December 27, 2006

A year of blogging: Basem nil Society 1

It's been a year (and a month) since I first started blogging, and as in all anniversaries of all sorts, one find himself inclined to pause, look-back and reflect upon the period that just went by and contemplate the significance of it, the achievements or milestones or the unfortunate lack of any!

But its not only my blog anniversary that just went by, it's been two years since my father passed away and I got engaged (and subsequently married) to my marvellous wife, all but too momentous occasions, the entry of an important person and the adverse departure of a significant other with all what such occasions entails of dramatic experiences.

So let me start with my father's death, 2 years onward and still the greave continues, at times his memory and legacy suddenly gets dramatized in one occasion or another and cast its comforting yet sad shadow upon us, the more I think that I'm over the sorrow and that I'm at peace with the factuality of his absence, I constantly find my self bitten by the reality of the spaces he left behind or the ones he would've filled…

The other day, a colleague of mine had his father visiting him at the company, and he was taking him around, showing him his work and meeting his colleagues and superiors, mind you; the guy is in his late 30s, his father is in his 70s and may the sustainer of heavens bless the rest of his days, but I just imagined if my father was to visit me here, seat him at my office, introduce him to my superiors and subordinates, excitingly show him the work i do and how far I got since I started off my career, and how I utilised his 40-years worth of professional wisdom in my infant professional life…

The same happened almost 6 month ago, when I was being job interviewed, and my interviewer received a phone call from his father, and he politely asked me to forgive the urgency of him taking he call for it's his father calling from Egypt, and although he was very brief with his answers, yet he was sincere and respectful, it only took him a mere 5 minutes, in which I embarked on my own mind trip of what if I was to receive a call from my father now, what will I be telling him?

Again, its so easy to drift into the grief, my late uncle's wife who we sadly lost 2 months ago, 10 years onward and she was still shedding sincere tears of sorrow over the loss of her husband, like the exiled Imam of the mosque I used to pray at in Amman, who he once was giving a lecture about cherishing one's parents and how extremely courteous one should be with them and he gave an example of his self that if his mom was to be alive today he would bowed down and kissed her foot in sheer respect, and then he couldn’t help but literally weeping in front of the hundreds of the Juma prayers attendees.

On the bright side, Allah have blessed me for having me in Saudi during this period, the legacy that my father left over here is just overwhelming, as the condoning encounters I have with people who have worked with and have a good memory of him uproots the heavy greave, I regularly go to the factory which he established and worked in for 30 years, I can see the residuals of his influence and character despite the surface changes, I can see it in the plant layout, the structure of the organization, the people who he have hired and have stayed loyal to the company all of these years to date, who took me around meeting new employees introducing me as the son of the Mr. Abbas whom they probably never met… simply amazing

I look back at the 23 years I spent with him, and I know I was blessed, for my 18 years old brother for instance who didn't have had the chance to experience him as I or my elder brother and sisters did, the empty cup would be that my elder brother and sisters would have experienced him even more, but then again, that's the inherent uncertainty of this life, that there's nothing that is bound to stay as-is, we're simply oblivious about this fact, intentionally or otherwise unintentionally.

On the other hand, the loss of my father was empowering in many ways, chiefly the mental dependency upon him that there's someone bigger than you who you could fall safely upon despite my financial and welfare independence; this mental dependency gradually fades away in favour of a more independent and responsible mindset, not to mention the fact that one (should arguably) start appreciating those who are still there, chiefly mom, and cherish every moment with her, ensure that she's at all time at utmost peace of mind, happy and content with me and the people around her, secure of her welfare.

May Allah bless his soul and that of all the beloved ones we all lost, join them with the best of men -Moh'd & the rest of the prophets -pbut- and have mercy upon them all.

Then comes my marriage, looking back at the whole chapter, I'm just dazzled how things progressed in a determent fashion for us to be joined together, not to delve into the details, but a minor extension to my summer holiday in 2005, resulted in me briefly meeting the niece of my friend for a mere two times before I went back, kept in touch over the phone for the next 3 months until I flying back writing my book on her (literal translation to what would otherwise be simply put: getting engaged) stayed for a couple of weeks, then fly back and forth between Amman & Riyadh (and I'm a nervous flyer by the way, tons of air-bound metal with humans canned inside doesn't set me wild) a multiple of times to see her, and finally got married in the summer of 2006! Nevertheless "who's this woman living with me"? Sometimes I arrogantly ask my self…

The loving, caring, responsible & -most importantly- committed companionship that Allah has bestowed upon my relationship with my wife addressed a very instinctual need that all of us have, to the point that living together came out to be as instinctual as living back home with my parents or hers, it's not all rosy with butterflies and a rainbow out of our window at all times, but a fair bit of investment in understanding one another, excusing and forgiving while adapting or flat out accommodating one another habitual routines and requirements is all part of the regular flow of our new life with no great expectations to be met or dangerously not addressing any cumulating clash points or consciously overlooking things that bother one another.

My marriage was a true turning point in my life as it should be, I fail to notice any changes in the core of my mental (not physical) build, but surely a plentiful of good habits, tactful and courteous things was acquired from my wife, women do stand out in this arena; that's for sure, but in all I think the instinctual fulfilment induced by this marriage brought out the best of both of us in our ordinary lives with the blessing and courtship of Allah.

Both chapters entailed many encounters with our oblivious society, which I have spent a fair bit of this blog bashing and critically scrutinising, I admit my defeat in the past year (and hence the title of this entry) in my struggle against this rigid society, I was beaten in almost all confrontations at all levels, rusty traditions, misunderstandings of Islam, flawed and deceitful since of righteousness and modernity among other failures that constantly haunted my wife and I and the plans we had; all this led into a total self recession that was highlighted with the wedding I was forced to through-in under momentous pressure that unfortunately came from the very people I was depending on to support me…

Which brings me to a very interesting aspect of marriage which doesn't stand true at all times but to some extend lives up to what I think it is, that is to say t hat once you get married, the new entity formed is supposedly immune from interfering society, actually this is what my wife told me at our wedding night that "tomorrow we'll have our own life…", that wasn't entirely true as a matter of fact, but at least I have the peace of mind of planning our own life knowing that we're an independent family, and at worse come to worse I can pack and retreat to a cave in Afghanistan for all that it is worth and live my life as me and my wife please.

I learned something very valuable in the past year, that in the midst of identifying and rectifying the erratic and deeply-rooted problems vividly surrounding us, we should not loose focus of the good things that is also inherent to what establish us as a unique society, something that at times I found very hard to acknowledge and keep focus on, but I now know how important this is, it’s like a secondary campus that keeps one on track not to drift away from the realm of the very society he belongs to and fear responsible towards, its so easy now a days, to buy myself an immigration to as faraway land as New Zealand and capsulate myself into my own understanding of utopia, but this defeats the whole objective of being an involved, active and influential part of an underdeveloped community that's under constant suffering and increasing challenges.

And finally, I was relocated to the job of my liking, engineering, field work that brings pleasure for doing what we "field staff" consider as "real" work compared to what the folks in air-conditioned cubicles do, the sense of achievement that is pleasantly fulfilling even if it went unacknowledged or credited to the people higher in the hierarchy (while being underpaid) is simply unmatched and cannot be sourced else were, which explains my absence throughout the past month, yet I always made mental notes of what I would write I my blog if I had the time to set down like I did today and hence the variety of topics I covered here…

One recent thing I wish my job didn't facilitate for me to know about (among many other harsh realities) is that they've built an underground VIP Jamarat area for this Hajj season, Jamarat area is notorious for its tragic incidents caused by the pilgrims and they want to spare whoever qualifies as a VIP the sweat... defeating the very objective of Hajj.

If you have read so far, then I sincerely thank you and thank everyone who made the effort to drop a comment or an email acknowledging my humble self or the pity gibberish I utter, they're all appreciated… I'm not sure when my next entry will be, but I'm off to perform Hajj (Pilgrimage) tomorrow and that will be the cherry on top of all these anniversaries and the year that's about to conclude, Thank you all and Eid Mubarak and have a great and blessed Holidays to all...

