Dubai Consumer Mirror

Sunday, November 06, 2005

On Kuwait


© Kuwait Towers - photo taken by Mrs. moryarti


In less than 12 hrs, i will be flying back to Dubai. I spent Eid holidays with my parents who have been living in Kuwait for the last 3 decades. It was a great stay, I will post more details on my visit soon.

“Whats Kuwait like?” I get that question a lot. “I love it!” is always my answer.

But I listen to what other people have to say about Kuwait and the thing I hear most is related to Kuwaitis, their Alfa-GCC national attitude and their over-exaggerated sense of style (both men and women).
The way I see it, and as far as Kuwaitis are concerned, once you break the big thick wall that surrounds them, they are wonderful people to know and to deal with. Plus they are very very good business people.

But why do I love and respect this nation?... Here is a bit more on Kuwait – something up-close and personal.

In 1961, Kuwait was granted sovereignty and became one of the first GCC nations to run its own business thru the ruling Al Sabah Family. The combination of wise leadership and the discovery of oil resulted in a country that became a landmark destination for the Levant intellect, especially fleeing Palestinian and Lebanese teachers, doctors and engineers from war-torn areas.

Kuwaitis saw the potential and value these experienced Arab expats carry and syndicated more specialists, especially from Egypt and Syria. Soon enough and during the 70s, Kuwait was exporting and sharing its experience in education, judicial systems and medical services to its young GCC nations – including the UAE.

Before 1990, Kuwait was spearheading the GCC on many different levels. Commercially, Kuwaiti companies were known to be some of the most professional and almost every major MNC had a representative office in Kuwait. Socially and culturally, Kuwait was the home of many great artists, musicians and scholars – Kuwaiti media production was the best in the GCC, if not the best after Egyptian.


Kuwaitis were also good philanthropists. Backing up the arab and muslim causes and housing many NGOs, like The Kuwaiti Development Fund, a Kuwait based NGO that looked after many social and economic development projects all over the middle east and the rest of the 3rd world, especially in Africa.

Kuwait looked after its people – medication and schooling is free – it was only until 2 years back, expats started paying for their medical checkups (a flat fee of KD 1 ($3.5)) for all general checkups and it includes medication. And although Kuwait operates the world’s largest water desalination plant, energy (water, electricity and fuel) is very cheap – the water/electricity bill for a 2br apartment never exceeds $10 to $13 a month.

On the internal political front, there has always been a 2 way dialogue between Al Sabah and the Kuwaiti people. The first exercise of democracy (The Nation’s Assembly) in the GCC was in Kuwait.

August 2nd, 1990 (Iraqi invasion) is marked by observers as the beginning of almost a decade of recession. After an 8-month brutal occupation, Kuwait was suffering from a traumatized community (Kuwaitis were never exposed to the brutality of war, occupation and terror A la Saddam). The issue of Bedoun (people with no nationality) also struck hard after the invasion.

The financial bill Kuwait had to pay to get the Iraqis out of Kuwaiti was a hefty one. the Kuwaiti civil society was demanding a more active role in the political process and it was divided between an overwhelming Islamic current against a liberal, democratic minority.


And on top of all that, neighboring Saddam was holding about 700 Kuwaiti POWs as hostages and he occasionally stirred up the area by randomly mobilizing a few militarily pieces along the Kuwaiti borders from time to time.

During that time, few sectors were performing well in Kuwait. Telecommunications was one of them. Kuwait was the first Arab nation to offer Internet to the public. The mobile telecommunication sector has always been open and deregulated and Kuwaiti based Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC-Vodafone) is one of theeee major telco players in the region.

By 2003 – things were getting better. No more Saddam upnorth and Kuwait didn’t have to pay heavy security fees to the Americans anymore. Starving Iraqi consumers and businessmen flooded the Kuwaiti markets. Shipping orders from Iraq operating companies were pouring on Kuwaiti service providers, especially shipping, logistics and transportation: (PWC Logistics, a $2.6 billion Kuwaiti-based logistics company that is considered one of the largest in the world.)

Soaring oil prices helped create a public surplus for 2 consecutive years and the tight-grip policy on public budgets is there no more, pushing Government expenditure to the limit and leaving local businesses singing with joyful profits.

