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Expat wanderer

Traditional Dhow Festival Opens in Doha

The cool thing about living in Qatar is that they tell you when the festival is about to happen, and encourage you to go. The Dhows – all the different kinds – are beautiful and graceful, and my happiest memories in Qatar include a night ride along the coastline with its twinkling lights on a blistering hot evening, but the sea breeze and the movement of the boat makes it pleasant.

Traditional Dhow Festival opens

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


The Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari checking a pearl at the opening of the festival yesterday and (below) some of the boats docked at the Katara Beach. Shaival Dalal

BY RAYNALD C RIVERA

DOHA: A total of 105 Arabian dhows of different types are moored at the Katara Beach for the third edition of Katara’s annual Traditional Dhow Festival which opened yesterday.

Compared with the previous editions, this year’s festival provides visitors with an idea about types of dhows still used in the region.

“Last year we had 107 boats, 70 to 80 percent of which were of the same type — sambuk. This year we have 105 boats of 22 types, mostly jalboot, baggarah, bateel and shoi,” Katara General Manager, Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, told the media after the opening.

While most dhows came from the Gulf; some are from Iran, Zanzibar and India, he said.

“We are looking forward to having some boats from China next year,” he said, adding the Chinese ambassador, who was present at the opening, was forging relations with Katara to participate in the festival next year. 

New at this year’s festival is the Fath Al Khair’s journey to the six GCC states. The dhow, currently part of Qatar Museums Authority’s collection, would leave Katara shores on Friday and return on December 18.

Al Sulaiti said the 27-day voyage is “just like what our forefathers did in the past when they left Qatar for a couple of months to dive for pearls. Through this, we would like to refresh the minds of our new generation with the culture and heritage of their forefathers.”

Inaugurated by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, the five-day festival features heritage lectures, performances by regional bands, boat-making demonstrations, dhow cruises, light and fireworks shows, children’s activities and exhibits from museums across the Gulf.

There will also be maritime competitions, including sailing, rowing and pearl-diving in which the public is welcome to take part. Winners will be announced at a special award ceremony at the conclusion of the festival.

Ahmed Al Hitmi, Dhow Festival Committee Manager, said: “The festival pays tribute to our ancestors who worked effortlessly to build a future for our country. It provides a platform for cultural exchange, promoting Qatari history, and educating the youth.”

The festival runs until Saturday. It is open to the public today and on Saturday from 9am to 10pm, tomorrow from 9am to 11pm and on Friday from 3pm to 11pm. Public schools may visit from 9am to noon.The Peninsula

 

 

As an Alaskan girl, I grew up on the water and could not help falling in love with these old boats. I have hundreds – maybe thousands – of photos of boats, fishing, fishermen mending nets, fishermen making traps – I’m a sucker for a marine photo op :-) Some of these are Kuwait, some Doha.

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November 19, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Qatar | Leave a comment

Kuwait Airways Buys USED Jets

Has Kuwait Airways safety record improved? Can you still pilot for Kuwait Airways just by being Kuwaiti? Just one more reason not to fly Kuwait Air rom today’s Kuwait Times:

Kuwait Airways buys used jets

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Airways is buying five used aircrafts from India’s Jet Airways after an initial deal with Airbus fell apart due to lack of funding, a local daily reported yesterday quoting sources with knowledge of the case. Speaking to Al-Qabas on the condition of anonymity, the sources said that an agreement to purchase the Airbus A330-200 aircrafts was reached during Kuwait Airways board meeting last Wednesday. Kuwait Airways had signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year with Airbus to purchase and rent the same class of aircrafts, but the deal fell apart due to lack of funding and after Boeing reportedly entered negotiations with the national carrier. According to the sources, Jet Airways offered the five planes which have a total capacity of 1260 seats (252 seats each) for a total of KD 80 million.

The Kuwait Airways’ board sent its approval to the Kuwaiti government to make the final decision; which according to the sources is expected to be made by the Kuwait Investment Authority, which represents the general assembly for the Kuwait Airways and which will fund the deal if approved. If a deal is signed, the source predicts the aircrafts to arrive early next year. The planes, which have been in service for four years, can be used in medium and short range flights to Europe, the Middle East and Far East, the sources said. They added that each plane has two classes; a ‘Premium Class’ with 42 seats for businessmen, and an economy class with 190 seats.

