Friday 31 October 2014

Travelling with the sisters and a baby

This was one of the most interesting trips in my life, we had so much laughter and happiness, even though Rashed was a bit on the cranky side, and keeps on scratching his nose and face with something (maybe our accessories) but otherwise the crowd was great.

 I must say though that I thought I was the loud one in our family who says everything and never keeps a secret but my sister Nehad proved me wrong, she is the loudest, and she told everything about us and how we behaved to the friends that we met in Doha by showing them videos and proofs of guilt !!  she had videos to prove that we are the culprits of fun, including when we danced at the airport by rolling our own bags, and how my brother Hassan, who is normally a very composed person, danced a "Yola" not worrying about what the people in the airport would say or comment.  That was hilarious story, "Flashmob" people cannot compete with us,  I cannot remember why we were so happy then, maybe it was after we returned from my son's wedding? or was it after my daughter's wedding? God knows.

Anyway, the first day my sister's in laws invited us to their house and then to a restaurant, we of course had rented a car from the airport, dropped our things to the hotel first and then headed their way.  Nehad had arrived a day earlier as her sister in law wanted to be alone with her before we all arrive and ruin the atmosphere, I think our reputation precedes us.  We had so much fun, as the house is in this new place called the Pearl, which is similar to our Palm Jumeirah except its way nicer, the houses are all royalty, and the shops are for royalties as well.  When we finally arrived to the house their daughter's husband took over Rashed and wouldn't give him back to us, and when we went to dinner we found that he came before us and brought his friends too just to see the little boy, he is a real crowd drawer this little Rashed, so in any case we had so much fun and laughter, met a lot of people during the dinner that finished around two in the morning.  Shaz, was so happy, and Sawsan too because it was their first time in Doha, so were not accustomed to the way people are treated there.  You will only know what I am saying when you actually visit.  The word awesome is just a major understatement.  Nehad's family really know how to take care of visitors, with their butlers,  pool girls and posh cars, we know how to use these items perfectly well too.  My daughter and I were fine, as we like to be pampered in any situation, one thing we cannot say to good treatment is "no".

Over the next few days this treatment continued with lunches and dinners to the sisters as we were busy at work, but relaxed that Rashed had a lot of maids to look after him and three grannies too.  In the evenings we would visit Katara with friends, and knowing how I walk with two left legs I fell off the stairs! yes I fell and hurt my knee again, guess what happened?? the people at the restaurant brought the ambulance that treated my damaged knee at the tent that my friends had rented for us, they checked my blood pressure and my sugar, put ice on the knee and the ankle, and when we finally left after hours of laughter and hearing Nehad's and Sawsan' jokes I had forgotten that my knee hurts.  Now I know that laughter is a good treatment for anything.  Laugh people laugh, its a miracle from God.

The day that we had to leave arrived, we were uneasy as we got used to going out at night every night and having sumptuous dinners and lunches, but all good things come to an end.  I wish we had stayed longer, the only bad thing that could have happened is us putting on weight, but who really cares about that??

One thing I must say here is how Sawsan and I have the heat flush, so she walks in the room with her underwear only, and my sister in law Shaz braids her hear into four distinctive braids and wears her Rayban over them, which was the funniest thing that happened really.  Till now when I remember that scene I laugh out loud.

I am waiting for our next trip, which I am sure its going to be really great.  Watch this space.

Qatar Another perspective

In 2003 my friend's son said to me that he wants his young daughter to see the change that was happening in Dubai and be part of it, and in 2006 My Qatari friend's daughter told me that when she went back to Qatar during her university break she saw a skyline and was amazed.  Here we are talking about Dubai and Doha and being amazed about what happened in these two countries.  Dubai had managed to amaze everyone in the world, as wherever I go people ask me where are you from, I say Dubai they say wow, its amazing, and its true, for a person that came here in 1981 and saw the sudden change that occurred from 2003, I felt sad that I didn't see gradual change, and I felt sad that for 18 years I was driving to Jebel Ali day in and day out amidst empty roads, and only when I left the company the skyline appeared, I felt sad that I wanted my kids to be part of the change that took Dubai by a storm, luckily my grand kids will see it allbeit when they visit me from time to time.

