Thursday 30 June 2011

Being in distress

Since 2004 I was looking for funds to build my retirement project. You see I had sold my beautiful house in Dubai, which was fully owned, invested some of the money in the consultancy, bought couple of small lands adjacent to each other, and spent all the money that I had on me to build two small buildings, one for my children, a flat each, and the other one will have a flat for us and a couple to rent out so we could spend on our selves; I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any retirement funds or any savings anywhere in this world, and still (at 55) pay mortgage for my existing house, and the consultancy is running on loans. Not very savvy I guess.
Anyway, last year Bahrain had few spectacular changes; and as I have always wanted to have a business school, art school, Cafe and a gallery (my quartette dreams!!) I approached the agency that looks after the improvements in Bahrain and told them about my ideas, which of course they loved.
So I embarked on the business plans, the talk with the designer, the talk with the builder, the talks with the foreign universities, the talks with Cafe franchisers, artists, banks, you name it I was meeting with them. The bank then asked me to finish off few things in the buildings (my retirement funds to be, will be converted into those four dreams)and provide a design for each. Of course all the work requires money, I don’t have Harry Potter's stick to go Woof on those two pieces of junk so they become ready for inspection and for the bank to provide me with the required funds. Thus I scraped money from the three F's, and I took some loans from here, and sent them there. The rest is history. Bahrain had problems, so the bank cancelled all discussions they had with new entrepreneurs, they phoned me after exactly one year and 3 months to say that everything is put into sleep mode, until the situation is better.

So, what happens next? I have to find enough money to pay for all of this? I scratched my head, looked for jobs, searched for new projects, and cannot fire any staff as I need them all, cannot fire myself of course.
Thinking, thinking, till now I am thinking, but what is next?

This blog today is going to tell you on what one needs to do if one is stuck in loans repayments.

Stall the bank
Stall the bank even more
Tell them off for giving you high interest loans, short period for repayments and high charges.
Pay the bank but not the three F's
Work harder
Find jobs that requires minimum amount of investments but have high yield.
Sell your shares and bonds
Liquidate any assets that you do not need (gold, art, carpets)
Change your phone provider to a cheaper one, use free text messaging rather than calls
Stop shopping for unimportant stuff, like cloths, bags, shoes and other accessories
Tell your children to work harder to earn you more money
Stop using one of the credit cards
Spend only on necessary items
Travel only for business reasons and stop leisure travel
If non of the above works, start praying, believe me, even if it doesn’t work, it does relieve your stress a bit.

Of course I did more than all of the above, surely I will survive the crisis in the same way I survived life, so please follow suit, and learn from my mistakes.

If you really want my advice, then don’t ever ever start anything from loans, or start spending unless you are assured that what you are trying to do is definitely going to happen.

Money Transfer vs Money Laundering?

Money Transfer vs Money Laundering?

I am going to be really mean today. Not sure if you have already formed your opinion about me, I am a real patriotic, I love my country (wherever I am living is my country) and would like it to be the best of all others. I keep on noticing things that needs improvements, and keep on writing about those things, of course to no one in particular, but who really cares; just having your voice rattling in the universe is sufficient I guess.

Yesterday I was transferring my annual subscription to my society, and also paying my Egyptian translator, few pennies though, had to be in the queue in western union for hours. The place was full of those poor laborers, who got their wages and are transferring it to their loved ones who are living on their own, and of course in their minds wishing that those pennies are a replacement for love. I was feeling real sorry for them, working in the heat, living in substandard accommodation, eating cold food that is provided by their greedy contractors, and I am sure that a lot of their wages were first paid to their recruiters to cover the loans they had to make to be able to come here for work.
I belong to a Facebook group that gathers during the afternoons to provide cold water to the laborers, as they have to be on site building those high-rises nonstop. You must have heard of the horror stories about laborers committing suicide as they realized that they need to work for two years just to cover the loans taken to come to this country ( and all other gulf countries) or those that were put in prison for child molestation in lefts and what not. On a daily basis there are stories about those laborers, it provides a fantastic meal to journalists. Which is why this is not really the crunch of my thoughts.

80% of the population in the UAE is made up of laborers or people brought over to work; most of them are paid in the range of $200-$600. They are also fed, boarded, transported back and forth to their accommodation, and their tickets are paid for. During their weekend (if they have any that is) they all congregate in parks, malls, mosques, or just wonder around in the streets. They do not have to spend anything during their days off. if our population is 4 million, then 80% is 3.2 million are laborers. think of it this way, that money is taken from us the 0.8 million, and given to those laborers who send it home, the rest of the money is stashed into Swiss bank accounts; no wonder we never recovered from the economic crisis, as the money is not flowing inside the country, we make the money by working 16-18 hours a day, then we pay it out to whoever we have to pay the money to, and that money goes out of the country? Where is the wealth? Who is having it? Are we helping underdeveloped countries to grow meaner to its people, or are we helping those families to live? What are we really doing?

