Sunday, October 15, 2006


I have read more books on Kuwait than I think the majority of people even realize exist...ones written as early as the 1800s, and as late as 2006...on every possible topic you can imagine. And in reading these always fascinating studies on our little country, I regularly come across such a huge range of photographs taken of Kuwait through the ages. Not the stereotypical ones we're all used to, but really interesting, unique ones that make you raise an eyebrow and, at least in my case, think: how, why, did things go so unbelievably wrong? The other day I was sitting in a café reading a book I picked up that was published in the early 1980s, and it had such great pictures of Kuwait from the pre-oil days through to when it was published. There were pictures that just broke my heart. I don't know whether anyone else out there gets as emotional as I do when looking at old pictures of Kuwait, and I know this is going to sound really schmaltzy and pathetic, but at one point while flipping through the book with my iPod on, I actually started crying ever so slightly. There were pictures of a Kuwait I never knew through first-hand experience, but that I know so well in my mind that I actually miss it. And then there were pictures of Kuwait that I remember from when I was a kid...a Kuwait that has thoroughly disappeared. This book was published at a time when Kuwait was still on the path to being something really incredible. And now, I can't help feeling as though we took so many turns in so many wrong directions, and it really makes me feel sad.

So anyway, I thought that from now on I would share some of these pictures that I come across with you. Every Sunday evening, I will post a new photograph under the general heading of "Why?" Why did we let things change so much? Why did we let go and fall so hard? Why did we make so many mistakes, when we were on such a right path? And so on. And after the picture of Kuwait in the past, I will juxtapose it with something similar or fitting from Kuwait today, to emphasize how drastically things have changed, and usually not for the better. So here is my first "Why?" post for you to enjoy, and (if you're anything like me) for you to cry over.

Why are all the nicest spots in Kuwait taken over by the worst franchises?

Here is a picture of an old Kuwaiti coffee shop called "Qahwa Nuwaiydr" in 1939.

I will never understand why 99% of the old Kuwait Town was torn down with the advent of oil urbanization. But what I fail to understand even more, is why we have handed over the few buildings that still remain to globalization.

This picture is of the Starbucks at Behbehani Complex. Granted, the Behbehani buildings are not technically classified under the original old Kuwaiti architecture of the town - which were simple mudbrick houses that rarely had a second level. The Behbehani neighbourhood was built in the 1940s, but was certainly inspired by the traditional courtyard houses of the old town. In any event, today it is one of the oldest and most unique pre-1960s buildings that wasn't torn down to make way for the poor planning that was to plague Kuwait City for the second half of the 20th century. So why, oh why, have we given such a beautiful and rare piece of Kuwait's heritage to Starbucks?! Why is Kuwait so franchise-obsessed? I am all for turning Behbehani Complex and the other few old buildings that remain into areas that the general public can enjoy. But why not turn this into a more traditional style coffee shop? Unfortunately, Kuwait hasn't fully grasped the ability to fuse traditional with modern. For example, if this was turned into a regular "gahwa", chances are it would be like the coffee shop you might have never noticed located on the extreme other end of the same complex (just after Casper & Gambini's), humourously named "Gahwat Ghazal". A sketchy, seedy, questionable meeting ground for greasy men and niqab-clad women. But anyway, my point is, they could have turned this into a beautiful old-style coffee shop that "normal" men and women could enjoy. I'm not saying that everything has to be "traditional". A few places in Kuwait did a good job mixing traditional architecture with modern design concepts. Gusto was a good example, although unfortunately it closed down. Some of the other parts of Behbehani Complex are nice too. But I'm just saying, if you're going to open a coffee shop in an old Kuwaiti house, why does it have to be a Starbucks? It just breaks my heart.