However, this Blog is about Doha.  I went there in 2003, I saw nothing, and I went again on an annual basis to attend Doha Debate, which I loved by the way as Tim Sebastian is great and makes the crowd say what they think and not regurgitate what he thinks,  but since 2006 the tremendous and clever change is not just amazing its genious. 

Last week I met some one who told me that what happened in Dubai relates to "Profit", but what is happening to Qatar is prestigious, as they have loads of cash and want to improve their country in education, sports, leadership and art at any expense.  What started as giving away schools to people who proved that they are able to run them has become an exercise of power, only those that can run schools stayed in the market and others who couldn't exited, the result is amazing and students are now able to speak the languages and are having a strong outlook in life, everyone wants to study either in the strong universities that Shaikha Moza brought to the country (all Ivy league universities) or go abroad and again to study in top schools. 

The sports field is also ingenious, they have Aspire city, and they have all these new stadiums that are being built in such a way that one just wants to admire their looks in preparation for 2022, and they have the schools that produces the sports people.  Their clubs are built with love, and nothing was spared as there is no shortage in cash.  The only thing over there is that you have to face the person you are doing business with to make a point, don't try to send an email or a phone call, you have to be there.  You must show seriousness in working with the Qatari people, and once you do, and you prove that you are trust worthy, they will give you what you want.  Basically you have to be high quality and know your subject, don't be fooled that they will not figure you out!!

They have  school of leadership, they choose the students that has leadership potential and train them further.  Their museums are worth every cent that is spent on them, Qatar spend more Money on Art than any other country in the world, and Katara is a proof of that, a whole town that is built around the art field.  a visit to that place will provide you with all the knowledge you need and will inject you with a doze of art education that you never got accustomed to so you will fall in love with it.

My sisters came with me this time to Doha, I was in the exhibition but they were out all day, and at night when we gather I can tell from the glow on their faces that they are happy and relaxed, as despite the traffic, feeling the luxury of life makes you feel good.  I think if an opportunity arises, I wouldnt mind moving.  I will miss Dubai, but its a stone throw away, I can come back to visit my friends.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

I am so confused

The other day we were just chilling at a place, and there was a visitor. She is a normal woman, that talks and travels and has all the social media, but divorced, has kids, the ex husband is a miser and hence the divorce, she lost her mum, and her brother.  Both were looking after her before their death, and they tried to help her as much as possible, bought her a flat, and gave her living money.  You look at her and you see a strong person who can tackle the world, but you hear her talk and you think oooh, poor thing.  I do not like to gossip about people, but it was the first time that I misjudged a person, I thought to myself why is she behaving in this way? she is strong and can work instead of depending on charity. To me a charity is only for those that are really unable to do anything in their life. But I understand now.

To some women, having a husband is like having a shield, its a protection of some sort, without that shield some people will just loose all aspects of realities in life.  I think she cannot work because she feels vulnerable, and the eyes of the monsters in this world may attack her, so she would rather take the charity money and sty home, she defended this subject by saying that its a gift from God so why refuse it.I tol her that there maybe other people that need that charity money? she said, I need it too.

On the other hand I met other women who are doing marvelous things for this world, and are trying their best to leave a legacy behind them, many of them may have had some problems, may have lost their families, or their husbands, but that didn't stop them from thriving in this life. So not all women are the same.  I know of many stories were husbands had left their wives and married other women, but it didn't deter the wives from completing their journey in this life and creating wonder.  I may understand the point of view of our visitor and can sympathize with her, but I feel that it is my duty to shed some light on the various possibilities in life and on how she can create instead of depending on others in order to live.  I feel that women in general are born with a self fulfilling prophecy, we manage to create and help, did we forget that we carried kids in our stomach for nine months? isn't that the most wonderful thing??

I am not one of those motivators who can inspire, but after the talk that I had with that woman, I wish I can say something to her that can inspire her to be something important in this life time.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Another interview with me.

I love it when journalists send me questions for interview, however the below questions were well thought out and very philosophical, this to-be journalist is going to be a world leader. 

