Thursday 31 March 2011

My best holiday

Beach, shopping, food, and relaxation? NO WAY! My favorite holiday is a resort and spa, go and do all the health checks, immerse in mineral water, lie on mud, wrap yourself with a thick blanket and sweat! Have all the massages that you want and facials too. Of course don't forget the food, this has to be healthy and helps you to detox. Sounds good to you? So listen up.

Last year some of my female friends were planning to travel to Slovakia. When I asked why, they said that they will go for treatment? Well, I never actually thought of anything like this, and I have no health issues, but then again they don't either. After continuous nagging by my lovely friends I agreed to take a week off work and venture out. What I experienced is something beyond imagination. The idea of being pampered for an hour by your local nail spa, or feet first shop doesn't even resemble what I saw there. First of course the complete cleanliness of the place, the odd smell though comes from the water. The pool was close to my room, so I can smell it, the water is about 45 degrees, really hot, and you have to drink at least three glasses a day from it. Then the comes the doctor appointment, they are cranky but worth seeing, as they will do all the health checks that one needs.

From day one we went to the mirror pool, don’t worry there are no mirrors there so you will not be staring at your faces the whole day! It is a good twenty minutes of sitting in the same hot mineral water in silence while listening to classic music. The treatment is not complete unless of course you drink a glass or two of water then lie down on a bed and sleep (I did that of course).

The hydro massage is as it sounds, your body is massaged with a high pressure mineral water through a hose, the masseuse is so experienced she doesn't even look at the pressure points of your body, she just pints the hose and the water does the job. Of course there is also the Jacuzzi that you sleep in while the various water points sprays your body. Not sure how they know that, but every bit of my nerves were relaxed afterwards.

The mud is a slimy experience, but believe me, it is so worth it, the hot mud comes from the mountains and it makes your body regain its youth and beauty. I did feel different, even for months after that. Even my thought process was calmer, and I feel that discovering my ability for writing came from that place, maybe I had a blocked valve in my brain and the heat of the pools helped in clearing the blockage!

In the evening I wear my burkini and swim in the hot pool, people there think that I’m a penguin is swimming (as they were all wearing ordinary bikinis) I didn't care, life is about doing what you want and being comfortable while doing what you want. Anyone will stare, if you ignore the looks, they will feel shy afterwards.

The walks, group exercises, or just taking photos of the water lilies was by itself is a revival to the brain.

I am not going to talk about the food, to me it was brilliant to have health food the whole day every day for a week. I did lose some inches of course, life in dubai brought them back on again, what the hell, I plan to go to another health spa soon. I wish my mum and sisters would join me.

Have a great day

Wednesday 30 March 2011

What is the solution?

I haven't written about my country for a while. Today the papers mention merges in the bourse, central bank having difficulties, the banks say that the money is drained, and people are still not happy so they are sulking at home? Ok, I am not saying that suddenly we all should turn the page, forget everything and start building again, not that, the wound is too deep to be healing in such short time. What I am saying is that both the people and the government should start work and apologise to each other, kiss each other on the forehead, and start to build, the last thing we all want to see is another Libya on this tiny island (of course we will never be as we do not have oil, but we are a gateway for those who are having another set of power struggle), every body should just stop and think? What do I really want?

For example I stop and think once a month of what I really want? And my list changes every month, I compare lists only when I am stuck and don't know what I want!! Typical. Seriously, what I am trying to say here is that moods change, and wants change and needs change. So we will always have different needs and wants, and the government will never be able to keep up with us. And that is the fun in life, we place our orders and the restaurants have to change their menus based on what we really want? I guess what I am trying to say here is: fold the page guys, and talk in plain english rather than bring in ingredients that are not supposed to be added to that dish at all. To me a spice with the letter S, and another with the letter S again, should not be added to the food, as both are bad for your health, if you want to use them then make is scarce.

I think the goverment could have contained this whole saga by just listening to what the people were saying rather than making up stories. All they were saying is that they want free speech, more money, better life style and better education that is allowed to all. Basically the people want to be respected and empowered,i dont see nothing wrong with that. Look at what the UAE is doing and learn guys, the other day during the DWC, the Sheikhs were mingling with the public, the wives of the sheikh were there and their kids too, it was truly a country that believes in itself. I love it here and only wish that one day Bahrain will be the same, what is the problem if I go to costa in country mall and see sheikh SALMAN there, I greet him, or he greets me, and then I go to do my business while he continues to play with his daughter. I know that some of my friends will hate me for this, I am only mentioning imaginary names here. Anyway, I think going overboard from both sides is not something that we all had hoped for, nor the two youth who decided on twitter that they too should have a reveloution like Tunisia and Egypt

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Networking! Truth or fallacy

Last night was a rare occasion that I visit a friend in Abu dhabi and have a long chat along with dinner, without having to check messages, read BBMs, answer phone calls (liar, I did answer one call) or see any tweets or Facebook remarks. She invited me to a nice place, a hotel built to resemble a dolphin from the outside, and the guys kandoora and Besht from the inside. Yas hotel, it's truly an artistic creation, the way it was decorated, the types of furntiture, very beautiful. It actually tempted me to move to Abu Dhabi.

Anyway, dinner was great, but greater was the discussion! We were talking about jobs, businesses and how to do well in life, and the reality of things, she said that networking is so important, and kowing the right people helps a lot in settling oneself in the right place, she said that you may get what you want by networking, but to stay in the job, or do well in the business you must also have the brain to keep them. Of course I cannot argue with that! She is absulutely correct, and that is why social media had mushroomed and grown. Nowadays if you want to share an item, you need to choose from a page long list!!!

Of course I was thinking, I do network, I have a lot of friends on facebook, twitter etc, and I blog, so I have something to show for my time here, but is this what she meant? As the discussion continued I realised that it is not what she means.