  • Kleio: i loved that post. i am sure "why" is a question many people in kuwait, both natives and expats, ponder. you have raised a great point about how you miss the old kuwait even though you have never experienced it first hand.

    the shame in all this becomes apparent whenever friends from abroad come to visit. so many foreigners are interested in being exposed to the history and culture of the society they are visiting, especially landmarks, but when they ask what is there to see, the list of the must-see places seems to be shrinking rapidly. it is very true what you said about kuwait being obsessed with franchises and asking why they can't fuse old and modern together.

    the thing is, it is not only the visitors who are interested in seeing the remains of that old kuwait you speak of. that kuwait that you miss is one that only exists in the grainy black and white pictures you have posted and others like them.

    i am all for progress and moving with the times, but it just saddens me to see that the way most people have gone about it here has and is costing us our identity.

    i am just glad the concept of the diwaniya still exists and has not been effected as drastically in the 'modernization' process.

    great post. looking forward to next sunday

    By Anonymous edo rex, at 10/16/2006 1:49 am  

  • "I am all for progress and moving with the times, but it just saddens me to see that the way most people have gone about it here has and is costing us our identity" --> That's it, dead on. As for the fact that we haven't mastered the art of fusing the old and the new, in most cases it's either "out with the old, in with the new", or thoroughly trashing the old like in the case of this Starbucks or that dreadful eyesore "Spago" across from Souq Sharq. Unfortunately, "modern" or "new" usually means McDonald's or Starbucks or TGIF. I'll post about the sea front fiascos at a later time. But we have evidence that it is doable in Kuwait - I just don't understand why others haven't caught on. Look at Edo, or Gusto, or even the less-obvious franchises like Square or even Casper & Gambini's - good mixes of old architecture with modern-day food concepts, where you're not plagued with that feeling that you are selling your soul to the corporate devil.

    One thing I heard recently that broke my heart into smitherines - they will be tearing down those old Kuwaiti houses next door to Amiri Hospital. Here is what I don't understand: tear down some of the last remaining traditional courtyard houses of the old town, and then not 400 yards away build a replica "heritage village" to recapture the "feel" of the old Kuwait Town. What is it? Stupidity? Greed? Blindness? All of the above?

    Maybe some big shot owns a wrecking-ball company and is dying to use it. That's the way everything gets done, isn't it? Like those bricks you suddenly see at big intersections in Kuwait - the ones that give you a sudden feeling like your driving over old Roman cobblestones. What purpose do those bricks serve? You gotta believe that some big shot's son just opened a new brick factory and so they ripped up all the intersections to give him business. Or those big ugly plastic neon palm trees and fake fireworks disasters that suddenly lined our streets and decorated our intersections? Anyone know who owned the company that made those? I don't, but a thousand bucks says it was yet another big shot. Anyway, now I'm just venting and this is turning into a major digression, so I'll stop. Save some of it for future "Why?" posts. :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/16/2006 2:07 am  

  • Edo: Oooh, next Sunday's is a good one! I think everyone will be crying then! :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/16/2006 2:22 am  

  • I SO identify with this.

    Sometimes, I really wish I was my parents age. They actually LIVED through that transition from dust to what we have now. I like dust though; it's more genuine, real, and raw.

    Family photographs that make me laugh are the ones taken of my fathers aunts when they were young women; most of them were clad in their mini-skirts and they looked so innocent and happy. I mean, there was no sexuality at ALL. They were so natural and open with each other.

    In general, I don't think Kuwait has worked to truly appreciate and honor our culture. I hated how they renovated Souq il Mbarkya. Most of the 'cheenko' was taken down. Maybe it was for safety reasons but still, don't take it all down! I think, however, there are still sections that do have the cheenko i.e. soog il sla7 oo soog il '3arabaly.

    I just miss the old feel, you know? Now when I go shopping for fish with my dad, it's not the same! We're in Soug Sharq's spacious fish market as opposed to the old one: it's really loud and men are shouting and the ground is wet with seawater. It's a whole different experience! The fish market in F7ai7eel is still the same though...

    But yeah, I seriously wish I lived during my parents' time.

    By Blogger Erzulie, at 10/16/2006 5:12 am  

  • WHAT!?!?! They're gonna tear them down?!? When Kleio when!?! I can't believe this. Seriously! Bidoon i7sas! I love them! No. Seriously, when will they tear them down? Ma a9adig...I was always in awe when I pass by them in my lil' car. Wow...no way. No way. It's my country too dammit.

