Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Secret of Dreamshire

Once upon a time, a girl sat sad in her bedroom. “What is the matter?” her worried mother asked after seeing her daughter’s teary eyes. “Why I can’t find my charming prince, Mama?” asked the early 21 year old beautiful girl. The mother sat at the edge of the bed beside her daughter and held her hands but kept quiet without uttering any word. After a moment of silence the girl looked at her mother and asked “Why are you quite Mama, is there something you are not telling me? Please Mama tell me, is there something wrong with me?” Her mother was silent because she was hiding a secret. A secret she didn’t want to tell her daughter about until she celebrates her 25th birthday. But when she found how sad her daughter was she decided to reveal the secret to her.

“I will tell you how to find your charming prince, my dear love” said the mother. “You need to kiss a frog!” she added hesitantly after a moment of silence. The daughter got annoyed and reproached her mother “why do you make fun of me, Mama? Don’t you see I am not in the mood?” The mother knew that her daughter will not believe her so she told her about the Frog Prince story. The mother overheard this story when she was working as a housekeeper for the Duchess of Dreamshire. One day while performing the daily chores, she eavesdropped on a conversation between the Duchess of Dreamshire and her daughter. The secret conversation she overheard was of course about the frog prince.

The story of kissing a frog to find the charming prince was kept secret for a long time among the nobilities of England such as the Duchesses, Countesses and Baronesses. No middle class girl would ever dream of marrying a prince. Until of course the housekeeper revealed the secret to her daughter who eventually told her girl friends. Since then some of the middle class girls who believed in the Frog Prince story and in miracles actually got married to princes. Here are few of those girls:

 

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Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby

Married to: Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway
Worked as:  worked for a year at a café.

Máxima Zorreguieta

 

Married to: Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange (Netherlands)

Worked as: Investment banker

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Mary Donaldson

 

Married to: Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
Worked in: Marketing

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Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano

 

Married to: Felipe, Prince of Asturias

Worked as: Journalist

 

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Kate Middleton

Engaged to: Prince William of Wales

Worked as: Assistant accessories buyer with clothing chain Jigsaw

 

With the above in mind, there is another significant secret that is still unknown among the middle class boys; how a boy can find his royal princess? Why we don’t hear in the news of a middle class man marrying a princess? Why such news is not worthy of our invaluable time as of when and where is Kate Middleton’s wedding? Who is invited and what would be in the menu? The question is why when a non-royal woman marries a prince it is big news but when a non-royal man marries a princess it is not news?

 


Disclaimer 1: This post is in no way trying to make a mockery of any human, it is published under ‘fun’ category. Please accept my apology if you felt offended by the analogy of the frog prince.

Disclaimer 2: All the pictures above are taken from google/image. Unfortunately, I couldn’t link a source to any of these pictures since there were shown in many different websites.

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Rethinking Tall Buildings

I hate tall apartment complexes. I lived in one for one year when I was in Malaysia. These horrible and monster-like constructions cause eye sore, they are crowded and they are not social-friendly as horizontal buildings. An apartment building should have no more than ten apartments max anything more than that will be a burden on everyone. Those who experienced living in such tall buildings can tell you how many problems they had to deal with. Instead of having a bad neighbor, in tall buildings you may have ten bad neighbors or even more.

The first fifteen years of my life I lived with my family in an apartment.  We were in apartment #10, the last apartment in the building. Each floor had four apartments, except the ground floor had two apartments. That is, the building was two floors high only. All the ten tenants knew each other. It was a very nice and friendly environment. I don’t think you can bond with your neighbors if you live in a 20 or 30 floor building.

It turned out that tall buildings are not just unsocial but they are unsafe as well:

On November 15th, in Shanghai, China, a fire erupted, apparently within construction materials and scaffolding surrounding an occupied 30-story apartment building under renovation. The flames quickly spread to the building itself and soon engulfed the entire structure. Workers and residents scattered down scaffolding, or climbed to the roof, attempting to escape the smoke and flames. Unfortunately, 58 people were unable to escape, losing their lives, and 70 more were injured in the blaze, which was contained within four hours. 

Here are some pictures of this horrible fire from The Big Picture: [see more here]

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The Power of “NO”

This is one of Boston’s, The Big Picture, most influential and touching photo collection, In Protest. It looks like the world is in chaos these days. It makes you shed tears when you see all this violence, oppression, and suffering. Some protests of course have stronger reason and meaning than others but they all share one goal. They all wanted to be heard saying “N0”.

These are some pictures of what happened in the past two weeks only. To no surprise, some commentators even protested this photo collection because it  didn’t cover other protests and demonstrations in the rest part of the world.

