.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


Friday, January 16, 2009

Kuwaiti MP calls to move Arab League to Venez | Qatar Living

Interesting move by Chavez but nothing surprises us from him anymore.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez "has proved that he was more Arab than some Arabs," after he expelled the Israeli ambassador in protest against the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.

Chavez expelled Israel's ambassador to Caracas on January 6 and Israel retaliated a day later, saying it was expelling Venezuela's charge d'affaires.

[From Kuwaiti MP calls to move Arab League to Venez | Qatar Living]

Friday, May 02, 2008

kuwaitis and the freedom to express

A small thought just occurred to me while reading some blogs and viewing photos produced by Kuwaitis online:
  • Some of the material portrays an immense latent talent in culture and the arts that has heretofore been hidden from public view and only now brought out for easy access on the web for all.

  • The web is providing an amazing platform for many people to express themselves freely (or sometimes not so but still trying) and liberates them from the suffocating constraints of old media and the bureaucratic controls imposed on them.

The liberties granted by this medium are mind boggling and lead one to think about the repercussions as this unstoppable (is it so?) paradigm shift propagates across the planet.

There are, of course, examples of places that take a much more stringent and authoritarian approach by blocking a population of greater than a billion people from blogging or accessing blog and public information sites. Big brother society can still be a threat and can allow certain groups to impose mind blocks upon people and alter their view of the world without them knowing it.

An information curtain is, however outlandish it sounds, within reach and ability of some governments and should be resisted strongly.

In the case of Kuwait it has always been a highly vocal and outspoken society, for better or for worse, but there is always the risk of this being perverted in the future by a change in management that decides we don't need so many people speaking their minds. It’s happened before elsewhere and vigilance against such a disaster is paramount.

In the United States, there are organizations solely dedicated to free speech and many more that include it with their basic principles (http://www.aclu.org). I think it is vitally important to set up and develop these watch groups to ensure that people are able to live as they desire within the rights granted to them as humans and citizens of the world.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wow! April snow in Kuwait!

What a scene. I just found this on the front page of the Alqabas newspaper and was shocked to see so much ice as a result of yesterday’s powerful storm that took out trees around the country and brought much traffic to a standstill.

There was a wall of wind and dust that dramatically swooped upon central Kuwait’s major urban areas but did not get far beyond to the southern areas such as Fahaheel and its neighbors.

In our lot alone were three partially fallen trees among the wreckage.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

obscure kuwaiti history - alsamita

maybe i'm a little bit behind on my modern kuwaiti history, but i looked up this incident after hearing a reading a brief reference to it and found it quite interesting partially because I don't think I ever heard of it before:

"Against this background, another important inci- dent occurred in March 1973 when Kuwaiti and Iraqi troops became engaged in a border clash at an Iraqi military installation inside Kuwait at al Samita.63 The Iraqi soldiers had been stationed within Kuwaiti territory since 1969 with the passive acceptance of the Kuwaiti government on the grounds that this presence was a temporary response to Iraqi problems with Iran. In March 1973, Baghdad attempted to expand this presence and perhaps make it permanent leading to a skirmish in which two Kuwaiti troops and one Iraqi soldier were killed. Kuwait responded to the incursion by declaring a state of emergency, closing the border, and recalling its ambassador to Iraq."

i took this passage out of a document i found on the web titled "KUWAITI NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE U.S.-KUWAITI STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP AFTER SADDAM" that looks like an interesting read in itself.

when it comes to kuwait's history, it seems that there's no single and/or definitive source of information especially given the rather volatile geographical position the country occupies and the colorful neighbors its had. any useful links and sources are welcome.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

investment and deposit

reading a piece by paul krugman in the op-ed section of todays IHT led me to think about how investing has evolved around the world in recent years for the average middle class person.

the culture of stock market investing has been a direct beneficiary of the increased exposure of people to 24 hour financial channels, commercially oriented exchanges with hefty marketing budgets and vanity for better or for worse. its become a matter of pride to say one owns 'investments' here or there even thought they are very little understood.
regardless of the reasons for the increased allure and exposure to stocks, statistics have repeatedly shown that the participation of people in equities will only continue to increase. Krugman argues that non-depository institutions in the US have continued to be exempt from much regulatory oversight that has been a part of the conventional banking (deposit taking) institutions since the great depression with the enactment of the FDIC and contingent controls.

even though I am not a fan of regulation as a fail safe measure, I think that enough 'average' people that would traditionally have kept their savings in a bank or similar fixed income instrument now consider the stock market to be a viable and comparable option with the little concern for the excess risks involved. Of course over the long term the stock markets move gradually upward but in quite a lumpy way and as a whole - two principles that the aforementioned 'average' investors do not seem to follow. in fact, if anything, they seem to want to trade daily and with concentrated bets mirroring a casino mentality.

normally I would say they deserve whatever they get themselves into but, given that the ramifications to society could be severe, we must consider providing a level of oversight and regulation to avoid having the whole pay for the few and massive government bail outs at the expense of the taxpayer. america will eventually come to terms and figure it out but it could take a while and require committed leadership not present in the current outgoing administration.

in kuwait we have seen the disaster that is due to lack of firm and clear policies for dealing with sociocommercial disasters in the souk almanakh crisis of the early eighties. this was a disaster that crippled a generation and whose impact is felt more than twenty years later. imagine the same thing in america but with consequences the world over.

Friday, June 29, 2007

copycat restaurants

in yesterday's IHT is in a interesting article quoted below that touches on the increasing imitation going on in the restaurant world. it got me thinking about how it is in kuwait with every successful (and sometimes not) new restaurant spawning numerous copycats in a little as a few weeks. think maki/wasabi, burger boutique/burger hub/burger co, zaatar w zeit/shay w nana and many others.

originality is in dire demand.

Restaurant war: Lawsuit cites 'intellectual property' - Print Version - International Herald Tribune
Ed's Lobster Bar copies "each and every element" of Pearl Oyster Bar, including the white marble bar, the gray paint on the wainscoting, the chairs and bar stools with their wheat-straw backs, the packets of oyster crackers placed at each table setting and the dressing on the Caesar salad.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

be proud of your failures

i've noticed that kuwaiti (and arab) culture has a problem with admitting failure. local custom seems to frown on anyone that admits they have made a mistake even years or even decades after the fact has been established.

heck we refuse to acknowledge that we lost the lead centuries ago in the civilization game so i think the trait is pretty endemic to the region.

as the old saying goes: the first part to solving a problem is admitting you have one and i think its about time for a change in thinking to at least recognize that we have problems and then work on solving them.

my connection with this reality is even closer to home: i find that the older generations give us little in the way of problems and pitfalls from their own lives that can be learned from. not only do they not document it but they refuse to even speak about it unless cornered by someone that has found out through other sources.

i think its about time we make a change and be proud of our failures. we need to take every slap in the face that is legitimately earned with a sense of appreciation that this is a learning experience and a path to development. self-reflection is undoubtedly preferable to blaming someone else. the former leads to enlightenment and the realization that we are going somewhere while the latter is only a waste of time.