Wednesday 31 August 2011

Suad Alhalwachi's Blogs: Happy Eid, feast, carnival, or whatever,

Suad Alhalwachi's Blogs: Happy Eid, feast, carnival, or whatever,: Be Happy, take everything with a pinch of salt, do not let anything upset you, smile! I have a feeling that some of you are going to tell ...

Happy Eid, feast, carnival, or whatever,

Be Happy, take everything with a pinch of salt, do not let anything upset you, smile!

I have a feeling that some of you are going to tell me off for being so optimistic about life today? well, it is the end of Ramadan, the month that we fast in it during the day, and stay up during the night, the month that missed up my whole system this year; I have never in my life stayed up till 5 everyday and of course this is the first time that I completely fast the whole month (of course apart from three traveling days). Every year I feel dizzy, and stop fasting for few days, then fast again until the month is over; this year I didn't feel dizzy,thirsty or hungry even though the weather was so hot; the thirst was not that extreme, and the hunger was virtually non existing. Even at work we did more work than we normally do in the limited 6 hours of work. According to the statistics, we registered 110 students this month, compared to less than 50.

Back to why I am writing this post, for few weeks I have been telling myself that nothing matters really, there is no reason to be upset, or to feel sad, life is too short and we have to overcome any situation that puts us in the unhappiness mode very quickly so we regain our smile, and the blood of happiness is pumped again into our veins. I had figured a way to stay smiling and optimistic, simply put, just have a funny thought in your mind, and play it on and on till your mind believes it, forget about what is happening around you from disappointments, bad expectations, unfulfilled wishes, untruthful friends, problems with the house, pipes that are not functioning, loans that cannot be paid, staff that are not as productive as they need be, husbands that are not the ones you married to few hundred years ago, kids who do not deliver what you thought they would, this list can go on and on, I committed to mention the diet that doesn't work, and the balding head, and the continuing heat due to old age. Why did I leave old age till the end? well because that is the reason why you have to be happy and continue to smile, you are getting older not younger, and for when you get older, the none smiley face will give you a sad smile mouth, and that is a look that you want to avoid, (this is for those owners with dogs) as your face is going to look like a bulldog, dangling cheeks an upside down crescent of a mouth.

Happiness is a state of mind, smiling is more natural than frowning, and feeling high is far more charming than feeling low. you gain more friends, and make all your enemy envious as they know that their red eye is not harming you. Last but not least God will love you more as you believe that the universe will sort itself and come your way, your frown repels the good vibes, and your smile attracts the good life that you are meant to have. Believe me, I have tested this theory, and have scientific proof for it, see this talk and I am sure you will more than agree

In Quraan smiling was mentioned in so many places, the one time that it struck me as unusual is when Prophet Solomon smiled and laughed when the ants told each other to run away before Solomon and his soldiers crush them. I loved this part, it clearly shows how fulfilled he was as god gave him the power of understanding the speech of every living thing.

and last but not least, you will live longer if you smile more.

Lets smile, you will make every one around you smile too.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Mistakes by our kids

One Saturday morning my phone rang, I ignored it, it rang again and again; I can hear the voice mail being placed too, then few BBMs and another phone call. Finally at 9 I gave up on sleeping and thought that I must see who that person was? I was surprised to find the call from some kids that I knew, horrified when I heard the voice mail, and the BBMs. So I called them back to find out what had happened. One of the kids was crying her guts out and saying that she will be killed and that her family is going to threw her out of the house, the other kid is hiding somewhere that no one knows where. My heart was racing to find out what happened. I arranged to meet one of them; apparently they went to a place that they were not supposed to be in, and they were spotted by an elder member of the family who was there at the time. This is normal till here, what was not normal to me is the horror voice that the girl was having, and the fear of her family's reaction. I have not experienced such thing in my life. Maybe I haven't done anything that warrants such reaction, but even though I do not think that us the adults should subject our kids or pressure them into accepting what we think as norms in life, or acceptable standards.

