Categories
Complaints

Kuwait Municipality & The Pit

There is a huge pit behind my house at a construction site. They dug the hole to start building but then they found pockets of water underground and construction stopped and they’ve just been pumping the water out for weeks now. On the side of the construction site, the side that is connected to the two-way main road where people also walk there is no barrier. It’s just flat dirt and then instantly a deep three-floor drop. It’s pretty dangerous as you can imagine especially at night.

So I got the Baladiya Whatsapp number and sent them a photo of the problem and the location. No response. I did that over a period of three weeks, every few days sending them a new photo, I even start outlining the problem with a pen tool so they know what I’m talking about. Sometimes they respond asking for the location, most of the time nothing.

I then decided to try reaching out on twitter. I tweeted them telling them I’ve been Whatsapping them about an issue and shared the photos but again no response. Three days later I tweeted to them again still no response. Even a minister reached out to me on twitter and was very nice and stated that even though this issue didn’t fall under their authority, they would still escalate the matter with the municipality. I thought things were finally going to get sorted but two days later and still no change at all.

Finally one of my followers left me a tweet on how my situation reminded him of “The Pit” on one of my favorite comedies Parks & Recreation. I don’t know how I hadn’t seen that but it completely changed my mindset on the subject. Since being serious hadn’t worked I figured I’d inject a bit of humor into the problem. So first thing I did was tweet the municipality “The Pit” song from Parks & Rec and then followed that with my top 3 list of reasons why having no barrier is dangerous.

They never responded to me on twitter obviously but I think they started trolling me back on whatsapp because they responded to a photo I had sent them with a message asking me to write the problem in Arabic. I’ve lost hope that this issue will get resolved but at least I find the whole thing funny now and so I’m less pissed off about it.

Update: It took 14 days of constant nagging and they finally closed up the pit wall!

Categories
Complaints

Kuwait & Trees

There are a few beautiful strips of beach I ride my bike next to on the Gulf Road that are filled with trees that provide nice visual greenery as well as shade in the summer for beachgoers. Whenever I ride my bike past those areas I think about how pretty it is and how it doesn’t look like Kuwait which is one of the best compliments you can give something here FYI.

Yesterday I found out that they’ve started removing the trees on the beaches! Sorry, I shouldn’t say removed since you might think they were relocated somewhere else, instead the proper word I should be using is bulldozed. They bulldozed the strips of the beach with the trees and killed everything.

The video above shows how those beaches looked like before they were demolished just to give you an idea of how pretty they were. Why does Kuwait hate trees so much? It’s really upsetting, I’m trying to care less and less about Kuwait but it’s not easy to do especially when I’ve spent the past 40 years caring about this place.

Categories
Complaints

Let’s Ban Camping

This is related to my dirt bike adventure yesterday but decided it deserved a separate post.

Subiya is one big garbage dump right now.

The causeway bridge is the worst thing to happen to Subiya because as soon as you cross over to the other side it’s now littered with garbage. Like EVERYWHERE! There wasn’t a single off-road area yesterday where we didn’t come across garbage. It’s so sad and upsetting and especially since I used to visit the area before the bridge was opened up and I remember how clean it used to be. There were barely ever any people there, no campsites at all, and just camels with herders. Now it’s just a big ass garbage dump.

People camp and litter and it’s disgusting. Instead of banning electric scooters on roads or importing car exhausts, how about banning camping in the desert instead? How about turning the whole desert area into a natural reserve and have people request permission to camp in designated camping grounds like they do in national parks in the States?

It’s so sad.

Categories
Complaints

Harassment in Kuwait

Today is going to be a day of complaining on the blog. I don’t think I’ve ever been so pessimistic about the future of Kuwait as I have been recently. From roads that are a total mess to laws that don’t make any sense. And then when you have serious issues, nothing gets done about it.

Last week the popular local instagrammer Ascia got harassed while leaving her office on the way to her car. She was clearly shaken up and posted an emotional story on her Instagram about what had happened. Women getting harrassed by men is such a common occurrence in Kuwait it’s become the norm. There isn’t a single girl I know who hasn’t been harassed and it happens all the time.

Women get harassed at malls, universities, in parking lots, at work, everywhere basically, and nothing ever gets done about it. But now a bunch of popular instagrammers are going vocal about the issue and hopefully, people will finally listen to them.