I have a feeling that this scheme is similar if not worse than money laundering, maybe we do not need to build those high rises, if we do not build we do not have to spend all that money? What is going to happen if we just live happily in smaller houses and have money left in our bank accounts at the end of the month? Would we need to have those complicated road systems? Or there sophisticated banks and exchange houses? Do we need to have those huge shopping malls? Do we need to have humongous supermarkets where we shop, while the laborers look at us in dismay?

Just food for thought coming from a simple woman on her holiday day, who wasted 3 hours just to send few dollars abroad.

Tuesday 28 June 2011


Traveling has been in my blood since birth, did I tell you that once when I was little my parents were traveling on a ship (the only means of traveling at that time) and of course being a bet on the low side of cash, were sleeping on the deck of the ship; apparently I woke up and started crawling and fell of the deck but was hung by a nail that held into my cloths, my aunt wok up and her instincts told her that I would be somewhere close, she saved me by waking my dad and mum, lucky you, otherwise where will you hear all of these stories from! Kidding

Anyway, the number of airports I visited in my life made me realize that no one does a good design for airports. Why do we have to go inside this humongous building, and wonder around aimlessly, buying junk that we do not need, or drinking coffee that we should not drink especially before a flight. Shouldn’t the airports be just a landing space and we are transferred in a similar fashion to our suitcases on a belt directly to the airplane? Everything can be done smoothly, a check point for the bags and people, the belt is split into two in the same way a train carriage is split, and then we find ourselves near the nozzle that takes us to the plane. No fuss and no sweat. Easy peasy, or just say any rhyming word that you liked, however commercialism had made the architects, and the airport authorities work hard to make us spend every cent that we own on the merchandise sold in shops at the airports, and just before you go on the plane, they put for you a huge jar with a charity sign on it, where you are asked to empty your pockets of the loose change to help a school in a place that you had never heard of; if it was for real, no one on this earth will be uneducated.

Just imagine if my idea works, how much time would every one save? these days they want you to be at the airport a minimum of two hours before the flight departs, if you are gold card member or traveling on business class, you finalize your checking in arrangements in ten, maximum 20 minutes, and then what? you run to the lounge, stuff yourself with food that you do not really need, as you will be served a meal (unless your carrier think that you only want to eat a plate of fruits in an 18 hours flight, which is what Emirates airlines had done to me in few of my flights) then you are called to the plane, you run to it completely sweaty, of course all of you know that the plane pumps in hot air when it is stationed, so you will stink and soak in sweat until the plane taxis and finally takes off; If ships are fast, I would travel by ships any time, you do not need to waste these precious hours on nothing.

About running, last Thursday I had an early flight to Doha, so when they announced that we should go to the plane, I realized that we were boarding from the old terminal! That is a marathon run by itself, so I started to walk briskly (didn’t do a morning walk that day, so the exercise was good) half way through I hear the voice that says the doors of the plane are closed, I stood their starring, not knowing what to do next? Shall I just continue to the gate which was going to take me at least 7 more minutes? Or I should just return back? While staring at the nothingness in the airport space an airport staff passed by, I asked her if I should go to the gate. She said yes? So this time I run so fast pulling my laptop bag along, went down the escalator, and run faster to reach the gate, to my astonishment they were still boarding some passengers? My mouth fell, and I started to growl, I asked why they have to lie, I could have had a heart attack? Asking a 55 year old to run at 15 kilometers per hour is not something to brag about, all they did was to give me a smirk? What do I do with that? On top of it, I had a meeting in Doha, and to go there smiling like a fish was their responsibility, they offered me a cold towel, and another smirk? And that is it? What do you do with people like that except to thank your stars that you are one of the remaining sane persons on earth?

Once I attended a conference in Hong Kong, the day we were supposed to leave was a little bit windy and raining; no one told us anything. So I went to the airport, wondered around until we had to board, went inside the airplane, stuffed my luggage inside the thingy on top of your seat, took my shoes off, wore my traveling socks, took my book out and started to read. The captain announced his name and greeted us, in English and in Cantonese, the airplane started to reverse from the shoot, suddenly the airplane stopped, and went back to the shoot, the captain announcing again that we should all disembark, and go inside the airport again. We didn’t know what was happening. Then of course we realized that there is this huge typhoon hitting Hong Kong, and we have to wait until it is over. Soon we find the runways completely empty, everything was taken inside, and there is no sign of life except rain and wind. We can see the shores and the waves rising so high, I thought it will actually come in and holds the airport building were we will be food to the fish in no time.

