The Key Money Situation

Money

 

My wife and I have been house hunting for the past year or so but we still haven’t found one a suitable one. Initially the problem was that they were either too small or not within easy access of the main roads.

Recently we’ve come across a new problem and that’s the demand from existing tenants for a hefty bribe so that we can move into an apartment. We’ve been calling up advertisers on an Indian forum here but the so called ‘Key money’ demands range from 750 KD to 1500 KD. One guy we called up last week was asking for 1500 for an empty apartment just for the reason that he thought it was a premium apartment.

Now I’m against being forced into buying someone’s shit if I have to get an apartment but when I decided to compromise on that I’m now facing this new key money/ bribe issue. So in short I’d be looking at a total expenditure of about 2000 KD just to move into an empty apartment in Kuwait. Some people have taken a stand against this by complaining to the owners and getting them to vacate the premises in one month or as per the rent agreement but the situation now is widespread and seems to be prevalent only among Indians. I guess my next option would be to move into a neighborhood where there are no Indians or look for apartments not previously rented by Indians.

 

Kuwait to block Viber?

Meet the Android

 

Saw this on Kuwait Time today [link]

[…Kuwait plans to study ways to control use of free calling and instant messaging services provided through smartphone applications, a local daily reported yesterday quoting Ministry of Communication insiders who said that such services could be banned if an agreement with developers could not be reached.]

So I guess if they’re going to block the service we don’t have to worry about policemen checking our mobiles coz I think that’s a breach of privacy and I’m not comfortable with anyone going thru my mobile phone.

Indian Embassy Kuwait Hotline

Kuwait towers (wide angle)
From Kuwait Upto Date [link]

In light of current events I guess this will be helpful in case you’re worried about whom to approach for help.

The Embassy has been in regular contact with local authorities regarding the ongoing checking of expatriates. The Embassy has also conveyed to them the concerns, fears and apprehensions of the community in this regard. The authorities in Kuwait have conveyed that strict instructions have been issued to ensure that there is no harassment or improper treatment of expatriates by those undertaking checking. They have also said that should there be any complaint, the same could be conveyed at the following:

Inspection Department Ministry of Interior, Kuwait Fax: 22435580 Mob: 66906651

Thanks Raj: Update:

The Operations Department of Ministry of Interior Kuwait has issued the following telephone contact numbers 24768146 and 25200334 instead of Tel No.66906651 that was mentioned earlier.

This is for residents who feel they are unduly harassed and/or improperly treated during security checks by the concerned authorities.

The Embassy would like to request Indian expatriates to ensure that they abide by all local laws, rules and regulations regarding Residency, Traffic and other matters. It would be prudent to always carry Civil ID and other relevant documents such as Driving License, etc. In case, an Indian expatriate encounters any improper treatment during checking, it may be conveyed immediately with full details and contact particulars to the Embassy at the following:

Phone No: 67623639 E-Mail ID: consularhelp@indembkwt.org

Check For Travel Bans and Traffic Violations Before You Leave

Schools have closed, flight tickets have been booked and that means its violation checking time again. You can check my previous posts on checking for travel bans and various other offenses at this [link]

Traffic fines above 80 KD will result in travel ban. 

Traffic FineAccording to this recent news reporttravel ban on those who have been fined KD 80 and above” so I checked my fines and found that I’ve been fined 40 KD for speeding, which I find highly unlikely since I was in the city at that time of day mentioned in the report and there’s no way I could have been speeding in Sharq area. Rather than argue with the police I’ll probably just pay the fine and get it over with.

Are You Living Within The Law?

Kuwait laws and civil awareness01

Vichar Bharathi Kuwait and Indian Lawyers forum are having an awareness camp this weekend and  it would be good to attend if you want to know more about your rights as an alien in a foreign land although I don’t know about the range of topics that would be covered at the meeting.

You can mail in your questions and concerns in advance to “vbkuwait@gmail.com

The past one month has been nerve wracking for legal and illegal Kuwait residents I’m sure and I’ve heard about raids going on in my neighborhood and surrounding areas as well. The latest news report from Arab Times paints a grim picture of the recent situation and you can read more about it [here]

[“…if one travels along with a friend, the driver of the car is arrested on charges of running illegal taxi entailing in arrest, cancellation of license and deportation.”]

[…policemen barge into the homes of Indians at night questioning men, women and children alike, “which has created panic in the area.”]

