Taste and imagination combined can create wonderful works of art. This holds true in the case of Faisal Al-Ali, founder of the eponymous company Faisal Al-Ali Furniture. Ali’s shop is the epitome of creativity, innovation and hard work. Ali’s background is in mechanical and petroleum engineering, but looking around his shop, one wouldn’t be mistaken to assume Ali has always been an artist. “This mall is new – I started to display my items here only in December 2015,” Ali told Kuwait Times one afternoon at his shop at Creative Design Mall in Shuwaikh.
“I am not an artist, but in a way, I was born an artist because everything related to art is something I treasure and love to see and adore,” he said. “I started dabbling in art since I was eight. My father would help me make a toy car from a plastic bottle, and recycle old toys and make them better and more appealing. I got this attitude from my father,” he said. Ali’s father was a science teacher, and would always come to Faisal’s rescue when he got in trouble. He taught him how to survive, and still shares many ideas with him. “He never stopped and never got tired of sharing wonderful ideas with me, something that I will treasure for the rest of my life,” he said.
Take up your pen To be a calligrapher in Kuwait was a very challenging task, since there isn’t much interest in the society about it. “I will never forget the day in 1992 when he told me to get up and learn my first lesson in calligraphy. He said, ‘Get up, take the pen, imitate the work of others and train your hands. Your hand is a gift from God, but admit you are not perfect’,” Ali said, quoting Otaibi. Two years later, he began working at a stationery shop in Kuwait City, perfecting his calligraphy skills. “I was offered a job at a stationery shop. I accepted it to make some money. I was only 16. Then I got busy again with my studies. My father told me that I could continue with calligraphy while studying, but I felt very exhausted because I was at the university and my major was quite tough, so I stopped. Later at the university, I volunteered to teach calligraphy, so while studying mechanical and petroleum engineering, I was also busy conducting training courses in calligraphy. The university paid me for this,” he recalled.
Why interior design? When he completed his university degree, he was immediately hired by an oil company. He then got married, so there was a hiatus again, but in 2005, he moved to a new house. “I pictured my new house to be very beautiful and attractive, so I designed the interiors. I have lots of ideas in interior design because I believe my mind is really into designing. Engineering is somewhat related to design – it’s all about taste and imagination; you can do many things,” Ali said.
When relatives visited his home, they saw works of art and not any ordinary interior design. “They liked it to the extent that I had to redecorate their places too. I told them I didn’t have much experience, but they said you have the eyes and taste that no one else has. They even suggested making use of my interior design craft and earning money, but I told them if I did so, I would have to do much documentation, contracts and lots of paperwork, which I hate,” Faisal said. But he couldn’t say no to relatives, and found himself designing his uncle’s home. “I got grade A feedback again, and people would call me and ask to design their houses. I was finally encouraged to go out and start designing jobs outside the circle of my family and relatives. I didn’t need to advertise, since people were talking about my work,” he revealed. Faisal was making money, but he was forced to stop his part-time job because he moved to another job with greater responsibilities. “I got a much bigger offer but with more responsibilities as well, so from 2008 to 2010, I concentrated on the new job. But at the end of 2010, I went back to the ministry again,” he said, and planned to advance his interior design business and create his own brand. “In 2010, I thought of concentrating on furniture design. I found Kuwait had no company dedicated to furniture design, so I explored and went to several countries in the GCC. In 2011, I established my own brand of furniture called ‘Faisal Al-Ali’, using my name. This is my first store which I opened in December,” he said. Faisal’s shop at CDM is spacious, and the sofas, tables and chairs bear his own brand’s signature. The calligraphy and colorful images are noticeable in all the products displayed. “The furniture business is really booming – Kuwaitis and expats are now aware of my brand. All the furniture I am selling here is my own work. I have got many orders and I plan to go global,” he concluded.