Long story short, we stayed at that airport for 48 hours, with no food, and no covers. When we finally left, I thought to myself that I will never step foot in Hong Kong again, the chaos inside that building was frantic, no ground staff was prepared for such disaster even though those countries always have disasters. So what is the point of having brilliant award winning buildings, holding non-award winning staff? Us the human beings are a very awkward breed, we think that we are non-improvable, and everything else requires our attention excluding human beings.

One last point, we were leaving the airport, all of us passed the check point quickly except for one person, when she finally emerged we asked her why was she late, she said that apparently when she came inside that country, the person on arrival did not take her information properly, so they had to re enter them in the system, imagine something happens and that country is hit by a typhoon or another natural or unnatural disaster, she will not be missed as she is in limbo, no one will know where she is; you remember the phrase disappeared in tin air? haha, that would have been the correct statement! when they finally reach the count and figure out that there is one person missing who traveled on EK 848, but never actually entered the country of destination? Imagine that.

Sunday 26 June 2011


I love buying bits and pieces to wear on my neck or arms, and even on my fingers sometimes, after all I am a woman; however I prefer those things that do not make sound when I move, the worst is to type and hear bling-bling or knock-knock or the ring hitting the keyboard or the charms dangling from it wrestling with your fingers on who is going to hit the keyboard faster.

Being pretty or different is not just a feeling, the body requires those things, to complement missing elements, for example metal is needed if we are short in iron, etcetera, I am doing it myself so I shouldn’t be complaining that we are all overdoing it, and the businesses are making more money out of us just because we have been tricked that beauty is a key (latest study shows that if you are pretty then your chances of being chosen as a CEO of a company is higher than those who are not, of course if we keep intelligence as a constant that is!) and life as we know it will not be the same if we are not carrying that bag, not wearing that dress, not complementing it with that brooch, or not wearing that lebatons? I cannot even spell the brand name of that high-heel-killer shoes.

Leaving this aside, I will not talk about other home accessories, or car accessories or office accessories; I want to talk about phone accessories.

The other day I tagged along with a friend who does crafts, she needed to buy threads, needles and what not, so I helped in choosing the colors with her, while doing that I noticed her dipping into a basket that had little packets of crystal, and choosing the colors properly. I thought maybe she is making a new style of dresses, but when she continued to ask the salesman if these were real Swarovski’s, my curiosity toped the scale, what is she going to use them for? She said I decorate phones! Of course I had seen phones with blings, I never thought much of them, then she showed me pictures of those phones that were blinged, I must say they were nice, however I started digging deeper into this, I am like a cat, finding out more is my main treat, and the more I look the crazier I get; there is whole underground industry just for phones! Phone cases, phone stands, phone stickers, you name it they have it, even those pits that you dangle on the side of the phone that by itself is an industry. My friend’s daughter started a business, part of her business revolves around your phone coming from a manufacturer and made with pure gold, titanium, silver, and of course either studded with diamonds or Swarovski’s crystals, so it in not just little spend that you will buy for your phone when you are on holiday, it is an investment. Imagine your Iphone or blackberry coming to you in a laminated wooden box and a key and a guarantee of course for life? Which life I must add? The life of the phone or the life of the gold? You know what I am getting it don’t you? Can you trust Apple that it will not develop something totally fantastic after a month of your 5000 dollar purchase? And then of course, you will feel that you are undervalued as all your friends are having the new fabulous piece and you only carrying jewelry around?

Of course, I blame this on the stars, they are the ones that make us believe that life is not worth it if you don’t own that bag, or you are taking on a walky talky if your phone doesn’t have diamond keyboards, magazines and publications sells on ranking stars and what they wear or carry? One of my Bahraini tweeps sent this and it is totally fantastic, as it just shows exactly what I am talking about here. The industry is sucking us deeper and deeper. Look at every facet of life, we are just consuming what geniuses around the world are creating for us, without thinking if this Necessary or an Accessory?

Friday 24 June 2011

Have you ever imagined to own your paper?

Well, this is true, you can devise your own newspaper. The one that you have always thought of owning, the one that has in it only those news that interests you and your friends. The one that shows your own personality and your own path in life. Of course you must be wondering what I am on about? I was checking twitter one day, I clicked on a link one of my tweeps has posted, I saw a paper that has his name? I am sure that by now you have known me to be very inquisitive (to say the least) so I read the stuff, and decided to go on the website itself, read few points, and viola, I had my own paper of course I didn't understand at the beginning how it works, and were it brings its information from, then I noticed the little photos on the side of each article! oh my god, these are tweets! so, if you are consistent, and follow the right tweeps (those that interest you) or the right subjects (those subjects that relate to your work, or aspirations) then the paper will show only that.

