Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Most Dangerous Job in Kuwait

From today’s Al Watan:

KUWAIT: The operations room received a call informing them that an Asian domestic maid tried to commit suicide by stabbing herself while at her sponsor”s house in the Salmiya area. Police officers and medical teams rushed to the scene where paramedics administered emergency medical aid and rushed her to Mubarak Hospital, where she was admitted to the intensive care unit. However, on interrogating her, she alleged that she did not attempt suicide but that she had been stabbed. Investigations are underway to ascertain the authenticity of the statement.

OK. Stop and think about it. How do you stab yourself? I can imagine, if I were wanting to commit suicide, a hundred ways easier than trying to stab oneself. Don’t you think the police would have been suspicious from the very beginning?

Every time I read about another domestic committing suicide, I wonder. I have heard many many things.

I wonder how many women commit suicide by “jumping” off the balcony? Those who survive often say they were thrown, or pushed, by “the madam.”

One girl told me that every maid brought into the household where she works immediately has to have her hair cut very short (and unflattering) and to wear voluminous and ugly uniforms, because “the madam” is afraid her husband and sons will be attracted to the maids.

I wonder how many slaps, how much screaming, how many humiliations, how many approaches or attacks from male members of the household one endures before absconding?

Think about it. You’re from a really really poor country, and you leave behind family, even your own children, for the hope of earning enough money so that the children can go to school, and have a better life, so that maybe you can build your own little bungalow one day, not fancy, just a roof over your head. People who come here to earn a living have a lot of incentive to make it work. They will endure a great deal before seeking a way out.

I have so many friends who treat their household help like members of the family, teaching them new skills, helping them earn extra money, giving them food and clothing. I believe they are in the majority, the kind employers.

But so many stories of domestics being abused! Even if it is a mere, say 5%, what options does the domestic have? The brave ones, the self-confident ones, might go to the police, only to have her employers state that she stole something, and she finds herself under arrest, or quickly deported. Many cannot even leave the house, and have no telephone with which to call a friend in an emergency situation.

Will the new labor law have anything to say about protecting these very vulnerable family helpers from a dangerous or abusive employer? What effect does it have on children to see their parents treating employees like mere possessions? How does it impact our souls and our entrance into paradise when we don’t (as the Quran instructs) pay our employees their promised salary at the agreed upon time?

What will happen to this poor woman, stabbed, in a strange hospital, whose employers claim she stabbed herself?

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues | 9 Comments

“Praying on land not owned by the mosque is legally invalid”

From today’s Al Watan:

Furor over mosque demolition a ”political ploy”
Staff Writer

KUWAIT: The newest attempt to demolish a mosque located on stateـowned property gave raise to several concerns from the populace.

Prominent Shiite cleric in Kuwait Mohammed Baqir AlـMahri stated that praying on land not owned by the mosque is legally invalid.

He also condemned demands for the prosecution of the Chairman of the State Property Violation Committee, Mohammed AlـBader, who, he said, “must be honored for honoring the law and meeting the request of the Ministry of Awqaf for the removal of all mosques in violation.”

He went on to state that all the turmoil surrounding the removal of the mosque was “a ploy to gain votes,” in case of the dissolution of the council.

Member of the Municipal Council and the Chairman of the Development and Reform Commission Khalifa AlـKhorafi agreed with AlـMahri”s views and stated that Kuwait is suffering from a major crisis that reeks of a general lack of confidence and faith in most matters that concern the state.

He warned against hasty decisions and explained that the mosque was not a heritage monument and that it was mainly used as a storage space.

He pointed out that before the demolition of the mosque the council had ensured the availability of another mosque in the same area and that the permission of many preachers and scholars was taken long before the attempt to demolish the holy structure. He went on to state that all had agreed that it was illegal to pray in the mosque, a fact agreed to by Dr. Ajil AlـNashmi.

Meanwhile, lawyer Nawaf Sari praised the act of MPs against the demolition of the mosque and referred to it as a “glorious stand.” He said that there was no justification for the elimination of the mosque and that people should protect Islamic and religious beliefs whenever possible. He also demanded the persecution of Mohammed AlـBader and blamed him for the deterioration of the political system in the country.

I don’t understand. How can this be an issue? An old, run-down mosque was erected – illegally – on public property. Before the mosque was demolished, authorities informed and had consensus from the local clerics, and the mosque was only used for storage? What is furor about? Why is tearing down an old mosque an attack on Islamic beliefs? I see mosques torn down around Kuwait all the time – usually just before a newer, bigger mosque takes its place. In this case, they insured sufficient mosques were available before they demolished this one.

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Building, Bureaucracy, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues | 9 Comments

Seattle-like Sunrise

Good morning, Kuwait!


(How many different blues can you count in this photo? This is a RICH photo in the blue-grey spectrum, one of my favorites.)

When I saw the skies this morning, all cloudy and gloomy, I thought for a minute I was back in Seattle. If I were in Seattle, the temperatures would be much much lower – it is already getting hot in Kuwait, and this Friday we will hit a huge high:


But something is goofy with Zanzibar, on my WeatherUnderground favorites:

How can that be right? Highs almost in the 90’s, lows almost freezing?

It just might rain a little out there, my Kuwait friends. Be careful on the roads and remember:

Don’t Call Until You Reach Your Destination!

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Africa, Beauty, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Satire, Social Issues, sunrise series, Weather, Zanzibar | 8 Comments