Slurpees and brain freeze.

Autozone, a place I could pick up my own parts!

Chicken burgers.

Parks to take the kids to.

Everyone misses Wal-Mart

Ok this isn't in Cali but when I head South I eat there.

Grilling in the park with food bought from the grocery store.

A store where we can buy everything we need.

Oh yahhhh you know you all miss this baby.

A simple gallon of milk.

Anyone else miss something specific from their neck of the woods?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Auto Shop in Fahaheel

The popular car of contractors is the 94-96 SS Impala. I was the first female to buy one way back in 2005, the early days of contracting. Unfortunately I got one of the worst ones in Kuwait. At that time I paid around 900 KD for it, which seemed ok. I got it off some Pakistani guy who has a shop in Fahaheel. I think he still sells them. Well everything looked fine until I had it a few days.

Little by little it started falling apart. I replaced the axle for around 300 KD. I'm sure I got ripped off, first I'm American and second I'm female. Then it started to overheat, time to replace the radiator. The last thing was replacing the brakes and re-surfacing the rotors. Not a big deal right? Wrong, I went to the "Impala expert" of Fahaheel. This guy is referred by everyone I know. So his henchmen fixed the brakes or so I thought.

The next day driving from the base I hit the brakes hard and the whole front end shook so hard that the steering wheel jerked out of my hands. That was so scary. I thought it was some fluke and kept on going. Once again while coming up to a speed bump the same thing happened. I realized that the guys who fixed the brakes really screwed something up. I took the car back to those guys and they started rambling in their Indian Arabic. I took the guy for a ride and he kept denying the problem.

He told my friend that I drive too fast, that was the problem. Really? I think not, I think the problem is bad work and they don't know what they're doing and charging outrageous prices. I told them I would call Beladiya on them if they didn't fix it. Beladiya is the word you use when someone gives you bad services. The beladiya regulates all shops and stores making sure they have licenses. Remember to use that word when arguing with someone.

Anyways after several fights I gave up and bought another car. After sinking over 1000KD extra into the car and it not working I gave up. The system in the car was worth more than the car itself. But we learn from experience right? Shuwaikh is a better place to take cars. In reality there aren't any good places and the guys are waiting to rip of expats. So beware of the so called professional Impala people.

The infamous SS shop

Anyone else have a bad experience with these guys?