November 17, 2006

I got promoted, so where's my partitioned office?

Apparently, at our sick and unprofessional work environment, if you don't have a walled or partitioned office, it doesn't matter if you're a manager or not, what's important is to have the latter and then command the blunt acknowledgment and attention usually associated with being one (a manager), and I happen to experience both, being an office-less manager and just recently added another key to my key-chain, having my very own office!

So after a year working for our marketing department, doing geo-marketing research and liaison-work between the technical and marketing departments; I finally went back to my career routes, crude engineering work, were dust, sweat, informal (yet practical) attire & cluttered work spaces among other things are all a token of pride and love of the work in hand, to everyone's expectation, I seem much lively and sport a much more enthusiastic face instead of the lame and pale one while suited inside a cubical.


When I used to be a manager at the technical department, we had some sort of an open-space office policy at the time, were the whole hierarchy of staff set together without any obstacles except for the director/chief of the department, who's walled inside his own partition, so I really never knew how it feel to have your own, not that I never thought of it, but in general I was in favour of open-space offices policy and the positive synergy it trickles throughout the organization, but with the recent change I had, I was assigned with my very own office…


I've been with my current company for two years now, I was the 10th person to join, so I'm fairly old in the organization, and I fairly know everyone around, and everyone knows me as one of them "old" faces around, but really I only knew the extent of how ill treated non-senior staff get until I was walled-in, were you get far more than what you bargained for, as you seem to get some of the respect reserved for those behind partitions instead of it being the tandem of all interactions with all employees!


Although I was a senior manager from day one in the company, I was never treated as such, partially because I never sought such distinction, I view the mere act of baring the responsibilities of a manager as the ultimate reward for being one, but as I was relocated to the office, suddenly the word "Mr." became a prefix to my name, the IT trouble-tickets that aged for a couple of weeks at the help desk were now seen-into promptly, and colleagues who never spent the effort to know me beyond my name are now congratulating me for my new office(or was it my assumed new position, it doesn't matter by now)!!!

What did change? I'm the same smiley and down-to-earth person i always strive to be, I wasn't promoted per-se, just a simple change in capacity that eventually led into having my own office… what a sick sea of deluded mentalities do i work in.


I personally envisage the perfect organization to value each and every employee as its greatest asset, not simply rhetorical slogans but rather in practice, were all of them get equal distribution of benefits and privileges, for everyone to feel being invested in and appreciated beyond any titles and organizational hierarchies, everyone must be rewarded on a transparent scale.


The most destructive of forces in an organization is the negative sentiments induced by feeling unappreciated or unprivileged in comparison to the privileged few who're usually managers closer to the upper management and their side-kicks, forcing one to set his/her mind and expectations to such that will turn him/her to an executive-freak oozing with blunt requests and wasting valuable work time ensuring that his/her business cards are in print hours after being seated in the new post.


For instance, we have a limited underground parking space that fits 40-50 cars depending how tactful we –managers- were, the remainder of the company have to find their spot in the alley ways of the neighborhood behind us, a nuisance task considering the 200 staff competing every day for the scarce lots.

With such a pretext, the underground parking becomes some sort of a privilege that's offered to senior staff, to the point that one of them who lives in a walking distance from the company not to abandon his "privilege" in the parking lot out of courtasy as he feels its his "right"... flippin heck, i'll fire'em right up if it was my call.


But in my utopian vision of the company, I'd pool the parking lot among all employees, perhaps reserving a couple for the top-management and their guests, but otherwise on a first-come-first-serve basis, and what I'll get in return: a positive synergy from having all employees equally "privileged", and those who thrive to come early on time will be rewarded by finding a convenient spot right under their offices and the late one's can endure the pain of finding space in the scorching heat outside.


Back to my private office, I can't say that part of my sick psyche is dripping with ego and happy about it, you must admit that having your office translates into less intrusions and dealing with nuisance interruptions from people whom least of thier concerns is being productive while being paid for his time. But really I'd like to see myself outside of it with my staff, more – platonically- interment and face-to-face.


Investing in one's employees from the bottom of the organizational chart and up while valuing each and every staff member is crucial for a productive and homogeneous workforce and will ultimately change the sick attitudes and perceptions about becoming a manager or taking a senior post, humbleness must be the core of the corporate culture, by understanding that some people's job are to manage others, but it's no different than doing any other job in the team, just like a football team, were you have a captain & a goal-keeper along with 9 others, the former two may have a special role, but they're all part of the team of equal members.


Truly nothing like an open-space and open-door office policies.


Related DCMS reads:

I've been promoted; so where's my laptop?

November 05, 2006

Flashback : Thoughts extravaganza in a Bonfire night

Four years ago while i was still studying at university, i wrote this essay in an online forum i used to post in, I'm reposting it as-is to capture the true essence of it.

little did i know at the time that the thoughts manifested in it will perpetually echo with relevance until today, alas with even wider spread footprint, for we now have the affairs of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine among others haunting our minds with distress and worrisome.


At the peak of the Israeli assault on Lebanon, Jordanians spent well-over half a million JDs on fireworks on the night of Tawjihi results! Though some may justify shelling huge sums on an individual basis under the premise that people are gay-happy and they want to celebrate (after all, it's better than firing rounds of AKs around, no?), yet the cumulative expenditure is totally unjustified at wartimes.


It'll be another despicable highlight of our culture failure and defeat if the niche of our society decide to celebrate bonfires at our ends, were the unacknowledged resistance is striving to find the money to source firearm, while others are spending the money on recreational fireworks to celebrate others' engaging history


Enjoy the piece
:

For those who don't know what bonfire night is -as I have only came to know it when I came to England few years back-, it is a night of which people shell out mad sums of money on fireworks, and blast them out all night long in a spectacular display of an urban tradition!
What provoked the following stream of thoughts was not the astonishing and dazzling displays I have witnessed throughout that night...

What triggered it was merely the background sound of that night...

As I walked back from university on a late hour, I was listening to all these fireworks exploding, some where close, some where echoing, some had thunderous explosions, other seemed to have this repetitive pattern of sound that tend to remind me of an automatic assault weapon. Slowly... my hallucinatic mind could not help but to drift in a stream of thoughts, visualising the west bank -and Gaza- in pursuit of capturing the anxiousness my fellow Palestinians live -or die- under... day by day!

The unexpected explosions that you tend to hear every other second did trigger a hint of anxiety, as I forced my self to believe that I was in an anxious situation, trying to capture the moment and have a taste of what its like to live under fire, and it does sound like anything but normal... they say a picture speaks for a thousand words, but tonight it proved the other way around, the continuous fead of news from Palestine could not squeeze a single tear drop... while a Hollywood movie might get many weeping over a fictional love story with a dramatic twist of some sort... Tonight I could not help but to keep my self constrained by the tangling stream of thoughts thrilled by an ever-lasting explosive echoes and sounds

Yet I live in a peaceful and quite town, and during my usual shuttle walk between my house and the university, the worst thing that I might encounter in my linear daily life is a drunk and or drugged-up homeless whom might ask for some change! building up from this situation, and with the help of my imaginative mind, I hardly managed to remind myself of those who live under the siege, how do they feel? I hear the thunderous explosion, with un-dismissible certainty that this explosion was 150 foot high in the air, indeed not worrying about if it was of a close proximity... which is certainly different from being in a situation where you encounter actually occupiers, geared up with M-16s, F-16s and apatches looming in the horizon, and every other explosion you might hear is in the next block, until one day you are in its proximity, yet they lead a normal life... they get married and seem to strive to survive and raise out of ashes time after time!

After a long day at uni., and with this imaginative journey to examine 'how it feels like' to be there, I shall lay down and sleep... to wake up for another English, gray and rainy day... certainly those anxious thoughts should evaporate by then... as for those on the front line back there... Allah Ma3ahum

October 15, 2006

It's a Push-to-talk thing

The company I work for (bravO) was busy in the past month testing the international push-to-talk service with XPress, Wallahi I don't recall experiencing a truly new mobile service since the first time I sent and received SMS back in 1999.