Socio-politically, reforms were taking place with passing the Woman-Vote law. The National Assembly is slowly moving toward a moderate majority, and the 13 years old POW file was closed when -sadly- most of the POW remains were found in Iraqi mass graves after the US lead invasion. The closure of the POW file got the country out of a morning that lasted for over a decade.

Less than 2 years ago, Kuwait rolled out a new and well defined regulation that allows foreigners to own property on a renewable 99 years lease, that evoked a healthy and steady construction sector growth.

Also, a few months back, Kuwait announced that all expats with +30 years residency are eligible for Kuwaiti citizenship. Applicants with professional qualification like doctors, engineers get and expedited application process (my Egyptian dentist got it).

And if you carry a western passport, traveling into Kuwait is much easier than before. Like the UAE, you get your visa from the airport. Though, unless you have a pre-issued VISA, non GCC Arabs will find it difficult to enter Kuwait.

These last few years witnessed many Kuwaiti businesses aggressively moving to the regional and international market place. Specifically companies like Al Shayaa (Starbucks, River Island, Debinham’s ..) Group Seven/Zaman (Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti, Virgin) and Americana (Pizza Hut, Hardee’s, KFC, Chilies’ ..etc). Kuwaiti companies like Habchi & Chalhoub and Villa Moda helped men and women look and smell better by bringing A-list brands like Dior, Gucci, Prada and LVMH.

Retail business isn't the only thing Kuwaitis were good at. There are major companies like Al Bahar, the regional representative of Caterpillar (CAT) construction machinery that’s building houses, towers, malls, airports ..etc all over the Middle East. Also, if it wasn't for companies like KIPCO (Showtime), western entertainment would still take a few years to make it your silver screen.

There is still a great deal of issues that needs to be addressed in Kuwait. However, everyone is anticipating a major Kuwaiti comeback and they are waiting for things to cool down in neighboring Iraq.

I hope this gives a better idea on Kuwait, because as for myself, Kuwait will always be on my Radar..

56 Comments:

  • Personally I think Kuwaities are the most open-minded out of all the GCC Nationals. Personal experience has showed me that they have that 'force field' around them, that gives them the impression of being unapproachable, but once you slip through it you can see how warm and hospitable they really are on a social and personal level (I guess alot like Locals)

    By Blogger A Yahya, at November 6, 2005 at 10:18 AM  

  • Gosh, I had some bad experience during my life with a few Kuwaitis and thought that I had labelled them for good.
    Reading your post has made me realise that I shall no longer base my distaste of the Kuwaiti people on a few 'bad apples' but instead will keep a more open mind.
    That was well written and enlightening.

    By Blogger CG, at November 7, 2005 at 8:48 AM  

  • Thanks CG - I know exactly what you mean... I have had more than what i deserve of Kuwaiti "bad apples"

    Its really sad that all the good some Kuwaitis do is always offset by some Kuwaiti nouveau riche who thinks he is God's chosen one on earth

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 7, 2005 at 10:01 AM  

  • and welcome back

    By Blogger CG, at November 7, 2005 at 10:12 AM  

  • I love reading positive news about the region ( i live here you know).

    Kuwait, The UAE and Qatar...God I hope nothing gets $%#@ed up. I hope Iran keeps it's pants on. I hope Iraq rolls a big doobie and "chills". I hope Saudi Arabia wakes up to the smell of Starbuck's Frappacinos blowing in from all around it.

    Salut! Progress!

    By Blogger The Devil's Advocate, at November 7, 2005 at 1:11 PM  

  • CG - thanks, its good to be back..

    Advocate - good to see you posting again... you haven't for sometime

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 7, 2005 at 10:47 PM  

  • moryarti
    wonderful piece on kuwait.

    like yourself probably, i was born and brought up there. life was good in the late seventies and early eighties. we would play football with the arab/kuwaiti kids. we would ride our bikes.

    thursday evenings were something we all looked forward to.. come home from school, play football till about 6 pm, rush back home, watch walt disney, the A Team, Knight rider etc etc..


    the older kuwaitis were wonderful people . till today , i remember the landlord of our group of buildings sitting in the lobby every day and greeting us. his son was managing the business, and his grandson was our age. was a nice boy his grandson until he reached his teens and then he got a Transam.. and what can i say.. :)

    My sister and her family are now there and it gives me the opportunity to go there once in a while... and reminisce

    naughty moryarti, im getting all emotional now..

    cheers

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 10, 2005 at 11:00 AM  

  • Thank you Anon.. i don't know about you, but weren't u glad to see KDD products on supermarket shelves in Union Coop and Carrefour? :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 10, 2005 at 5:23 PM  

  • very well written Moryarti!
    could easily place this in a report by the Economist Intellegence Unit.. bravo..

