1,001 Old Ads

Post by Mark

ads

Last month an ebook containing 1,001 vintage ads from old Kuwaiti newspapers was released by the Dawood Treasury. The ads are grouped into categories to make it easier to navigate but sadly the whole ebook is only available as an Adobe Flash based flip book. It’s difficult to navigate, it’s slow, it spends forever loading and there is no way you could download it to view it later on your iPad or laptop. It sucks that they went through all that effort to create this ebook but then to make it so inaccessible. In any case check it out [Here]

Thanks Adnan


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I finally got it, The Kuwait Urbanization

Post by Mark

kuwaiturbanization1

I’ve had my eye on this rare and hard to find book ever since I found out about it a few years ago. It’s by the architect and planner Saba Shiber who joined the Kuwait Ministry of Public Works in 1960. The book dates back to 1964 and lays out the plan by Saba for Kuwait’s urbanization. The book features his research, sketches, plans, photos and visions he had for Kuwait.

kuwaiturbanization2

A couple of weeks ago I miraculously managed to get my hands on a copy of the book for a ridiculously good deal. I had a saved search on eBay in case the book ever popped up and it did once or twice but the asking prices were ridiculous like KD300 or so. Not that it wasn’t a fair value but it was a lot more than what I wanted to pay. Then a few days before the new year a seller in France put up a hard cover version of the book for sale and the starting bid was just KD50! So I waited and waited and nobody was bidding on it so I finally came in last minute and picked it up myself for KD50. I couldn’t believe I scored such a great deal on the book. Shipping cost me KD14.5 with Aramex so overall I really feel like I got a steal. Best Christmas gift ever thats for sure.

kuwaiturbanization3

If you’re interested in the book I’ve previously typed out the preface written by Saba and published it [Here]. I also have a PDF version of the book (166MB) uploaded to my server and you can download that from [Here]


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Raqsh – Donate Books to Educate

Post by Mark

raqsh

The other day while at KIPCO tower I spotted a books donation box by an organization called Raqsh. Turns out they collect unwanted books and then send them to small scale societies such as refugee camps. Right now they only have this one donation box located at KIPCO but they’re looking to set up more of them around Kuwait. For more information on the organization, here is a link to their [Website]


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Stories by Zain

Post by Mark

zainstories

Zain have just started an interesting project, they’ve found a creative way of using instagram to tell children stories. Their first story is called Zain and the Stars and you can read it by going to the instagram account @zain_andthestars on you phone. Once you open the account you start reading the story by scrolling down. They’ll be uploading a new story every month under a different account with the hope of having a large library of good Arabic books by the end of the project. Whenever there is a new story they’ll be announcing it on their @zainkuwait account but for now, check out their first one by visiting @zain_andthestars from your phone.

Note: The stories are in Arabic


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List of Banned Books and Audiovisuals in Kuwait

Post by Mark

Late last month I posted about how some schools are banning the book Harry Potter. Well I now have the full list of books banned which I’ve shared below. This list was created by the Ministry and the Foreign Schools Committee. The list below is for 2014-2015, if there are any spelling mistakes I’m sorry but I had to type the list below manually since I only received a print version not a digital one. In brackets I’ve also mentioned who was behind the ban and you’ll notice the schools have banned more books than the Ministry but that could be because they’re following the Ministry’s guidelines. One thing to note is that schools are recommended to follow this list and not obliged to follow it except for the books banned by the Ministry. Check out the full list below:

Read the rest of this entry »


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Ministry of Private Education Guidelines

Post by Mark

Yesterday I posted about how Harry Pottery is now banned in Kuwait and awhile ago a reader emailed me the Ministry of Education’s guidelines for books to be excluded from schools. Check out the list below:

—————————————

Ministry of Private Education Guidelines

In accordance with the Ministry of Education’s guidelines, please find below a detailed list of the types of books and/or materials to be excluded from the School’s teaching materials and subjects.

This includes but is not limited to classroom libraries, Library collection, textbooks & Scholastic orders.

I. Books with a Religious Domain that:
1. Personify God, messengers, prophets, angles and companions of the messengers
2. Distort the messengers, their families, disciples, and traditions
3. Allege religious mistreatment between Jews, Muslims and Christians
4. Assert religion as an instigator of aggression, terrorism, activism or invasion
5. Show places of worship in an inappropriate way
6. Claim Mohammed as the “founder” of Islam
7. Describe the immigration to Mecca as, “flight” or “escape”
8. Claim Mohammed was the author of the Quran, or calling the Quran the “teachings of Mohammed”
9. Claim that Islam and other religions were spread by force
10. Offend Islamic and other religions’ traditions, the companions, scholars, and laws and legislators
11. Adopt missionary connotations when talking about religions
12. Teach Darwin’s theory of evolution or the “Origins of Species”
13. Exaggerate the differences between religious sects in Islam and other religions
14. Spread information about witchcraft, reincarnation and the transmigration of souls
15. Rephrase the Quran or other religious books by adding verses and/or chapters to it

