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Expat wanderer

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.

00ktrafficfines

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

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin

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I don’t know what it is about summer reading, but now and then I go on a theme-fest; a couple years ago it was Nigerian literature, and, once hooked . . . when my friend who is now living in Lagos recommended The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, I ordered it right away, thinking from the title it would be maybe light and sweet and humorous.

From the start, that assumption was blown. This is a direct and edgy Nigeria, darker, rougher and full of family secrets, domestic details and messy relationships.

It is a very Nigerian book – this is a good thing. There are cultural things that are not explained, but it all ends up making sense in the end. There are foods I have never heard of – ekuro with shrimp sauce, asun. There is a rudeness in the way they speak to one another, (“Is this a parking lot?” “Do I look like a parking attendant?”), a crudeness in the constant need to carry small bills for bribes, even on public streets. People speak their minds, with little or no mitigation, depending on the status of the person and their own personal goals and agendas.

At the weekly meeting of wives, the senior wife, Iya Segi, doles out rations of household supplies to the other wives, including chocolate powder and hair conditioner . . . and as the senior wives complain about the new wife thrown in their midst, she says:

“You will trip over in your hate if you are not careful, woman. Your mouth discharges words like diarrhea. Let Bolanle draw on every skill she learned in her university! Let her employ every sparkle of youth! Let her use her fist-full breasts. Listen to me, this is not a world she knows. When she doesn’t find what she came looking for, she will go back to wherever she came from.”

There is a whole other world in that one paragraph – a whole other way of seeing life and expressing thoughts. The culture may be alien, but I thoroughly enjoyed being a tiny mouse in the corner at that meeting – and others – and inside the minds of the wives, of Baba Segi, of the driver – so many good stories, so many points of view, and I learned things from behind those high compound walls and closed and locked doors that I might never otherwise have learned. Alien as it was, for me, this was a very good book, new ways of looking at things, and a great recommendation from my friend in Lagos.

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Africa, Books, Character, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Relationships, Values, Women's Issues | | Leave a comment

The Festival of BERNARD MIZEKI

(Play the video of the Soweto Gospel Choir as you read this summary from today’s Lectionary Readings How I would love to be able to attend this festival!)

BERNARD MIZEKI

CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN AFRICA (18 JUNE 1896)

Bernard Mizeki was born in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) in about 1861. When he was twelve or a little older, he left his home and went to Capetown, South Africa, where for the next ten years he worked as a laborer, living in the slums of Capetown, but (perceiving the disastrous effects of drunkenness on many workers in the slums) firmly refusing to drink alcohol, and remaining largely uncorrupted by his surroundings. After his day’s work, he attended night classes at an Anglican school.

Under the influence of his teachers, from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE, an Anglican religious order for men, popularly called the Cowley Fathers), he became a Christian and was baptized on 9 March 1886. Besides the fundamentals of European schooling, he mastered English, French, high Dutch, and at least eight local African languages. In time he would be an invaluable assistant when the Anglican church began translating its sacred texts into African languages.

After graduating from the school, he accompanied Bishop Knight-Bruce to Mashonaland, a tribal area in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to work there as a lay catechist. In 1891 the bishop assigned him to Nhowe, the village of paramount-chief Mangwende, and there he built a mission-complex. He prayed the Anglican hours each day, tended his subsistence garden, studied the local language (which he mastered better than any other foreigner in his day), and cultivated friendships with the villagers. He eventually opened a school, and won the hearts of many of the Mashona through his love for their children.

He moved his mission complex up onto a nearby plateau, next to a grove of trees sacred to the ancestral spirits of the Mashona. Although he had the chief’s permission, he angered the local religious leaders when he cut some of the trees down and carved crosses into others. Although he opposed some local traditional religious customs, Bernard was very attentive to the nuances of the Shona Spirit religion. He developed an approach that built on people’s already monotheistic faith in one God, Mwari, and on their sensitivity to spirit life, while at the same time he forthrightly proclaimed the Christ. Over the next five years (1891-1896), the mission at Nhowe produced an abundance of converts.

Many black African nationalists regarded all missionaries as working for the European colonial governments. During an uprising in 1896, Bernard was warned to flee. He refused, since he did not regard himself as working for anyone but Christ, and he would not desert his converts or his post.

On 18 June 1896, he was fatally speared outside his hut. His wife and a helper went to get food and blankets for him. They later reported that, from a distance, they saw a blinding light on the hillside where he had been lying, and heard a rushing sound, as though of many wings. When they returned to the spot his body had disappeared. The place of his death has become a focus of great devotion for Anglicans and other Christians, and one of the greatest of all Christian festivals in Africa takes place there every year around the feast day that marks the anniversary of his martyrdom, June 18.

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Biography, Character, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Interconnected, Lectionary Readings, Spiritual, Values, Zimbabwe | , , , , | Leave a comment