Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Your Emotional Intelligence

AOL News has this fascinating article on successful people and emotional intelligence:

How Emotionally Intelligent Are You? Here’s How To Tell

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 12/05/2013 8:39 am EST  |  Updated: 12/05/2013 2:22 pm EST

Share on Google+
Social Brain

What makes some people more successful in work and life than others? IQ and work ethic are important, but they don’t tell the whole story. Our emotional intelligence — the way we manage emotions, both our own and those of others — can play a critical role in determining our happiness and success.

Plato said that all learning has some emotional basis, and he may be right. The way we interact with and regulate our emotions has repercussions in nearly every aspect of our lives. To put it in colloquial terms, emotional intelligence (EQ) is like “street smarts,” as opposed to “book smarts,” and it’s what accounts for a great deal of one’s ability to navigate life effectively.

“What having emotional intelligence looks like is that you’re confident, good at working towards your goals, adaptable and flexible. You recover quickly from stress and you’re resilient,” Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, tells The Huffington Post. “Life goes much more smoothly if you have good emotional intelligence.”

The five components of emotional intelligence, as defined by Goleman, are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills and empathy. We can be strong in some of these areas and deficient in others, but we all have the power to improve any of them.

Not sure how emotionally intelligent you are? Here are 14 signs you have a high EQ.

1. You’re curious about people you don’t know.

friendly conversation

Do you love meeting new people, and naturally tend to ask lots of questions after you’ve been introduced to someone? If so, you have a certain degree of empathy, one of the main components of emotional intelligence. Highly Empathetic People (HEPs) — those who are extremely attuned to the needs and feelings of others, and act in a way that is sensitive to those needs — have one important thing in common: They’re very curious about strangers and genuinely interested in learning more about others.

Being curious about others is also a way to cultivate empathy. “Curiosity expands our empathy when we talk to people outside our usual social circle, encountering lives and worldviews very different from our own,” Roman Krznaric, author of the forthcoming Empathy: A Handbook For Revolution, wrote in a Greater Good blog post.

2. You’re a great leader.

work leader

Exceptional leaders often have one thing in common, according to Goleman. In addition to the traditional requirements for success — talent, a strong work ethic and ambition, for instance — they possess a high degree of emotional intelligence. In his research comparing those who excelled in senior leadership roles with those who were merely average, he found that close to 90 percent of the difference in their profiles was due to emotional intelligence, rather than cognitive ability.

“The higher the rank of a person considered to be a star performer, the more emotional intelligence capabilities showed up as the reason for his or her effectiveness,” Goleman wrote in Harvard Business Review.

3. You know your strengths and weaknesses.

A big part of having self-awareness is being honest with yourself about who you are — knowing where you excel, and where you struggle, and accepting these things about yourself. An emotionally intelligent person learns to identify their areas of strength and weakness, and analyze how to work most effectively within this framework. This awareness breeds the strong self-confidence that’s a main factor of emotional intelligence, according to Goleman.

“If you know what you’re truly effective at, then you can operate from that with confidence,” he says.

4. You know how to pay attention.


Do you get distracted by every tweet, text and passing thought? If so, it could be keeping you from functioning on your most emotionally intelligent level. But the ability to withstand distractions and focus on the task at hand is a great secret to emotional intelligence, Goleman says. Without being present with ourselves and others, it’s difficult to develop self-awareness and strong relationships.

“Your ability to concentrate on the work you’re doing or your schoolwork, and to put off looking at that text or playing that video game until after you’re done … how good you are at that in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of your financial success in adulthood than either your IQ or the wealth of the family you grew up in,” Goleman says. “And we can teach kids how to do that.”

5. When you’re upset, you know exactly why.

grief management

We all experience a number of emotional fluctuations throughout the day, and often we don’t even understand what’s causing a wave of anger or sadness. But an important aspect of self-awareness is the ability to recognize where your emotions are coming from and to know why you feel upset.

Self-awareness is also about recognizing emotions when they arise, rather than misidentifying or ignoring them. Emotionally intelligent people take a step back from their emotions, look at what they’re feeling, and examine the effect that the emotion has on them.

