End Violence Against Women

Posted by Mark


Just spent over an hour adding events to the event section, there’s a whole lot going on in the next two weeks so check it out. Also today there’s a walkathon to commemorate the International End Violence Against Women Day. For more info on that click [Here]

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Comedy in Kuwait back in the 50s

Posted by Mark


The lovers of humor and comic stuff had the chance in Kuwait back in the fifties to enjoy it through the comic magazine “Al-Fukaha” which means humor in English.

“Al-Fukaha” magazine was released in October 1950, the chief editor was Farhan Rashed Alfarhan and the owner was Abdullah Al-Khaled Al-Hatem.

At first, it was printed in Kuwait. Then, they started printing it in the Syrian capital Damascus and the distribution of this comic magazine was in Kuwait.

“Al-Fukaha” that was released in 1950 continued until 7th February 1951 and then stopped. It was released again on July 20th 1954 but stopped one more time on 24th November 1958.

First time I’m hearing of this. [Link]

Thanks Farran

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Mondays with Matthew (on Tuesday): Sport – let the games begin

Posted by Matthew Lodge


The United Kingdom has a new champion! Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton was crowned world champion at the end of yesterday’s end of season Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. British newspapers are full of images of a jubilant Hamilton and headlines such as the “Start of something special” and “Best day of my life”. Perhaps the fact that he beat his team-mate and long-term rival, German driver Nico Rosberg, makes the victory seem even sweeter. For the UK, our rivalry with our European friends always adds an extra twist to the competition.

So what if journalists play down the fact that Hamilton and Rosberg both drive for a German team? Painful memories of England’s exit from this summer’s FIFA World Cup, and Germany’s victory, are long forgotten. Glory is in the moment and the victor enjoys the adulation. Who cares if Germany won the World Cup, we have Lewis!

Well, lots of people care, and not just 80 million justifiably proud Germans (congratulations mein Freund), but that was last summer.

Today, I feel Kuwait’s pain. Losing 0-5 to Oman last week appears to have caused a national shock. As a Briton, I’m not unused to sporting disappointment. Don’t misunderstand me, I am no football expert. I enjoy a kick-around with the kids, but that’s it for soccer. However, I learned a few years ago that it’s very difficult for a British Ambassador not to take an interest in sport, and football in particular. This initially posed a problem for me. Apart from my rather limited ball-skills, I had grown up playing rugby, hockey, and athletics. I have always enjoyed watching the World Cup and European Championships, but not much more. Suddenly I needed a “team”. Naturally, I chose Liverpool. I was born there. I also remember Kevin Keegan, John Toshack and Kenny Dalglish. So I have become a Liverpool supporter. At least I’ll never walk alone.


Except, here in Kuwait, I keep meeting Arsenal or Chelsea fans. Why is that? Where are all the Liverpool supporters? I did meet a Tottenham supporter the other day. And of course, I know about Kuwaiti links with Nottingham Forest and Ebbsfleet United. I’ve even met some enthusiastic Kuwaitis who fly to the UK to watch the occasional match before heading home again the following day. That’s more dedicated than I’d ever be, but it’s great to know that football is so popular here. It has also been good to learn about other Kuwaiti sporting interests – and successes: the shooting team and other medallists at the Asian Games in South Korea this autumn; the early morning cycling clubs out on the Gulf road every Friday; the numerous youth football clubs playing across the city; and the Triathlon that took place last month. People taking part in these activities may have been disappointed too by last week’s score. But they keep training, enjoy the competition, and play for the fun and thrill of the game.

People always rediscover their love of sport. Anyone and everyone can have a go. It brings people together. What do you think of sport in Kuwait today? Can more be done to help people enjoy the benefits it brings, and the joy it can give?

Post by Matthew Lodge
British Ambassador to Kuwait
Instagram: @HMAMatthewLodge Twitter: @HMAMatthewLodge

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Club disguised as a Shack

Posted by Mark

This reminds me of the other club found in Kuwait that was disguised as a tent from four years back. [YouTube]


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Review: Chili Pepper Mexican Grill

Posted by Mark


Chili Pepper is a new Mexican restaurant that recently opened up by the same guys behind the shawerma place Slice. My friends and I headed there on Thursday night thinking it was a proper dine-in Mexican restaurant but once we got there we realized it was actually a fast food place.

