My good friend and commenter, Daggero, left this comment for us yesterday announcing the new Islamic year:
For your information yesterday we entered the Islamic year 1435 Hijri ( hijri = immigration ) which marks the year the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, emigrated after 13 years of calling people to Islam from Mecca to Medina, ( where he is burried in his Mosque , Masjid an Nabawi, the second holliest mosque in Islam after the Mecca )
So total Islam time from begining to now is 1448 years, and on this auspicious occasion i wish you , AdventureMan and your family and the little ones a happy and a blessed New Islamic year.
We wish you the same, Daggero, and I smiled as I read that you discussed the topic we were discussing with your daughter on the drive to school in the morning. I remember those days so well, as young people begin to draw off into their own lives and the time we spend with them in cars can be so precious. Happy New Year to you and your family.
We had a friend from Libya whose family name meant “from Madina;” before we had ever lived in any Middle East country, he had told us a little about Madina, and what a beautiful city it is. The mosque is very beautiful. I think the tradition is that green was the prophet Mohammed’s favorite color?
Happy New Year, too, to all our Moslem friends.
“Fractious” isn’t a word you often hear. Clearly the veterinary tech had just read the word off the record, perhaps there is some warning in there about the Qatari Cat.
The Qatari Cat was born on the streets of Qatar, and had a bumpy start with another owner. While the man and his daughter liked him just fine, the wife and her mother did not. When the Qatari cat came to live with us, he was very wary of me. It took a couple years for him to fully trust me. He watched my feet all the time. He quailed in fear, ears back, if I used a loud voice. He was terrified of the sound of plastic bags.
Slowly, slowly, we built a relationship. Today, ten years later, he is a sweet cat.
He is a sweet cat every single day of the year, but he still has his street instincts. AdventureMan has learned that you can’t play rough with the Qatari Cat; you play rough, you lose. I never speak loudly to him; it just won’t work, it just gets his back up. Because he knows I am the boss, I speak sternly, but softly to him and he will do just what I ask him to do.
Our first visit to the vet went badly. You can read about it here. He was fine until the buzzing razor hit his bottom and then all his survival instincts kicked in. He’s been back twice, and he has been as good as gold, but somehow . . . that notation has stuck.
“No!” I replied, maybe a little bit too loudly.”No! He is a sweet kitty! He is snuggly and loving and quiet and good! But if he is scared, he wants to defend himself.” I told the tech about the Italian vet the Qatari Cat fell in love with in Kuwait, she snuggled him and told him how beautiful he was and how much she loved him and he was putty in her hands. I was almost jealous. I thought maybe she distilled some catnip and mixed it with her perfume or something, Qatari Cat’s eyes glazed a little in sheer adoration when he was around her, and he even drooled a little. She could take his temperature, give him a shot and check his innards and he never complained, just looked at her adoringly.
The tech shot a skeptical look at me and exited the room. I could hear her repeat this to the vet, and muffled laughter before she entered the room again.
So the vet came in and snuggled Qatari Cat, and told him he was pretty, and while she did not say it with an Italian accent, Qatari Cat was clearly intrigued – and on his best behavior. It doesn’t take much . . . he’s a male. Snuggle him a little, rub his fur the right way, chat him up . . . it doesn’t have to be rational, it’s all in the tone of voice and the flirtation. He totally digs it, he eats it up. A little grope here, a quick look at the teeth, a quick injection and he’s finished, not a fractious moment in the entire visit.
On the way home, we laughed thinking of our sensitivity at having our cat called “fractious.” We remember the indignant response of friends whose cat was annotated as “vicious” by a German vet. The cat was diabetic and objected to the roughness with which the vet wanted to take his blood. I think if you are a veterinarian, you might have an understanding that a sick animal, or a scared animal, might act unpredictably or defensively, there are big thick gloves you can wear if an animal seems wired up.
Does this look like a fractious cat to you?
The presentation is a little confusing, but I have to guess that if 19% of the divorces are “non-Kuwaiti” by which they mean that one member of the marriage is not Kuwaiti. So what they are not saying is that 80% of the divorces are Kuwaitis married to Kuwaitis.
They also did not say how long marriages lasted – how many of those marriages were divorced in the first year, how many after many years? If the statistics are accurate, Kuwait is doing OK – more than half the marriages are succeeding.
OOps – found second report in the same Kuwait Times! See below
9,404 Kuwaiti marriages, 4,067 divorces in 2012
KUWAIT: More than 9,000 Kuwaiti couples married last year and more than 4,000 marriages ended in divorce the same year, a local daily reported yesterday quoting official statistics.
