Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Positive Things

Lately I have felt hopeful due to several things I have discovered in Kuwait. First, is the two recycling groups: MRC and Green Target (their website is not up, but this is their contact info). Additionally, I received this sms from a friend:

"Friends, please come to the green rally on Saturday, December 5th from
10am to 11:30am. Wear green and support the peaceful cause to keep
reasonable hedges and stop cutting down Kuwait’s trees. The Green
Rally will be held in West Mishref, across from the Australian college
facing the Mishref Fair Grounds. Bring the kids!"

I can feel a groundswell of awakening about environmental concerns in Kuwait. It is exciting and encouraging indeed.

*Update* I am sorry to say that I have to deflate my bubble a bit. After trying to contact both of the above companies about their services, I am sad to report that neither of them have replied to my queries. I guess they are still working on company structure?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks and Eid

I have been talking to my students lately about doing something with their lives that would make a difference in the world. We have been watching news videos about people who have done seemingly small things that have had large effects. I recently came across an effort to do just that. And the link here is for Global Giving and specifically dealing with helping Palestinian children. Please check it out and pass it on.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Negative Phenomena aka It

OOOoooOooooo... 'negative phenomena' has such a cryptic, spooky sound to it.
Perhaps that is indeed the intent for calling *it* so, for what, in actuality, is this phenomena anyway?
Whatever *it* is the government is looking at trying to study *it*, contain *it*, and fix *it*.
*It* has been accredited with the demise of the society and the backtracking in the country's development.
Indeed, if we could only pin *it* down and censor *it* , then we could once again start progressing.
Alas, I fear that if we keep looking without
for the elusive *it*,
we will fail to see the *it*
of our own makings

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Indonesian maid ban an 'insult' to Kuwait"...If the Shoe Fits...

Hellloooooo????? Why worry so much about Kuwait's reputation if there is a VALID concern that needs to be addressed. I mean, don't worry about what earrings you are going to wear if you're naked!
Ever wonder why there are so many careless, clueless maids "falling" off the balconies of their sponsors' houses? Or why there are so many maids running away seeking asylum in their respective embassies?
Again, I will say, if the shoe fits people, if the shoe fits!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Extended Hiatus-No End in Sight

I suppose when one starts working again, whatever synchronicity one previously, maybe mistakenly supposed that one had, is totally upset, overturned. I am not operating under any delusions here, and I have not thoroughly convinced myself that I indeed had anything in sync, but hindsight has me waxing nostalgic.
Setting foot back in the classroom, even if it is one that is across many waters and lands, is a familiar, wonderful, if not overwhelming experience. I love the expectant, anxious faces that await me on day one. I too, am beset by a multitude of competing feelings, leaving me slightly nauseated, although I hope, not visibly so.
I have been pleasantly surprised that my college students have been most welcoming and interested, for the most part, in me and what we are embarking on in this class. Sure, there are some cultural differences that can be at the same time, intriguing, frustrating, perplexing, and maddening. I would even venture that they might say the same of me.
First of all, 'tardy', what the heck is that? And forget about homework; they just ain't having it. Most of all, don't even think about wrenching the most beloved of possessions, the Blackberry, from their grasps; it is a task too monumental for mere mortals to achieve.
Beyond all of that they are wonderful, endearing, and charming young people.
I really can't complain at all.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Yale Criticized for Not Publishing Controversial Cartoons

So the Danish cartoons rear their ugly heads again, but this time it is in the US and at Yale. Yale University decides not to include these cartoons in a publication about the ensuing violence triggered by the original cartoons' debut. They have consequently been roundly criticized as being cowards, due to the fact that Yale has listed fear of violence as a reason for not printing them.

What really bothers me about this all, aside from the cartoons themselves, is the fact that people could not accept how offensive and disgusting these cartoons are to millions of people around the world and then have that be the reason for not airing them again. I hate that the fear of violence is the only reason for not printing them. I hate that they were printed in the first place, and I hate that people reacted in such a way as to give the cartooner's intent a wrongly perceived and placed validity.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Congrats Women!