November 19, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Safety, Work Related Issues | 2 Comments

“How Have You Managed . . . ?”

“What do you mean?” I asked the elegant grinning lady who was asking me the question. Three former military wives, one Army, one Air Force and one Navy, and we had been talking about our world-wide lives and adventures.

“How are you doing? You haven’t been here long. Are you managing to settle in?” asked with enormous sympathy.

She caught me off guard.

Yes, I am happy. I’ve settled in. I have friends. I’m connected.

But her question caught me off guard, and all of a sudden I couldn’t answer.

“I’m doing OK” I managed to start. “But it’s like this church. I love this church, and at the same time, there are times I walk in and oh, how I miss our churches in the Middle East, where I would walk in and think ‘this is what heaven must look like’ especially at Christmas, with all the Indian families in their saris and finery, and the Africans in their brocades and elaborate head-dresses, and the people from all over the world. The music was simpler, and at the Christmas Eve service, we sang ‘Silent Night’ in every language in the church . . .  I miss that.”

Screen shot 2013-11-17 at 8.34.47 PM

There are times the memories catch me unaware, and leave me breathless.

AdventueMan and I went grocery shopping today and when the cashier told me the total, AdventureMan almost gasped. I just laughed and told him that’s why I never took him grocery shopping with me in Kuwait – the sticker shock would have killed him.

Life here is definitely easier.

On the other hand, we have had to revise our ideas about Kuwait drivers. At first, we just thought there were a lot of Kuwaitis living in Pensacola; now we have realized that there are people who just drive as they please. Some of them are stoned out of their minds. I witnessed an accident last week where when I checked the driver of the car that was hit, she grinned at me loopily – and then disappeared. It was bizarre, and I wonder how many people are on the roads as impaired as she was. She went right through a stop sign as if it weren’t even there, and if the car had hit 6 inches more forward, she would have been dead. She didn’t have a scratch. And she was not at all concerned, just that loopy grin. “Elegantly wasted” said the driver of the car who hit her.

We both have a lot going on. With connection comes commitment and obligation. We try to coordinate our schedules at the beginning of the week so we can help one another out. The highlight is that each afternoon I am taking care of our new little granddaughter. AdventureMan/Baba often comes by and naps in the peaceful environment just to be with us. She is a sweet, laughing little baby, never very fussy. He offers me a day off, which occasionally I take, or he takes a time when I have a meeting or an appointment. We have both discovered how very much we like the ‘work’ of grandparenting. :-)

We’re managing. :-)

November 17, 2013 Posted by | Aging, Biography, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Generational, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola | , , , | 8 Comments

Wooo HOOO the New Q8 Books!

Brava! Brava, Fajer! What a great gift to the children and the community, to make Q8Books more accessible and family friendly. Woooo HOOOOO!

Reading and literacy are key to civilization. Brava!

 

From the Kuwait Times:

Kuwait’s community bookshop gets new life

Spooky Books storytime

Finding quality English books in Kuwait is a challenge as any book lover here knows. Local lawyer Fajer Ahmed, 26, recently took up the challenge when she acquired the small but well-loved bookshop, Q8 Books. She moved Q8 Books from downtown Kuwait City into a renovated space in Bayt Lothan, the non-profit arts and culture center located next to Marina Mall in Salmiya. Home to more than 15,000 titles of all genres including literature, general fiction, history, romance, thrillers and mysteries, westerns, classics, cook books, true crime, self help and motivation, family and lifestyle, business and philosophy and arts and crafts, Q8 Books has something to suit every reader’s taste.

By adding sofas, tables, chairs and beanbags, Q8 Books created a cozy, relaxed atmosphere along with free WiFi that invites customers to come and hang out. “We want to encourage reading, writing and communication in Kuwait, “Fajer explained. “As one example, we provide local writers with a place to display and sell their books free of charge, we also do all the administrative work for them.”

A community bookshop
Q8 Books also holds a free weekly story time for children, offers 50% store credit for trade ins, encourages book clubs and other responsible community groups free space to hold meetings and has an outreach project to support a library in Gambia. “We thank Bayt Lothan for giving Q8 Books a home,” Fajer said. “Without them none of this would have been possible.” Q8 Books’ erudite former owner, Jacob, started the bookshop almost a decade ago with only a handful of books. During his travels, he would browse used bookstores and markets to find quality titles that would be appreciated by the book-loving community in Kuwait. Jacob continues to help out at Q8 Books along with a group of dedicated volunteers and support from the Kuwait Writing Club.

Fajer also organizes regular events in order to build Q8 Books as a community space. On the first of November, Q8 Books hosted a Spooky Book night for kids, which included a story telling by local street artist Monstariam dressed in a bunny costume, a crafts and arts table, coloring and glitter, a costume contest and a chance for parents to browse and chat.

Kid and family friendly
“We really enjoyed Spooky Books night,” said Umm Sara, a mother of three children who attended the event all wearing ‘scary’ costumes. “The kids loved the story telling and we got several books. Much better than going to a mall and they got to draw and color and dress up.” The Kuwait Writing Club also took part, judging over 80 submissions for the writing competition. The winning submission will be published in Kuwait Times. “We also had a cover design competition for children to draw covers for the age appropriate horror story, Goosebumps, and every kid that took park received a free book of their choice,” Fajer explained.

Q8 Books will offer monthly events for children and parents with the goal of encouraging reading. “When kids come in playing games on electronic devices, we try to find books with the same characters and get them interested in reading,” Fajer noted. “Welovekuwait.com Children’s Bookshop has also donated coloring and reading books to give for free for every child that walks in.” Q8 Books encourages Kuwait’s community of readers to share their love of reading. They accept donations and offer store credit for traded in books. They also invite anyone to email ask@q8bookstore.com if they are interested in volunteering, donating or just want to talk to someone about suggestions for what to read.

Q8 Books is located in Bayt Lothan, next to Marina Mall. Store Hours: Weekdays 9am- 1pm and 5pm-9pm. Weekends 11am-9pm. Follow them on Instagram @q8bookstore

By Jamie Etheridge

 

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Books, Character, Civility, Community, Education, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Free Speech, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Poetry/Literature, Political Issues, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 3 Comments

Kuwaiti Woman Arrested Driving in Saudi Arabia

From today’s Kuwait Times:

Kuwaiti woman caught driving in Saudi Arabia

KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti woman was arrested in Saudi Arabia after she was caught driving in the kingdom where ultraconservative laws ban women from taking the wheel. According to a Khafji police report, the woman was caught driving a Chevrolet Epica on the ‘Sitteen Road’ in front of a hotel in the area located near the border with Kuwait, while a Kuwaiti man was in the passenger’s seat. The woman told the officers that the man was her father, adding that he is diabetic and cannot drive and that she had to take him to the hospital for treatment. The woman remains in custody pending investigations.

Saudi authorities have warned women of legal measures if they defy a long-standing driving ban in the kingdom. At least 16 women were stopped by police last Saturday and were fined and forced along with their male guardians to pledge to obey the kingdom’s laws, as more than 60 women said they defied the ban.

A growing number of men are quietly helping steer the campaign, risking their jobs and social condemnation in the conservative kingdom. Some of the men have even been questioned by authorities, and one was detained by a branch of the Saudi Interior Ministry – a move that sent a chill through some of the activists working to put women behind the wheel. In the run-up to last weekend’s protest, men played a key role in helping wives, sisters and female friends to enjoy what they believe is a fundamental right. Since the campaign was launched in September, they have produced videos of women driving and put them on social networks. They have helped protect the female drivers by forming packs of two or three cars to surround them and ward off potential harassment. And some have simply ridden as passengers with the women as they run their daily errands.

By A Saleh

 
I love it that this writer specified that this movement to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia – where there is no law forbidding women to drive – is supported by husbands, brothers, fathers who want them to be able to drive. Most of the people discussing it in the US think the men don’t want the women to drive. I laugh, and say “they DO drive!” They drive all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, only in Saudi Arabia they have to disguise themselves as men, or drive out in the deserts. Their brothers, husbands and fathers teach them to drive. Time is on their side, their day is coming. Let’s hope women driving means fewer 12 and 13 year old boys behind the wheels, driving their Mums.

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Saudi Arabia, Values, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

Happy Islamic New Year

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 )

Al-Masjid-an-Nabawi

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.