    By Blogger Erzulie, at 10/16/2006 9:11 am  

  • Sons of Sinbad;: An account of sailing with the Arabs in their dhows, in the Red Sea, around the coasts of Arabia, and to Zanzibar and Tanganyika; pearling ... the mariners, and merchants of Kuwait
    have you read ....have you read this book????? I seldom read a book more than once but this is a different case hehe

    Another must read is the Game of Nations if you want to know what exactly happened during Nasserism and the height of Arab Nationalism and how super powers minipulated politics in the ME, this book I doubt you'll ever find, also Dr Assiri as I recall wrote a hell of a book on Kuwait's foreign policy in english and there are few credible books that chronicles the events that took place in the penninsula from the begining of the last century to the present!

    Friedman's From Beirut to jerusalem is a good read if you're interested in the turbulent eighties, the intifada and the lebanese civil war..its an eye opener!

    By Blogger jashanmal, at 10/16/2006 11:06 am  

  • This is a very intresting and important topic. I am like you I feel sad when I remember the old Kuwait and see these nice pictures of the markets(soog), houses and cafes(gahawi).

    You were tlaking about wrong turns, do you mean socially, economically, or politically! I guess we made HUGE mistakes in all of these aspects. The question is how can we start taking the correct steps?

    I am not the kind of person who always blames the govenment for things that go wrong in the country, but I think this government could have done much more to preserve the old and historic builidings and save them from being turned into another franchise.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/16/2006 1:32 pm  

  • It's not just that progress is costing us our identity... Even worse than that is that there is another, more internal, conservative force trying to change our identity, too. Since when did we have munaqabas everywhere? Since when was that part of Islam? It was a bedouin tradition. And where did all the milti7een come from? These trends were never part of our identity.

    So as I see it, we have these 2 opposing forces, each usurping various parts of our identity and heritage... What is going to be left?? And how are these opposing forces going to coexist in the future??

    Why? Why? WHY????

    By Blogger Raine, at 10/16/2006 2:25 pm  

  • Great post Kaleio ... and it touches the heart of what I'll be analyzing for my Phd -- globalization at the cost of cultural identity ... specifically focusing on Kuwait, so if you've got a booklist that you can share - I'd love it!

    I used to be a Starbucks addict ... but now the fact that it's on every corner has taken away its appeal. Why can't we have traditional coffee houses? Or even other non-commercial places around Kuwait?

    When my friends come from abroad and ask to see something traditional Kuwaiti do I really have to meekly point at the Starbucks mug that has a pictures of Kuwait towers? Kuwait is so much more than that ... if only it wasn't shadowed by all the bright neon lights.

    By Blogger PlumPetals, at 10/16/2006 3:46 pm  

  • raine: It's true that the conservative are trying to get their way and want a country full of bearded and covered women. But to be honest what I know from the history of our country that women did not wear niqab, but they used to wear "bukhnag" which doesn't show the face at all. My grandmother and a few other older women still wear it. Actually, the jeans and short skirts are not part of who we "were". And this is not an attack on anybody but just a point to ponder.

    If we are ever to progress we need to engage more in a dialogue and not in finger pointing. Also, the people need to be more involved in these issues that are important. Campaigning to save those historic buildings from demolition is an example of how people can act.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/16/2006 4:54 pm  

  • Erzulie: I know what you mean about the pictures of your aunts. We have the same family pics - all the women in mini-skirts and having a good time, but like you said, "there was no sexuality at all". There was an innocence and purity in their lives, and a normal openness between men and women - that has all disappeared now too. Now, most women wear three layers of 7ijab, but there is a seedy hypocrisy attached to it. I have seen mit7ajbas and mitnaqbas picking up men on the streets in the sleaziest ways. Kuwait never used to be like that.

    You're so right about the changes to mbarkiya. The same goes for the gates of the old wall (painted in white paint which was never done before), and even the buildings they preserve. OK, great that you're preserving. How about trying to preserve it in a way that makes it look like it used to? Have you ever been inside the Dickson House? They laid out bloody bathroom tiles all over the place! Originally, the flooring was simply white concrete. You can't go easier and cheaper than that, so why the ugly tiles?