She asked me how long have I stayed in UAE. And how many of my networks have I used to get out of trouble, or ask for help, or to make deals, or to find a better job, the list of needs of a human being can go on and on, which made me shrink in my place really. I was trying to find one person who I can go to to get out of trouble, if say my son or daughter fight with someone and go to prison! Or if I need to do an operation and have to get a certain doctor, or if mum needs something urgently while she is in a foreign land. Or, or, and or. Of course I couldn't think of anyone in particular who will help me in those times of needs. Then she said, what about new business deals and contracts? I said none I did use my dad's friend once, but that was it, so "you have been living, but you are a survivor" she said. Okay, I know where that discussion will take me. This friend knows that I have a lot of experience, that I have never let go of studying, never ever failed when it comes to doing a good job; but she also knows that I am not making a killing, and have to write on a piece of paper every day, what I need to do to cover my expenses (in finance we call it budgeting, she calls it scraping through!!).

So, she is waiting for my answer, I pondered upon the remark, and admitted, that yes I have been a survivor, so she said, why should you be a survivor only? She said that if one has the right qualities then one has to make it in life, and it is not just luck, but you have to make it. I tried to defend myself, that I am not living in my own country where families know each other, blablabla, or by saying that in UAE people do not like using their networks. She knows of course that I am making up things now to say. She stopped me, and said that if we do not help others, or get the help of others we will either be on the sidelines (and we deserve to be in the middle or forefront as we worked hard for it)or will be survivors only. She of course has a different idea about networking, she believes in the correct face to face networks, or family friends network, for example the rotary club is such thing. I am in some of these networks! Mostly women only! But have i ever called any of the women if I was in trouble? No, have I ever called the top guy in an organisation to get a contract through? have I ever gotten the big breaks from governmental jobs even though we can make it a success? No, okay, so basically, I am in deep shit, excuse my French. Since I started work, and then business I don't use anyone, of course I myself is often asked to help, but not the opposite. So I mentioned to her about a project that I was trying to sell to the goverment in the UAE that will give them a minimum of 250 million dollars a year, and that till now I am not able to reach the right guy to accept my project (don't take me wrong, I do want something out of it) she said, well stuff like this you will have to go to the sheikhs or someone who knows the Sheikhs? But do I know any Sheikh? Then she asked me about my project in Bahrain, if that went through? I said no I am still waiting for the approval (so far one year) so she gave me that look which means, "Suad, all your hard work and perseverance will go down the drains if you do not know the right people!"

I need to think more of her comments of course, today I am going to write a list of who I know in this country to get me somewhere. Watch this space guys.

Monday 28 March 2011

Chip (not fish and chips)

My cat was not feeling too well, yesterday was her appointment with the vet, she was checked and an injection was given, so all is cool so far. Her heart was pumping while we were there, these guys know where they are and can smell fear, how come we have no idea about this side of things? A question to ponder upon this morning!

Anyway, I asked the Vet about the chip that they installed last week under the skin of the cat, he said that I need to ring the company if the cat is lost, or I can buy a GPS system to track her. Now I know that you will all say that I am metfargha and Alnas fi lajlajah walaroos tuba rajel. Please bear with me. Anyway, I told him oh wow, so if I put one under my skin people can tell where I am?? That is so cool. He said of course, it is happening already in germany, a simple incession and a chip is fixed in the arm, the people who are leaving the Borders only stick their hands out of the car into this machine or scanner and all their information is provided. He says that this is the next thing that is going to happen.

This reminded me of a discussion with the kids couple of weeks ago. I was telling them that when the end of the world happens, people will see the event on the palm of their hands! They laughed, I said what about the real time news that you see on your blackberry son? And what about the new advancement in fashion industry that is on your new torch girl? Are you not putting these gadgets on the palm of your hands? Of course you are. So I rest my case. Then we, of course, digressed into different subjects, and each one of us brought in a new subject and we didn't know where we started, as happens with arab families I guess, we all have something to say and we all have to say it at the same time. Anyway, I was telling them that talking is a wave, so why do we need a phone to talk to someone? Why can't we simply have a thingy fixed inside our heads, and this thingy will know if someone wants to talk to me! Like now my phone knows that Mum's phone is ringing me? So that chip will also do the same? Of course the discussion that came out of this was great, no one wants to believe that what I was saying could happen, I am no Nostrqdamos, but i could predict things!! like time travel? it happened, when you travel to Los Angeles you can reach in an hour that you spent already somewhere else; and you could be still living Monday and talk on the phone to a friend who is already in Tuesday. Once I was talking to two friends on a conference call, I was in New Zealand, one of the friends in Chicago, and the other one in Bahrain, isn't that time travel? We were all in a different time zones. I always make a joke, that in New Zealand we hear the news few days late, for example we heard about 11th of September on the 12th of September. I still remember that I took a piece of my daughter's Birthday and bom, we heard the news, so they thought that I was celebrating it?

Back to the chip thingy, not sure if you heard this song (you got me under my skin!) by Frank Sinatra, this chip reminded me of this. Do you think that when someone starts to love someone they insert a chip under their skin?

Let's continue the discussion on what th future could hold?

Sunday 27 March 2011

Earth hour, water usage and recycling

Okay, suddenly I am an environmentalist? Of course and have always been. In the office we recycle paper and reuse it, if I see one paper that is not used at the back that person is frawned upon, and they all know it. Also we try to refill the ink, or not print in general. That saved me Reams and Reams of paper every year.

Electricity is beyond me, not sure how to save there except of course to keep the lights off if one is not in the rooms, last night was earth hour, all the rooms were dim, I even prayed with the lights off, didn't even light a candle! So if you guys have a better way let me know.

Then comes the water, in every house we lived in we try to dig a well to use for watering the plants, washing cars and clean the grounds around the house. but since i started living in these communities that were developed by the likes of Emaar and union properties, we were not allowed to dig wells. My main problem is of course with the chlorine content in regular water that is supplied by the water authority, it could affect the plants, and also it is a shame that I wash my car with water that is not available to millions of children around the world. I never actually focused on the cost side of things.