    By Blogger BuJ, at November 11, 2005 at 3:22 AM  

  • @buj

    مشكور طال عمرك - كللك ذوق

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 11, 2005 at 10:29 AM  

  • moryarti
    talking about KDD, I thought I had gone back in time. Pass me the Tutti Frutti icecream please ! :) if you 've found it here...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 12, 2005 at 10:50 AM  

  • anon - you should find them at the co-ops (i get mine from the one in Al Taawon mall in Sharjah). They have Gold (Dahab), sandwich, Lolly (the icy triangle ones) - raspberry, orange and banana ;)

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 12, 2005 at 11:48 AM  

  • moryarti..

    lollies.. WHOOPEEEE...
    yes dahab and biscuits too...

    by the way, is your alma mater a school in jabriya ... ENGLISH...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 12, 2005 at 12:37 PM  

  • is your alma mater a school in jabriya ... ENGLISH...

    sorry buddy, you lost me there .. whats alma mater ..

    /me bangs head on keyboard for lack of proper comprehension skills..

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 12, 2005 at 1:19 PM  

  • a latin word for 'school' sort of..

    NEW ENGLISH SCHOOL.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 12, 2005 at 1:40 PM  

  • aaah ... nope, i wasn't in NES, nor ASK walla UAS - in was in an arab school (Al Jameel)

    ربع السرّة :)

    Had lotsa friends in NES though ... I remember organising a basketball game with NES right after the war in 91.. it was fun

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 12, 2005 at 3:01 PM  

  • moryarti..ahhh.. so were you there during the 1990 invasion and subsequent war?
    my family and i had moved out in 1988. However I must admit to huge doses of nostalgia whenever Kuwait is mentioned and I follow the happenings there quite closely.

    What I admired and still do about Kuwait is 'what you see is what you get'.. no hype, no perceived equality, no fakeness// In other words ; it is'nt trying to be ..what it is not'

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 12, 2005 at 3:48 PM  

  • very true

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 12, 2005 at 4:03 PM  

  • hooray !!!

    I had Tutti Fruitti yesterday..

    damn these nostalgia attacks .. :)

    Moryarti concerning the political situation in Kuwait , a few days back there were rumours that Sheikh Saad was going to resign as Crown Prince. Did you hear anything further on that topic?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 13, 2005 at 4:05 PM  

  • yeah i did hear something about it while i was there .. it was even mentioned in some of the local papers.

    It seems like there were calls for him to step down as he needs excessive medical attention, and for Sh. Sabah to take over instead.

    But the news was only for a few days then it faded away and things were back to normal ...

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 13, 2005 at 4:17 PM  

  • Yeah it seems to have died down. a storm in a teacup methinks. Have you been of late to the Kuwait TOWER restaurant?

    By Anonymous KDD-anon, at November 16, 2005 at 11:44 AM  

  • Kuwait towers? not really - for sometime actually ...

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 18, 2005 at 1:25 AM  

  • moryarti... Thank you for your wonderful write-up on Kuwait. I am going to save it as a definitive guide to our country.

    Kuwait is a very hard country to understand, but like you said once you get past the hard surface.. we are indeed very nice people. We have our fair share of bad apples, but really... what country doesn't?

    Reading your post, and the comments almost brought tears to my eyes.. Yes we bitch and moan about Kuwait on our blogs most of the time, but that is only because we want our country to realize its potential. It could be soo much better, and its all within reach too.

    Thank you again, and I hope you become a regular contributor.

    By Blogger Zaydoun, at November 19, 2005 at 11:39 AM  

  • Zaydoun - you are most welcome and i am really glad you enjoyed the piece.

    I'll always be grateful to Kuwait for what it granted me and my family. I have many Kuwaiti friends that i feel very proud to know.