Say for example that you are a doctor. What will be interesting for you? I would say technology used for health, any research prepared for medical reasons, new hospitals, new types of surgeries, new discoveries, medical jobs, salaries paid to doctors, etc. Also a doctor is a human being, so he or she maybe interested in Art, politics, some business and so on; so you choose your subjects carefully, then when you create your paper, you will have only those items that you want to read about. Also this comes to your email inbox, and is saved for you to refer to whenever you want to read it or use it in the future. The trouble that I have with twitter is that it is difficult to read those shortened links, if you do click on the link and read it, the tweets would be dripping faster than rain in a storm, to the extent that you will not be able to read them and further more you will miss what is important. So keeping a paper is like taking clippings of your favorite articles and storing them near your bed until the day comes when you decide to read them. Also think of how many trees you will be saving. For example I am a subscriber to 10 magazines, and two newspapers. What I read from these is a fraction of what is printed on them, and the rest goes for recycling, so what I pay for them doesn't equal the benefit received. I am not sure though if I should just discontinue my subscriptions or not. I know for sure that many businesses are going to to go out of business soon, and the first ones are the newspaper and magazines. Knowing me, I will spread the word around like fire in a forest, soon everyone will follow suit, and quit buying magazines and papers.

Here how it works: just go to, and create it, have your own editorial, which you can change daily and then of course share it on twitter which is linked to your other social media pages, soon, people will know how you think, what you think about, and your solutions to every problem. It aint ganna be better than that.

happy reading.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Friday in retrospect

If you were a regular reader of my blog, then you would have been expecting one from me yesterday, sorry for being away. If you were wondering why I didn't write anything yesterday, I will tell you, I was busy, very busy, doing absolutely NOTHING! true, I woke up in the morning, midday really, had my coffee, looked at some sites, skimmed my mail, went down checked the artwork that my daughter had bought, really nice especially the ones made with pieces of metal, then I checked on the cat, she is shy to see me as I shouted at her a week ago for bringing a dead bird to the house, I carried her and gave her a kiss, put her down and told her off again. Then I had another cup of coffee, checked the fridge, and asked the house keeper to make us fish and sweet rice for dinner; my son was fasting so I would join him for dinner; my daughter wanted an early lunch as she had some work to attend to, so we microwaved the previous day's food for her.

The Chinese lady came to sell us the latest movies. I tell you guys, the taste of movies these days is terrible, I don't know what these producers think of when they spend millions of dollars on lousy movies like these ones, nonetheless I bought 20, and the house keeper bought two Indian movies, we returned 4 that were not working from last week's purchase, gave her the money and off she goes.

I looked at the time, it was already three, so I went upstairs to see what I should do? I charged my Ipad, then sat on the chaise long, looking at the three stacks in my bedroom; one of them is almost a year old, the other two are magazines that I had kept to read, and newspaper clippings that I wanted to email their writers or comment on them, or just complete reading them as I had only skimmed through them. I decided that I must work on these stacks by date order, the first stack won, I can hear them photos clapping their hands together and chanting, as they were sick of having that dust collect over them, and being re arranged everyday by the duster. Did I say photos? oops, yes they are all the photo albums that I had collected since I was 6. I am sure you can imagine the heap on that table? of course some of them were in albums already, some in boxes, some in bags, some were kept inside notebooks. Other than the digital photos that I have inside my hard drive, I think I have more than 10000 photographs; I even have one of me when I was few months old. I had bought some nice albums ( these were also kept in their bags waiting to be used)so I brought half of the loose pictures to the living room, choose one of the movies, started it, and started the work at the same time; the movie was over, I put another one on, and continued to work on those photos. It was prayers time, so we prayed and had our dinner, great Safi fish and sweet rice. Then I went up again to resume. Had a third Movie on, and more photos went into the albums. It was twelve o'clock when I finished the last photo! that was a real hard work.