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Faith, Family Issues, Interconnected, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kuwait Divorce Rate “50% and Rising”

How did I miss this truly excellent article in the Arab Times?

Divorce Rate In Kuwait 50pc … And Rising

Huge Increase Seen In ‘Cheating’

A good, productive and stable marriage is built on one’s ability to love someone else and make sacrifices for that person. We in this region as a whole are sometimes very materialistic and usually wealthy. Many a time couples get married for the wrong reasons. Sometimes because marriage is the new “thing to do”, it’s merely the new toy. Maybe the honeymoon period is the only highlight of the whole affair.

Lawyer Waleed Khaled Al-Dousari was talking to the Arab Times on marriages in Kuwait, exploring the causes behind the increasing rate of divorces in the society. “The rate of divorce in Kuwait has reached more than 50 per cent, and the number is still on the rise,” he adds.

Q: How would you describe marriage in Kuwait, and have the trends changed?

A: Traditionally, the ideal marriage was tribal, related families encouraging their offspring to marry cousins or other relatives in order to increase and strengthen the tribe, or occasionally to marry into another tribe in order to heal rifts between families. Another reason for such marriages was that families knew the background of the partner.

As is the case in some Latin countries, young couples in the region are allowed to meet under the watchful eyes of a chaperon. In Kuwait, however, the marriage is arranged without any part of the girl’s body (including her face) being seen by the prospective groom, who must rely on the reports of his female relatives as to his wife’s appearance.

There are three main elements in an Arab marriage. First, the groom must discuss and agree the dowry with the bride’s father. This might include gold, jewelry and clothing and is usually of considerable valuable. After the dowry settlement, comes the actual marriage contract, which is conducted by a legal or religious representative.

The bride is asked in the absence of the prospective groom if she agrees to the marriage and this question is then put to the groom. After the agreement, the groom joins hands with his future father-in-law and, with two witnesses present, the marriage becomes official.

However, there’s another stage before the couple actually meet as man and wife: the wedding party. Celebrations are segregated, with the women in one section of the house or private ballroom and the men in another. Finally, on the last night of celebrations, the couple meets, accompanied by all their friends, and eventually leaves for their honeymoon. On their return, they either live with the groom’s parents and become members of the extended family or – as is increasingly the case – set up a separate home by themselves.

According to Sharia, a Muslim man may have four wives, provided that he can look after them materially and treats them equally. This practice is now dying out, however, not only because only a few can afford it, but also because women are becoming more independent and assertive and many refuse to accept it.

In fact, a Muslim woman can insert a clause in the marriage contract that restricts her husband from marrying another woman for as long as the contract is valid. The wife also retains her own name after the marriage.

Although gender roles have always been clearly defined in the Islamic world, with the man as ‘provider’ and the woman as ‘nurturer’, both the man and the woman are increasingly going out to work, although this is much less common in Saudi Arabia, where there are restrictions on women working, except in culturally ‘acceptable’ occupations such as medicine and teaching. However, many Saudi men are reluctant to marry doctors and nurses, who have physical contact with male patients.

A man can divorce his wife simply by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times. He can rescind the divorce if this was done in the heat of the moment, but only if the wife agrees (and only on three occasions though). On the other hand, even if a wife has a good reason to seek a divorce (e.g. if her husband has been unfaithful, abused or deserted her, or engaged in criminal activity), she must go to a court for the case to be heard.

The husband must maintain a divorced wife and any children from the marriage if the wife is unable to support herself. He can claim custody of any sons when they reach a certain age; however, the priority is given to the mother, but this still depends on the sect of the couple. A female divorcee usually returns to her family, and few remarry.

Although a Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam, the reverse isn’t the case. Non-Muslim women are often pressurized into converting, and there have been many cases of foreign women marrying Arabs and then discovering that the local culture and lifestyle are unacceptably restrictive. It should also be noted that, in the event of the breakdown of such a union, the children are usually kept by the husband in his home country.

Expatriate workers can usually be married in the Gulf, provided that they meet the civil and religious requirements of their home country. Embassy and consulate staff sometimes performs civil marriage ceremonies, again provided that certain requirements are met. Religious ceremonies can be arranged, but only in countries that allow churches or similar non-Muslim places of worship.

