Mondays with Matthew: Hello Kuwait

Post by Matthew Lodge

embassy

Spend a few minutes at Kuwait airport and you are reminded that people are coming and going every day. Families returning from holiday, business travellers heading off, air crew stopping over. Amongst all these you may occasionally spot the new arrivals, and I don’t mean those visiting for a few days, but those who have arrived to make Kuwait their home. Maybe for a year or two, maybe for longer. At the end of August, amidst the hustle and bustle of the airport, my family and I arrived in Kuwait. For my wife and kids this was the first time they’ve been here, but Kuwait is now home, and will be for the next 4 years.

I want to start a conversation with you so let me start by telling you what my own reactions have been.

Kuwaitis are welcoming, open and friendly. Irrespective of any conservative traditions and social customs, Kuwait feels modern, vibrant and dynamic. As you drive into town from the airport, you also get an immediate sense of Kuwait being quite westernised. Fast food outlets light up the roadsides. Cars are big, the roads are wide. This is a land of comfort, consumerism and confidence. Kuwait is not shy. Kuwait has money, and more importantly Kuwait has oil.

But that initial, essentially superficial, impression is just that – superficial. As British Ambassador, moving into a house that claims to be the oldest continually-occupied residential building in Kuwait, I am reminded every day about the history. Kuwait’s history. Our shared history.

Firstly, the house itself – the notes left for me explain how the British architect was brought from Bushehr and the funding approved by the Government in India. Then there’s this sepia photograph on the wall showing the Residence of the “Political Agent”, constructed in 1935-6, taken in 1951 when the gates opened onto the beach and there was no Gulf Road. More recently, I am also reminded of the wonderful 50/20 celebrations that took place in 2001 – half a century since independence from Great Britain, two decades since the liberation – followed in 2012 by the State Visit of His Highness The Amir.

But it’s about more than official commemorations or grand occasions. For many Kuwaitis London and the UK is their home away from home, many more have studied there, and Kuwait sends more visitors to the UK each year than any other GCC country. So when it comes to my plans and hopes as the new British Ambassador, I remember that there is a huge amount already there between our two countries. Kuwait and Britain are, and will always be, connected – in every sense.

Before coming here, we had heard a lot about the country and the people, and during the last eight weeks we’ve learned a little more. One thing, which I perhaps knew already, is that as an Ambassador you enjoy a very privileged existence. Everyone is always very polite and courteous, but if you really want to understand how people feel (rather than just hear what they think you want to hear) then you have to work hard to get out, meet people and listen.

My goal is to do precisely that. I want to listen to you. I’d like you to tell me what you think I need to hear. So tell me, is the Kuwait I am seeing the same as the one you recognise?
In any case, thank you Kuwait for welcoming me. It’s good to be here

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


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80 comments, add your own...


  1. pickles says:

    “Kuwait and Britain are, and will always be, connected* – in every sense.”

    *Additional Visa fees and waiting time apply.

  2. MohammedQ says:

    Welcome to Kuwait Your Excellency.

  3. ferydon says:

    welcome to Kuwait and to the blog

    best comments will get one month visa to UK .

  4. Barrak says:

    Your Excellency,

    20/50 was in 2011 not 2010.

  5. Fahad says:

    First of all I would like to thank Mark for setting up such a wonderful contribution from such an esteemed guest His Excellency (HE) Mr. Matthew Lodge. I believe this is the first time any ambassador has done such a thing (I could be wrong). As HE mentioned we share a long history between our two countries, and it feels great getting that acknowledgement from an official representative from the United Kingdom. I’m looking forward to reading more from HE, and I hope he will be reading the feedback.

  6. 3azeez says:

    Welcome to Kuwait Your Excellency.

    It very common in Kuwait for foreign Ambassadors to mingle with the general public in particularly through Dewaniya’s. Dewaniya’s have their unwritten social rules and guidelines in terms of welcoming a guest and communicating with them… which allowed the practice of visiting dewaniya and hearing to people there continue for decades.

