The one with dhakii ...

5 habits of how to be dhakii in Kuwait:

١. suug-aw :alaa mazaaj-kum

Drive safely and you're almost guaranteed to have an accident

٢.  laa tamshuun barah 

Drivers will not understand your motivation: they will honk their horn and yell at you out of their car window - and in the summer you could pass out with heat-stroke

٣. rikdh-aw fii l-mall

Window-shop at the same time as shed calories in air-conditioned comfort

٤. istighil-aw al-net 

Sell whatever you can take a photo of with your phone, make an extra dinar; leverage your 100k followers to get anything you want, when you want it

٥. libs-aw chin-ah al-:iid

If you're in public, you never know who might be staring or sending a sneaky shot of you to their Whatsapp group. So make like every day is a cover shoot for Vogue - even if you're just out getting donuts.

سوقو على مزاجكم
suug-aw :alaa mazaaj-kum Drive however you want
لا تمشون برة
laa tamshuun barah Don’t walk outdoors
ركضو في المل
rikD-aw fii l-mall Jog in the mall
استغلو النت
istighil-aw al-net Exploit the internet
لبسو چنه العيد
libs-aw chin-ah al-:iid Dress like there’s no tomorrow


How was today's post?


Image courtesy of ecru

The one with ikhudh-nii ...

ikhudh-nii somewhere ... but where?

My conditions are few: the place has to be jamiil and ba3iid waayid. A place where every drink has thalj and the nights are thick with stars.

And the final condition before al-ikhtiyaar is made? I have to be able to get there in a second.

The creators at ecru have been finding answers to such demands, handcrafting zal, 9u7uun and hidduum that, like a spell, whisk the imagination to impossible gardens of paradise:

I can still hear the propellers flying me down to the rolling ba7ar
Taking me to a land where the balmy air plumps my skin
My eyes squint as I follow a flurry of emerald parrots in the azure samaa 
The pulsating sounds of clarinets excite in perfect rhythm and rhyme 
The lovely ladies drenched in flowers try to catch your 3ayn
Enticed by poised gentlemen in their crisp bow ties
Oh ikhudh-nii
ikhudh-nii back to the tropics

Their summer collection is a treasure chest of triggers.

30th April - 2nd May
Dar Al-Funoon, Al-Watiyah, Kuwait

jamiil Beautiful
بعيد وايد
ba3iid waayid Far away
al-ikhtiyaar The choice
zal Rugs
9u7uun Plates
hiddum Clothes
ba7ar Sea
sumah Sky
3ayn Eye

How was today's post?


Image courtesy of Star Times

The one with ataghashmar ...

The fukaahah I've come across in the Gulf is great, ta:jib-nii waayid. Of all the different types, satire is a favourite. Recently I've become hooked on reading the Pan Arabia Enquirer, in which every story could well end with the word ataghashmar.

For example, there was the story about Lars von Trier's film "Nymphomaniac" being edited down to a record 2.34 seconds to satisfy iHtiiyaajaat of a Kuwaiti movie distributer.

Not to forget al-quSah of thousands of Kuwaiti Beliebers taking to their streets in Lamborghinis after Justin Bieber's arrest for drag-racing in the same Italian sports car.

aHyaaman the humour is closer to home, as in the above picture showing the modern Middle Eastern lady in zawj-seeking mode.

fukaahah Humour
تعجبني وايد
ta:jib-nii waayid I like it (f) a lot
al-iHtiiyaajaat The needs
al-quSah The story
aHyaanan Sometimes
zawj Husband

How was today's post?


The one with muz:ij...

Wherever there are humans, there is al-iz:aaj. But what is taarikh al-iz:aaj and where did it come from?

Let's start at al-bidayyah with the Big Bang. It was probably the last moment biduun Hiss that the universe has known.

Fast forward 380,000 years and the universe was resonating. Ancient peoples exploited al-iz:aaj - the space inside Stonehenge has the acoustics of a modern concert hall. But it was in cities that humans became really muz:ij.

Today it is estimated that half the urban population of Europe suffers from excessive iz:aaj. Small apartments and terraced housing doesn't help. One friend had yiraan living above him who were constantly arguing and throwing things. My friend patiently put up with this for four years, but when they finally moved out, different yiraan moved in to the apartment underneath with state-of-the-art subwoofers and a taste for samba.

