Sunday, 31 January 2010

Evolution of Technology

Bill Gates? Steve Jobs? Well they're old news.. it's all about Pranav Mistry now!

I was so excited last week about the iPad, and thought I want one! Until I watched this video. PLEASE PLEASE watch it as well - until the end. Technology has definitely become a different level - there's no difference between reality and the digital world anymore. With his new SixthSense invention, the world is definitely, definitely, becoming another one:

Enjoy! And give me your comments :)


The strangest thing happened to me today. I left work 5 minutes early to finish off some chores that had been hanging around my head for the past month. Just as I left the building heading to my car, I felt something thick and wet get thrown on me! I let out a squeaky scream (quite a girly one, I must admit) and looked around… nothing… looked above… and there it was. Right at the top of the multi-floor building was this arrogant fluffy ass of a bird. BIRD SHIT fell on my head!!!

Aaaaaaaaa! At first I was in denial, and confusion. Then it hit me and I felt angry, frustrated and ever so annoyed. Anger was followed by a shocked giggle – it was such a hilarious situation! Next I felt so paranoid: What do I look like? Is there poo all over my head? I promptly started rummaging through my bag’s contents searching for tissue – Alas, it happened that I didn’t have any today. I quickened my steps to the car, opened the front mirror and started cleaning off the disgustingness. Worst of all, although I wear a headscarf, the poo managed to find its way through it and slowly tickle my hair. Yuck!

On my way home I couldn’t stop thinking: “Why? Why me?” It was such a coincidental occurrence. It’s not like I’m a slow walker. It happened that the exact second my brain ordered my leg to take one more step ahead, the poo decided to be there in time for a warm welcome. It certainly changed my program for the day: chores cancelled, shower immediately. Did Allah want to protect me from something bad that could’ve happened to me at those shops I was heading to, and wanted me safe and sound at home? Or did Allah want to punish me for a misdemeanor I have recently done? Was it protection or punishment? Whatever the case is, I thanked Allah that it wasn’t any worse, asked Him for forgiveness if it was indeed punishment, and hoped this happened for my benefit. (Don’t ask me how!)

When I told mom about the incident she said “Don’t worry, bird poo is Baraka (a blessing), and be positive – something good will happen to you soon”. I asked: “Says who? Our culture, or our prophet? Because if it’s not the latter, then I don’t believe it”. She remained silent. Poor mom, I love her.

Anyway, now I can say a bird once shat on me. What’s your interesting/weird/funny story?

Friday, 29 January 2010

1st Month Anniversary

It's been 1 month since my first real post on this blog! So far, I have 7 posts (8 including this one), several comments and 9 followers!

For that I'd like to thank all my readers, passers-by, commentators, followers, and supporters and would like to share this hilarious stand up comedy I love watching every now and then:


Monday, 25 January 2010

Omani Women - Get a Life!

It’s been a busy week, but glad I’m back to blogging!

So I realized I’m somewhat self-sexist. I don’t know whether the term actually exists, but what I mean is, I’m sexist against women. Not all women, but in particular females of my culture. I’m getting bored of them!

And here’s why: women looooove talking about the following topics:

  • Relationships with their husbands/significant others and the never ending problems (and the solution is always “let it be, he’ll come around”, and honey, he never comes around! He gets a 2nd wife instead)
  • Raising their children – “my kids never study! I don’t know what to do!”
  • Makeup (obviously)
  • How to beautify every single part of their body
  • The “awful” and “horrible” housemaids, whom they depend on 24/7
  • Whether they’re “glowing” today or not – seriously they ask me this every time I see them – and if my answer is yes, then a mini-45-minute-long-lesson will start on what product(s)they’ve been using recently, and how I must use them as well
  • Which shops currently have sales/special offers
  • Cooking (especially new dessert recipes)
  • How to decorate/design their houses
  • And of course, GOSSIP GOSSIP GOSSIP

On the other hand, men (usually, when I’m around) talk about these topics:

  • Business/work
  • Politics
  • New technologies
  • Cars
  • Soccer
  • The news in general

Putting “cars” aside, all men’s topics are interesting! I don’t mind the female topics per se, but I do mind talking about them, and only them, the whole-bloody-time! Seriously women, get a life! The topics are getting boring, repetitive, and basically shallow. Even when women attempt discussing men topics, they make them womanly! For example, when talking about work, it’ll be about the other horrible colleagues, or how hard work is yet they have to get back home and do a 100 other things for the husband and kids, and so on. “Complaining” would always be reflected in every topic, and I really mean every topic, they discuss. Aaaargh!

I’m sorry if I’m insulting anyone, I know lots of girls aren’t like that (and those are the ones I’m closest to), and I noticed the blogosphere is where lots of the exceptions stand out. I also have to admit that guys can be very shallow at times:

However, please ladies, do something more useful will you? If you’re bored, I don’t know – go to dance classes! Try out random things : drive around, cover your faces, and flirt with those penniless guys in Mercedes on the streets (this might change your daily routine a bit); try planting some flowers instead of the endless dusty tiles; watch the news every now and then – they’re not all bloody and devastating stories. We should perhaps have a special Ramadhan in which for one month, instead of boycotting food/drinks/sex during sunlight, we should boycott housemaids! Oh that’ll definitely make the ladies of the house get a life. LOL. And they might understand their children for once.