KUWAIT: India is looking to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kuwait to further strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries, said Indian Ambassador Sunil Jain on Thursday. He was talking to the Kuwait media onboard visiting Indian naval ship INS Delhi, accompanied by Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh NM, flag officer commanding of India’s Western Naval Fleet. Three Indian naval ships – INS Delhi, INS Tarkash and INS Deepak – arrived at Shuwaikh Port on Thursday on a three-day goodwill visit. Captain of INS Delhi Capt Sandeep Singh Sandhu, captain of INS Tarkash Capt Pradeep Singh, captain of INS Deepak Capt Sujit Kumar Chhetri and India’s defense attache, the Gulf region, Capt Gurpal Singh, were also present at the press conference.
Jain, Ravneet Singh and captains of the three ships called on Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Khalid Jarrah Al-Sabah on Thursday morning. Chief of General Staff and Deputy Chief of General Staff of Kuwait Armed Forces and Commander of Kuwait naval forces were also present during the meeting. “We discussed various issues involving bilateral cooperation including the possibility of signing an MoU to further expand defense cooperation. This proposed MoU could serve as an umbrella suiting the interests of both countries. India and Kuwait are also members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS),” the ambassador added. IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean region. Currently, 35 countries are members of IONS.
Bridges of friendship “We, in the Indian navy, build bridges of friendship over oceans. We visit friendly countries, make friends, learn from their experience and go back,” Ravneet Singh said, elaborating on the purpose of the visit of the three naval ships, which is by far the largest Indian naval contingent visiting Kuwait. “In IONS, we are all like-minded people who meet together, discuss problems and chart out our way. We learn from each other’s strengths, try to share our experiences and make up for our weaknesses. It is a combined effort, and as we understand, there are problems such as natural disasters and terrorism. If we work together, we can fight and defeat them,” he said.
During the stay, the crew of Indian naval ships will hold professional interactions with the Kuwaiti naval force pertaining to nuances of maritime operations, including means of combating maritime terrorism and piracy. In addition, the officers will call on senior Kuwaiti government and military authorities to bolster cooperation and strengthen mutual understanding between the two navies.
“We want to enhance our friendship with the navy of Kuwait, taking our relationship to the next level, learn some good things from the navy of Kuwait and share our experiences with them. When we sail out, we will hold joint exercises,” said Rear Admiral Singh.
Incidents of piracy “Incidents of piracy have come down significantly in the last few months, thanks to the joint patrolling of the navies together,” he added. IONS has declared that the Indian Ocean region is free of piracy as it has been now contained only to the Gulf of Aden. Talking about the massive evacuation called ‘Operation Rahat’ from war-torn Yemen in last April, Captain Pradeep of INS Tarkash, said: “In one of the largest evacuation missions, three Indian ships rescued nearly 7,000 people from 31 countries.”
Commissioned in Nov 1997, INS Delhi was the first ship designed in India itself, with 6,700-ton guided missile destroyers. It is a multipurpose command and control platform capable of operating in a multi-threat environment. It carries two Sea King helicopters, capable of both anti-submarine as well as anti-surface operations.
INS Deepak was commissioned in Jan 2011 and it is a modern fleet tanker designed to be utilized as a fleet support ship. It has adequate facility for providing frontline support to fleet ships and has an advanced Integrated Platform Management System which seamlessly integrates auxiliaries and battle damage management of the ship using microprocessor-based digital control systems.
Commissioned in Nov 2012, INS Tarkash remains one of the latest platforms for the Indian navy and is a workhorse of the Western Fleet. Its weapon package includes surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, advanced torpedo launchers, anti-missile defense system and 100mm guns. It is thus capable of accomplishing a wide variety of naval missions, primarily finding and eliminating enemy submarines and large surface ships.
The last goodwill call by the Indian navy was in Sept 2015 when INS Deepak and INS Tabar visited Kuwait. Recently, on an invitation from the Indian side, an official from Kuwait’s ministry of defense joined the 72nd Course of Defense Services Staff College in Wellington, India. The Indian ships sailed off from India on May 3. After leaving Kuwait tomorrow, the vessels will call on ports at Bahrain and Muscat before returning to Mumbai on May 27.
KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah arrived in Kuwait yesterday after participating in the joint USGulf Summit.