The mere thought of being able to connect instantly (less than 3mS) with your business associates, friends and family abroad to make instant queries or have a quick chat within a flat-fee subscription is really exciting, though given it's a half-duplex call (you wait for the other party to finish talking before you start) makes it a bit dull for long conversations or intimate ones nonetheless.


We're not used to the concept of radio communication and push-to-talk, expensive licensing & hardware cost coupled with strict governmental control over such equipment (even the civilian ones such as the walkie-talkie) made the very nature of hearing a chirp then a brief talk then a pause to be immediately associated with law enforcement officers and intelligence agents.


No wonder why XPress had a really huge barrier to overcome with its potential customers who despite their dire need for such communication tool, they were reluctant to adapt it, of course there was other issues contributing to XPress sluggish start-up, chiefly the weak coverage & quality of service.


In a business environment, the use of this medium is very efficient in terms of productivity and feasibility, 3 years onward (since XPress launched) I can assure you that once an organization get accustomed & oriented to the instantaneous, immediate worrisome-less fixed-rate nature of the push-to-talk service; they become dependant on it and find it indispensable to them. (more than 50% of registered companies are XPress customers)

That's why the incumbent GSM operator (Fas*tlink) viewed the (then) miniature XPress as a threat from day one, as they were about to cater for a market that's beyond the realm of any counter competitive offering the prior can come up with.


The use of push-to-talk can also be recreational and can generally be adopted by individuals outside the corporate sphere, I for one sat out a trial (with a private agenda) to test how easily mature users can orient themselves with the push-to-talk routine without throwing the handset aside deeming it as devilishly too inconvenient.


So I gave a handset to my aunt in Riyadh and taught her how to call my mother in Jordan, back at head-quarters, I was monitoring the usage (numbers not content), and man did these two women talk using half-duplex telephony… amazing, at best I was barely anticipating that my mother will toss aside the set after a couple of trials.


I myself call my brother, friends and x-colleagues back at XPress regularly, I can't say it a substitute for "normal" calls, if anything it replaces international SMS or even better, it becomes like an IM service available at all times, and as my wife left back to Amman to spend Ramadan with family, the 1-minute mini calls have been eliminated in favour of a quick push-to-talk one along with the ever so entertaining & thunderous unsolicited voice of mine unexpectedly coming out of her handset speaker, one could argue that this is tactless bad sense of practical humour.


Things look bright for XPress, it's sister company bravO here in Saudi as well as the new licence they acquired in Palestine, as businesses recognize the legacy GSM services are inferior to what the system implemented by XPress is capable of offering, but mostly, it’s the short term & long term short term cost effectiveness that seems to underline the most sought out benefit from opting for such a premium service.

October 11, 2006

Islamically tuned, Ramadan themed & personalised scam email!

Though I didn't have the endurance exhibited by Bakkouz and his long email skirmish with Amina the orphan and her
Intoxicated-to-death father, however I found this pilot scam email I received yesterday interesting.

Did he/she actually spent some actual human-time on customising such message, or is web-crawlers are now smart enough to relate a name, a theme among other info to the email they hunt!


At any measure, I did reply to him, and he was more direct than Amina by bluntly asking me for my personal details… he wasn't persistent though, he dropped it when I did, Enjoy…

Notice the Subject and the overall general context, things like "I got your contact from an Islamic search on the web when i was searching for who to entrust".


From: AMAD UDDIN adudd_islamm@yahoo.it> Signed-By: yahoo.it
To: ***************************
Date: Oct 10, 2006 1:13 PM
Subject: From your Brother Amad Uddin To Basem Aggad
Reply | Reply to all | Forward | Print | Add sender to Contacts list | Delete this message | Report phishing | Show original | Message text garbled?
ATTEN:Basem Aggad

Salam Alaykum......

greetings in the name of Allah, the most beneficient, and the most merciful

Dear Brother,

Compliments of the season. I know my letter might come to you as a surprise, but don't be surprise because it’s coming in good faith. I am Mr. Amad Uddin from ZINBABWE. But based in United Arab Emirate U.A.E. with my kid sister Fatima Uddin.

My father and me located to from ZINBABWE to London long time ago, after we where converted to Muslim by my late father's friend who was from United Arab Emirate (DUBAI). After my family welcomed the Islamic religion my country was no longer self for us to stay anymore, due to the Christianity religion over there we where wanted death to be killed by Christens that is why we left to London to stay.

My father was invole in the recent Plane crash in IRAN couple of days ago, when he was flaying from Bander Abbas to Mashhad. before we left to London my father deposited the sum of E28.2m Euros (twenty Eight Million Two Hundred Thousand Euros) With Me-bank International Dubai
( United Arab Emirate). Which he made it know to me as the only son. Part of this fund i mapped out to use for building a Mosque where children of ALLAH will be worshiping, the rest of the money i will use for a very lucrative investment to keep my life going because i can't go back to my country anymore.

My Christian name use to be Michel Andrew before i was converted and since then we have been happy in worshiping the almighty ALLAH our personal savor’s, I got your contact from an Islamic search on the web when i was searching for who to entrust before i saw your contact and decide to tell disclose my situation to you of which i know that by Allah grace things will work out fine for me and you. All i need is your assistance in helping me to retrieve this fund from theMe-bank International Dubai (United Arab Emirate) and have it transferred out side through your account to build this Mosque which my late father told me to do and which has also being my dream. I know i do not have much say in my country any more that is why i want to entrust this transaction in your hands. However, i will make shore i provide all the documents back up we will need for retrieving this fund.

After transferring these funds to your account in your country, we will bring out money for building of Mosque, the rest of the funds you will be in title of 15% shear for assisting me, and 5% will be for any expencies you made on the process of this transaction.Then i will use the rest for an investment in your country.

Finally, i will reside in your country because i will not be welcome in my ZINBABWE as a Muslim.

If you are interested in assisting me. Email me at amadudd@yahoo.se

I look forwards to hear from you.

Happy Ramadan.

Best Regards.

Amad Uddinamadudd_islamm@yahoo.it>

October 08, 2006

Moslems celebrate their "Lunar food & drama festival" aka Ramadan

Next will be surrounding the Ka'ba with advertising billboards like football stadiums to milk out petty pilgrims, why not?

If it was a matter of dedicating certain delicacies (Qatayif, Samosa …etc) to this season then I wouldn't have given this despicable state of affairs a flying thought, but what we're witnessing here is an outright exploitation of the holy month of fasting with total disregard to the true essence of it.

And mind you, despite my usual rhetoric tone, I'm not enflamed by the fact that the commercial exploitation of Ramadan is on the expense of its Islamic and sentimental values, no… for this only worries those who cohere to the Islamic doctrine on a daily basis, whether off-Ramadan or during the month, in which Ramadan act as a catalyst to do more of the good stuff they usually do.

But for others, it seems fair that during the month of Ramadan, if one feels unconvinced (too young, too hot or too tired) or simply can't be bothered with fasting, then the least that one could do is to refrain from doing so and go about his/her day as business as usual, but this isn't exactly what happens.

What we see before our blatant eyes is the transformation of Ramadan to a total different entity, with nothing left of its Islamic origin or its cultural evolvement, but a mutant commercially exploited month-long celebration driven by greedy corporates and oblivious recipients (that'll be us).

From a more analytical perspective, Ramadan became what it is now from right from the capitalising of two underlying features that engulf the fasting community: hunger and boredom, that's of course what's left for those who blindly practice fasting, others subtly find themselves stricken by those two.

It sounds fair that our heritage have in its luggage allot of dedication for Ramadan along other occasion, some with valid grounds, like serving high energy food and thirst-bashing & nurturing drinks and some merely found out of the blue, no harm in that, every other culture have its fair bit of seasonal food and drinks.

Here in Jordan, Circassian have their Shibs-ibwasta, typically served in winter time (seems like year round back in the Qoqaz though) and Christian minorities serve a special home-baked biscuits during their seasonal occasions, but I'm not sure how many cultures out there have Vimto and contemporary commercial products as a Ramadan household item?

I'm not sure either; if many other cultures allow themselves to be exploited and be manically rushed into a "a pre-Ramadan shopping spree", as if supplies will run out at some point in the near future, to the point that some supermarkets here rationalise the despising of Vimto at the rate of one bottle per shopper!