Other than Ascia, the popular luxury footwear designer Najeeba Hayat (@liudmilahq) has been very vocal about harassment sharing stories by other women on her account. Local illustrators like @wadaniart and @coffeeandcastoffs have also posted about the problem and the movement seems to be gaining traction. An instagram account was set up called Lan Asket (@lan.asket) which translates into “I won’t stay quiet” which has been posting stories of harrasment in both English and Arabic.

Men can help too. Anytime you see a form of harassment taking place get involved. I witness a lot of cases of harassment on the Gulf Road and anytime I see it happening, I usually pull up behind the guy and start flashing my high beams and honking the horn until he drives off.

Knowing how things are in Kuwait I’m not very optimistic something will be done about this. Like I mentioned in my previous post, they usually implement new rules or laws, enforce them heavily for two weeks and then forget about them. It’s sad really, but hopefully, I’m wrong.

What do you think needs to be done? What would help this issue? What can men do to support this cause? I’m interested in what people think about this subject. Have you been harassed before? Share your story.

[poll id=”15″]

Categories
Automotive Complaints

Lets Ban Everything!

Over the weekend the ‏Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced that the importing of car exhaust systems would be banned. Like every normal person, I also hate it when I’m sitting somewhere quiet only to have some asshole in a Silvarado pickup truck with a modified exhaust system rev his engine loud as if he’s about to take part in a drag race. But, banning the import of exhausts doesn’t solve this issue!

Why is it that every time there is any sort of problem the first solution is to apply an outright ban? People are riding electric scooters on the street? Let’s ban that. Some expats are using their private pickups for commercial work? Let’s ban them from owning pickup trucks. People might have sex in the back seat of their cars if we allow dark window tinting? Ban that! Instead of taking a bit of time to think of a proper solution, things just get banned and that sucks.

Firstly lets be clear about something, banning the import of car exhausts doesn’t solve the issue of people being loud with their cars. There are a lot of ways to make your current exhaust existing system loud and it’s easy and cheap to do. You can for example remove your car’s catalytic converter or your muffler and that would make your car really loud. You can cut holes in your muffler and that will also make your exhaust loud. You can even go to a local exhaust shop and have him fabricate you a cheap exhaust with the purpose of being loud if you want. There are lots of options without having to import an exhaust system from abroad.

I’ve personally imported two exhaust systems and both times it had nothing to do with making my car louder. The first exhaust I ordered was for my first Lotus, I didn’t like the way the stock exhaust looked like so I ordered a new one with carbon fiber tips (pictured on top). It didn’t make my car any louder and it came with a valve similar to the factory system that would stay closed for normal use and keep the car quiet. I simply ordered the exhaust for looks. The second time I ordered an exhaust system was for my 1972 Datsun 240Z which is currently in the final stages of restoration. The exhaust that came on the car was a poor quality aftermarket exhaust that was in terrible condition, so I ordered a new high-quality hand made exhaust all the way from Japan (cost me around 600KD and pictured below) to try and keep my restoration authentic. I know people who order exhausts for performance reasons as well, some exhaust systems add horsepower to the car and some are lighter and reduce the overall weight of the car.

More importantly though, what is considered loud in the first place? In Europe and other parts of the world, cars have noise limits that are measured in decibels. It’s not based on some cop’s opinion of what he thinks is loud, it’s actually a specific db number that if your car exceeds is then considered illegal. When they started cracking down on cars with loud exhausts last week nobody mentioned any db limit, just that people with “loud” exhaust would be fined and possibly have their cars impounded. But loud could mean one thing to one person and another thing to another.

Anyway, like every new law that gets announced in Kuwait, this will probably last a couple of weeks before it’s forgotten about and everything goes back to normal, so maybe I shouldn’t be so frustrated with this.

Categories
Complaints

Construction in the Middle of the Night

Has anyone had to deal with a construction site that started work in the middle of the night? I kinda remember reading in a newspaper once that they are only allowed to work during certain hours like 6AM to 10PM or something like that, anyone know the exact timings? Also who do you complain to? I woke up at around 4AM because the construction site across the street was working and it was super annoying. Luckily I had some 3M earplugs I ended up using but I doubt my neighbors were as lucky.

Categories
Banned Complaints News

Electric Scooters Banned on Roads

A couple of days ago the MOI announced a ban on riding electric scooters on roads. That makes total sense if it wasn’t for the fact that the reason people are riding their electric scooters on roads, is for the same reason you see people walking or riding bicycles on roads, we don’t have sidewalks.