    I don't know when they're tearing down the houses. I've heard it from a couple of different sources. You're right, dammit - it's our country too. I say we hold a protest outside on wrecking day and create a human shield around it. I'm serious. Also, you wanna kill yourself? You know that big Al-Babtain library for Arabic poetry near the Ministry of Planning? Rumour has it that when they were digging the foundation, they found the remains of very old Kuwaiti houses under there. You know what they did? They built right on top of them. Isn't that ironic - building a centre for culture right on top of an even more important part of our culture.

    Jashanmal: Allan Villiers - one of my oldest and closest friends (in the historian's way, of course)! :) As for "Game of Nations" - that's the one written by the ex-CIA operative, isn't it? Haven't read it. What the western superpowers did to manipulate the ME is well-known now. What makes this book different though is that it was written in the early 70s, before a lot had been exposed. Dr. Abdulreda Assiri's book is great - a very important one for anyone studying the Gulf. He's an old friend, too...very very nice and smart man.

    But I must say, I have to disagree with you on Thomas Freidman. I hate that man...for many reasons. He is a conservative, trying to pass himself off as a liberal. I will only mention one point here that is most relevant to the current topic. Friedman has written a lot on globalization. His main argument is that individual nations should sacrifice their economic independence and sell out (although he doesn't see it as selling out, but as necessary) to global institutions and multi-national corporations. Only then can the rest of the world achieve the kind of "economic prosperity" that only the west has been able to achieve. (This sounds a lot like the 18th century post-industrial revolution justification for imperialism, doesn't it?) On the other hand, he simultaneously stresses the need for a nation to preserve its local traditions within the midst of this process of globalization. This, he calls "glocalization". The contradictions are self-explanatory.

    Anonymous: The wrong turns are in all areas - socially, economically, politically. They are too huge to discuss coherently here. We can cover bits and pieces of it every Sunday/Monday after my posts! :) But you ask an important question: how can we start taking steps in the right direction? Education. Education. Education. The lack of critical thinking, intellectual stimulation, and creative output has given rise to a polarisation in our society - which Raine mentions in her comment and which I will elaborate on in my reply to her, so read on!

    No, I don't blame the government for everything either - the people have a lot of blame to carry too. But you're right, this issue is a governmental one. The state is responsible for preserving our heritage, and they have failed miserably. I worked briefly at the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters - the organization in charge of all of this - and it was a disaster! At the time the current director was the head of the department I worked under, and he was just terrible. I can't begin to tell you how many mistakes I saw them make in the six months I was there. I was hired under false pretenses to help "make a change". After working for months on a very feasible proposal to implement some new ideas, I was basically told to sit down and shut up, and my proposal was tossed into a drawer and never read. Five years later, and nothing has changed. One day I really hope to be in charge of the NCCAL.

    Raine: "We have these 2 opposing forces, each usurping various parts of our identity and heritage" - yes, yes! Now, in my belief both forces were originally external. They came in from outside. But then you have to ask, why did we let them come in and take us over? The answer is simple - lack of education. As I mentioned to "anonymous" above, our education system not only does not promote, but actually stifles creativity, critical thinking, etc. Then, the majority of these students exit the system and enter the public work force. Again, no creativity or critical thinking - where is there any room for that when they're working for only 7 minutes per day? So inevitably, such a lack of creative outlets will create a void in a person's life. That void is what allowed these external forces to prevail. On the one hand, we have the Starbucks generation with barely two braincells to rub together. On the other, we have the extreme religious side (also with barely two braincells to rub together). No, these two sides will not be able to coexist for much longer. And those of us in the middle, the ones that identify with neither side, are the ones who are gonna get screwed! It is your job, Raine, as a teacher, to help bring about change. It will be mine too once I come back.

    PlumPetals: When your friends come from abroad, send them to Edo Rex. Best tour guide of Kuwait (although he is at his best when supported by me and Abs!).