The statistics released by the Ministry of Justice and published by Al-Qabas daily indicate that 9,404 marriages between Kuwaitis took place last year compared to 4,067 divorces, or 43.3 percent.
The same statistics also indicated that 4,910 marriages took place between a Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti spouse in 2012, compared to 2,605 divorces in the same category. In detail, the statistics show that 814 Kuwaiti men married non-Kuwaiti women in 2012, while 648 Kuwaiti women married non-Kuwaiti men the same year.
The percentage of Kuwait couples in the total number of marriages last year reached 65 percent, according to the statistics, while 19 percent took place between non-Kuwaiti couples. 10 percent of marriages took place between a Kuwaiti man and a non-Kuwaiti woman, while marriages between a non-Kuwaiti man and a Kuwaiti woman also reach 10 percent.
Regarding divorce percentages, the statistics show that 19 percent of divorce cases happened between non-Kuwaiti couples; 12 percent between couples in which the husband is Kuwaiti and the wife is non-Kuwaiti, and 7 percent between couples in which the husband is non-Kuwaiti and the wife is Kuwaiti.
Regarding academic qualifications, the statistics show that 35 percent of women married last year have university degrees, 30 percent have high school degrees, and 19 percent have diplomas, whereas 29 percent of men have university degrees, 24 percent have high school degrees, 21 percent have middle school qualifications and 20 percent have diplomas. On the other hand, the statistics show that the majority of women divorced last year have university degrees (29 percent), while the majority percentage of divorced men have middle school qualifications (29 percent).
55% couples married in last 4 years seek divorce
KUWAIT: Almost 55 percent of couples filing for divorce in Kuwait have been married for four years only, including 25 percent who are yet to celebrate the first anniversary of their wedding, a local daily reported yesterday quoting official statistics. The statistical report released by the Research and Statistics Department in the Ministry of Justice and obtained by Al- Qabas daily further indicates that out of 5,662 couples who sought marriage counseling, only 20 percent had their issue successfully resolved.
Lack of willingness to coexist was identified as the primary cause for divorce requests, with 32 percent of the requests made by husbands and 23 percent by wives.
The statistics further indicate that 77 percent of couples who attended marriage counseling were Kuwaitis compared to 22 percent non-Kuwaitis.
Meanwhile, 62 percent of those couples do not have children, 34 percent have one to three children, and 2.7 percent have between four and six children.
Regarding age groups, the statistics show that 42 percent of couples seeking marriage counseling are aged between 25 and 34, 22 percent aged between 35 and 44, and 20 percent aged between 15 and 25. And according to the couples’ academic levels, the statistics indicate that 28 percent of husbands have middle school degrees, 22 percent have high school degrees and 21 percent have university degrees, whereas 27 percent of wives have high school degrees, 23 percent have university degree, 22 percent have diploma and 20 percent have middle school
KUWAIT: Traffic police in the area of Hawalli have set a record by booking 995 drivers and motorcycle riders in a one-day campaign to fight chaos on the roads. “A large team of traffic policemen was deployed in the area to check the extent of discipline and compliance with the law on the roads,” security sources told local daily Al-Rai. “The policemen detained 20 people and impounded their cars. Among them, there were five people who did not have a driving licence, seven who were utterly reckless in their driving, three who staged a race and five who did not have licences to ride their motorcycles,” the sources said. According to the figures he revealed, 23 cars and five motorbikes were impounded in the crackdown conducted on Friday.
Lesser violations included uninsured vehicles, tinted windows, not wearing seat belts and parking in areas for people with special needs, the sources said. Traffic officers in Kuwait have been actively engaged in relentless campaigns to restore order in a sector plagued by a high toll of accident fatalities, reckless driving and non-compliance with administrative procedures. Foreigners who repeatedly broke the law have been deported for endangering lives while citizens have been deprived of their vehicles or licences.
Abdul Fattah Al Ali, assistant undersecretary for traffic and the force behind the campaigns, who had come under attack, mainly from the opposition, for his strong approach towards foreign drivers who commit several traffic offences, said that the trend to end the chaos and impose road discipline would continue.
“I am not an abusive person, but I do apply the law and assume my responsibilities to save lives and protect people from reckless drivers,” he said. “The expatriates who do not respect the law should be sent home. We will deport the irresponsible expatriates who do not respect the laws of the country,” he said. “We have also extended the vehicle impounding period from two to four months and drivers can now be held for 48 hours for the sake of the investigation and the normal procedures.”
