Bake and Educate

Posted by Mark

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A couple of nights ago I was over at a friends place when I was introduced to Noor AlObaid, the young Kuwaiti behind the nonprofit charity organization Bake and Educate. I was so fascinated with the story that I couldn’t wait to post about it on the blog.

Noor started Bake and Educate at the age of 14 years old. She grew up with a mixed background, her father is Kuwaiti while her mum is Syrian so she got to see life from both perspectives, the easy privileged life of a Kuwaiti and the struggle of a Shami in Kuwait. Ever since she was a kid her mother used to teach her that because God had given them a good life, they have to give back to people who aren’t as fortunate. So she started giving a few dinars from her allowance to less fortunate children and when she grew older it just became a habit.

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Noor went to a private American school and her tuition at one point had reached around KD5,000 a year. On the other hand the tuition fees for some Arabic private schools in Kuwait were only around KD400 to KD500 per student per year and yet several families had difficulty affording that. In 2009, Noor’s mum received a list 21 pages long of students that were financially unable to cover their school fees. The overdue payments ranged anywhere from KD20 up to KD400 so they came up with the idea to create a baking exhibition where all proceeds would be used to cover the student fees. At first it was a difficult concept for people to understand, why would a 14 year old be running a non-profit? Why is it for education? People didn’t realize the significance of a diploma and how without one, many places wouldn’t be willing to employ a non-Kuwaiti.

At first Bake and Education started off as a yearly exhibition and then it became bi-annual until they started doing delivery. By 2012, Bake and Educate had started to gain a reputation after working closely with the Ministry of Youth and EQUAIT. In the 6 years since Noor started Bake and Educate the program has helped cover the tuition of 389 students while also helping refugee camps in Syria.

How does it work?
With each donation or order you will receive an official Bake and Educate receipt. When payment is received, Bake and Educate contact the schools and send the money over either on the same day or the morning after. Once the money is received by the accountant of the school, they deduct the amount from a students overdue payment and provide Bake and Educate with a receipt which they file. Bake and Educate is an officially registered non-profit organization. Some of the schools they work with are AlJamil School, AlRiqqa Elementary School and AlWataniya School, however, they try to work with any school that is willing to accept financial aid for students.

So if you’re interested in what they’re doing, follow them on instagram @bakeandeducate


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Meet Mr Kim

Posted by Mark

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There is a really old Korean guy called Mr Kim that has a shop in my building and I always found him fascinating. He’s got fairly long white hair, wears white bell bottoms with funky vintage shirts and drives a very well kept classic Chevrolet Caprice. I’ve actually posted about his shop before but never about him since I didn’t really know his story. But, recently he asked me to help him set up an Instagram account and we got to talking and it turns out he’s got such an interesting and random story.

Back in 1981 Mr Kim was the General Secretary of the Boxing Federation in Korea when Sheikh Fahad Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (the founder of the Kuwait Olympic Committee) was visiting Korea. Sheikh Fahad met with Mr Kim and offered him the position head coach of for the Kuwait National Boxing Team. Mr Kim accepted the position and came to Kuwait in 1982 and right away helped the Kuwaiti team win two bronze medals at the Asian Games that same year.

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Mr Kim continued to train the Kuwait National Boxing Team before leaving a few years later to train the Kuwaiti police and later the army. Around 88-89 he left boxing behind and partnered up with Carlton Hotel to open a Korean restaurant (which is still there). In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait, he was on vacation at the time but his two daughters and son were in Kuwait. His children stayed at the Carlton Hotel at first and later stayed at the home of an employee of the Korean embassy.

In 1991 Mr Kim came back to Kuwait after the invasion and got into a disagreement with the Carlton Hotel and so left the restaurant. In 1992 he opened his current shop which sells mostly hair bands and random little trinkets he brings in from Korea. His children and wife now live in Korea while he lives here alone. He’s 71 years old.