I live in Salmiya where I’ve noticed a lot of people have started using scooters to commute around. I’m 100% sure they don’t want to be riding their scooters on the roads but are forced to due to the lack of sidewalks. Driving around any area of residential Salmiya and you’ll also notice people walking on the sides of the roads as well because there are no sidewalks. And this doesn’t just apply to Salmiya, if you head to other densely populated areas like Jabriya, Salwa, Hawalli, etc. you’ll also see the exact same situation there.

A lot of these people don’t earn a lot of money and with the pandemic right now most would prefer not to use cabs or busses. Add to the fact these same people who are being banned from using scooters to commute can’t even get driving licenses because of the laws in place that prevent them. Scooters are a great alternative for public transportation and it’s really unfair that due to poor urban planning, these low-income workers are now not allowed to use them to commute. It’s as if we keep looking for ways to make life even harder for them here.

Categories
Complaints

Last Standing Entertainment City Structure Demolished

The video above has been circulating WhatsApp showing the observation tower at Entertainment City crashing down as part of the Entertainment City demolition process. I was thinking about the park yesterday on how they could have refurbished it instead of rebuilding a new one from scratch. It wasn’t the best amusement park in the world but at least it had a history and character. Not everything needs to be completely demolished for a new version. Disney Land has been around since 1955 and is still very current, Coney Island amusement park has been around even longer since the late 1800s and has gone through various stages of refurbishment and revival.

Categories
Complaints

Maidan Hawally Confusion

Yesterday as part of the new partial curfew announcement they also announced the areas that will remain in total lockdown and that list included Maidan Hawally Block 10, 11, and 12. This one line caused such a massive amount of confusion and I have no idea why they announced it this way.

There technically isn’t an area called Maidan Hawally and so Maidan Hawally Block 10, 11, and 12 don’t exist.

Salmiya Block 11 where the American International School is located is the area generally referred to as Maidan Hawally. It’s adjacent to the main Hawally but it’s on the other side of the highway in Salmiya. On the Kuwait Finder app, on Google Maps and on Civil ID cards, it’s called Salmiya Block 11. Maidan Hawally is not the official name but there is a police station there called Maidan Hawally Police Station and this is what people know the area as so it can pass. But what is Maidan Hawally Block 10 and 12? Supposedly Salmiya Block 10 and 12.

I’ve tried to visually illustrate the above. The areas in yellow, blue and green are Salmiya. The area in yellow is what is usually referred to as Maidan Hawally. Everyone living in these three colored areas live in Salmiya according to their Civil ID and Kuwait Finder. The English School (TES) and the Millennium Hotel both have their addresses listed as Salmiya Block 12, not Maidan Hawally Block 12 (source 1 and 2). The Abdullah Salem Cultural Center have their address listed as Salmiya Block 11, but describe the area as Maidan Hawally (Source). The Coop in Block 10 is called the Salmiya Coop Society Supermarket (source).

So if the area is called Salmiya, if on people’s Civil ID cards you’re referring to it as Salmiya. If government supermarkets in the area are referring to it as Salmiya, why announce a total lockdown of Maidan Hawally Block 10, 11 and 12? Wouldn’t it be a lot clearer if you called it by what it is, Salmiya Block 10, 11, and 12?

If THAT wasn’t confusing enough, above is the graphic posted by @CGCKuwait that mentions the areas of lockdown. They don’t even mention which blocks of Maidan Hawally just that Maidan Hawally is in lockdown. So everyone would assume its block 11 of Salmiya.

But, Watan News have the actual video of the announcement up and they’ve transcribed the video which mentions Block 10, 11, and 12. So Watan is actually being accurate while the official source isn’t.

This is so frustrating and we haven’t even gotten to the specifics of what a total lockdown of those areas means since it also wasn’t clarified. Will people in Salmiya Block 10 still be able to book an appointment at Lulu in Block 9? No clue.

Update: Map has been updated to correctly show all of Block 11

Update2: There is supposedly another conference tonight to clear up all the confusions

Categories
Complaints Coronavirus

A Rant

I haven’t posted a rant in years I think, but I’m really pissed off about two things, one that’s too late to be fixed, but the other one can still be.