First I must tell you what went into my head whilst looking at those photos and sliding them into place. The first group was a trip that we took in 1987 to Holland. My son was only three, and I was as slim as a stick, my husband was thin too and had a mustache, strange looking one I must add. We have some photos in Madoradam and some near a cheese factory, others near windmills, and some in cafes and food outlets. while sliding those into their pockets, my mind was racing with thoughts about those places, the smell of the cheese, the aroma of the flower market, and the taste of the pancake was coming out of those pictures, my cloths were really nice, and my shoes were matching, my sons cloths were all purchased from a boutique in Southampton (I was studying there prior to the trip) he looked really cute, my husband's shoes were spotless, he had a nice hair cut too. My son was naughty when he was little, so we had to have him walk for a long time to reduce his hyper-ness a bit, but a photo of us carrying him in the bus while we were almost dead, he had a spark in his eyes that says let me loose, I want to break things. I remembered that we had gone shopping for gifts, my husband started to shout as what I had bought was breakable which meant that we had to carry it by hand, we already had few hand luggage and a naughty son, so I returned the vases, and bought wooden things that we can place in suitcases. We had split the money in half, I had some and he had some (no credit cards those days) so I used my lot to pay for the hotel, tours, lunches, dinners etc; when it came to those purchases I asked him to pay! he said that he doesn't have much, it never occurred to me at the time that he actually never spent from that money! i had some cash kept for emergencies, so paid from it. When the trip was over, we were at the airport, almost time to board, he looked at me with a mean smile on his face and said that he had some guilders with him, I said how much? it was the exact amount that we decided he will carry with him, I was furious, run to the duty free area, and bought all the stuff from there and finished that money; and didn't talk to him until we reached Dubai. I can still remember that flight, I was reading my book (no movies in those days to choose from) and the boy was asleep, so for 7 hours, I didn't utter a word. Can I do this now? I don't think so. I think we become less upset about things these days, or we used to be angry about stuff more in those days; whichever it was, that incident taught him a lesson, and taught me a lesson too. I always keep my gifts money in my own pockets.

Another lot of photos that was really astonishing was my son's birthday, it was one of the biggest that we had ever had. We must have had over a 100 people in the house (we were living with my parents at the time, and they had a lovely huge house in Jumeirah), most of the people that were present I had lost touch with, some moved to other countries, some just parted from this life, and some stopped being our friends. The house had since been sold after my dad's death, and my mum's move back to Bahrain, and each one of us the sisters and brothers had started their own lives, and are living in various parts of the globe. Funny how pictures remind you of things that are buried inside that little head of yours. One of those people that were at the birthday party was a great friend of ours, he died now from a brain tumor, he was a portrait artist in USA, and was drawing the court cases in Washington. I have three of his portraits in my house, two of my son, and another one of my daughter. He did one for my dad but we never found it when my dad died.

The most amazing photos were those that I had from my university studies, we the Bahrainis are a strange folk, we were stuck together all the time, all our trips and picnics were together, boys and girls and sometimes the families of the boys and the girls would join in too. I still remember that we never had asked each other what sect are we following, some of the people married each other of course, most from mixed sects. I am not sure what they are doing now in Bahrain with this recent problem? Are they still married? or are they going to be divorced because someone in his wisdom started to divide the country and promote sectarianism? I wonder?

My childhood friend's engagement party photos were also amongst the stack; I have her daughter on my BB list, so I sent her copies of those photos, and she loved them, she hadn't seen them before, as they were taken by me, not sure if they had a photographer at that party or not, but now two people are sharing those photos. thanks to technology, it made us very close even though politics is separating us.

I didn't want to end this blog with this tone. I think every once in a while one has to go into that road of memories and tries to capture the feelings that he or she had at the time. If you had seen the movie dejavu, it will remind you of what I am talking about. I believe that what I did a minute ago is recorded for ever, and we can rewind and go back to that minute any time. Hence I feel that if people were made aware of this, no one will do any thing wrong, as everything is recorded, and will be put on display one day. Some technology will be discovered that will make us rewind our lives, and see what we did, however it will be too late, as this movie cannot be edited, and no cutting is allowed.

Thursday 16 June 2011


China has been on my mind since childhood, I am always intrigued by the mysteriousness and their culture. In the seventies I was fortunate enough to go to a course at Oxford University where I met three Chinese students from Hong Kong and Singapore, the amount of learning i got from these students surpasses that of Oxford uni; not trying to degrade the university in anyway, it was and still is one of the best in the world. they taught me about Soho, Chinese food, Chinese special sweets, the best way to eat vegetables (boil it), what happened to the language, and how the Japanese hijacked a boat that was transporting the Chinese alphabets (hence the Japanese language is limited if compared to the wealth of Chinese language, as few of the logs were lost in transit). Bottom line is, I want to go there, but didn't yet. So it just so happen that I received this email from a company that is doing a tour for 5 days that is not very expensive, jumped on the idea, and sent a BBM to all my BB friends if they are interested in joining me. Of course all of us know how Karma works, in the same day my best friend in Qatar emailed me saying that he is going to China, I said wow, tell me all about it, and bring me some catalogs etc. She had gone to Shanghai, and my trip is to Beijing, so I asked her to provide me with a run down on her trip, and weather or not a single city is enough, here is what she wrote:

