Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

How Decisions are Made in Kuwait

Here is the problem expats have in any country: you don’t know what you don’t know.

If you know you don’t know something, you can learn it. If you don’t know that you don’t know, there is this huge void in your understanding. Many times you can suspect there is a void, and if you ask, people will look at you like you are a little odd, and they will tell you there is no difference.

There IS a difference.

Working together with people of different nationalities, I have learned that some nationalities just forge on ahead and do things. Some nationalities use a more consultative process. Some nationalities expect to be told what to do and don’t do what they are not told to do.

In Friday’s Kuwait Times (February 21) is a column by Shamael Al-Sharikh, called The red, white, green and black. She talks about Kuwait National and Liberation Days, she talks about the shared heritage of all Kuwaitis (honestly, I would love to link you directly to this article but the website is still down) and then – I got a huge “AHA!” She talks about how decisions are made in Kuwait. I will quote a brief section, but I urge you all to find this column and read it in it’s entirety.

“. . . it has become painfully clear that there are nationals of this country who have no sense of belonging to it whatsoever.

However, the storm is about to subside. In a move that shows just how ready Kuwaitis are to mobilize for the sake of their national pride, a few diwaniyas in Kuwait signed a petition and sent it to the Takatul Shaabi political alliance at the National Assembly. It stated that unless MPs Adnan Abdulsamad and Ahmad Lari are asked to withdraw their membership from the Takatul Shaabi, none of it’s members will be welcome in Kuwait’s diwaniyas nor at weddings and funerals.

The move worked: the MPs have been asked to leave. . . the petitions included diwaniyas from all corners of the Kuwaiti society, both Sunni and Shiite, and it covered all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. . . I have never been more proud to support the red, white, green and black than I have now, and I am so proud to be a Kuwaiti.”

Not being welcome in diwaniyas, at weddings or at funerals is not something I would have considered political pressure. It matters here. It mattered enough that when diverse communities within Kuwait made the threat, it was effective. Who knew? Thanks to this column, I learned something I didn’t even know I didn’t know.

February 22, 2008 Posted by | Community, Counter-terrorism, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, News, Political Issues, Relationships, Social Issues | 17 Comments

Keystone Cops

As you all have seen from US Crime tapes, this news story could happen anywhere, but it happened in Kuwait. I would love to see a video of this!

Kuwait Times, 21 Feb 2008
Drunken Man

The operations room received an anonymous call reporting that a drunken man had been dancing in the streets of Fehaheel and terrifying passersby. A police patrol rushed to the scene and managed to arrest the suspect, who initially resisted arrest.

However, after being cuffed and forced into the patrol vehicle for just a couple of seconds, he managed to step out and ran for dear life while police were busy putting some gear into the vehicle’s trunk. A wild goose chase ensued with police hot on his trail, while the man returned to the spot where the vehicle was parked, got in, stepped on the gas and sped to his freedom again. Police later tracked the vehicle that was dumped in a deserted area in Jleeb. A manhunt has been launched to arrest this man.

I commend the writer on the correct use of the plural “passersby.” Bravo.

Your challenge: how many cliche’s did this staff writer use to write this article?

February 22, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Crime, Kuwait, Language, News, Words | 4 Comments

5,000 Real Estate Deeds Missing

The Kuwait Times website seems to be down so I can’t link directly to them, but this is at the top of the crime news on yesterday’s page 5:

5,000 Real Estate Deeds Missing
Kuwait: An owner of a real estate office registered a complaint with the Khaitan police claiming that 5,000 real estate deeds were stolen from his office’s locked-up drawers. However, both the owner and the police were baffled because the thieves could have carried off furniture and other valuable items, but preferred to steal the deeds instead. The case was handed over to special detectives who immediately launched an investigation.

This seems to me like the deeds were the target of the break-in. Aren’t deeds registered somewhere? So like even if these paper copies are stolen, can’t they be replaced? What would somebody gain by stealing these deeds? Can they claim the properties? Can they claim the properties were transferred to them? Can they hid transfers that someone doesn’t want disclosed? This sounds like a great mystery to me!

February 22, 2008 Posted by | Building, Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Cultural, Detective/Mystery, Kuwait, Random Musings | 3 Comments

While You Were Sleeping

It’s not that I’m that good, that obsessive, that I would get up every morning to photograph the sunrise. No, AdventureMan has to get to work, I have projects I am working on – AND there is the Qatteri Cat.

His little pea-brain doesn’t know it’s Friday morning. All he knows is that his food dish is empty. He goes around the house, pulling over the trash bins (they are small, they don’t make a lot of noise) and then he scratches at boxes and closets, thinking somewhere there might be food. I am guessing it goes back to some deep instinct, looking for food, from his street days.

I had forgotten to fill his dish last night.

I was so tired, I kept falling asleep over my latest Donna Leon book. Finally, around nine, I turned out my light. When the Qatteri can started sniffing around, pulling over trash cans, opening cupboards (what you hear is thump. thump. thumpthumpthump as he tries to paw it open) and scratching at boxes, I was mostly ready to get up, even though it wasn’t quite six.

Good thing! Cold, clear morning, no sand, not a cloud in the sky and just look at that sunrise:



It is 46°F/8°C this morning. There is a wind, and it feels colder.

February 22, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Weather | 5 Comments