Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sunni? Shia? Blue blood? Persian? Oo Ba3dain!?

I do not remember my parents and siblings ever mentioning or differentiating between other Kuwaitis on the sole basis of their religion or ancestry; it was simply an overlooked aspect in our house. Personally, I have friends from different families and traditions and I never batted an eye at their beliefs and opinions nor have I ever judged them for holding such views. I used to think that everyone – or almost everyone – befriended others based on their character and not on their religious preferences or customs. My naive perspective was shattered when I came to US for college.

Not all but some Kuwaiti students here fervently stick to their own kind. I have been surprised – and quite appalled – at how a handful of these people voice their opinions in the most blatant and quite unnecessary manner; “All my friends are Shia; I don’t want any Sunni friends. I don’t trust them,” or “I told him that I don’t care if it’s Ashura; I’ll play my music loud and proud even if he is my roommate.” It is a bit ironic; one would think that after being here for so long, a person would have an open mind because they are free from social constraints and schedules that may have driven them to be present at gatherings where, coincidentally, others of their own kind meet and mingle.

As a side note, I know that a large portion of Kuwaitis do bounce in the same social circle that has quite literally encircled them since birth and it is a somewhat steady and quite natural cycle. For example, one’s friendships could be determined based on their family and background, beliefs, education, and the like. I am strictly speaking of Kuwaiti students in the US (and others who have studied abroad as well) who have the opportunity to befriend anyone and everyone and the only caption that labels them is related to their moral fiber and temperament.

A while ago, I went along with a large bunch of Kuwaiti students to an amusement park. I remember I was with three of my colleagues – two boys and a girl – and after we stepped into one of the water ride’s log shaped boats, they started to speak and joke around in Farsi. I did not mind it but it would have been nice to understand what they were saying. All of a sudden, I heard my name in the conversation. I cocked my head and asked, “What are you talking about?” They all laughed as one of them looked at me and told me something in a language I will never know. Personally, I did not see this incident as a big deal; I merely brushed it off then but I have to say, the feeling I had afterwards was not a positive one.

I keep asking myself, “Why all this animosity? And am I the only one who notices such cliques forming or does this phenomenon apply only to my off-beat city?”

Please note that I have been advised not to speak of such touchy and personal topics (sorry Big Bro, I had to; I am the curious cat!) and if I have offended you in any way I do apologize. I just find it perplexing that some Kuwaitis voluntarily isolate themselves from their own kin instead of collaborating and bettering their time here in America or in other foreign places for that matter as well as in Kuwait itself. Isn’t it time we shelve our differences and look beyond one’s religion and name and more into this individual’s nature, personality, and spirit? In friendships, I do not think the saying “What’s in a name” applies; it is what is in and what makes up one’s truest heart of hearts that is most important, in my opinion anyway.

DJ Shadow Feat. Roots Manuva - GDMFSOB (UNKLE Uncensored)
Celso Piña y Cafe Tacuba - Aunque No Sea Conmigo
Siya Dengelela Kgonyama – Sangomas (Roni Size Remix)
Jeru The Damaja & Cinematic Orchestra - Come Clean / Channel 1 Suite [DJ Food & DK mix]

at 4:17 AM 20 comments

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Say It

“Have you ever fallen in love?”

She looked at him blankly. “No. You?” She quickly piped back, as if they were talking about whether they tried an exotic dish rather than the experience of a life altering event.

“Yes,” he nodded. “So you haven’t felt something towards anyone?” He continued to inquire curiously.

“Well, I have been approached by a few men who bared their souls to me, but I was not interested in them. They were great company, but it was only a dear friendship, nothing intimate.” She frowned and continued to go strong in her retort, “And they were a bit immature. Their heads were too high up in the clouds. Their emotions were rooted more in infatuation than in love and understanding my being.”