"In Beijing you will have to go and see the Forbidden City where the Emperor's Palace is and the tour guide makes you walk right through until you get to Taimen Square to see the Congress Building and a small Museum of Mao Tse Tung. There is also a famous restaurant there if you want to taste the Peking Duck. Then there is the Garden of Heaven where the Emperor used to go for relaxation and fish from a stationery marble boat when the weather was bad to go fishing on the river. Of course then you should not miss the Great Wall of China. Actually we took two tours as the tour guides also take you to the silk factory, the Jade factory, the Pearl factory, and of course the Tea House so you can't fit everything on one tour. You will then have to go to the Silk Market where all the bargains are. It is actually very similar to Dragon Mart although Dragon Mart is bigger and more attractive and I don't think the prices are much different but you really have to bargain. I would really recommend that you also go to Shanghai, they are starting to operate a fast train to Shanghai which will only take five hours instead of the twelve hours it took us. You will have to stay on The Bund facing the Hang Tse River (I am not sure about the name of the river but the area is called the Bund). We stayed at a hotel called the Broadway Mansion and the location was excellent as you are within walking distance to most places. Also in Shanghai they operate the red Double Decker buses which take you all around the city at a very reasonable price and you can hop on and off throughout the day. In Shanghai you will have to go to Yu Yuan Garden and Nanjing Road. At Yu Yuan you don't really have to go inside the garden but the shopping there is really exciting and enjoyable. In the evenings we enjoyed just walking on the Bund which is like a Cornish area. You can take a ferry boat that takes you all along the river and the scenery in the evening is breathtaking. You also have to go to the Acrobatics Show, it is just unbelievable and choose the one that is rated the best in the world. I did not mention the zoo, the museum, etc. I am attaching a few of the pictures for you to have an idea but then please delete them. You will also be amazed by the number of brides and grooms you will see while walking on the Bund. That alone is a fascination. That is all for now my dear so inshallah you will enjoy all your trips and we will manage to meet soon."

About the pictures, I am only going to show those of places.

happy reading.

Monday 13 June 2011

Being bad

I can remember when my nephew behaves in a mischievous ways, and when his parents call me to do something about it; being old school I ask him to stand for 5 minutes facing the wall, and sometimes I ask him to left his leg up and raises his hand up while facing the wall. But that is as far as I went with all the children of my family, including mine; when I became a teacher I would be careful to treat the students well even if they misbehave as that could ruin their future. One thing, however, I will never accept which is cheating, as those who cheat will only make it in life to a certain level, and then fail anyway. Expulsion never happened with me, nor did it happen in any institution that I worked in. I actually made sure that wherever I worked the student was respected to the end. Which brings me to the subject of today’s blog?

Expelling students from universities due to cheating, misbehaving, killing a teacher, destructive behavior to university or school assets, stealing, or any reason that is written in the school code of practice or the school code of conduct is a reasonable effect to the conduct in question. However, I have never heard that one can expel a student due to him or her misbehaving in a shopping centre or in the streets. say for example that a boy goes out in his car, sees a girl in another car, he likes her, so he tails her and when she comes down of her car, he gives her his phone number, the girl reports him to the police. The police tell the boy off, give him a put on the back of his hand and send him home, also they tell the girl that maybe he is a nice boy, so she shouldn’t just report every Tom, dick and Harry that gives her a phone number and should have a life. The next day the boy goes to college, the principle calls him to room 11.28 and gives him a letter of expulsion from school. The boy says why? The principle says that he heard rumors that he was chasing a girl and he was at the police station. What should the boy do?
1. The first thing before he raises a hand should ask for copies of his transcripts stamped and sealed in envelops,
2. Then he should ask for some reference letters from his favorite teachers, on the same day, otherwise news will spread tomorrow and no one will give him a reference letter or even few of them. The thing is as soon as word gets out and teachers and students hear about the expulsion they will all think that this student had done something disastrous to school and even though he was a great student he will never gain their respect. Our memories are short, and we only remember what happened today and yesterday, so better to do this sooner than later.
3. Takes copies of the letter of expulsion and gives it to a lawyer or let his dad go to a lawyer and asks for opinion. If the dad is in prison for any reason the student should go to one or two of his immediate family members and asks for help.
4. The student has to start blogging about this and goes to all the embassies in his country to mention that his expulsion was unwarranted, and asks for a scholarship to go to a university in that country.
5. Calls all his friends and tell them what happened so they avoid chasing girls and giving their phone numbers to them.
6. If all fails, the student should stay calm and continues to smile, as there are other ways of continuing ones education.

The worst that can happen to anyone is sulking, it doesn’t help anyone, and life is too short to waste another minute.

I am sorry guys, I had to be a bit discreet when I wrote this, as I don’t want to divulge information on whom I am writing this blog to, and why he or she were expelled. Also I don’t want to be emotional; someone in these circumstances should stay calm and think.
I hope that the student this blog is written about reads and carry’s on the suggestions.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Mistaken identity

I am not talking about myself which is the usual in my blog, today I am talking about two women and one man. The three of them influenced my thinking, made me reflect on the importance of our existence and the agonies that goes with living; in actual fact the agonies are the reason for our existence? Please reflect on this, as it's the gist of my blog.

