Saturday, October 29, 2005

Eid, anyone?

Eid is around the corner. Does it look like it? I'm afraid it doesn't. Are the people in the entertainment business not hungry for our dinars anymore? What are we going to have this year? A couple of lousy plays from the same folks that brought us the ramadan TV series, and thats about it? I remember a number of years ago, every eid holiday, we had a number of the top singers come in here for live concerts. Not that I'm a big fan of their music, but Ahlam, Kathim Al Sahir, Nanci Ajram, and others really got in traffic from all over the GCC; which meant overnight stays, restaurants and cafes, even petrol stations saw more business.

Lately though, we're keeping a very low profile, like having fun is a sin. Some people are of the opinion that this is a government conspiracy, to prove that freedom of expression is bad, because it shys off business and leasure, to return to a more authoritarian regiem. That shit ain't the truth. The truth is, we have young men getting brainwashed by wahhabis and their nemisises with turbans, to run out and ruin whats un-holy.

I was out of the country when this happened. I was told there was a very nice, relaxed and groovy lounge near Burhama or Sanabis. Now its a lebanonise restaurant. It got raided by a school of angry teenagers that were pretty upset liquer was sold near their village. One of the lads was carrying a knife on him, and apparently one of the patrons stabbed him on the side of his stomach. I wonder, what was going on through his mother's head that night? And you know what else I wonder about? Who gained out of all this? The restaurant owner went out of business and had to put the place up for sale; the patron that made the stab, apparently reacted under alcohol influence, which means he is in really big trouble, and the poor kid is in critical condition. Was it the mulla that called the charge? Really not sure. But I certainly do know who's losing out of all this. All of us!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Economics of Sports


http://buzz.yahoo.com/

First Topic:
Apparently "Bahrain" was the 4th most searched buzz word on October 25, 2005, with an increase of 1769% ! Why? Did they find a case of bird flu, or did the Mehlis report link Hariri's murder to wifaq? Actually, its because we're playing TnT (Trinidad and Tobago) in a couple of weeks, and everyone is excited to see two first time hopefuls try to battle out a ticket to the world cup finals like gladiators.
Now, another topic:
We don't have Gallup polls or things of that sort in Bahrain. I wonder, how do people in power assess public opinion? I hope they don't still depend on "he said, she said" indicators? Sometimes I wonder, does the Crown Prince visit Bahraini blogs, just to see "whats the word on the street"? I hope he does; because unlike the newspapers, we give out our opinions straight and deep. If he does read Bahraini blogs, I want to voice my contribution to the economic development of the Kingdom, since that seems to be under his wing.
Now, the two topics merge:
Shaikh Salman, I think you should direct the EDB and other government bodies dedicated to attract investments and facilities to Bahrain (Financial, Telecommunications, Industry, services) to focus on developing sports...the athletic infrastructure is clearly lacking; its amazing how we're this good with these limited facilities.
Sir, our game next november gave Bahrain so much name recognition. Even the cancelled game with Uzbekistan got us publicity more than money can buy. I sat in a table with people from Africa and Europe that I didnt expect would have the slightest idea where Bahrain is. To my surprise, they were divided in the controversial issue of whether repeating the game was right, or whether the penalty kick was valid.
If we spend half a decent budget on preparing competitive teams that book seats in major athletic events, we can be the center of lots of attention. When the National Team played the asian cup finals, we held China to a tie on their field, and were breathing down Japan's neck in an unforgettable thriller, fans in that part of the world became very interested in ours. Needless to say, lots of economic value comes from Japan, and more than ever, from China.
Let me put it this way. If we advance to a secondary stage in world cup, we have two full hours of air time broadcasted across the globe. More than a third of the world's population watch the final game in WC. If we get close to it, it can get us alot of investment dollars coming here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Religion = Income?

Today, after a heavy iftar meal, I kicked back in front of the tube with my father watching the valuable variety of intellectual programming when I recieved a message. It was the good folks from MTC-vodafone, not reminding me of a bill payment, but offering me a daily prayer (du'aa) in the voice of shaikh bin ufaisan or something, 30 days for BD3. What a bargain! Sounds like those sex lines 1800 h-o-t-g-i-r-l ads they have on TV. My father made a comment about using religion to make a buck.. I tried to argue with him, not because I disagree, but its the laziest way of seeing whats on his mind.. we got up to do different things.. but I kept thinking... When you get married you pay an arm and a leg in dowry, because it says right there that you must make some form of payment to the bride's folks, cheap-ass!