Having said that I must talk about the cost of the water. We have always been paying between 2500-5000 dirhams a month for our electricity/water, never thought that this dilemma could be solved, except to work harder and gain more money to pay it back to the country, my dad used to say, baby, consider it a sadaqa (charity) to improve the electricity/water production in the country.

One day I was walking around the community that we've been living in for the past three years, suddenly the sprinklers went on, apart from the fact that I was sprayed and saoking wet with water, I felt that it didn't smell nice. I asked the Gardner, he said that the community has it's own recycling plant for water! What? I wrote to them straight away to find out if they can supply us with the same water, but no response, I went there and asked if we can pay for a cable extention to use the recycled water? No response. Anyway, one day I receive a circular that the community would like to install recycled water cable to houses if we would pay for them. Well of course we all said yes, or at least I did. And there, we had it. Guess how much I am paying in water and electricity bill now? Between 500-700 dirhams only. I photographed my payments history for you to see. Mind boggling wallah (by god).

So you don't only save the environment, but you also save your pocket.

Don't ask me where is the difference in the money? Did I save it? Naa, it must have gone on other stuff?

Saturday 26 March 2011

Waking up

For the past few days I have been waking up so early, to the extent that it is worrying me? I am not the type who goes to bed early, normally I retire about 12, and then read before going to sleep or just stare at my IPad, for few seconds and poof I am fast asleep. And then many people also have a siesta in the afternoon, in my case I continue to work throughout the day; so having only few hours of sleep is not a joke. So i am thinking of the reasons here. I think it is because don't have a night guard on! (I chewed a few of them) so while i was sleeping i am worried that I will break my remaining teeth!! Please dont laugh, my trips to the dentists have been so frequent and painful to the extent that I don't want to read the word anymore, and when students say that they want to study dentistry I tell them look at my mouth! It is a result of years of either bad dentists or dentists who were trying to repair bad dentists' work.  It must be karma, as I have placed many students into dentistry programme (why am I digressing!) thinking that one day one of them will graduate and will have a solution for me!

Or maybe it's the hot flushes, but these were there for few years now, why suddenly the teeth and the hot flushes would wake me up?

Then eureka, I got it. I have been sleeping in a different room, and the curtains that Costed me a lot are not done properly, the light comes in early and of course will wake me up. I will call my friend today to provide a solution, as I am sure you do not want to read ranting about my dentists and my hot flushes.

But hold on a second. Why not? I am not complaining here, I am merely stating facts. I have spent a fortune on my teeth, including the last operation that took place 3 weeks ago which left my face looking like Micky mouse and my nose spreading on my face like a scope of melted ice cream. This morning I walk up with an absess on top of the bone graft so I am sure that the bone that was planted is not accepted by my body. Of course I know why, my body hates me, he or she (not sure if the word body is a male or a female word) hates to see me in tictac shape, because he or she knows that if I am fine, I will get into some sort of trouble and affect it. Self districting mechanism?

And the second thing is this hot flush, that suddenly and without any prior notice a 1000 centigrade of heat erupts inside you, and then the body of course tries to put the fire off so you find yourself swimming in sweat. It is okay to have this while you are at home, as you can jump into the shower, but in the middle of a classroom while you are training a group of Austrian students about arab culture? No that is beyond acceptable.  To tell you the truth, I will not wish this to my enemiest enemy it is torture in disguise. 

So I am thinking, how come millions of dollars are being spent on ridiculous stuff like plastic surgery, and other superficial research, while the doctors or the scientists leave important things to nature to sort out. No problem I am going to start the teeth-grinding society and we will raise funds so at least someone will figure out the reason, and also the hot-flush society and raise funds on buying fire extinguishers specific for women? I am not kidding here

Our motives into research is screwed up, and this reminds me of a saying that we spend so much research money on breast enlargement and the male organ enlargement, one day the man and the woman will wake up and say what are these? Great they both got Alzheimer!  Something that we also forgot to spend money on.

Have a great day.

Sunday 20 March 2011

Personal finance

Today I was invited to a debate by Gulf News (did I tell you that if GN wanted a devil's advocate they call me!), the debate was about personal finances and how people manage them? The question of the decade I thought. I haven't seen anyone who actually manages his or her finances in a way that it would leave them boyent at the end of each month. Of course I am not sure if you guys know that I am a financier, and a chartered accountant, I left this field after seeing the damage we can do to organisations; I am sure you read about the death of one of the big fives Arthur Anderson? Well that was the straw that killed the camel, that is when I decided I will give it a quit as I couldn't stand being in the company of a bunch who only really care about balancing the debits and the credits, or those that gamble in the stocks and convertibles market. I thought the best way to manage my future earnings is by following the Education provision route, so I started to teach, and to educate people about their best study pathways. So I kissed my past career goodbye, and embraced the new career, you can call me an outlier (not sure if you read the book, but the theory fits me well)I worked at it for longer than 10,000 hours, so I am almost perfect :)

Anyway, what we the debators realised is that almost 80% of the people fall under the heading of walking towards disaster, I.e. They spend more than they earn, they are constantly under tremendous loans, using their credit cards as a source of personal finance and also having a car loan, mortgage, personal loan, business loan, you name it they have it. And what these 80% do not realise is that they are falling in a trap, and to make it worse they also try to copy the johnses (not sure if this is spelled properly!), as they want to buy every new bag, shoes, dress and accessory also they want to go to every restaurant in town, live in the best neighbourhoods and spend weekends away in exotic locations, forgetting that one day they may lose their jobs and can end up in jail.

The other 20% of the people are those who take out some of their income to save it for future use. Boring!

Main reason for the problems is the bankers, they give loans left right and centre without checking the credit worthiness of the person and/or the employer. Employers can be in trouble too and they can make people redundant or liquidate, so a person can be out of a job in no time, we all remember what happened during the economic crisis when many companies just closed down or sacked three quarter of their employees.

