I Love You, But I Hate You

Posted by Mark

A couple of weeks back I was talking to a friend who had recently posted on the blog and they were irritated by a reader who had complained about their writing style. I was like yeah thats one complaint, now imagine that on a daily basis for over 10 years because thats what I have to deal with. I’ve been blogging for over ten years now and I don’t think a single day has gone by without me getting some kind of hate from a reader.

In the beginning I used to get really bothered and take things personally but over the years I’ve just grown immune to all the hate comments. I’ve basically heard everything, or I thought I did until I got a divorce a few years ago. Some asshole started coming in and leaving hate comments on the blog and signing off with “No wonder Nat left you”. First time I read that I was like WTF, why would anybody be so mean? It hurt reading it the first couple of times but then again I just became immune to it like everything else. And it’s not only from readers, I’ve gotten hate from business owners as well. There is one I have saved on my phone because it’s so mean it’s funny. A girl emailed me and wanted me to post about her cupcake businesses. I replied back to her politely thanking her for contacting me but my readers wouldn’t find a post on a cupcake business interesting. She ended up leaving the comment below on her Facebook status (a friend in common sent me the screenshot)

cupcake

That’s from a girl who sells cupcakes and has a cute cat as her Facebook profile picture. WTF.

Yesterday I got a bunch of hate in my post about snapchat broadcasting Kuwait live today because some people were upset at me because I was thinking of snapchatting all the garbage in my neighborhood. They weren’t upset about the garbage, they were upset at me wanting to snapchat it.

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I tweeted yesterday how I tend to start off most of my replies to people as “Go fuck yourself” and I wasn’t kidding. Thats how I tend to start off my replies but then I send a screenshot to my best friend who usually replies no Mark thats not appropriate and I end up trying to respond more decently to people. But how much more of this do I have to take?

I’ve grown immune to these negative comments or at least I think I have but what is the long term effects of all this bullying on a subconscious level? Emotionally I’ve been told by some people I’m like a robot, I’m not sure if I’ve always been like this or if I’ve become like this after a decade of daily verbal abuse by people. Does it affect my self esteem? Do I get angry quickly because of it? When people keep telling me to get the fuck out of Kuwait, does it make me resent Kuwait? I’m not really sure, I don’t know how deeply all the daily bullying has effected me but I’ve finally decided I don’t want this anymore. I love the blog and I love my readers but I’m done with this.

Over the weekend I will be thinking of different solutions to this problem and one option might be to permanently shut down the comments on the blog. One of my favorite blogs Daring Fireball did that way back and he doesn’t regret it. I think I have some of the smartest and most intelligent readers in Kuwait and I learn so much from the comments every day, but I also don’t want to deal with the negative aspect of the comments anymore.


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My Garbage Timelapse

Posted by Mark

So about my garbage problem, I decided to try and create a timelapse to see how the garbage ends up building up so much. I hadn’t done a timelapse before and this was my first attempt and although it’s not great I think it’s pretty clear what the main problem is. Not only do we need a few more garbage bins in the lot but some of the bins aren’t being emptied which is why the garbage is getting pilled up all around them. In the video you’ll see a garbage truck come by but they only empty one of the bins and leave the other three. This timelapse was around a day and half long, 432 images in total, one image taken every 5 minutes. I’m going to try and make one thats a few days longer and see how that turns out. [YouTube]

garbage


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HOW DO I SOLVE THIS?!!?!?!

Posted by Mark

beautiful-kuwait

Every morning the garbage trucks come, clean up the garbage but then by 3PM the garbage is already overflowing. Why is it so hard to add more bins or larger ones???


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Good Morning Beautiful Kuwait

Posted by Mark

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garbage1


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How do I solve the garbage issue in Salmiya?

Posted by Mark

garbage1

There is currently a major garbage crisis in Lebanon and it made me think about the one I have in my backyard here in Kuwait. I’ve got this landfill behind my building which has been a garbage dump for years. I’ve posted about it a bunch of times (check this for example from 2010) and the issue hasn’t gotten sorted yet. I mean it gets sorted when I post about it, but then a week later it goes back to garbage overflowing everywhere. I took the picture above at 4PM, that’s just the garbage accumulated since morning, imagine how much garbage there will be by the end of the night!

So what do I need to do to get this shit solved? Do I have to post a picture on the blog everyday of the garbage dump and hope that the international embarrassment it will bring to Kuwait will get someone to act on it? Should I set up a live video stream of the dump and have it displayed in my blogs sidebar? Seriously I’m open to suggestions (don’t tell me to move or GTFO). Thankfully there is the Deera app but it gets annoying having to report this issue every single day.

The bigger issue is this has become the norm in Kuwait. It’s normal to see garbage on the floor everywhere or dumpsters overflowing. I miss the old anti littering campaigns from the 80s. They should bring those back.


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Best Bank in Kuwait 2015

Posted by Mark

bestbank

nima

I bank with two banks in Kuwait personally. I use another 3 or 4 for work. I bitch about them all. People will often tell me, “hey why don’t switch to this bank or that bank?”, not knowing that I probably already use that bank. And that bank sucks. The best thing about banks in Kuwait is that they all smell nice, universally across the board. We have the best smelling banks in the world. But being asked to choose the best bank is like being asked to select a favourite fart. Eye-watering and offensive.