The amount of advertising spending for fast-moving consumer goods double, especially drinks, they litter the littered billboards with drinks and Ramadan-inspired food, as if to say that the sunset marks the cadence of one's average Ramadanian day… petty really.

I'm not disputing the commercial viability and what used to be a marketing ingenuousness of placing food & beverages products right in the face of hungry folks who are about to have their first meal after a long day! But how ethical is that I ask? Not from an Islamic perspective but rather in terms of the corporate responsibility towards respecting others beliefs and try not to exploit it.

If anything, demand should decrees during Ramadan, work the math out, people should be consuming less since they'll be eating less, how we managed to challenge the laws of supply & demand, I think I have a clue or two.

Then comes the matter of entertainment and TV, cinema, tents & theatrical drama (will its mostly comedy I know), and again I'm not disputing the business sense behind investing heavily on aligning premier stuff for Ramadan TV schedules and line up a number of movie releases and performances especially for this month.

This is a normal continuum of the despicable state of affairs of Arabs & Moslems in general, where the only industry they seem to be "good" at is the entertainment one, if only this accompanies some quality content… but alas, mimic societies are bound to have the cultural contribution of an amphibian frog.

So I have no problem (will I do, but you should know my theme by now) with Ramadan TV specials and all, except with the fact that its dedicated for and named after the month of Ramadan, it sounds utterly awkward and incoherent with the general theme of Ramadan and what it should typically entail and stand for.

The least that can be done is to continue offering the usual stuff without dedicating anything to the month! Its very disrespectful to those who adhere to the month and try to observe it thoroughly.

I humbly think that Moslems and non-Moslems alike (living in Moslem societies), the fasting and the can't-be-bothered-with-fasting folks alike, we should all take a strong stand against all greedy companies and supermarkets that try to milk us out during this holy month and gradually diminishing its genuinely distinct essence.

A boycott movement if you like, against every exploitation of the month of Ramadan, in sheer respect for what Ramadan stands for and what it means to those who try to sincerely observe it, and happy Lunar food & festival everyone, and Ramadan Kareem to the observing few.

To the interested few, my blog site feed changed

My avid readers, the don't-call-me-Sheikh site feed address was changed

from http://dontcallmesheikh.blogspot.com/atom.xml

to http://dontcallmesheikh.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/summary

kindly amend your aggregators accordingly.

A tip to all those who migrated to Blogger beta and are using the new templates, your old site feeds will eventually disappear, circulate the new one accordingly.

September 18, 2006

Nationality based professions

And I used to foolishly think that the term "مصاروه" as a shortened acronym of " Egyptian foremen/workers" back home was racist & repulsive; welcome to Saudi, where one's nationality decide on one's profession.

Take for instance this signboard just off our office at a petrol station, it reads "Eyad Carwash, trained African labours", Needles to point out that the only benefit from stressing the nationality of the carwash labours is enforcing racist stereotypes, as if Saudi with its explosive mix of expats needs further segregation.

Or in another one, a mechanic workshop make it proudly-clear on its main signboard that their technicians are "trained Filipino mechanics", not only so; hospitals & clinics festively announce "the arrival of the Syrian/Jordanian Dr. Ibsar Meen".

So what exactly does one nationality (yet alone ones race) have to do with the profession he/she do? In my humble perspective, this trickles down to a more serious issue, it’s the flawed yet comfortable practice of generalising and profiling others, "Oh Africans are good in car cleaning, while Filipinos are good in F&B and craftsmanship", "Jordanian doctors are very professional, Lebanese are good in sales & marketing while Egyptians are only good for teaching in elementary" or "Pakistanis make good accountants but don't trust them in warehouse keeping, hire Hindu Indians for that".

These are fictional statements, yet they have strong resonance even at the upper professional circles, so it comes as no surprise that you'll find professoins & nationalities being demographically distributed as outlined above, financial departments are mostly from the Indian subcontinent, Egyptian teachers are dominant, Jordanian & Syrian doctors are more common and carwashes mostly hire Africans (frankly, dark skinned; it seems like a sick statement of elegance unfortunately).

In our organization, there are two colleagues of mine who are managers and they have serious issues with insubordination chiefly due to the fact that they are from nationalities that typically work in "lesser" capacities, McDonald cashier, foremen or tea-boys, not managers!!! And mind you, the insubordination is not coming necessarily from notoriously typical elitist Saudis; No its from Saudis and non-Saudis alike, despicable in all counts…

It sounds like an impossible endeavour to differentiate between common circumstantial situation that has its effect on a certain group and hence their attributes and thier nationality) which is irrelevant to what they are!

For instance, in the telecommunication sector, you'll find Jordanian expertises littering every other Middle Eastern market and in all capacities, from CEO to financial managers, from IT based expertise to the utmost technical gurus, why? Is it because we have some telecom tendencies in our genes that bring the best out of us when we work in this sector? obviously...

No, my take is that Jordan pioneered the introduction of mobile telephony (the major driving force in this industry), implemented a telecommunication regulatory that catalyzed the industry and matured it and privatised the incumbent operator (the backbone of this industry), add to that the more generic credentials of the Jordanian work force related to the huge investment we tend to make in education among other things, not to mention the ad-hoc chain effect of hiring from the same pool of people whom usually share the same nationality.

So the madness must stop as its highly contagious, I have a Jordanian colleage who typically have no issues with others but found himself gradually agitated by the fact that he's dominantly surrounded by Asians in the financial department, I even fill for looking for a "good Filipino carpenter" to put together the complex iKEA piece of furniture I bought the other day.

Especially with our cultural luggage and heritage that's notorious for its shameless self-pride and notions of elitism by means of ancestry achievements! How can we undo the engraved profiling of Egyptians for not merely being "مصاروه" entailing the flawed description above or the Sri-linkian and Filipino women not to be of lesser cast dedicated to serving others.

If south East Asian cultures graciously have humbleness as a dominant attribute to it, this shouldn't be abused or exploited by assuming that the people belonging to this culture are petty! In contrast with our culture that is engulfed with egoistic tendencies stemming from absolute deceitful illusion of superiority for what we used to be in the distant past, mind the self-bashing here, I became addicted on that one (as the few avid readers of my blog may notice).

To sum up, one must be able to differentiate between people's circumstances, cultural attributes and its inherent nationality or race. if many Filipinos work as maids, it may affect their culture and may add new common attributes to them and create a "Filipino maid sub-culture", but this doesn't mean that one can drive conclusions such as : all Filipinos are ready to work as maids, all Filipinos are hard workers or all of them will steal before they leave or all of them like/dislike our food or eat fish!

Related topics:
The Man-made maid delimma

September 13, 2006

Getting techy with it

Blogger platform help. How can I upload AND place a JPEG banner instead of the one in the template? Please help, it'll be rewarding, rewarding I tell you (visually at least)

September 06, 2006

Batelco Jordan CEO joins XPress

Once again, another episode in the Jordanian telecommunication sector, notorious for its plentiful surprises, Marwan Juma an old-school figure in the IT & telecommunication scene in Jordan resigned from Batelco and joined the ranks of XPress as the CEO, taking over from Mr. Suleiman Ma'ani whose been the latter's CEO since its establishment back in late 2002.

The drastic changes in XPress is taking place after a new shareholder beefed up XPress's capital and became the managing shareholder, which usually entails sweeping management changes.

Good luck to both men wherever they settle for they both hold high credentials, bright track record and a credible reputation.

I have worked during Mr. Maani's reign, and beside stating his charismatic personality and thorough leadership felt through the organization, Mr.Maani was loved (or at least respected) by most employees even after he left, i have not encountered a single negative resentment or hard feeling felt by any of his x-employees, even by those who think (from a professional perspective) that they were let down by XPress as a hall.

As for XPress, I hope that along with such changes, there'll be some serious revision of their marketing strategy, for they do offer a genuine addition to the Jordanian telecom sector with their services but they seem to be badly communicated in the market place.

Read more here:

Al-Rai report (Arabic)
Addustour (Arabic)
Al-Ghad (Arabic) with really more info than the official Batelco statement.