The first thing I want to complain about is the way the lockdown was announced where it basically gave the whole population just a day to try and buy enough food for 3 weeks. That didn’t make any sense. The scenes I saw on Saturday were heartbreaking. It was survival, people tossed aside social distancing not because they wanted to, but because they were forced to. Supermarkets across the country were PACKED with large crowds, super long lines, and no social distancing. I shot the video below on Friday, BEFORE the lockdown announcement. It was a line for a mini-market down the street from my place so just imagine how long the lines were at major supermarkets across Kuwait on Saturday after the lockdown was announced. We don’t have a shortage of food in Kuwait nor a shortage of supermarkets, but the way this lockdown was announced late at night without having the proper infrastructure in place (like private supermarkets on moci.shop) or enough time for people to go out and stock up caused this chaos.

The second thing I’m really pissed off but is something that can easily be fixed is about how the information is being shared. 90% of the information is being shared only in Arabic. Why? I know Kuwait is an Arabic country so what? I’m Lebanese and I can barely read Arabic and I’ve lived all my life in Kuwait. What about the expats who aren’t Arab? What about the low-income workers who barely can communicate in their native tongue let alone read multiple languages? Kuwait is the home of many nationalities and in a crisis like this where it is important that every message gets across to everyone, you can’t have information being shared only in Arabic. You want everyone to use the moci.shop website to book appointments? Have it in multiple languages then. Right now if you visit the site its all in Arabic, even the option to change the language to English is in Arabic. At least have a tiny UK or American flag icon that people can click to translate.

You can’t disagree with me on this either, so don’t bother leaving a comment saying if you’re in an Arabic country you need to learn the language or gtfo. This pandemic isn’t the time for this. Right now the question should simply be HOW CAN WE GET THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION OUT TO THE MOST NUMBER OF PEOPLE? And the answer is everything, needs to be published in multiple languages.

Instagram allows you to share multiple slides per post. Have the first slide in Arabic and then the next few slides in other languages. Hire people to do the translations, don’t have the money then ask for volunteers! And don’t just post on official channels. The MOH, MOI and other government agencies should coordinate with popular expat accounts like @kuwaitup2date and have important information published there. Go to where the people are and not just expect people to come to you.

Also, have all the information across all your media channels. I’m finding stuff for example on twitter.com/cgckuwait that isn’t on instagram.com/cgckuwait. Why? Why do I need to check all your social media channels to get all the info? Publish everything everywhere, it’s not hard to do.

Then you have other strange decisions. The visual I shared a while ago highlighting the different facilities that are available during the lockdown. The Arabic version was published as a permanent post in the @cgckuwait Instagram account while the English one was posted as a temporary story. Why? Why can’t both be stories and permanent posts? What if I missed your story today? So much stuff doesn’t make sense.

Just to be clear my issue isn’t just with the @cgckuwait account. All the issues I’ve mentioned above apply to all the official sources.

Anyway, I’m done complaining. Happy lockdown everyone.

Categories
Complaints Kuwait

Discrimination Against Kuwaitis in the Housing Sector

I’m not sure why this isn’t made a bigger deal of but one thing that really bothers me is how Kuwaitis are discriminated against when it comes to renting apartments. It’s one area where expats have it much better and I don’t understand why no one seems to be protesting this. It just doesn’t make any sense how everyone seems to be ok with ads advertising homes and then having a large note stating its “Only for foreigners” on it. How is this even legal?

I’ve had a lot of friends struggle to find apartments because they were either single male or female Kuwaitis. There is a post on Reddit right now by a Kuwaiti guy who had to leave home due to family issues and ended up living in his car because he couldn’t find an apartment that would rent to him. Eventually, he managed to crash at a friend’s place for a couple of months but now he needs to move out and he still can’t find a place that would rent to him.

salam people of r/Kuwait. some of you may have seen my post slightly less than 3 months ago about how i am homeless due to family issues and could not find a place that would rent for a single Kuwaiti male. i wish they would trust me because i am a nerdy guy whose day only consists of going to work and playing video games so i never have anyone over. i am very responsible with spending so inshallah i would never be late for monthly rent payments unless a great emergency occurs.

some compassionate people have messaged me either offering emotional support or offering to help me find a residence to rent. i was planning on accepting one of those offers after getting my salary but a chance for free stay came up and i took it. i am sorry for ghosting on those who offered me help but i felt too awkward to tell them that i didnt need it anymore (rude and stupid of me).

now unfortunately i have stayed more than was comfortable (2.5 months) for the friend who provided me with free stay. i need to find a place of my own before Friday otherwise i will have to sell most of my stuff and go back to sleeping in my car. it will make me so happy to find a clean place where i can sleep comfortably without hearing shouting all day and without worrying whether i will be told to leave the next day. source

It’s pretty absurd that a single guy who has a job and the ability to pay rent is forced to sell his belongings and live in a car because he is Kuwaiti and can’t find an apartment to rent. I’m not sure if it’s because a lot of Kuwaitis aren’t aware of this housing issue and that’s why it’s not a big deal, but if I was Kuwaiti I’d be calling up MP Safa Al Hashem daily to get this changed.