The entrance to Chili Pepper is on the ground floor but as soon as you enter you need to go down a flight of stairs since the actual restaurant is located in the basement. The place had a bunch of tables downstairs as well as the ones located outside the main entrance so finding a place to sit should never be a problem. Ordering is simple with the process is split into three steps:


Step 1 – Choose a Type
Burrito Bowl
Hard Tacos (2pcs)
Soft Tacos (2pcs)

Step 2 – Choose a Protein
Chicken KD3.150
Steak KD3.350
Barbacoa KD3.350
Shrimp KD3.500
Vegetarian KD2.750

Step 3 – Choose the Salsa
Sour Cream KD0.200
Pico de Gallo
Corn Salsa
Green Chili
Red Chili
Guacamole KD0.600


I ended up going with the soft tacos which come as two small pieces so I had one of them chicken and the other barbacoa (lamb). Between the two I preferred the chicken but the soft tacos were just too small and not very filling at all. When I passed by the second time today for lunch I chose the burrito and really thats the way to go, you get a lot more for the same price.

Speaking of price, I don’t understand why a fast food Mexican grill has to be so pricy. I had the chicken burrito today which is KD3.150 and that’s fine but then I added sour cream and guacamole and ended up paying KD3.950. Both those toppings should really be factored into the price. Still though the food is pretty good which is why I went back again. One cool thing they have is the nutritional information for all their items. This means you can know exactly how many calories you’re having which is great for calorie counters. If you’re interested in trying them out, they’re located in Kuwait City in the corner of the building right behind where Ubon and Rio are [Map].

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Jam Kuwait Show #1

Posted by Mark

If you missed the first Jam session this past Friday at CAP you can now watch most of the performances online since TJC Films just uploaded 43 minutes of non stop music. I missed the event but from the feedback I heard it’s definitely one not to miss the next time it takes place. [YouTube]


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The Nuqat Workshops

Posted by Mark


Last week I wasn’t posting as much since I was taking two workshops at the Nuqat design conference, a furniture design workshop from 9AM to 1PM followed by a fashion design workshop from 2PM to 6PM. They both turned out to be a lot of fun and the whole experience was memorable.


Furniture Design: Defy the Existing Function
The furniture design workshop was done in collaboration with IKEA and was run by the award winning furniture designer Younes Duret. It was basically an IKEA hack workshop in which we had to repurpose one product out of the 35 they had made available to us. There were around 26 people taking the workshop with many of the participants coming in from around the region to take part. The final work was pretty astounding since there were quite a bunch talented people taking part.


Fashion Design: Fashion Meets Technology
The second workshop I took part in involved wearable technology and as a geek/designer I wanted to see if there was anything I could possibly bring to the table. The workshop was run by the super talented Sarah Hermez of the non profit fashion school, Creative Space. While the furniture design workshop was held at the Sadu House, the fashion design workshop was held at Fab Lab. What is Fab Lab? Fab Lab is part of MIT’s Fab Foundation and the Kuwait Fab Lab is part of the world wide network which spans 30 countries. It’s a ridiculously cool place where you can go fabricate products as well as take part in educational workshops (all for free). They have 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, a robotics lab and even an in house patent registration office. I’m actually going to post a separate post about them since the place is just insane. After experimenting with different technologies over the four days, for my final project I ended up creating a fashionable and functional pair of mountaineering boots that came with a built in frostbite detector (pictured above). I also just for the experience learned how to drape a dress which if you were following me on snapchat you would have gotten a glimpse of my undeniable talent in making sexy dresses.


The Nuqat workshops were filled with positive energy and I got to meet a lot of people and learn quite a bit. I’ll definitely be taking part again next year although most likely I’ll take just one workshop next time since two was just too exhausting.