So we all agreed at the end that there should be proper education to every one in schools and universities, banks should be regulated, credit checks need to be developed, goverment need to have better insolvency rules, and protection to individuals. Also we all agreed that people should think of how to increase their earnings rather than think of reducing their expenses. But how to encourage people to increase their earnings if there is no avenue for venture capital? So one of the people in the debate said that his daughter works for a venture capital/angel investors company and she can help, also there were two people that help both blue and White colour workers to save and invest in stocks and funds.

Personally I believe in investing in your own ideas, grew them and venture out. I do not believe in giving my money to a bank to invest it, as they will cheat and lie to you. I have a personal experience in this, but that I will leave to a future blog

Friday 18 March 2011

The customer is always right

Last week I attended a workshop on customer service and how a customer can single handedly turn the fortune of any company around to the worse of course. They mentioned statistics regarding word of mouth and it's effect. For example if one client is unhappy, he will tell an average of six people, whilst a happy customer will not talk. So as the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer, companies are doing just that, most of the large organisations are now buying systems that track customers' complaints and try to solve them to avoid negative publicity; the systems are not only through phone calls, they involve chats, all the social media and also point of sales solutions.  Apparently the loses of any complaints are in the billions, so to gain back these billions, the companies are even giving back to the clients in terms of after sales services, discounts on future purchases and freebees.  

We can apply this theory on any organisation. This can be a school, a supermarket, a B2B website, a large government organisation, a house with a family living in it and of course on countries.  I think if everybody took care of it's customers in one way or the other, everybody wins.  We in business schools teach our students that win-win is the name of the game, every student once he/she is working for an organisation should work really hard to make the organisation a success, and in turn that will mean he or she are successful too, and the whole community will benefit from that success.

But, look at the reality of things? Can this be applied to the world. I dare you to do this research, just take a pad and a pen, and stand near the escalator of any shopping mall, ask every one that comes down if he or she have a complaint about anything? And the answer should be yes or no. Do you want to bet That 9 out of 10 Will say YES? We all have complaints! We all want our complaint to be resolved without bias and without linking us to any ulterior motive. 

How do we achieve this role. 

For my friend in New Zealand, she requested me to spread it

Salam  & Kia Ora every one
There will be a protest against the human rights violations in Bahrain
This will take place on Saturday 19th March in Aotea Square from 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Your attendance is the least thing you can do to show support

March, 2011
We, the people of Bahrain, send a distress call to the international communities and media sources to save us from
the Genocide committed by the government against the Unarmed people in Bahrain.

Attached to this message: Recent Evidence of acts of violence committed by the government against the people of Bahrain.

Fear now prevails all the villages and cities of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The militias are spread in all the regions and security is
completely absent. The pro-government individuals are everywhere carrying lethal weapons.
In fact, most of those people are police officers and army personnel who are wearing civilian clothes.

On the other hand, the people of the villages are trying to confront them with simple tools.
A number of martyrs and injured people have fallen, a number of ambulance cars have been stolen, and people are being under threat everywhere.

Today, the Bahraini government, in which a large number of their supporters work in in the army and police centres and possess weapons,
along with the Saudi and the UAE armies are all working to scare the defenceless Bahraini people.

15 مارس 2011
نحن شعب البحرين نرسل نداء إستغاثة للمجتمعات الدولية ووسائل الإعلام لانقاذنا من الإبادة الجماعية التي ترتكبها الحكومة ضد شعب البحرين الأعزل.
مرفق مع هذه الرسالة: أدلة حديثة على أعمال العنف التي ترتكبها الحكومة ضد شعب البحرين
الخوف الآن ، يعم جميع قرى ومدن مملكة البحرين ، المليشيات في كل المناطق ، والأمن غائب تماماً ، انتشر الأفراد الموالون للحكومة بما لديهم من أسلحة بيضاء ونارية ،
الكثيرون منهم هم أصلا رجال شرطة ومن أفراد الجيش ، لكن نزلوا بملابس مدنية ، في الطرف الآخر أهل القرى يحاولون التصدي بادوات بسيطة جداً ..
سقط شهداء ، وجرحى ، سُرقت سيارات إسعاف ، والمواطنون يتعرضون للتهديد في كل مكان ..
اليوم الحكومة البحرينية ، مؤيدوها الذين يعمل عدد كبير منهم في الجيش والشرطة ويمتلكون أسلحة ،
وأفراد من الجيش السعودي والإماراتي يعملون جميعا لإخافة الشعب البحريني الأعزل ..


Monday 14 March 2011

Bahrain, my beautiful country


I hear news, I receive BBMs, I read tweets, blogs, YouTube videos, Facebook Walls and notifications, and I compare.  There are two types of people, or rather three, one who is with the cry for change in Bahrain, and one that is totally in denial, and the third one is fast asleep.  I am not going to be talking about those that are fast asleep, maybe they are under prozak effect so we do not need them, also I will not talk about why those that are crying for change are being battered as we speak by a bunch of hooligans.  These hooligans have no idea why they were created in this life to begin with let alone understand how should people live their lives.  We should never had allowed them to hold the Bahraini nationality. We could have given the nationality to the foreigners who already live and work in Bahrain and respect it's people. Other countries who provide nationalities check every aspect of the person's life including criminal and medical history prior to allowing them to hold their nationalities.  But we, rather bring the criminals and allow them to hold our nationality.  Still I am not talking here about this group.

In this blog the third group is my target.  Until when the journalists are closing their eyes? They swore an oath to protect humanity and say the truth no matter what, else they leave that job for ever.  The ability of writing is a huge responsibly and need not be abused.  History repeats itself, many people who where using their pen to protect the killers are now regretting it and are writing their memoirs to apologise and show remorse and regret. Read for example the confessions of an economic hit man, this guy was wrecking the world knowingly and just because he regrets that he wrote all about it exposing himself and his counterparts to the world.  So this is as far as the journalists goes.