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As I’ve mentioned before his shop is really worth checking out. I’ve actually taken a bunch of friends there and everyone was always surprised at how visually intense the interior is. So pass by him if you can, his shop is located on the mezzanine floor of Anjari Complex in Salmiya [Map]. You can also check out his Instagram account [Here]


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‘Shredded Diesel’ Makes the Daily Mail

Posted by Mark

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The Daily Mail have published an article on the popular Kuwaiti bodybuilder ‘Shredded Diesel’. I used to come across his photos on instagram often and thought he was just another musclehead, but turns out he’s actually a personal trainer and has worked with the likes of Timbaland, Madonna and Justin Timberlake. One interesting thing in the article is that he encourages taking candy after workouts. It sounds a bit iffy but I’m probably going to research it a bit more after this post and see if that means I can have my favorite chocolate after the gym. Anyway check out the article with loads of photos on the Daily Mail website [Here]


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Dating with Tinder in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

tinder

A friend recently asked me why I don’t write about the dating app Tinder. At first I wasn’t very sure if the local Tinder users would appreciate this extra attention, but then I thought about it again and realized a post about Tinder could actually boost it locally. So I decided to do some research and the first thing I did was google “tinder kuwait” which landed me on an extremely entertaining local blog called Single in the Shires. The blog is about the dating adventures of a single British girl living in Kuwait and since she was a Tinder user, I decided to contact her and ask her if she’d be willing to write the review instead. She nicely accepted and you can check it out below:

Swipe Right
When Mark asked me to guest blog for him I was delighted. Then I realized that I had to write about my shameful love life for the Kuwait blogosphere to digest. I hold my hands up… I am in my 30s and I’m single (audible gasp). And moving to Kuwait certainly hasn’t helped change matters. How could it? Gone are my days of meeting guys in nightclubs and bars. First date nerves are no longer steadied with a couple of wines. Dinners no longer turn in to dancing. And, for a change, I can remember every single disastrous detail the next day (not always a good idea). Plus, how on earth are you supposed to meet eligible bachelors in Kuwait – and by eligible I mean NOT the ones that follow you through Avenues, try and get your attention whilst driving dangerously or beep their horns as they drive past you when you’re trying to cross the street. Those men are a no no.

So, moving to Kuwait has meant embracing online dating – something I wasn’t a fan of in London. In fact, I’m even less of a fan now but needs must. And without match.com or mysinglefriend.co.uk there wasn’t much chance of even an internet date. Until Tinder popped up.

Tinder is an app that allows you to select your chosen target demographic (in my case: male, 32-38, within 50km) and then view their pictures. Like the look of them? Swipe right. Don’t like the look of them? Swipe left. Yes it’s shallow but it’s more fun than reading dating profiles that have been embellished beyond belief (ie the guy who said he was over 6 foot and was shorter than me on the date – and I’m 5 foot 7). The app pulls the pictures from your Facebook profile and it seems many users in Kuwait fail to review these and make any changes. Why else would there be 100s of profiles featuring men with their brides or profiles pictures that are of their children?!

You see, to some this is a dating site and to others it’s a hook up app. From talking to friends it seems men treat it as a hook up app and girls are a bit more willing to believe they’ll meet someone lovely and ride off in to the sunset to start their ‘happy ever after’. Wake up girls, you are not riding off in to the sunset with the guy that takes a selfie in the gym mirrors with his top off. That guy will always like himself just that little bit more than he likes you.

I could reel off my disastrous encounters thanks to Tinder but have chosen to protect the not-so-innocent. Plus, I don’t want to tempt fate. You see, for all my cynicism I am still hopeful that one day I’ll swipe right and meet a normal, well-adjusted guy that doesn’t want to show me the inside of his pants on Whatsapp after three messages.

So would I recommend Tinder? Well in the absence of an alternative then I suppose I would – as long as you don’t take it too seriously. Remember; online you can be whoever you want to be. Just take it all with a pinch of salt and swipe away. Who knows, you may have better luck than me.

SiS


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Kuwait in a 1000 Words

Posted by Mark

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“I’ve been in Kuwait for 12 years now. I am here to support my wife, my daughter and my two sons. I used to clean at the Airport. Now I clean here around the Kuwait Towers. I have only been able to go home to Nepal and see my family 3 times in 12 years. I miss their faces very, very much……But I am happy”. – Krishna

Kuwait in a 1000 Words in a new Facebook page by Tim Carr (TJC Films). Tim meets a lot of interesting people because of his work and so he decided he would introduce the people he meets to the rest of the world. As of this post he has introduced 22 people ranging from street cleaners to artists and even Big D. Everyone has a story and this is a great way of showcasing them. Check out the Facebook page [Here]


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Mohammed Taher is Brave Wave