6. You can get along with most people.


“Having fulfilling, effective relationships — that’s a sign [of emotional intelligence],” says Goleman.

7. You care deeply about being a good, moral person.


One aspect of emotional intelligence is our “moral identity,” which has to do with the extent to which we want to see ourselves as ethical, caring people. If you’re someone who cares about building up this side of yourself (regardless of how you’ve acted in past moral situations), you might have a high EQ.

8. You take time to slow down and help others.

good samaritan

If you make a habit of slowing down to pay attention to others, whether by going slightly out your way to say hello to someone or helping an older woman onto the subway, you’re exhibiting emotional intelligence. Many of us, a good portion of the time, are completely focused on ourselves. And it’s often because we’re so busy running around in a stressed-out state trying to get things done that we simply don’t take the time to notice (much less help) others.

“[There's a] spectrum that goes from complete self-absorption to noticing to empathy and to compassion,” Goleman said in a TED talk on compassion. “The simple fact is that if we are focused on ourselves, if we’re preoccupied — which we so often are throughout the day — we don’t really fully notice the other.”

Being more mindful, in contrast to being absorbed in your own little world, plants the seeds of compassion — a crucial component of EQ.

9. You’re good at reading people’s facial expressions.

grumpy cat

Being able to sense how others are feeling is an important part of having a good EQ. Take this quiz from UC Berkeley to find out just how skilled you are at reading others’ emotions.

10. After you fall, you get right back up.


How you deal with mistakes and setbacks says a lot about who you are. High EQ individuals know that if there’s one thing we all must do in life, it’s to keep on going. When an emotionally intelligent person experiences a failure or setback, he or she is able to bounce back quickly. This is in part because of the ability to mindfully experience negative emotions without letting them get out of control, which provides a higher degree of resilience.

“The resilient person isn’t papering over the negative emotions, but instead letting them sit side by side with other feelings,” Positivity author Barbara Fredrickson told Experience Life. “So at the same time they’re feeling ‘I’m sad about that,’ they’re also prone to thinking, ‘but I’m grateful about this.’”

11. You’re a good judge of character.

eye contact

You’ve always been able to get a sense for who someone is pretty much right off the bat — and your intuitions are rarely wrong.

12. You trust your gut.


An emotionally intelligent person is someone who feels comfortable following their intuition, says Goleman. If you’re able to trust in yourself and your emotions, there’s no reason not to listen to that quiet voice inside (or that feeling in your stomach) telling you which way to go.

13. You’ve always been self-motivated.

Were you always ambitious and hard-working as a kid, even when you weren’t rewarded for it? If you’re a motivated self-starter — and you can focus your attention and energy towards the pursuit of your goals — you likely have a high EQ.

14. You know when to say “no.”

hand cookie jar

Self-regulation, one of the five components of emotional intelligence, means being able to discipline yourself and avoid unhealthy habits. Emotionally intelligent people are generally well equipped to tolerate stress (a bad-habit trigger for many of us) and to control their impulses, according to Goleman.

December 7, 2013 Posted by | Character, Civility, Communication, Leadership, Relationships | 3 Comments

“if You Can’t Prevent Rape, You Enjoy It”: Ranjit Sinha

The Chief of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation said this! Was he snorting cocaine in a drunken stupor? Of course he is apologizing, but his careless remark demonstrates the sentiments buried deep in his culture’s heart – it’s only women. Not worth much, not like us men.  Outrageous.


Ranjit Sinha


NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top police official apologized Wednesday for saying, “If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it,” a remark that has outraged women across the country.

Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha made the remark Tuesday during a conference about illegal sports betting and the need to legalize gambling. The CBI, the country’s premier investigative agency, is India’s equivalent of the FBI.

Sinha said at the conference that if the state could not stop gambling, it could at least make some revenue by legalizing it.

“If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying, ‘If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it,’” he said.

The remarks have caused outrage across India, which in the past year has been roiled by widespread protests following the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi.

On Wednesday, Sinha said that his comments had been taken out of context and misinterpreted, and that he was sorry if he had caused hurt.

Angry activists, however, called for his resignation.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat said Sinha’s comments were offensive to women everywhere.