Also Those that do not want change because they are benefiting from the rotting system, should either keep their silence for ever or leave their laptops, blackberries and Iphones as the noise they are creating on the social media is going to be haunting them for ever.  Every tweet is a page on the Internet, and even if it's not it is a wave that is going to be recorded for ever and will be heard on the day of judgement, so let them keep away from the social media as this is their safe option as even if they change their mind later on there is no remorse. 

I am really worried about my country, I am even contemplating approaching neighbouring countries who are loved by their people to interfere to solve the situation in Bahrain, to my astonishment those that live in Bahrain are happy to watch those that are getting bashed by foreigners with swords and are actually standing side by side those foreigners just because they do not want change to happen. 

If you have read alwaqea article in Qur'an you will notice that it is talking about these three groups too, it basically condemns the people that are not believers. And beliefs that are promoted by this higher authority are the ones that the youth in Bahrain are asking for; that is good life, freedom, and happiness.

I wish all of you Peace, prosperity and happiness, I wish all of you freedom and thriftiness, I wish all of you a good night sleep and waking up in the morning knowing fully well that life as we all knew it in Bahrain is at last had seen the last sunshine.


Tuesday 8 March 2011

Too late for Bahrain

Do you know what exactly I think? I think it is too late for the government in Bahrain to save the situation? Why? Ask my why?
For years people and agencies and other groups were crying for help to remove poverty from Bahrain, no one was listening, and those that listened said it is not true, that there is no poverty in Bahrain. Were we kidding ourselves? Of course there is poverty, my aunt for example lived in Belad alqadeep, we used to visit her in her 52 meters house that had her, her children, her in-laws, and her brothers’ and sisters’ in-law with their wives/husbands and kids. The house is split into various areas as her father law had a brother who had two wives, and he too lived in that house. So when we visited to my aunt, we had so much fun as we play in the mud, and visited the various water streams that were there (disappeared now), fished the little fish and took frogs back home with u; we got paid by the farmers to fertilise the tomato farms, as there were no toilets in the house. We loved those 5 cents that the farmers paid us. Anyway, go today and you will still see the house standing there, my aunt had since died (I bet from suffocation) and the kids grew up and moved away but the village is still the same. Those who said that there is no poverty in Bahrain should be ashamed, I think people were blind, for them not to see this is a crime.
Now what does poverty provide? It provides gullible minds, beside the thieves, the whores, the cheats, the list can go on, but I am going to stop here; poverty makes you run for your life and try to earn as much possible from those 5 cents, just to be able to survive. No time for proper education, and we all know, if there is no education there will be no progress. I would hate to say that the minds could be filled with all sorts of rubbish, a piece of this rubbish is to believe that anyone who tells me that I will set you free and provide for you.

So if we take those at the roundabout as a statistics and say that of the 100% that are there, 80% of them are people crying to have a LIFE, 15% are those that have nothing to do so they are wasting their time there, and 5% are those politicians who want the chair, and have already filled the void in the 80% minds, about what they can do for them in the future.

Thus, what dialogue is going to succeed? Not a single dialogue. So i guess what we need now, is one of those 80% is to wake up and say: oh my god, do I really want someone who is a religious guy, or a leftist or a rightist or whatever crap that is there out of the 5% to represent me? No. I am actually one of those 80%,Ii dont want anyone with a prior agenda to represent me. I can talk for myself, so if there is a real intention of solving my problem, and the problem of the other 80% of the people in the roundabout, then i welcome it. But i dont want the government to start accusing the whole of the roundabout, or hooligans to start bashing people with their cars, or tanks that goes over them to re-create what happened in Egypt, it is not a good scene.
I just listened to a journalist called Fajr Al-Saeed from Kuwait debating with two influential journalists in Bahrain, she said something that I think was masked from the eyes of everyone. She said that she had asked what someone wanted from this protests. The person apparently had told her that the beach is no longer there, and that the government had reclaimed the whole sea shore. Now i am not sure how true is this? But when I was young and living in Bahrain I used to take my diary and go and set in an area near the old bridge to Muharraq and write my then so called poetry. I had forgotten about that book ages ago, but I will never forget how the sunset used to make me feel ( I dont want to say that in those days I was madly in love with my husband and I am still am, that is why I used to write poetry, and stopped when I got married, guess what, marriage kills all artistic instincts guys). So the poor people had the water streams, (had disappeared) and the beaches (had disappeared too) now they have nothing. And a life without a place that makes the mind wonders is a life with nothing to lose, hence the protests. Please do not let the void in those poor people’s brains gets filled with nonsense, and let us the most informed people to save the situation.

Last but not least. I would love it if the journalists would actually do a real journalism and confirm that my statics above is correct. Is the 80% having a political agenda? Or are looking for a better life?

Saturday 5 March 2011

My Dream

My dream

Right, no,am not talking about a dream to be achieved instead this time it is a real dream that I had. And no, it is not similar to the king of Egypt's dream where he saw the seven cows etcetera. As you also know, I have been living in Dubai for 30 years, so totally disconnected from my country, which is astonishing that I see this dream, as Bahrain is not really my sole thought these days, I have a lot on my mind.

As you all know the situation in Bahrain is not getting solved, a lot of talks about sectarianships and what not, but today's demonstration is proving to everyone that the youth are not playing, they, for a change, are having a stand.  Which brings me to the dream!

I dreamt that the demonstrators didn't like to have a political party negotiate on their behalf, nor did they want to have a relegious person do so, as they didn't want to politicise their movement.  And since (according to them) I have talking ability, and I have no links to anyone, they chose me to do this job.  Of course all along I was looking at these charming young men and women who wore the flag of bahrain and stood their outside my house in green community thinking is this for real?  

So I asked them to wait so I can bring my IPAD to write notes about their demands. And guess what they said?

They wanted complete freedom of speech, as they think this will eliminate imprisonments

They wanted equal opportunity, in terms of jobs, salaries and better life style

They wanted to remove everybody from the parliament and shura and do another set of elections with no demarcation of territories. 

