Al-Jahra Natural Reserve

Post by Mark

This is a short film showcasing one of the best wetland reserves in Kuwait, the Al-Jahra Natural Reserve. With scenes similar to the one pictured below you wouldn’t guess this was Kuwait. So beautiful.


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Civil ID e-Signature

Post by Mark

Last week the Public Authority for Civil Information setup shop at our offices for a few days and offered all the employees their services including setting up an e-Signature. Since it didn’t involve any effort, I decided to setup my e-Signature, but even after reading the documentation on it [Read it Here], I still have no idea what this will be used for.

Basically the procedure to setup my e-Signature just involved creating a pin for my Civil ID card. My Civil ID card now has a pin code in the same way your ATM has a pin code, except unlike my ATM card I have no idea what I can use this pin for. One follower on twitter told me KOC employees use it with a specific machine they have to get their salary statements and other documents. Do you use it? If yes, what for?


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Divorce Rate in Kuwait Reaches 60%

Post by Mark

The alarm has been sounded again in Kuwait after figures for 2017 show that around 60 per cent of Kuwaiti marriages have ended in divorce.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice indicate there were 2,001 marriages in January and February, down from 2,425 in the same period last year. The figures also show there were 1,193 cases of divorce in the first two months of 2017, up from 1,180 last year. [Source]

That would put Kuwait with Luxembourg in 6th place on the World’s Most Divorced Nations list:

1- Belgium (71%)
2- Portugal (68%)
3- Hungary (67%)
4- Czech Republic (66%)
5- Spain (61%)
6- Kuwait and Luxembourg (60%)
7- Estonia (58%)
8- Cuba (56%)
9- France (55%)
10- Lithuania (53%)


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Uncovering and Preserving Kuwait’s Urban History

Post by Mark

Brownbook magazine shot a short interview with architect Zahra Ali Baba who reflects on her research, the practice of architectural conservation and the importance of history in the development of Kuwait. Its less than 4 minutes, is interesting to watch and nicely shot, so check it out above.

Thanks absolving-disorder


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Watch Hours and Hours of Old Videos on Kuwait

Post by Mark

A YouTube user going by the name jalili99Q8 has been uploading tons of old videos on Kuwait. The videos range from music videos, interviews, shows, documentaries and more. Personally I like the documentaries similar to the ones I’ve embedded in this post. Most of the videos I’ve come across have been in Arabic, but there are a few English ones and even if they’re in Arabic, you can still flip through them since the music is usually very 70s or Miami Vice 80s which is amazing.

I’ve shared some videos below but if you want to flip through his whole channel click [Here]

Thanks Twit

Read the rest of this entry »


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Kuwait Not Very Touristic

Post by Mark

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report for 2017 by the World Economic Forum is out and Kuwait pretty much comes in last place in the Middle East with the only other country that performed worst being Yemen. Below is Kuwait’s world ranking compared to other Middle Eastern countries:

29 United Arab Emirates
47 Qatar
60 Bahrain
63 Saudi Arabia
66 Oman
75 Jordan
93 Iran
96 Lebanon
100 Kuwait
136 Yemen

Going through the data I found one thing pretty shocking, under the section “Environmental Sustainability”, Kuwait came in before last position world wide in 135th place. We also were at the bottom of the list when it came to “Cultural Resources and Business Travel”, “Natural Resources”, “International Openness” and “Prioritization of Travel & Tourism”.

The highest position we reached in any category was 31st place for “ICT Readiness” (information and communications technology). In that category Kuwait came first world wide in “Mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions /100 pop.” and third world wide for “Mobile-broadband subscriptions /100 pop”.

If you’re interested in read the whole report you can download it from [Here]


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Staged in Kuwait Needs a New Home

Post by Mark

Staged in Kuwait, my favorite local community theater group needs a new home since the rent is increasing at their current location. Over the weekend they posted the following message on their Facebook group:

HELP! SIK needs a new home. With rent prices climbing and climbing we have to vacate our studio rehearsal space this summer, leaving the future of all our activities in jeopardy. As a not-for-profit group working on very small margins we have been very lucky to have our rent frozen for the past five years allowing us to use a villa basement as rehearsal room and storage for everything that we bring to the stage. From kids drama classes to evening and weekend rehearsals, we run a busy program and desperately need to find a new place to call home. If you can help with great real estate contacts, offers, suggestions or the like – please get in touch via messenger. Our sixth season hangs in the balance and without a new home ‘Beauty and the Beast’ may well be the last show you get to enjoy from Staged in Kuwait.