    Indeed, Kuwait has to realize its full potential and i believe with the efforts of free spirits like yours, it will get there sooner than later.

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 19, 2005 at 4:49 PM  

  • Excellent piece moryarti! I enjoyed it thoroughly. Zaydoun basically stole the words right out of my mouth. That's how I felt when I read it.

    I find the comment about KDD and ice cream especially touching.

    Thank you

    By Blogger jambino, at November 19, 2005 at 8:31 PM  

  • Thank you for your words Jambino .. i love KDD - i also got my wife addicted to it :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 19, 2005 at 9:18 PM  

  • moryarti... just went through the comments again (for pleasure) and noticed that you went to Al-Jameel School

    I'm older than you but I went there as a kid. I moved out in high school to a مدرسة حكومية

    By Blogger Zaydoun, at November 20, 2005 at 12:53 AM  

  • There is beauty and roses in Dubia, Kuwait and karla and every where that the spirit of Khalil Gibran reside. Keep your heart focused on the beauty and thy will be touched by it.

    Kuwaiti zen monk

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 20, 2005 at 2:09 AM  

  • I rarely comment on any blog, but after reading your piece I was really moved and forced to praise such a well written article.

    The whole Arab world has so much potential and I believe that blogs that share positive information like yours will mend many broken bridges and revive the sense of optimism within us.

    I strongly believe that information, education, optimism and dedication will one day enlighten us and allow us to reach our potential as Kuwaitis / Arabs.

    By Blogger Blue, at November 20, 2005 at 2:12 AM  

  • Moryarti .. Excellent post. I'm one frustrated kuwaiti and this post is definitely uplifting.

    You said in a comment:

    "I'll always be grateful to Kuwait for what it granted me and my family"

    I just wish for a time when many Kuwaitis realize that and feel grateful too.

    By Blogger Jandeef, at November 20, 2005 at 2:44 AM  

  • Moryarti :

    i seriously dont know what to say . we're blessed to have people like u .

    THANK YOU

    By Blogger Brava Valentia, at November 20, 2005 at 4:07 AM  

  • Thank you for this wonderful piece about Kuwait! It was amazing and I'm glad you enjoyed your time here!

    As for schools, I was in NES back in the day! Class of 1996!

    As for developmental associations don't forget the Arab Fund!

    Thanks again!

    By Blogger The Stallion, at November 20, 2005 at 8:45 AM  

  • Guys ... i wish you could see the look on my face as i read your comments... I am speechless.

    I also wish i could have the honor of thanking each and everyone of you in person.

    Zaydoun: my last year in Al Jameel was in 91 (right after the liberation), i left Kuwait after that for uni..

    Kuwaiti zen monk: well said. I love Gibran!

    Blue: I feel privileged for commenting on my blog... it does mean a lot and i thank you.

    Jandeef: I hear you my friend. We human beings have a very bad habit of never realizing the value of something we have until we lose it.

    Mother Courage: thank you so much - god bless your heart.

    The Stallion: know something? i read and re-read my 'On Kuwait' post so many times. Every time i read it, i notice that i have missed mentioning so much! There is so many great things about Kuwait, i really don't know where to start from or what to cover.

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 20, 2005 at 10:45 AM  

  • moryarti, you have no idea how much ur post moved me, i found it on zaydouns and i read the whole thing to my husband over the phone, ( ooh i couldn't wait for him to get back from work to read it ) i can not describe my feelings right now, but please please pleassseeee let us know the next time you r here, we have to meet if you have the time, i cant just let u go!!!!!

    By Blogger we love kuwait, at November 20, 2005 at 10:49 AM  

  • moryarti thank u for your post, one thing to say here, a sentence that used to be written on top of all governmental documents (Kuwait the country of all Arabs) الكويت بلاد العرب it used to be and it will always be like this to all Arabs and all Muslims. Thank u again and it is a pleasure to have someone like u and your family live in Kuwait.

    By Blogger Diver, at November 20, 2005 at 12:38 PM  

  • شكرا وصح الله لسانك

    By Blogger الكويتي الحر, at November 20, 2005 at 12:39 PM  

  • wow.. so many people here who live/ have lived/ have memories of Kuwait.
    I grew up in the eighties there and still keep my eye on happenings there. Life in Kuwait was simple, but good.