The crackdown led the authorities to discover that 20,000 forged driving licences had been issued since 2010. “We have withdrawn 7,000 forged licences, and we are working on tracking down and cancelling all the others,” Al-Ali has said.
He added that expatriates summoned to the traffic directorate should come forth and hand their licences, assuring them that there would be “no questions asked”. However, those who fail to show up to hand back the licences will face forgery charges and will be deported, he said.
Comment: 20,000 forged licenses??? 20,000???
From the Kuwait Times, an awesome statistic. In just months, the Al-Ali states the traffic deaths per month have dropped from 50 to 19. That’s incredible:
Traffic chief criticizes ‘non-cooperative’ departments
KUWAIT: Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali has been credited for positive changes seen on roads around Kuwait ever since he assumed post as Undersecretary Assistant for Traffic Affairs at the Interior Ministry five months ago. The senior official recently said that he did not come up with anything new but merely made sure that the existing laws were enforced. Al-Ali was interviewed by Al-Qabas as he spoke of efforts which have helped reduce traffic violations by 30 percent, cut road deaths and eased traffic jams. “We still have a long way to go because traffic awareness does not happen overnight”, he said, “and there is a lot of work to do before we can reach a level of contentment”.
During the interview Al-Ali criticized several state departments who he accused of being ‘non-cooperative’ with proposals to address the traffic jam problem. “There are ministries who remain unwilling to take simple decisions that can help reduce traffic congestions”, Al-Ali said. He also criticized the Kuwait municipality for allowing contractors to build apartments without allocating enough parking space. He also indicated that efforts to license parking lots with a capacity of 120 vehicles are often rejected. On Tuesday Al-Qabas published figures that Al-Ali mentioned during the interview, including withdrawal of 4,000 driver’s licenses which were obtained through wasta, as well as reducing a monthly rate of issuing licenses from 7,000 to 1,200. The official credited extensive traffic campaigns for reducing the average road deaths from 50 to 19 per month.
The General Traffic Department in the Interior Ministry launched extensive campaigns last April and these have resulted in thousands of traffic tickets, millions of Kuwaiti dinars collected in fines, and the deportation of thousands of expatriate drivers, in addition to firmer penalties against Kuwaiti offenders. No timetable is set for the end of campaigns and Major General Al-Ali has repeatedly indicated that crackdowns will continue as part of the department’s efforts to reduce traffic jams, curb the number of road fatalities and fight traffic offenses. Al-Ali also spoke to Al-Rai daily who quoted his statements yesterday in which he reiterated that fines should be paid to avoid a travel ban and suspension of license.
According to the senior official, the Interior Ministry has so far managed to collect KD 38 million out of KD 41 million it is owed, and withdrew more than 7,000 out of nearly 20,000 forged licenses issued since 2010. Meanwhile, Al-Watan quoted an Interior Ministry source yesterday who blamed state departments for “failure of implementing the General Traffic Department’s plans to reduce traffic”. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source stated that unnamed state departments have been ignoring offers to change timings that the traffic departments have been proposing since 2005. Major General Al-Ali attended a meeting last week with officials from the Ministry of Education and the Civil Service Commission, but no consensus was reached to change schools timings ahead of the beginning of the academic year. —
Once a year I get to troll the internet looking for cakes. It is so much fun. I had no idea there is so much creativity out there, so much daring. I found a wedding cake that is tilted! Something in me loved it, loved the spirit of a woman who would marry knowing life is often off-kilter and messy.
I love white roses, so this year I have sent some to myself:
Come on by, have some virtual cake with me to celebrate seven years of blogging:
And here, an elegant combination of cake and white roses:
Seven years ago in Kuwait, I started blogging. There was a wild blogging scene in Kuwait, a lively community. Blogs were candid, and many were substantial, dealing (carefully) with political and economic issues in Kuwait. I remember reading and learning, and finally gathering up my courage to write my very first entry, and it has been a recurring theme, cross-cultural communication. I learned so much from my life in the Middle East, Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. I made the most amazing friends. It changed my life and my perceptions utterly.
Of the three Kuwait female bloggers who inspired me to start blogging, Jewaira has gone private, 1001 Nights is a good friend, a mother, and an author :-) and Desert Girl is still going strong. Mark, at 2:48 a.m. is also still going strong, so strong that he has been able to leave his full time employment and operate on a consultant basis.
Of course, as any blogger will, I sometimes think of quitting. There are days I find myself with nothing to say, nothing in my life so interesting that I think it is worth sharing, not even a news story worth noting. So I’ve had to ask myself why I continue.
I do it for myself. When I started, I had a reason and that reason still stands. I forget things. This isn’t age-related, it’s busy-life busy-world related; we forget the details.