Hope you will like what i said: 

1/ Please tell us about  yourself and your background ( Education, work experiences) well my aspiration here is to have a PHD in education, but I had to stop at the masters level and continued to study various subjects on my own to accumulate more knowledge about the field.  Coming out of the finance and accounting was not easy, and building my career at the age of 45 to become a real educationalist took a lot of work. 

2/ What incentives encouraged you to become an entrepreneur? In actual fact I don’t consider myself an entrepreneurs, I consider myself a person with an idea to help kids figure out their future path, and help them find what they like to do in life, and guide through to place them at a university or a college that matches their potential and their budget.  However, to do this I have to invest, and that took a lot of courage, as it was not easy to find the money, even though I had some but it was not that great to start a business, so I had to borrow, and being great in the finance field I was able to stretch that money until we started to earn from our idea.  But doing the idea was for a reason, I didn’t want to work as an employee for the rest of my life, I was at an age where I wanted to travel and see places, meet more people and have a great time, also I wanted to be a writer, and all of this could not have happened if I stayed working for others.

3/ Please introduce  the company you established few years ago and let us know your global activities ? as I mentioned above, the company was the fruits of being an eternal student, the mishaps that happened to me whenever I travelled to study, questions like where I am going, how to get there, who will do my visa, do I need a bank account, who will take me to the university, is it far? where will I live, will I find friends? Can I borrow to pay for my fees? Is the field of study good for me or not?  These questions made me swear that I will not let any student that comes my way face these issues again.  And because I was honest, people opened up to me and started to come for advise.  My success is the success of my students, and because they succeeded, they brought their family, their friends and anyone that ask them on how to go to a university.  of course when we started there was no google, and no social media, nowadays, we do get many students, but I must confess, they are more advanced in their questions, and that gave us more depth and made our job that much more interesting.

4/ Why educating others about education is so important to you? to me going to a university is not just to study, but to have a personality, and to learn about the country and its people.  The student needs to be a well-rounded individual, who should be going places, travelling, learning, and socialising. I am all for studying abroad, if one can afford it, as the amount of learning one can achieve is tremendous, no matter how much learning one does in one’s own country, the stuff he or she will learn about in another country will surpass the learning if done at home.  Learning to be independent, shopping for groceries, paying bills, packing the suitcase and so on, knowing how to stay safe, avoiding dangerous places, cleaning the flat and so on; that will not happen if one stayed home.  I enjoyed my studies abroad, and I think every parent should provide this opportunity to ones kids to do the same.  Of course we have to equip them too, we should not think that a 16 year old is going to go abroad and succeed, we need to make sure that all the important stuff are covered.

5/ Tell us about the feed back you get from your clients after they achieve their goals in terms of education? The feedback is so great, and that is what encouraged us to stay in business and to grow, we just opened a branch in Bahrain, and that too is going well; we know that we succeeded when the same student that we helped to go for his or her bachelors, comes back to us and ask us to help in getting offers for the masters or the PHD.  That by itself is proof that we are good, and that we are remembered.  We never asked our students to provide testimonials, but we did that few months ago, and here is what one student had said (see attached email)

6/ How many exhibitions and conferences do you attend annually? Since we are in the education field, we need to ensure that we visit universities and colleges around the world and also see what is happening in the education field itself.  In terms of exhibitions, we do 20-25 a year, and university visits of around 6 a year, also we attend 5 main conferences a year. this is not much, as we need to see more.  We are members of important education associations such as ICEF, ALPHE, IALC, Study world, NAFSA, EAIE, and many others.  Being part of these organisations keeps us on our toes and encourage us to re-evaluate our offerings.

7/ What is the main education destination for Middle Eastern students? Well, sadly its USA, then UK, followed by Canada and Australia.  We opened up new destinations like New Zealand when we started our company, which no one had heard about, and then Europe, and Turkey.  I feel we have to experiment and we have to diversify as students.  However many students will not change their minds, and will continue to go to the place that they think will give them the highest quality.  Now, all I need to do is suggest the country, mention its qualities and people will follow what I tell them.  I am fortunate that I arrived to this level of trust in people’s mind, and the main reason is that I am not just trying to sell a product, it’s a life of four ears abroad that I am planning, so we have to be very careful.