    There is a book that just came out called "Globalization and the Gulf", edited by John W. Fox, Nada Mourtada-Sabbah, and Mohammed al-Mutawa (Routledge: 2006). I just bought it so haven't had a chance to read much of it yet, but it touches on a lot of these issues. Another new book that's really good - not exactly on globalization but translationalism - is called "Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf", edited by Madawi Al-Rasheed (Routledge: 2005). Very important writers on the region contributed to both. When I come in November I will give you a more comprehensive reading list. There is tons out there for you. That sounds really interesting...good for you!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/16/2006 5:00 pm  

  • Anonymous: You wrote your second comment while I was writing my long reply! :) It's true that the women of our grandparents' generation used to cover their faces and all. But even if that was the case, their mentality was different than the mitnaqbas you have running around today. The "bukhnag" was cultural more than religious. And maybe mini-skirts weren't part of our heritage culture, but they did symbolize a mentality that was part of our heritage and culture: openmindedness, equality for women, a love and thirst for life without suppression, etc. Basically, it was a time when men and women had choices. Historically, Kuwait was never overly religious in the extreme ways it has become. We might think it was when we look at pictures and see men and women sitting in separate quarters, and women's faces covered up, but that was cultural. Kuwaiti people were pious, yes - religion was an important and personal part of their lives. But it wasn't a source of oppression and violence like it is today. When I think of "traditional" Kuwaiti mentality or culture, I think of a period that was much more open-minded and liberal than the "modern" mentality and culture of Kuwait. I don't mean in superficial terms: sure, we have Starbucks and girls wearing tight pants and boys with big spikey hair, who stay out well past midnight. But that doesn't mean we have a liberal mentality. No, what I mean is in an inherent understanding of the world, of people, and of human interaction. That's what our grandparents' and our parents' generations had. And yes, mini-skirts weren't a part of our "original" history, but they are part of our history now. It's not the garment, but what the garment represents. It represents a more accurate portrayal of the way the older society used to think and interact with one another.

    Also, I mentioned in my original post that Kuwait was on the right path to being something really great, and then we failed in so many ways. By saying that, I'm not saying that I believe that we should have held on to everything from the distant past - if that was the case we'd still be sleeping on the roof sweltering in the heat without AC! Like Edo Rex mentioned, I'm all for progress and change. But we were on a different path to change - a better path than we are on now. So yeah, our parents' generation wore mini-skirts and burned their headcoverings. It was the sixties after all! But that doesn't mean they were selling out the way we have now. They might have started taking on western influences, but they did so while simultaneously holding on to the really important Kuwaiti traditions of family, culture, and mentality.

    I'm in a bit of a hurry to get to a seminar so I don't feel as though I articulated myself very well in this comment. I'm not sure if I got my point across the way I wanted to. Oh well.

    "If we are ever to progress we need to engage more in a dialogue and not in finger pointing" - very true. I agree with you that saving the old buildings from demolition is a good action we could take. You know what? When I go to Kuwait in November I'm gonna find out more about those houses near Amiri Hospital and see if there's anything to be done.

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/16/2006 5:25 pm  

  • I choked on my taboula when I read that they built on top of the old houses. Again, bedoon i7sas.

    And yes! That's why I asked you when they were going to tear it down! Human shield indeed.

    By Blogger Erzulie, at 10/16/2006 10:25 pm  

  • Why? You're asking why? Am sure you are familiar with the events that took place post 1960s. That's why.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/16/2006 11:34 pm  

  • yes yes I couldnt agree more with you on Friedman, he is a hardcore conservative, pro- isreali and so anti-Arab, though he tries not to show it...but the very book he wrote is nice and chronicles the events of the eighties very well...

    As for the Game of Nations yes its the one written by FDR's nefew who happens to be a CIA operative...

    talking about CIA operatives I remember one of my proffesors back in college who wrote several books on the region and is frequently consulted by State offcials on policies toward the ME once told me "Not all CIA operatives are journalists but all journalists are CIA operatives in more ways than one".

    By Blogger jashanmal, at 10/17/2006 12:36 am  

  • eee ee gabel la ansa as you know our history is entangled with oil I have a book that I hold very dearly and treasure entitled The Prize : The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power ..

    By Blogger jashanmal, at 10/17/2006 12:39 am  

  • Erzulie: I'm sorry, didn't mean to make you choke!! I'll find out more info when I go to Kuwait in November and will keep you posted.