If you can help then get in touch with them [Here]


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Getting a Power of Attorney in Kuwait (Tawkeel)

Post by Mark

I’m sending my Lotus to Bahrain this coming weekend so I needed to get a Power of Attorney done for the trailer driver. The process turned out to be pretty simple and the experience surprisingly good. Since I originally had trouble figuring out where to go, I wanted to post about it in case somebody googles this question in the future.

Kuwaitis
Originally I was told to get a POA I needed to head to the Liberation Tower [Map]. Once I got there though I found out it was only for Kuwaitis and instead I was directed to the Ministries Complex which is a short drive away. If you’re Kuwaiti, the area to get the POA done is located on the first floor of what they call the Ministry Mall at the Liberation Tower. Just head up the escalator, take a left, then another left and then one more left and head straight through the door ahead that says Ministry of Justice.

Expats
If you’re an expat and need a POA done, you need to head to the Ministries Complex [Map]. If you’re driving there in the middle of summer then be aware, the parking is a good walk away from the complex and there is no shade until you’re inside the Ministries Complex. Once you get to the Ministries Complex there are no signs to let you know which building to enter so just follow the crowd. Once you’re inside you also won’t find that many signs and when you do they’ll only be in Arabic. So ask around or look for the sign above that says Ministry of Justice, once you enter that doorway you’ll find the POA department.

When I got there I took a number and waited, there were around 15 people ahead of me but the POA department also had around 16 stations with employees manning them so the wait wasn’t that long. The employee I dealt with was very helpful and spoke both Arabic and English. The trailer company I’m using is based in Bahrain and they sent me copies of 10 ID cards of the different drivers they might send to Kuwait to pick up my car. I had to get the POA done for all 10 drivers and the government employee didn’t blink an eye, she took all the ID cards and told me it wasn’t an issue and typed all their info out.

The cost of the POA was a KD2 stamp and no running around involved, you just deal with one employee for the whole process. A super smooth experience.

Photo on top by Nawaf Ahmed


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I Need a Mandoub in My Life

Post by Mark

Is there a company that offers a mandoub service in Kuwait? Like say I need paperwork at the Ministry done, I could pay this company a fee to do the paperwork for me.


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busKW – Making Sense of Public Transportation

Post by Mark

Four guys have taken it upon themselves to try and make sense of the local public transportation system by mapping the bus network in Kuwait. Wilfred Waters, Jake Massoth, David Uzoni and Wael El-Ahmady are aiming to get complete stop positions, schedules and 360 imagery of the entire bus network in Kuwait and they’re pretty much on track.

According to Wil, the schedule data is the most frustrating aspect of the project due to lack of driver discipline. Drivers stop between formal stops so a proper schedule can’t be kept but they’re trying their best to get at least a rough estimate. In regards to imagery they’re halfway done (similar to google street view but for the bus routes) but they’re trying to prioritize the schedule data for now since thats the information people are after the most.

The overall problem they’re trying to solve with this project is unnecessary car trips, privately or in taxis. By collecting all this data, they’re hoping to eventually create a Bus Routing App that would provide people with easy to access and understand bus routes and scheduling information. And I think they’re onto something here.

Looking through their map data (embedded above) I was able to spot a number of bus stops near my apartment building as well as see the whole route the bus would take. Turns out the bus stop next to my apartment could take me all the way to my office in the city, and even though I wouldn’t take the bus (I love driving), I did consider it for a second. I’m sure a lot more people would use the bus if they had route and schedule information on their phones.

Back in the early 90s when I was in Canada, I used to call the bus stop near my apartment building and an automated service would let me know how many minutes till the next bus arrived. That way I didn’t have to wait out in -30°C weather freezing my ass off. Kuwait needs to upgrade the whole bus network and make it more usable, if you could track busses in Canada back in the early 90s, I’m sure Kuwait can manage the same today. Kuwait is hoping the metro project will help solve traffic issues but it might be easier right now to get the bus system sorted out right. How difficult would it be to tell drivers to let people on and off only at formal stops? Or to make sure bus stops are shaded, and to create an app that would help people plot their trips and get accurate scheduling information. I don’t think it would be that hard, easier than building a metro system from the ground up thats for sure.

For more information on the busKW project, check out their website [Here]


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