Why Kuwait is the “Worst Country for Expats”

Post by Mark


Last week I posted about the Expat Insider survey that revealed Kuwait as the “Worst Country for Expats“. A lot of people agreed with the findings but a lot of people were also up in arms about it. But, I don’t think many people actually took the time to go through the survey and understand how Kuwait ended up at the bottom of the list. So what I’ve done is create a cheat sheet of a sort. I went through the 188 pages of the survey and picked out all the areas were Kuwait performed the worst in and I’ve listed them below. Once you see the breakdown the whole thing starts to make a lot more sense.

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From Ghana to Kuwait, Abdulai 1 Year Later

Post by Mark


A year ago today, I posted about my trip into the middle of the desert so I could meet Abdulai Shani, a teacher from Ghana who came to Kuwait with the promise of being a security guard, only to find out once he arrived that he would be a shepherd and earn a 1/3 of what he was told he would get. It was a sad story but one that ended on a happy note since thanks to one of my readers, Abdulai got a much better job working and living in the city far away from the desert and his shabby tent.

Since it’s been a year I figured I’d post a quick follow up on Abdulai’s current status. We still chat every few months and when we last spoke a couple of weeks ago he was still working the same job but instead of living in Mahboula he nows lives in Salmiya. He’s happy and continues to check the blog often and even leaves comments every now and then.

If you’ve missed the previous two posts on Abdulai, here are the links:
From Ghana to Kuwait, One Man’s Story
From Ghana to Kuwait, to Mahboula

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Al Busal: Petrol Pumpers Proceed to Prison

Post by Holla

A whirlwind of audacious petrol theft has been sweeping the country following the recent sharp increase in gas prices. Hundreds of locals and expats have filed complaints citing evidence that gas from their cars has been mysteriously going missing. The victims explained that they would wake up to discover their cars had been tampered with overnight and emptied by an unknown forces.

The authorities have assured citizens that they are hot on the trail of several petrol-pumping gangs that have reared their ugly heads. The gangs would roam around in the cover of night, violently assaulting innocent private cars for the precious petrol contained within. They would then remove the gas using high tech equipment such as specialty hoses and their trained mouths to quickly pump the petrol out into an unmarked red gallon container and transport it to secretlocations in Hasawi. The hidden places are identified only by huge signs labeled “small costs petrol apailable” or “cheap gas, same same old price”.

Immediately a special operations undercover task force was assembled to address the alarming issue. A leading gang, nicknamed the “Bawagene Al Benzene” has already been dismantled thanks to the forces’ efforts. A lone agent assumed the identity of a down-on-his-luck sailor looking for cheap petrol to power his fishing boat. He then bravely infiltrated the heavily guarded top secret location in Hasawi by bribing the haris boy 3KD to enter the warehouse where the petrol was stored. A violent showdown ensued and the criminals tried to flee but were thwarted by backup when their getaway vehicle stopped on the side of the 6th ring road after it ran out of gas.

The top ranked gang leaders were identified as H.S, 28, a Syrian national and his partner in crime A.B, 34, who is a local, while a third suspect was also fingered. The team of 3 operated out of a garage in shuwaikh industrial area and hired local thugs to steal and transport the goods to Jleeb for storage. The 2 arrested have been referred to the concerned authorities for further action but the third suspect’s whereabouts remain unknown.

A statement was issued that this incident must serve as a warning to all evil doers trying to hurt the local economy using what they dubbed as the highly illegal “Robin Hood” scheme. The task force has also turned its sights to target massive international gas- smuggling rings. The ruthless rings operate by exporting cheap gas into the country via thousands of unmarked red gallon containers that do not cause suspicion at all. The forbidden petrol is then distributed to corrupt local delivery companies in need of cheap gas to illegally fuel their pizza and hamburger delivery vehicles.

Finally, a strong warning was issued that anyone seen brandishing a red a gallon, will be apprehended immediately and possibly questioned later if time permits.

Post by Holla

Al Busal posts are 100% fictional, satirical and in no way be taken seriously.

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Khataba – Part 1

Post by Mark


So this post isn’t what I would usually share but I’ve made an exception since I found the whole thing fascinating. This was written anonymously for obvious reasons and there will most likely be a follow up post. Check it out below:


I am a 33 year old khaleeji woman and I am living the life of my dreams (ilhamidalla). I have a top notch job, my own business, two college degrees, great friends, lovely family, I am pretty and I am a very content with the person that I am, but the people around me like to point out that something is wrong with me, something is missing, see I am not married. I am single.

I have heard that “you are more likely to die from a terrorist attack then get married after 40”, 7 years to find a husband or a terrorist attack! Yikes. Desperate measures calls for desperate needs (Tinder didn’t work, all I got were horny Americans on a base 53 KM away from the city) so I went to a Khataba. A Khataba is a middle woman that tries to connect a man and a women together to get married the Islamic way.