They wanted to cancel the goverment and private sector salary scales and change the base salaries to a level that would allow them to live in a comfortable way

They want to be treated with respect similar to the UAE people.

They wanted an open door policy of ministers so if they hear about corruption they can report it easily.

They wanted to attend the sessions of the parliaments if a law was going to be enacted.

They wanted a term to be introduced, not a single minister should stay in his role for longer than 4 years.

They wanted a complete change in Bahrain TV, basically kick all of them out and start a TV with a meaning

And last but not least, they want the young to rule, and the king to be made like queen Elizabeth with guards 

Of course I woke up late as usual and went to work, having butterflies in my stomach. 

Really funny article

Really funny article, it is old, but I find it timely, please excuse the language of the writer, and sorry to my non arabic speaking friends.

ثقافة " الكلاسين " عند العرب

بقلم : أسامة فوزي

قررت قبل السفر أن أشتري دستة من ” الكلاسين *
فتوجهت الى أحد المولات الكبيرة في مدينة هيوستون
وطلبت من موظف أنيق فيها أن يدلني على مكانها
فأشار بأصبعه الى مجموعة من الارفف وقال لي : هناك ...

* توجهت هناك ... فاذا بي أجد عشرة ارفف ضخمة
تضم عشرات الانواع من الكلاسين المغلفة بعلب أنيقة مثل الشيكولاتة
كلها ملونة .. وعلى أغلفتها صور لرجال عراة مفتولي العضلات
يلبسون أنواعا عجيبة من الكلاسين
فأصابتني الحيرة واعتقدت لاول وهلة أني أخطأت العنوان
وأن هذا الركن مخصص لكلاسين مفتولي العضلات فقط
أو لكلاسين العاملين في محلات التوب لس - العراة -

لكن الموظف الانيق الذي لحق بي
أكد لي أن هذا الركن يضم جميع أنواع الكلاسين الرجالية الموجودة في المحل
وانه باع واحدا منها يوم امس للشيخ حسن ” هذه مزحة ”

* أصابتني حيرة شديدة
وقررت التخلص من الحرج بطلب المساعدة من الموظف الانيق
في اختيار الكلسون المناسب لي ....
فمط الموظف بوزه بحرفنة وسألني : هل تريد الكلسون ” هانغ لفت أو هانغ رايت ”
؟ Hang left or Hang right

* بصراحة...لم أفهم السؤال لانني متخصص باللغة العربية وادابها
وليس بتكنولوجيا الكلاسين ... فقلت له وأنا محرج: ماذا تعني ؟
نظر الي الموظف بطرف عينه محتقرا جهلي بتكنولوجيا الكلاسين
بخاصة وأنه اكتشف من لكنتي الانجليزية اني من دول العالم الثالث ...
فمط بوزه شبرين وبدأ يلقي علي محاضرة في الكلاسين
وكأنه عميد كلية الكلاسين في جامعة ” أم القوين ” .

* قال : تصنع الكلاسين في أمريكا على نوعين : رايت ولفت ...
فاذا كنت تضع بيضاتك على اليمين
يجب عليك شراء الكلاسين الممهورة بعبارة : هانغ رايتRight ..
واذا كنت تضعها على الشمال فعليك اختيار كلاسين من نوع : هانغ لفتLeft .

* تصببت عرقا من الحرج وحاولت أن استخف دمي
فقلت للموظف الانيق وأنا اتفحص بيضاته جيدا لمعرفة نوع الكلاسين التي يلبسها :
نحن في بلادنا لا نعترف بالتمييز العنصري بين البيضات ....
وكلاسيننا كلها مصنوعة من قماش واحد وبمقاسات واحدة ...
لفت أو رايت مش مشكلة ...
المهم أن يكون الكلسون مزودا بخيط متين من المطاط حتى لا يسحل .

* مد الموظف يده الى رف علوي والتقط مجموعة من الكلاسين المغلفة في علبة أنيقة
ومبرومة مثل اصابع البقلاوة وسألني قبل أن يضعها بين يدي :
هل تريدها فلاي Fly أو نو فلاي no Fly

* فزرني الموظف بسؤاله الذي لم افهمه
وقلت له بالعربية : ولك يا ابن الكلب ....أريد شراء ” كلسون“ وليس ”طيارة ”!! .

* لم يفهمني طبعا ولكنه أدرك أني ”غشيم ” واني ” ثور الله في برسيمو ”
بالنسبة لتكنولوجيا الكلاسين ...
فتمغط أمامي مثل الدكتور محمد البرادعي وواصل محاضرته ... قائلا :
بعض الكلاسين تصنع بفتحة من الامام حتى تسهل على لابسها ” الطرطرة ”
وهو واقف دون أن يضطر الى تسحيلها
وهذه النوعية من الكلاسين يكتب على علبتها عبارة ” فلاي Fly” ...
أما النوع الاخر فلا فتحة فيه وتمهر علبته بعبارة ” نو فلاي No Fly” .

* كانت هذه هي المرة الاولى التي اكتشف فيها
ان جميع كلاسيني وكلاسين الامة العربية من المحيط الى الخليج
من نوع“ فلايFly ”
أي أن لها فتحة من الامام وذلك منذ زمن الحجاج بن يوسف الثقفي وحتى معمر القذافي ....

