Monday, 27 January 2014

An empty mind is a devil's workshop

I love the person who said this proverb, I tried to trace it but couldn't, I am sure though that many of us had heard the expression and even imagined devil hammering, screwing or tightening the nuts and bolts, sometimes when my mind is vacant (although I hardly remember this happening) I myself imagine the devil playing and dancing inside my own head.

Well, the reason I am fascinated with this proverb is that we can actually relate to it and can attribute certain behaviors and attitudes of students and young adults to this saying.  For example we have a phenomenon in the Middle East of drug/alcohol use, I am not going to mention statistics and try to be very scientific about it, as its not my job and would rather leave that to the researchers or the governments; I depend on what I see with my own eyes or what my friends are facing with their own kids; the children are finding very attractive ways to"get high" as they call it, they buy over the counter medicine, mix them and swallow them in certain quantities to achieve the required results of getting high so the devil that is dancing in his or her brain relaxes and sleeps.

The second phenomena is sex, this is performed in school parties after consuming so much spiked alcohol and the various tablets that are bought over the counter.  Of course what happens after sex is not going to be mentioned over here but the devil would have had so much fun and the parents later on will have an extra burden on their hand, which is a daughter and a wee devil dancing on a cot.

These three phenomena are obviously a result of too much time and too much money in the hands of students given by guilt feelings of parents who both work and have no time to spend with their kids.  However we have a fourth and fifth phenomena, that is graffiti writing and Tyre burning.  If you are studying physics you will know that for every reaction there is a similar or more forceful reaction, so of course I am not going to mention this forceful reaction and will leave it to your imagination.  These kids started to burn tyres as an anti government protest three years ago, but this is still happening, so I am imagining two possibilities here, one, the kids loved the smell of the tyres and maybe became addicted to it like the drugs used by the rich kids. The other reason could be that they are just naughty and have too much time on their hands.  The graffiti and the calligraffiti writing is an indication of an artistic talent that need to be explored.

So now that we know that the problem is just a matter of  "too much time" then we have a lot of solutions to kill that time that is giving devil a fantastic workshop to play in:
1. Insist that all kids go to schools and no drop outs, neighborhood watch works very well here, as I saw it working in the west, so we can do that too

2. Take the money from the parents who are feeling guilty for leaving their kids and give both the kids and their money to me to help them spend their time in activities that will occupy all their vacant time

3. Close those pharmacies that sell the medicines freely

4. Every school should have an after school activities programme (sports and otherwise)

5. All school parties should happen under adult supervision

7. All parents should think and be responsible instead of spending their time in offices or cafes.

Thank you

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

What is the role of the parents

I was washing for prayers when three girls entered the washroom, being the inquisitive me and my love to know people and converse with them, I asked them if they were students? Of course I knew that they were, as they were young, pretty and holding books, no one would hold books and folders if there were not students, silly question really! they all said yes; so I asked where are they studying and what are they studying, they told me that too, I also asked which year and they all were in their final year.   said that they must start applying for their masters from now, and to my surprise they said yes they are in this building to do just that.  I asked them which office are they going to? To my surprise they were coming to my office which they found on the internet search!!!! That was great information for me of course.  Then they accompanied me and we all went to the office.  I had to crack some jokes and what not to make them be at ease.

Of course they were very clever and have done their homework properly.  Not surprising of course that they have chosen first tier universities to apply for in UK, and they have all decided on the field of masters they want to apply to.

Well, this is all great, and our work is simple then, but the problem is, all three of them are enrolled in a university that is not approved yet by the ministry, and if they want to apply to study overseas the universities abroad will first want to see attested documents, this of course they will not be able to do.   Point number one:  they had no idea about this fact.

Point number two: two of the girls want to continue their masters with the same major, which is fine, as they like what they did! The third one wants to make a major change and to her surprise I said that she can, but she has to do a grad dip in that new major first or must show that she has some electives or a minor in the new field of study.

Then came their other surprise, the GPA, all top tier universities require more than just a GPA (point three), I had to show them which universities from the list that they had researched are in the top one hundred, and which ranking medium they have to check to ascertain that where they are going is high enough (point four).  They also didn't know that with their caliber they can get a good scholarship (point five).

I asked them why they chose the university they are in now? I am not saying that it's a bad university all I am saying is that many universities have opened in Dubai but never bothered to register itself with the government authorities.  That is not their fault of course as they are young and their parents maybe very busy or didn't know this fact!  However if I was a parent, instead of wasting my daughter and son's time and wasting my money I must be educated to make the correct decision, and I feel if every parent made sure that the children went to the correct place, everything will be fantastic, as no university will be complacent.  Of course the burden of being approved is very high so the universities will eventually have to increase their fees and may not be as competitive.

Compliance always comes with a cost, however to me I would rather pay a high price then waste my time and end up with a sub-standard degree.