He looked at her, absorbing her words and attempting to comprehend her strong stance. She felt him pondering over her speech, so she continued her hard monologue, “I have never been one to stick my neck out.” She wanted to say, “I am afraid that I will not be loved back. I am afraid that my feelings will be looked at in a sympathetic yet not mutual manner. I am afraid that if I do disclose my feelings of adoration to a man I respect and admire, he will turn away, and I will be broken forever and that my faith in love would die. I am afraid of experiencing the pain of missing someone. I am afraid to trust my heart when I have always used my head.”

She swallowed her words, casually shrugged her shoulder and replied coolly, “I guess I am afraid.”

Billie Holiday - I'll Be Seeing You
Billie Holiday - Until the Real Thing Comes Along
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin - Je T'aime Moi Non Plus

at 4:40 AM 13 comments

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Midnight Henna

Half-asleep, the six year old girl mumbled in protest as she felt her mother wrapping her small hands with plastic bags after she padded the cool, maroon mud in her palms in the wee hours of the morning.

When she woke up, she frowned at her hands, now a dark orange.
“Mama! I don’t like henna! Why do you put it in my hands when I am sleeping! I hate the smell!” She complained to her mother as they drove to school.
“My dear it’s good for you.”
She huffed at her mother’s reply. “I hate the smell,” she thought to herself.

Later during recess, she joined her classmates in their new found game. The students were playing with an ant by placing their hands on the ground and letting the small creature trek on their fingers and palms.
“I want to play!” The little girl quickly squatted on the floor and opened her hand to the oblivious ant.
“Yuck! What is that on your hands!” Andrew wrinkled his nose.
“It’s henna,” she replied.
“Euuuwww! That’s gross!” The children made faces at her as she starred at her orangey and ironically foreign hands amongst the sea of white, pink and yellow palms.

Knotoryus - The Revenge of the Bomberclad Joint (Kruder & Dorfmeister Mix Part II)
Roger Sanchez - Another Chance
Folk Implosion - Natural One (UNKLE Remix)

at 9:18 AM 16 comments

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Chips & Chunks

**This is a scene from “Good Will Hunting” where Sean and Will, Robert Williams and Matt Damon respectively, are sitting on a bench overlooking the lake in Boston. What Sean told Will during that moment stuck with me (favorites):

"So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've love something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. I look at you, I don't see an intelligent, confident man. I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will, no one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right? You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some fucking book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don’t want to do that do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.”"

**This quote is from Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations.” Miss Havisham is the speaker:

“I’ll tell you,” said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, “what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smitter – as I did.”

This is a clip of Jennifer Lopez when she was a Fly Girl in "Living Color." Is it me or was her ass bigger then? Maybe it's the shitty pants.

Moloko - Sing it Back
I cannot NOT bounce around when I hear this song.

at 4:30 AM 7 comments

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My friend was born in the US, but his parents are from Palestine. He is an amazing guy; smart, funny, social, and aware. He moved to another city for work but yesterday, he called and said he was in town, so we ended up having a nice lunch together.

We were sitting in a nearby eatery, enjoying the strangely pleasant weather while sipping our identical espressos. He started to tell me about the prestigious law firm he works at, how cut-throat it was when he first started, the implicit discrimination he faced, and the like. After a while he stopped, looked up at the pale sky and frowned, “You know, two weeks ago the strangest thing happened to me at work.” I shook my head and raised my eyebrows, encouraging him to go on. “I walked by a woman’s office when she stopped me and suddenly said, ‘I’m sorry. I have to tell you about this. It’s been bothering me for the longest time. I know this might sound racist but I am very afraid of you. You just look so much like those guys on the news. I just want to know your political beliefs.’”

I was flabbergasted, “Are you kidding me! She actually said that! How old is she? And does she work in your department?”

He told me she was about his age – late 20’s/early 30’s – and no, she did not work in his section.

“So, what did you say?”

My friend, with his deep set green eyes and jet black hair, breathed heavily, stretched his defined body on the metal chair and replied, “I don’t know. At first, I was shocked. I probably should’ve just walked away because the whole thing was ridiculous. I was born in the US for God’s sake! But I asked her two questions: Is she afraid of me because I look like the Arab terrorists on television and does she want me to tell her my political views so she would not be scared of me.”