    Interacting with the public through a blog like this one where people can comment freely and anonymously is going to be very interesting thing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do it before and as a fan of this blog I hope the extra attention these posts going to bring wont back fire on us!

    • Matthew Lodge says:

      I have been to a few dewaniyas already, to meet people, celebrate weddings and offer condolences. I’d like to go to more. I’d also be interested in hearing whether people feel the dewaniya culture risks excluding some in society from being able to take part fully in debates and discussions? How are women and young people heard?

  7. FrustratedExpat says:

    Can His Excellency put paid to the rumours that he is cancelling all Embassy-based social nights? The house is indeed historical but these days we know it as the location for a number of fundraisers, parties and concerts. The British Expat Rumour-mill is rife with stories of why the Ambassador has decided to cancel the events. Maybe he would like to set the record straight?

    • Matthew Lodge says:

      Thanks. Of course we will still be hosting events at the Embassy. This is an essential part of what we are about – supporting closer UK-Kuwait relations, promoting all that’s best about Britain and extending our reach so that we are well connected with Kuwait and Kuwaiti society.

      • Bongo says:

        Any news on when clubs and societies will be allowed to host events at the embassy again?

        For most societies, the money made at these events mean they will survive for one more year.

  8. TheTruth says:

    Important to note though that certain topics are sensitive, and if you really want to hear genuine kuwaiti opinions, you will have to discuss these topics face to face (ex. politics etc.)

    Too many individuals have been arressted and detained for voicing political thoughts/opinions.

    • kuwait says:

      Kuwait has far more freedom of press and freedom of speech than elsewhere in the region

      Kuwait is frequently ranked as having the highest degree of civil liberties in the GCC by both Freedom House and Reporters without Borders indices of freedom.

      Moreover, Kuwait is frequently ranked as having the highest degree of Freedom of Press in the Middle East and Arab world by Reporters without Borders in their annual press freedom index report

      • anwar says:

        more like they are just too lazy to go arrest anyone they think is doing anything wrong.

        Kuwait in all these categories you mentioned has been in decline for the last 5 years.

  9. dfine says:

    Wow, Welcome Sir,
    This is a welcoming breath of fresh air. Having been here for the past 11 years, this is my first. I am danish and we don’t have an embassy nor do we have an ambassador in KSA who cares about us.

    Have been to numerous events at your establishment, I must say it would be a blow to our happiness if you close them down. Having no place in Kuwait who resembles normal life, the embassy very much did so. We will forever remember the Queens night two years ago… Bless her.

    I hope you reach your target audience and get the feed back you want. God bless you for trying.

  10. ashraf says:

    This is a great move.

    will be looking forward for mondays :) an ambassador blogging (guest blogging) that’s a first for me.

    on that note.. can we use his wasta to get the visa done without much paperwork? ;)

    • Matthew Lodge says:

      Joking aside – I am afraid I can’t provide free visas or special help. However, we will be introducing an electronic visa waiver system (online visitor visa substitute in plain English) early next year. It will only be for visitors (not students, medical patients, work permits etc) but it will allow travellers to apply online up to 48 hours before travelling. And it will be free to use. So watch this space!

      • Fahad says:

        That’s great news! Can’t wait to see it go live. Lately it seems the wait times have been horrendous, especially close to holiday days.

      • ashraf says:

        Oh Wow.. I really didn’t think you would respond :)

        That’s great news. I have plans to watch Manchester United play at Old Trafford next season :) <3 <3.