I found an Instagram account of a Khataba with her number so I texted her not knowing what to say. I had never done such a thing, and being a westernized khaleeji, I have always dated the non-khaleeji way. So I wrote “Alsalam Alaikum. I am a 33 year old khaleeji woman with a college degree, looking for a khaleeji man with a college degree”. Oops! 2 hours later I remembered that I had forgotten to mention the most important thing about me, that I am a virgin. So I sent another whatsapp “never been married”. 10 hours later I get a few images from her as follows:

The first picture had her Terms and Conditions written on it. “Dear customers important notice: 1) We take all requests in confidentiality 2) We seek to marry people the Islamic way 3) If both parties agree, communication shall be through the parents and not the parties concerned 4) Fees will be payable upon signing of the marriage certificate 5) All applications should be complete”


The second picture had 6 skin tones and a number for each skin tone. I was told to identify my skin tone and the skin tone that I was seeking in a man. This was difficult since my hands and face were a shade darker than the rest of my body. I don’t show a lot of skin when I go out, and the Kuwaiti sun burns even a cactus. I didn’t want to complicate things though so I just one color. I have always had a thing for darker men, Denzel Washington style men, yummy chocolateness, so I chose the darkest shade for Mr. Future Husband.

The third picture had a woman’s back with long hair flowing down, and there were numbers coming out at different lengths. I stood next to a mirror and identified my length number. Easy, sent it over.


The fourth picture wanted me to answer 15 questions about myself and my dream man. My job, my family and tribe name, my salary, how healthy I am, my height, my weight (of course I lied about my weight!!! DONT ASK WOMEN ABOUT THEIR WEIGHT!), just regular questions except for two, one that asked if I drove a car?! And the other that wanted to know if I communicate with men that are strangers at work? What is up with khaleeji men not wanting their woman to be behind a car? I haven’t met my future husband, but I know he’s not going to drive the kids to school! Yes, I can drive and my ovaries should be fine. And given that 50% of the human population is male, yes I do come across men that are strangers from time to time. I wrote back saying I am a full time writer and I work behind my screen. So that went well.

The fifth picture asked me to identify what I wanted in a man. This is what I really wanted “a dark tall man, rich, funny, caring, loving, artistic, with a private jet and yacht” but I obviously couldn’t say that so I said “a dark man with a college education, a practicing Muslim that doesn’t smoke”. I wasn’t going to let dark slide, he had to be dark. I added the practicing Muslim to make me look like a good faithful girl. Sent over.

Few hours later I get a response, the Khataba thought I made a mistake. I am light skinned, but I wanted someone that is dark? Must be a mistake. “Are you sure you are okay with a number 5 or 6 darkness?” Yes I replied. “Even if he has facial features of an African man?” Was this a trick question? I want a black man so yes I answered again. She then sent me a picture of a famous black Kuwaiti actor and asked “Are you sure you are okay with this color?” Yes! 2 hours later she sends me another message, “Are your parents going to be okay with a dark man?” Umm yes I said. “Can you please check with your parents?” Wtffff!! I wasn’t going to ask my parents if they were okay with me marrying a black man, but I said I will check anyways and waited a day. That’s when I got my offer, he’s black, he’s rich, I know his age, his height, his college education, and I have to decide. What do you guys think? Should I say yes to Mr. Chocolate? I will keep you guys updated…

Photo on top by Mohamed Kanoo

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Game Boy Micro for Cheap

Post by Mark


I’ve been wanting to play some of my old Game Boy Advance games recently but my Game Boy Advance SP isn’t holding a charge anymore and the backlit screen didn’t look as good as I remember it being (I have the AGS-001 version). So I was planning to order a modded GBA from eBay but figured I’d pass by Rihab and check and see what they had. Since they stopped making Game Boy Advances 10 years ago you can imagine I had difficulty finding anything at Rihab. I probably asked 20 shops if they had Game Boy Advance SP AGS-101 edition which was the last release of the SP and had a better screen then mine. Turns out that version of the SP is called “tnen light” at Rihab which translates to “two lights” and refers to the ability to select between one of two brightnesses on the device. Cute.

After all my searching I only found one brand new Game Boy SP in the whole of Rihab but it was the 001 version like mine and selling for KD20 which is actually a great deal but not what I was looking for. During my search I also found three stores that still sold Game Boy Micros which also play Game Boy Advance games. The first store had a silver model for KD50 and the limited 20th anniversary edition for KD70, similar to the prices being sold on eBay. But then I found two other stores that had pink and green european versions of the Game Boy Micro, the first store was selling them for KD25 but the second store I managed to get the guy down to KD14 per unit by agreeing to buy two. I picked up a pink unit for me (pictured on top) and a green one for my brother. The cheapest price I managed to find on eBay for a brand new Game Boy Micro was around KD70 and one guy is currently trying to sell the green Game Boy Micro for KD137 and there are 11 people watching that listing at the moment. So KD14 is an incredible deal and an easy impulse buy. If you don’t have any GBA games though you’ll have trouble finding any decent ones at Rihab, I found a bunch of shops that were selling games at KD2 a pop but they all sold the same games and none were big name titles like Metroid or Castlevania.

