Archive for the ‘World’ Category

Death & Beauty In The Eyes Of The Photographer

The following paragraph and photo was submitted by a photographer named Enrique Metinides from Viceland.com. I should warn you that the picture is a little bit explicit, so read and gawk at your own risk:

This picture was taken on Avenida Chapultepec and Calle de Monterrey in Colonia Roma. She was a very famous journalist who wrote some really good books. That day she had a book-release party and was on her way there. She was all made up, going to pick up her sister to go to the event. Crossing the street, two cars crashed and then ran her over. This picture is great because she has all her makeup on and she just doesn’t look dead even though she is.

It is a beautiful and moving photograph, but I’m not sure about that last point: isn’t that a severed lump of mangled, bloody flesh in the right hand corner? Oh wait! It is indeed a freaking human being. You might want to know that the author removed the comment later on upon receiving complaints from the readers.

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What Stress Can Do To You?

Stress can take it’s toll on you, although granted, it varies from person to person. Take this gentleman for instance who went from happy and fresh-faced to weary and shriveled in a span of in three years, if these photos are to be believed that is. The price paid for the life of a news anchor seems high indeed. And here I am, thinking that with its endless supply of anime, manga, and videogames, Japan would be stress-free.

What Would Children’s Illustrations Look Like In Real Life

Korean photographer Yeondoo Jung‘s series that recreates scenes found in children’s drawings is probably one of the most creative works I have ever seen. Some are funny, some fantastical, and some are simply surreal but all of them are beautiful. If these are indeed based on actual drawings by children, one wonders how close the photos came to the original scenes envisioned in each child’s mind.

Here are some photos along with captions I came up with.

Art #1: The Flying Witchman & The Shelf of Teacups

Art #2: My Life Is a Sitcom

Art #3: The Princess That Stands In Pink

Click Here For More

The French Way Of Life

I have expressed several times in my blog about my fascination regarding France and the French people. As a matter of fact, when I come across the Travel section in any bookstore I visit, I always scan the bookshelves for France’s travel guides. Sometimes however, I think I’m more fascinated with the French than France in general. Throughout my readings regarding the French, and watching the countless French movies, they are certain charms and habits that you cannot help but to notice. Not to be positively or negativity stereotypical, I condense my thoughts as follow:

  • The People of Paradoxes

Ask mostly anyone which country they consider the most “European,” and they’ll probably answer France. Thomas Jefferson knew France well, dubbing it “every man’s second fatherland.” Why, in view of these tributes, does one hear unflattering things about the French: that they’re rude, unfriendly, impatient, and even promiscuous? Every visitor shares this bewilderment, and I shall reserve my judgment until I go there and meet them myself.

  • L’esprit Critique

You’ll spot the characteristic shrug of the shoulders, which is the Frenchman’s reaction to all startling news. Some might call it cynicism, but a better phrase is the one the French use themselves: l’esprit critique. It’s not something negative; it’s simply the way the French use their common sense. A Frenchman can’t describe something without adding his own judgment of value, that is, he wants to know if it’s good or bad for him.

  • The Cold Treatment

French indifference and coldness to outsiders is really another virtue seen from the wrong end. If a Frenchman seems cold to outsiders, it’s because he reserves his affections for his family and close friends. Family life in France is one of the closest in Europe: it affords the French the small pleasures (like the evening meal), which they value above all else. Apparently, The French consider instant friendliness a sign of insincerity. Thus, a sign of banjour might be a rare expression (among the French and the outsiders) than you might think.

  • In Unity We Trust

For all their individualism and eccentricity, the French still have bonds, which keep them together as a nation. One is pride in their nation and its language. France is, after all, the oldest unified country in Europe of any size. For centuries, the French language dominated European diplomacy and royal courts. Another bond that unifies them is the Frenchman’s respect for intellectual distinction in general. The French probably read more than any other people. The leading intellectual figures of the day receive the same media coverage that movie stars, politicians, or sports heroes do in the U.S. However, this also means that sometimes the French lose sight of a problem in the endless analysis of its details, especially when the experts disagree.

Conclusion?

If you were seeking a conclusive statement after reading all of that, then I’m sorry to tell you that I don’t have one. I cannot deduce something that I didn’t have the chance to essentially investigate and observe. However, I can firmly assert that I have at least scratched the surface of the French way of life. In the end, I invite you to watch this movie and experience a little taste of my all time favorite city, Paris. It might lighten up your weekend.

KFC Colonel Sanders Is So Kawaii!

The wildfire success of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan is the stuff that makes business textbook writers giddy. An all-American institution was successfully turned into a staple of Japanese fast food thanks to cultural awareness, adaptation, and clever marketing. Among the things done in KFC’s eastward expansion was to position the chain’s founder, Colonel Sanders, as something of a mascot figure. Many Japanese KFC branches still have a life-size statue replica of the Colonel somewhere on the premises.

However, things got a little bit outlandish in the very youthful district of Akihabara. Many KFC owners started to dress the all-time American Colonel into a very otaku-oriented maid uniform. However, for those of you who aren’t into cross-dressing, rest assured, as the KFC headquarters in America told the Akihabara branch to stop dressing Colonel Sanders in a maid costume apparently, so he has been returned to his original self. Although, there’s something really attracting in that maid uniform. You know you shouldn’t be gawking at it, but it’s just so bizarrely compelling that you can’t turn away…

  • For more pictures, click HERE.

Worldwide Happiness

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This is a very interesting world map right there. Based on the map above, Kuwaitis aren’t exactly the happiest people on Earth but they certainly have it better comparing to the rest of the region. Several things we note from the map:

  • Emirates and Omanis are among the happiest people on Earth and the only ones in the Middle East that managed to break from the usual Middle Eastern gloom.
  • Venezuela is the only South American country with the highest percentage of happiness.
  • Almost all African countries are unhappy.
  • Japan needs to cheer up!
  • Papua New Guinea, unfortunately, has deprived Australia from becoming the world’s happiest continent.

International Festival Roundup

Once a year, my university holds an International Festival where International students showcase interactive booths, free food, and neat dance shows. And just like always, Kuwait was represented in the festival. Unfortunately, we didn’t do anything different than last year; our freebies were badges, postcards, Kuwaiti flags, and posters. However, this year, our main dish was Murabyan (rice mixed with shrimps and onions) and it won the best International food award, which is awesome. One of the girls provided free Henna, and as always, girls flock to our booth to get their hand stylized. We also gave the opportunity for visitors to dress up in Kuwaiti traditional garment and have their picture taken and then sent to them via their e-mails.

Of course, I got the chance to stroll around for a bit and enjoy the festival. I sampled some food from other countries such as Mexico and South Korea, and wore the traditional Kimono in the Japanese booth and had my picture taken as well. Overall, I thought this year’s festival a little bit disappointing but nevertheless, I had good time especially catching up with students I had class with during the International Center days. I took couple of pictures with my shitty cellphone, and unfortunately, I cannot provide a direct picture of our booth in order to protect the identity of my friends.

Shitty Pictures

The Brazilian Waitress

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Last night the guys and me went to a grand Brazilian restaurant we have in Downtown for a birthday celebration for one of our friends. The way they serve the food there reminds me of a Lebanese restaurant I once experienced in Dubai. Basically, there is a color shaped cylinder placed in the middle of the table and it had green, yellow, and red strips from the top to the bottom. When you flip the green side upward, the waiters just keep bringing you food like none stop and when you flip in to the red side, they simply stop serving food to your table. In our condition, let’s just say we never flipped it back to the red side through the whole evening. However, the highlight of the evening was the energetic and amusing waitress that was serving us drinks. We certainly had delightful and memorable moments with her. Allow me to share them with you.

We Are Simply Kuwaitis

The Waitress: You guys look like Arabs, right?
All of us: YES!
The Waitress: Where are you guys from?
All of us: KUWAIT!
The Waitress (joking): Kuwait? Why the hell are you here? There’s no oil here.

Brazil Vs. Argentina

My friend: What do you think of Argentina’s soccer team?
The Waitress (whispers): Can you keep a secret?
My friend: Absolutely
The Waitress: Between you and me, Argentina is like the Israel of the Latin world
My friend and I (astonished): …………

Girls of Rio de Janeiro

Me: So where are you from specifically in Brazil?
The Waitress: I am from Rio de Janeiro
Me (gasps): I always wanted to go there. What is the best thing there?
The Waitress: Sexy girls. And sexy girls who know how to dance
Me (laughing): Seriously?
The Waitress: Yeah of course. Look at me. Am I not sexy enough for you?
Me (still laughing): oh no, you are certainly sexy, and cute too. Angelina Jolie is eating her heart out right now
The Waitress (smiles): Hmph! I thought so too

Tea? But Alcohol Is Better

The Waitress: I heard you Arab people always serve tea when somebody visits your house or office. Is that true?
Me: Yes, like most of the time. But that’s usually common in the Gulf countries
The Waitress: And I heard that if I didn’t accept it, it would be an insult. Correct?
Me: That’s true if you were served by the Bedouins
The Waitress: Ahh, you mean the people of the desert. I mean they don’t live in the desert but their grandfathers used to live there
Me (troubled): I…I guess you can say that
The Waitress: What if I want coffee or soda?
Me: That’s OK. You can order whatever you want
The Waitress (smirks): And what if I wanted alcohol?
Me (in a whispery voice and smiling): Actually, you will find people who will actually serve you alcohol. At this day and age, it’s not entirely impossible
The Waitress (smiles): Really?
Me (in a whispery voice): Yes. And probably they serve it to you without even asking you in the first place

Palestinians Want Peace With Israelis

One of the worst western hypocrisies (specifically in the western media) toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is that Israelis want peace more than Palestinians, and that Palestinians usually want to wage war with Israel instead of peaceful processes. However, the recent Gallup polls beg to differ.

The overwhelming majority of Palestinians want peace with Israelis. Only Hamas supporters reject it in large numbers (but nearly by half). Not only that, the support for peace had increased since 2006 as the latest poll shows. Click HERE for detailed report.

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Another poll showed that both Palestinians and Israelis favor nonviolent solutions. Click HERE for the report. However, I find the following poll quite scary:

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I hope President Bush’s promise that both nations will achieve peace by the end of the year will come true, but just like his past acclaims, the probability for that is highly unlikely.

The Imaginary World Of Women

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I want to start this discussion in an objective manner rather being subjective. That is, free from personal biases. It’s no brainier that we live in a world of men despite the fact that men are currently a minority in some countries according to world’s population. But what would happen if there’s been a shift in power and women became the dominating power of the world, specifically in the political medium? Many says that women shouldn’t have a role in politics simply because they lack the intelligent to understand the game of politics, or simply, they are too kind to construct a political decision without consulting their hearts first before their brains. But then again, most of nowadays leaders (political and religious alike) are men who have no ounce of compassion to the human race. They tend to follow the rules of mind instead the rules of the heart. Wouldn’t the world be in a better place if compassionate, sympathetic individuals took charge in these situations? One might argue that there would be fewer wars if women ruled the world, and that’s a feasible consequence that even I agree upon.

Unfortunately however, the situation isn’t black and white. Throughout the history, women have always dipped their hands in the art of war and violence in some shape or form. For example, didn’t a woman brought down the Roman Empire? Didn’t a Princess caused World War 1? Wasn’t Golda Meir who resolved to the tactics of war instead of tactics of peace? What about female suicide bombers? The list goes on and on.

I am a male feminist after all. I embrace and encourage gender equality and female empowerment because I personally believe when you empower a woman; you empower the whole family, and eventually the entire society. However, when I show my support for women leaders (or the proposal of female judges) that doesn’t necessarily mean that those women would bring peace and prosperity to the world simply because they are female. No, I support them because I’m embracing gender equality in politics, and maybe, just maybe, their visions that I might find them ideal and prosperous. After all, there are no conclusive evidences that women are absolute caregivers of peace, nor the opposite. Another angle that’s worth looking into is that women don’t generally agree with women. Do all American women agree with Hilary Clinton’s visions and ideals? What about the recently assassinated Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto? Your answer might work with your agenda, but certainly not a true representative of the whole population, regardless if you are male or female.