Although many young citizens in Kuwait are still seeking the blessing and help of their parents for choosing life partners, some youngsters in Kuwait prefer finding their partners without parental guidance and mediation. This approach is the result of cultural interactions. This changing trend has become quite noticeable in the countries of the region.

Q: Why are we currently encountering an increasing rate of divorce in the country?

A: A good, productive and stable marriage is built on one’s ability to “love” someone else and make sacrifices for them. We in this region as a whole are sometimes very materialistic and usually wealthy. Many a time couples get married for the wrong reasons. Sometimes because marriage is the new “thing to do”, it’s merely the new toy. Maybe the honeymoon period is the only highlight of the whole affair.
In some cases, both partners may be in need of intimacy and so they get married to have that kind of intimacy. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact in this arrangement, there is one good thing in that youngsters feel that they should “get married first” before “becoming intimate with anyone”. That’s a noble and encouraging thought.

But after the first few months or the first couple of years, we start noticing the first signs of trouble, and you see both sides contemplating the “D” word. They think “I don’t need this.” And rightly so, they really don’t need it. Both are wealthy, both have high paying jobs, their rooms in their parents’ houses are still empty and perhaps are still untouched with their original furniture in place and in tact.

Other reasons, however, come along due to the change in the definition of marriage as a whole from the perspective of both men and women. Even families in Kuwait today no longer feel shameful that their daughter or son is divorced. Some families are actually encouraging their daughters to divorce, because sometimes that divorce gives her more financial gains than she already has.

In Kuwait, it is a huge problem when a man cannot provide a luxurious life to his wife. It is his duty to provide her with the maid, driver, shopping every now and then, and the ability to travel at least on a yearly basis.

However, not all Kuwaitis are able to provide this kind of lifestyle for their wives and children.
Another issue is that of cheating. There is a huge increase in the percentage of cheating wives and husbands. It has become so easy for a husband or wife to cheat on each other, especially because marriages are neither based on love nor respect.

The high divorce rate in Kuwait insinuates that we are too spoiled to remain stuck to our marriages.
So what will happen to us in say 50 years? The world will be less dependent on our oil, and the oil will become less abundant anyway. We will become poorer in general. Isn’t that right?

We will have less materialistic “toys” to play with. And therefore we will be less spoiled. And I think we will tend to stay committed to our marriages more.

Our men will start actually doing some “work” to earn a living. And less of these jobs will be suited to women, and women will have less incentive to leave the umbrella of her husband’s (modest) financial security. Just like the times of our grandfathers and grandmothers.

Now, this might be a bleak picture, but maybe with less material distractions, and with healthier marriages, I only see us becoming happier people.

Q: So what happens, when a couple comes asking for a divorce?

A: From my experience as a lawyer, the usual scene when two couples ask for a divorce is that they come to my office in the image of two enemies who completely hate each other, and cannot even stand being in the same room with each other.

The women usually tries to file as much cases against her husband to get all the rights that she wants, and the man tries to do the same thing.

Q: What is the role of Shari’a law in divorce cases? Is there a difference between the rights that a woman may take if she was Sunni or Shi’ite?

A: In Kuwait we abide by the Islamic Sharia law when it comes to marriage or divorce. Therefore, when a couple asks for a divorce, usually there are certain proceedings that should take place.
To apply for divorce, you should be of sound mind and be able to make your own choices.
The first step the couple should do is to register the case at the Moral and Family Guidance Section at the court.

Shortly afterwards, a counselor will meet the couple and discuss their problems. They are then given a three-month time to try and solve the problems, before beginning the divorce process.

If the couple, or either of them, still insists on divorce, the papers will be forwarded to the court for the judge to study the case. The judge will discuss it with the couple and listen to the witnesses. It could take a couple of sessions before the judge makes his decision. The couple needs to attend all the proceedings.

A woman may be granted a divorce if she can prove that her husband has physically hurt her or mentally tortured her. A woman also may sue for divorce if her husband abandons her for a period of three months, or if he has not taken care of her needs or that of their children.

The law allows women to obtain a khula – a separation, when she returns the dowry to the husband.

The Sharia Court will accept a divorce lawsuit from Muslim men or Christian or Jewish women married to a Muslim and apply the Islamic laws.