ليس لاننا سبقنا عصرنا في صناعة الكلاسين
وانما لان كل عواصمنا ومدننا ومحلاتنا التجارية تبنى بلا مراحيض عامه ...
والمواطن المزنوق عليه أن ” يطرطر“ في الشارع ...تحت الشجر...أو في الساحات العامة ....
ومنا من يطرطر وهو واقف في طوابير الجمعيات التعاونية أو أمام دوائر المخابرات ...
وفي مطار صنعاء — مثلا - قد تضطر مثلي الى الطرطرة امام مكتب الجوازات في المطار
لعدم وجود مراحيض في قاعة الوصول
لان اقرب مرحاض عام في صنعاء موجود في القصر الجمهوري
ومن المؤكد ان الاخ العقيد علي عبدالله صالح لن يسمح لي بأن اتشرف وأشخ عليه —
اقصد على الحمام وليس على الرئيس -

* لا أدري لماذا خطر في بالي أن أتصل بالمحطة الفضائية
أثناء عرضها للحوار المفتوح والمباشر مع معمر القذافي
كي أسأله عن نوع الكلاسين التي يلبسها فخامته
بخاصة أنني لم أجد لها ذكرا في ”الكتاب الاخضر“ ....
وأذا كا ن القذافي الذي يطالبنا بمقاطعة المنتوجات الامريكية
يظهر في مؤتمراته الصحافية وهو يدخن مالبورو ....
فمن يضمن لنا أن سيادته لا يلبس كلاسين من نوع ” فلاي ” امريكية الصنع .

* كلسون الملك عبدالله الثاني ملك الأردن من نوع ”فلايFly“
لأني رأيته على غلاف مجلة فرنسية كانت قد التقطت لجلالته صورا بالكلسون ....
اما كلسون الشيخ حمد حاكم قطر فمن نوع ” فلاي اكستراFly Extra ”
أي أن له خمس فتحات بسبب ضخامة الشيخ وطول مدة الطرطرة التي يستغرقها سموه ....

* أنا لا امزح.... وإذا كان القارئ سيظن إني لا اكتب الا من قبيل السخرية والمزاح
فهو واهم لاني على ثقة ان المواطن العربي تشغله اسئلة كثيرة من هذا النوع
خاصة فيما يتعلق بالحكام العرب لان للحكام هالة ربانية
كونوها من طول الفترة التي " قعدوا " فيها على كراسي الحكم ..

* فثلاثة ارباع الشعب الليبي - مثلا - من عمر سنة الى عمر 35 سنة
لا يعرفون الا رئيسا واحدا هو معمر القذافي
الذي استولى على الحكم عام 1969
وبالتالي فهم يتمنون معرفة الكثير من التفاصيل الخاصة والشخصية
عن هذا الكائن غير ما ورد في الكتاب الاخضر ....
من مثل : ماذا يفطر .... وكم مرة يشخ فيها في اليوم ....
وهل يشخ مثلنا ام ان طقوس الشخ عنده مختلفة ....
وهل في خيمته مشخة عربية مثل مشخات البدو
ام انه يتوجه الى القصر كلما هفت نفسه على شخة .....
هل يلعب مع زوجته " كولو باميه " مساء كل خميس ....
هل كان - مثلنا - يجلد عميرة كلما انزنق مع بنات الحارة ؟
هل يظرط ؟ انا اعلم ان لظرطته لون - وهو الاخضر - ولكن هل لها صوت .... ورائحة؟
متى يذهب الى العمل ( الخيمة ) ومتى يعود الى البيت ( الخيمة ايضا ) ؟
وهل يوفر من مرتبه ؟ وكم هو مرتبه اصلا ؟
هل كان يعطي ابنه الاصلع مصروفه اليومي كلما يذهب في الصباح الى المدرسة وكم كان يعطيه؟
هل يلعب شدة او شطرنج مثلنا ومع من؟ من يغسل له جراباته؟ ....

جورج بوش - مثلا - نعرف مقدار مرتبه الشهري
ونعرف كم يدفع للجامعة التي تدرس فيها ابنتاه ....
ولما حلق الرئيس كلينتون شعره بمائة دولار قامت قيامة الكونغرس الذي اعتبر هذا اسرافا ....
فكم يدفع القذافي للحلاق وهل يصبغ شعره ؟

* لقد طبع كلينتون خمسة ملايين نسخة من كتابه الاخير
وحقق ثروة وصلت الى مليون دولار عن كتابه
الذي تحدث فيه عن نفسه وعن زوج امه وعن ايام الصعلكة وعن المحروسة مونيكا
وكان هذا سببا في نفاذ النسخ من الاسواق بسرعة ....
فلماذا لا يقوم الحكام العرب بوضع كتب من هذا النوع
خاصة وانها ستحقق لاصحابها دخلا مهولا حتى لو كانوا في غنى عنه
لانهم كما نعلم - يملكون في بلدانهم الارض وما عليها

* عندما تم اعتقال صدام حسين في الحفرة اياها
لم يهتم العراقيون بشكل خاص والعرب بشكل عام
بالجوانب السياسية لهذا الاعتقال ومدلولاتها
بقدر اهتمامهم بمعرفة اجابات عن اسئلة من نوع :
لماذا لم يحلق لحيته ؟ ماذا كان يأكل ؟ اين كان يشخ وكيف ؟
هل قلى بيضة بنفسه واكلها من شدة الجوع ؟

* لقد اصيب وزير خارجية قطر الاسبوع الماضي وخلال وجوده في دمشق بالسخونة .....
ليس في الامر جديد فكلنا نسخن .... وكلنا نعالج بحبة اسبرين او حبة تلينول ...
واحيانا بتحميلة " لبوس " وغالبا ما تقوم الام بهذه المهمة ....
فما هو الشيء الجديد في تركيبة وزير الخارجية القطري البشرية
التي جعلت " سخونته " لا تزول الا على سرير في الجامعة الامريكية في بيروت

نقل اليه على متن طائرة خاصة من دمشق ؟
انا اعلم انهم اعطوه - هناك - حبة اسبرو ....
وربما حشوا في مؤخرته " تحميلة "

فلماذا يتطلب الامر كل هذه " المصاريف " للقيام بهذه المهمة ؟
لماذا يطير الحاكم العربي الى اوروبا او امريكا حتى يخلع سنه او يحشيه ....
او يدلك البروستاتا ؟
هل بروستاتا زين العابدين حاكم تونس تختلف عن بروستاتا كارلوس
فراش المكتب المكسيكي في عرب تايمز ؟