What does it mean to Kuwait to have women in the government? Actually, what does it mean in any government? I think there is reason to hope. All of the things that I have complained about could be addressed with women in power (education, environment, lawlessness, etc.). Not that men can't address the issues, rather that they haven't. Too much testosterone seems to lead to progress constipation, so my hope is that the women will be true to their nature and give this country some long needed nurturing.
I know, I know, not all women are the same, but let's face it, that is what we need here in Kuwait, a mother's eye for prioritizing, organizing, and getting things accomplished!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Prioritize: Who is really Influential?

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip. You don’t have to actually answer the questions.Just read the e-mail straight through, and you’ll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of Miss America .

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people with whom you enjoy spending time.


The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Perhaps the Truth about Swine Flu

Interesting background and not so available information about this global worry -click on the link for more to the story of the Swine Flu....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What is Being Said About Cleanliness in Kuwait

Judging just by what is being said in Kuwait Times, it is apparent that there is a big disconnect between the powers that be here, and reality!

Mahboula residents suffer from municipality's negligence

...Driving on these roads is damaging to the cars," said Metwali, an Egyptian expat who lives in Mahboula with his family. "The area is filled with garbage and it isn't taken care of. When we the residents asked about it, we were told that the cleaning company's contract has expired. This didn't make sense to us; how come the health and safety of the residents can be dependent on a contract with some cleaning company? Did any officials ever check before the contact ended? This isn't a simple matter than can be neglected this easily.(...)

Municipality hosts 'To Make Kuwait Clean' workshop

The Kuwait Municipality held a workshop titled, 'To Make Kuwait Clean' at its premises yesterday. During the workshop, different issues like the renewing the contracts of cleaning companies were discussed. "The level of cleanliness in Kuwait is excellent, so we always aim at making Kuwait more beautiful," said Dr. Fadhil Safar, Minister for Municipality Affairs and Public Works during the workshop.(...)

Special needs children clean Salmiya marine environment

...The activity also aimed to increase the public's general awareness about the dangers associated with pollution on coastal and marine environments. It also aimed to teach children with disabilities about volunteer work and serving society by adopting good habits that include keeping the environment they live in clean.(...)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How a Government is Like a Parent

So I got to thinking...I hear all the time, being an American, how the US doesn't treat its citizens the same way that Kuwait does.
"Kuwait takes care of its people better than you do in the US," they say.
After hearing variations on this theme again an again, I found myself reflecting on the notion of 'taking care of' and all of its connotations.

I grew up an educator's child, and this afforded me a view into a world that was at once mine and also not. Being part of a world of highly privileged people and in some ways being one myself, just not to the level of some of my counterparts, I became an adept observer of life.
So many of my good friends worked diligently to get the highest grades, participate in athletics and extra-curricular activities, and generally polish themselves into well-rounded, educated, cultured people.
There were some other of my friends, however, who coasted along not worrying too much about their grades or their future, for that matter. For them, their family dynasty was awaiting, and they needn't be bothered so much about the interim; they knew they would be taken care of.

In the end, after college, where some friends attended 'A' list and some 'C' list, and the early learning years of careers, both types of my friends ended up as 'successful' people, meaning that they were still a part of the economically privileged. Often they ended up living in the same neighborhoods, driving the same cars, having children in the same private schools, and being members of the same country clubs, but owing to the decidedly different modes of arriving at that point, some inherent difference between the two types of people must exist. How is this difference manifest, and is it significant? My short answer to that question is a decided yes.

And here is where my analogy starts to come into play. You see, my friends who were never encouraged to worry about developing and educating themselves never evolved that much and remained much as they were in high school: self-involved, self-serving and inward-looking people. That is not to say that they weren't nice people, but they just never got much beyond their own little world and their own needs. I also noticed that they carried a dependence on their family into their adult years that rendered them juvenile in many ways.

My other friends who worked hard to get where they were understood the value of hard work, and that there are many ways of solving a problem. They had a sense of accomplishment that could never be given to them by anyone. In short, they had evolved; they had come across a problem, set a course to tackle it, and they had achieved their goal. They had learned that they could stand on their own two feet.

