The Lake in front of our house

17 Dec, '06

The Lake in front of our house

The Lake in front of our house, originally uploaded by malyousif.



You want to know what it means when it rains in Bahrain? Well, this picture sums it up, the streets get submerged and the municipality doesn’t come around to suck that water away, it normally is left to fester until God decides to stop the rain for a while, heat up the weather a bit and get the whole this to evaporate.

That’s just one aspect of it, the other is collapsed houses because of bad maintenance and bad construction without any law to hold the construction companies to book and get them to guarantee their products for a reasonable number of years.

Look at the bright side, people pay a huge amount of money to get a lake-view, this one is right in front of our house!

This is a 180-degree stitched Panorama taken from the front gate of my house this morning.

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  1. Isaac Schrödinger | 19 Dec, '06
  1. Hamad says:

    how long will this take to dry up??

    the one near our house takes aprox. 2-3 months =)

  2. nurox says:

    any good for fishing?

  3. June says:

    Oh no. Ironically, it’s sunny and clear over here 😕

    Yalla, will be back soon inshallah and will see it for myself. Not what I want to be coming back home to.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is only half the story. There are roads in Bahrain that we always try to avoid when it rains. The water becomes so deep cars break down and they had to tow them out. It’s been like that for YEARS AND YEARS 😥 . It doesn’t take allot to build drainage on the side of the road but apparently they could not be bothered with this.
    E.g.
    the stadium roundabout in Isa-town
    the road from Riffa to Souq-Waquf
    A’ali to Riffa road
    Riffa – Sanad roundabout
    these are a few around my area.

  5. mahmood says:

    I’m beginning to hate this rain too.. my wife now insists on taking my car instead of hers because my car is “higher” and water won’t seep into it and all that rubbish!

    Now the latest excuse is I have had several hints that she should keep it which I have been resolutely ignoring 😡

  6. john wise says:

    the sad thing is that with all the so-called development in bahrain, we don’t have a sewerage system, NOW THATS SAD. Some indian has to come and suck all the shit from the sewers everytime it overflows. Just imagine a litle truck driving around all the sewers and sucking all the shit out,(the sewer outside our house overflows about once a month, and it smells literally like SHIT, we have to wait for these guys to come around and suck the shit out, or we do it ourselves if they take too long.) now imagine we have rain. :-X

  7. mahmood says:

    You know the even sadder thing? The municipalities (yes, all 5 of them) only have EIGHT such pump-trucks for the whole of Bahrain!

    I’m not sure if there are any private companies subcontracting, but the situation is rather sad.

    And how much is an oil barrel again? With Bahrain exporting some 150,000 of them a day you would think they can afford to build a proper sewage system or at least provide more of these trucks.

  8. Anon says:

    There is one thing I hate about rain in Bahrain (especially if you live in or around a decrepit village) is the horrible stench you get in the air :undecided: .. that horrible wet/damp smell of water that has mixed with age old dust & debris.

    Not the nicest of ways to describe your country 😆

  9. Bukra Tshuf says:

    If you call that “sadder“, let’s see if you won’t call this “sadist” – spelled advisedly. Yesterday, all five ex-muni-chieves were decorated by the King for their “outstanding achievements for Bahrain” during their term of office – i.e. the last 4 yrs.

  10. Ratfink says:

    They’re working on a proper sewerage system in Rifaa. It just hasn’t been finished yet. Maybe next year, inshallah.

    Ratfink

    P.S. Unofficial definition of ‘inshallah’. Very similar to the Spanish ‘manana’ but without the Spanish sense of urgency 🙂

  11. Dude says:

    In Thailand, it rains like hell,but it only takes about 1 or 2 hours to dry up, they have very good sewage systems.

    I’m on holiday now (3 weeks :D) but what sucks is that if it continues to rain like this, il be stuck at home the whole 3 weeks 😡

  12. anonymous says:

    there are several such lakes outside where I live… they havent dried up from the first time it rained–just getting bigger. The villages around me are completely flooded, and it’s very difficult to drive in or out of them.

    I’m a bit concerned that with such stagnant bodies of water, diseases may become more rampant.

    On the bright side, there are seagulls all around, and I think I saw a flamingo 😀

  13. Maverick says:

    Well spoken M. It is a real shame! Makes you wonder what the municipal ministry is doing with all the money and why in the 4 years in parliment, neither house opened the subject of the poor drainage/sewerage system in this archipalego kingdom.

    Shame…. 😡 😕

  14. mahmood says:

    It’s a new record!

    According to Al-Wasat this morning, the average rainfall for December is 13.9mm while the rains we received so far (until Sunday) was 113.6mm which is more than 8 times the average! This is a new record, as the old record was set in December 1974 when the amount of rains received then was 96.2mm!

    The misery is multiples of that record as well, as we read reports of people evacuating their homes to sleep in mosques and other public places, one picture in Al-Wasat in Malkiya village is shown going down the road in a boat!

  15. jinx says:

    استعان أحد رؤساء المجالس البلدية، بإحدى سيارات شفط المياه لإزالة المياه من أمام منزله، متجاهلاً دعوات الأهالي له بالتحرك لشفط المياه التي تجمعت وكادت تفيض بها منازلهم. وأعرب الأهالي عن انزعاجهم من هذا التصرف، الذي اعتبروه غير مقبول من قِبل مسئول انتخب من قِبل الشعب، يضع مصلحته فوق مصلحة الأهالي

    taken from kawalees……Al Wasat

  16. AJJ says:

    I have a theory,

    Until Bahrainis pay income tax we will never have any real right to complain about social services provided by our elected and unelected leaders.

    Mahmood, why not start a topic on this subject as I think that alot of the ills of this place, both sectarian and economic are down to the fact that most citizens do not see themselves as stakeholders in the country’s future, and they winge and moan when things get them down.

    If we all paid income tax we would feel as if we had the right to ask the government employees to work a proper week and go to work on time, the right to see out taxes were spent wisely and the right for a peacful and indiscrimatory society.

    Of course we would need salary increases which would come from working harder but this would lessen our dependence upon asian workers. Then at least we would only have ourselves to blame for the health service and the drainage.

    Finally we would then be free from this begging and behind ( noses?) kissing society and we could earn our pride and respect and not be given services in return for misguided loyalties to one sect or another.

    When some thing is given as a gift it is never appreciated as much as when it is earned.

  17. Thogba says:

    Reasons and Cure

    Reasons for this mess

    1. Unfair and biased recruitment/appointments of managemnet in Ministry of Works and Ministry of Municipalities. Dont’t expect unqualified managers to care about the future.

    2. Planning done by expatriates;they planned for Bahrain to survive during their job contract years.

    3. Deliberate carelessness to the infra-structure in villages because the villagers had history of anti-government attitudes. Compare Budayia and Duraz;compare Jasrah and Hamalah. Racism? Hatred?Stupidity? You name it.

    4. Unqualified ministers and PM. The PM has been around for 35 years. Do you expect him after all these years to care? No. He cares about the merceneries protecting his family.

    5. Huge expenditure of budget on defence(30%). This affects the expenditure on the infra-structure. And most of the money spent on defence goes abroad; spent on useless weapons and on ugly merceneries.

    6. Official media (e.g. BTV) always hides the truth, always says that Bahrain is prosporous..
    Bahrain isn’t prosporous… Prosperity means excellent infra-structure, justice, full democracy,
    good salaries, equal opportunity to every citizen, reliance on citizens NOT merceneries…

    Cure
    1. Re-designing of municipal circles according to population not LOYALTY to AL Khalifa.

    2. 100% democracy

    3. Appointment/Recruitment according to qualification not sect, religion, skin color

    4.No need for 30% expenditure on ministry of defence

  18. Jasra-Jedi says:

    Thogbah,

    not sure about some of your points. some of the expats who built the roads in bahrain way back in the day have longer lasting roads than alot of what we see now. it is unfair to say expats care less about the country than locals. it is much more prudent to look at the legislation governing construction on the island and determine what is more condusive to quality control than others.

    dont know about 30% on mod. what about expenditure on ministry of electricity or ministry of health or ministry of education. they are ALL way off the mark when comparing them to other countries. as is our dependendce on expat labor.

    very easy to point fingers in one direction and say everything is a resuly of sectarianism and racism. much harder to swallow the bitter pill of trying to make our economy a sustainable one that can run itself.

    one thing i like about taxes is that there aint no taxation without representation. not a bad idea.

    but, will our welfare-dependent, subsidy-addicted, third world labor-obsessed, makramah-mad bahraini society give up its self destructive behaviors and bite the bullet to make it grow up?

    no. i think not.

    much more fun to play the current game of the moment..which is” lets blame EVERYONE but ourselves. we are victims”.

    and who are we victims of, i hear you ask?

    aaah, let me drag up the list.

    we have, my friends,the following evil people who are to balme for everything. the evil PM. the evil HM. the evil Ali Salman. the evil ali qassim. the evil opposition. the evil shia opposition. the evil sunni oppostion. the evil US. the evil Brits. the evil Iranians. the evil women. the evil non moslems. the evil infidels. the evil effects of globalizaiton. the evil of education. the evil Saudis. the evil effects of music and alcohol. the evil liberals. the evil bearded fundamentalists. and the MOTHER of all evils, common sense. boy are we allergic to that.

    for the LOVE of god. time to grow up people. we are either adults and do what we can to secur our future and not expect handout after handout. or we are drip fed our comforts. make up your minds

  19. Thogba says:

    Dear Jasra-Jedi

    1. What would Bahrain be if we had a fully elected government?

    2. Taxation is good but is the current government honest enough? No. Come on, they robbed us. Do you know what happened to the Pensions Fund 2 years ago?

    3. I’m not pointing fingers to just the PM. He’s a main source for the problem.

    4. We cannot secure our future if the former head of Central Information Organization(CIO) Ahmed Attiyatallah in the current government.

    5. Let us not forget the Bander Gate. The government is planning to destroy the majority of its citizens. How can we secure our future.

    6. Common sense does not exist in Bahrain.

  20. Barry says:

    Here’s what we do here in my corner of California for the rain. We get more than you guys do, but it all comes in winter and can come in pretty fierce. In the town I grew up, water from the streetsis shunted under the roads, through pipes into deep pits we call percolation lots. These lots are catchments for the rain water. Since we sit on top of nothing but sand, the sand filters out the garbage that gets caught, oils from the roads, dust, etc. and allows the water to percolate into our aquifers underground. So, instead of a… uh… picturesque lake in front of your house, it forms in the percolation lot behind your house where it causes no one harm. As a kid we used to throw rocks into it from our back garden. Good memories :).

    Sewage, as in waste from everyone’s houses is piped to the treatment facility, it does not go into the sewer system that catches the rain water.

  21. Ibn says:

    one thing i like about taxes is that there aint no taxation without representation. not a bad idea

    ..Unless you live in Washington DC, Jasra. 😉

    -Ibn

  22. jasra jedi says:

    ibn … true! dc aint a state, huh. but, it does have the ability to elect great leaders like marion barry? (if i remember his name correctly!)

    thogbah ..

    1. What would Bahrain be if we had a fully elected government?

    errrm .. you tell me! what would your economic agenda be? what are your views on subsidies? on domestic help? how would you revamp the legal system in bahrain? what would you do about domestic abuse and rape? would you change sharia to personal effects law for child custody and inheritanc? would you have one unfiied codified law that governs both sunni and shia? would you ask al awqaf (both jaffaria and sunniyua) to publish their book?

    am very very interested to hear why you think 100% elected government will fundamentally change the socio-economic fabric and quality of life in bahrain. whats your agenda?

    note .. hitler was elected, so were the mullas in iran. assad came to power originally by the will of the people. so did saddam hussien. and mubarak.

    why should any ‘new’ power be any different than the old one if their agenda is exactly the same??

    i am awaiting your reply eagerly ..

  23. Richy says:

    Same in front of my house… see my blog for pictures

  24. Ibn says:

    Mahmood,

    A close relative of mine worked in the civil-engineering/construction business for 20 years while in the Emirates.

    Yesterday I had a chance to talk with him and I remembered this thread and asked him about his experiences there. I told him about your post and asked if he could shed any light on why construction in the gulf can be shoddy.

    The answers he gave me were quite complex and intertwined, but Ill do my best to summarise them here:

    So you have four parties: The construction designer, the builder, the owner, and the government. An owner will go to a designer, and ask for a building to be built. The designer will design it, and will then relay this information to the builder. Here is the first problem. Apparently there is no standard format for specifications that designers give builders over there. So the desinger can get away with writing a very ambigous specification, and the builder goes ahead and interprets it his own way. Then when a problem shows up, the designer will say the builder didnt build it right, while the builder will say that he was just following instructions from the (ambigous) spec. The problem here is the format of the spec is not standardised, and here is where the minicipal government comes in: A standard format would ensure that a code-enforcement agency in a municipality would be able to easily characterize something as safe, and not safe, against proven engineering standards. But a code-enforcement agency effectively doesnt exist. Hence, no standard. (More on this later).

    The second problem involves the actual design of structures, and its interplay with local expectations. Let me give an example: At some point, my relative like others in this industry became aware of a weak-wall epidemic in houses of the Emirates. Apparently, wall designs were used that did were not insulated at the base. Thus, when water came in contact with them, it made them weak and crumbling was rampant. The solution was routine – insulate the base of the walls and then place the concrete walls inside. They took this design to the municipality, and recommended that insulated-walls be made a standard for houses so that this phenomenon will go away. To which the municipal officer who was talking to them replied “They’re just houses – why do you care?” Thus, new engineering solutions that solved legit problems were not integrated into a standard that the municipality had.

    Now I want to clarify – earlier I had said that a municipal code-enforcement agency does not effectively exist. It does exist however, but it does nothing. Its role will become clear in the next paragraph. Remember, it was this code-enforcement agency that they took this engineering solution for housing walls to, but it was viewed as “unimportant”, and not integrated.

    So what did the owners of those houses do? They ended up fixing those walls themselves, out of their own pockets. In the conversations with many of the owners, my relative got the impression that they actually expected houses to normally behave like this – have walls crumple in after a couple years, roof leaks, etc. This was all to be expected apparently. (I didnt really understand this – he had told me that there were a couple hundred design companies and even more builders, so surely bad wall-designers would have been out competed right? Owners would simply give their money to better ones – ones who would garuantee 30 years of structural integrity for example, VS 2 years. While that is true – and other better designers do exist there, they are obviously more expensive – and so most owners still opt for a cheaper solution – and this goes back to local expectations – if they dont view a crumbling wall in 2 years as a deal breaker, they will opt to cross that bridge when they get there. In a way, companies are responding to what owners value. This might have an element of local owners not looking too far into the future too).

    So far we’ve covered the designers, the builders, and the owners. The last part of the problem involved the municipal government – specifically, their department of building-code enforcement. With alot of the skyscrapers and high profile projects, most owners have strong links to members of the royal family, and hence the department of code enforcement is garuanteed to make sure everthing is to exact spec, because #1) The building is very high profile, 2#) If it collapses, there will be many many deaths. Not to mention the reputation of the royal family, and even the country. So for high brow projects and glamorous infrastructure, everyone, from the designers, to the builders, to the code-enforcement municipalities self-impose much stricter standards because they know heads will roll if anything goes wrong. Here, the municipalities do their jobs, and cross check all design work with proven engineering standards, again and again before giving approval.

    But when it comes to smaller off the radar projects and houses, everyone gets off easy – the desingers know they will not be held to standards, the builders do not bother to cross reference anything, (they are just following spec), and the municipality just doesnt care about enforcing any code. The designers know that after their cheap design is done and they take the money, no one is going to come after them in 2 years if a wall starts crumbling, or a roof leaking, etc. (Unless there is a big accident of course). Otherwise, they move on. And the better competition wont get a foot hold because at the end of the day owners seem to want to build first and think later.

    So there you have it – a taste of the most pressing problems in construction in the gulf. One thing is for sure: Companies will always respond to a municipality. So if the municipalities stopped selective enforcement of building codes, companies would be held to safety standards all the time. And this standard would come in a format that all design proposals would have to come in, so that they can easily be evaluated against proven engineering standards that already exist.

    I am personally still trying to figure out some other aspects of this – (some things still do not compute in my head), but I think this is the total jist of it. I was as intruiged to hear this from him as I hope you will be! 🙂

    -Ibn

  25. mahmood says:

    Indeed! Thanks for sharing that and it does sound true. Now if you consider Bahrain’s specific situation with an elected Municipal council, I wonder how that would differ. The same is also true of Saudi, Qatar and Kuwait.

    My personal view with this is to have a strong professional body governing these firms, be they architects or construction companies, with enough power to penalise and excommunicate offenders who prefer money against safety.

  26. Richy says:

    They started to build a road in front of my home. I should say they started to bring some dirt and sand to fill in holes. Of course they messed up the whole thing and did not work properly for the last 3 days. This morning they came again. 3 guys were sitting waiting for trucks to come… they said they have no sand, no materials… I told them they did really bad work, fortunately I have a Hummer but most of my neighbours got stuck. So I took their CPR and threatened them saying I would write to the Ministry of work complaining about them… They finally moved their asses and build some kind of passthrough so I can go tomy garage…

  27. Mohd says:

    A tax in Bahrain??
    haram walla haram….is it not enough?? the sister neighbouring countries are getting electricity, some telephone calls free and you are suggesting TAX?? what a stupid suggestion..excuse the xpression….150,000 barrles a day… will take the average price of $50 that brings 5,700000… $5.7 millions a day and you are suggesting tax as the solution…u seem to have lots of them ($) why not contribute some to buy a truck to suck the water ???

  28. AJJ says:

    Hey Mo,

    You missed the point. We are paying tax already – its just that we never get it in our pay packets to give it back. In a European system we would all be earning more but paying tax – the net result is the same we would be just as broke but because we actually paid for them we would have the right to demand better services for OUR money. At the moment the State funds everything from oil revenues and so public services are treated as a gift. Gifts lead to laziness, corruption and destroy motivation and initiative. No-one has a right to gifts, so until we actually pay for the State we have to accept whatever it hands down.

    Finally, the same goes for our MP’s and Government workers. Once we pay taxes we, the people, will pay their salaries so they had better start to serve us, work a proper week like we do, and be accountable, turn up for work on time, and do the job we are paying for instead of having too many holidays. How many MP’s would have the courage to propose that the Government workers be treated the same as the rest of us.

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