Posted by Mark

Mohammed Taher is a Kuwaiti music director, producer, writer and the guy behind the music label Brave Wave. I posted about him last year after the popular gaming blog Joystiq posted about his then upcoming album, World 1-2 which featured 21 video game composers. Recently though he was invited to give a talk at Bit Summit, an indie game festival held annually in Kyoto, Japan. My brother managed to score an interview with him and just posted a feature story on him in the gaming section [Here]


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Kuwaiti in the Arctic

Posted by Mark

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Nasser Al-Fozaie is a Kuwaiti who is currently living in the Arctic. He emailed me a couple of weeks back and I was curious to why he was there and so he sent me the below to share on the blog:

I’ve always wanted to experience the Arctic. I’m Nasser Al-Fozaie, a twenty-three year-old Kuwaiti, currently conducting sociocultural research and fieldwork on the Greenlandic Inuit society. I dare say life in the Arctic is quite extraordinary and the environment is truly wondrous to behold. The moment I arrived to Nuuk, Greenland, I was greeted by the heavenly whiteness of the city’s mountainous terrain and the rippling waters of Labrador with its gently floating sea ice in all its grace.

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I’m currently on my second week and I plan to stay here for the next four months, God willing. I decided to come here because I’ve always been fascinated by Earth’s geographic polar regions and I myself have travelled to many parts of the globe to experience both the physiography and the cultures of the places I visit. I lived in a Fijian village, for example, teaching in a public school and performing environmental initiatives with the locals. I was actually inaugurated into a native Fijian tribe which is way cool. I also went on several solo excursions such as backpacking across New Zealand, trekking the Cornish coast of Southwest England, train-hopping across Eastern Canada and music touring across the United States.

Indeed in order to truly understand something, you will need to put in the effort of exploring and searching for the answers you covet. The esoteric beauty that lies within travel is that it teaches humility and you soon realize how wrong you’ve been living. That said, I don’t necessarily understand why a lot of people are losing confidence in their abilities – they numb themselves through the doleful modus of self-deprecation. They, in perhaps a rather puerile sense, give up on their dreams. They start to imbue a desire for comfort and contentment – average contentment. It’s as if the extraordinary is no longer yearned for or encouraged.

I think many of us in Kuwait are fortunate to be given the opportunity to luxuriate our minds with knowledge and that’s something certainly worth thinking about rather than stressing over which restaurant you’ll dine in today or which car you want to save up for – the Audi or the Jaguar, or whether you should wear Chanel or Valentino tonight. .. and such is the malady of the contemporary indulgent persona. Thus far, I have received exceptional amounts of both academic and moral edification and with God’s help, I will continue to learn and grow.

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The Greenlandic Inuit people are quite sophisticated and masters of their trade, having grown from a hunter-gatherer society to a more industrialized community – which has begotten many sociocultural and sociopolitical conflicts, like the pseudo-modernization of the Greenlandic youth and the Danish influences and how it affects the culture, linguistics, politics and economy of this autonomous state. There is so much life out here, one wonders where to begin… so let’s just leave it at this point for now.

If you’re interested you could follow my Arctic adventures on instagram @nasser_alfozaie


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Fatima Al Qadiri makes it into The Guardian

Posted by Mark

qadiri

Fatima Al Qadiri is a multi-talented Kuwaiti artist and musician whom I’ve posted about a number of times before. Her latest project, the underground dance supergroup Future Brown were featured in The Guardian a couple of days back which is pretty cool and then last night they performed in Hackney, London as well. Check out the article as well as one of her tracks [Here]


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Shark of Kuwait now on YouTube

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Shark of Kuwait has setup a YouTube channel and has started uploading all his videos. If you don’t know who Shark of Kuwait check this old post of mine. To check out his YouTube channel click [Here]


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Musician Yousef Al-Haddad

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Yousef Al-Haddad is a Kuwaiti musician who lives in the States. He plays a bunch of instruments but guitar is his main thing. He graduated from University of Southern California back in 2009 and now lives and works in Santa Monica. He basically works at Trader Joe’s and plays his guitar all day. I’ve watched a bunch of his videos and I think he’s extremely entertaining to watch and listen to. For example in the video above he talks with a Jamaican accent and sings Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”.

Below are two more videos I liked but you can check out all his other videos on [YouTube] as well as a few tracks on [Soundcloud]


[YouTube]


[YouTube]


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