Let me talk about the man first, just to erase the psychology of ladies first, please people do not think that I am sexist.  This man moved to a country four years ago, he is an artist and a banker, installation artist to be exact. A person, who is an artist himself, met him at one of his installation art exhibitions, got to talk to him and straight away they struck friendship, I think this is normal for like minded people. Then they decided to do an exhibition in one of the construction sites, the exhibition was going to be the closure of a time well spent in that country.  During the four years, he saw the abuse to the environment, the neglect to nature, the battered trees and the battered people, took photographs of all of this, was able to publish them in his own house and in other countries. He chose the time to photograph the effect of the neglect while no one was watching, very cunning artist I must say, and in the midst of the shoot session he showed the beauty in everything even damage.  His last installation, which was called "the time remaining" didn't see the light despite the amount of work he and his friends had put into it.  He departed that country with tears, as his job was not accomplished. Back in his own country now and reflecting on that time again, thinking of a new project that will again portray his affection and despair on why that country had what it had,  all it's troubles will be the subject of another art installation.  I call him a steadfast man.

The first woman is a journalist, so pretty and so calm, she doesn't strike you as being a journalist, rather a Beauty Queen.  Her thinking though shows the exact opposite, she lives in disturbance as she is not the reporter type of journalists, she feels the pain of the people, and she absorbs the killing of the environment, and ponders on social issues in an attempt to disclose it to her readers in an honest way. Again this woman who is haunted by nightmares when she sees the battering of those living around her, simple requests are interpreted into a huge security issue, her Tongue was cut and asked to be silenced. She left the country, lost all her writing jobs and now is trying frantically to save herself from hunger, but her writing was seen by all, and all didn't like what was written, so all attempts to find a writing job failed. Everybody is scared,  from what though? We have no idea. I bet you that the words are chasing each other to the forefront of her brain trying to get out of her head, but due to threats and imprisonment of members or her family she is abstaining from writing.  I think the real killer of journalists is the depravation of the pen and paper.  Of course when one is in similar situation, one's brain becomes numb, attempts to revive the brain are dissolute and futile. So the agonies of this journalist are systematic to what is happening to our world.  A last statement in favour of this journalist, she is the one that told the minister of road and transport that maybe the reasons for continuously digging the roads is the petrol wells that he is finding in those roads while digging???!!! Funny. Thus even in times of disaster one can find something to laugh about.  

The second woman is an artist. I was mesmerised listening to her talk , she was soft spoken, her art was as soft as her words, and resembles her real profession as a mathematician, systematic, and not predictable.  Most of her paintings are trying to show the pains and issues of those living on planet earth. Photographing hands, workers in the sun, dirt scattered on every corner of this earth, rubbish in the lakes, etceteras.  The ironic thing was that she was stopped from photographing the things that damaged the lovely environment, and at the mean time she was stopped from putting neon colours in the streets to do another project about the shapes of shadow.  I really laughed when I heard this, very funny.  Anyway, one of her projects was totally about performing art involving a woman dressed in black trying to get out of a circle of light. All of us had a different interpretation about the project, but I liked the artist's interpretation. 

She said that women have more issues to solve than men; of course I feel that we all have issues, even animals have issues, but who has more or less, or who can solve those issues faster and with a bit of dignity is what matters.  I think a man can sleep in the streets if the shit hits the fan, but should a woman sleep in the streets? Even though everyone has the right of shelter, and everyone has the right to live,  when it comes to rights, a woman should be placed in a home along with children and people who are ill, and the man should be the last person to ride to safety (remember the titanic? Viola). At end Paulo, who looked like another artist to me, asked her about her dream, she said that she wants to write a book, in arabic, about mathematics and conceptual art for children?  I said, omm, I thought your dream would be to get married and to have child; everyone laughed including the artist herself.

Ok, I know, i know, you are thinking that I proved that I am sexist, however even the prophet said that us the women should be treated like Crystal and handled with care. We should never be let to feel the agony of the world,  and that is exactly how I feel about why the world will be a better place if us the women rule. 

Thursday 2 June 2011

Googlised? are you?