    Anonymous: Yes, I am certainly aware of what happened throughout our entire history, and in particular what happened from the 1960s/70s onwards that led us to where we are today. But in these posts I am asking "why" rhetorically - not in an attempt to find an answer (the answers are known and out there for anyone to see) but to get people to really think about these things and discuss them with like-minded people in an informal setting.

    Jashanmal: Didn't know he was FDR's nephew! I did know that he was the father of the musicians Miles Copeland and Stuart Copeland (the latter being the drummer in the Police). I like your professor's quote! :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/17/2006 1:17 am  

  • Nice Post!
    Very nice featured picture too.

    I Agree that its sad to see those massive changes & that the new era of business, franchise & money making is vanishing history little by little...

    Its actually the case everywhere, sooner or later, "old" stuff has to go down to give room for the new generation to breath and settle, its sad but true, but it is usually balanced + Renovation should also be an option...hello??

    Whats also weird is that for example in the foto featured, its actually an old Kuwaiti Family who gave up on a historical place and turned it into a starbucks, so it feels freaky to know that even the people involved in history themselves such as big families are actually "letting go" on such nice and important old icons.

    I believe there should be a balance, They should not tear down every other old corner to build a mall or whatever, they should renovate and maintain important spots.

    I think starting up a community or Group that would fight to keep those places "Standing Up" for as long as possible would be great & useful < such a hard task too because MOST of those spots are owned by people and not the government..

    By Anonymous P, at 10/17/2006 9:46 am  

  • Great Post.

    It's not only sad but it's devastating to see Kuwait's history fading away, or in other words going down the drain.. or shall I say has it already gone down the drain??

    I believe this is due to the contribution of many factors over the years. One of them you mentioned is EDUCATION and the other one is AWARENESS. I'm not quite sure how the social studies curriculums in the q8i public schools are like but I know for a fact that many people between the ages of 6-22 are not aware of their country's history and the diminishes of the last bits of what has left of their identities.. I'm sure many see the starbucks picture you have as a fascinating image of "modernity through history" in their country while it's not...

    First, thing curriculums in schools have to be reformed in a way that historical facts are embedded within the curriculums in all subjects not just in social studies.

    And then there has to be public awareness about those last bits of history that are left that we identify ourselves and our ancestors with... It's like we're loosing connection with the past, which does not do any good and as the saying goes "history repeats itself"... I like your "WHY" concept. I think it's about time that people wake up and look back to their origins. Although I'm not a big fan of defusing history to modernism yet I think it's a way of restoring the origins to our modern life.. as u mentioned as an example, Square.

    I would like to ask "WHY" is there no public awareness... It's just sad and depressing.. And I don't quite understand why...

    Sorry for the long comment but I am glad you brought this topic to our attention and I do hope that hopefully through you and others who are concerned about this topic would do something that would restore our history and what's left from it. I think this post is a contribution to the awareness that I'm talking about..

    Best of luck :)

    By Anonymous ntt, at 10/17/2006 11:05 am  

  • P: You're exactly right - the worst part is that people actually sell or give up some of these old buildings that are still in private hands, and let big business take over. If I'm not mistaken, the houses near Amiri Hospital are privately owned by someone in the ruling family. Why give them up?!

    You know who did a good job of fusing old with new? Bahrain. I absolutely love downtown Manama. You still feel the old city streets, the little neighbourhoods, etc. You can actually park your car and walk around! And they have some of the nicest modern restaurants and lounges in some of the oldest buildings in the city. They retained and renovated a lot of their old architecture - in a way that Kuwait never did. I guess one of the biggest dangers leading to poor urban planning and/or destruction is speed, generated by excessive wealth.

    And the sad part is, we keep doing it. For example, Fahad Al-Salem Street in Kuwait City was one of the first streets in the town to be built up. It bore the first signs of the "modern" city. And now what have we done? Instead of renovating those second-generation old buildings from the fifties and sixties, we've gone and torn them down to make room for even newer buildings. Aaarrggghhh!! Why not renovate them? They themselves have become a part of the city's history. Just because they're not the prettiest ones, doesn't mean they should just be demolished. There's a story behind those buildings that we should have kept.