“It is sickening that a man who is in charge of several rape investigations should use such an analogy,” Karat told reporters. “He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women.”

The New Delhi attack on the young woman last December caused nationwide outrage and forced the government to change rape laws and create fast-track courts for rape cases. New laws introduced after the attack make stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment a crime. They also provide for the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim’s death.

November 13, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, India, Interconnected, Language, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues, Work Related Issues | 3 Comments

Qatar MOI States Employers Will Be forced to Abide by the Rules

It doesn’t matter how enlightened the legislation – if the law is not enforced, the rules on the book are laughable. It gives the illusion of a lawful society, but if citizens know that they will not be penalized for breaking the law, they will scoff at the law and do as they please. People who came to the country expecting to make a fair wage and be treated decently and with dignity find themselves without proper paperwork due to the corruption of their employer or recruiter.

If the MOI in Qatar enforces this law, a terrible situation will be slightly better. This, from The Qatar Gulf Times:


By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter


With the Ministry of Interior (MoI) taking a firm stand on ID cards, residents believe that this will safeguard the interests of workers as their employers will now be forced to abide by the rules.

A report in the Tuesday edition of Gulf Times had quoted a senior official as saying that residents should always carry their residence permit ID cards and produce the same whenever asked by the authorities concerned. Those failing to do so would be fined up to QR10,000, the report had said, adding that the MoI could also transfer the sponsorship of expatriates if they proved that they were abused by sponsors under Law No 4/2009.

Welcoming the MoI’s decision, legal expert and rights activist Nizar Kochery said this would make employers more accountable as any long delay or failure on their part to stamp the visas of their staff would invite a hefty fine.

“There have been cases of companies refusing to stamp visas for long periods and workers being picked up by the law-enforcing agencies for failing to produce valid residence proof,” said Kochery, adding that the ministerial reaffirmation would force employers to stamp visas promptly.

Reacting to the report, an Asian diplomat said his country’s mission frequently received complaints from people alleging that their employers had not stamped their visas even months after their arrival in Qatar.

“The embassy receives such complaints from expatriates every week though there has been a drastic fall in their numbers in recent times due to strict enforcement of the rules by the local authorities,” he added.

Kochery said there should also be stringent implementation of the rules pertaining to expatriates’ passports. “Though the ministry issued guidelines more than three years ago on the issue of custody of passports, complaints of violation of this norm continue,” the legal expert said.

The ministry had instructed employers to hand over the passports of employees after the completion of formalities. However, there have been cases of some employers retaining the passports in violation of the local rules.

“A similar fine (like the one for not carrying IDs) should be imposed on erring employers for illegally keeping their workers’ passports,” he said.

A few years ago, this newspaper had reported about a theft in a manpower company’s office in Musheireb. More than 150 passports of workers, which the firm had kept in its custody in violation of rules, went missing in the incident. Meanwhile,  residents have also said similar penalties were required to curb violations regarding exit permits as well. A social activist in the Indian community said there have been complaints of employers failing to arrange exit permits for their workers on time even during emergencies.

There have also been reports of residents, mainly drivers, lodging complaints with embassies, alleging that their sponsors take away their licences when they go on vacation.

“The MoI should consider imposing hefty fines on such employers as well. Like a passport, a driving licence is not only the property of an individual, but is also a proof of identification under the local rules,” said Kochery.

July 11, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Lies, Living Conditions, Pet Peeves, Qatar, Relationships, Scams, Social Issues, Transparency, Work Related Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

“Heavyweight Saudi Arabia” Influence Counters “Over-Stepping” Qatar?

From the Kuwait Times, a fascinating comparative analysis of the influence of Saudi Arabia and Qatar on Islamic countries in transitions:


Qatar losing ground to Saudi diplomacy



DUBAI: Qatar, a key supporter of Islamists who rose to power in Arab Spring countries, is losing ground in regional politics to Saudi Arabia which appears to have seized the reins on key issues, notably Egypt and Syria. The decline in Qatar’s regional diplomacy comes as its powerful emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani unexpectedly abdicated in favor of his son Tamim last month.