    God Bless all !!!

    By Anonymous KDD-anon, at November 20, 2005 at 4:05 PM  

  • kuwait means the world to me, even though I'm not Kuwaiti, I spent my entire life there and to me, Kuwait is my home and always will be no matter where I am in the world.

    Personally, I believe Kuwait is the best country in the Gulf. It has a good mix between the East & the West without being too "plastic" like alot of the other gulf countries are like.

    The standard of living in Kuwait is excellent, everything is cheap compared to other countries (phone bills, water, electricity, hospital fees etc).

    I've been out of Kuwait for around 4 years, and I'm going back in Summer 2006 to live again... it's gonna be hard but I'm looking forward to getting back into the Kuwaiti lifestyle.

    and how can I resist KDD (strawberry milk!) and al rifai nuts lol

    Pepsi and TGI Friday's doesn't taste the same in the UK lol I miss the q80 taste!

    Thx sooo much for this post, it brought back great memories!

    By Blogger ananyah, at November 20, 2005 at 6:35 PM  

  • Such a beautiful post. Thank you for the positive view of home. It's always good to know that even though we see its shortcomings and criticize it for that, outsiders see it as a good place to live in/visit.

    By Blogger Hanan, at November 20, 2005 at 7:24 PM  

  • Informative and well-written. Thank you for this lovely post.

    By Blogger Jewaira, at November 20, 2005 at 9:09 PM  

  • the 1st time i visited Kuwait was after me and Moryarti were married. I thought i was going to get bored crazy, bas yalla just a couple of days and i'll be back home (Dubai). So when the couple of days passed i was actually trying to convince Moryarti to extend our stay cause of the fun i was having.. the country is so pretty and simple, and i fell in love with the beach road which runs along nearly all the roads!!

    So let me say that by now, I AM the one who would make the plane bookings and pack our bags 3 days early when i know im going to my 2nd home 'Kuwait'.

    To Kuwait, its citizens and everyone who lives or have lived in it: Thanks for being wonderful. PS: Most thing i fell in love with was the Chocolate bar.

    By Anonymous Mrs. Moryarti, at November 20, 2005 at 10:20 PM  

  • Mr & Mrs. Moryarti, I’m a Kuwaiti who always complains about Kuwait, maybe because, as zaydoon said, it’s not living up to its potential. I see my country going backwards in terms of freedom and cultural growth and politics. It is quite frustrating form me. But your piece ….your wonderful wonderful piece ….. My god…. I have to say…it killed me. Thank you for reminding me that my beloved country is the place to be, and for giving me hope for a better future.

    By Blogger 9oot, at November 21, 2005 at 12:52 AM  

  • a very beautiful piece of article. Thanks to you and to Zaydoun who made us read it.

    By Blogger ValenciaLover, at November 21, 2005 at 9:40 AM  

  • Great post on Kuwait, but you left out the major flaw in the country - bureaucracy and "wasta". As a UN/WHO official who has lived and worked in Africa, China, India, Russia, USA, Canada, England, France and Sweden, my 3 year Kuwaiti experience was one of the best. However, the Kuwaiti bureaucracy (both government and commercial) was by far the most oppressive of any I've experienced, anywhere else. One example only: even with a diplomatic passport in hand, I was required to visit 13 (yes, thirteen) offices over a two week period in order to get my Kuwaiti driving license. The process may have gone longer but at the last office I was told that my position in the country allowed me an automatic approval and I should have been granted the license at the first office I visited. There was even a big stamp, in Arabic, on my documents which said exactly I was guest of the Prime Minister's office and was to be granted a licence immediately. None of the bureaucrats in the 13 offices, all of whom looked at the top page of my documents, took notice of the special information and stamp. An unusual circumstance perhaps, but similar situations occurred continuously through my stay in Kuwait.

    Doctoo

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 21, 2005 at 10:25 PM  

  • moryarti, I can't thank you enough for this wonderful enlightment that us kuwaitis never really knew. I really am very appreciative for this wonderful piece of work and throughout my readings of the comments .. I began to think more and more and visualise the (khair) that we were living in .. Thanks and god willing you will be thanked in eternity.