[…“Our community is terrified to come out of their homes, due to the baseless arrests and harassment by the police.”]

 

Star Trails – Second Attempt

On Friday I tagged along with my friend Q8geek on his 6th Star Trail outing and this time I was much more prepared than my previous attempt. There were some technical constraints with my camera body which prevented me from taking more frames but I did what I could with the available resources.

I exhausted my D60’s battery after about 90 minutes of shooting and then switched to the GX1 when the Milky way galaxy was visible. We positioned our cameras away from the roads to reduce any light pollution. You can see how much street lights can interfere with night sky photography in one of the examples below.

Star Trails in Kuwait from Mathew Jacob on Vimeo.

 

Star Trails in Kuwait

Milky way

Horizon

Good News for Grendizer Fans

Grendizer & Kuwait Towers - Part III

One of the first things I did when I came back to work in Kuwait in 2006 was search for places selling Grendizer. I had lost mine during the invasion and ever since then I’ve always wanted to get a replacement.

During an online search I had found out that Bou Saleh had them in stock but would cost around 200 KD for the Soul of Chogokin set. This was way out of my budget and later last year when they re-released the kit it was retailing for around 60 KD but I had other things that took higher priority and this slipped my mind completely.

Last month I happened to see that Super Robot Chogokin series was coming out with a Grendizer model and I didn’t think twice in booking my figure. Delivery starts only in June and I might get mine by July but its well worth the wait considering its a decent quality set and only costs about 12 KD. I’ve linked the kits I’ve mentioned in this post down below;

Soul of Chogokin GX-04S Grendizer & All Speizer Set [link]
Brave Gohkin Grendizer [link]
Super Robot Chogokin Grendizer [link]

The picture above is by a friend of mine, Mishari, a very talented photographer. You can see more of his work [here]

Keep Jleeb Park Clean

Jleeb04

I recently came across this project were people from certain localities took charge of cleaning up the public parks in their respective areas. From Kuwaitiful blog I found out that the initiative started in Qortuba and spread to other areas like Mishref, where we meet once a week with friends. Most parks in Kuwait are pretty decent and its great to see people passionate about taking care of what little greenery we have in Kuwait.

Now I’m not expecting the same thing to happen in Jleeb park but the least we can do is pick up after ourselves and not leave a mess for the next group of people using the facilities. I was jogging in our neighborhood park in Jleeb on Saturday morning and it was frustrating to see how much garbage was thrown around in the park the previous night. There was a group of about half a dozen cleaners working to pick up all the food and plastic bags from the grass and it took more than 45 minutes to clear up 25% of the park.

Jleeb02

I wish adults would clean up after themselves and also teach their kids to do the same. I wouldn’t want my kids to hurt themselves on broken glass while playing in the grass or come into contact with leftover food rotting in the playground and I’m sure most of you wouldn’t as well. How much effort would it take to crumple up your packet of Kitco or juice box and walk to the nearest dustbin? I’m not expecting people to volunteer to clean the park but rather prevent the problem in the first place by not littering in the park.

I’m reminded of what a friend of mine once told me as he nonchalantly threw an empty cola can over his shoulder; “its ok, the cleaner will get that tomorrow”. I guess whats what the majority of people in Kuwait think when they throw something on the ground.

Startrail Session VI – Photography Activity

AlSalmi Startrails 2013-03-15

My friend, the Geek is back with another Star Trail session in Salmi desert. I missed the last couple of outings due to work and family related schedule conflicts. This time around I’ve booked the day well in advance and made sure there will be no interference from the aforementioned parties.

Hopefully I’l get better shots than last time as I’ve understood what I was doing wrong and now am prepared to take some proper sets of trails. The photo posted here is by Q8 Geek.

For more info on the outing you can head over to [his site] and get in touch with him to register your name in the group. Also join the [Facebook event] if you’re interested in getting any updates for this event.

Tough Times Ahead for Drivers in Kuwait

Traffic trails

The past couple of weeks there’s been an increasing number of people getting booked for traffic offenses. I personally know a handful of people, including my dad, who’ve had their driver’s license confiscated by the traffic police.

The news reports don’t seem to be encouraging either, as you can read [here] and [here]. Be on the lookout for checkpoints and drive safe. The sad part is that drivers like the ones you’ll see in the video down below will still remain untouched and freely roam our streets. The video was shot near my home and is a common sight during morning rush hour.

Youtube [link]