        Welcome to Kuwait. Hope you have a wonderful 4 years & more here :)

  11. bol says:

    This is what the previous British Ambassador wrote about Kuwait:

    http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/207749/reftab/96/t/Farewell-to-Kuwait/Default.aspx

    I really like the previous British Ambassador, he was very smart and really knew the true Kuwait

  12. bol says:

    By the way, here are some new places for the British ambassador to visit

    Al-Qeiblyah School Cultural Center and Kathima Cultural Center just recently opened. Both are cultural centers located in pre-oil Kuwaiti schools

    Here are the links:

    http://www.nccal.gov.kw/ar__cultural_qabaliya_school.cms

    http://www.nccal.gov.kw/ar_cultural_kathma_center.cms

    Address:

    http://www.nccal.gov.kw/ar_Building_Branches.cms

    there’s also المرسم الحر (Free Art Atelier is located there)

    and Al-Aujairi’s Astronomical Museum is worth checking out

    Saud Al-Turaiji Museum is also worth checking out http://menspassion-online.com/peopleDetalies.asp?pid=1337

  13. Murrka says:

    The short answer is no, the Kuwait you’re experiencing is vastly different from everyone else’s. Just ask the Indians, Filipinos, Bangladeshis, Ethiopians and others who were lied to for them to come to Kuwait. No one wants to acknowledge it, but it is modern day slavery.

    • marzipan says:

      dont expect much response from the UK on human rights abuses in one of the major middle eastern allies – human rights abuses on the MAJORITY population

      thats not how the west or the gulf do politics

    • kuwait says:

      60% of Kuwait’s population is Arab (including Arab expatriates)

      Filipinos, Bangladeshis and Ethiopians are a demographic minority in Kuwait

      Moreover, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) confirmed that migrant workers in Kuwait have legal protection (unlike migrant workers in UAE & Qatar) and the situation in Kuwait can’t be likened to slavery because the ITUC confirmed foreign workers in Kuwait can join trade unions and strike. Kuwait has a minimum wage, unlike most parts of the GCC.

      According to the 2014 Global Rights Index by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman are the best GCC countries for migrant workers. The global rights index was created based on 97 indicators such as workers exposure to systematic physical violence/threats/intimidation, workers right to strike and workers guaranteed protection under the law.

      Kuwait came in category 4. The 97 indicators are strictly related to workers rights and civil liberties. Check out the full study:
      http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/survey_ra_2014_eng_v2.pdf

      Migrant workers in the UAE and Qatar are not allowed to join trade unions, aren’t allowed to strike and don’t have a minimum wage. In addition, migrant workers in the UAE and Qatar aren’t guaranteed protection under the law. Kuwait has laws in place which guarantees workers protection, whether these laws are enforced or not is another matter. Migrant workers in Kuwait are legally allowed to join trade unions and strike, some expat workers in Kuwait have joined trade unions.

    • kuwait says:

      60% of Kuwait’s population is Arab (including Arab expatriates)

      Filipinos, Bangladeshis and Ethiopians are a demographic minority in Kuwait

      • djelibaby says:

        a lot of talk wont make you right. on paper maybe most of what you say is true. but for ANYONE that is involved in migrant rights, it is well known that everything you have just said is – um – poop!

        also since you lke repeating stuff – you cant compare arabs to nations because being ARAB does not mean you come from one nation.

        trade unions and right to strike? dont make me laugh

        • kuwait says:

          The International Trade Union Confederation IS involved in migrant rights, don’t make me laugh! You just seem to have an anti-Kuwait agenda, the International Trade Union Confederation is far more reliable than you’ll ever be

          Some foreign workers in Kuwait are part of trade unions. Don’t speak about something which you clearly know very little about, the International Trade Union Confederation is a very reputable organization regarding workers rights. Many other reputable sources and citations confirm Kuwait’s trade unions have expat members

          Moreover, in recent months several expats freely striked, none were deported. In the UAE and Qatar, it’s ILLEGAL for foreign workers to go on strike and it’s ILLEGAL for foreign workers to join trade unions

        • kuwait says:

          The International Trade Union Confederation is involved in migrant rights! You just seem to have an anti-Kuwait agenda, the International Trade Union Confederation is far more reliable than you’ll ever be

          The International Trade Union Confederation is a very reputable organization regarding workers rights

          Many other sources confirm Kuwait’s trade unions have expat members

  14. marzipan says:

    I’m wary whenever any governmental entity tries to establish a presence in the ‘popular’ world. It’s a slippery slope and not one without an agenda. Of course there is – why else would an ambassador decide to mingle – on the most popular blog in Kuwait? That’s not paranoia that’s just common sense ‘diplomacy’. Suddenly comments sections become that tiny bit more difficult to express open opinions in.