I think that we are living in a drastically changing times; the kids are exposed to all sorts of temptations from food, to clothing to certain places that we consider taboo like discos and night clubs. They see them in shows, in movies, hear about them on the radio and read about them in easily accessible novels and magazines. We cannot stop the kids from reading novels for example, some of the stuff written in novels are so vivid that one can see what is written like a movie, and on TV everything is shown. For example the movie burlesque for Sher, was such a place that seduces youngsters and adults alike to be in it even for one minute. The clothing, the experiences and the feelings may change their lives for ever. Why do we stop kids from these extremes? I know why of course, because we are scared that something will happen to them. Have you seen the movie Taken? that is a scary one, and after watching it I never let my girls go anywhere on their own. There are gross people around, and these people have money as the main motive in life, they would do anything to get the money, even if it means a girl or two would die in the process. Can we protect our youngsters from the evil of these people? if you know the answer tell me as I don't think it is possible to do that.

In the same tone I can talk about the other extreme, the exposure of our kids to social media and the Arab spring (or as I call it the Arab winter) makes them feel that they want to be part of it. Can you possibly stop kids from being patriotic and stop them from loving their country? to me I want to stop them just because some may manipulate their minds to make them do suicidal acts. It is possible, see what happened around the world with the terror attacks on people and buildings.

So the fun extreme and the political extreme is what us the parents are worried about and that is why we stop our kids from going places or knowing people who are not "good to know" but how do we explain this to our kids? well, not very well I am afraid; the reason being is us the parents were brought up on the YES and NO dialogue. Our kids, on the other hand, are brought up on the "let us talk about it and find out the good and the evil". So putting two different mentalities in the same pot generates the scenario that I talked about in the beginning of this blog: two scared girls worried that their family will kill them?

I think there should be a hotline for kids, all western countries have it, but none of the Arab countries has it. We imported every thing from abroad, but we left out the essentials. It is time that we wake up to the fact and start to have the correct dialogue with our kids. the YES and NO mentality must stop.

Someone might be waiting for your call

I know that I shouldn't do this however sometimes I receive things that compel me to spread. This one topped it all.


When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.

My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.
"Information, please" I said into the
Mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.


"I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.
I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."
"Can you open the icebox?" she asked.

I said I could.

"Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.

After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for
Help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was She helped me with my math.

She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, "Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, " Wayne , always remember that there are other worlds to sing in."

Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please."

"Information," said in the now familiar voice.
"How do I spell fix?", I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston . I missed my friend very much.
"Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I
Somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.

Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle . I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.


I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying,
"Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."

I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any
idea how much you meant to me during that time?"

I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me.

I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do", she said. "Just ask for Sally."

Three months later I was back in Seattle . A different voice answered,

I asked for Sally.

"Are you a friend?" she said.

"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, "She said, Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."

Before I could hang up, she said,
"Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?"
"Yes." I answered.

"Well, Sally left a message for you.
She wrote it down in case you called.
Let me read it to you."

The note said,
"Tell him there are other worlds to sing in.
He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you may make on others..

Whose life have you touched today?

Why not pass this on? I just did...

Lifting you on eagle's wings.
May you find the joy and peace you long for.

Life is a journey... NOT a guided tour.

Monday 8 August 2011

Someone asked me to share my Haj experience

I just had my youngest child, loaded with loans, and longing to go to haj. i still remember that it was Ramadan, where normally we go to a mosque to listen to a speech by a scholar. In those days the scholar was Alwaeli (pbbuh). Few people were distributing all sorts of fliers, one of them caught my eyes, and I thought with a sigh if I would ever be able to perform Haj, especially that I don't have the money for it. I kept the flier with me, and the next day at Iftar, I was telling my husband about this when the phone rang, I picked it up, it was my dad (GHMOH), telling me that he had signed me up to go to Haj with him that same year, I was baffled and didn't know what to say, I almost cried as my wish had come true in less than 24 hours.