I had to end my discussion with the washroom friends by mentioning my case as a person who changed her major five times, and how if I did what I liked I would have become an Outlier (Mr Malcom Gladwell must thank me and write me a check for making his book known to my students as most of them are buying his book now)

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Abbas Almosawi

If you look into the history of art and artists, you may find the stereotype of various artists who did all sorts of things and behaved in such ways that may interest you or repel you from art itself, from those that spent their time in ghettos to those that drank and used drugs, those that cut their ears and noses, those that are known to the public by the mere glance at the piece of art they left to the world to admire, those that were troubled inside and outside and became the talk of their time; all we need is to sift through the art history to see what lied beneath.

On a bright side though, art is a very interesting subject, people may live their whole life without noticing that portrait on the wall, never visit a museum or an art gallery and never think of acquiring an art piece, on the other hand you will find the art fanatics that will be present in all the openings of galleries around the world and will be feeling mere pleasure to witness that new art piece created by a new or an established artist.  It may not matter to some of these art patronage if the artist is new, or that he or she can grow and his or her paintings will be the subject of discussion in the various art talks that take place around the world, and that is all that matters to them. Furthermore, some will buy art as an investment similar to buying stocks or bonds, and will keep it as part of their inheritance to be admired by all.

I am currently working on an art project in Bahrain as we speak, and have gathered a group of sincere women who are interested in supporting my movement and who are working with the speed of light to gather the largest number of artists to be in one coffee table book that will soon be published.  The project is drawing interest from various art patronage, artists and members of the public as it hasn't been done before, and it will hopefully be my first book in a series of books about my country (Bahrain).

The first person we contacted is Abbas Almosawi, at that point he was simply known to me because I knew his sister, however, the two meetings that I had with him, I found out that he is not just an artist, he is a visionary, and his work that started since the late 70's early 80's is a living proof of what he believed in.  He didn't only paint, he orchestrated the millennium celebration with 2000 paintings by various artists about peace, he painted villages, he worked with the arab league to celebrate peace, worked with women societies to help villages to grow, did art projects in India, China, Cairo, and many more, while raising his kids and having a successful family. If you want to learn more about Abbas and his work you could visit his site on: and here:

What I personally liked about Abbas is his modesty, and his perseverance to help any new comer to the market of art (so to speak); he gives without expecting rewards, he wants to find talent in people and if he did then those will be presented to the public. He offered us the use of his gallery in his house for our project and that is a living proof of what I personally had witnessed.

His home in Bahrain is a living art piece by itself, every window, door, gateway, garden stone, plant, and corner has something to say about Abbas, and anyone can wonder in his gallery which he purposely had built to be in the same plot of land adjacent to his home.  His lovely wife greets the art fanatics like me with love and affection, and I guess her lovely tea is something to reminisce upon while admiring the art projects he is working on every minute of every day.

Abbas is categorised as an abstract painter, who uses his environment to draw ideas from,  I loved what the co-author of his book Denice O-dwyer had written about him: "Abbas Al-Mosawi's indefatigable energy and his truly prolific output over the past 25 years have marked him out as one of the key players in the development of Bahraini painting. His artistic disposition is more to do with a variation on a theme rather than with rapture and startling innovation, something that some of the best painters and composers centuries apart have been doing and will continue to do for a long time to come. Al-Mosawi is neither a rejectionist nor a revolutionary, not by temperament, not by training. He is more a sensualist than a conceptualist. He directs his art more by intuition than by calculation. He prefers to paint rather than to have to explain, to suggest rather than to have to argue. For him, the artist, the product, the environment that produced, provoked or inspired it are indissolubly linked"

What I loved about his style that its not stagnant, he uses vibrant colours, the themes are ever changing and the introductions of new methodologies are always evident in his work.

In another blog post i will show you his jump, which by the way is his trade mark.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

This is really one of those days

Woke up late with pains all over my body, my shoulder was stuck and my palms were numb. Then I find out that I don't have toothpaste, so I showered, brushed without toothpaste, came down for breakfast and the girl from the office calls to say that the internet is out, I knew that was going to happen one day, as I had forgotten the login and password. So instead of having breakfast and my usual tablets, I decided I will try again. So I  open the page, put the account code, hit forgotten password, and wait, but nothing happens, I don't recieve the email with the password. I try again, and wait and the same happens. I realise after few minutes that an email goes to the office email, which is not dowloading becauase they have NO INTERNET.  Well, I sorted the matter out by phone afterwards of course, I gave a peice of my mind to the customer care guy who probably didn't even had his breakfast and the poor soul had to endure my temper.

Shouldn't these companies think? I wonder

Well off late I am not focusing at all, and keep on thinking of what the other companies do and criticize them in my mind, so that sort of distracts the hell of my brain and make me lose control. I am not the type who can afford losing control,  am a control freak, a big one.  Today my real new year resolution will take effect! I will not bother with "why are they doing it this way" or "why are they giving me a hard time" or "what the hell is wrong with this driver" "who is going to take care of that" and all those sort of questions that pop in your brain just to make you avoid the real work. I will focus instead on how I can do better and how my work can be delivered to the public so no one will be distracted when they come to my office.

good luck with that, and there is more where this came from.