Q8Sultana's Blog...

Generally I can be found roaming somewhere in the world. I'm originally from Hungary, I grew up in Kuwait, I did my BA in the States, my MA in the UK, and now work in Hungary, but still return to Kuwait regularly :o)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Education in Kuwait

I've been doing some research into Kuwaiti social services before and after oil, and I came accross this passage about the government school system.
I'd be interested to receive some feedback from you all, because from what I know and heard about government schools, some of the stuff written sounds rather idealistic, and might have had been true at some point in history but not anymore. Or is it??

Education was one of the earliest priorities in the oil era (in Kuwait). In the early 1950s the government embarked on a large-scale education project involving school construction and the hiring of new teachers. In 1965 school was made compulsory for Kuwaitis to age fourteen. In the 1960s the government introduced a major adult literacy program. Consequently, the school population and level of education rose quickly. The government also developed higher education, primarily through the establishment of Kuwait University in 1966. Today (the book was published in 1992) Kuwait has one of the best school systems in the region and one of the highest literacy and educational rates as well. Free education for school children include books, uniforms, meals, transportation, and even a parental allowance. The system is well-funded, modern, and comprehensive. At the university, free education includes not only tuition but also dormitories, meals, and such perks as free sportswear, transportation, and field trips. The government also sends students abroad on state fellowships.

Jill Crystal: KUWAIT: The Transformation of an Oil State 1992

Woke up this morning, and this is what I saw outside... brrrrrr

...anyone who knows me knows I'm not a big winter fan. I prefer temperatures to stay somewhere between 25 and 50 :o)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

More of my room revealed :o)

Since I haven't managed to be in the same country with my parents on my birthday for many many years (about 5 or 6?) they usually send flowers. They didn't fail to do so this year (even though the flower people messed something up and delivered them a day late).
They also sent a baloon. It's pretty cool, kind of wondering around my room :o)
It came in a HUGE box, but of course it didn't have any weight. So at first I thought it was just an empty box, but as soon as I opened it the baloon floated out of it :o)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fireplace :o)

I got a little package from home today, filled with Christmas goodies, including a tiny Christmas stocking. Well, I happen to have a fireplace it looks awesome on :o)
Actually in Hungary we don't have Christmas stockings, only in recent years did they appear as an influence from the US. Our Christmas holidays are completely different than in the US or even England. For example, Santa for us comes on December 6, and filles kids shoes (not socks) with mostly candy.
We actually refer to Christmas as the Holiday of Happiness, or Holiday of the Family, and for many secular people it has no religious significance, but rather its a time for the family to be together.
Those who are religios only celebrate the birth of Jesus (no Santa involved at all) at Christmas.
We decorate the Christmas tree on the December 24, and exchange gifts on Christmas Eve (Dec 24, at night) and usually have a festive dinner, generally involving fish, duck or turkey. Families on this day stay at home. No Christmas parties.
On Christmas Day (Dec 25) we have lunch, and visit relatives and eat more. This continues on Dec 26.
The official day to take down the Christmas tree is January 6, but many people leave it on longer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


In the open country near the Ras in the old days there stood a small village consisting of a few mud huts clustered round a single tamarisk tree. The name of the place was Dimna, a word which has a pleasant sound to European ears, but in Arabic it means "sheep's droppings" so of course when the new suburb was built the name had to be changed. It was called Salimiyah after Shaikh Abdullah as Salim. Today it is hard to know exactly whre the village stood; it has been obliterated. (page 55)

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this. Does dimna really mean that?

Hawally was another name which had meant something to me in old Kuwait. It had been a desert village eight miles out of town, characterized by its small vegetable gardens surrounded by low mud walls. Where is Hawalli now? It is one of the 'neighbourhood units' of the suburbs, with its own high street, shopping center and cinema. Gone are the mud-walled gardens and the modest houses, and in their place stretch streets of endless ugliness. (page 54)

Zahra Freeth: A New Look at Kuwait (1972)

Well, I guess Hawally hasn't really changed in 30 years :o)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Old books about old Kuwait

Next week is "reading week" so I decided to lend some "fun" books from the library. Not that my readings for class are not fun, cause they actually are, but I came accross some books about Kuwait written by foreigners who grew up/lived/worked there decades ago:

Zahra Freeth: Kuwait was my home (1956)
Zahra Freeth: A new look at Kuwait (1972)
Mary Bruins Allison: Doctor Mary in Arabia (1994)

Zahra Freeth is the daughter of Colonel Harold Dickson who was the British Political Agent in Kuwait from 1929-1936. Their house, called the Dickson house, is on the Gulf Road, opposit the fish market next to Souq Sharq. It's a museum today.
I'm almost done with the first book and it's awesome. It's about Zahra's return to Kuwait in 1946, after being in England for school for 10 years. She describes the changes that took place in just 10 years, during which the first oil revenues started flowing in.
The second book seems to be about her returning in the 70s.

Mary Bruins Allison was the first female doctor at the so called American Hospital (being renovated on the Gulf Road). She arrived in Kuwait in 1934 and kept returning for 40 years, and the book is her memoir.

I love our library....

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak to all Kuwait Bloggers :o)

What are your plans for the Eid weekend?