    The UK benefits from having Kuwait as an ally in unjust wars, and of course benefits from all the increasingly negative aspects of Kuwaiti society – classism, consumerism and materialism. We will only hear the official line, not the Ambassador’s actual thoughts as a human being on current issues even if they are different from what he represents. In the same way that the UK itself comes across to the world as far right via media and leadership – when in actual fact the population are mostly leftist in some way.

    Democracy is dead in the west – voting for any party yields the same results and the same agendas. Russell Brand (and if you dont like him, many many others) have shown that the system does not work to the benefit of anyone but the 1% – not the common UK citizen, or the regions of the middle east.

    We won’t get any straight talking from this section – and in spite of the hate im sure i will get, i’d be careful on voicing how you actually feel on here.

    then again all publicity is good publicity so im sure the blog will do well

    • Matthew Lodge says:

      Thanks. You may not believe me, but I don’t have a specific agenda, beyond wanting to reach more people and to try and understand better. So you will hear my real thoughts. I’ve heard some argue that diplomacy is about a “dialogue of elites”. Well, it’s much more than that from where I sit and I certainly don’t see myself that way. I am very privileged because of the job I do, but I’m a British public servant and a normal family man. My politics? My business, with respect. But it’s not relevant. We still have an apolitical Civil Service in the UK. So we serve the Government of the day to the best of our ability, working for the UK national interest and not party politics. Democracy isn’t dead. It’s very much alive, even if it remains imperfect. It’s up to us to make it work better.

  15. q80 says:

    Welcome to Kuwait your Excellency,

    I hope that you spend with your family great years in Kuwait and lets hope you enjoy it and stay more!

    I find it a unique experience for an ambassador to reach the public through social media and I am looking forward for your future posts.

  16. ibnturab says:

    Welcome to Kuwait

    I’m very interested in your perspective on life here.

  17. salue says:

    Many will have different looks about Kuwait, for example you see it as something good, for some might see it normal and for some also will see it bad.

    I am talking as a non Kuwaiti ( so harsh comments from people who will be like gtfo of Kuwait if you do not like it. is pointless )

    As @Murraka pointed many people were promised something when they came they end up something not even near what they were promised, I sat and talked with many of these people whom were tricked and then ended up staying here paying for loans that made them end up here.

    Also with the raise of living in Kuwait raised dramatically and I mean by that for renting an apartment back then you could rent an apartment for 100 to 150, or a small studio for 100, but now a small studio is nearly 250KWD, and for an apartment a small that is is starting to start at 300 KWD even in area that far away from salmyia-hawalli..etc for example back then when you wanted a cheap apartment people would automatically say go to ” Farwaniya ” its cheap their but that is no longer true >.<" but that also points out the low level of salaries here in this country were you work for 9+ Hours for a low income and sadly that have not changed in the past years.

    Also the laws that are coming out would pressure an " expat " a lot, so that is an extra pressure of what they already have.

    Do not forget how laws play favors here, for example in police stations they Always favor a Kuwaiti over an Expat such as another Arab or Asian ( but not a person from the U.S or U.K..etc ) I still remember of being harassed by some Kuwaiti at the mall because I do not look " Arab " and I look more of a christian american with " Lots " of girls they kept harassing me till until they started hitting me and when we went to police station they accused me I was wrong and than another police grabbed me and was like get out of here before they pin something on you for no reason ( he was a good guy ).