If you want to pick up a Game Boy Micro the place I bought mine from still had 4 units left. I don’t remember the name of the store but I drew a map of its location. Originally I had more details on the map but since there are only 4 units left I figured I’d make it just a tiny bit more challenging to find the store, kinda like a treasure hunt. Check out the map [Here]

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Cultural Centre Opening October 31st

Post by Mark


According to a reliable source of mine, the opening date for the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre has been officially set as October 31st. I didn’t receive any other details but I would assume a performance will be taking place there to correspond with the opening. More details when I get them. In case you missed the post on my visit to the Cultural Center you can check that out [Here]

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Movies Now Showing in Kuwait

Post by Mark


The movies below are now showing at Cinescape and Grand Cinemas:

New This Week:
Blood Father (7.0)
Hell or High Water (8.3) ♦
Kubo and the Two Strings (8.4)
Morgan (6.5)
Nine Lives (4.2)

Other Movies Showing:
Don’t Breathe (8.3) ♦
Genius (6.8) ♦
Free State of Jones (6.7) ★ ♦
Mechanic: Resurrection (6.5)
Skiptrace (6.5)
Suicide Squad (8.2) ♦
The BFG (6.8)
The Legend Of Tarzan (6.7) ♦
The Secret Life of Pets (6.8)
War Dogs (7.3) ★ ♦

Numbers in brackets refer to the IMDB rating at time of publishing.
★ is for movies I’m interested in. ♦ implies movie might contain censorship.

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Take a Look Inside the Closet of Streetwear Influencer KicksTQ

Post by Mark


Local sneaker-head KicksTQ was featured yesterday on the online lifestyle website Highsnobiety. It’s a quick Q&A but I can’t believe they didn’t ask him how many pairs of sneakers he owns. I know he reads my blog so maybe he’ll let us know in the comments. Check out the feature [Here]

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Survey Reveals Kuwait is the Worst Country for Expats

Post by Mark


A new study has revealed that Taiwan is the best country in the world for expats, while Kuwait is the worst. The results come from a report by the online expat community InterNations, which looks at everything from quality of life and personal finance, to job satisfaction and ease of settling indices. [Source]

Things should improve once Chick-fil-A opens up.

Update: This is the source of the DailyMail article [Link]

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Chick-fil-A Might Be Coming to Kuwait!

Post by Mark


According to an email I received, last week Al Sayer signed a deal to bring the fast food franchise Chick-fil-A to Kuwait (and I’m guessing the region). Al Sayer recently brought Five Guys to Kuwait so I wouldn’t be too surprised if this information turned out to be true. A chicken franchise seems to go hand in hand with a burger one, Americana have Hardees and KFC, Alshaya have Shake Shack and Cane’s Chicken, and Al Sayer will end up with Five Guys and Chick-fil-A. I’ve gotten in touch with my contact at Al Sayer to confirm this information but haven’t heard back from him yet.

Back in 2012 there were rumors Alshaya were in talks to bring Chick-fil-A to the region but the deal fell through. Supposedly one of the terms they couldn’t agree on was the fact that Chick-fil-A wanted to close on Sundays (they’re a very Christian company). Alshaya was trying to convince them to change that rule for the region but Chick-fil-A wasn’t backing down and the deal fell apart.

If Al Sayer do manage to bring Chick-fil-A to the region that would be a pretty amazing accomplishment. Not only does Chick-fil-A only exist in the US at the moment but the way they run their franchises is different from others. For example Chick-fil-A franchise owners generally aren’t allowed to own more than one or two branches in the States so that they can give it all their attention. So handing the reigns to another company to open up as many branches as they wish would be an unusualstep for them. I hope they are coming though since I love their food and I’ve had great experiences at their restaurants which were all super clean and had great service.

Update: Just got a pretty aggressive call a few moments ago from Al Sayer Franchising relating to this post. According to the person I spoke to at Al Sayer Franchising, this is the first they hear about a deal with Chick-fil-A. I’ll not go into too much details relating to the phone call, but I will say it wasn’t the kind of professionalism I was expecting from them.

Now just a bit of perspective on this situation. If by any chance the deal with Chick-fil-A was signed last week with Al Sayer, that information would take time before trickling down the chain of command. So it could still very well be true that Al Sayer acquired the franchise or signed some sort of preliminary agreement but have yet to let everyone internally know. In any case, they are denying this information to be true.

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