September 05, 2006

A glitch in the Matrix? The windowless houses of Riyadh

The photos speaks for themselves, but mind the awkward angles they're taken at, they were shot in a drive-by fashion as I thought to myself that those who put too much effort "covering" up their houses will probably be really pissed-off if they found someone –a foreigner especially- taking photos of the very entity they're "covering" away from voyeuristic intruders!



Let's start with this one, the owner of this house decided to have some windows but with an angle to cut any line of sight! people inside probably suffer from a stiff knick when looking outside the window.



Your average apartment building comes in two window fitting flavours to fit your lifestyle: noisy "window" air-conditioning or a blinded window.



The guy decided to artistically & permanently place a metal sheet in front of the windows adjacent to the main street.



No need for air-flow, single-sided darkened windows.



To be fair, this is how the majority of houses have their windows done, fair enough I assume!



This is from the inside of an apartment building, to come and think about it, methinks the reasoning behind such practice is not to detour nosy neighbours but actually to prevent whose inside from looking outside!



At least this one is different, L-shaped, very very original, remember these are not see-through glass, they're all darkened or "امبزر".



A wall was porpously constructed to hide away the window and block any chances of sight in either direction.



This is another typical in-the-box boxed house.



The little window is for the toilet probably.



Keep the window arches to maintain the architectural visual harmony (if such thing exist) probably; but do with glass! I swear I didn't touch any of the photos with Photoshop, this is sheer reality.



Another creative use of metal sheets in shading one's windows.



One must be fair, this villa have a huge lobby area to the right side covered out with glass, but the rest of the house (especially the sleeping & living quarters) is hidden away as it seems.



Another typical setup, notice the metal shading to the left, this is very common in between most adjacent houses.



Had a change of heart? This one inspired the "glitch in the Matrix" title, from the trap scene when the Machines changed the attributes of a building in order for it not to have any exists (doors, windows ..etc) causing a "glitch" Dejavu.

So… a visual account of a strange phenomenon here in Riyadh, I used to find the huge concrete fences around house to be repelling, but these are nothing compared to being stuck in one of them houses for days & days without a hint of sun shine or allowing a breathe fresh air to replace the AC-intoxicated & rotten air in the house (if you don't mind the desert dust).

August 24, 2006

Scandal at MobileCom: 1,000 car winners due to a fault!

This piece of news & pictures came from an insider, apparently hundreds of MobileCom customers who subscribed to some car competition gathered in front of MobileCom HQ sometime ago to claim their car after receiving a SMS message from MobileCom congratulating them on winning a promoted car.


The insider said that an employee at the marketing department sent the message to some 1,000 customers (who subscribed to the competition earlier on) by mistake while he was testing the winning SMS message that was suppose to be sent to the lucky winner, and those who received it gathered spontaneously the next morning at MobileCom HQ to collect their car!


Obviously the ground was fertile for speculations to thrive that Fastlink had something to do with in light of the incidents earlier, but putting this aside, i can only imagine the short ecstatic thrill of the winning customers and the sheer disappointment they felt the next day as they saw many of their likes claiming the very same bounty and slowly figuring out that there seem to be a mistake of some sort, a dream too good to be true for many.


The insider also told me that one of the winners was demanding not only the car, but also compensation for the Kunafah he distributed promptly after he received the message! Having said that, i wonder how this will be resolved, and if there will be some sort of compensation if any?!


If i was in charge over there, I'd be creative and exploit the episode by actually giving away 1,000 cars to absorb the bad publicity and boost some proactive synergy out of it by showing some surprising commitment and absorption of the situation!


Not necessarily giving away the promoted car which i think was a mid-range Cadillac, but perhaps some branded Cherry or something in that order, but i don't think MobileCom is brave enough or can even fund such a radical step.

At any measure, here are some pictures to go with the piece above, i just hope my insider is not an imaginative daydreamer who made this whole thing up, i didn't have tie to authnticate but MobileCom already pulled the car promo from its website!















August 20, 2006

"No body queues in Jordan"; but I do!

During a spontaneously arranged trip I had with my wife (Yes, I got married few weeks back) to Aqaba, I had an unfortunate incident at the Movenpick hotel while I was checking-out from it, the incident reminded me of how “third-world”* we can be right in the midst of our thinking rather than our surrounding.

A quick back rounder, this leg of the trip was never planned, my wife and I were roaming all over southern Jordan, as we reached rum and spent the day cruising over there, we decided that we were too tired to drive back to Wadi Mosa and headed down to Aqaba, at this point, we were looking a bit rusty & showered with sand.

We spent the night over at the hotel, showered and cleaned up, it was extremely busy, I think they were running at 99% occupancy.

Next day at the reception desk, I stood there waiting for my turn to check-out with my rusty looking beard, wearing army-like shirt and cargo pants and a wide tourist hat my wife grabbed from Petra, minus the sand and the sweaty smell.

A group of mothers and their kids were checking-in, it took the hotel personnel around 15 minutes to get them settled in, I was patiently waiting there, chit-chatting with my wife, going about my usual habit of eyeing people around, trying to figure out where are they from, what are they doing here & if there’s anything unusual about them.

Enter the apparently half-Jordanian-half English-guy (have he not spoken, I wouldn’t have figured out this about him), he stood at an uncomfortable distance between me and the desk I was waiting my turn at, with a bit of anxiousness as he seemed to wanted to check-out from the busy hotel like I did.

I did not mind the guy at start, he was not aggressive with his distance from the desk, but he seemed a bit shy of it, as if he knew he was about to do something that he’s not accustomed to, I didn’t make any pre-emptive moves like blocking his way or nicely asking him to step into the queue (comprised of myself behind the loud mothers & their annoyingly trespassing kids), under the assumption that the lad seems to be from somewhere were people tend to queue naturally at busy junctures.

The mothers and their kids left the check-in desk, the guy made his move & spoke in an i-speak-it-fluently-but-I-prefer-not-to heavy Arabic that he want to check out, the rude hotel attendant smiled in his face (one could argue because of his handsome Caucasian looks) and told him just a minute please. I turned to the guy and nicely told him in Arabic that he took my turn and that I was waiting behind the group.

The guy ignored me first time around as he waited for the attendant to return. So I repeated my request in English and he answered me without looking to me that he is “at a hurry and he have a large group”, now I had it… “listen ya Mr. Busy with a big group, I came here and lined myself in a queue, you better stand in the line too”.

The attendant came and started processing his check-out, I reiterated that I came there before him, and with a poker face she said “but it’s not a problem”, I told her “no it is a problem, this is disrespectful to me and she should respect the line in front of her”, upon my challenge she put aside his credit card and papers & started processing mine without even an apology.

I looked back at the guy and spoke to him in English, now I have his attention as it seems, and tried to understand why he acted in such a way, I wish I didn’t do that, I wish I stood there quietly, left him full of himself and his blunt feelings of superiority thinking of me and our country the way he did, for he answered me in a very arrogant manner:

“Listen, here in Jordan there are no queues, back in England people queue, but here they don’t, I did what everyone here is doing, utter chaos”

I swear by the one who raised the seven heavens with no pillars that I was infuriated to the point that I was going to grab him by the head and smack his forehead against the wall for the offensive gibberish he uttered.

“No my friend" i replied "people do queue over here, I’m queuing as I speak, you on the other hand, choose to ignore the queue & jump it while feeling comfortable of being uncivilized because you are not in England”…

He apologetically tried to explain his position but to no avail, I kept reiterating that he jumped the queue and that there was no excuse for that and not to mention how insulting it was to blame it on “being in Jordan”…

I left the scene feeling victorious but with a bit of disgust, first because of the blunt reception attendant who unprofessionally attended the good looking Euro guy who just skipped the line and passed on the rusty-looking “sheikh” thinking to herself that it’s “not a problem”.

Second because of the mentality of the guy who seemed to be from a well-educated & well-off background that should have salvaged him from being at fault of circumstantial uncivilized misconduct.

* I typically do not entertain such imposed terminology, but unfortunately I couldn’t find a better descriptive word that captures the meaning deceivingly embedded in such terms.