Categories
Complaints

WTF Arab Times

I just found out from a reader that some of my articles are being republished in the Arab Times. The thing is nobody from Arab Times contacted me about this so I’m not sure if this is the first time they’ve done it or something they’ve been doing regularly. Some of the articles have even been edited even obviously without my permission.

I’m having a hard time deciding if this is funny or just sad…

Thanks Adam

Categories
Complaints

Any other NBK customer find this annoying and privacy-invasive ?

Since we got into the subject of banks in my last post, here is something that’s bothering me with NBK. Every time I launch the NBK app on my iPhone, I get the pop-up above asking me to agree on having NBK know (and most likely track) my whereabouts so that stores could target me with ads while I’m out shopping. Obviously this isn’t something I’m interested in but NBK doesn’t give me the choice to opt-out. The only options are either “Accept” or “Go to settings” with no option to decline. If you go to settings it just gives you a box to tick to enable NBK Geo Alerts.

If you don’t enable geo alerts and click cancel, the next time you launch the app you get the same pop-up again and have to go through the same process all over again. It’s super sneaky and anybody less tech-savvy would most likely have clicked “Accept” at the pop-up not knowing what kind of privacy they were giving up. I already made NBK aware of this issue twice on twitter but they don’t think this is an issue.

Categories
Automotive Complaints

Why haven’t the roads still been fixed??

Does anyone have any insider information as to why none of the rain-damaged roads have been fixed yet? A lot of the roads look like the picture above which is usually how the roads look like just before being resurfaced, but I’ve never seen so many roads looking like that and for this long.

The road in the picture above at least is flat, there are some roads that are covered in potholes and bumps. Yesterday I noticed two very large potholes opened up on the Gulf Road, potholes large enough to cause flat tires or damage wheels.

Something is definitely up, my guess is the government is looking for a new contractor since the last one did such a terrible job.

Categories
Complaints

Are all telecoms messed up?

I’ve got a Viva line and a friend called me last week and told me that when she called me Arabic music started playing. I never signed up to the ringback tone service so I called up Viva and told them what was happening and to turn it off. Fast forward to this morning and a friend calls me up and tells me the Quran started playing when he called me so he thought he had the wrong number. So I called up Viva up and told them to turn off the ringback tone again and also asked how it got activated in the first place? The call center guy told me Viva activated the Islamic ringback tone as part of their 10 year anniversary. So I got in touch with Viva on Twitter and this is what they had to say:

So basically, on their 10 year anniversary, they decided to activate a paid service on all their customers’ phone lines without informing them. On their 10 year anniversary as a gift to me, they activated a service I didn’t ask for without telling me. How much more unprofessional can you get?

Usually, I would have dropped them as a telecom provider instantly and moved my number to another one but I don’t think the other providers are any better.

I had a second number with Zain I wasn’t using but was keeping for nostalgic reasons. It was my first mobile phone number which I got back in 1995 when I was still in high school. Every month I would log in to the Zain website and settle my bill which was around 2KD. A few months ago I logged in and noticed on top of my usual monthly bill for my number, I had 500 fils to pay for a second number I hadn’t owned in five years.

When I was married, my wife’s number was under my name, then when I got a divorce 5 years ago, we shifted the number to her name. She spent over 3 years paying the bills and then around 2 years ago, she closed her line and moved out of the country for good. For some unknown reason, Zain decided to bill me 500 fils randomly out of the blue 5 years after the number stopped belonging to me and 2 years after my ex wife had closed it. I could easily have just paid it since it was just 500 fils, but it was more about the principle. I went to a Zain branch to figure out how this happened but they couldn’t figure it out so I just paid the 500 fils and closed my account with them and lost my high school number in the process.

I guess Ooredoo is the only telecom I haven’t tried but can’t imagine them being any better.