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Expat wanderer

Glitz, Bling, Flamboyance and Glam

Today when Adventure Man called at lunch, I was telling him I bought some bling for fun gifts. He said he didn’t think my family did “bling” and I said we didn’t, but this was just a little glitz, just for fun.

“What’s the difference between ‘glitz’ and ‘bling?’ he asked.

I said ‘glitz’ is like a little decoration, a little frosting, but ‘bling’ is ostentatious.

“I consider myself ‘flamboyant.’ he said.

“Oh no!” I protested. “Flamboyant is over the top, it’s that color that is just a little too bright, the gesture that is a little too large, the voice or laughter just a little to high, a little too loud.”

Then it nagged at me until I had to go look it up. As it turns out, bling MIGHT be expensive, but it has the origination of new riches that the owner is afraid he might lose, so he turns it into jewelry that he can keep close to his person, as well as showy and ostentatious. So, I was wrong.

As it turns out, all the following words have a connotation of excessiveness, ostentation and a little over the top.

glitz (glts) Informal n.
Ostentatious showiness; flashiness: “a garish barrage of show-biz glitz” Peter G. Davis.
tr.v. glitz·ed, glitz·ing, glitz·es
To invest with an ostentatiously showy quality: “have started to glitz up their shows with filmed backdrops” Bill Barol.
[Back-formation from glitzy, flashy, showy, probably from German glitzern, to glitter, from Middle High German glitzen, to shine, from Old High German glzan; see ghel-2 in Indo-European roots.]
glitzi·ness n.
glitzy adj.
From The Free Dictionary.

“Bling-bling” (usually shortened to simply “bling”) is a hip hop slang term which refers to expensive jewelry and other accoutrements, and also to an entire lifestyle built around excess spending and ostentation. In its essence, the term refers to the exterior manifestation of one’s interior state of character, normally displayed through various forms of visual stimuli.

The first apparent use of the term ‘bling bling’ in mainstream culture was in reference to the L-3 badge (real gold) and also a hip hop track of the same title, by rapper B.G., along with Baby Birdman, Juvenile et al [1], celebrating their wealth (as many of their tracks do). “Bling Bling,” released in 1998, led later in the 2000’s to the term proliferating through mainstream hip hop and eventually spilling over into popular culture as a sarcastic term used to mock the perceived vacuousness of hip hop culture. Comedians such as Ali G in the UK, exploited this for humour.

Bling can also be plastic, or fake, jewelry. Many people who cannot afford, or do not wish to buy, real diamonds, gold, etc, opt for fake glass or plastic jewelry. This makes them look big, and bling-bling.

In 2005, the rapper B.G. remarked that he ‘wished he’d patented the term’ so that he would have profited from its extensive use. In interviews, he has stated that the term refers to the imaginary sound that light makes when it hits a diamond. However, the term was in use for several years prior as a reference to getting rich quickly inspired by the sound made when collecting gold coins in popular Nintendo video games such as Donkey Kong and Mario Brothers and when collecting gold rings in Sega’s Sonic Hedgehog.

The culture of ostentatious display of wealth was ingrained in street culture long before the 90’s, however: it is thought that wearing expensive jewelry was the one way in which young previously impoverished men, who had acquired riches through crime, could be sure of holding on to their wealth by keeping it about their person. This marks out the wearer of such jewelry as a person with ghetto roots, as it shows that the source of their wealth or their personal prejudices prevent them from investing in more stable assets such as cash in the bank or property. Hence ‘bling bling’, while widely regarded as a faddish slang phrase, has been seen by some as manifestation of a deeper socioeconomic problem in the US, trivialised by mainstream media and hip hop. For comparison, see chav.

Related meaning

In the Middle East, counterfeit brand-name goods (such as Rolex watches) may be known as bling bling specials.
From The Free Dictionary.

flam·boy·ant (flm-boint)
1. Highly elaborate; ornate.
2. Richly colored; resplendent.
3. Architecture Of, relating to, or having wavy lines and flamelike forms characteristic of 15th- and 16th-century French Gothic architecture.
4. Given to ostentatious or audacious display. See Synonyms at showy.
See royal poinciana.
[French, from Old French, present participle of flamboyer, to blaze, from flambe, flame; see flame.]
flam·boyance, flam·boyan·cy n.
flam·boyant·ly adv.
From The Free Dictionary.

Aren’t these great words?

And last but not least:



Glamorous; wearing fashionable clothes and make-up, particularly when done to excess.


1) She’s so glam that people think she’s a model.

2) I love David Bowie and all of those glam rockers.


‘Glam’ is short for ‘glamorous’. Glam and glamorous refer to the magical attraction and excitement produced by celebrities.
From English Daily – Slang

June 30, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Communication, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Humor, Kuwait, Language, Middle East, Shopping, Words | 4 Comments

What is This all About?

There have been little articles in the Kuwait Times about this incident and similar incidents, but I don’t understand what the groups represent, and why they are opposing one another. Can anyone tell me what this is about?

KU Assault Case

KUWAIT: The dean of student affairs at Kuwait University Dr. Fayez Al Kandari decided to follow up the case of the assaulted Al-Qabas photographer to the legal committee of the university, reported Al-Qabas. The committee is going to summon the member of the students coalition group who assaulted the photographer for further investigations. The committee noted that the student may face expulsion for his acts.

What was the occassion of this assault? I remember in the original article there were two opposing groups of students – what was that all about? And how did Al-Qabas happen to be there?

June 30, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Generational, Kuwait, News, Social Issues | Leave a comment

Al-Enezi praises MOE’s Decision

This is from today’s Kuwait Times.

Does this decision by the Ministry of Education, applicable to all the private schools in Kuwait, mean that no expatriates can be hired for any administrative or assistant teacher positions in any of the private schools, only Kuwaitis? Is this a part of the Kuwaitization program?

By A Saleh
KUWAIT: The manager of the national labor ratio at the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) Fares Al Enezi announced the preparations for a training course to qualify national laborers to work in administrative jobs and as assistant teachers in private schools.

Speaking at a press conference, Al Enezi praised the Ministry of Education’s decision on banning the hiring of expatriates in private schools as this move would help find hundreds of job opportunities for citizens.

Al Enezi stressed that the MGRP was ready to provide enough qualified national substitutes and he highlited that only 410 citizens currently worked in private schoools as compared to 1617 expatriates of various nationalities. Moreover, he noted that only 140 teachers worked ther versus 10,793 expatriates who worked there as well.

June 30, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Locard Exchange Principal, News, Social Issues | 2 Comments