Few nights after that I had this weird but vivid dream, it was as if a group of us wearing all sorts of cloths, setting in a place that looked like a picnic area; the women were separate from the men, and in actual fact there was like a curtain separating us. Suddenly this person starts calling a name and then a number; he said Fatima 456, Maryam, 350, Ahlam 540, and so on until he reached my name and said Suad 640, so I shouted: why is my number bigger than the others. The next day I told my mum about this dream, she said that because I am in accountant I dream of numbers, it doesn't have any relevance.

Dad and I arrived in Madina, stayed there for 10 days, which were really lovely, every morning we would all walk to the prophet's Masjid, pray and listen to the reciting of duaa's and wait until they open the humongous sized umbrellas when the sun rises. Then we would go back to the hotel, have our breakfast, transcend down to ask the shaikh our questions as he teaches us what to do and not to do during Ihram. I was writing everything down as I didn't want to miss anything; of course we all have one chance for haj, unless of course you are rich or you go as a worker. The shaikh was teasing me as I was the most talkative one, and he gave me a copy of his book too. In the evening we would go shopping for rosaries and praying carpets. Then the day came when we had to move to Mekka. That was a strange day, it was as if something huge was going to happen, we all carried our whites in a small bag with us, and went to the buses, then we reached a place to wash and read our intentions. When we reached the hotel, straight away we placed our stuff in our rooms, and then moved on to do our Omra. Something came over me, I cried non-stop; it was just an unbelievable experience, I saw my life flashing in front of me; Everything I did, every deed, every lie, every dirham that I spent not in its place, I don't know even the days of my little hood when I used to eat so much chocolates, even that came flashing, I felt maybe I was going to die. I can see magnetic circles, and realized that we must be approaching the house of God. The whole ceremony took less than an hour, however it was the most memorable hour in my life.

The 7th day of the month arrived, and we had to do Ihram again; to prepare for the pilgrim. That was something, despite the chaos, and the hoha, we were on the run, one forgets that one has a life, a family, a job, friends and everything that resembled life as one knows it. You live for that moment when you are as close to god as possible. The buses moved to go to Arafa, and then to the tents and the whole shebang of ceremonies. On the day we had to do the sacrifice, we paid money to the contractor I am not sure how much it was, so he buys our sheep. the tent was huge, and every night the women would gather and eat and laugh and say stories, and of course some would faint, and some would make fun of each other, which was fine as we are all there to have an enjoyable experience; one night a slimy animal came inside the tent by my mattress, I am scared of flies, let alone lizards or snakes, so I screamed and every one woke up and jumped around, until the poor lizard was caught but of course not killed, as we were not supposed to harm anything! the tent was split in halves and separated by a curtain, so we can hear the men and they can hear us, that is why we were asked to keep our laughter down, so they do not get aroused by our sounds !!. then a guy came and started to mention names and numbers, i was talking a friend at that time, then I can see that the names and numbers are continuing so I listened intensely, it was de ja vu, especially when he reached my name and said Suad, 650, and i said why is my number higher than the others, when i remembered my dream. it was meant to be i was going to Haj that year and that was written everywhere including my dreams.

I keep on telling my kids about these two incidents as they were the most beautiful incidents in my life.

Saturday 6 August 2011

So How do we deal with Rows?

In my previous post I told you about my friend and her husband who is disagreeing with everything that she does, and creates problems right, left and center. the episode continues and he is adamant about continuing his animal fighting instincts. my friend on the other hand is a happy woman, and doesn't want anything to disturb her happiness despite all the problems that are facing her in life. To her life is great, it gave her great strengths, and made her the powerful person that she was.

She decided that from now on, he can fight and shout as he likes, she on the other hand will continue to smile and makes jokes about this behavior, she told him that she is no longer going to be upset, as she knows that he has a nagging nature, and will never change; she also told him that the loss at the end of the day is actually his, and not the family. I think men need to realize that at this day and age everyone needs to be at peace with oneself before being at peace with the world.