“And?” I inquired.

“Well, she quickly said yes to both questions. I just looked at her, still in disbelief mind you, and said, ‘Take care.’ And you know the thing that really pissed me off is that she kind of got to me. I went to the bathroom and looked at my face, trying to see what it is she is scared of. And to think this comes from an educated woman! Imagine the rest of the masses!”

Seriously. Imagine.

Depeche Mode - In Your Room (Portishead Remix)
DJ Shadow Ft. Nump - Keep 'Em Close
DJ Shadow Ft. Cris James - Erase You
DJ Shadow - The 3rd Decade, Our Move

at 6:15 AM 20 comments

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Gipsy Things

Image Hosted by

I recently went to a “Gipsy Kings” concert in my little city. I was actually surprised that they dragged their wrinkled butts over here. For one, I thought most of them died. I mean, I can find homemade video tapes of me when I was seven dancing to “Bamboleo” with a red plastic flower tucked behind my head full of then-blonde hair *sigh* twirling around rapidly and making rather violent hand movements as I shook my flamenco dress around. And of course, my little city is not on any official map so again, I was double surprised to have these internationally known Spaniards about a mere hop from my apartment.

I excitedly dragged my indifferent friend to the place. Almost all of the audience members were fifty years of age and older, so we felt a little bit weird amidst the sea of gray and silver heads.

Image Hosted by

The music started and they were amazing. Throughout the first half, I could not stop tearing up because the songs they played brought back so many memories. I wished my family was there with me, especially my mother and two brothers.

The Kings clapped their hands and hoisted the rigid audience on their feet. Although it was a concert hall with cushy seats, people eventually mashed up against the stage and in the aisles, leaving the back of the place almost empty as they danced, tapped their feet, and waved their blotchy arms from side to side.

Image Hosted by

I managed to snag a backstage ticket from the friendly DJ and I met the Kings. I went up to three of them and mumbled a few words in French, asking if I could take a picture with them. They were really nice, especially the short one. Actually, he was maybe too nice. I stood next to him, or rather, over him while our photograph was being taken. He looked up at me, winked, and suddenly pecked me on my cheek before giving my waist a little squeeze. I did not know what to make of it, but it was a strange, quick moment.

Their manager came up to me and after chatting with him, I patted myself on the back. I had guessed correctly: he was Moroccan!
“So Erzulie, you should come join us at the bar at the hotel,” the manager said.

I looked at the Kings, and the short one caught my eye. He was surrounded by two oblivious American blonde girls who were about my age. He looked at me, winked, kissed the air and motioned for me to come to him.

I looked back at the manager and smiled at him, shook his hand and escorted myself out of the hall. I did not end up “chilling” with the Kings at the only posh hotel in my little city, but I sure as hell took some “I WAS HERE” pictures with them!

Gipsy Kings - Djobi Djoba
Air - Venus
Air - Sexy Boy

at 7:20 AM 13 comments

Monday, August 14, 2006

Shootin' the Shit

Yesterday I went to the state fair. It’s always nice to see the suburban crowd trekking to these kinds of events since I don’t get to see that diverseness when I’m shuffling to and fro campus. You have the preppy parents who win most of the games and shove the cheap stuffed toys to their kids, the Hispanic crowd with the whole extended family trailing behind their Adam and Eve in addition to their beautiful toddlers who most likely sport a gold chain necklace around their three year old necks, the African-American bunch with their adorable children, the chain-smoking rednecks, the greasy high school kids that fill the place with their dramatic “Just forget about it Joe. It was your bed” or “I can’t believe she did that!” and the country oh-so-country crowd.

I ate the essential corn dog. I felt a bit strange chowing down on it in public; I smothered it with ketchup and stationed myself near one of the food stands and swallowed it right up before having a funnel cake and a necessary cream puff. Eating the puff was also a bit hard to handle; in the end, my fingers were covered with its delicious whipped cream and there wasn’t anything I could do accept lick my fingers clean.

