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Wednesday , August 17 2022

Mobiles and us are neighbors!

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The title is taken from the song of Shadia Fayrouz, may God prolong her life. She is the singer of the 20th and 21st centuries who sings about the moon that does not lose sight of her when she leaves and enters the house.

We became peers of the ‘damned’ mobile, not just its neighbors! That is, we do not lose sight of one another … Once we open our eyes after sleeping, we rush to see our mobiles. Before we sleep, we bid farewell to it, such that the mobile is the last thing we see!

We go out to the street and see that even the workers we used to call ‘shabby’ are peeking into their mobiles from time to time, although their main task is to clean our streets and remove the garbage.

You drive to your workplace and you see the mobiles of young Kuwaiti men and women, as well as the expatriates who followed them, looking at their mobiles and sending messages; instead of focusing on the street, traffic, other motorists and pedestrians.

Once you are near your office, I challenge you to find a Kuwaiti or an expatriate who does not hold, stare or get preoccupied with his mobile phone … I mentioned the preoccupation with the mobile and sending messages when I spoke to Major General Jamal Al-Sayegh who is responsible for traffic affairs at the Ministry of Interior. I asked him: “Why do you not order this to be prohibited by law; as the case in most countries throughout the world, not just the developed countries?!”

I was surprised when he said they submitted such an amendment two years ago!!! The amendment is still in the drawers of our National Assembly whose members are preoccupied with heavy soap operas, foreign television stations, innocent street advertisements, removing shoes to express hate for each other, sitting on ministers’ chairs to prevent them from attending sessions, and submitting successive grilling motions against HH the Prime Minister.

In the end, I want to tell the honorable readers of my story about the mobile phone that in the late 1970s; I was a young and novice lawyer working at the office of the late Muhammad Musaed Al-Saleh — a lawyer and one of the owners of Al-Watan newspaper.

One day, I entered his office and asked him to mediate for the procurement of a car phone, because the mobile was not yet invented at the time. Muhammad Musaed Al-Saleh was a friend of the then Minister of Communications. The Ministry of Communications was selling car phones  at the time, not the private sector. So, Muhammad Musaed Al-Saleh sent a letter to his friend — the Minister of Communications. He wrote: “Please provide our young lawyer with a car phone; because most of his work is in the police station, not the office.” The office boy, who handed over the letter to the minister, revealed that the latter laughed out loud when he read the letter of Muhammad Musaed Al-Saleh who was known for his wit.

The minister wrote on the letter that he has no objection to providing Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli with a car phone, so I went to the workshop of the Ministry of Communications in Kaifan. They installed the phone in my car. After that, I was proud of talking over the phone at traffic signals and I was proud of the red antenna installed on the front part of my car’s roof.

ali-albaghli@hotmail.com

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil