A creative social experiment with a cause. Read more…

If you are at all familiar with the Kuwaiti blogosphere, then you must have heard of “Teddy B,” and his “Year of Teddy” adventure by now. Struggling to fit in to a society that the anonymous blogger behind “Year of Teddy” once called home, “Teddy B.” is an alter ego the blogger adopts to “establish new relations…start a new life, and try new things.” A creative and inspiring way to help both society and become a place to vent and find one’s self, this sensation of a blog supports a different charity every month; with a planned big charity event at the end of the yearlong adventure.

Khaleejesque caught up with the blogger behind “Teddy B.”/“Year of Teddy” and asked him a few questions about his one-of-a-kind online social experiment.

Khaleejesque Team: Can you explain your project to our readers? What is the back-story to this blog?

Teddy B.: Teddy started as a personal project for someone who felt a bit detached from society after living abroad for a while. He becomes a motivation for me to do something new everyday and challenge myself to go to places I otherwise wouldn’t have without him. He initially started off by doing ‘Kuwaiti’ things and now he has his own voice and is only interested in doing things that are different.

KT: How did you get the idea? What or where did it spring out of?
TB: It started off as a conversation between a friend and me two days before Teddy's first post. I had just moved back and she was explaining what the rave is right now in Kuwait. She informed me of all these different blogs I should follow since they could help me see what's new here. Some voiced their opinions on issues, some promoted products, but all of them were done by people who've lived here for much longer [than I have] and know the country pretty well. I thought it would be fun if people could see things through eyes that were new to Kuwait.

KT: Why did you choose photography as your means of expression?
TB: As they say, images speak louder than words, which is why I only have short captions by each photograph. Photography is also my passion and hobby and I wanted to improve that skill.

KT: What do you want to show in your photos? Are they random? Or do they always have a purpose?
TB: Sometimes they’re personal experiences that I want to include on the blog for myself. Sometimes they’re social issues regarding Kuwait that I want to highlight. Sometimes the photos please my photography passion, when I wanted to capture something that would be a cool shot.

KT: Looking at some of your photos, some people might think, “How did they do that?” You manage to get in the midst of what’s going on. How do you do it? Do you carry a camera around with you all the time?
TB: Yes, all the time. Teddy and the camera are both with me wherever I go for those spontaneous instances. There are a lot of photos I take daily of Teddy that are not posted in the blog. Those will be shown at the end of the 365 days in his Book.

KT: What do you look to achieve from this project? What do you hope to get out of it (generally/personally)?
TB: Generally I want Teddy to be a household name in Kuwait. By the end of his 365 days I want enough people to know about it to make the charity event a success. I want it to be known that this is all for a good cause and, although it’s all fun, the product of Teddy is going to help people in need.

KT: How will Teddy B. benefit the society?
TB: Teddy helps an organization or cause each month, i.e. anti-smoking campaigns, breast cancer etc. He focuses on smaller issues on some days by just highlighting a behavior he doesn’t like or support. At the end of his 365 days he picks one of the 12 causes he helped and elects it as the charity he wants to support. We are hoping to create a charity event to raise funds for this cause: Teddy will be auctioned to the highest bidder (along with all his clothes and personal belongings), and all merchandise proceeds go to the Teddy B. Cause.

KT: Do you have any plans for the future?
TB: If the Teddy B. charity event is a success, I wish to keep it going and help an organization every year. It’d be on a much smaller scale but still finding the people that really need the money. As for Teddy and me, he would have helped me with my initial goal in trying to fit back into society and establish new connections. I won’t need him to be my alter ego, and I won’t need to live through him. We would both move on, but I’ll miss him.

Visit Teddy B.’s blog at www.yearofteddy.com http://www.yearofteddy.com/. You can also be a fan on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Teddy-B/279455860432 or follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/yearofteddy .

– Fajr Abbas for Khaleejesque. Images: Teddy B http://www.yearofteddy.com/.

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