8/ As we have seen many universities and colleges  have opened branches in UAE and are pioneers in enhancing education system here. What is the reason behind their interest? This is correct, and someone told me that I will have to close the business since they all came here!! To begin with, many things are happening around the world as we speak, people started to feel uneasy about sending a daughter or a son away, also the countries themselves had made stringent visa rules.  So the universities were smart, instead of “Mohammed going to the mountain, the mountain came to Mohammed” and this makes sense.  However I feel the government should make stringent rules so the same high quality education provided in the home country is also maintained here, otherwise we will have problems in the evaluation of the students’ documents if they wanted to go abroad for their masters afterwards.

9/ What are the criteria for your students to be eligible for financial assistance? We have two types of students here, one type is the local students who will be eligible in any case for financial aid, as the government of the UAE, wants ever UAE student to avail of the “free education to all” concept, and then we have the other GCC students who are also recipients of scholarships from their own government. The third international students that will receive scholarships from the universities themselves, or from the charity organisations provided they show high potential and high grades.  The last level is the students that we help because they do not fall under any category mentioned above.  My team and I gather forces, and ask our friends, and relatives to chip in and we finance some students.  Of course we are not able to do a lot, and are not able to generate funds to be sufficient for universities with high fees, so we look for places that are not that expensive but still high quality and send these students to them.  but our favourite ones are those rich kids whose parents will pay anything just to get them educated.  

10/ What is your advice for your students? My advice, is, don’t just study, live and enjoy, Work, and help others, and do not forget to get reference letters from your professors and colleagues.  Make friends and take a cake to your neighbours, as one never know when we will need them.

11/ Who is your role model and why? I have to say its my dad (PBUH), if it wasn’t him, I will be just another person living in a village in Bahrain.

12/ How do you see future of education world wide in terms of integration with internet and e- education? I am not a pessimist, and I feel that with the increase in population there will be an increase in education seekers.  I am sure teaching will be done in a blended way, with webinars, chat rooms, online studies and face-to face for case studies and group discussions.  I cannot foresee that people are going to stay home and only study online, but I would think that online studies like Cursera and MOOC (and these are free courses too) will be a great help to mothers and fathers who are not able to go abroad but want to do some studies.  That is why there are not many that is offering a full degree online, and even if a university did, a portion will be multi-modal. Our governments unfortunately are not approving studies by distance, but to me its alike a turtle drawing her head inside her shell to avoid discussing the reasons, and maintain that whatever is online is not high quality, which is not entirely true.  Organisation spend billions to prepare the courses, and we cannot dismiss them just because some people had purchased few certificates online from rogue universities.  I would say people must beware, but I will not advise anyone against studying by distance, I feel a category of people can benefit of it.

13/ What is your opinion about social media? Look at me, I am a big fan of social media, I use them all, and I would be on social media for few hours every day, its part of my job.  However like everything else, it can be a great thing and it can be something that we may regret having.  Kids must be careful, as their future employers are watching. Be there, but be sensible is my advice to kids.  I use it to tell the students about the new stuff, but I hate to use as a sales mechanism. I feel that it defeats the purpose.  We can use the normal advertisement to sell our services, but the social media can be kept for interaction with students and helping them when they are in difficulty.

14/ When is the cap where utilizing social media is too much to handle? If you tell me that you can only go on facebook, twitter, Instagram, pinterest, google plus, snachat and so on, for an hour a day, I may get a heart attack.  There should not be a cap.  Its like going on a diet, it’s a personal thing. Too much food will make you fat, too much social media will make you a nervous wreck.

15/ Do you believe education formats need modifications? Tell me about it.  of course I believe that the format should change.  We are not following the advancement in technology in our teaching, and that is so sad. The educators around the world are working so hard to introduce new methods of teaching, all we do in the middle east is to ignore and continue to hide behind the old methods of teaching.

16/ As we know more and more people are seeking further education to enhance their knowledge as well as learning skills. With all the hard working and too many  competition in the work force , they often are over qualified in the job they are hired. Does that discourage young generation? I don’t think the young generations are actually thinking of this, but most of them are also trying to work on the skills needed for the job, which are communication skills, presentation skills, team work and working outside the box.  Lets face it, the companies will never reject a person because of over qualification, this is said to obscure the real reasons which are the basic skills for working that people do not have.