    Also a small story where I had a badge that looked kinda like a Military Cross Badge and these people kept harassing me and telling me I either be Muslim or we will beat you up or kill you. ( they thought that badge was a cross ) now I am Muslim but they did not know that, and when I heard them say that sentence " either be Muslim or we will beat you up or kill you"

    with out a single second to spare and I shouted i'd rather die a christian then to join you.

    Note for " Muslim " Readers : proud Muslim here but I do not accept of what have been said by these people.

    back to the story they started beating me up they were like 5 of them, beating me up with rocks, a wooden sticks..etc until a Russian man came out and scared them and helped me.

    I have many stories like these, like of how I have been accused of being " Satanic " because I wear black and listen to metal music and ended being taken to the police station until " they " agreed that I am not satanic and advised me not to wear black all the time and listen to metal/rock music XD

    each and everyone here experience Kuwait differently I experienced both and I can keep on writing my stories but that will take along time to write but it's pointless in the end.

    Now for the people who will start replying hateful comment like I stated above, stop their is no need to do so, nothing is prefect you as a Kuwaiti love Kuwait and its your country but do not expect every expat to love it and instead of trying to shout leave Kuwait if you do not like it or saying a harsh statement such as " we give you food and shelter that you can't find in your own country, yet you dare and say you do not like Kuwait and think its not fair " do not be that kind of a person it's bad interact with them understand their issues they might not be able to get a home or food in their own country and I am 100% sure they are grateful for having a place to live in and water and electricity but they do get less way less and alot of disrespect from everyone not just kuwaiti " not being in favor for any nationality "

    the Purpose of this long comment with bad grammar-spelling and bad punctuation and English..etc

    is for one thing only… and that is traffic :D

    Digital life rocks, gaming rocks :D now for being random we should have a hummus fiesta

    • salue says:

      holy sh**t that’s a lot, I need to spend more time on gaming, sorry mark :P

    • kuwait says:

      what language are you speaking?

      I suggest that you improve your English skills, you’re hard to comprehend

      • salue says:

        I am speaking a bit of alien

        I suggest you a falafel.

      • K says:

        Might not be the best English, but anyone with a remote knowledge of the language would perfectly understand what the kid wrote.

        Grow up, he made some very valid points about how LOTS of people are treated in Kuwait (like garbage). And the prevailing attitude is simply, if you don’t like it, GTFO (ironic now considering they are being told by the Western world to GTFO themselves).

        The kid’s point stands, the vast majority of the population has many instances where they are treated like crap (even Kuwaiti’s hate on each other, mitjanis?).

        BUT, HEY KUWAIT IS DOING BETTER THAN QATAR! ALL IS WELL!

        • kuwait says:

          Everything he said is hard to comprehend, which indicates that’s he’s a troll. You should grow up, LOTS of people are treated like garbage in all countries around the world even in the UK and USA

          When I was in high school in England, many White kids bullied me and called me a dirty Paki (a derogatory word for Pakistanis). I guess White British people are so racist and Islamophobic

          In the US they still racially discriminate Black people and make fun of Asians in Hollywood movies. Many Black kids in America are jailed for no reason other than their skin color

          • ashraf says:

            You are living in denial. when someone points fingers at you, you start pointing fingers at others.. lol. pathetic!

          • K says:

            So only trolls are hard to comprehend? I clearly understood what he meant. So just because you can’t understand, it means everyone else is in the same boat as you?

            BTW, thanks for the lesson, had NO idea Paki is a racist word for Pakistani!

            There’s racism everywhere, but if you try to act like Kuwait is on par with the UK and the USA, you’re the troll, plain and simple.

            Fact is, you can become a UK/US citizen if you pay your taxes and meet the requirements.

            Fact is, brown (Paki/Arab/Indian, whatever) people do not face the same systemic discrimination in the West that many face in Kuwait.

            USA treats Blacks and Asians poorly, so it’s OK for us to be racist? It’s a long shot buddy, but whatever makes you feel good at night.