When the iz:aaj around you becomes too much, here's a Kuwaiti Hikmah for aural relief:

al-iz:aaj The noise
تارخ الازعاج
taarikh al-iz:aaj History of noise
al-bidayyah The beginning
بدون حس
biduun Hiss Silent 
yaar Neighbour (m)
yaarah Neighbour (f)
yiraan Neighbours
Hiknah Proverb
إكل ما تشتهي
ikil maa tishtihii Eat whatever you want
و إلبس ما يعجب الناس
wa ilbis maa ya:jib an-naas But dress to please (loose equivalent of English proverb "if you can't beat them, join them")

How was today's post?


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

The one with ghalla6...

9a7 walaa ghalla6 - true or false? It sounds like a line from a quiz, but when you never know if someone's for real or constantly teasing, these three little words become a mantra to live by. 

I can never tell when anything a certain person says was bi l-ghalla6 ('by mistake') or intentional. Take the other day. He and I were meant to meet for dinner. I arrived at the restaurant first, but then he rang to say that he had taken al-baa9 al-ghalla6 by mistake and wouldn't make dinner in time. So naturally I abandoned my post and went home.

Halfway to home, I get a second call asking why I am not at the restaurant. He had of course taken al-baa9 a9-9a7

Sometimes I want to say "ana faqadt al-amal" or even "ana tinarfazt" but deeper than my irritation is how funny it is that he manages to keep me guessing at just about everything.

ghalla6ayn Two errors
aghllaa6 3 - 10 errors
ghalla6 11+ errors
الباص الغلط
al-baa9 al-ghalla6 The wrong bus
الباص الصح
al-baa9 a9-9a7 The right bus
انا فقدت الأمل
ana faqadt al-amal I'm disappointed (lit. "I've lost hope")
ana tinarfazt I'm fed up
صح ولا غلط
9a7 walaa ghalla6? True or false?
انا جورج كلوني عربي
ana george clooney 3arabii I'm an Arab version of George Clooney

How was today's post?


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

The one with Subbur...

I'm not sure that Subbur is any kind of virtue. To avoid insanity, Subbur is a code of survival. Particularly when dealing with ministries, funding applications, post office lines and little sisters...

I don't think my Subbur has ever been tested more than by my younger sister when she listened to Slipknot's Wait and Bleed on loop throughout two the years' of my A Levels. Each time I would knock on her door and ask her to turn the music down. And each time she'd make a face and tell me "kayf-ii" or - "I'll do what I like."

Those times are over. My sister has since switched to the easy listening radio station for her dose of music. And when I ask her a question as an almost thirty-year old, her response is less often "kayf-ii" than "kayf-ich."

kayf-ikIt’s up to you (>m)
kayf-ichIt’s up to you (>f)
kayf-kumIt’s up to you (>pl)
صبر شوية
Subbur shwayyahWait a sec
في افنيوز
fii afinyuuzIn The Avenues Mall

How was today's post?


Audio with Theyab's pronunciation

The one with sarHaan...

Often in my language classes, without meaning to, asraH. Once upon a time, I'd have sold a kidney to speak many languages. Nowadays I'm overcome with yearning whenever I hear of whiff of English spoken around me, or catch an episode of Blackadder on satellite TV.

But there is another angle to this lost-in-translation business. Premature deafness. Too many years of loud music and likely cotton bud abuse. And it really throws a spanner in the works when it comes to having a two-way conversation.

So the days consist of us heckling back and forth to one other like old people. I will say "sima:t-nii?" and he will say "sim:ay shinu gaa:d aguul?" and we'll pretend we understood.

It's a little embarrassing, this premature deafness. And so much easier to say ana sarHaan (if you're a man) or ana sarHaanah (if you're a girl) when you cannot hear the great secret your not-so-deaf friend has just revealed to you.

asraH I zone out
sima:t-nii? Did you hear me? (>m)
 سمعي شنو قاعد اقول!
isma: shinu gaa:d aguul Listen to what I’m saying! (>f)
shinuu What
saraHt I zoned out

How was today's post?