August 16, 2006

Fence Your Farm: Jordan’s first Guerrilla marketing campaign

Chances are that you have already spotted at least 3 to 4 of the intrusive “لتشيك مزارعكم” graffiti littered all over Amman and rumored to have even reached Irbid.

Every single person I asked if he/she knew someone who could basically “fence my farm” failed not to refer me to a number they think they saw scribbled somewhere near! Think of repetitive subliminal message engraving.

Brand recognition is not a hard Endeavour after all, I feel sorry for the millions corporates burn on selecting a brand name, designing a logo & toning a funny/catchy colour scheme –think Umniah- while all it take is a dozen of black spray paints, cheap labor or a bunch of enthusiastically bored kids, a subtle disobey of the law and disregard to public taste.

I doubt that the service is in great demand, as I can hardly imagine many owning farms in the first place for them to need to "fence"! At least not in Amman and its urban areas, but now you know that whenever you fancy fencing your farm or garden, you have a number handy scribbled at a nearby wall.

What is more interesting is that now there seem to be even copycats to the original idea! I wish this doesn’t spark a heated competition, or otherwise we’ll end up with even more urban distortion from such nuisance.

Below is a snippets of the graffitis I managed to capture with my camera, if you spotted more of these, please send them to me with a tag of its locatoin at basem dot aggad at gmail dot com and I’ll keep adding them up here, perhaps we can document this "phenomena".



Dahyit Al-Hussien



Jubaiha



Dheir Ghbar



Rabyih



Al-Bayadir COPYCAT



Rabyih



Tla' Al-Ali



Marj Al-Hamam

July 11, 2006

Random pictures from Riyadh

I’d like to share (and comment on) these random photos I took throughout last week.



For those who were in Saudi up to the early nineties this will definitely sound nostalgic, a vantage yellow taxi with an old Saudi plate number and hand scribbled side “stamp".

I found it abandoned next to our office this morning out of the blue, given that it’s against the law to be driving a car with old plate numbers, the rusty condition of the car and the fact that 99% of yellow taxis were righted off long back, it seems this one simply dropped down from the heavens!



Next is something that goes well with the plenty of strange encounters you come across here in Saudi, where else in the world will you find the national dress worn by most being banned from entering neutral places (I’m aware that national dress is not allowed in Dubai bars)?

This is the walk-in entrance of one compound (Sahara towers) clearly stating that no one wearing the Saudi national dress is allowed in! it look like a military camp entrance by the way.

Many housing complexes over here have various irrational rules, some decline tenant families whose female members wear veil (not even Niqab), others make it explicitly clear that visiting Saudi guests (Saudis are usually not allowed to live in by default) must wear their national dress, the Kingdome compound is notorious with this rule… its all but erratic, offensive and pointless!



Though I strive to boycott American products, but I found myself inclined to buy this soda for the mere cheeky statement they printed on the Arabic tag (as a token of arrogant novelty), it reads:

صنع في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية و نفخر بدعم قضية العرب و المسلمين من أجل السلام و الوحدة

“Made in the United States and we are proud to support the Arabs & Moslems cause for peace and unity”

It's poorly worded and doesn’t make any sense! What freaking "unity" are they talking about? I bet a business development manager of some sort thought in a clear moment of dulisinal intuitiveness “We might as well tag our exported goods with positive statements that will boost our sales, address any anti-American sentiments and dodge any boycott outbreaks” arrogance I'd say!

Visiting the company’s website (it’s called Blue Sky), there was no monition of their alleged “support” of “The Arab & Moslem just cause for peace & unity”, in fact the only cause they seem to be supportive of is adopting stray pets! The other me would probably write to them demanding an explanation on how exactly they support the latter “cause” or otherwise refund the overpriced “organic” drink they easily lured me to drink with blunt deceit.



Finally, the other day I complained to the restaurant manager of my favorite steak joint about the new burger buns they started using, and so the manager treated me with a Chocolate brownie, I’m not fond of sweets, but this one was exceptionally delicious at the time… the next day I ordered it, nothing was special about it anymore!

July 09, 2006

Blog wars, now is it?

A comment spammer(s) managed to lure me into clicking on what apparently seems to be yet another new Jordanian aggregator.

What seemed wrong right from the start was the statement made under the coming-soon banner, which clearly drives off all those who are already registered with another existing Jordanian aggregator!

Unless the creators of the two sites were fuming foes, I see no reason why the new site should be blunt in stating the above!

Better still, they could've been subtle about it and simply dismiss any applicants who are listed else where to avoid the bad karma and be more inclusive at face-value.

I must admit however, being listed on a credible aggregator (or gracious fellow bloggers rolls) is an important milestone.

If it wasn’t for Allah’s will and the good bunch behind the planet; I wouldn’t have had half the exposure I’m getting now, not that I know how many people visit my blog, but I like to think there are significant few to say the least.

I once stumbled upon a major Palestinian blogs aggregator, and found many JP blogs listed over there, not that I have an issue with it, but it got me thinking if it really matters? Does submitting my blog to another aggregator will do me any more good?

A bit of an unsolicited public advise to the folks behind the new site:

You're not offering anything new! You have JP incubating most of the "blogs" you're targeting, toot is hand-picking the good stuff (as they claim) and apparently they’re good at it, dwwen, tadween, dewanji and all other spelling variants are… will, I’m not sure what they are doing, but being just another "aggregator" will be self-defeating in a crowded market place.

Update: It seems the same people are behind both sides, but I still think they should get rid of the statement.

June 28, 2006

They met before we did

When my Aunt (my father's sister) met my fiancée's grandmother (her father's mother) for the first time during our engagement "party", there was an elusive sense of familiarity between them that was thrusting through both minds.

They both went home & started scratching their heads to aggregate their rusty memories with the underlying question; "Where do I know this woman from?"


My aunt had an advantage that all her old photos where archived neatly in albums by her daughter, (i think) corresponding to probable consecutive dates.

So she started flicking through the photos relentlessly, imagine the challenge: matching a decades-old face with what’s left of it today after she aged!


Despite the fact that my fiancée's grandmother is a distinctly looking reddish brunette (is that the word?), she's even nicknamed (by her self) " تيتا الحمرا " (The red Grandma).

My aunt search came to an end when she found the picture that captured herself, Grandma & another Lebanese woman during a social gathering sat on Sofa at my Aunt's old house in Al-Muhajirin old district of Amman.

She phoned me up oozing with excitement, telling me that she now remembers my fiancée’s grandma, though they only had a single encounter with each other (at which the picture was taken back in the fifties), they both left a deep impact upon each other that only needed a little catalyst for it to surface onto the present.

My fiancée & I bought a frame in which we placed a duplicate of the picture, and we presented it to grandma, it goes without saying that this made her day, being the person she is who's obsessed with old photos and the memories it bears!


The trigger was powerful enough for her to vividly remember my aunt the photo & the event itself; to such details as to the colour of the psychedelic-looking sofa they were setting on, the story behind the light jacket (that belonged to my Aunt) she was wearing “for the purpose of the photo only” (to cover her bare arms), the occasion at which the picture was taken at and a quick biography of the Lebanese woman who was also in the picture... That was amusingly entertaining.

Further, she mentioned that at the same gathering, my late father’s x-wife was present as a little kid, who was also a good friend of my father-in-law as they used to play together when they were young!


The astonishment from such junctures in our social fabric; can never wear-off! You’ll always be dazzled by how people are related or know each other.

On a side note, I hate pictures; I literally hate to document memories by taking pictures that "captures" them, I like my memories crudely raw & floating in my mind the way I want to remember them!

If they were worth remembering, they'll probably stick (whether good or bad), I hate the surrealistic surge that photos brings to my consciousness with an overwhelming force.


I don't recall staring at any of my late father's photos for more than few seconds ever since he passed away! It just sounds unnatural really when compared to say, how aroma trigger certain memories, or the sight of someone who looks awfully familiar to a dead relative.

June 27, 2006

Do you know Wonho?

Leave a short comment if you do!

I’ve known Wonho for almost 8 years now & he’s a good friend of mine. Beside his socially engaging personality, multi-talented nature & (sort of) charming-at-first-encounter charisma; the guy is eccentrically different than "us".