Sometimes people will tell me, and even I’ll find myself thinking, “man banks in London or the US or in Canada blah blah blah…” No no no. Those banks are garbage. Banks everywhere in the world are garbage. American and Canadian banks barely understand there are other countries. And once you explain that there is a place called ‘the rest of the world’ then you have to start explaining to them why their useless 1-800 number is useless.

As far as banks go, the best you can hope for is bukhur at the door and that they don’t block your card when you travel. After that, it doesn’t really matter. Be happy they’re not American banks. Or Greek banks (too soon?).

mark

I use both NBK and Burgan Bank, and I have issues with both. The reason I have two in the first place is so that one covers the other when I travel. I’ve had so many strange issues when traveling I now need to have three different sources of debit and credit cards, the third one being American Express. How badly do my banks suck?

With NBK I’m a Thahabi customer which means I should get “better” service. A few weeks back I get called into my branch and into my personal banking officers room. He starts basically interrogating me, supposedly I transferred a large sum of money abroad to a company called Pershing LLC and it raised a flag with them. He passed me a form to fill which included a ton of personal questions, I told him I wasn’t going to fill it because they already have all my information. My banker told me this was not related to the money transfer and they’re just updating all their customers data. I told him thats bullshit and this was directly related to the money transfer. So he told me to go tell the manager I wasn’t going to fill it, so I did. I went to the manager and told him you guys are interrogating me over a transfer I made and now you want me to fill out this form with all this personal information which you should have already since I’ve been banking with you guys for 15 years. So the manager starts flipping through my files and asks me if I transferred an X amount of money a couple of months back. I right away recognized what that transfer was. I looked at him dumbfounded. Yes I did, I used my NBK brokerage account to transfer more money into it. I told him I don’t know who Pershing LLC is but my guess its a company you guys deal with (I later found out with a quick google it’s their clearing firm). I told him the transfer you’ve been interrogating me about was a transfer to you guys, NBK. I transferred my money to YOU. The manager was like give me five me minutes just to make a few calls and confirm. I told him I’ve already been here for 30 minutes and I’m not going to sit here any longer and they need to get their shit together because this was embarrassing and I walked out.

Burgan Bank on the other hand I had the weirdest issue last month. I launched the Burgan Bank app on my phone and forgot what my password was. Why? Because when they force you to change your password it has to be different than the last 6 passwords I’ve used with them. WTF. That actually makes it less secure not more secure because if I started using my level A password, the second time I’m going to use my level B, then C etc.. until I turn into a complete idiot and start using my name as my password. So I have to keep creating new difficult level A passwords which I’ve never used anywhere else in my life just for Burgan Bank. It’s hard enough to remember the all the passwords I already have so its natural I’m going to forget the special one I had to create just for Burgan Bank. So I clicked on the forget password link and it asked me my secret question and I put in my answer. It was wrong, so I put in another answer. Suddenly the app tells me I’ve put my answer wrong too many times and my account is now blocked and I need to go to their website, printout a form and then take it to a local branch. WHAT. THE. FUCK. I answered my secret question wrong twice (not three times)(and it’s my secret question not even password) and I could no longer access my account from the app, nor can I access it from the website (even though I know my password there) or anywhere else. And then to make it worse, I had to print out a form, fill it up and take it to their branch. I tried to unlock it over the phone by calling the call center which is what I can do with NBK but I was told I needed to print that form and take it to the branch physically. I was surprised they didn’t want me to fax anything or mail them a postcard.

So yeah, these are just two of the most recent problems, I’ve had A LOT more. I hate banks so there will be no winner nor even a runner up for this award.


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A wellknown electronics showroom

Posted by Mark

wellknown

Why is the local media so afraid to mention brands in the news? Why not just say a car crashed into X-Cite? It’s a fact, it’s not a rumor and I find it frustrating that they do this.

It’s bad enough when newspapers report on food products that were pulled from the local market for being hazardous but then don’t mention the brand. In this case, it’s just ridiculous they didn’t mention X-Cite. [Link]


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Our Taxis Suck

Posted by Mark

ourtaxissuck

I got a press release from the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai a couple of days back that pissed me off. It’s about a new device that’s being installed in their taxi cabs to help reduce accidents:

Once the taxi reaches a speed of 60km/hour, sensors fitted to the front and rear of the car are activated. If the taxi enters within the safety zone of the vehicle in front, a safety message will be sent to the taxi’s speaker inside the car. Similarly, if a vehicle approaching a taxi breaches the safety zone, they will receive a message through their own radio. This safety message will tell the driver to back away from the vehicle in front and to remember to keep a safe distance as it could be carrying a friend or loved one,” [Link]

The press release pissed me off because it’s frustrating to keep seeing how much more advanced Dubai is getting while we can’t even get our cab drivers to use a simple device like a taximeter. I would personally use cabs more often and I’m sure other people would do if it didn’t mean we would have to haggle for every ride.