  18. Nada says:

    Great idea!! Great initiative! Very smart way to get connected Mr. Ambassador!
    Looking forward to seeing positive outcomes from this!

  19. KS says:

    Welcome to Kuwait.

    It’s a great country.

    Don’t expect many intelligent comments from here.

  20. lolguy says:

    The obvious elephant in the room will be about a certain parched camel.

  21. Joe says:

    Utterly shocked at supposedly ‘self respecting’ people referring to someone as you excellency. For shame!

    • 3azeez says:

      It’s a common courtesy used in a more civilized and respected world. In Kuwait you have the titles: Your highness which are titles of the Emit, crown prince and others that he select to award the title. At the moment it is awarded by a decree to the current and previous prime ministers and to the eldest Shaikh of the Sabah family.

      Your excellency is a title awarded to members of the government (Ministers), those who are at their level, their deputies’ and ambassadors.

      A tribal leader is called Shaikh.. A scientist of religion is called Shaikh… And every other person has his title…

      You respect your guests if you were brought up well. Your guests would respect you too.

      A use of proper title is in order in this situation since this is our first meeting… And it is formal. You’d only feel it lacking self respect if you view ur self as insignificant person or if you don’t understand what respecting and receiving respect really mean!

  22. Nixon says:

    Am I the only one that read it with a British accent? XD

  23. Saad Ali says:

    Hello Matt,can we enlist your help to save the bookstore. I am sure a speech or a mere visit might be enough to be reported in the news and perhaps save the historical bookstore.

    Mark did a very good investigation on the history of bookstore and might be able to explain further.

    cheers,

  24. Al-Bader says:

    Welcome to Kuwait your Excellency.

    Promising initiative

  25. Magicalray says:

    Mr. Lodge.

    Lemme just say how cool I think it is that you are making yourself accessible to your british citizens.

    I sent a FB email to my american ambassador when I first arrived to Kuwait, basically asking for ways to meet other expats who are long term residence of Kuwait…and unfortunately never got a reply.

    I’m sure your citizens really enjoy how approachable and down to earth you are.

    ….looking forward to meeting you when I’m back in Kuwait :)

    Ray Elbe

  26. MAK says:

    Welcome to your new home Mr. Ambassador

  27. Waits minute says:

    Why does every discussion re Kuwait turn into a one sided debate on human rights – nothing will change until the visa system is changed and until that happens. We all know that workers are abused here and it’s a terrible situation. We also know that many expats are abusing the visa system by working here illegally and this without proper security checks. However, until the whole system of visas, sponsors etc is changed, ‘if you don’t like Kuwait, then don’t come.and better still, if you don’t like Kuwait, leave.’

    To the new Ambassador, welcome and we hope you enjoy your stay, opening events ( such as the Queen’s birthday celebration) up to all British expats here ( and not just the ones with wasta- you will soon discover what wasta is).
    Enjoy the rain, ahlan wa sahlan.

  28. LRg142 says:

    Welcome to Kuwait Mr.Lodge

    As a Kuwaiti citizen and gradate student from UK 10 years ago, The only part that I miss from UK is the unique individuals that I had the pleasure to meet there. I knew people here would talk about politics and Visa problems but no one mentioned the life and the story of Violet Dickson ( Umm Saud )and why we haven’t seen any individual since her in public whether a Kuwaiti living in UK or British living in Kuwait.

    Yes Kuwait sends students and Yes Kuwait makes investments in UK but sadly we haven’t seen any development between us as nations and still the stereo type images that in the mind of both of our people do exists.In my humble opinion I prefer UK universities and even hospitals try to open branches in Kuwait over sending them to Britain if we really wanted this bridge to be connected in the 21st century. The American university opened in Kuwait and even an American hospital is on the way soon meanwhile still we get the airport security check in Kuwait British Council. The history between Kuwait and Britain goes way long than the Americans and as a simple Kuwaiti citizen I believe we should have reached this point long time ago before the American – Kuwaiti strategic relation.