Anyway, you get my point. Am I the only one feeling this? Does this occur in all cultures, or just Oman/the Gulf? How can I induce a change?

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Whole Jailing System

For thousands of years, jails/prisons (what’s the difference?!) were the main tool used to punish criminals and protect society from their mischief. To protect society, taking a felon’s freedom would seem appropriate. However, as a punishment, jailing is not always the best means. Jails are famous for graduating criminals. Sometimes a rather naive crime (e.g. driving without a licence, using drugs once or twice) would turn the detainee into a criminal, as s/he would interact with other real criminals – and “من عاشر قوماً أربعين يوما صار منهم” (an Arabic saying meaning whoever socializes with a tribe for 40 days becomes one of them).

If you’d like a real idea of what goes on in the Omani jail of Al-Rumais, then read the posts by الملاح التائه here.
    Unfortunately it’s in Arabic, so English readers you can just copy-paste the contents to Google translate, it’ll give you an idea of what the guy is talking about.
Basically he’s an ex-convict great at describing his story within Oman’s 3 jails (1 for serious crimes, 1 for not-so-serious: criminals admitted for 3 yrs or less, and 1 for women only). With all due respect, his story highlights a number of deficiencies in the Omani jailing system, deficiencies that also exist in prisons all over the world, and which consequently generate disturbing scandals (rapes, drugs, rapes again).

In addition to “jails not doing any good”, jails also “steal” a lot of manpower from the country! Those prisoner minds and bodies could be assigned more useful roles than just lying around waiting for their release in 10-15 years. I know prisoners have to sometimes clean, do the gardening, carry stuff etc.; but that’s not really utilizing the “best in them”.

So in your view, what’s the solution? Should governments discard the system all together? Or should they still exist with some major changes? What could these changes be?

It’s strange that we rarely hear about jails during the prophet’s (SAAW) life. I know lots of crimes had certain punishments (e.g. Killing is punishable by execution, committing adultery while married is punishable by stoning till death; stealing is punishable by cutting off the burglar’s hand etc.), but those don’t cover ALL crimes. In my view, jails still must exist. But how?!

Currently, around the globe, some countries do stand out due to their phenomenal treatment of detainees. Take
Dubai as an example. Prisoners enter normal jails, but if a prisoner memorizes the Quran then they’re free to go! In their view, a person who has memorized the Quran means that they’ve read advice and good instructions so many times that it’ll be extremely difficult for them to go back to their crime. It might be a good solution for some, but this doesn’t necessarily always work. Plus, what about non-Muslims? Would you force them to memorize the Quran as well, while they’re not even allowed to touch it (as some say)?

A completely different example is the Philippines. Have a look at this video:

Prisoners are taught to dance together! They call it “Dancing, the non-violent approach to rehabilitation”. I wonder if it really works?

Having said that, What do you think? How can jails become more effective in stopping crimes forever? What strategies can be used inside jails to stop corruption and wasting of human resources? Give me your views!

Saturday, 9 January 2010


It’s outrageous! I cannot tolerate Egypt! It’s not the people I’m against, in fact I think they’re one of the most knowledgeable and positively active cultures among Arabs, but man their government is corrupt. Big time.

George Galloway is a British MP famous for resenting the Western occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq, and most importantly, Palestine. He’s one amazing speaker - watch his speeches on YouTube. On Friday, 8th Jan 2010, he has been DEPORTED from Egypt! Why? Well the news would say that he’s passed the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt, but I would say it’s because he’s an honest man trying to be humane on Egyptian land. What next Egypt? What next Arabs?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

An Ingredient to Success

Now success is a topic that has been discussed by soooooooo many people. Sometimes by rather unsuccessful people (!). However, this post is not a “complete guide on how to be successful” or anything similar. I’m not an expert, nor am I knowledgeable enough to give a deep and critical opinion on this matter.

But I do have an instructions manual. As a matter of fact, it’s the best one ever! I have the Quran, and a role model’s success story – my beloved prophet, Mohamed SAAW. And one specific instruction is the daily dhikr (sayings that “remind” us of Allah).
    NON-MUSLIMS: Before turning away, this could, and perhaps should, apply to you as well if you are a believer in God. And those of you who were believers once upon a time, and not so sure anymore – well try this out, it might stimulate some believing again ;).
Anyway, so why do I think dhikr is an ingredient to success? Well first of all it’s a daily ritual. I believe success does not come as a piece of cake – you’ve got to do things on a daily basis for that wonderful effect to materialize in the end. Dhikr is also done twice a day – once at sunrise, and once at sunset. Different activities (usually) happen at those two time periods (day and night) – hence dhikr ensures activities done during both periods are successful.