The late king in his famous saying “من شتى المنابت و الأصول” (From all routes & origins) was inspiringly broad enough to include his family as a Jordanian one indeed! How frequently do you get to be acquainted with a Jordanian guy from a Korean origin who lived among us all his life & commands Arabic probably better than many of us!

A tribute to the Chung family in Jordan & a little “experiment” on the side… please make it a success

June 25, 2006

A good blog entry & an even better comment

Qwaider from the Memories Document blog has put together a very interesting piece, which I obviously didn’t agree with, so I wrote a comment which is worth a dedicated blog entry of its own.

Links: The entry & the comment (in case you’re more interested in what I had to say)

Shameless egoistic self promotion? Indeed…

June 22, 2006

So Fastlink was spying! (Via Elaph)

According to the infamous online magazine Elaph, Fastlink was found guilty by a court ruling in the alleged corporate-espionage case MobileCom have put forward against the latter a couple of years ago!

Elaph is blocked here in Saudi (you get used to the imageless blog entries on blogger along with the purposelessly blocked sites), I got the piece through a mirroring server, I would appreciate it if someone can post the actual link as a comment.


حكم قضائي بإدانة فاست لينك الأردنية بتهمة التجسس
GMT 7:15:00 2006 الأربعاء 21 يونيو

تجنيد موظفين لإفشاء أسرار الشركة المنافسة "موباياكم"
حكم قضائي بإدانة فاست لينك الأردنية بتهمة التجسس


عصام المجالي من عمّان


أدانت محكمة بداية عمّان عدد من موظفي الشركة الأردنية لخدمات الهواتف المتنقلة(فاست لينك) التابعة لمجموعة الاتصالات المتنقلة "إم تي سي" الكويتية بتهمة مخالفة أسس المنافسة المشروعة والتحريض على إفشاء أسرار المهنة والقيام بتجنيد موظفين لدى شركة منافسة وهي الشركة الأردنية لتشغيل شبكة الهواتف الخلوية(موبايلكم) لهذه الغاية.

وجاء في نص قرار المحكمة الذي حصلت "إيلاف" على نسخة منه إن شركة "فاست لينك" أنشأت قسما لاستقصاء المعلومات الكاملة عن الشركة المشتكية وهي شركة موبايلكم إحدى شركات مجموعة الاتصالات الأردنية لقاء مبالغ ورواتب شهرية مقابل إفشاء أسرار العمل والخطط المستقبلية الخاصة بالشركة.

وتلقت فاست لينك تقارير ومعلومات عن شركة موبايلكم مقابل مبالغ من المال وعمولات وعرض مبلغ 5 آلاف دينار في حال إحضار الخطة المستقبلية وأخبار وأسرار شركة موبايلكم.

وكشفت الوثائق الرسمية إن بعض الخطط والبرامج التي كانت تقوم بأعدادها "موبايلكم" بطي الكتمان لطرحها في الأسواق قد تسربت بالفعل لصالح "فاست لينك" حيث تفاجأت الشركة المشتكية بأن العديد من الأفكار والبرامج التي كانت تريد طرحها في وقت معين تسبقاه إليها شركة "فاست لينك" اثر حصولها على هذه المعلومات بالصورة غير المشروعة.

وشهدت إيرادات موبايلكم (الاتصالات الخلوية) ارتفاعا في إيراداتها بلغ 0.9 مليون دينار أردني بنسبة بلغت 2.9 بالمائة مقارنة مع الربع الرابع من عام 2005، حيث نتج هذا النمو بسبب الزيادة في الإيرادات المتأتية من الحركة الهاتفية نتيجة زيادة دقائق الحركة الهاتفية بنسبة

Shameless promoting (backtracking: Fastlink’s success is the highlight of the Jordanian consumer failure!

June 18, 2006

An anomalous divine intervention: America vs. Italy!

“عدالة السماء” (heaven’s mercy/justice) apparently took revenge last night for the hundred of thousands of massacred Iraqis & Afghanis killed by US forces while fighting terrorism (and as a bonus: bringing them justice while at it), along with the chronic oppression of Palestinians that was only made feasible by the American support of the Israeli apartheid!

I despicably hate America’s guts (not its people); I oppose its invasion of Iraq, & the poking of its reddish nose in everyone’s business. But I must admit that I couldn’t but help siding with whoever team the American team was playing against, I know it’s just sport & not politics, but I just couldn’t swallow it. (Beside who ever heard of an American football -soccer- league as famous as the NBA?)

But would I go to the extent to be a God’s spokesman & claim that the two red cards & the canceled goal were part of God’s wrath against American atrocities around the world? I wouldn’t dare doing so...

But it seems the commentator of the ART exclusive airing of the match thought so, he rhetorically screamed “يا لعدالة السماء” as the fond-with-red-cards referee waived the 2nd card during the match (kicking out the first american player).

For a split second there; I was rather amused by the whole thing, but as the 3rd red card was waived (kicking out the 2nd american player) & the 2nd American goal was canceled, the commentator reiterated that he couldn’t help but view this as a vengeance against America’s foreign policy! He interrupted my blatant sense of entertaining joy out of the American team’s misfortune!

Is that so? Why did God allow the American team to make it to the world cup finals in the first place (an achievement on its own even if suffering an 8 to nil defeat like another supposedly a Godly loved country), huh smart commentator?

Why wouldn’t God take revenge by weeping off a whole battalion in the middle of the desert in broad daylight or a couple of them super carriers cruising the gulf? Why choose an almost politics-free football game & not some skirmishes on the frontlines?

I’m also reminded of the fallacy in the proposition of those who found it in themselves to claim that Katrina was God’s answer to America, little did they appreciate the human tragedy in it, or the difference between the ill-fate of fellow humans & the arrogance, deficiency & failure of the government ruling them who couldn’t deal with the crisis (something worth cheering upon).

The fatalist mindset we’ve been oriented with throughout our lives is just incredible, we seek easy victories achieved by others (including non-deserved divine interventions) to heal the wounds of the utter loss we’re solely (as people & not governments) responsible of.

God may well be capable of humiliating an American team during a worldwide event, or even soak America up to its chest with floods & “natural” disasters, and frankly he is capable of doing so, he is the almighty, the sustainer of the universe, but why ridicule our creed in him to merely serve a momentous ecstasy out of mocking our enemy’s misfortune that has nothing to do with the very struggle we have against them?

For some reason (I wasn’t born back then) the scene of the kidnapping of the Israeli Olympic team during the 70s came to mind, yes; the righteously rebellious Palestinians had every right there is to bring the world’s attention to their injustice as it was slowly slipping out of the world’s consciousness & into the ancient-history injustice category that sounds ludicrous to be discussed in contemporary terms.

But the targets were civilians, and not the type of soldiers-on-standby civilians living (occupying?) Palestine as we speak, and the arena they were targeted in was of a civilian nature, I think if one choose to take the Olympics or any internationally-observed sporting activity as a retaliation front, then the game should be played otherwise: lobbying to have Palestine listed as a participating nationality (before the Oslo accords), decide to take part (after being listed) & work hard enough to humiliatingly defeat the Israeli team with pure sportsmanship! or better still, boycotting the event that the Israeli teams are taking part in altogether.

I personally would opt for the latter; I think despite official international endorsement of the Israeli state, non-political events should still recognize the oppression of the people in a politically neutral basis, under the premise that the Palestinian cause is just & humane even before being politicized. But that’s off the subject.

Personally, I only watch the world cup matches while exercising at the gym, I occasionally find myself purposely watching a football match (it must be potentially a really really good game that include mainstream-ishly recognized as good teams), but I’ll definitely not watch the American team in play again, because I don’t want the blatant part of me to have even the tiniest of American-demise midgets out of an insignificant event…

I’d rather flick the channel, watch some news of the Iraqi or afghani resistance "teams" showing their own type of red cards that harvests American mercenaries occupying their sovereign states with the “real” aid & blessing of an ever so merciful & just God.

June 16, 2006

The internet in Saudi: it’s just full of lame surprises & I’m craving for WikiCrack!

