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Establishing social clubs in each area need of the hour – If we want this country to survive

Saud Al Arfaj
Saud Al-Arfaj
suggest the need of the hour is the establishment of social clubs in each area similar to the cooperative societies. Each club may comprise a theater, a cinema and a library and even a playground and these clubs must be managed by the residents of the area with no interference from the State.

The country is the property of every citizen. The development of the country and putting things in place for the future is not limited or rather restricted to officials. The stability of the nation depends on the loyalty and sincerity of each individual including people in positions and how they look at the growth and advancement of their respective nations.

In this article I feel it is my duty to offer my views on the study which I have carried out as a citizen who loves his country and a businessman who has visited different parts of the world and seen nations prosper and advance at an amazing rate.

Since the Al-Jarida daily dedicated a full page to publish the study on Sunday, February 12, 2017, I thought it wise to hold back part of the study for a later date concerning the development of some ministries and government establishments such as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Housing and the General Traffic Department and the Kuwait Airways Corporation.

This is what I am going to handle in this article.

I will begin with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor concerning the issue of family disintegration. The statistics show the rate of divorce is alarming to the extent that every 6 out of 10 marriages end up in divorce.

We are no longer what we were before the discovery of oil. We then used to visit each other during family gatherings. It was a social habit widely seen in Sharq, Salmiya, Qibla, Hawalli and Jahra. There was a sense of belonging and everyone felt he was a member of a big family.

So the social clubs I suggest can be an opportunity for family gathering and to get to know each other.

I wish the Amiri Diwan will consider this suggestion and build social clubs in specific areas such as in Mishref, Abdullah Al-Salem, Keifan and Jahra on a trial basis. I suggest the residents of each area must donate for the establishment of their social club. As for me, I am ready to donate KD 50,000 for the establishment of the Mishref Social Club.

Speaking of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and due to the specific importance of Fridays for Muslims because people gather for prayers at mosques, I see it is a good opportunity to raise citizens’ awareness about their everyday affairs in life. Friday should be made use of to promote awareness and teach good morals. It is the responsibility of the Imam (preacher) to inform the people of important issues including morals, culture and tolerance.

It is sad to say, the sermons contain nothing new but a repetition of words spoken one thousand years ago. I have been hearing the same words for the past 50 years. Moreover, I usually see some individuals lost in thought and others looking sleepy when the imam gives the sermon.

I have also seen how some preachers of other nationalities — Arabs and Asians — do not care about their appearances and the worshippers fail to pay attention to what they are saying. In addition to this, there are those preachers whose approach is violent and they make no secret about their hatred for other religions.

The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs must hire distinguished preachers and build a new generation of preachers who are well versed with culture and science particularly the religious sciences. The Ministry has to focus on the Kuwaiti youth and train them to become imams of mosques. They should be paid high salaries and given sufficient allowances on par with the university staff.

With regard to the Ministry of Information and because of the essential role played by the media both print and electronic in the establishment of social societies, I suggest sending delegations on a mission to advanced countries to collect meaningful programs in areas such as medicine, engineering, agriculture, family and all useful fields, translate them and broadcast them on our TV and radio channels.

That is to spread serious information, culture and good morals among citizens especially the teachers, doctors, lawyers and engineers.

I also suggest stopping all types of trivial TV serials which containsnothing of value.

On the issue of housing, I suggest the State must sell land to the private sector for a low price to plan a proper infrastructure and establish the cities of varied levels of houses with different prices according to each category. Those houses should then be distributed among the youth.

Why should a citizen wait for 25 years to get a house? The private sector has to be given the task of offering housing for the citizens just like it was done in the Al-Khairan City where this sector has proven its capability.

Speaking of the traffic jams, I suggest the Road Sector must bear the responsibility instead of the General Traffic Department because this sector is responsible for the technicalities and planning of roads and streets. Actually the Ministry of Interior has nothing to do with such issues. This is what most of the advanced countries do.

I also suggest putting in place a system where engineers and technicians plan the entries and exits of the roads and streets. The system should take into account the traffic signs which sometimes are too small to read or understand or their views blocked by trees because this is one of the reasons that causes accidents.

I suggest choosing specific TV and radio programs to raise awareness of the citizens about the traffic and the proper manner of driving. Those programs should continue throughout the year.

To reduce traffic congestion, I suggest the Ministry of Communication establishes 4 or 5 private sector transport companies financially supported by the State. These companies must buy modern buses to transport the citizens from their housing areas to specific areas such as the Kuwait City, the Shuwaikh Industrial Area, the Ministries Complex and other areas for a specific fee (for example KD 20 per month).

The car parks have to be built near the bus stops and also establish private sector taxi companies to transport citizens to and fro the bus stops. The taxi companies also have to be subsidized by the State.

I suggest making use of the buses to transport school and the university students and allowing the buses to make use of the safety lanes. This is what is done in the advanced countries and in the UAE as well. This solution is temporary until the Metro project is established.

Eventually, I am going to talk about the Kuwait Airways, the national carrier. I suggest merging it with another Gulf airline such as the Emirates Airways, the Qatar Airways or the Ettihad Airways, for instance, for at least ten years.

That period will help the national carrier share experiences with those companies and enhance the level of services offered and also help develop the fleet and reach new destinations.

Many aircraft companies have done so and the examples are the Star Alliance, One World and the Sky Team.

Those were the general thoughts that always come to my mind when I see my country going backwards at all levels while the rest of the world is moving forward in leaps and bounds. I offer these ideas for more discussion.

I know nobody can collect all the details of issues mentioned here but experiences and information abound. I have given my views and thoughts and I wish they meet the satisfaction of Kuwait, the citizens and the residents.

By Saud Al-Arfaj

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