Dhikr doesn’t just remind us of our belief in Allah, it strengthens this belief in ourselves. It reassures us that this belief is correct, that it makes sense, it’s the best one out there and it is suitable and applicable at all circumstances. And once you’ve got that strength then, well, not even Kryptonite would sway you!

Well how does this strength come about? Dhikr is merely a few sayings, either from the Quran or taken from the Prophet (SAAW). But these sayings embrace a few main principles, such as:
  • Thanking Allah: Imagine waking up every morning and thinking of all the different beautiful things you’ve got in life. A family, a house, delicious food, good education, great living standards, health, time, and the list goes on. We usually acknowledge the fact that “we are luckier than many others” but unfortunately the fact gets forgotten 5 minutes later. Saying “Thanks to Allah” (Alhamdulillah) 100 times every day and night carves this into our memory and strengthens our heart – you end up feeling happy, lucky and privileged.
    Think of the consequent effects of starting your day feeling happy and lucky – won’t that day be an easy going bright day? As some say, “thinking positively” is the secret to success. Well only 1 part of Dhikr is sufficient to make you think positively all day long.
  • Glorifying Allah: Deeply reflect on His powers, His wonders and miracles, His strength, and His unlimited abilities. This immediately makes us feel unknowledgeable enough; that there’s a lot more to learn and discover about life. And that’s the greatest force behind motivation: if there’s a lot more left, then let’s get on with it and start our life journey!
    Feeling motivated will definitely make you work hard, and use the maximum brain and body powers you’ve got – I’m sure everyone agrees that this is necessary for success…
  • Depending on Allah: After realizing how much Allah can do, depending on Allah and trusting Him would simply make you feel quite powerful. You’d feel as if you can do anything. ANYTHING. If you’re facing any problems, they can be easily resolved if Allah wishes so. If you’re encountering a difficult task, then completing it should be no problem. Basically, you have the biggest support behind your back, and nothing can stop you (this is conditional upon you doing the right thing - not Haram).
And that, my friends, is dhikr. Of course there are other principles which I haven’t mentioned; simply because I feel these three affect me personally the most. They make me feel so confident and strong each day, and willing to live life to its fullest and ready to face it all. At the same time, I remember Allah is watching and it’s as if a self-governing switch immediately turns on.

Now I know lots of Muslims know about dhikr, or Adhkar (the plural), but they somehow forget to say them – or perhaps lessen their importance. Maybe it’s because when they used to say them, it never went further than their tongues – it never reached their hearts. No matter what the case, go back to them! They are a blessing themselves, a psychological conjuration that magically sets you up for another successful day. Wouldn’t you like to start your day/night feeling soothed, relaxed, happy, strong, and capable? Hell yeah!

Friday, 1 January 2010


Rain started to fall again. Everyone with a loved one, a “significant other”, begins an emotional turmoil of romantic sentiments; while everyone without a loved one feels loneliness pushing harder into their lives. Smiles flash across farmers’ faces – and even bigger smiles on those who trade with the farmers: business will grow. Families squeeze together behind windows to observe the miracle, as it rarely rains in Oman over 5 times a year. And teenagers? Well they just wish the rain would go on and on, so that school would call off the next day, and hopefully the day after that as well.

But those aren’t the thoughts that go through my mind as I look out my car window, and start the wipers going (the wipers which, quite annoyingly, keep “braking” and making ridiculous squeaks because they’ve been too dry for too long). Anyhow, I start thinking of the number of accidents that will happen on this day. I sense the death toll increasing, and remain tensely waiting for the next day’s newspapers to announce the number of accidents/deaths, although it is always a somewhat conservative estimate. I remember the kids, and their excitement to investigate the Wadi’s (large vales), and the parents which allow them to do so – and in some cases actually take them to the wadi’s. Unfortunately, the excitement usually ends disastrously. I think of police stations gearing up for the difficult day and night to come. I remember the policemen and doctors who cancel their holidays when it rains and quickly join their work colleagues. I see hospitals clearing the beds of patients who may survive without a hospital bed – to make way for the predictable and more difficult cases to come.

I see the roads, and anger and frustration knocks on the door. Why are they not equipped for rain? Yes, I understand, rain is rare in Oman – but that does not make the efforts to remove its dangers “not worth it”! Do some simple cost-benefit analysis, and I’ll tell you – the costs of establishing roads which allow rain drainage are way under the costs incurred during rainy days in Oman. Furthermore, a new highway has been built from Al-Athaiba to Al-Qurum which is fabulous, and has reduced traffic tremendously during the past few months. However, were there any road engineers involved? Did they not see the ups-and-downs and the potential disaster(s) due to rain?

Having said that, the rest falls on us, the citizens. So please, please, please, please, please be careful when it rains. Don’t try to be a hero and “investigate” new areas. And for God’s sake, don’t take any kids with you in the car unless it’s EXTREMELY necessary. Finally, I hope those responsible for the roads take a more serious step to keep the country as safe as it is when it’s completely dry.