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Monthly Archives: February 2007

I’ve got gass,…….

and theres a big crane type thing outside with a jack hammer on the end of its arm,….
and its pounding away,….
bombombombombombom,….bombombombombom,….
and i’m breaking wind to their rhythm.
😛
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And so it begins,…….

  • it was sparked off by a 9% drop in china’s new stock market which had posted incredibly stupid gains over the past 2 years.

  • that plus the fact that the durable goods orders were much shittier than expected. durable goods data logs the amount of sales of big stuff like cars, fridges, tv’s and washing machines in the US.

  • what that basically means is that the american consumer isnt going to survive the $60 price tag on oil like everyone thought they would in ’06. theyre spending more on gas and getting to work, and spending less on buying stuff from other sectors.

  • if you think thats good news for the oil producers,…. well you’d be wrong since a big chunk of crude oil actually gets turned into synthetics and plastics.

  • if they dont buy shit, shit dont get turned into plastic to make shit to be bought.

  • although i thought something might happen this year in china,….. i didnt think it would happen this early, nor have such extreme repurcussions so quickly.

  • and while tomorrow is a new day, i think we can assume that they’ll be panicing even more after they check out what happened in the US today.

  • buckle up folks, its gonna be a bumpy ride 😛

  • mwuahahahahahahaha!

Liberation Day 1991.

  • for the several nights before the actual day of libertion i remember thinking that something was different.
  • since the start of the offensive in january the iraqis posted in the school opposite our house were still kinda chilled out. they’d fire their anti-aircraft guns up into the sky whenever they saw jets passing overhead. a bit of a pointless endevour since you couldnt even see the jets. sometimes when they flew lower, but still too far to see the insignia, we’d laugh at the sound of iraqi rifle fire, thinking man they must be either stupid or really scared.
  • well, they were both.
  • you see, after the iran-iraq war, where a couple of generations of trained soldiers died, there simply werent any more “men” to populate the army anymore. those that remained were in the elite and brutal republican guard, and by the time the bombing had started almost all of them had been recalled back to baghdad. saddam actually thought the US would put boots on the ground there.
  • occasionally we used go to the bakery around the corner. it was there that we’d come face to face with what the BBC world service were calling the 6th largest army in the world.
  • i was 13 at the time.
  • they werent that much older.
  • despite the fact that they wore a uniform, and had cheap ass plastic sandals (instead of boots), and that they shared one gun between two soldiers, it was easy to identify with them as we were both going thru puberty in the middle of a fucking war that neither of us could have forseen a few months ago.
  • around the evening of the 22nd the makeshift barraks they occupied in the school started getting busy. peering out of our window we could see dozens of trucks stoppipng at the school. people got out, more got in, alot of them carrying stuff they’d looted.
  • the war was barely a month old, and since we had hunkered down for a long street battle we didnt really think much of it. a street war was the worst possible scenario but we prepared for it anyway,…… enough supplies to last us a while, and a properly planned escape route thru our kitchen window out the back incase the fighting took place outside or even inside our house.
  • the 23rd started off scarey as fuck. shouts and gun shots could be heard from the mosque round the corner. the sound of even more trucks reverberated thru our windows as they rummbled past our front door. later our palestinian neighbours would come round telling us to stay indoors, the iraqis had rounded up everyone from the mosques and taken them god knows where. what freightened us was that they werent just taking the kuwaitis,…… anyone, philipinos, indians, pakistanis, bengalis,……
  • that night none of us slept.
  • i cant remember what time it was, but it was early on the 24th, still dark outside,….. except for the fahaheel highway which was lit up with the headlights of trucks moving towards the city. it was nothing like we’d seen since the first day of this ordeal.
  • that told us something was up.
  • we got all reved up thinking “holy crap! the americans are here already!”
  • its a good thing we managed to keep our heads and didnt run out to greet the americans,…. uhhh cos it werent them, yet.
  • the iraqis had pulled back from the fighting in the south, and those left in kuwait were jumping into their trucks and just about any vehicle in order to get back up to iraq. i would imagine that quite a few of them would wind up in death alley, otherwise known as mutlaa.
  • we waited till daylight broke, and we started seeing locals on the street wandering around,….. you never did that during the occupation, so something was different. my dad was the first out the door, and i think he spoke to our palestinian neighbours who told him the war was over.
  • later that day we decided to drive around town, and somehow we wound up following everyone else onto the highway between hawally and rawda.
  • we got out of the car and joined the rest of the people in the street jumping up and down on the burnt out iraqi tanks that littered the streets. waving at the brits that were driving their tanks into kuwait city.
  • standing on that tank, all of 13 years old, i realised something: nothing smells sweeter than freedom. a cliche i know but its a cliche for a reason.
  • and nothing feels better than watching justice being carried out.
  • the thought that these strangers in uniform who i’ve never met, and who i’ll probably never meet again, had come all the way here to fight to free us both puzzled and amazed me. when i started reading about the ones that had died there was nothing else i could do but look up at the sky hoping they were somewhere nicer now.
  • the invasion made me come to terms with my own mortality.
  • you only really appreciate life when you really understand what it means to die before your time.
  • liberation day showed me that there is justice in the world, but you have to fight for it. and unfortunately it doesnt come cheap.
  • so if youre not fighting, if youre sitting on the fence, then youre just as much a part of the problem as the guy with a belt of explosives around his chest.
  • so to the families of the fallen, and the families of those in service, military and civilian alike, you’ll never know how much i owe your boys and girls for making me who i am today. and i’ll never be able to repay you for your sacrifices.