17/ How do you link education and gratification? I don’t see that there is a link, there is no limit to education, and I am a great believer in studies for life.

18/ What are the lessons you have learned from your colleagues in Education field and what are the lessons you have passed on? How long does this interview need to be? I cannot count how much I had learning from my colleagues, the field is as large as the world itself.

19/ What are the complementary steps to take if one wishes to enter educational field? Perseverance, perseverance and perseverance.  But if one wants a rewarding field, there isn’t one field that equates to it. one needs an open mind, and ability to accept new methodologies.

20/ How is reading outside academic institute valuable? I am a sucker for reading, anything that comes under my eyes will be read. It increases our horizon, and makes us open minded.  We must encourage people to read.  It doesn’t have to be a novel or a magazine, it can be a blog, a flier, a non fiction and for me the best is autobiographies.

21/ Are  the  governments in the west taking education as their priority agenda? What are they doing to keep students in schools and universities? In most western countries the education budget is the biggest, some go as far as making studies free for all (local and international students like Europe and brazil) we must follow suit to stay afloat.

22/ Many  successful entrepreneurs have dropped out of school and are running multi million dollars businesses? Does that discourage education? No it doesn’t, tell me how many did that? Everyone mentions Steve Jobs, and Bill gates, who didn’t drop out of school, but they didn’t graduate as they took the subjects that they liked in university but combined didn’t give them a full degree in one subject, which is a weakness in the education field that we must address.  Also in the early eighties we used to listen to a song which was popular at that time “we don’t need no education” and everyone interpreted the song as rebelling against education, when it was actually saying “we need education” when you remove the negative words from it “don’t” and “no”.  Education (whether formal or informal) is a way of life, and many people pursue it for the wrong reason, however we must encourage the positive side of it. 

23/ Are the enhanced technologies providing better environments for education? I agree, technology and education go hand by hand.  If you think about it, today we are learning more things a day than we ever did, I envy the new generation, as they will reach to my position in less time, it took me years to reach to where I am, and kids of 27 years old are doing much better than me as they had everything sandwiched for them.  for example I used to spend a month to look for references in the library, now all I need to do is to write what I want and in a flick of a second I find it on google.  Think how technology have changed the way we do things.  Marvellous really.
24/ Are students in schools because of their interests or they are forced by their guardians? One scholar had said before that human beings are lazy by nature, I don’t agree with that, but he was able to prove it by doing some studies.  I think parents need to push their children to start, and give them incentives, but at the end the love to learn must come from within, and educators should find ways to keep the students motivated.

25/ What is your dream to achieve in education platform? My dream is to teach everything that is needed for a job in each major, the world needs people that know a bit of everything, so a doctor for example has to also learn finance, accounting, business, management, computing and communication studies.  I would also teach the doctors how to write well, as many times a prescription was misread and patients where given the wrong medicine.  I would love to have them do some art or sculpturing, not that we need more artists in this world, but art has the magic of making the person unwind.  

Wednesday 22 October 2014

I think I had upset some people :(

There are many people that I really care about in this world, but my worry is that if I write about them they may not like it, or may consider it invasion of privacy, or something of that sort.  I can write and joke about my family, because we are all of similar nature, we "joke it out|" as the saying goes, but to extend the humour to include my friends and my sisters and brothers in law might be taken seriously. 

Even in my family I will not write about certain members as these certain members may sulk and may not talk to me for a while, of course I am assuming here that my family are avid members of the literary world and would read my blog on a regular basis, which I suspect, as I wrote one the other day comparing me with one of the sisters and I didn't receive any comments from her, which makes me assume that she didn't read it and no one else had read it.  Then again, I write my thoughts because I am always worried that I will develop Alzheimer like my dad, and once that happens, I will read the blog and remember my family.  I am thinking that I must write something about each member, so if I do get Alzheimer, I will read everyday the description to remind me of what to say.  However I will not get Alzheimer now as I am following the advise of taking a spoon of coconut oil on a daily basis.

So, I was asked to write something about my brothers.  I am keeping this on the side, as we are all going on a trip in February next year to Thailand and that should generate a book instead of a blog, I will be the fly on the wall noticing everything and writing about it.  Stay put, and wait for it, its going to be an amazing trip and you would want to know about what happens in it.