    I think it's hilarious that you linked to the old Kuwaiti flag through a website called britishempire.co.uk!! You clever little Pingu! :)

    ntt: Exactly - the majority of people in this country (I'd say up to about age 30) know next to nothing about our history. When they drive by old buildings in Kuwait City, they have no idea what they once were. Maybe through these posts I'll help raise some awareness, but as we can see from these comments I'll most probably be preaching to the choir! :) But you will have your role to play too - as a future teacher. Maybe those of us who are just fed up with how things are progressing will slowly start to make a change. Let's hope!

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/17/2006 7:37 pm  

  • i thought the building that houses *$ is new but was built to look like the surrounding houses...I don't recall seeing a builing in it's place before 2002 or whenever*$ moved in. Kleio...I wanna cry too!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/17/2006 11:40 pm  

  • Anonymous: Your comment didn't come out too cleary. What is *$ supposed to be?

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/18/2006 1:57 am  

  • Education IS the only answer. The Arab curricula are frightening. I already have my PhD topic... I will talk to you about it when I see you... I think you will find it interesting. Now I just have to decide when I am going to be able to actually pursue a PhD!

    By Blogger Raine, at 10/18/2006 10:30 am  

  • *$ = Starbucks.. Hence * (star) and $ (bucks)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/18/2006 2:13 pm  

  • Raine: Yay!! Can't wait to hear about it. I have already found some archival material for you to use, if you wanna take a historical approach. (*nudge*nudge*)

    Anon: LOL! Very ingenious. :) I'm not sure if it's new - it never actually occurred to me that it might be new. I seem to recall something there before - there used to be a café around the corner from Beit 7. Now I have to go back to visualize it properly! Either way, I wouldn't put it past them to open a Starbucks in an old building. Obviously you know that disgusting pink and yellow fiasco across from Souq Sharq otherwise known as Spago. *SHUDDER*

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/18/2006 9:59 pm  

  • i know what u mean! we have become a franchise nation.. nothing innovative, just bland world wide franchises.. lool makes u wonder why they've done the "kuwaiti anfa3" campaign..

    makoo fayda..

    By Blogger Baroque, at 10/19/2006 9:31 pm  

  • Kleio...whats your dessertation about?

    btw, I hold a Matser's in IR ( IR Security theories) My research was somewhat Multifaceted it tackled the Arab Sino Relations from a historical, contemporary and future angles ... I also inserted a chapter on the major secuirty players in the region from 1945 till present...I speculated on sheer Geopoltical and rapid internal transformation that Iran will assume its role as the sole hegemone on the region once the welayati faqeh system gets disintegrated with the help of western powers...in less than 5 years the US embassy will be opened in Darband Iran's affleunt neighborhood..

    Luckiy I had a contegincy plan which is getting an MBA otherwise I would've spent the rest of my life between college halls hehe

    go go investment banking lol

    By Blogger jashanmal, at 10/20/2006 12:58 am  

  • Baroque: Yes we are a franchise nation. I've noticed recently though - much to my own glee - that some young Kuwaitis are being a bit more innovative and taking risks and opening their own places - which are becoming very successful. But to change the mentality of the people at large is a huge challenge. Most people still flock to McDonald's and TGIF, and will continue to prefer those places for the "name". Then there's the whole "why think for myself when I can just copy?" mentality - the Kanafani > Kanafanjy > Kanafjy phenomenon. Like you say, makoo fayda!! :)

    Jashanmal: Hahaha - go go go! I am actually perfectly content with spending the rest of my life shuffling back and forth between college halls, libraries, archives, etc. It's just such a nicer, safer, more peaceful, and creative life inside the walls and minds of academia! I honestly don't think I could do anything else for the rest of my life, except maybe something in the visual arts or music, perhaps!

    Your dissertation sounds very interesting. To be honest, Iran is one of the countries that I am weakest in when it comes to the history of the region (*holds head in shame*), so perhaps I can read your work one day to fill in some gaps! As for my own dissertation, I don't like sharing my research info at this stage in this kind of a forum...for various reasons. I hope you understand! But rest assured, once the ball is really rolling and I have managed to present and/or publish parts of my current research, I'll be more inclined to share! :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 10/20/2006 3:29 am  

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