Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer


Here is what I don’t understand. Sometimes, it is very clear who did what to whom, and sometimes it is not. In the first paragraph, they talk about a serious car accident with six injured citizens, two Sudanese parents and their son and an Iranian female. OK, that’s four people. Who are the other two citizens? A citizen lost control? Which citizen?

I thought a citizen was one who had citizenship, and all the rest of us are Sudanese, Iranian, British, Irish, American, etc. etc. etc. These accident and crime reports are ambiguous, at best. Why so oblique?

From today’s Al Watan:

KUWAIT: Due to a serious car accident which occurred on the Fifth Ring Road heading to Jahra near the Surra area, six citizens, two Sudanese parents and their son, as well as an Iranian female, sustained serious injuries. It was reported that a citizen lost control of his speeding car and hit another other car which overturned. The injured were rushed to Mubarak Hospital by ambulance to seek medical assistance.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a citizen suffered serious injuries after his car overturned near a roundabout located in the Abdullah AlـMubarak area. After the operation room received a phone call informing them that a citizen had a car accident and was trapped within his vehicle, police officers and fire brigades rushed to the scene. Firefighters from the Jleeb AlـShuyoukh Fire Station, lead by First Lieutenants Mishari AlـTourah and Bader AlـKandari, managed to rescue the man from the wreckage. The man was taken to Farwaniya Hospital by paramedics to seek medical assistance.

March 15, 2009 - Posted by | Entertainment, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, News


  1. This is just a case of bad writing.. Are you actually applying the rules of proper writing and grammar to Kuwait’s English newspapers?!


    Comment by zaydoun | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  2. The way I see it is that number casualties is 10 in total.
    Six citizens + 3 Sudanese + 1 Iranian, or it might be just ambiguous.

    Comment by Touché | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  3. I get 10 as well, although how weird that the Sudanese are “Sudanese parents” rather than something like “two Sudanese and their young son”. Zaydoun, I see your point about grammar and writing expectations – but I do think that the vagueness is often something more.

    As for Mr. “I was driving so fast that I flipped my car”, bah humbug to that kind of selfish driving. He could have easily killed anyone else on the road.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  4. biggest casuality – the english language !

    Comment by pure o rama | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  5. maybe they meant civilians?! The reporter clearly lacks in the language competency department 😛

    Comment by kinano | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  6. By citizen the mean Kuwaiti

    Comment by sigh | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  7. Very clearly the English language is not a suitable language for newspapers when it comes to reporting accidents in Kuwait because of the inherent shortcomings of the language itself and the complexities of the accident here in Kuwait , from now on they must use Arabic language for this type of reporting even if the newspaper is printed in English.

    Have a safe Traffic week everyone

    Comment by daggero | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  8. Zeydoun – It’s easy to take shots at the local newspapers, but I have noticed – I am not kidding – a marked improvement. There used to be photos, apropos of nothing, or with a wrong caption underneath them. Couples used to be found in “uncompromising” positions (doesn’t that just give you a great visual?) and now they are more appropriately found in compromising positions, and while police and firemen rush to the scene, they do it much less, like not in every instance. No longer is every culprit caught red-handed. This is just the change in three years! I have seen a vast improvement in the quality of reporting and writing. I think Al Watan is particularly good, but this code or whatever it is for “citizen” I find baffling.

    Touche´, I’ll be darned. I thought it was six people; 3 Sudanese, one Iranian and the rest “citizens” probably Kuwaiti. But that would have required a semi colon and they used a comma, so you could be right, holy smokes.

    Little Diamond – They make me mad for the same reason. If it were only just their own lives (although I pity their poor parents) it wouldn’t be so bad, but it is so many innocent people who get hit and/or damaged . . . honestly!

    pure o rama – As earlier – I believe the writing is getting better, but some of the word choices are particularly opaque.

    Kinano – and all the rest were military? Or what?

    Sigh – I think you’re right, but why not just say Kuwaiti?

    Daggero – And Don’t Call Until You Arrive! 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  9. Intxpatr

    just to let you and Amer know that a post englizi will be coming his way hopefully tonight after i get the spelling at least write 🙂
    wow this english will sure make me eligible for a job in alwatan daily

    Comment by daggero | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  10. Their pitiful writing skills make me wonder how they got hired to write in a well known newspaper. Oh yeah I forgot, “wasta”. :\

    Comment by MacaholiQ8 | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  11. You know believe it or not guys ‘Arab Times’ are always looking for copyrighters (judging by the amount of ads they run).

    Daggero – I shall wait with bated breath!

    BTW guys some of the posts above are good candidates for the ‘Blogger Comedy Gold’ awards.

    I especially enjoyed the reference to ‘uncompromising positions.’

    Comment by hilaliya | March 15, 2009 | Reply

  12. Over here when it comes to politics, a journalist’s vocabulary is usually limited to “grilling” and “hailing”

    Mr.X grilled Mr.Y in parliament yesterday
    Mr.Z hailed Mr.A for his efforts

    Comment by Mathai | March 16, 2009 | Reply

  13. Daggero – I am eager to see what you come up with. 🙂

    Mac – I see the papers advertise all the time for writers and editors. I see an occasional article so bad, SO bad that it has to be some relative thinking his English is a whole lot better than it is, but for the most part, I am impressed with how well these newspapers are doing. I think sometimes they overdo the self-censorship. I would love to see the names of the “shamed” no matter what nationality – I believe that freedom to publish the names of those committing the offenses, no matter what nationality, is part of freedom of the press. I think the papers are free to do so. I believe they self-censor.

    Amer – Ummm, about that breath . . . (LOL)

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 16, 2009 | Reply

  14. I believe most of these are poorly translated from Arabic. The sentence structure for most of these makes sense in Arabic but not in English.

    Comment by G.E&B | March 16, 2009 | Reply

  15. GE&B – how does “citizen” translate? Is that understood to be Kuwaiti, or Gulf national, or . . . ?

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 16, 2009 | Reply

  16. I guess ‘Citizen Kane’ in Arab is ‘Muwatin Kane.’ Orson Welles would turn in his grave.

    And so would William Randolph Hearst.

    Comment by hilaliya | March 16, 2009 | Reply

  17. LOL, Amer. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 17, 2009 | Reply

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