Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Bloggers Changing the Face of News in the Middle East

“So are the “new media” – blogs, websites, chatrooms – now becoming the only truly independent media in the Arab world?”

This article is from today’s BBC News in Depth:

New media dodge Mid-East censors
By Robin Lustig
BBC radio presenter

It’s never easy writing about media freedom.

Even in countries where there is no official censorship, all reporters know there will always be some restraints on what they can say – editors need to be persuaded, owners need to be kept happy, the law has to be obeyed.

Where there is official censorship – where, for example, it is a crime to “bring the government into disrepute” or to publish material which “insults the dignity of the head of state” – the problems are all the greater.

No freedom is absolute, yet some media are a great deal freer than others.

In the Arab world, in general, the media have been heavily politicised.

Governments have tended to control the main media outlets – the main daily newspaper, the main TV and radio networks – and where independent media have been allowed, they have often been owned by opposition parties or by businesspeople with clear links to political organisations. (The establishment of the Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV news station was a rare special case.)

But then, one day, along came the internet. And it was as if someone had blown open a few million doors.

Egyptian successes

Now, everyone can write – weblogs, or blogs, were born, giving everyone with access to the internet exactly the same opportunity to write and publish as the most powerful media tycoon.

You can read the rest of this article by clicking here, on BBC News.

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Africa, Blogging, Bureaucracy, Communication, ExPat Life, Free Speech, Kuwait, Middle East, News, Political Issues, Social Issues | 16 Comments

Band of Boats

It must depend on when the fish are running; there is a band of boats a few hundred yards off shore, the shuw’i , the old fashioned kind of fishing boats. Late in the afternoon, they are easier to see than in the morning, where the haze obscures them. Best of all, early in the morning, before the sun rises, they form a necklace of bobbing, flickering lights, and, for some reason, it makes me feel warm and secure to see them out there.

(Some things don’t have to be rational, they just are what they are.)

The description of the shuw’i at the Science Museum along the Corniche:

While the weather is so perfect for walking, and for being outdoors, visit the Science museum on the Corniche. The old boat exhibit outside is totally FREE, and a fabulous peek into Kuwait’s past, which, every morning and night, I am reminded, carries on to the future – the historic shuw’i are still in use, as are the larger jalboot.



December 12, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Building, Community, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Public Art, Weather | 11 Comments

Back to Gas Tanks

Remember when I printed the e-mail about how the handle of the fuel pump on your dashboard points to the side of the car where the tank is, and it wasn’t true?

Ever since then, I have been conscious of checking the dashboard.

I had a rental car in Seattle, and again, the fuel tank was on the opposite side of where the fuel pump on the dashboard showed, BUT underneath it, I saw some lettering “Fuel tank on the left” and an arrow pointing left. And sure enough, the fuel tank was on the left.

Here is what is funny. When I got back to Kuwait, and I was starting up my car, I looked at the fuel gauge and noticed the fuel pump – and underneath was the same lettering – “Fuel tank on the left” with an arrow.

I had never noticed it before.

Now I wonder if it is on all cars. Will you take a look at your dashboard, check the fuel gauge, and see if there is lettering or an arrow or some indication where your fuel tank outlet is?

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Experiment, Kuwait | 4 Comments

Christmas Punch Update

AdventureMan awoke this morning with a cough and some sniffles. We are both awake early these days, which I love because I get to step out on my balcony while it is still dark and no one can see me, and watch the shoowi (old fashioned Gulf fishing boats) lights bobbing a couple hundred yards off the coast, sip my coffee, and shiver a little for a change, and then we get to watch the sun rise.

While I was on the balcony, the microwave was warming up a cup of Christmas Punch for AdventureMan. When he gets a tickle in his throat, there is nothing that makes him feel healthier than a cup of this punch to start the day.

The Christmas / Eid season is upon us! Make it for your friends, serve it hot – and then save the leftovers to be warmed up later. With the cranberry juice and the pineapple juice – it’s even good for you. 🙂

Christmas Rum Punch – and Rumless

2 32 oz. jars Cranberry Juice
1 32 oz. can Pineapple Juice (or 2 (1) litre containers of Fresh Pineapple juice from the Co-op or Sultan Center)
1 cup brown sugar (I often use a half cup)
12 inches cinnamon stick
3 Tablespoons whole cloves
1 orange peel

Original recipe: In 30 cup coffeemaker, put cranberry and pineapple juice in bottom, and place coffee basket with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel in top. Perk juices through basket. When ready light comes on, add 1 quart Meyer’s Dark Rum.

In Kuwait – don’t add the rum!

When you don’t have a 30 cup coffee pot – Put juices into large kettle, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peel, sugar and bring to simmer. When hot, use strainer to fish out cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel – Do this sooner, rather than later, or the juice will get too spicy.

Add 1 quart of rum – or not! This is perfect for these chilly winter days, it’s good for you, and it gives your house a wonderful smell.

This is what it looks like if you use a pot, before you scoop out the spices and orange peel:

After scooping, you can transfer punch to a beautiful pitcher for pouring, or to a hot-drink container, or you can serve it using a ladle, straight out of the pot. To your good health and happy holidays! *raises a glass*

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Christmas, Community, Cooking, Entertainment, Friends & Friendship, Health Issues, Holiday, Kuwait, Recipes, Weather | 3 Comments