When I lived in an isolated town in west Texas, in ramadan this mulla suspected that the food we had for Iftar wasn't exactly Halal, so he picks up the big dish of "god's gift to nurish our bodies" and threw it in the garbage can in the street. He claimed that he didnt want to be responsible for us eating un-halal food. Fair enough. Apparently this guy found an arbitrage, and did his business buying halal meat from out of town and selling it for twice the going rate. Is he still responsible if I couldnt afford his offering and got allured by the devil beef?

The most obvious example is Islamic banking. Basically, interest is the devil's accountant. We'll have none of that! What we'll do is, I'll make a run to the car dealership, buy the car FOR YOU, and you pay me the difference... uhh well isn't that flat rate and you're kind of ripping me off? NO! Thats the profit I made... its certainly not interest. Ok.. what if I needed cash, how are you going to get your profit? Here is the plan. I'll sell you this Diamond for 1,000 BD, and you can pay me in installments over a year... now take this Diamond over there to the nice bank agent over there, and he will buy back the diamond from you for 700 BD. This is how I can rip you off without giving you 700 and recieving 1000 and getting the good lord upset.

Of course there are the exorcists that charge by the hour like a practitioner, to rid their patients of evil spirits, and the people in the Holy land tour bus business, that arrives in Mecca and people brim out of the bus like a pinata exploded.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Suicide

* Another of Yippy yo yippy yay's contributions.


Why would someone kill him/herself?

Is there any difference between suicide and martyr? If any, who differentiates which is which? What is the basis of such distinction?

Were all the martyrs/suicides convinced with the idea or they were battered and humiliated by reasons other than the occupations like family humiliation, poverty, depression, harassment, "spouselessness"? Could these reasons before the rationality to defend killing oneself?

Did it cross their minds (suicide or martyrs) that their news of their death would be just one –second news in our media and people who initially blessed their actions so vividly will forget their "noble sacrifice" by tomorrow? I guess we will never know!

Did these actions do any good to any of us? If you are a father or a mother, would you like to see your dearest son/daughter full of his/her blood after blowing him/herself up in the name of "freedom of the nations", while the rest of their peers are enjoying their lives?

For parents who commit suicide, would their kids forgive them after leaving them alone in this life, living in orphanages or as a burden on relatives to feed, educate and look after them?

Is the Almighty going to rest the soul of a suicide/martyr in paradise while his kids lack support, sympathy and affection all because his father /mother all of a sudden decides to blow him/herself up for the nation's deliverance?

As a kid, opening the eyes to the world empty from parents who intentionally decided to disappear from his life, which one is he going to begrudge more, his parents or the occupations? What would he think when he grows up and starts to think" did it do any good"? Well you little cute cuddly boy, I am sorry to tell you that it did not do any good but adding more to your misery, if it is considered any good to your parents, dear?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Top intellects

* "Yippy yo yippy yay" emailed this piece to me. Please enjoy.

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/intellectuals/results

Despite the comfort I felt when I went through the results of the poll because of ranking professor Chomsky on the top of the list, it sounds rather weird to have yousuf alqaradawi on the same list. Why? Because the majority of the listed intellectuals exerted all the efforts to stand up for criticizing repugnant regimes policies and hegemony every where, fight for human rights everywhere, and support the spirit of resistance for better lives while Mr. Alqaradawi and Mr. Ali al Sistani, spent the whole 2004 in pronouncing their command to the public about participating in Iraqi voting (and for those who fails to vote will be burned in, as if Mr. Sistani is the holy guardian) or to kill all the Americans in Iraq including civilians( because for Mr. Alqaradawi the distinction between military and citizen has vanished) and when they are faced with tremendous censure, they put the blame on the media which "miss-quoted" them. We never heard from both of them, not even once that they censured any of the dictator regimes, never made a speech on how people in other parts of the word are suffering from hegemony and imperialism. What are the books, which really indicate their intellectuality?

Thank you once again, yippy yo yippy yay. Keep them coming.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Transparency

http://ww1.transparency.org/cpi/2005/dnld/cpi2005.highlights_africa.pdf

Transparency international came up with their list of most transparent countries. Iceland apparently took pole position, and Bangladesh and chad were the not so champions. Zooming into the region; Oman ranks 1st, followed by the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan...etc. Hmmm. A week ago the Omani government came out with a Medieval law allowing them to repossess any GCC national owned land just for the fuck of it... They weren't transparent enough to disclose that clause now, where they? It basically means spend money or we take whats yours. Well what if he wanted to hold on to it, so it appreciates in value? I'm afraid thats not going to happen. How about this for transparency.. They started some major projects in Suhar.. I don't know if they're real developments or just smoke and mirrors, and quickly hung up billboards in Bahrain and elsewhere asking people to buy lands in Oman... apparently you can't buy a plot of land within a developmental area... you're deceived into piece of land in the middle of the sahara desert... I've heard stories about these plots not having blue prints... the closest you get to a visualization is a handheld video camera.... even that piece of property can be taken away from you for the least market value they can find....