There is an important part of the family that I have neglected completely, and this is the brothers and sisters in law.  Everyone is amazed on how we can be friendly with that part of the family! well, once they married into our family we all feel that they had taken part in our growth and progress.  They are important to us as they are the mothers and fathers of our nieces and nephews and are enriching our lives with their culture.  Sometime to stay with just your own family you get complacent, but having outsiders around is a good thing, and when these outsiders are great and had been loved by my brothers and sisters, then why not? we will love them too. 

I think also that loving is a give and take, if you love someone then you expect love in return; Love is a coin with two faces, so we expect that our brothers and sisters in law will love us too, and will make us part of their plans.  We don't mind having them as part of our plans if they did that too.  I must try to remember if that happened to us or not?  unfortunately we only have one sister in law living with us in Dubai, the rest are living in Bahrain,  but the one living hear is more of a sister than just a Sister in Law, as we see her more often, and her craving for hot red chillies had made us crave it too; she loves to go out and have fun, but we the sisters are a lazy bunch, we would rather stay home, enjoy a movie, or gossip, now though she became like us, and that day when we went for dinner I spent few days with stomach ache as I was trying to mimic her ability in eating spicy stuff, but it worked against my sensitive stomach. She learnt Arabic just to keep up with us, and her kids will only speak our language with her, sometimes we feel that it is not fair for her that we speak in Arabic only, but in actual fact it helped her learn another language.  We love you Shaz, don't be upset.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

And so we are travelling together, the sisters

Not sure if you remember when I wrote about my family, and how laud we are and how we can all talk at the same time but understand each other, so we could be talking about fashion, telling joks, gossiping about each other, discussing politics, commending each other about our beauty and at the same time answer each other queries.  We are something like a bee hive, full of women and the men in the family are lost, we love them, but they are there for moral support, we the Halwachi girls rule the show.  Of course you will need to imagine us to understand what I am saying.

We have Nehad, who is tall and stunning, and a tongue that can come out and sting you if you say something avant garde, but she is soft and understanding and has a different dynamism in different circumstances.  So she could be the devil's advocate or she could be the catalyst.  Then we have Sawsan, who is the youngest and the prettiest, as per her description, she is a cancer survivor, so we are all proud of her. She speaks what she thinks and doesn't keep a secret.

Then there is Elham, who is never there when we want her, as she always lives too far away from us, and always has bad cars that gets accidents and flat tires.  Elham is the thinker in the family, give her a riddle and she is the first to solve it,  of course she is stunning too and maintains that beauty by doing facials and mix concoctions on her own to use on her face as well as ours, Basically we call her the facial witch.  Amal is the salt in every dish, she can be your friend when you are upset, but also your friend when you are friendly, she is the masseuse, the quraan reader, the person that finds the best articles to read so we get rich and so on.  Fadila lives in Kuwait, she married early, and has lots of kids and grandkids, none of us will beat her in that.  When she is around, we lower our voices and we show her the respect that she deserves; However she is with us in our Whatsapp group (all the boys, the girls and few nephews that were smartly chosen by Nehad to join the group) and participate very well, sometimes I have to roll the discussion few meters till I reach her writing.  I must give her that, she is always the first person to greet us good morning, of course that too if Nehad happened to sleep early, and if I am not traveling.

So when we gather, its fun, we never keep a grudge, we tell each other off, and we criticize each other, but at the same time we praise each other like hell, and we complement each other even if we happen to wear rags (only me of course, as they are always wearing designer stuff, oh I forgot to mention that Nehad is also our designer, one day she will be a worldly one).

Next week I have a fair in Qatar, so we decided that its time to go in a group of sisters, I am sure that we will have so much fun, and because of that I will have lots and lots of business.  I noticed that when I am happy work improves, when I am sad we don't get any new work.  So them going with me will be a refreshing thing.

Will tell you all about it after the event.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

And I was part of an unanimous study!!

