September 29, 2008

Taking customers for granted; Zain (formally Fastlink) enlightens us with a subtle ad!

One can only blame the Jordanian consumer for almost 40% (a guestmate) of his misfortunes including high-prices, low-quality, bad service and lack of choices and alternatives.

We sort of have it naturally to get corporations and suppliers to take us for granted and treat us like an old mule...

Zain-Jordan announced today that they will start charging their customers for SMS delivery reports, the charge will be at 0.01 JD starting from the 29th of October.

The less than a quarter of page ad with no logo tucked inside the 29th page of Al-Rai daily newspaper on the eve of Eid is very disgruntling and if not a total disrespect of the Jordanian consumer intelligence.

Zain claim in the ad that this move is to "Ensure the utmost quality of service", how is that remotely related? probably by driving most of its subscribers to switch off SMS delivery confirmation option (most won't even bother) on their mobile phones, given that they know how to do this (or aware of it) in the 1st place.

Technically speaking (and as a telecommunication engineer) i know that such non-revenue traffic causes "paging" overhead and does constrain the network a bit, not sure of the volume however there's a responsibility to properly inform the customer of the new charges in a better way, even if it'll cause bad publicity and set a fair charge to it.

Fariness comes first, and if Zain believes that this "overhead" traffic is constraining their network and hence want to "shunt" it off by charging those who "really" wants to receive the confirmation, then by all means, but my guess (with no good faith or space for benefit of doubt) is that some exec thought of this as a new revenue stream after looking over some other country (like Saudi) where such charges is an "accepted" business practice for its been established for far too long.

But here we are the ever so opinionated Jordanians: labeling Umniah as the 7afrtal network, Orange (formally MobileCom) as somewhat official & not so hip (with its own heard of die-hards no doubt) while XPress is almost unheard off (i still get more question marks when i narrate my mobile number starting with 074 five years onwards)... and Zain... "ما في أحسن من الفاصت" Nothing comes better than Fast (short for Fastlink)

I encourage everyone to join this Facebook group highlighting this issue, and raise it up to public attention because honestly; i had it with such foolish practices and the obliviousness of our society.... How is it a beautiful world!

September 28, 2008

Syndicated: Behind the veil lives a thriving Muslim sexuality

A very refreshing take from a non-Muslim perspective on the issue of the Islamic Hijab (veil), it shows how much space is there for an alternative perspective on the issue of the Veil rather than the ever so conclusive and figured-it-all-out attitude sported by most of those who are, the least to be said; not in favor of the Hijab (veil) for whatever reason that floats their dream boats... Enjoy:

Note about the Author; I do not necessarily endorse or condone the author's ideology or opinion about other subjects of any sort, I simply found myself intrigued by a genuine & fresh take on the matter that's sort of a breeze in the current foggy atmosphere of mimicked thoughts and rotten arguments. (Repeating myself).

Behind the veil lives a thriving Muslim sexuality

Naomi Wolfe 
August 30, 2008

A woman swathed in black to her ankles, wearing a headscarf or a full chador, walks down a European or North American street, surrounded by other women in halter tops, miniskirts and short shorts. She passes under immense billboards on which other women swoon in sexual ecstasy, cavort in lingerie or simply stretch out languorously, almost fully naked. Could this image be any more iconic of the discomfort the West has with the social mores of Islam, and vice versa?

Ideological battles are often waged with women's bodies as their emblems, and Western Islamophobia is no exception. When France banned headscarves in schools, it used the hijab as a proxy for Western values in general, including the appropriate status of women. When Americans were being prepared for the invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban were demonised for denying cosmetics and hair colour to women; when the Taliban were overthrown, Western writers often noted that women had taken off their scarves.

But are we in the West radically misinterpreting Muslim sexual mores, particularly the meaning to many Muslim women of being veiled or wearing the chador? And are we blind to our own markers of the oppression and control of women?

The West interprets veiling as repression of women and suppression of their sexuality. But when I travelled in Muslim countries and was invited to join a discussion in women-only settings within Muslim homes, I learned that Muslim attitudes toward women's appearance and sexuality are not rooted in repression, but in a strong sense of public versus private, of what is due to God and what is due to one's husband. It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channelling - toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home.

Outside the walls of the typical Muslim households that I visited in Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt, all was demureness and propriety. But inside, women were as interested in allure, seduction and pleasure as women anywhere in the world.

At home, in the context of marital intimacy, Victoria's Secret, elegant fashion and skin care lotions abounded. The bridal videos that I was shown, with the sensuous dancing that the bride learns as part of what makes her a wonderful wife, and which she proudly displays for her bridegroom, suggested that sensuality was not alien to Muslim women. Rather, pleasure and sexuality, both male and female, should not be displayed promiscuously - and possibly destructively - for all to see.

Indeed, many Muslim women I spoke with did not feel at all subjugated by the chador or the headscarf. On the contrary, they felt liberated from what they experienced as the intrusive, commodifying, basely sexualising Western gaze. Many women said something like this: "When I wear Western clothes, men stare at me, objectify me, or I am always measuring myself against the standards of models in magazines, which are hard to live up to - and even harder as you get older, not to mention how tiring it can be to be on display all the time. When I wear my headscarf or chador, people relate to me as an individual, not an object; I feel respected." This may not be expressed in a traditional Western feminist set of images, but it is a recognisably Western feminist set of feelings.

I experienced it myself. I put on a shalwar kameez and a headscarf in Morocco for a trip to the bazaar. Yes, some of the warmth I encountered was probably from the novelty of seeing a Westerner so clothed; but, as I moved about the market - the curve of my breasts covered, the shape of my legs obscured, my long hair not flying about me - I felt a novel sense of calm and serenity. I felt, yes, in certain ways, free.

Nor are Muslim women alone. The Western Christian tradition portrays all sexuality, even married sexuality, as sinful. Islam and Judaism never had that same kind of mind-body split. So, in both cultures, sexuality channeled into marriage and family life is seen as a source of great blessing, sanctioned by God.

This may explain why both Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women not only describe a sense of being liberated by their modest clothing and covered hair, but also express much higher levels of sensual joy in their married lives than is common in the West. When sexuality is kept private and directed in ways seen as sacred - and when one's husband isn't seeing his wife (or other women) half-naked all day long - one can feel great power and intensity when the headscarf or the chador comes off in the the home.

Among healthy young men in the West, who grow up on pornography and sexual imagery on every street corner, reduced libido is a growing epidemic, so it is easy to imagine the power that sexuality can carry in a more modest culture. And it is worth understanding the positive experiences that women - and men - can have in cultures where sexuality is more conservatively directed.

I do not mean to dismiss the many women leaders in the Muslim world who regard veiling as a means of controlling women. Choice is everything. But Westerners should recognise that when a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression. And, more importantly, when you choose your own miniskirt and halter top - in a Western culture in which women are not so free to age, to be respected as mothers, workers or spiritual beings, and to disregard Madison Avenue - it's worth thinking in a more nuanced way about what female freedom really means.

Naomi Wolf is the author, most recently, of The End Of America: Letter Of Warning To A Young Patriot and the upcoming Give Me Liberty: How To Become An American Revolutionary, and is co-founder of the American Freedom Campaign, a US democracy movement.