This realization came to her while thinking of what is going on with all the Arab countries and the so called "Arab Spring". If these Arab youth waited, change would never had come; so they gathered in one place, raised signs and sang slogans, were as peaceful as possible and asked for their rights. Of course many had died in the process, and many had been injured, but this will not change my friend's mind, she made it up, and done with it.

I will continue my thoughts about her when i talk to her again, I am sure she will rise as a winner at the end, as nothing is worth more than peace of mind. i think we all should learn from her, i will call her "MY FRIEND"S SPRING"

Friday 5 August 2011

Why do human beings have rows?

My friend went to Kenya, she spent two days on the safari watching animals of all sorts, apparently the sole purpose of the watch is to see a "KILL" which means that animals fight and then kill each other, like lions killing zebras, hypos killing monkeys, I don't know, whoever is vicious would kill those that are not so vicious. Apparently they had to be so quite so the animals can have their freedom in killing each other, or eating each other, it seems that the animals are shy to expose their real behavior in front of us the human beings, they must think that we are superior, respectful, peace loving and harmless creatures. What they don't know is that we are not exactly that, we are worse than animals when it comes to differences of opinion or whatever it is we have rows about.

Let me tell you the story, and you tell me what you think; a man and a woman, living together for ages, not sure of their circumstances, it seems that off late there had been few misunderstandings that made them apart. The man hates himself and everybody around him, the woman has no idea of the depth of the hatred in him. Rows happen and deepen day in and day out. He thinks that she is not doing a good job with the children; she doesn’t think so and continues to work as normal. He thinks that she is not working, she thinks that she is. He thinks that she is throwing her money (or his money) away, she thinks that every cent is well spent, he thinks that every purchase for the home is not necessary, she thinks that the home stuff are deteriorating and requires new things and fresh paint, he thinks that he should do those things, she things that it doesn’t matter who does what. He thinks that life is coming to a standstill when he is with her, and he has to run away, so he runs away for few months, misses home he comes back, and the woman continues to work as normal, so when he comes back he finds changes that he didn’t approves, so they argue again, and rows happen, so he runs away again. This continues to happen so often that it is ugly, so what does she do? Well, to her life is normal, but to him everything is wrong, and he has to be the king of the family; remember how in the good old days the whole family surrounds the granddad or grandma to listen to the war stories or just a fable? He thinks that he deserves a similar setting; the kids and the woman have to surround him while he talks about himself (if he does that too) and listen attentively. What he seems to forget is that he is not talking, he thinks he is talking but he isn’t; it is all happening in his mind really.

According to him a woman has to stay home and raises the children, cooks for the family, arranges the house and never complains, never goes out and should never has any friends. According to him the woman should no work and should not read, or has a mind of her own. The animal instinct suddenly surfaces out, and this is the end. You can imagine it can’t you? From that day onward the rows increases as no woman in this day and age will approve of living the life of her grandma, women these days want to stay up all night so they do not miss anything, no tweet will go unread, no face book notification will not be seen and no timeline on BB is not flicked open. Technology had entered our lives from its widest doors, there is no chance to those men who still live in the past and have no idea about technology. These days a woman will not be living if she hasn’t got an Ipad, a laptop, an Iphone, a blackberry and of course a wee android phone in her bag. TV may not be a big hit unless on the side of it she can still see what is on show and at the same time read her tweeps messages.
Solution: I think all men and women who could have or fear to have this difference in opinion should have the sort of marriage that is happening in Saudi these days, they call it Mesyar, which means they both meet briefly, talk about their day and have a cup of coffee, and any other business they want to do and depart in peace. The animal instinct in them will not surface as they are not in the face of each other, both can have the life that they want to lead; if he wants to play golf all day, its fine, and if she wants to write or read the whole day its fine. None of them will start to have paranoia about the other half as they are not really living with each other. Life will be great.