If the divorce applicants are both Muslims, but from different countries and are residents in Kuwait, they will be divorced according to the administrative laws in their country, or the Kuwaiti law, whichever they wish. While Sharia is same in all Muslim countries, there are a few administrative differences between the various schools of thought.

If the couple is from the same country, the law of their country, will be applied or the Kuwaiti law may be applied, if they so wish.

If the husband is a Muslim and the woman is not a Muslim, the Kuwaiti laws will be applied, or the law of the country where they had got married will be applied.

If the couple is non-Muslim, they can seek divorce according to the law of their country, at the embassy or consulate.

There is not much difference between the two sects when it comes to divorce; there is only one main difference, and that is a Sunni women can take the custody of her children without ever having to return them to their father. However, the father can be with his children on previously arranged days.

According to the Shi’ite sect, the father can take his children when the children reach the age of seven or above, by which time the children too have a say in that kind of decision.

However, even the issue of custody is abused by some women, who place a huge financial burden on the man under the pretext of asking for the children’s upkeep. Some women do so despite being financially well off themselves.

Q: Can you give us examples of some divorce cases in Kuwait?

A: One intriguing divorce case involved a woman who divorced her husband on their wedding day because she found out at the wedding ballroom that groom had not made the costly arrangements that she had asked for, and instead chose a reception that cost much.

Some women get divorced because they see divorce as a financial gain for them. Men are sometimes forced to provide his divorcee with a house, a maid, a driver, and a monthly alimony for her and her children.
In many cases the reasons are very silly, which makes it very difficult for us lawyers to take any stand on the issue. For example one woman filed for a divorce because she didn’t like the way her husband made sounds while eating.

Q: What do you think is the role of society to tackle the problem of increasing divorce rates? How can education help reduce the rate of divorce, or help couple’s understand and appreciate the true value of marriage?

A: In light of high rates of divorce cases, social authorities should play a role in educating youth about the basic criteria for sound marriages. Grassroots associations and the media in the Gulf have to educate families about potential negative aspects of coercing young males and females to marry relatives, in the first place, and also how arranged marriages can have very harmful results on both couples, especially as they might not be suitable for each other.

Most of the persons I have met expressed desire to marry non-relatives, thus affirming the idea that parents must refrain from coercion. Moreover, to by taking away the right of youngsters to choose their life partners is against religious values and common sense.

Some official reports estimate that divorce cases in Kuwait are at 50 percent, and the phenomenon has been linked to diverse factors related to modern-day developments in the country, and western concepts and values and post-oil-boom social transformations.

Most males in Kuwait tend to get acquainted with the would-be “soul mate” personally while the majority of the females favor the parents’ role in this regard.

In Kuwait, we are starting to have many welfare societies that are helping couples to refrain from divorce as much as possible. However, the problem is that we do not have the right education concerning marriage in the country.

Neither families nor schools educate children on marriage or even give them the chance to fall in love and make their own choices of who they want to get married to.

We need to set a proper age limit for marriage for both males and females, because some are getting married at a very young age, such as 17 and 18. This is also leading to the great increase in divorce rates. The proper age for males to get married should be between 26 and 30, and that for the females should be above 20. However, that is only my opinion.

As to the qualifications of the would-be partner, the couples should believe in commitment. They should be educated. There is the need to be attracted to the physical appearance of each other and not be forced to get married to people they don’t know. Then of course financial capacities and employment are important factors. These are not the most important issues though.

biography

Born in 1983
Khaled Al-Dousari: currently a divorce lawyer at the Mohamad Saleh Al-Sabti, Lawyer Office. Started at the office in January 2007.
Graduated from the Academic Law Institute in Jordan in 2006.
Until today he has taken up to 300 cases of divorce.

By: Rena Sadeghi

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Cultural, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Generational, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Social Issues, Women's Issues | Leave a comment

“Is Your Cat Always Fractious?”

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 8.41.25 PM

“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?

00qcnapwadventureman

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September 23, 2013 Posted by | Civility, Communication, Community, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Relationships | 4 Comments

Kuwait Marriage and Divorce 2013

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

September 18, 2013 Posted by | Family Issues, Kuwait, Marriage, Relationships, Statistics | Leave a comment

One Night in Hawali; Cops Book 995 “To Fight Chaos On the Roads”

From today’s Kuwait Times:

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???

September 15, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Crime, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, News, Safety | | Leave a comment

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