    Thank you for sharing your time with us Mr.Lodge.

  29. Paula says:

    Welcome to Kuwait Your Excellency,

    As a long term British expat in Kuwait (21 years and counting), its refreshing to know that you are taking an interest in connecting on this level to the populace in general.
    I, for one, have had a disconnected relationship with our Embassy over the years. I often wonder why I’m the last to hear about charitable/social events taking place the.
    Would it be possible to have a contact list of actual British expats who are informed along with everyone else?

    • CQ8 says:

      + 1 on what Paula said.

      Although I’ve not been here nearly as long as Paula, it feels like there is a distinct lack of interest in the British community (as a community) here. I’ve been to one social event at the Embassy (Queen Night) and only heard about that in a round about way. Perhaps I’m just not on the ‘right’ list.

      I appreciate that the Ambassadorial mission is probably more focused on the UK’s economic ties with Kuwait, but I always thought that there was supposed to be some sort of cultural support or facilitation to the expat community here – even networking events, to share experience of working and doing business in Kuwait would be welcomed, it doesn’t have to be a party.

  30. TJC Films says:

    Hey Matt. As an Expat who also came to Kuwait and immediately got out and about in an effort to better understand and become part of the culture, I have to say what you are doing is admirable. A lot of people tend to see only the negative side of Kuwait. It is and can be pretty amazing if you let it be. Many, many expats come and just get frustrated and bored as they fall into that “Kuwait is so boring and their is nothing to do” rut. And it can be if you don’t court it like you would a lady. Show it some love and effort and it will reciprocate. Instead of sitting around I started making friends and filming videos and documentaries here. It showed me how much depth this country has. Welcome and hope you enjoy your time here.

  31. Kevin says:

    Your Excellency, Welcome to Kuwait. Just to inform you that there is absolutely no way to check if our visa’s are ready online. Also, when we call VFS Global, nobody answers the phone. When we email them, no response. We were told, once our visas are ready, we would receive an email. No email, nothing. Finally we went to the VFS Global office and when we checked, the visa had been ready for nearly 4 days.

    In this day when technology makes things so easy and convenient, is it too much to ask for this company to ….

    1) Inform us by email once our visa is ready or alternately to update their web site so that we can check for ourselves.

    2) Employ a telephone operator to answer calls.

    3) Employ a secretary to respond to emails.

    4) Another issue is that there is absolutely NO PARKING available. When VFS Global shifted office, weren’t they aware that UK is a popular holiday destination for Kuwaities and that parking is of the utmost importance? It is very frustrating to park 20 mins away and walk in the heat /cold / dust to reach the place. Can anything be done about this? Work longer hours, in shifts, so that people can come a little later and find available parking?

    I would love to hear your comments on this, Your Excellency, and the course of action you plan on taking regarding these very real issues.

    Thank you.

  32. Ali says:

    Life in Kuwait is great, and there’s plenty of wealth to go around in fact there’s usually a surplus. Kuwait is a doner country that donates millions to impoverished people abroad.

    That is if you happen to be from the elite minority who happen to be born with the right inherited right to call yourself Kuwaiti. But for the majority of Kuwait’s residents it’s a different story.

    In spite of the abundance of resources a significant proportion of the population suffers in silence and are denied even the right to protest or complain. 100,000’s of people are labeled as Bidoun (Short for No – Citizenship) these people are denied the right to a citizenship despite being born and raised here, sometimes for generations.

    There’s also a significantly large community of migrant workers mostly from S. Asian countries and other Arab countries who are treated unfairly, underpaid and seen as subhuman by the aristocratic elite of inherited status.

    Kuwait is basically a country rife with blinding nationalism and racism.

  33. imissitso says:

    Can we stop complaining about migrant workers and human rights, as if posting here is gonna change anything, but let me tell you what will.

    Machboos and Marag. This combination is the essence of everything that is real in q8.


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