The wealthy Gulf state had transformed itself into a key regional player but began to retreat as heavyweight Saudi Arabia re-entered the political arena after lagging behind in the immediate period following the eruption of the Arab Spring uprisings in December 2010. The ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last week by the army and the election by the Syrian opposition of Saudi-linked Ahmad Assi Jarba as new leader stripped Qatar of strong influence in both countries.

“Qatar had tried to take a leading role in the region but overstepped its limits by openly backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Syria, and other Arab Spring states,” said Kuwaiti political analyst Ayed Al-Manna. Jonathan Eyal, head of international relations at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, argued that Qatar’s regional politics have failed.

“Qatar’s Middle Eastern diplomacy now lies in ruins: it failed to produce dividends in Libya, backfired in Syria and has now collapsed in Egypt,” local Emirati daily The National quoted him on Tuesday as saying. Realizing the damaging effects of their policies, Manna noted, “the Qataris sought to cut down on their commitments” which were already affected by the emir’s abdication and the sidelining of the influential prime minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jabr Al-Thani.

As a result, “Saudi Arabia, a historical regional US ally, regained its role” in coordination with other oil-rich Gulf monarchies, said Manna. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was the first foreign head of state to congratulate Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour, hours after he was named to replace Morsi. And on Tuesday, the kingdom pledged $5 billion in assistance to Egypt. The United Arab Emirates, which has cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood in the past few months, offered Egypt an aid package of $3 billion.

“Saudi Arabia wants to ensure stability in Arab Spring countries, regardless of its ideological interests,” said analyst Abdel Aziz Al-Sagr, head of the Gulf Research Centre. “It had supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt but reconsidered this support after the Brotherhood failed to run the country wisely,” he argued. But the Saudi researcher downplayed the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of which have been looking to expand their influence during the Arab Spring uprisings and prevent any potential revolt against their own autocratic regimes.

“The Saudi-Qatari harmony still exists and there is no battle for influence between the two countries,” said Sager. And as proof, “Riyadh was the first to be informed of the political change in Qatar, six months before it took place. And it welcomed it.” But the two countries, whose relations have been historically tense or at least marked by mistrust, support two different approaches of political Islam that emerged strongly in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Qatar sides with political parties linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose experience was cut short despite the strong media support they enjoyed from the influential Doha-based Al-Jazeera news channel. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia promotes Salafist groups that focus less on politics and more on implementing Shariah Islamic law on daily life matters such as forcing women to wear a veil and prohibiting the mixing between sexes. Saudi King Abdullah has reiterated his country’s stance against using Islam for political purposes.

“Islam rejects divisions in the name of one party or another,” he said in a statement marking the start Wednesday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The kingdom will never accept” the presence of political parties, that “only lead to conflict and failure.” But regardless of the political agendas of Saudi Arabia or Qatar, the people who rose up during the Arab Spring revolts will have the final word on their own political futures, argued former Bahraini cabinet minister Ali Fakhro. “It is the Arab people, not Qatar nor Saudi Arabia, who will determine the political future of the region.” – AFP

July 11, 2013 Posted by | Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Saudi Arabia, Women's Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arabs wary of expressing their opinions online

Fascinating study results published in Qatar’s Gulf Times:



Northwestern University in Qatar has released new findings from an eight-nation survey indicating many people in the Arab world do not feel safe expressing political opinions online despite sweeping changes in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

From over 10,000 people surveyed in Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE, 44% expressed some doubt as to whether people should be free to criticise governments or powerful institutions online.

Over a third of Internet users surveyed said they worry about governments checking what they do online.

According to the report, “The implied concern (of governments checking what they do online) is fairly consistent in almost all countries covered, but more acute in Saudi Arabia, where the majority (53%) of those surveyed expressed this concern.”

The study – titled ‘Media Use in the Middle East – An Eight-Nation Survey’ – was undertaken by researchers at NU-Q to better understand how people in the region use the Internet and other media. It comes as the university moves towards a more formalised research agenda and is the first in what will be a series of reports relating to Internet use.

The survey includes a specific chapter on Qatar, the only country where those surveyed regarded the Internet as a more important source of news than television. “We took an especially close look at media use in the State of Qatar – a country with one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the Arab world—and internationally,” said NU-Q dean and CEO Everette Dennis.

