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honestly,…

i leave you lot alone for a few months,….

and all hell breaks loose,…

dear solidere,

omar sharif is too legendary an actor to be pixelated in your ads running on cnn.com:

he is also too legendary for your ad people to just copy and paste from a screenshot of your tv adverts.

all i’ve done is crop a screen grab.

as you can see the text is nice and crisp, while omar sharif looks like max headroom’s egyptian cousin, so i dont think you can even blame cnn for resizing your ad.

i guess the credit crunch really is affecting everyone 😛

this year’s blog action day is on the subject of poverty.

poverty is bad,… boooo!

but even badder are the circumstances that cause that poverty,… which usually take the form of some old  guy in a suit, in an ivory tower, who is pissed off cos this year he still hasnt hit the forbes’ rich list. or more precisely his trophy wife is pissed, thereby making his life miserable. and i’m sure we can all empathize with him.

but lets take a local look at the problem since people generally dont get it when you rammble on about africa etc,… and cos theres not much one can do except say “damn that sucks,… oh, hey did you watch last nights game?”

the story of poor expat laborers being taken advantage of is not new news here. neither are their working and living conditions. but there is one side of the expat sponsorship system that has yet to be fully addressed.

in most cases, if you come here to work for a company that will stick you in subhuman conditions, you are actually one of the luckier ones,…. atleast you have a couple hundred of you that can band together and break shit.

Every adult local here has a quota of expat domestic workers they can bring in under the number 20 domestic worker residence permit. this can range from 5 – 10 people. so many come as domestics, under sponsorship, get mistreated or arent even paid for their time, and then told to get the fuck out if they dont like it. but the domestic doesnt have any cash for a ticket home, so how does one “get the fuck out”?

how do you work to save money for a ticket, if youre illegally here?

well they have only one choice,… you make an arrangement with your sponsor ( or another one if your current sponsor will consent to transfering you).

the arrangement is something like this:

sponsorman will renew your residence, which is basically him signing a piece of paper and sending it to the minsitry. it will probably cost him half a day and maybe a KD5 stamp. ( ooh pricey!)

in return for a year or two of residencey, you get to pay the sponsorman around KD500-KD1000 for the “privelegde” of working here to save up some cash to buy that plane ticket. ( i wont say that this is only practiced by “some” people, but i will say this,… the sponsors who dont charge are few and far between )

now lets put this in perspective,… you work for no more than KD50 a month and yet you have to pay KD500 at the least, if youre lucky. KD500 is a good deal if you can find it here.

a bit more pespective?

ok,… i’ll assume the average reader will be making about KD500 a month, give or take a couple of hundred.

can you imagine having to pay private tax of KD 5,000 – KD10,000 just so you can make a living and dont get arrested if a cop ever stops you?

if you dont give your “guests” a fair shot of using the bathroom when theyre in your house or of leaving, then they are bound to piss on your rug. its quite simple really.

so what can you do about all this?

well first things first, dont assume that this is only practiced by “those” people. you can only do that if you know, for a fact, that youre family doesnt suck money from poor people like this.

go to the ministry and check out your mum and dad’s files, your brothers and sisters files, aunts and unkles, hell maybe even your own file since the parents might have brought some in under you,…. just say something like i want to bring in a maid but youre not sure if you still have enough on your quota.

then confront them if you only have a few maids, but your file says you have 20.

if you choose to skip over this, then i hope you enjoy your next holiday paid for by your dad knowing some poor schmuck is being exploited while youre sipping a latte in some trendy wannabe cafe.

if youre going to suck the life out of the poor, then atleast do it thru the stock market like the rest of us 😛

the only noun that can,…

because of itself,…

cause more of itself,….

ooooh how zen…

doesn’t it still feel like it was just yesterday….

happy fasting to the fasters out there!

and happy discreetly having lunch/coffee/smoke to those not fasting!

😛

for those of us not fasting ramadan is a great time to learn new things, or do stuff we dont have time to do during the rest of the year. finish that book you’ve always wanted to read, starting sketching or painting again or even learn how to how to use the 90% of the functions on your camera that you never use.

its a great time to go on adventures where ever you may be. for many foreigners there are areas that we’ve been told not to go, and as some one who never listens to what might be sound advice, now is a great time to check out places like jahra or jleeb al shyukh to see how the other half live.

at around sundown the streets are empty as everyone is breaking their fast, so those areas are relatively safe.

but do be careful, sundown is also the most dangerous time on the roads as there are always a few that decide to speed recklessly to make it home for breakfast.

what will the skunk be mostly doing during ramadan?

i have my own adventre that i will shortly be embarking on so i will mostly be reading up on japan, and finishing off some last bits of paperwork. it has finaly gotten around to the point where i am now shopping for airplane tickets,… whoohoo!

i’m also toying with the idea of making music videos for some of my tracks,… which i have yet to finish,…

ummm, yeah,… we’ll see how long that idea lasts,..

anyway, i shall leave you with this dr seuss poem from the excellent Haikugirl , who’s blog i have been reading,…

to those of you embarking on adventures, old or new, big or small, physical or mental or spiritual,…

dr seuss is at hand:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’ t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so

but, sadly, it’s true

that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!