    "Ana Walad Hal Arth Matbarrah Min Thubi .. Amshe 3ala 3ez oo Ma3aza Wala Akhaaf .. Galaw Te7ib Likwait? .. Gilt EGrebu 9ube ! .. An6ig Bisimha Wana 3ala ilMout Mishraaf .. !!"

    "Somethings are best kept unspoken"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 22, 2005 at 11:06 AM  

  • to everybody - your kindess pushed my wife to post her first blogging activity ever :)

    WeloveKuwait: we would be thrilled to meet up once we are in Kuwait - we are expecting a baby girl in Feb, so most probably it will be sometime after that. If you guys are ever in Dubai, please feel free to drop me a line on dubaimirror at gmail. I would love to be your host.

    Diver: Thank you for your kind words. You should consider diving in the east cost here (Fujairah) .. great corals.

    الكويتي الحر: مشكور على لطفك وكلك ذوق

    kdd-anon: you should start your own blog mate. It would be nice to see you more regularly.

    ananyah: Thank you - you have a captivating blog. Very personal and charming..

    Jewaira: thank you for your kindness

    9oot: Thank you so much for your sharing your thoughts with us. believe it or not, it was my wife's first blog activity ever :)

    valencialover: thank you for taking the time to comment - its much appreciated.

    anon @ 10.25 (doctoo): Thank you for your contribution and I am sorry you had to go all through that to get your driving license. Everyplace has its shortcomings and drawbacks. I could've filed a post on how bad the airport trip was, or the harassing or .. or .. but i didn't because everyone else is.

    I just wanted to share something different for a change. Something that can bring some optimism in a world full of ranting, whining and moaning.

    Sometimes in the course of solving issues, flaws or problems of a certain matter; its healthy to sneak a peak on the good sides of that matter. It charges you with hope, optimism and drive to keep on going at it ...

    anon 11.06: thank you for the kind words and for sharing your talent with us.

    I can't thank everyone enough for sharing your thoughts ..

    love all ..

    By Blogger moryarti, at November 22, 2005 at 1:04 PM  

  • I want to thank you for your wonderful piece on Kuwait. Through it you should many people that Kuwaitis are really nice, down-to-earth people. You proved many people who hate Kuwait wrong. I thank you again for your truly touching words.
    P.S: My faveorite KDD ice-cream is Sandwich LooooooL
    *Q8iya

    By Blogger Q8iya, at November 22, 2005 at 10:14 PM  

  • hey nice post...nice to hear something positive about kuwait for once..we have a lovely country but we need to take care of it...take care :)

    By Blogger q8leo76, at November 22, 2005 at 11:09 PM  

  • I’m speechless; I have to thank Zaydoun for diverting me to this wonderful post about my country. Special thanks to you dear, hatha min 6eebik.

    By Blogger AyyA, at November 23, 2005 at 11:41 PM  

  • Moryarti, Your piece On Kuwait was moving.. it's one of the nicest things I read on a blog about Kuwait. and the comments were more than overwhelming.. I'm a Kuwaiti living in Dubai. I've been in Dubai for the past 4 years graduated from AUD... I really love Dubai.. and just as Zaydoun said.. We want our country to reach it's potential..

    Up till last week... I didn't feel like leaving Dubai.. like most of my posts on the group blog that I run with 6 other friends from different parts of the world.. about Kuwait.. I always thought that it's too early to move back to Kuwait.. But after my last visit.. which I wrote about on my blog Back From Kuwait I'm really thinking seriously about moving back.. life in Dubai is great.. no one gives a damn what anyone else does, like you're living in a foreign country..

    I got used to this lifestyle.. which is not the same in Kuwait.. the demographics are different which makes it hard to some kuwaiti's to live up to social-standard in Kuwait!..

    All the best Moryarti...

    By Blogger genesis, at November 24, 2005 at 12:07 AM  

  • I'm an American living in Kuwait for now, don't ask me how I stumbled on this blog, because I was originally looking for a way to get my cellphone to work with Wataniya WAP properly.

    Anyways, living in Kuwait is interesting for me. It's a very different society and culture than what I'm used to. Especially with the standoffishness.