Flickr is now unblocked here in Saudi, obviously after I lost any interest in back checking all the pictures I was unable to view for the past months, in return, Wikipedia is now blocked! IF only I can find the sexually-deprived surfer who sought refuge in sex-related Wiki articles.

There’s a good possibility that this blockage will be a long termer, the folks at the Internet unit in King AbdulAziz City are not so keen on sites with generic content. But why Wikipedia?

Let me tell you about how I value Wikipedia & why it’s important to me beside it being one form or another of the limited entertainment I get here.

Although I’m usually a skeptic of the information I get from Wikipedia, given the nature of the project, but I admire every bit of it, especially the Trivia you usually find in main articles along with the unofficial/parallel information that can turn you into a well-informed bragging impostor in few seconds.

Take for instance the article about Mcdonalds, the restaurant franchise chain, beside the basic corporately propagated information, you’ll find an account of the “real” ugly early history of this corporation, along with some trivial information that fail not to amaze those interested in the subject (Oldest outlet, highest & lowest in altitude).

Linking related topics together, and the gathering of information in such a trended manner is all but too interesting, for instance the sidebar of topics of the same genera will usually guide you to the sub topics or display comparative highlights about the subject(s).

The extensive & well-presented technical information about almost everything that is; technical is also impressive, you got good-hearted individuals who like to share & explain technology (in a simple manner) setting up articles about the stuff you here about in the news or use in your daily lives.

I usually start surfing Wiki for a certain subject, but end up in a totally different one, a classic example would be while I’m reading a post on a blog that refers to a Wiki article outlining the biography of someone, this someone is say; a terrorist, so from there I go to read about his convictions, I stumble upon a term such as dogma, so I click on it, taking me to some Buddhist article, that leads me to an article about theology, in the trivia section of such article, it turns out that this or that term was incredibly used so many times in successful telecom projects, so now Im reading about one of them telecom articles ….you get the picture.

One deficiency in Wikipedia’s credibility that is inherent to its very nature of being an open-source project were everyone can toss thier two cents in, I’ll illustrate this with an example, I have no problem with the Baha’i faith, will I do have a problem with their creed and overall idealogy but I won’t run around chopping their heads of or sabotaging their shrines in Palestine.

Some really active Baha’i enthusiasts seem to have got hooked on Wiki, purging every “world’s main religions” article they come across & add what the few mil Baha’is have to say about the subject in hand. Now I’m not advocating that someone should edit their contribution out, but rather the people behind this over emphasising of the Baha’i faith should not abuse the openness of this medium.

But I must admit that I'm rather impressed with the level of neutrality exhibited in most of the information, except of course when it comes to the issue of Palestine, were if you happen to check it's main article, you'll be redirected to an article about the "historical land of Palestine", isolating the term from being conjugated with any notion of an occupied sovereign state or its people, in which there are separate articles about either.

I know I can still use
www.answers.com, as they do syndicate Wiki articles, but its not the same thing.

Oh will, back to basic internet searching then.

June 12, 2006

Wondering Abdullah:

check your mail!

June 11, 2006

3G is here, but i still talk the same talk!

Even if you were not a mobile savvy, chances are you’re well aware of the term 3G, the future-fantastic mobile ”genera” (the –dominant technology is called UMTS) that promises to revolutionize the way we communicate, you’ll be able to do "wonderful" stuff like video calling from your mobile, watch miniature digital TV broadcasting & wireless broadband internet (not). In Saudi 3G (they even claim 3.5G) is here, but nothing changed until now!

Let me put it straight, I’m a technology skeptical despite being a lucrative early-adaptor (the marketing-term for punters who rush to buy stuff while hot & not minding the premium & the bugs) when I go shopping, but I’m an industry insider non the less! Ehm… I know stuff that the average I-take-it-for-granted-using-my-mobile-while-in-an-elevator mobile user wouldn’t give a flying thought knowing it or care less for his ignorance in such field, if this doesn’t turn you off, then by all means, you’re not one of them, continue reading if you will.

3G is a fad (3.5, 4 & beyond), vendors & operators are starting to recognize this fact, the only reason that the fad is still striving until this day, is simply because handset vendors were intuitive by integrating their 2.5G (nice way of saying GSM with GPRS) handsets with some/many of the features facilitated by 3G.

So if you’ve bought a mobile phone in the past few months, there’s a good chance you’re ready to use 3G services providing your network is ready to offer it. In Jordan, I’m only aware of MobileCom offering a reliable EDGE data service (classified as 2.75G) that somewhat offer slightly-better-than-dial-up connectivity but at a premium. Fastlink is in the initial steps of deploying their 3G network, Umniah are ready but hesitant while XPress is competing on a total different front they’re not bothered with 3G and its hyped endeavors.

So before you’re taken by fancy marketing campaigns about what you’ll be able to do, let’s review the services you’ll probably be bombarded with when 3G is launched:

First, it’s the science-fiction prophecy of video telephony being materialized! Nothing novel, most of us used video chatting on the net already, but never used a “real” handset dedicated to that specific function. Yes its cool & hip, but even if the per-minute pricing was acceptable (it won’t be), what practical applications for such offer? It’s been engraved to our contemporary human development to comprehend speaking with those distant from where we are without needing to see them, I mean the thrill of seeing the person you're talking to wear off in a couple of minutes of talking & actually becomes a burden…

I can only think of it as the next big thing here in Saudi, given the success & impact of Bluetooth as a powerful communication medium in such a gender-segregated society, where now those who typicaly can’t meet in person can now at least see each other while talking over the phone (no fault in contemplating the explicit)…


remember, video-telephony is being offered in the UK through its 3G network three since 2003, but with no much success to capture the hearts of the mobile savvy.

Second, watching TV while on the move, since most of us store funny, interesting or explicit clips on their multimedia phones to kill some time with friends, so probably if you’re stuck in transit & about to miss your favorite series, then I can see why you would pay extra to watch it on the move even if it was 2” screen that you’ll be watching it on. So yes, mobile TV is a good idea, but watch out for battery life.

Finally, the most interesting offering (if delivered upon) is wireless broadband internet connectivity, the main concern is how “real” will be the internet they’ll be offering, how much of the “free” or “cheap/er” goodies of the internet will they be blocking? Would I be able to use Skype, instant messenger services by third parties or any other communication medium that will bypass their core voice/SMS/MMS infrastructure?

And for those IP networking gurus, there’s a huge business that’s booming with packet monitioring and interception software & hardware to do just that… What? our customer is about to use Skype to call his brother abroad through OUR data network for “almost” free & not pay for it through our VOICE network? Darn these Skype packets, corrupt them. It’ll be even more interesting to see the counter development of software that will find loop holes around the new trend of IP policemen.

Probably, they will let you browse the friendly non-revenue-slashing internet quiet freely, but it won’t be like having a real internet “pipe” connection similar to your ADSL/leased-line, not to mention the cost, I doubt any unlimited rate-plans, if any they’ll probably be capped with a definite fair-use agreement written in the small print, while the per mega-byte rate-plan will be ridiculously expensive, so it'll be a subsidized internet-like IP service rather than the internet you're used to!

Let’s talk speed, yes with 3.5G technology such as HSPDA you can get download speeds up to 2Mbps, but that’s the maximum connection speed between your handset and the base-station (tower) you’re connected to, what’s after that? The “tower” is typically connected (backhauled) to the operator’s main-switch through special leased-lines/Microwave-links (typically a single E1 & less commonly a couple of them) with limited capacity to fit existing voice traffic, so little chance you’ll be getting a true 2Mpbs connection.

Simple math is all what it takes, if you’re connected from A to B with a 2Mpbs speed along with say, 10 others, and B is connected to C (assume this will be the internet) through a single 2Mbps connection or even 4Mbps? How much bandwidth each of you will be getting?

So before you go buy expensive PCMCIA cards for your laptops or HSPDA ready-handsets with an up-sale expensive data-cables (to buy-pass Bluetooth latency), wait until the technology matures or get merged with other existing products like the Wifi/WiMax/HSPDA ready laptops coming out in the course of this yeas.