I'm going to skip over the silver and bronze medal....Bahrain deserves a consolation prize... I mean.. CEOs of major telecommunications companies spend a good portion of their productive day chasing fancy mobile phone numbers.. trying to get a hold of them.. and giving them out as friendship gestures. We have fictional land plots 2 kilometers offshore changing hands right now... I wonder who bought it off of whom exactly? I bet its someone with a nice mobile phone number and a pretty decent license plate on his car. As if getting their hands on public land isnt enough, they get illegal labor for the cheap to start up construction, and freelance their rent with government and semi government entities that apparently decide to be generous with these people for some reason...

This report looks to me like the British Crown's popularity contest... because honestly... this is the one sport we really compete with each other in... and lets be honest.. Oman would rank first there.. and Bahrain not far behind... Saudi Arabia needs to get in shape... I'll give them a tip.. pick up a fat Weapons Contract from the Royal Air Force... those old tanks and jet fighters might cost you a bit.. but sure will improve your rank.

If Bahrain and Oman are at the top.... I am filled with dread when I try to imagine what goes on in the bottom half. How fucked up is it down there?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Dubai in Denial

For formula one fans, you guys know what I'm talking about. Back in 2003, when Bahrain was racing against the clock to put everything in place for the F1 event, Dubai started to build an Autodome for some reason. The "new track"event in the F1 Calender was in Bahrain in 2004, and Turkey in 2005.. but yeah.. seems like all the cool kids have it.. lets buy one too... too bad it doesnt work that way... so under "The shaikh's wisdom and guidance" they come up with a cunning plan... instead of F1.. we're gonna call it A1! Didnt see that one coming did you? Too bad it doesnt work that way either.. So here's another idea... we'll spend 360 million on a copy cat theme park of our neighbor's event that costs a fraction of that amount... maybe by then Bernie eccelstone can finally see that he have lots of cash!
Dubai... snap out of it! You are in denial. The reason why Bahrain is the capital of motor sports is because we do it with passion. The young men and women that volunteer to make these events a success don't pocket a single fils. We love these sports so much the top two formula drivers in Asia are Bahraini... Now go find something you REALLY loved.. not what others are doing.. go race your camels.. or trot on his highness's horses in France or England.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Simpsons

on MBC, at around 7:30, the cartoon clouds and the famous violin "the simpsons" theme song starts....only one thing wrong.. the names are in arabic.. and the show is lip synced...Instead of Homer.. they cleverly changed it to Omar... and Bart is now Badr.... what a trick.. bravo!

I, personally, am a die hard simpsons fan. I've seen all their series except the last one.. and I'll soon do something about it.... what they're doing in MBC is utterly stupid.. what happened to inginuity? creative thinking? Are they going to spend the rest of their careers in media living off of hollywood's garbage? They're putting themselves behind the curve... others get to come up with valuable entertainment and these folks dilute it into puns and punchlines that don't really translate.. its not only not fair to the audience.. but to the original creator of the show!

If you look at old 70's and early 80's comedy series and comical plays produced in Kuwait and Egypt.. they are way up and above the crap they're feeding us nowadays! Is it because we have a million satellite channels and the synergy is lost in so many channels? Or is it too commercialised now that they're looking for a quick sell? I'm really not sure... but what I am sure of is if you keep on translating what others do... you will never get ahead... your pace is stuck at the pace of the person in front of you.

Same goes with the science books. They're either translated in Egypt or in Syria. The funny thing is you can see big variations in both publications of the same book sometimes.. I think its not healthy at all.

I wish the folks on MBC got their writers and cast to think of something original.. at least so the jokes translate.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lady luck settles in Manama















I mean this in a good way. How the fuck did we get this close to Germany 2006? We only won one game in Korea... and the rest were all draws and losses. The same thing happened in the Asian cup 2004. The only team we beat was Indonesia, and the rest were all ties... Most memorable was none other than Uzbekistan.. poor lads.. they REALLY have a sour taste in their mouths from the Bahrain jersey now.. we slid them out of the Asia cup and the world cup.. just by tieing with them...

One of my favorite sayings is "fortune favors the brave." We were brave enough to push for it over in Tashkand... and the boys tried real hard over here.. its not like they didnt... but I guess if you take your chances and don't succeed... you're still better off not conceiding.

For the last play-offs.... I wish we don't tie over there 1-1 and tie here 0-0. All the other teams will be like... how did you win one game and get here?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Kuwait's young and finest

I got this email earlier today. I don't know whats sadder.. the newspiece.. or the commentary... please read.
صعق اهل الكويت من خبر احتجاز فتاتان كويتيتان في ولاية اريزونا الامريكيه ، بسبب اصطدامهم لاحد الامريكيين وقتله في الحال وهروبهم من موقع الحادث .الصاعقه ليست لانهم كويتيتان ، وليس لانهم تسببوا في مقتل احد الامريكيين ، وليس لانهم هربوا من موقع الحادث ، بل ان المصيبه العظمى هو اعتقالهم بعد 15 دقيقه وهم تحت تأثير السكر والمخدرات.؟؟؟؟؟؟؟ نعم يا اخوان ....... لقد كانت الفتاتان سكارى وتحت تأثير المخدرات ........وبسبب سكرهم ، قامت احدى الفتاتين بدهس امريكي في الشارع .والمصيبه الثانيه الاعظم ، ان الفتاتين هم بنات شخصيتان كويتيتان هامه ومعروفه لدى المجتمع الكويتي والخليجي والعربي :الفتاة الاولى واسمها ( منيره علي الطراح - 22 سنه - بنت مدير المكتب الاعلامي الكويتي في لندن )والفتاة الثانيه واسمها ( ريم احمد بشاره - 19 سنه - بنت احد رموز العلمانيين الكويتيين في حزب الديمقراطيين، وهي ايضا بنت اخ الامين العام السابق لمجلس التعاون الخليجي )والمصيبه الثالثه العظمى ، هو استنفار الحكومه الكويتيه بكامل اجهزتها ممثله بوزير الخارجيه الكويتيه ووكيلة وزارة التعليم العالي والسفير الكويتي في واشنطن ، وتم دفع كفاله ماليه قدرها 300 الف دولار من خزينة الحكومه الكويتيه ، بالاضافه الى ضمان السفاره المعنوي من اجل اخراج الفتاتين من السجن .....
هذه الاخبار الموثقه هي من موقع اخباري امريكي يدعى CBS وهو على الرابط التالي
لو كانت تلك الفتاتان بنات احد الاشخاص العامين ، لما استنفرت الحكومه باجهزتها واموالها من اجلهم ......فلو كانت الفتاتين في وضع طبيعي - مو سكرانات ومدمنات - وبصحبة اهلهم ، لقلنا ، ان الواجب يحتم علينا مساعدتهم ......ولكن هاتين الفتاتين هما من حثالة بنات الكويت ، وهما بنات شخصيات عامه في البلد ، واحدهم مدير المكتب الاعلامي الكويتي في لندن ، الذي تقع على كاهله رفع اسم الكويت في اوروبا كبلد اسلامي وعربي دستوره الاسلام الذي يحرم شرب الخمر وخروج الفتاة بدون محرم ، والعيش في بلد اجنبي بمفردها ، وابتعادها عن مراقبة اهلها لسلوكها الاخلاقي ، ومنعها من الالتقاء بالرجال واقامة الصداقه معهم ، وممارسة الرذيله والعهر .قد يقول لي شخص ، انت لم ترى بعينك حياة الفتاتين في امريكا ، وارد عليه واقول : الا يكفي احتجاز الفتاتين تحت تأثير الخمر والمخدرات وتسببهم في دهس احد الماره ؟؟؟؟؟؟ الشرهه مو على اهل الفتاتين ....... بل الشرهه على الحكومه التي ساعدت من لا يستحق المساعده ، وفي نفس الوقت - الان - يعاني 11 اسير كويتي في سجن غوانتنامو ويتعرضون لابشع صور التعذيب والاهانه ، ومضربين عن الطعام ؟؟؟؟؟اين اموالكم ونفوذكم يا حكومة الكويت؟؟؟؟ من انقاذ خيرة الشباب الكويتي الملتزم ، الذي ترك الرفاهيه ونفاق الدنيا وذهبوا الى افغانستان يعلمون الناس القران والحديث ويساعدون الضعيف غريب امر حكومة الكويت ..... لعل مجلس الامه يتكلم بهذا الشأن ..... ويترك المجاملات وحب الخشوم وتضييع وقتهم في مخالفة قوانين البلد والتوسط من اجل مخالفة القوانين ؟؟؟؟؟اللهم احفظ الكويت وشعبها من كل مكروه ، وان يشفي اميرها وولي عهدها من المرض ، لكي يقودوا الكويت الى بر الامان والطمأنينه لقد كانت الكويت مصدرا من مصادر الدفاع عن الدين الاسلامي في العالم ، اما الان فانها اصبحت - مع الحكومه الحاليه - مصدرا لمحاربة التبرعات والجهاد في سبيل الله .خلوني ساكت احسن ...قبل ما اطينها