with the exception of one or two bloggers almost no one has written about the liberation.

  • infact, from the activity on the aggregator theres been alot of:
  • “whoohoo long vacation!”
  • “bastards at work not giving me saturday off boofuckinghoo,”
  • “i’m going to be a moron and express myself thru the creative media of shaving foam!”
  • “check out my flags and shit on my car,…. you so want me dont you?!”
  • “the new mall is open! whoohoo lets all increase our credit card debt!”
  • only 16 years, and yet how quickly you forget.
  • Liberation day isnt about the day you got your country back.
  • Liberation day is about the few who stood and fought while the rest of you were being put up in hotels paid for by your own government.
  • so heres to:
  • the allies that fought on your behalf, for ideas that those who ran away will never understand.
  • the brave resistance men and women that stayed and fought for an ungreatfull nation.
  • the brave men and women that died for an ungreatfull materialistic nation.
  • the soldiers that came simply because it was their job, when so many ran from their own country.
  • the soldiers that died, oh how they must be turning in their graves when you protested about getting your loan waived.
  • the expats that stayed and stood in solidarity.
  • the egyptian, palestinian, philipino, indian (etc, etc) medical staff that worked non stop for 7 months for no pay,……. and for no compensation or acknowledgement afterwards either.
  • our palestinian neighbours, wherever they may be now, who always distracted the iraqi soldiers that came to our front door.
  • the bedu who worked for the co-op and who supplied us and other expats with food so we wouldnt risk arrest and deportation to iraq as human shields.
  • our kuwaiti friend who was a fireman, he would drive his truck around town filling up peoples water tanks when the iraqis shutdown the water supply.
  • our kuwaiti friend who bicycled all the way from rawda, through several iraqi/palestinian check points to deliver a couple of chickens for us to eat.
  • as for the rest of you,……
  • meh, fuck it i cant be bothered, besides with the way youre going, your nation will cease to be within a couple of generations, so maybe youre right, get it while its hot and enjoy it while you can.
  • if you dont think it can happen, learn from history,……
  • angkor wat in cambodia had a population of 1 million at a time when london only totalled 10,000………… and yet they disappeared into the jungle when they used up all their resources.
  • easter island was once stupidly prosperous that they had nothing better to do than spend countless years carveing those heads,…… they fucked too much, got too many and depleted their resources.
  • the mayans,… ditto.
  • the pharoahs,… ditto.
  • the romans,….ditto.
  • apart from some political turmoil, which comes from not enough for the many, and external invasions/interference, cos they didnt have the resources to nip them in the bud,…… they all crummbled cos of two things:
  • they got lazy,
  • and used up what they had.
  • congrats kuwait youre already halfway there !
  • 😛

Ever dreamt of leaving Kuwait?

  • i’m sure most of the people in Kuwait dream of doing that, even as half the bloody world dreams of coming to work here believeing that the streets are paved with gold.

  • perhaps the most eager to leave are the native kuwaiti’s themselves,…. how else would you explain the mass exodus that occurs everytime theres a vacation of more than 48 hours?