These findings follow a preliminary report NU-Q released last April that showed web users in the Middle East support the freedom to express opinions online, but they also believe the Internet should be more tightly regulated. “While this may seem a puzzling paradox, it has not been uncommon for people the world over to support freedom in the abstract but less so in practice,” Dennis explained.

Among other findings, the research shows: 45% of people think public officials will care more about what they think and 48% believe they can have more influence by using the Internet.

Adults in Lebanon (75%) and Tunisia (63%) are the most pessimistic about the direction of their countries and feel they are on the ‘wrong track.’

Respondents were far more likely to agree (61%) than disagree (14%) that the quality of news reporting in the Arab world has improved in the past two years, however less than half think overall that the news sources in their countries are credible.

Online transactions are rare in the Middle East, with only 35% purchasing items online and only 16% investing online.

The complete set of results from the survey is available online at  The new interactive pages hosting the survey on the website have features that allow users to make comparisons between different countries, as well as between different demographics within each country.

Dennis confirmed that the research report is the first in an annual series of reports produced in collaboration with the World Internet Project; one of the world’s most extensive studies on the Internet, in which NU-Q is a participating institution.

NU-Q and WIP signed an agreement earlier in the year, providing a global platform for the current research.

June 29, 2013 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Jordan, Leadership, Living Conditions, Middle East, Privacy, Qatar, Safety, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Survival, Transparency, Tunisia | , , , | Leave a comment

6000 Expats Deported From Kuwait Via Kuwait Air?

. . . Only 5 deportees allowed per Kuwait Air flight, deportees only allowed on Kuwait Air, so it takes 1200 flights just to export the deportees they have already lined up crowding the jails? Or is this 6000 already deported?

Is it orderly? Do people know why they are being deported? Do they have time to make arrangements for family and/or pets? Is there an appeal process? Are the courts also clogged? Are only illegals being deported?

Has anyone seen a breakdown of deportees by nationality?

From the Kuwait Times

6,000 illegal residents deported in 6 months – Jails getting overcrowded

KUWAIT: Nearly 6,000 people were deported over the past six months of crackdowns on illegal residents in Kuwait, a local daily reported yesterday, quoting Interior Ministry statistics as of June 23. According to a source, who agreed to provide the statistics to Al-Qabas on the condition of not being named in the report, as many as 25,000 expatriates were arrested during security campaigns carried out since the beginning of the year across Kuwait.

The source said around 15,000 people were later released after their employers submitted documents to prove that the workers were living legally in Kuwait. In other cases, workers whose visas had recently expired were released after their employers gave assurances to renew their visas immediately.

The source also revealed that some employers were required to sign undertakings that they would not to allow their employees to work in other firms before the workers were officially released.

In addition to people with expired visas, the continuing crackdowns are targeting expatriate laborers reported missing by their employers, as well as people holding Article 20 visas (for domestic helpers) but working in private firms, for which visas are issued under Article 18 of the labor law. However, the source stated, such security campaigns could be put on hold until further notice, with jails getting “overcrowded with detainees.”

The source indicated that nearly a thousand employers were blacklisted for allowing domestic workers to work for others. Furthermore, he said cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs resulted in the blacklisting of nearly 500 companies found guilty of visa trafficking.

The source also indicated that Kuwait Airways is currently the only airline used to transport deportees. A maximum of five deportees per flight are allowed, he added, in order to avoid trouble inside the airplane.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al- Rashidi had announced in March the government’s intention to deport 100,000 foreigners this year, as part of a plan to reduce the expatriate population in Kuwait by one million within a decade.

The Interior Ministry never confirmed that the ongoing crackdowns on illegal residents were part of the deportation plan. In response to criticism from rights groups inside and outside Kuwait, Al-Rashidi later identified “marginal labor forces” as the target of the plan.

Kuwait is home to 2.6 million expatriates, who make up 68 percent of the country’s 3.8 million population.

Nearly 90,000 of them live illegally in the country, according to official numbers.