What I am trying to say here is that, marriage is a contract, and my friend and her husband need to realize that and stick by it, if he owns something it is his and he can do whatever he likes with it, on the other hand she can also do what she likes with her money, the partners do not own each other. They may want to share, but if a business transaction has to happen then it can happen without the need for consultation. What they also need to understand is that if he is not loyal, then he is not respecting the contract, and if she is not loyal then she is the one who is not respecting the contract. At the end of the say what is loyalty? I cannot explain this word, as it doesn’t have a meaning in my dictionary, to me it is the commitment to the family which makes both the husband and wife loyal, if the commitment is diluted then anything can happen including disloyalty.

Men and women of this world, life is racing, and if we continue to quarrel, we may miss something very important, let us all be alert, and enjoy every second of this life while it lasts, as we will never know when the last beat of our hearts will stop.

Wednesday 3 August 2011


Everybody needs FOCUS once in a while. Not sure if this applies to both genders, certainley women need to focus more than men. Men seem to be able to concenrate on a single issue at a time, andnare always able to excel as they will complete what they started and move on to the next project and so on. We, on the other hand have a forest of mashrooms growing and multiplying in our heads, we want to do this, we want to do tht and we want to do the other never tired never agitted, and none is completed. I for instqnce have a folder in my microsoft outlook called "New Projects" this consists of all my ideas that are worth it, and have to be done otherwise the world will never be the same; have I actually completed any of these projests? No! Many reasons of course stop me from pursuing these projects. One of them is TIME, as everyone would know, time is of essance, and we are all short of time. These days even watching TV have become very limited, as I have million things to do in just a 24 hours a day. Sleeping had become distracted, as I am worried that if I sleep i am using time that i may need to complete something more important. Or a better explanation is that I dont want to sleep as I have less time to live and do all the stuff that I am created to do. The other more obvious reason is MONEY, without this demeaning thing nothing would work. The least you would need it for is to buy materials, equipment, pay staff and so on, so forth. Without the accumulation of time and money one cannot do anything worth mentioning in this life.

Of course this is not limited to me, many of my friends and acquintances are also thinking here, there and everywhere. One of my friends in Particular is a doctor, an artist, a business woman, a write and of course a wife, mother, friend and many other jobs and this doesnt stop of course, as she is also a mentor, counsellor, advisor, date maker, mariage arranger, etc. She has projects going on that even she cannot handle them, however her projects are so distracted; they do not fit together to make a complete jigsaw, but she thinks that her projects are like her art, it fits the installation category.

Another friend wants to be a Presedent of a country, well, is she going to be allowed? Don't think so, not if she is living in the arab world; I think even my grand children will not live to see an woman Presedent in the arab world. So this friend is busy trying all sorts of projects just to be as close as can be to her dream. Some other friends are in the charity business, some times they haven't got a biscuit to eat, but they continue to work to eradicate cancer, malaria, poverty, you name it they want to remove it, but they cannot even help themselves to live in a better place, or have a better life.

Please do not take me wrong, life is good, and each one of us have to help in one way or the other to make it heaven for everyone on this earth. However the means to this end are not attainable to everybody.

By the way, I just returned from an Art talk, apparently during Art Dubai $220,000,000 worth of art was sold to various art collectors. That happened in the span of one week of course. Also I just learnt that one of the women that live in Abu Dhabi has more than 30,000 art works in her possession. All of this in a country that is not dissimilar to other arab country where art is jot even taught in schools, and from the 100 universities in the country, only a fraction actually teach art, to students who have no idea what a portfolio means.

This last paragraph resembles the content of the folder that I told you about earlier. I want to do a book for young artists, I want to have children drawing in the streets, I want to expose graffiti, I want every concrete colour bridge and column to have art drawn on it, I want to start an art school, I want to have an annual children art exhibition. So on and so forth.