  • the problem that most peole face, myself included, is that ok so you leave for greener pastures ( literally greener in many cases),… but then what do you do to earn a living?

  • it is easy to make a decent amount of money here. and its easy because all you really have to do is put in 100% effort and brains since the vast majority of both locals and expats only ever give 50%.

  • add to that the fact that there are no taxes and the relatively cheap living expenses, and anyone would be hard pressed to find somewhere better, if those are the only factors that determine your happiness. in most cases its not.

  • thinking about going home, or going elsewhere which would be the case for the kuwaitis, the fundamental question would be one of earning a living,….. what are you to do? open a middle eastern cafe and sell hummous and shisha? the sheer amount of capital involved in that is freightening, and thats even before you find out if your idea will work or not.

  • while alot of us do have transferable skills, the old saying of you are the company you keep means that in most cases both we the expats and the kuwaitis are not really as competitive on the open global market as we would like to think.

  • you get soft when everyone else around you is soft, even tho you think youre still more hardcore.

  • so what do you do?

  • the one edge that we all have in common is decent access to financing, whether it involves unlocking the value of your home back home, or having a decent limit on your credit card. and while that might not seem like a big deal, believe me it is.

  • muhammad yunus is the guy that recently won the nobel peace prize for his pioneering work in the fight against poverty. and he did it in a pretty simple way.

  • he found that the poor are not poor because theyre lazy, infact the majority of the worlds poor work 18 hour days just to be able to earnUS$2 a day for food. alot of them are skilled farmers or craftsmen, many producing the food that you eat and those shitty plastic lawn chairs you get in sultan centre.

  • their problem comes from the lack of adequate capital, and their own people’s extortionate lending rates. infact, its not the global companies that are sucking the money from the poor but rather the local money lenders that charge rates as high as 10% a day on loans of as little as US$27. ( so all you anti-globalisation bitches suck on that 😀 ).

  • half the time they have no choice but to take those crazy loans because decent banks wont lend money to people with no assets other than their hands and the knowledge in their heads. and 99% of the time theyre working today to be able to eat today.

  • yunus figured that by lending them $27 the poor would actually be able to pay off their previous extortion debts, and be able to buy raw materials for their work. amazingly, less than KD10 managed to increase their earnings by about 200%, simply due to a lack of stupid interest rates.
  • the beauty of this system is that unlike charities, this simply aint a charity.

  • charities are unsustainable by definition.

  • grameen bank charges about 25% on the loan. the 25% is used to cover the cost of going out to the village and working with the villagers to develop their business ideas, and a portion goes back into grameen bank’s reserve for other poor people.

  • it basically works like this:

  • they target women, in poor villages, $2 a day poor, who probably have kids, whose husbands are probably in some whore house in the city drinking and fucking away, or whose husbands have already divorced them for whatever reason. they are then told to get 4-5 other women from their village who will join the venture.

  • this communal aspect ensures that if one person cant make the payment, then this week the others will cover her part, and she will settle it with the group at her convenience. and since you all live in the same village the communal aspect also ensures that theres little if no cheating going on. payments are made to the grameen bank worker, out in the open air with everyone counting the money that gets paid. so even tho they might be illiterate, or numerically illiterate they still know how much is going where when it comes to the money they pay every week.

  • so far they have a repayment rate of 97%. that means that 97% of the loans made were paid back. i defy anyone to find a group of college educated professionals who have that high a repayment rate.

  • compared to these “peasants”, professionals are deadbeats.

  • why? how comes?

  • its quite simple really.

  • they know that this is probably going to be their one and only chance to get out of the poverty that they suffer. they know that if they mess up this time around, then there really is no hope, so they pour every iota of energy into making their business a success and repaying their loan.

  • they also know that if that one sewing machine / grinding machine / rickshaw / telephone line manages to pay back the loan, the bank will be more than happy to lend them more next time.

  • it is essentially profit driven, and anyone that thinks theres something wrong with that should remind themselves of the fall of communism.

  • the poor start earning a proper living, and the bank generates enough profits to sustain itself and therefore lend more and more thereby helping more people.
  • so how does that apply to you thinking of leaving for home/greener pastures?

  • no matter where you dream of going, there will be poor people who need your help. microcredit schemes are running in places like chittagong and new delhi as well as new york and washington dc.

  • all you really need is about KD1,000 to set aside, and a ride down to the poorest neighbourhood of your dream destination. that KD1,000 can be broken down into 10 – 100 loans depending on which part of the world you live in.

