Case Study: Kuwait National Day

Kids with foam at night

Kids with foam at night photo by Tariq Malallah

Listen to this postThe Kuwaiti citizens celebrate their national day and independence day in a way that do not display patriotism or show a sign of loyalty to their country. The festival is more risky than fun and could develop into more violent occasion in the future. Party foam is sprayed liberally on the celebrating crowd without a concern to their health or safety. The quality of the water used in the water guns could be contaminated or replaced with other harmful liquids. Mixing cars, crowds and drivers with limited visions would definitely lead to undesirable accidents. The eye clinic treated hundreds of celebrating participants. Ambulance transferred many casualties because of the car accidents and teenagers fights. This case study will attempt to highlight the development of such dangerous festival and  suggest a solution that will make almost everybody happy. Read more …

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High Hanging Fruits

كنار السدره
Image by Sami Malallah via Flickr

Listen to this postThe tree in the picture is known in Kuwait by the name of “Sedrah”. It produces small fruit called “Kinar” which has sweet and refreshing taste. This tree can grow up to 10 meters tall and have nice diameter of cool shade with a diameter of 6 meters. The sweet Kinar will fall down when it is ripe and ready for eating. All we need to do is collect it for the ground when the breeze blow it off. However most of the people are impatient and would like to eat the high hanging fruits at their convenient time, so they would hit the branches with a stick or through rocks to the top of the tree to drop the fruit. The aggressiveness would break the branches and damage the tree.

This strange human behavior always amaze me. Volunteers suffer form this phenomena the most. When they do a good job, people would ask for more. Volunteers receive complains or at least criticism when they exert their average effort. We live in a time where everybody wants everything, and they want it now. Anything less than that would be unacceptable. The tree in the picture is more than 25 years old and has given without complains. It has been hardly beaten, thrown at by sticks, rocks, shoes and once I saw car windshield wiper hanging on one side of the tree! But still the tree keep on growing and giving without complains.

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Sunflowers in The Least Expected Places

Listen to this postFew years ago I use to have spare time to click some pictures here and there. I was keeping the camera in the car when I was driving to a remote area. That’s when I noticed three rows of  sunflower plants on the backyard of an old shack. The place was used by labors and mechanics as a tea room. One of them had extra sunflower seeds few months before and decided to plant them in the backyard. When I stopped, the mechanics thought something was wrong because a car suddenly stopped and somebody went to the backyard taking pictures. They were happy to know that I was admiring their followers and wanted to take the pictures since the weather was beautiful and the sun was shining. I gave a large print of this picture to the mechanic who planted it as an appreciation for his beautiful work. I went next year to the same place but there was now flowers at all because the mechanics were relocated to another contract.

Sun Flowers


I Missed the Innocent Celebration

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Waiting for the next car

Waiting for the next car

I was driving on the Highway last week when I noticed a teenager in a micro bus opening the side window and then stick his hand outside the window holding a can. He immediately start spraying white foam on the cars behind the bus! Such behavior might be accepted if it was done 10 days later during the Kuwaiti National Day (February 25). But annoying people that early is a bit strange.

Twenty years ago, we used to celebrate the national day by decorating governmental buildings with colorful lights. Kuwaiti TV use to broadcast school boys and girls singing live an innocent and beautiful patriotic songs.

Spraying the Foam

Spraying the foam

Each year we would listen to new songs specially prepared for that year’s celebration.  All this beautiful and meaningful celebrations are now replaced with foam spraying and water splashing mixed with crazy driving. I still remember most of the songs performed back then. Now if you ask the teenagers about what they remember from last year’s celebration, their answer would be either car crashes during the celebrations or how they blinded each other with the toxic foam! Can anybody tell me what the foam got to do with the national day?

Read more on this subject in a special page in this blog.

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Mark Your Calender


Mark the calendar

The coming few weeks are filled with important occasions for me. Birthdays, anniversaries and important social days. I will be presenting a technical paper in Bahrain on February 15. One day before that, we will see many people celebrating Valentine’s day on February 14 (in case you forgot!). Valentine’s day is socially not accepted in Kuwait, but secretly most of us buy flowers for our loved ones and pretend it was a coincident that we bought them at that day. February 25&26 are Kuwait‘s national day and liberation day. Everybody between the age of 10 to 20 go crazy for no reason on those two days. They will be spraying water, party foam and other liquids at each other to celebrate Kuwait’s national day? March 2 is my wedding anniversary, and this year would be our 10th anniversary. March 5 &6 is our two boys birth days. Usually, my wife does all the preparations for the birthday party and I take take credit for the party like any “Good Father” would do!

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When We Will Meet Again

Fighter Jets

Kuwaiti F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. Photo by: Tariq Malallah

Audio FileWe meet different people every day, some of them leave a great impression on us and we long to meet them again. We cherish their memory and remember them the way they left us as if time had stopped at that moment. We might hear that they passed away, left to another country or just simply busy with their life’s challenges. Many times you gladly pump into one of your old friends and you are glad that you saw them, but after a worm welcome you leave each in his or her way without even exchanging your mobile number. You ask yourself why we did not want to meet again, we used to be very close friends?

Mr. Tariq Malallah, the photographer who took this breathtaking picture, wanted to meet the pilot to give him a copy of the picture but was not able to find him. The only connection between them was the moment when the fighters flew by and the photographer clicked his camera. That’s it, and the time stood still on this picture. The photographer gave up looking for the pilot although this picture became famous in Kuwait. The pilot met the photographer again after nearly 10 months during photo exhibition in the “Avenues shopping Mall” when the pilot introduced himself to the photographer after noticing this picture framed in the exhibition.

Name plate

At 360 Mall

Note: If you are shopping in “360 Mall” in Kuwait you may see the latest pictures taken by Mr. Tariq Malallah exhibited in the center of the shopping area. Thumbnail on the left has the photographer’s name on the honorary name plate in the 360 Mall.

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Customer Retention in The Local Barbershop

Local Barbershop

AudioI am at the age where hair cut means hair “cut”. I do not make an appointments with fancy hair dressers to cut my hair. I just walk through one of the nearby barber shops and trim whatever hair dear to grow at the top of my head. I don’t use gooey gels, vitamin-enriched shampoos or style my hair differently for those special evenings. The local barbers in Kuwait (and neighboring countries) are a good case study for customer satisfaction and customer retention. They are relatively clean and use disinfected utensils. Most of them updated their tools and started using hair driers and special  creams for facial treatments which I never used before in these barber shops or plane to use in the future. Entertainment is the newest thing in the local barber shops. Lately, every barbershop you visit would have his TV switched to one of the satellite channels showing a program in his native language (Hindi, Turkish or Bangladeshi). On top of the noise coming from the TV you would hear the barbers loudly talking to each other, using a language you would not understand. When they look at each other and smile I wonder if they are talking about my newly developed bold spot on the back of my head? I think the local barbershop has two main factors helping them retaining customers. First is the convenient location, since they are located in the neighborhood and it would be easy for the customers to just walk in. The other important factor is the low prices they charge for 30 minutes of customized personal services. Sometimes they offer free head and shoulder massage when the business is slow. Other than these factors I don’t think anybody with his right state of mind would set a foot in these shops.

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