Before the era of radio communication it took the French centuries before their revolution and before the era of internet communication it took the Romanians less than 25 years before they get rid of their dictator. Today, it took the English and Italians hours before they were able to say “no” to their governments’ plan of universities budget cut.

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Leftovers

During a conference I attended in Malaysia, the organizers invited the participants to a buffet dinner. I thought the common practice at buffets is to try a little bit (or may be more) of everything. So I chosen couple of things and had my eye on other looking delicious food items for my second round. When everyone at my big round table of eight finished eating they kept still. No one left the table for another dish. I looked around to see if I am sitting at the worst buffet eaters table but no one in any other table seemed interested in a second round. Back then I used to get embarrassed of doing things no one else does. So, I sucked it up and sat on the table leaving my stomach and my brain fighting over the most important question at that moment; to refill or not to refill. My stomach lost and went to bed not over stuffed.

To my surprise, the Malaysians did the most incredible thing anyone could ever think of. When everyone was ready to leave everyone went to the buffet and put the leftovers in small bags. It was the first time I have ever seen anything like that. Coming from a totally different background I thought, only that time because I was naive, that this behavior is shameful. In the Arab world taking leftovers is considered a no-no behavior. It is what the Arabs call “عيب” or loosely translated as shame.

Arabs are known to be good hosts. We take pride of how much food we cook when inviting people. I admire the good hospitality of Arabs but what I dislike is the insane abundant amount of food they cook when inviting people. In their culture, the more leftovers means the more generous the host is.

I found this short documentary about raising the awareness concerning the leftovers food in Jordan at Saja’s blog. I liked its topic and that it is translated and also professionally done.

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[click picture to play video]

In the US, it is normal for customers at restaurants to ask for take away boxes if they have any food left. If you know that the restaurant is going to throw your leftovers food in the garbage wouldn’t you be responsible for this waste?

Taliban and Schools

The Taliban are destroying one school after another in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The New York Times posted among many this heartbreaking video about the destroyed schools in Swat, Pakistan.

Like them or not, the Taliban are smart. They have a vision for what their future should be. They know the importance of schools more than many governments in the world. They know how a school can shape the future of a society and the next generation. Unlike many governments, they know that future is a synonymous word for schools. That is why they are persistent in their satanic mission to destroy schools. They know that educating young Pakistanis and Afghans means the end of their future and existence.

When asked during a TV interview in Europe what will happen to Al-Qaeda when Osama Bin Laden is killed, Robert Fisk answered “It is irrelevant.” And I think Americans knew this fact very, very late. Al-Qaeda and Taliban are not a one man show. Eliminating Al-Qaeda and Taliban is not enough to get rid of the twisted mentality of killing others. Rather, both Muslims and non-Muslims’ first enemy is illiteracy. To build a brighter, peaceful future for the next generation we need to build a better education system.

If we want our children to feel safe, we should ask our governments to build schools in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and not support them in sending more troops. When you kill a man you create a family of enemy. When you teach a child you build a future.

[click on picture to play video]

Country Music Award 2010

Yesterday, I watched the 44th annual country music award. My favorite band, Lady Antebellum, won two awards;  single and vocal group. I like country music, some songs are so touching and it make me tear up sometime.

Here is Lady Antebellum’s best CMA single for this year “Need You Now.”

[ click on picture to play video]

I also like “American Honey” for the same group.


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My other favorite country music group is Sugarland who won for vocal duo. This is their latest song “Stuck Like Glue.”


[ click on picture to play video]

Did I mention before that I LOVE Southern accent? Unfortunately, Southerners tend to normalize their accent when they move to other non-Southern states. It is a shame, I like their accent so much. Of course, it is even more beautiful when spoken by ladies. I think everyone should keep his/her accent. Accents are meant to be different because we are different. Only robots speak the same.

That Other Voice

We know each other since we were kids. He has never left me since then.

He is not the kind of friend you want to keep. He is the biggest liar and deceiver.

“I hate you, stay away from me.” I keep telling him but he never leaves and never pays attention to what I say. I know he is not deaf because he always ready for giving excuses.

I admit that we talk to each other a lot. It is not that I can do anything about it. He is always there whether I like it or not. He is a bad listener but I have to give him credit for his way of convincing. His sweet tongue always makes things not what they appear to. 

It is as if he dwells in my brain. Like a parasite abuses every thought I have and forming new ones if necessary. I don’t know what he wants from me. I hate it when he tells me what to do and what not to do. But I hate myself more when I listen to him. His presence makes things easier sometimes but alas it is a temporary satisfaction before the guilt starts its path of agony.