The funny thing is, both kinds of friends had loving, well-meaning parents, whose only goal, I feel sure, was to take care of their children. And there are many ways to skin a cat, so to speak, but in the end, what is most beneficial to the survival of a species, is to produce productive, contributing, creative, compassionate individuals who can do something to make the world a better place to live in, if even in only some small way.
It ultimately falls to the parent to decide what is the best way to encourage such an outcome.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

One Thing That Kuwait Needs Most

Why can't Kuwait have a police force that is effective? I don't think I have ever seen anyone getting pulled on the highway. Many are the times that I wish I could become a police officer and pull some of these idiots who fly down the highway with absolutely NO regard for human life. Also, I would love to slap a fine on the jerks who toss their trash so casually from their cars.
Maybe, Kuwait could contract the job out and get some police that would be able to enforce the laws here. I truly think that if there was effective law enforcement here, then you could get so much accomplished in the way of straightening this country out. Heck, you could impose labor punishment for violators of littering. Imagine how embarrassed ol' 'Bader' would be to have to don an orange work suit and pick trash up along the highway.
And why is it that other Gulf countries don't seem to have the same problems with respecting their own countries and their respective laws? Why don't people here get enraged about having to live in all of this trash...and where is the government?????????????????????

Monday, January 12, 2009

Killing My Laundry

Does anyone know what the heck is wrong with the water in Kuwait? And if so, how to remedy it? I am so sick of the water killing the colors in our laundry. All of the colors fade and the cotton pills (makes small balls). I don't think it is the detergent because we have tried all of the different kinds and nothing helps. I am assuming that either there is too much chlorine or the water is too hard...I don't know...anyone?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A New Holocaust

Well, I will say it. I am so disgusted, horrified, and enraged by the way Israel arrogantly flaunts their wealth and military might over a subjugated people, by the way they blatantly lie about the murder and genocide that they are perpetrating. And this is NOT about religion. This is about an EVIL agenda.
Is there a real difference between them and the Nazis? No, there isn't. Why did we always learn about the Holocaust in school?.....Oh yeah, because we don't want it to be repeated....hmmm. Never forget. Never forget.
Maybe somebody didn't quite get that there are other people in the world just as important as they who deserve to live in dignity just as much as they do.
If we remain quiet, we are complicit, and I am not complicit. I will not be cowered by the fear of being called 'anti-semetic'.
Hello, the Arabs are semites too!!!!

I will NEVER forget seeing Ehud Olmert on Nightline, when he was the 'mayor' of Jerusalem. He told Ted Kopel, and I paraphrase, that the Palestinian people were 'not the same as you and me' they were 'different'. I was so happy when Ted got visibly maddened and told him that they were indeed the same and that their mothers and fathers wanted their children to have a chance at life and safety too.
I shuddered and thought, if someone like that ever got a larger audience, he could be really dangerous....

May God help the oppressed all over the world.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Our Wake Up Call

Every now and then something happens that wakes us from a somnambulant state and forces us to see the world around us.
Sometimes it is a personal tragedy: the death of a loved one, the sickness of a friend, the dissolution of a marriage that was deemed idyllic.
And other times it is the rumblings of the world around us which tell us, all is not right.
This may manifest as natural disasters, societal discord, epidemics, etc.
What does it take, though, for a collective stirring, a wake-up call for the masses?
Does life have to smack us personally in the face before we take notice of suffering around us?
Too often we feel insulated and removed from the incident. Too often we feel lethargic, apathetic. So often we feel that when the television goes blank, so follows the world.
But lives continue to be destroyed; children are killed, or orphaned, or hungry; people are praying with their last breaths for their family's safety; and we, we sleep on...
But try as many may to ignore the suffering of those whom some even consider insignificant, it will come back to haunt them.
Indeed, it will come to haunt us all.
For, although the hand may remain complacently still, the heart is indelibly imprinted upon, and will circulate the bereft mothers' cries into an empty night,
until no one is left sleeping.

God help us to help; help us to care.