The summit, which tackled strengthening strategic partnerships between the GCC and the United States, was attended by US President Barack Obama, King Mohammed VI of Morocco and the GCC leaders. His Highness the Amir was received at the airport by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanim, His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al- Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Acting Oil Minister Anas Al-Saleh, senior officers in the Army, Police and National Guard.
His Highness the Amir was accompanied to the summit by First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al- Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Director of His Highness the Amir’s Office Ahmad Fahad Al-Fahad, Amiri Diwan Advisor Mohammad Abu Al- Hassan, head of Amiri Protocols Khaled Al- Abdullah Al-Sabah Al-Nasser, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Suleiman Al-Jarallah, head of media and cultural affairs at the Amiri Diwan Yosef Al-Roomi, head of political and economic affairs at the Amiri Diwan Sheikh Fawaz Saud Nasser Saud Al-Sabah, and other senior officials. — KUNA
I am drawing a monthly salary of KD 600 and I submitted a visa application for my wife at the Subhan Immigration Department, but they asked me to return at a later date.
So, I went back to the same Immigration Department after a few days and without checking in the computer, the officials asked my nationality. On being told that I was a Pakistani, he said “ for sure your application has been rejected”. He then checked in the computer and after re-checking my wife’s name, he confirmed that my application had been rejected. While we seek Allah’s help in this regard, we would like to know when such applications of Pakistanis will be accepted.
Answer: It’s really unfortunate but this situation has been prevailing for over six years now and, although there has been a lot of talk, it seems very unlikely that the situation will improve in the very near future. The authorities have linked the current “restriction” on the issuance of visas to Pakistanis to the security situation in that country.
Talking about the “official version”, officials say that all types of visas are being issued to Pakistanis but these are limited in number as the procedures to obtain these have been tightened. Only those who “know their way” around the various obstacles manage to get these visas because their issuance to Pakistanis is very, very restricted.
In some cases, there is a requirement to obtain an NOC from the Ministry of Interior. Applications in this regard are received by the Ministry of Interior in Sharq and the authority to issue these NOCs has now been delegated to an Assistant Undersecretary at the ministry.
Earlier, this authority only lay with the Undersecretary, a very senior official whose ranking comes only after the minister. The Ministry of Interior office where you need to give your application is located next to the Awqaf Complex (on Mubarak Al Kabeer Street) in Sharq, although the gate from where you will be allowed to enter lies on totally the opposite side on Othman Bin Affan Street.
KUWAIT: Kuwait’s weather is currently affected by a general state of instability over the Arabian Peninsula and predicted scattered rainfall from tomorrow, Meteorologist Essa Ramadan said. Ramadan also expected unstable weather to prevail until Thursday, noting that rain would mainly fall on the northern borders and Abdaly farms amidst high temperature and humidity till the weekend.
Fake degrees Minister of Education Bader Al-Essa said a special committee formed by the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) to examine ‘fake degrees’ was about to conclude its work. Essa expected that a large number of public employees held such fake degrees but hoped his predictions would be proven wrong. On a different concern, Essa strongly denied referring some of his undersecretaries to compulsory retirement and stressed that those reports were nothing but rumors.
Laborers’ cities A subdivision in the cabinet urged Kuwait Municipality to speed up the process of establishing cities to house expatriate labor forces in order to help eliminate the housing of laborers in private housing areas. The Ministry of Municipality Affairs has been assigned to coordinate with the Partnership Technical Bureau in order to take necessary measures as soon as possible to build the laborers’ cities, Fawaz Al-Fadhel, Assistant Secretary General at the Cabinet’s preparations and follow-up secretariat, said in a letter sent recently to minister Essa Al-Kandari.
KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior sent a letter to the National Assembly’s Interior and Defense Committee, requesting that they speed up discussing and enforcing the new fees for residency and visit visas as well as traffic violation fines.
A report last week had suggested that the new visa fees, which would double under the proposed plans, could be adopted by June. The ministry says that increasing the visa fees, which remained unchanged for 40 years since they were enforced, serves the country’s efforts in diversifying sources of income. — Al-Rai