Friday, October 07, 2005

Hraar

My favorite word in Bahraini slang is "hraar". In arabic its written هرار. It basically means Bullshit. Someone asks: What was the speech about? Answer: Hraar about democracy and unity... the usual hraar. Someone thats feeding you the bullshit is usually referred to as a "Harraaar" with a special emphasis on the rolling R's. This word is very useful in your every day life. The newspaper in the morning usually has a couple of hraar headlines talking about bogus investments, or hraar about politicians dicing up this country for their own benefit, then there is the hraar TV and radio that waste 3 minutes of precious airtime about "exchanging cables of good wishes".... and since the 16th of december is coming up... my morning commute will be tarnished with hraar on billboards congradulating the people about the occassion... when in reality its petty businessmen trying to land fat government contracts.
Another form of hraar is "one of the many national airlines, but I won't name it" would cancel your booking so someone else can take your seat. When you start to complain, they explain that this is normal procedure.. and that there must be a mistake of some sort... and that they'll make sure you'll arrive on time.. and every thing is taken care of.... just try to catch the next flight.

Ramadan Kareem

I was fretting for the last two weeks about ramadan... how the hunger strike is going to get to my head... and how restraining from 10 things is going to be unbareable.... but I forgot what ramadan was all about until it started... Its about sleeping all day.. smoking shisha all night.... going to big buffet tents... over-doing what you couldn't do during the daytime... and watching cheap comedy shows.

Our dinner table at home for example... usually we don't have dessert after a meal.... why do we decide to have three types of desserts during ramadan? Wasn't it supposed to be living like poor people so we understand what they go through? If poor people ate heavy meals, smoked shisha at night, and woke up late every morning... I think earning an income is over-rated then.

Some people give you an attitude during the day since they're fasting... I understand.. they're addicted to smoking and feel hungry... but don't they have something to reflect on at night? I think rather than fasting... we should have a month where everyone has to read 1 book every week.... I think that would be much better... people would have something to think about... and probably learn something new.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Contraditions

Why do we live with so much contradictions in Bahrain? Why are we very selective when being judgemental? For example, when Nanci Ajram came to town for a one night stand, hell broke loose. We had the honorable ma'awda brainwash a bunch of young men that decided to flip into hooligans that night... smashing car windows at the concert, and older men carrying slander banners at the entrance..... Hmmmm.... isnt that funny? I don't remember anyone getting upset when Michael Jackson came to Bahrain AND BOUGHT A FUCKING HOUSE !!

Another example of this... when Alwifaq broke up... Shaikh Ali Salman said the reason they did that was because America and the United Kingdom don't recognize a society thats not registered... and of course we need their support..... Excuse me, Shaikh.... aren't you and the rest of the turban clowns following "wilaayat Al Faqeeh" - Leader of the muslims in Iran or whatever?
And this goes back to the London seminar... we have Hassan Mushaima', the conservative hawk, flying to london to find it in the english government's hearts to turn around to Bahrain to see the domestic issues we have.... uhh excuse me... didnt you guys have a problem with the US and the UK butting in Iraq about the WMD, and you'll start doing the same song and dance if they turn over to Iran? So what is it now, people? Do you want to go kiss their ass to get them here, or do you want them to stay out?
I guess thats because we are a society that can easily hold two contradicting positions, and not have a problem with it.. I read an article in the newspaper.. this man was going through the security check at the Airport, and he had a small nailcutter or something of that sort... and the guard was like... Sir, you need to take these stuff from the small handbag and put them in the big bag... he was like no its too much of a hasstle.... Security man was like.. THESE ARE SECURITY MEASURES... you either follow them or you won't be flying today... so the guy does what he was asked to do.. and mumbles to himself "its all because of that son of a bitch bin laadin.. if it wasn't for that mother-bitch, we wouldn't have had to go through all this bullshit!" And the security guard gets FURIOUS! HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT BIN LAADIN LIKE THAT?! BIN LADIN IS THE BEACON OF ISLAM!! God sent him to protect us from the infidels that want to tumble Islam.... Now I feel much safer next time I'll be flying.. these fine young men will make sure terrorists won't harm us... unless they're sent by Bin Ladin...