My Mother saved all my letters from Tunisia. I remember reading them and laughing because at three, my son’s best friend in his day school was a boy he called Cutlet. I know his real name is Khalid, but Cutlet was as close as this little American boy in a French-Tunisian school could get. I had totally forgotten, until I read the letter. So my primary reason for continuing to blog is documentary – just plain record keeping, like an old fashioned diary. Noting things in my daily life or the life around me.
Even now, sometimes I see a post written long ago, usually one of our Africa trips, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Zambia – will start getting a rush of stats. It thrills my heart. It makes it all worthwhile, knowing something I have put out there is helping others, even years later. Perhaps one day, I will quit blogging, but leave the blog up, with these informational articles.
My stats make no sense at all, one of my biggest stat gainers this year was a news article I tossed off about the prank on the South Korean pilot names after the plane crash landed in San Francisco. It just made me giggle, and I couldn’t resist printing it. It ended up with a life of its own, as many entries do – and you just never know. Someone pins an image and you get a million (ok hyperbole here) hits you never expected.
In the end, I believe that those who keep blogging do it because as Martin Luther once said, “I cannot other.” We do it because something within needs to be expressed, even if it is just some kind of daily record. I know it’s why I blog.
Today we awoke in Whittier, a major shipping hub into the interior of Alaska,
and a connector to Anchorage. Although the town has only a population around
500, it is a very busy little port, acres of shipping containers, miles and
miles of train tracks, and trains coming in and out every few minutes.
There is an old government building, it looks like something the Soviets built.
It is huge, and was damaged by a bad earthquake several years ago so it has been condemned as unusable, but would be so expensive to destroy that they haven’t torn it down yet. It has become a sort of cult place, a favorite for raves and spontaneous parties, young people camp there. It is rumored to be haunted, which only makes it more alluring. No matter how secure they try to make the building, someone finds a way in.
There is some confusion in my mind about arrivals and departures – they are not
the same as the list I so carefully printed off from the website. If I had known we would be in Whittier until 10:30 we would have debarked, which we are allowed to do if we have tickets and ID to get back on. My little calendar showed a 0800 departure, so we waited, and waited – but the ferries make their own rules, according to weather and tides and what they are porting from one seaside village to another. We watched containers full of goods come on for the more remote locations.
I used to surprise my Kuwait friends, telling them it was a lot like Alaska, and the longer I am back here, the more parallels I see. One is that almost
everything you eat or wear or build with has to come from somewhere else. That
requires shipping, or flying something in. I remember my Mother used to order
our snow suits in August, so they would arrive before the ships stopped coming
in. Like Kuwait, groceries are expensive, especially specialty items that are
imported. Like Kuwait, people are dressed modestly, all the important parts
covered – it’s cold! Most women are covered from their toes to their wrists! If
the weather is bad enough, even their hair is covered, and occasionally their
faces! Men, too! Very modest people, these Alaskans :-)
AdventureMan wanted to take a shower, but the ferry system asks that we not
shower while in port; they like not to dump waste water in port, so as soon as
we departed, he jumped in the nice warm shower. Once again, almost all we can
see is open water, en route to Chenega Bay, and fog.
During the trip to Chenega Bay, the big excitement is the once-a-week fire drill, and this time, the fire was near our cabin (pretend fire.) I am guessing some people would rather ignore the fire drills, but think about it – aren’t you glad the crew goes through these exercises in case there is some emergency? Aren’t you glad they know what to do? One of the guys laughed and said “We get a lot of respect and people step aside when they see us carrying these fire extinguishers!” The purser told me that sometimes people STEAL the signs they put on doors – imagine!
Lifeboat being lowered:
Chenega Bay – We arrive, foggy but no rain, to find an eagle perched in nearby tree, welcoming us.
Very short turn around time shown, so once again, we do not leave the ship, but wish we had when departure time is postponed. The dock is not near anything, but a short walk over the hill takes you to the small village of Chinega Bay and a beautiful Russian Orthodox Church and an Alaska Native arts museum named after fisherman Johnny Totenoff.
What love what happens here – this village of only maybe 50 people are welcomed on board whenever the ferry docks. They are isolated, remote. The men, women and children ride their ATV’s down the hill to the ferry, come aboard, and chow down on hamburgers, fries, and soft ice cream cones. Some of the young girls are dressed in long dresses, sort of odd, maybe a religious group. Others are wearing short short skirts and tank tops in the cool, foggy weather. Before the ferry departs, the Chenega Bay residents all have to debark.
Departing Chenega Bay: