.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


Friday, June 29, 2007

copycat restaurants

in yesterday's IHT is in a interesting article quoted below that touches on the increasing imitation going on in the restaurant world. it got me thinking about how it is in kuwait with every successful (and sometimes not) new restaurant spawning numerous copycats in a little as a few weeks. think maki/wasabi, burger boutique/burger hub/burger co, zaatar w zeit/shay w nana and many others.

originality is in dire demand.

Restaurant war: Lawsuit cites 'intellectual property' - Print Version - International Herald Tribune
Ed's Lobster Bar copies "each and every element" of Pearl Oyster Bar, including the white marble bar, the gray paint on the wainscoting, the chairs and bar stools with their wheat-straw backs, the packets of oyster crackers placed at each table setting and the dressing on the Caesar salad.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

be proud of your failures

i've noticed that kuwaiti (and arab) culture has a problem with admitting failure. local custom seems to frown on anyone that admits they have made a mistake even years or even decades after the fact has been established.

heck we refuse to acknowledge that we lost the lead centuries ago in the civilization game so i think the trait is pretty endemic to the region.

as the old saying goes: the first part to solving a problem is admitting you have one and i think its about time for a change in thinking to at least recognize that we have problems and then work on solving them.

my connection with this reality is even closer to home: i find that the older generations give us little in the way of problems and pitfalls from their own lives that can be learned from. not only do they not document it but they refuse to even speak about it unless cornered by someone that has found out through other sources.

i think its about time we make a change and be proud of our failures. we need to take every slap in the face that is legitimately earned with a sense of appreciation that this is a learning experience and a path to development. self-reflection is undoubtedly preferable to blaming someone else. the former leads to enlightenment and the realization that we are going somewhere while the latter is only a waste of time.

Monday, June 04, 2007

taller and better?

i, for one, don't understand the need to go ever higher with skyscrapers. well i do know that they lend a sense of pride to the people behind it but who in their right mind wants to leave so high that they fear a lost pilot ramming into them? that is not considering the potential for natural disasters as well as running down more than 100 floors in an emergency.

then i came across the below article and couldn't help but laugh at the suggestion that a taller building is an existential statement and that without it no city is complete. tall is fine and good but tallest will always be fleeting.

The Seoul Times

experts say the drive to go tall also reflects the aspiration of Asian and Gulf nations to join the ranks of the developed world, and to assert that their long-awaited moment in history has finally come

what's worse is that many cities that have gone all out asserting their dominance have usually not lasted long after it. (with 'long' being very subjective)

Friday, June 01, 2007

it must be an eastern thing (excessive niceties in iran)

this was an interesting article from an iranian jouranlist. i thought it reflected quite well what kuwaitis are used to:

Taarof Nazila Fathi - openDemocracy

Taarof is an aspect of routine cultural behaviour among Iranians, used in their daily interactions with old and new acquaintances alike. It is a hollow system of flattery and false modesty to make others feel good; often, a practice of polite dissembling, where people express nice sentiments that they do not truly mean or feel. Iranians are not offended by taarof. In fact, a person who fails to engage in the system of taarof stands out as a person unfamiliar with Iranian culture and traditions. Taarof governs different aspects of social life. It may come into play when a host offers food to the guest. The system of taarof may demand that the guest declines politely, another form of taarof, waiting for the host to say taarof nakonid, which might be rendered as an emollient “don’t do taarof.” The exchange of taarof over this simple matter can go on for a long time. Taarof can be very tricky.