The Year of the Bear

By Sumayyah Meehan, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS) Middle East Correspondent

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

–Winnie the Pooh

teddyB His name is Teddy B. and he was born in China almost 2 years ago. He awoke one day to find himself sitting on the shelf of a toy store and staring into the eyes of a young Kuwait woman who had just returned home after studying abroad. A match made in Heaven, and the journey of a lifetime, was born. Known only as the ‘manager’, Teddy B’s owner prefers to remain out of the spotlight and has chosen to keep her identity a secret.

Fortunately, Teddy B. loves the limelight and has enough showmanship to fill in the gaps which he fully displays on his blog, . In a recent interview, his owner shed some light on Teddy B’s adventure, which began this past August and will last a full 365-days. Teddy B’s adventures are all painstakingly documented on his blog. In her mission statement, which is displayed on Teddy’s blog, his manager writes, “Teddy is an alter ego. He willingly volunteered to be a social experiment to help create a life for someone who is trying to settle back into society.”

With a passion for photography and art, Teddy B’s manager also says that the experiment of sharing the adventures of a stuffed toy with the rest of the world is a combination of self-expression and a critique of social life in Kuwait as well as the rest of the Arab world. “People are mesmerized by Teddy’s charm. Wherever Teddy and I go, we found many people to be very cooperative and understanding of our cause,” his manager says. So far, Teddy B. has enjoyed several activities from dining on sushi to sitting a police motorbike to visiting Turkey. Only time will tell how many adventures this tiny brown bear can fit in with well over 300 more days to go on his journey.

Teddy B. is also very socially aware. He recently participated in a ‘Smoke Out’ day in which cigarette smokers all over Kuwait were asked to quit smoking for the day and dropped their packs of cigarettes into specially designated drop boxes. And next month Teddy B. will set his sights on the issue of breast cancer in Kuwait by attending a symposium. Teddy B. and his manager are also planning to auction off several of the props that appear with him in the photos on his website, including a mug that he painted all by himself, with proceeds benefiting local charities. The culmination of Teddy B’s journey will be an exhibition and book to document his adventure.

Teddy B. has become somewhat of a local celebrity in Kuwait and there is no doubt that he has enough spunk to take on the entire world. He already has more than 800 fans on Facebook and several people are following him on Twitter. And with 11 more months to go on his journey, Teddy B. is sure to have even more people peeking into his life to catch a glimpse of the bear whose heart is as good as gold.


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