There were a lot of rides but I am a bit anxious about getting on something that was installed on a temporary basis. The only thing I did get on was a bull. Maybe it’s because I’m a Taurus, or perhaps I just love a challenge instead of getting in a seat and screaming my lungs out as I’m being flipped upside down. Well I got on that bull and I must say I did pretty well. I even beat the wannabe cowboy who continued to flail his straw hat around. But after that ride, I couldn’t walk straight; my inner thighs hurt like hell – and they still do. Now I’m not surprised when I see real rodeos walk like they have something up their asses.

Today I treated myself to a sweet movie, “Little Miss Sunshine.” I caught it at my neighborhood’s even sweeter independent movie theater. I don’t think that it will come out in Kuwait but if it’s available in, get it. I think it’s the best movie I’ve seen this summer; funny and bitter-sweet.

Eydie Gorme y Los Panchos – Fuego Bajo Tu Piel
Kid Koala - Scratch Scratch
Zero 7 - Destiny (Photex Mix)
Weezer - Say It Ain't So

at 8:53 AM 7 comments

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Said jokingly by my Egyptian friend:

"Shat za fak ub or I'll bansh you in za face!"

Slick Rick - It's a Boy (Pete Rock Remix)
Faithless - Tarantula
Luniz & Dawn Penn - No Got 5 On It
Rich Boy & Pitbull - When Niggaz Get to Poppin' (Remix)

at 3:42 AM 8 comments

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Everybody Out!

How come everyone is traveling? That is not fair! I guess I will have to elongate my honeymoon, since I did not have an official break from school/work in a year. I think I will lose my head because I will not see the beach or ocean in a year as well. That, for me, is a catastrophe.

Speaking of traveling, I once saw “Charlie’s Angels” on the airplane and in one scene, I remember Drew Barrymore saying “And that’s called kicking ass!” but on the plane, she said “butt” instead. The difference in voice and tone was minor, but I do wonder who performs these voice-overs. I suppose it is one of the people who are found at the tale of the credits.

PS Yoma: Gooleelohom abee so’3a :P


Dangerdoom - Korn Dogs

Soul Position - I Need My Minutes

MF Doom - Vomit

7L & Esoteric - Perfect Person

Aceyalone - Everything Changes

at 5:31 AM 7 comments

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What the...

Last night, I had a dream about Frankie Knuckles.

I woke up and the first thing I said was, “What the F?”

I was in a car show and I stepped into this abnormally large Hummer. And there he was, sitting in the back. I was unusually cool about it.

Again, what the F?

Frankie Knuckles Mix
And for the hell of it...
Farley Jackmaster Funk Mix
Bobby Konders
Mr. Fingers Larry Heard Music Mix

Extra for Entre :P
The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony (James Lavelle Remix)

at 10:39 AM 11 comments

Friday, August 04, 2006

Olmert's Rape Package: Made in America

Image Hosted by

Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit
The Beatles - Happiness is a Warm Gun
Beck - New Pollution
Bob Marley & the Wailers - Crazy Baldhead
Bob Marley & the Wailers - Burnin' & Lootin'
Bob Dylan - Is it worth it
Fischerspooner - Never Win (Mirwais Remix)
Nightmares on Wax - 70's/80's (RJD2 Remix)
UNKLE - Ball Buster

at 2:45 AM 7 comments

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Trigger Happy Bitch

Image Hosted by

UNKLE Ft. 3D - Panic Attack (Ape Sounds Remix)
Edwin Starr - War
Utada Hikaru - Devil Inside (RJD2 Remix)
Miles Davis - In a Silent Way (DJ Cam Remix)
Epic Man Ft. Plan B - More is Enough
Folk Implosion - Insinuation (Dust Brothers Remix)
Marvin Gaye - What's Goin' On (!?!?!)

at 8:22 AM 14 comments