  • and charging around 25% ensures that you have a sustainable business that will feed and clothe your family, as well as help alleviate the suffering of the poor in a meaningful manner.

  • the important thing to remember is that the 25% is not annually. they dont need one year to repay you and the idea is not to keep them indebted to you. the banks give you a year or more cos they want your business. in this case, you want them to repay you asap so they can begin to make a living repayment free.

  • repayments start one week later, and because its relatively small amounts youre more likely to be repaid than say if you lent your best friend KD500 and said pay me in one year.

  • the bastard would probably spend the next 11 months trying to dodge you on the street when he sees you comeing.

  • its definately not a job for the fainthearted, cos it’ll probably involve you personally going into the rural slums, the ghettoes or even out into the rainforrest because that is where the really poor are. and dont worry about banks jumping onto the bandwagon, they wont even think of touching the really needy.
  • even if youre not thinking of going anywhere, there are single mother poor women here in abbasiya and jleeb, and kuwait/badu in jahra. granted 90% of them you’ll class as useless, but there will be one group of women that turn your heart.

  • handouts have never worked, and the british, american, japanese, kuwaiti welfare system is ample proof of that.

  • charities dont work cos they wind up spending more time trying to feed the guests and themselves at “charity” dinners than they do trying to feed the poor.

  • personally i have never believed in charity organisations. 2/3’s of your money gets spent on “admin” and youre lucky if the last third even makes it into the starving nation of zimbabwe before some beaurocrat siphons it off into his swiss bank account.

  • someone once said greed is good.

  • ironic how greed ie the profit motive might actually be the thing that successfully alleviates world poverty.
  • if you want to know more check out these youtube videos ( umm yeah still dunno how to embed 😛 ) on the microcredit concept:
  • theres a whole bunch more on youtube, and definately check out the book.
  • oh and of course go here:

flexibility…….

  • hmmm what if,…….
  • and if not me, then who,…..
  • and if not now, then perhaps someone else will,…..
  • so why dont i?
  • i mean whats the worst that could happen?
  • and so what if i dont really know what i’m doing, i’m sure to pick things up along the way……
  • fuck it! i’m doing it!!!
  • or not,….
  • thats pretty much how my life unfolds…….
  • so everyday theres something new, something i’ll have to hmmmmm about. and while its pretty exciting, and definately alot more “funner” than alot of other things i could be doing,…… i think it’ll give my future wife several heart attacks and my kids will definately spend most of their lives in therapy ( the pansies!).
  • i think its the adrenaline junkie in me.
  • while i probably wont be caught dead at the top of a ski ramp looking down ( which is just silly), and while you might not find me find me free climbing a cliff ( seriously, getting dumped in a whorehouse with no condoms would be safer),…….
  • there is a certain amount of adrenaline that comes with turning your life upside down every couple of years.
  • eternal expats know this.
  • the thrill of something new, fresh new soil youve never thought of stepping on, places you never thought youd go, things you never thought youd touch let alone eat!
  • and with all the travelling comes the realisation that it really takes very little to put a smile upon your face.
  • all you really need is money in the bank, your passport and a flexible mind.
  • cos if you keep your witts about you, you’ll stummble onto some pretty interesting things far from the tourist trails.
  • theres nothing like celebrating eid al fitr in singapore with a bunch of bengali construction workers in the slums that their employers house them in.
  • there was nothing scarier than an old man dragging me thru the back alleys of manilla, over open sewers, in between corrugated iron sheet houses, past several whore houses,… just so he could show me his house and talk a little bit of english to his little boy and girls.
  • eating hummous and grilled carp in a baghdad restraunt with old old friends like the 15 year gap never existed. you forget that theres a war outside,… if youre lucky.
  • getting lost in the streets of macau and stummbling onto the best bakery in the world, run by this old man who baked in his underwear.
  • going camping in the welsh countryside with no supplies except for a couple bottles of cheap whiskey and kingsize bars of chocolate, in january!…… to this day i really have no idea what we were thinking.
  • flexibility must be the key to happiness.
  • consider this, we get pissed off and discontented when things dont go our way,…. ever think that maybe things werent meant to go your way?
  • if thats the case,…. then who knows what’ll happen as a result of you taking the left fork in the road instead of the right one which you “planned” to take.