I don’t know how he can sometimes control my brain, thoughts, actions, and even my emotions. He is so powerful I many times surrender to him.

Because of him, this year, I only fasted during Ramadan.

Because of him I pray the bare minimum.

Because of him I am not as grateful as I should be.

I am not sure how long he is going to be around.

I wish I have the power to get rid of him.

Do All 750 Million Muslim Women Cover Their Faces?

The Huffington post is doing a great job in giving Muslim and non-Muslim writers a venue to express their feeling and opinions about Islam. I am glad to find in a single western non-Muslim media tons of positives views about Islam. I thank them and give them credit for that. But today for some awkward reason the Huff’s decided to use a photo of an anonymous woman wearing burqa instead of Lauren Booth’s hijab photo. I searched for “Lauren Booth” pictures to see if she wore burqa in any occasion but I couldn’t find one. I don’t think she wore burqa at any time but even if she did she is not wearing it anymore. So, why the Huff’s decided to use the picture you see below instead of the Guardian’s picture? Regardless of tons of articles written about the common Muslims, the west is still having one view of Muslim women; an oppressed woman covering her face.

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via [Huffingtonpost]

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via [Guardian]

 

Why the west decided not to accept or to be open to the idea that not all the 750 Million women (assuming they are half the 1.5 Billion Muslims) don’t cover their faces. Covering the face is done by minority not the majority of Muslims.

Why the west determined on not accepting the idea that a Muslim woman have a choice in wearing hijab. And that she could be an educated and professional daughter, wife or mother not just single view of an oppressed beaten daughter, sister or wife. Yes, there are many oppressed Muslim women in the same level as there are oppressed non-Muslim women all over the world. Need to remind you of Sex trafficking, a crime with a higher magnitude that is not created by Muslim men.

I recommend reading a Muslim woman’s view and her decision on wearing hijab. The article is published on 7iber.com and written by Samar Sarhan.

You can also read Lauren Booth’s view: I’m now a Muslim. Why all the shock and horror?

 

p.s. This post is not a celebration or bragging about having a new Muslim. It is something the new convert to Islam does for him/herself not for me or for other Muslims. Having a new Muslim or losing one will not make me more or less of a Muslim.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

The Four Agreements Series:

  1. Don’t Take Anything Personally

The First Agreement, Be Impeccable With Your Word, talks about the power of the word and how we should refrain from demeaning or insulting others. But what if we hear something we don’t like? We can immune ourselves by abiding to the second agreement which is don’t take anything personally:

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds. Their point of view comes from all the programming they received during domestication.

You take [something] personally because you agree with whatever was said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in the dream of hell.

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.

Don’t take anything personally because if for anything it will make your life less stressful; no speculations and no insomnia because you try to interpret what he/she meant when he/she said so and so.

By not taking anything personally you immune yourself against the bad word and you become stronger. You know yourself and you know who you are more than anyone else. 

I read this book six years ago and I learned a lot. I can say that I am, hopefully, abiding by this agreement since then.  In the past six years, I took things personally twice. When you take something personally you try to defend yourself and sometimes you attack. Hence, I did say something I shouldn’t have said twice. The first time was during a conversation with a friend. I called him at midnight because I couldn’t sleep and I said “I am sorry.” The other time, I attacked someone’s comment when I should have answered in a more civilized way. I emailed him and also said “I am sorry.”

In my second week at the campus dining service, I was assigned to washing dishes. It was my first time washing dishes there. The work was overwhelming and I didn’t know the procedure so I asked the only other guy there, who is 6.5 tall and weigh no less than 250 lbs, to help me understand what I am suppose to do. He mumbled something but I was still not sure how to do the task. I asked him again, instead of explaining since this is my first time there and he knows that, he came to my section did what I am suppose to do in the most  nervous way. He almost wanted to break the dishes, stacked them aggressively and his body gesture wanted to say “You are stupid. Don’t talk to me EVER.” I could have went to the manager and told her what happened. But I didn’t and I didn’t show this guy any reaction to his stupid behavior as if nothing happened. Apparently, this guy doesn’t like his job and he has issues in his life and with the manager. He wanted to use me as an excuse. After couple of hours, when he noticed that I didn’t go talk to the manager, he started a conversation with me; asking what is my name and where I am from. He didn’t apologized but I understood from his conversation that he was sorry.

Know that when someone snaps at you it is because he/she has issues and not because of you. Notice how unhappy people always have a problem with the people around them. Happy people value their life to spend it on offending this and that. Be a happy person by not taking anything personally!