June 26, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Social Issues, Work Related Issues | 5 Comments

Qatar Emir Meets with Family to Plan Step Down

Honestly, who would want to be King? All those events and ceremonies, living your life in a fishbowl? Never a week went by in Doha without rumors of a new wife, speculation about an old wife, and comments on the Emir’s appearance. He has ushered Qatar through perilous times; few “blessings” are as two-sided as new wealth. He is looking healthier and happier than I have ever seen him; maybe he is looking forward to a life of privacy and leisure :-) We wish him well; we wish him safety and health and all good things. From today’s Doha News:

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, will meet with members of the ruling family and several Qatari advisors today, government-funded channel Al Jazeera reports.

Over the past two weeks, several foreign diplomats have said that a transition of power in Qatar is imminent. 

Citing “trusted sources” regarding its information about Monday’s meeting but not elaborating any further, Al Jazeera implied that the talks would revolve around the Emir’s succession plans.

Details about the upcoming changes in government are unclear. But the Emir is expected to cede power to his fourth son, 33-year-old Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, while the Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, is said to be stepping down.

If the reports are true, the succession would be a historic event for Qatar and the Middle East, a region where rulers normally reign until death.

According to AFP:

“The emir is convinced that he should encourage the new generation. He plans to transfer power to the crown prince, Sheikh Tamim, and to carry out a ministerial reshuffle to bring a large number of young people into the cabinet,” a Qatari official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The Emir himself was a young 43 years old when he took power from his father in a bloodless coup on June 27, 1995, according to the Amiri Diwan’s website.

Though Al Jazeera’s report came in around 1am Monday, online reaction has already been building, with many Qataris expressing sadness about the potential end of Sheikh Hamad’s rule.

UPDATE | 12:20pm

Two hashtags in English and Arabic, #ThankYouHamad and  #شكراً_حمد, expressing gratitude for the Emir and his rule are trending in Qatar on Twitter.

Read more:

June 24, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Interconnected, Leadership, Living Conditions, News, Political Issues, Qatar, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

“We’re Moving On . . . ” at Pensacola Beach

Night before last, night a man was shot at the beach at 3:45 in the morning. According to the (very sketchy) details in the Pensacola News Journal, he had been having a fight with his girlfriend, had finished his fight and was then shot three times by a man he doesn’t know and who has no relationship to him. (This is what I understand from reading the paper; it doesn’t make sense to me, but it also says alcohol was involved.)

I only knew about the shooting because I saw a tiny little article about it on the AOL Local news section. When I went to look at it, it was gone.

In this morning’s paper, there is this sketchy description, and then – in several different sections – local are people quoted as saying “we’re moving on.”

OK I get it. We’re a beach community, and this is peak tourist season as folks pour in here from all the Southern states and other countries to enjoy our fabulous sugar-white sand beaches.

Before the tourists had hit the beach, the crime scene tape was down and a beach excavator had carted off the bloody sand.

I do get it. I really do. The season is short and we don’t want to be known as a beautiful beach where people can get shot. It’s a marketing problem.

There is something, however, that sticks in my craw about the swiftness of the moving on, and the barely there press coverage. A man was killed. Maybe he had been drinking. Maybe he had a fight with his girlfriend. Maybe he was at the beach very late (or very early) in the morning. None of these things seem to have anything to do with him having been shot, other than maybe being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong person had a gun and shot him. It seems a little disrespectful, to me, to move on quite so swiftly. A man lost his life. We don’t know why. Maybe we could just take a little time to figure out what happened and to acknowledge his loss?

June 19, 2013 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Community, Crime, Financial Issues, Leadership, Lies, Living Conditions, Marketing, Pensacola | 2 Comments

What Are Kuwait Traffic Laws?

You all know me – I am a law and order kind of gal. I like order, I like laws, especially those voted on by the people. I like laws which can be enforced, and are enforced, equally, for all people equally in the country. Oh? I did? I said EQUALLY twice?

We are all equal before the law.

Now here is the tricky part. Have you ever seen a listing of traffic laws in Kuwait? Can you find a listing of laws, violations, and their charges? When we apply for driver’s licenses in almost any country, we get a little booklet to memorize, with the laws written inside it. The laws are clear. Clear laws are enforceable.