* لقد تحول الحاكم العربي في العرف الشعبي الى " اسطورة " ....
واصبح المواطن العربي يسعى الى معرفة اي شيء عن هذه الاسطورة ...
والا ما معنى ان يصطف العراقيون طوابير امام محلات الفديو
لشراء شريط فديو لعرس يظهر فيه صدام حسين .... او ترقص فيه ابنته حلا ؟

* لقد نشأت في البحرين على مقولات محسومة وكأنها من البديهيات
ملخصها ان ابن الملك هو " الرياضي الاول " و " الطيار الاول " و " المجاهد الاول "
و " المعلم الاول " و " الفدائي الاول " و .....الخ ...
هو الاول في كل شيء حتى ان الواحد فينا كان يتراهن مع ابناء حارته
عن ايهما اقوى : ابوك ام ابن الملك ؟
او : هل تستطيع ان تبطح ابن الملك ؟
او : هل تستطيع ان تسبق ابن الملك في الركض ؟

لذا لا تعجبوا

Friday 4 March 2011

Contemporary Art

Do I believe in this? what does it matter, I like art of any type, I think it is an expression of thought, one can express ones thoughts in writing, others by drewing or photographing or sculpturing.

The family is starting an art school, art gallery and art cafe in Bahrain, so to kick start the school, we are holding an art show for a french artist, it will be called the time remaining, it is a sad expression of what we all are losing every day, our time. Here is what it says and see the photo too.

Unfortunatly due to shortage of funds, and maybe due to what is happening in Bahrain, the exhibition may not have much money to invite people and make it posh, so we are asking that people either donate money to publish the book or time to help at the exhibiiton. It is surely one of its kind as it is the first time that an exhibition takes place in a construction site.

You are all invited my friends, mark the date april 8 2011

Universities with Substance: My views on higher education in the UAE and the Middle East in general

My views on higher education in the UAE and the Middle East in general:

1. Our universities (public or private) do not foster a good and balanced student life. The majority of them lack accommodation facilities, airport pick up options, extra-curricular activities, student clubs, internships, work/study options and other facilities to enhance their academic learning process. These facilities are very important for students and aid them towards becoming a ‘well-rounded’ individual, and better prepare them for the work environment once they have graduated.

2. Our universities lack adequate research facilities, nor do they publish their research/findings in international journals (or it is very rare). In actual fact the Middle East doesn’t emphasize research and that is the primary reason why Middle Eastern universities do not rank in the top 200 or 500 universities globally (SJT, QS or THES listings)

3. They do not confer awards or recognitions to students nor faculty. Hence quality of work for the students and teachers goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

4. The lack of centers of excellence and research centers means that outstanding students are not provided grants. This inhibits any research and innovation necessary to foster the development of future jobs, economy and the social improvement of the country in general.

5. Visiting scholars are not welcomed, nor do we have a well supported student exchange program in place. We do not have study abroad schemes, thus limiting global exposure amongst our students.

6. Our students are not encouraged to join and participate in international fairs and festivals for each of the disciplines, for example the world architecture festival award, film awards, best biomedical invention award and so on. These fairs and festivals showcase global talent and students can both learn and showcase their work on an international platform.

7. We do not encourage students to participate in overseas community work or join international relief agencies. How can we create socially responsible citizens of the world without encouraging them to partake in these initiatives?

8. Most importantly we do not offer a comprehensive list of programmes (not all the disciplines of study are available). The other day I attended a lecture about the film industry in the UAE and the lecturer, who is also an Emirati film producer, said that she cannot recall any university that has a focus on films solely.

9. Universities generally lack a link/partnership with local industries. Both industry and the universities can work together to teach and create students with practical work skills they can apply once they have graduated. Work/Study (co-op) programs, that require a semester of academic study followed by a semester of internship work, should be developed and encouraged.

10. Our university libraries are inadequate and does not have all academic books for reference. Have you seen the library of the London School of Economics in the UK? It’s mind blowing! Even visiting local public libraries abroad you are in awe when faced with the huge volumes of academic books students have for their reference. Moreover, there are no bookshops that cater to academics solely, so students are stumped for reference. The internet should not be their only avenue for information since a lot of the information in cyberspace is not citied or verified. (check this link to a library )

11. What about Science parks to motivate students and make their ideas real ( network with venture capitalist and angel investors)

12. Staff and faculty not motivated as they are all foreigners and are only here for a quick gain. (see my blog about this )

13. Even foreign campuses of international universities are not as brilliant as the one based in home country. It seems to be a way to capture the students who are not able to obtain visas to the hoe country.

It is great to have universities and colleges of course, and we do have great looking buildings, but what we lack is the basic ingredients and foundation to develop great universities.

The process may take a while, but according to me universities and colleges (both private and public) should first have a trust or a board in place that is highly academic and caters to the student’s needs on all levels. Think of my argument: if you want to purchasing a sofa; you can have the most attractive looking sofa, but unless the core is done properly (superior wood quality, good sponge and professional upholstery) then you may not be able to sit on it nor enjoy it. It purely becomes something aesthetically pleasing to one’s eyes, and nothing more. We need to create universities with ‘substance’, so that they can produce future leaders, doctors, dentists, vets, workers, artists etc who carry this ‘substance’ and intellect when entering the highly dynamic, connected and competitive globalized world.

Of course the above items are not the only ones that are missing currently, I am just giving you a few examples. Universities have a long way to go to achieve international recognition. It is about time they wake up and start talking to one another and have reviews/ discussions and make changes that will put us back on the ‘educational’ map.

On a personal note I just want to add that I have actually lectured part-time at a few of the local institutions here. I was not at all impressed with the facilities since I felt that the students are not prepared properly. One university even mistakenly attached the answer key to the question paper for an exam! The students had a ball, but one has to ask how serious and committed is this university? Would this happen at Oxford or Harvard? The chances are very slim.

Happy reading