First thing I did this morning (after having my cereal, coffee, a bowl of tablets, talked to the housekeeper, talked to the maintenance chaps who repairing my never ending saga with the fountain, make three phone calls, fill petrol, growl at the fillers for not attending to my car and told them that the heat must have got into all our heads and made us senile, bought chocolate and cakes for the office, reached the office and wrote my to do list for the day) was to answer an email from a company that we did few projects with few years back, they found us again (we never lost them though, and wanted us to work for them again which is great news), then I thought I will brag and tell them that I have a daily blog, so went to Google to extract the link of my blog (I thought I learnt it by heart by now??). Of course, the eternal thing happened, I was checking if my friends had placed a comment, got disappointed that they didn’t, and then I noticed a new icon? "Oh what’s that?" I asked myself, so went on it to find out, and it was a another new development which is a recommendation of a service, a product, an item of news and it’s called +1, you tick it, then your friends will know that you are recommending the item.

Of course this is not the gist of my subject, what I am trying to say here is that you visit the web for one thing, your eyes notices something else, and diverts your attention to it, you click it, then your eyes find another thing, and there you go again; is it our eyes, our left/right brain, Neuro-marketing, is it Google , the advertisers, or is it the umpteen new stuff that comes on the market every day, and we get sucked to it naturally. We have all become suckers for technology, I am friggin' 55 years old, but I can find stuff on the net, introduce new stuff to myself, open a new gadget and is able to use it instantly, change my iPad 1 to iPad 2 and straight away check my emails, change my laptop to a new laptop without having to lose a single item from it, switch easily between phones, and between writing keyboards, from touch screens, to small buttons, to large buttons, to English, to Arabic, to old style phone with three letters to each key, and the list goes on.

Have you noticed the number of social media sites available these days, I receive invites from hundreds of them, I dont want to try all, as I dont think I have enough time in the day to do all of this and earn money to live and pay for all the things our eyes notices while on-line. So I got stuck to facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, my blog, our company website, and a few other websites that requires my opinion.

Not sure if you have noticed the new fad, you can have your own news paper, did you know this? Well, my consultancy is not free, if you want to know, you must invite me for a nice cup of coffee, bring your iPad along. Then you can learn it while I tell you how; check mine so you know how nice it is

This is the age where you will be a wave on the web, rather than a person walking the streets, or exercising, our bodies will shrink, our heads will swell, our fingers will become longer (we may even grow a thumb from texting too much), and new born will have a shape that I dont even want to imagine, maybe soon we will plant a widget in the foetus to make him learn languages while sleeping? Who knows?

What scares me is that, we get to know the minds of the people before getting to know them personally, we can be full of judgments and ambiguities to the extent that we may hate them or love them without even knowing them in person which could be another ball game. The ramification of this conspiracy theory is huge, we need another session, which reminds me that I have an email to answer and a to-do-list to accomplish, and my daughter is waiting for me to go to China sourcing fair to deal with some companies in the Far East.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Being Adventurous.

Early this year one of my friends climbed a mountain in Kathmandu, another one did trekking in Italy, a third one went drumming in the Sahara, and this local woman who is the first from the middle east to climb mount Everest also attracted my attention, and so on; my most adventure is to set by the beach or walk around rivers and lakes, very safe, very cushy, nothing extravagant, no snake bites or insect bites, nothing that will put me in a hospital for a long time to treat poison or allergies. I shouldn’t forget the camp that I attended with my daughter, or the eco tourism holiday in Stewart Island, these were on the light side when one talks about being adventurous. Food is another subject, when it comes to food, I like to eat anything, but not anything edible (once a Nigerian friend of mine was asking me if I tried that famous turtle soup and potato bread??!! Yak, the last sentence about eating anything edible was hers and she said it to me in 1979, my memory is perfect for my age guys). Some people eat frogs, snakes, insects and other things that I wouldn’t care to mention, as I dont want to threw up; I would eat meats, but if I see blood coming out of it when I prick it with the fork, I would leave the table, and even sweets I love sweets, this is my only sin, but even when it comes to sweets or deserts, it has to be obvious, and the ingredients should be known, otherwise they will not pass through this big mouth.

I asked my children, who are not children any more, if they were adventurous with all the sense of the word? they have all done bungee jumping, Para gliding, mountain climbing, skiing, ice skating, roller skating, and skate boarding and they do not mind going sky diving, zorbing (where you are placed inside a transparent ball and rolled down hill). I almost fainted, as they know me, I am only told after they do these things. I did take them to learn stuff to do with ice or snow, but never actually wanted to learn myself. I dont know if I am advphob (adventure phobia) or just sheer laziness, but having reached 55 without noticing that I am missing something, then it is not to say that my life was complete? I do have things missing unfortunately, but I need time to do some soul searching to arrive at what is missing, if it is on the adventure side then you might find me rolling inside a ZORB!

I am collating my bucket list as we speak, I can swear that sky diving is not among them (if you saw the movie the Bucket List, you will know what I mean). One of the items is to preach to people that they have to experience things, and learn about them, life is too short to be scared or phobic. This would be the main subject of our next book, watch this space.