I’ve looked at the MOI website. I see something that looks like it might be a traffic code in Arabic. I have looked everywhere; I cannot find one in English. I find no reference to any handbooks for people applying for their driver’s license.

How can you enforce a law if the law is not published? Is there a code somewhere listing violations and fines? I published one many years ago, something that all the expats were sending around as ‘the new Kuwait traffic rules’ but IF it was, there was never anything in the paper about it to confirm its validity.


If you are going to have a major campaign to enforce traffic codes, you might want to publish the laws . . . in all major languages use today in Kuwait.

From the Kuwait Times:

Ali vows to rid traffic ‘disease’

Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali
KUWAIT: Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali stressed that all traffic violation-related deportations are in accordance with the law. Speaking at a press conference at the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) headquarters, Ali said that deporting people for traffic violations was also adopted by the US and other countries worldwide. “The problem is that we were very tolerant with violators and this does not mean that law violation is a right for motorists,” he underlined, urging all human rights organizations who have criticized Kuwait’s traffic police to examine human rights in their respective countries before talking about Kuwait.

“We have filed over 70,000 traffic citations including 43,000 serious ones such as running red lights, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving on the wrong side and many others,” he elaborated, pointing out that those already deported did not want to respect the traffic laws they had repeatedly violated. Ali added that the results of studies of traffic problems revealed many and that once one problem was solved, another emerged immediately.

“We have various problems… including the fact that motorists speak many languages and dialects which requires a large number of specialists to develop their traffic awareness,” he explained, noting that the traffic remedy strategy started by diagnosing the “disease” by studying random “specimens” at different times of the day at places with heavy traffic flows such as Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Shuwaikh Industrial Area, Amman Street, Bnaid Al-Gar, Khaitan, Farwaniya and Fahaheel.

“The specimens showed some major problems such as domestic drivers using private vehicles as taxis, taxi and large vehicle drivers who do not hold general driver’s licenses and people driving without licenses at all,” he said, adding that this called for strict law enforcement.

“Traffic in Kuwait is like an old sick man who once treated for one aliment develops another,” he noted, adding that 18 traffic inspection teams dressed in civilian clothes had been formed and deployed in various places. “Fortunately, traffic police only file 100 daily citations in Jleeb compared to 1,000-1,500 in the past”, he concluded.

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Civility, Communication, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Safety, Social Issues | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kuwait Blocks Viber? Good Luck With That ;-)

When I was working on my masters in national security affairs, we learned the concepts of capability vs. intent. How on earth can any country block those who are both technically savvy and strongly motivated? No matter what a country does to block the flow of communication, another route will be found, quickly, and information will flow . . .

This is just the latest vain effort to stop expats phoning home at cheaper rates. If the official international calling rates in Kuwait were not extortionate, people might even use the local system. As it is – just about every loyal Kuwaiti has some kind of long distance internet calling capability, or cell phone ap that makes it affordable. LOL, I am willing to bet that executives in the national telcom offices use internet phones or aps themselves.

Fight the battles you can win.

Kuwait weighs blocking Viber?

KUWAIT: Kuwait plans to study ways to control use of free calling and instant messaging services provided through smartphone applications, a local daily reported yesterday quoting Ministry of Communication insiders who said that such services could be banned if an agreement with developers could not be reached.

The news came days after Saudi Arabia announced blocking access to Viber after negotiations to allow government-monitoring for the service users in the kingdom broke down. “[The Ministry of Communications] is studying a proposal to form a technical committee whose job is to find ways by which the state can monitor audio and video calling services used through smartphone applications”, said the sources as quoted by Al-Anba yesterday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not have permission from the relevant authorities to speak about the subject.

The sources specifically named Viber, an application that allows users to exchange messages, photos and videos as well as make calls free of charge using online services. “Viber is surrounded with espionage accusations especially that part of the company’s developers are centered in Israel while the company’s founder is an American-Israeli entrepreneur”, the sources explained. The current plan is for the proposed committee to study whether using the applications meets local regulations as well as the mechanism ‘to keep them under control’. —Al-Anba

June 15, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Middle East | , , , | 3 Comments


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 443 other followers