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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Posted by Mark


There are a bunch of cool things to do this weekend but my personal picks are The Comedy Night and rooftop movie for Thursday, The Jam show on Friday and the Korean Thanksgiving on Saturday. I went to the Korean thanksgiving last year and I fell in love with the embassy building, its by far the most beautiful embassy I’ve visited anywhere. Check out the full list of events taking place this weekend below:

Exhibition: Honolulu by Arwa Abouo
Exhibition: Birds eye view by Ali Cherri
The November Comedy Night
Rooftop Movie: The Wrestler

Timelapse Photography Workshop
Book Club Meeting
Toastmasters Debate Championship Finals
Jam Kuwait Show #1
The Annual Concert of Hope

KTAA Bazaar at Sadu House
Chuseok Event (Korean Thanksgiving Day)
The Secret Garden Project
Graffiti in the Garden
Meetup: Chat and Map
Book Signing: This is an imprint
Rooftop Movie: Burn After Reading

If there is an event you’d like to share [Email Me]

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Censorship of books in Kuwait

Posted by Fajer Ahmed


One of my favorite things to do while growing up in Kuwait was going to the Kuwait International Book Fair. I loved walking through the aisles and aisles of mostly Arabic and some English books while having ice-cream. Since this year’s book fair is opening its doors today (Wednesday the 19th), I thought it would be fit to write about books in Kuwait.

Kuwait was the first Gulf country to hold a book fair with the first being held back in 1975. It was a platform for readers, writers, bookstore owners and publishers to connect with each other directly. Whats sad is that although other Gulf countries only recently started holding book fairs, they have already surpassed Kuwait’s book fairs with their activities and list of international writers and affiliates.

Yes people do read here even though the attention span of an average human being is probably 3 minutes thanks to social media but I am still a strong believer that anyone can get into a book if they chose a book based on their interest. With all of that said, censorship is an issue, its my issue, its your issue, its our issue! Working at q8bookstore with publishers, schools and writers has brought up the subject quite a bit, and although there may be some grounds on why censoring certain books is necessary when it comes to children, the books censored in Kuwait have often if not always not made sense in my humble opinion (I am trying to be diplomatic). Historical atlases of Kuwait and books with hocus pocus and three little pigs for example make it to the list of banned books in schools! Some of Orhan Pamuk, Haruki Murakami and motion picture books (which btw get played in the theaters) also are examples that make it to the list of banned books in bookstores!

Don’t we as citizens have freedom of speech? Shouldn’t we be able read and write what we want? The Kuwaiti constitution mentions in article 36 and 37 the freedom of research, right to publish, conduct research and so on (wont bore you here with tough legal words, that lawyers invented). But seriously who decides whats to be censored and how is it done legally? Well a lot of the information is not available to the general public but with dedicated work, Sout Al Kuwait; a non-profit organization that aims to protect personal freedoms and other constitutional rights have published a booklet on censorship in Kuwait. Here are some interesting points:

– For a local book to be sold in Kuwait it has to go through the Ministry of Information, if there is some doubt on the content of the book, it is transferred to a committee. The committee is supposed to meet once a week but according to Sout Alkuwait when they visited them in April of 2010, they had not met for 3 months and had 120 books pending (surprise, surprise)

– In the 2009 International Book Fair, 25% of the banned books were fiction (get ready for the sad part), 11% poetry and 10% scientific journals

– 24 social organization have signed a petition to review censorship in Kuwait, hopefully this time with avail

Although Mark and I will give you the freedom of speech to post as you wish under here (maybe we can have a religious debate, or lets talk about how mark isn’t Kuwaiti?), either way, I would love to hear about your thoughts and stories on censorship in Kuwait.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.

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Fuel Prices will Triple

Posted by Mark


A letter has been circulating via social media purportedly from KNPC on the new pricing for diesel and kerosene. The new prices are nearly double triple the current prices and will go into effect starting from January 1st. The letter does not mention if gasoline prices are going to increase so I guess we’re fine for now.

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If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
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