Not sure if you know that I am a member of many great organizations like CIMA, ACPA, University of Auckland, NAFSA, EAIE to name a few and many others ,not trying to brag here, I am just saying that sometimes and without you knowing your profile is picked up in the secendary data for research projects.  Also, if you think about it, you had given all your information, likes and dislikes to all the social media that is around.  Facebook has all your friends and family, Twitter knows what you are thinking about, Pinterest knows what stuff you like in terms of art, cooking, education, buildings, architecture and fashion design.  Instagram has all the pictures that you took and displayed to the public, Linkedin has all your professional qualifications, and experiences.  So what is left of you that is unknown to others are those thoughts and dreams that you are not talking about and not displaying in public. 

Is this a good thing?  many ofm y friends and all my family are a bunch of conspiracy theorists, I am too but I keep that trait to myself, so we indulge in discussions that revolves around giving out our information and for free, and who is using that information and for what purpose? am I bothered? I don't think so, as I feel that whoever is bothered is actually a sleeping cell, the likes of ISIS and Alqaeda that suddenly had a lot of members who were regular human beings, and suddenly their brain switched to become one of the most devious human brain ever, that kills a person, cuts his head, takes a selfie of himself and posts it on social media??? ironic.

If you remember the movie "conspiracy theory" with Mel Gibson and Julia Robbert, I loved that movie,  he talked about something called gravy, where the CIA or FBI injects in the head of the people and make them assassins!  (this word is Arabic and refers to a group who are hired to kill others in the 16th century) and how at the end he managed to free himself from the group by faking his death.

Anyway, last night I was reading about the new university ranking that Linkedin had done on the basis of career outcome.  They used us the people who registered on Linkedin as secondary data, so they grouped the careers, and then linked it to the universities, and the faster the graduates got jobs, the better the university.  I like this way of ranking, as it is the core of what we do, give people a chance to find good jobs and quickly.  Of course in accounting and finance major, my name and photo was listed on the second row ! to begin with, I was so happy, yaay, my name is there. Then I thought, wait a minute, I didnt fill a survey, nor did I sign anything to approve of them using my name and picture? how did they do this? who allowed Linkedin to use my profile? 

Well I did, when I opened the account, I said that I agree with the terms and conditions, and one of those terms and condtions was to use our profile for any study they may do. 

So imagine this, if you want to make a study on how many people love cupcakes, all you need to do is ask Instagram to send you the list! if you want to know if starting a new cafe is still trendy, go to Pinetrest,  and if you want to know which country is the best holiday destination for your friends, go to facebook.  Its all legal as we all had ticked that box (if you agree with our terms and condtions click this box)

I am not complaining.

Good to rummage!

I needed to take copies of all my certificates, its a chore as I have so many, some framed, some in folders and some in a big green file that I had since 1983.  Got everything out, and amidst those papers I found so many interesting stuff, like for example my mediocre perormance appraisal when I was 35, and soon after that a letter from the top guy in my ex company congratulating me for doing a great job?? contrast, haha! my bonus certificate, some of my old work pictures, etc.  Anyway, I needed to take a scan of these documents, so I brought them all to the office.  While doing that a piece of paper falls down!!  to my surprise it was a list written by my speech therapist in 1993 (ancient).  You see I went to Mecca for piligrim in that year, and caught a virus which stopped me from speaking (Please God don't let that happen now to me as that is all I do now, talk talk talk)  I had to do that list every day. At the end my voice returned but instead of the one that sounded like the women in ABBA, I started to sound like a guy :)

Here is the list, try it at your own risk:

Vocal Hygiene

1.            No throat clearing.  If you need to do it, swallow and take a sip of water.
2.            You should always have a glass of water next to you.  Take a sip, every 10-15 minutes.
3.            Make sure your environment is not too dry.  Use a humidifier to make atmosphere humid (30%).
4.            Decrease use of heavy perfumes.
5.            Avoid environment with smoking.
6.            Avoid use of Aspirin
7.            No shouting / No speaking loud *
8.            Avoid excessive talking – that is not necessary.
9.            During presentations use a microphone.
10.          Don’t try to talk over TV, radio, turn it down.
11.          Reduce talking on the telephone.
12.          Avoid lifting heavy things.
13.          No whispering

Well, I am doing all of these stuff day in and day out. so no wonder.

My advise to you is to start rummaging in your old stuff, you never know what you will find.