    My personal experience with Kuwaitis has been rather limited. The longest conversation I've had with someone who I can guess was a Kuwaiti, consisted of an older woman (veiled) coming up to me and talking at me in Arabic for a good minute or two. My Arabic isn't that hot, but it was something involving my eyes (blue), a boy, and her praising God for something. At the end, she walked away, leaving me more than mildly confused. Not what I'd call a conclusive conversation.

    At the mall or when we go out somewhere, I always get this feeling that they look down on me because I'm not an Arab, or are politely amused by my Americaness. That said, I know a lot of my countrymen over here are complete asses to Arabs and rather inconsiderate.

    -Michael

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 24, 2005 at 11:52 PM  

  • Hi.. thanks you all guys about wat u said on Kuwait (: Though i'm only 16 i admire ur thinking & incredible courtesy & i dnt knw wat else 2 say But u have seen us, the people of Q8 in our good wills to do & u can always count it as ur 2nd home ;). u forgot that they were highly educated =P

    Merci pour tout votre incroyable facon de nous decrir, c'était vraiment merveilleux =). Vous êtes enchantez pour toujours à venir et j'ai le plaisir de dire que exceptez le Koweit comme votre second pays. =)

    mashkourin oo matga9ron walla kafetaw oo wafetaw, 3ala 3eni o rasi 9ij 7ayakom allah ib ay wagt fih hal dira oo 7osboha diratkom al thania. =)

    M.H.Ebrahim, Q8

    By Anonymous Munera, at December 21, 2005 at 2:50 AM  

  • nice post...problem is a few pieces of information are inaccurate

    Citizenship: Kuwait has no system where it naturalizes people with 30+ years of residence.Citizenship is given to certain people who are chosen based on past 'service to the nation', a term that is loosely defined and invoked irregularly.

    Hospitals and Medication: For the 1KD(approx $ 3.4) that expatriates pay to be treated at clinics, they get panadol which seems to be the universal magic medicine and sometimes what they really need but low quality stuff.Kuwaitis are given a seperate set of medicines and expatriates do not have access to them(especially lifesving/essential medication).Some good doctors advice patients to buy medication outside the clinic/hospital at their own additional expense if they can afford it.Unfortunate for the many underpaid, overworked expats that Kuwaiti businesses hire and treat like slave labour.


    The following are my own opinions but those that are mirrored by many :
    Kuwaitis: Some are good, some are bad....never met more than a handful normal nice kuwaitis and if you dig deeper, they are the ones who life has dealt a bad blow to.Most Kuwaitis are superficial, arrogant and believe everything they have is a birth right rather than a privelige.Younger Kuwaitis(< 45/50 yrs) are twisted, characterless and hopelessly lost.Older Kuwaitis still have their dignity and a hold on reality.

    Labour laws: The most disgusting in the world.The sponsor system effectively traps everyone thats non-kuwaiti in a slave-master relationship.The system usually works to the advantage of the usually unscuplous Kuwaiti 'sponsor'.

    I am a Kuwait-born expatriate.This country follows me wherever I go.I am and always will be "Kuwait-born".And though I sincerely want to show some affection for this country, I can only pretend to like it when I am far far away.Cos it is a real sad place to be.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 23, 2006 at 8:31 PM  

  • I am an Indian.... born and raised in Kuwait. I have a query .. if there is a law whereby people who have stayed in Kuwait for 30+ years can apply for permanent residency / citizenship... is there another law whereby a child born on indian parents in Kuwait and resided for more than 20 years can apply for permanent residency.....

    By Anonymous Jeunefille, at May 5, 2006 at 2:45 PM  

  • I think what you've said is very true about Kuwait, usually people says only bad stuff about Kuwait, some of them are true if not all of them but you did have a chance to break the ice.

    By Blogger RADIANT GUY, at January 4, 2008 at 1:02 AM  

  • Thank you very much for this very refreshing post on Kuwait, a city that I have grown to love very much. As a lady who is half german and half nigerian I feel very much at home in Kuwait, since due to my looks I am mistaken either for a Kuwaiti or Gulf Arab national or an Egyptian national and have been fortunate enough to get to know quite a number of Kuwaitis so far. They are always very much impressed with this dual nationality, once they find out. What I am most impressed with about Kuwaitis is their fantastic sense of humour, which tends to be very subtle. To sum up, I love Kuwait very much and tend to go there as often as I can.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 5, 2009 at 3:14 PM  

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