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This can’t be right

Posted by Mark

obstruction

Awhile ago as I was pulling up into my street and into my buildings underground parking, I noticed a cop car parked on the side of the road. I then noticed a bunch of cars that were parked legally on the side of the road had tickets on them. So I pulled up next to the cop and I asked him if this was a no parking street, he replied saying no he’s ticketing them for “عرقلة” which means obstruction.

ticket

What exactly are these cars obstructing (for example the 4 pictured on top)? I checked the tickets and noticed he left the space where he’s supposed to explain what the ticket is for blank. That can’t be right or fair can it?


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Why Burgan Bank Sucks While Traveling

Posted by Mark

My primary bank is NBK but due to various issues, mainly this one time when their ATM network was down and I wasn’t able to withdraw money before traveling, I decided to open a secondary bank account with Burgan Bank as a backup. I chose Burgan Bank primarily because they were located in the building adjacent to my apartment building and I liked how the branch looked like. As I found out recently though, turns out for traveling, Burgan Bank was the wrong bank to go with.

Last month while in Cape Town the owner of the bed & breakfast I was staying in asked me if I could pay him in cash since that way he wouldn’t have to pay the credit card transaction fee. So I went to an ATM to withdraw money using my Burgan Bank card. The ATM had a limit on how much I could withdraw at once so I had to withdraw the amount in two parts. After withdrawing the first half I tried to withdraw the second half and got an error. I then received a message on my phone from Burgan Bank saying my card had been declined and I needed to contact them. So I called Burgan Bank up using roaming and after getting a hold of an employee I was told that due to security reasons, Burgan Bank has placed a limit on South Africa and that I could only withdraw a maximum of KD25 a day. I went apeshit over the phone. I told the employee I’m on vacation and they have no right to limit my spending to just KD25. I told him KD25 wouldn’t be enough for me to spend per day and I also needed to pay for my accommodation now and I couldn’t because of this stupid limit. He told me he would put in a request to increase my spending limit temporarily. I was like I needed the limit lifted now so he put me on hold for a few minutes before letting me know my limit was lifted.

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I came back to Kuwait and basically forgot about the whole incident until this past weekend while I was in Bahrain I ran into another issue. On the day I arrived to Bahrain I tried to use my Burgan Bank ATM card but it got declined. I thought it might have been something with the sellers machine and decided to use my NBK card for the purchase instead. I didn’t use my card for the rest of the trip since I was using my NBK credit card. When I landed in Kuwait Saturday night I headed to the Burgan Bank ATM machine at the airport to withdraw money to pay for parking but I got a declined error again and a message on my phone saying the bank declined my card and I should contact them. So I called Burgan Bank and ask their customer support why they’re declining my transactions and the employee told me it was due to security reasons. I was like what?! He was like when someone uses the ATM card in two different countries in the same day they automatically block my card and I need to call the bank to unblock it. I went apeshit again. I told the employee I had breakfast at the airport and then traveled to Bahrain and wanted to use my card there, are you telling me I am not allowed to do that? Are you saying that if I have breakfast at the airport I am not allowed to use my card again until 24 hours later after arriving to my destination? He was like it’s their policy. I was like I can’t be the only Burgan Bank customer that has complained about this. I was literally yelling at this point and asked him if Burgan Bank customers ever travel??? I told him this was the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard and that IF they were to block my card it should be when someone tries to withdraw a large amount like a KD1,000 or KD5,000 but not KD10! I told him I was fed up with them and that I hated being put in awkward situations because of them. I told him they have no right to keep blocking my card like that because they have no idea what situation I could be in while abroad and needed money but because of their incompetence I would end up being screwed. I told the employee to unblock my card and to put a note to never ever block it again. I told him even if five different people in five different countries try to withdraw money from my card at the same time to let them. Even if someone in Nigeria is trying to withdraw all the money on the card to let them. I just couldn’t handle it anymore, I hate being treated like a child by my bank. If they’re concerned about any transaction on my card they should call me and check on it like NBK does. But to block my card without warning is ridiculous.

So in the next few days when I have some free time I’m going to sadly be closing my account with Burgan Bank. I say sadly because I actually love the branch near my house and have had a pretty good experience with them. Even though both their app and online banking sucks I liked passing by their branch and their bank employees are actually really friendly. But their security policies have completely killed it for me. The whole point of opening an account with them was so that I have a backup system to use when I travel and the one thing I wanted them for they’ve failed in miserably. Now I need to find another bank instead so if anyone has any recommendations let me know below.

Update: Burgan Bank ended up calling me regarding my post and according to them they’ve reengineered some of the processes so that people don’t end up having these issues again. This is the email they sent me:

Dear Mark,

Thank you for raising your customer experience with us in regards to recent issues on your debit cards, firstly we regret the inconvenience caused to you. Due to the recent spate of frauds in card related transactions across the region each bank including ourselves had put in parameters in order to protect & safe guard our customers. Our endeavor has always been to protect our customers assets & ensure better customer experience.

We can reassure you that based on your experience and feedback we have relooked at our processes & reengineered them to ensure better customer experience and we will monitor and review the same on ongoing basis.

Regards,


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