II. Books with a Political Domain:
1. View the Arab Israeli conflict with bias and/or sympathy towards Israel
2. Focus on Jewish persecution, during the holocaust, excluding the oppression of other races’ by Hitler
3. Falsify and misinterpret the history of Arab countries
4. Denounce the policy of the State of Kuwait and its sovereignty and attack the GCC and Arab states
5. Rename the Arabian Gulf, the Persian Gulf
6. Claim the islands in the Arabian Gulf as Iranian territory
7. Claim Iran has sovereignty over the Kingdom of Bahrain
8. Distort Arab and Muslim history
9. Claim that the Crusades were caused by religious persecution of Muslims and/or Christians
10. Misinterpret Kuwait’s relation with Arab and other countries

III. Books with a Cultural Domain:
1. Show naked or immoral pictures or photos
2. Contradict Islamic law
3. View marriage as solely a sexual relationship instead of a holy union
4. Condone the eating of pigs
5. Condone the consumption of liquor, alcohol, and drugs
6. Divide or split the social unity of society


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Harry Potter Now Banned in Kuwait

Post by Mark

harry

According to a contact of mine at one of the top English schools, their librarian last week received an official letter from the Ministry stating that Harry Potter books are now banned in Kuwait and all copies should be removed from the library. Whats interesting is that previously Harry Potter books were the only magic books that were actually allowed but it looks like that’s no longer the case.

Update: According to a friend who works at the library of a different English school, they weren’t requested to remove Harry Potter from their shelves.


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All Gone Arabia

Post by Mark

allgonesmall

A few weeks back I briefly mentioned that I was launching a business soon. Well the business is called supersoulxxx and although I won’t go into details on it in this post, I did want to mention an event we’re hosting in Dubai in a few days.

allgoneall

We’re bringing the creator of the All Gone book to the Middle East for the first time along with limited quantities of his book. All Gone is created and published by Michael Dupouy and is a collection of the finest in street culture ranging from sneakers and apparel to skateboard decks, toys and so on. The book in itself is very limited in number, just like the featured items hence the title ‘All Gone’.

So if you are in Dubai on the 11th of March come by pick up a copy and get it signed by Michael Dupouy.


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The National Library Bookshop

Post by Mark

bookshop

I hadn’t heard of this bookshop until my friend took me to it recently. It’s supposedly one of the oldest bookshops in Kuwait and it’s called “المكتبة الوطنية” which translates to The National Library. They sell Arabic books and comics, mostly new but they also have a bunch of really old stuff.

hardees

While flipping through one of the old comics I found the Hardees advert above. My very first memory of Hardees is that kids meal box, I think I was around 6 years old and I remember getting it from the now demolished Hardees near my house in Salem Mubarek Street.

If you’re interested in checking out this old bookshop it’s located in Souk Mubarkia, here is the location on [Google Maps]


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The story behind Wizr, Kuwait’s Greatest Driver

Post by Mark

wizr

Back in October I wrote about Keith Wells, a British journalist who was living in Kuwait back in the 70s. Keith used to work for Arab Times and in his spare time he also used to write books about Kuwait, including a witty series on a character named Wizr who was Kuwait’s greatest driver. Between 1979 and 1984, Keith released three Wizr books which I’m lucky enough to own all three. A few days ago Keith got in touch with me and I asked him if he could tell me how it all started. This is what he shared with me:

I originally wrote the stories for the Arab Times which became very popular. Then I met Peter McMahon at a party, and he hadn’t read any of the stories and asked, “Who is this Wizr character?” “I said, he’s the young, trendy Kuwaiti guy with the scarlet Transam with the eagle decal on the bonnet.’ So Peter picked up a sheet of paper,scribbled away for a minute or two, then held it out and asked “Him?” It was perfect. Thereafter we became close friends. I’d write a story, take it to his flat every Friday, and he’d give me the cartoon from the week before’s story. He somehow drew exactly what I’d imagined. The combination became very popular indeed and after a month or two we were approached by Tony Jashanmal, who owned a department store on Fahed Salem St, and Bashir Khatib, who owned the Kuwait Bookshop to publish a book full of the stories. We had a 3 way partnership to print the book at The Arab Times and Launched it at the British Embassy Garden Fete in November 1979, a week or so before I married Suzi. We sold 428 copies in about two hours… amazing.

We carried on for just over a year, then Peter was murdered by Saddam Hussein’s goons, long sad, sad story… but the upshot was that I sort of lost the fun, we put out the second Wizr book with cartoons we hadn’t used in the first one. And the third book with odd scraps and recycled pics. By then it was getting a bit heavy with the Iran Iraq War getting very dangerous and I left the Arab Times and took a very low profile job teaching at the university of Kuwait. After 4 years there I went back to the paper and wrote more stories with an Indian cartoonist called Edgar, but they were never collected in book form. I left Kuwait in June ’87. We emigrated to Oz in Oct 1989, and the following March I had a massive heart attack in a small town in southern Queensland. After recovering, we spent the rest of our working lives doing PhDs in Communication Studies, and setting up Comm Depts in various universities and colleges in Macau, Singapore, Morocco, The Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

I’ve been a bit of a hermit since retiring in ’07, but am beginning to re-emerge and was very surprised and grateful for the interest in Wizr and Dozi and his pals. Someone told me a few years ago that the fabulous cartoon of Dozi with the two rubber stamps “PERHAPS” and “PERHAPS NOT” is to be found in many offices to this day. Peter would have loved that.

– Keith Wells


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