Blocked in UAE?

There have been some conflicting reports yesterday over the blocking of Saudi Jeans in the UAE. The blog Emirates in Style reported the block and provided this screenshot:

When I asked people on Twitter to confirm this, some of them said the blog was indeed blocked, while others said they can still access it. I’m still not sure what exactly is going here here, but I would like to know more. So readers in the UAE, can you please check if Saudi Jeans is blocked where you are or not?

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Welcome to Earth

So today I had to dig into my family’s archive to look for the immunization documents from my early years (long story). While flipping through the papers I found this thing:

It is not a birth certificate. It is a gift from the hospital where I was born. It has my picture, date of birth, and wishes of a long prosperous life. I’m the only one of my brothers who has one of these. According to my mother, the hospital stopped giving these away shortly after. My favourite part of it is the polaroid, which is still in a good shape after all these years. The picture was taken during my first few minutes into this world, apparently still inside the incubator. I can only guess what the expression on my face means, but it’s probably a combination of bemusement and boredom. Yeah, I’ve been in this place for like 5 minutes and I was bored already :P

If you liked this one (and seriously, what’s not to like? JK ;-) you might also want to check these two blogposts where I posted old pics from the days when I was fat and happy. A new header for the blog is also in the works, so stay tuned.

Groomy

I don’t like going to weddings. But in every summer I get to go to more than my fair share of them. It’s just one part of the social obligations that come with the ties we talked about before. And with the high number of young single men in the family, it seems there is always a wedding around the corner. We had one last month, another this week, and we have three upcoming weddings in one household scheduled for later this year. Below is a short video I took during a family wedding two days ago.

MOE news, colorful abayas

  • The Ministry of Education has started investigating a school incident where a public high school teacher made his students play a theatrical scene representing detailed postmortem procedures like how to wash a dead person, cover him, and then laid him to rest. In other news, the ministry issued on Wednesday a circular to all schools in the Kingdom ordering that no music or dancing be allowed during upcoming graduation celebration, which must take place in the morning within the last three weeks of the academic year, and that no cameras should be allowed in schools. Last week I attended my brother graduation ceremony from intermediate school (that’s junior high for you American folks). The celebration took place at night, there was no dancing, and the music was “Islamic” aka nasheed. There were hundreds of cameras, including a video crew brought in by the school itself. Below is a video I took during the graduation:

  • Out of the 198 members of FIFA, only 32 countries can play in the World Cup in football (that’s soccer for you American folks) every four years. Saudi Arabia did not make it to the tournament that will take place in South Africa and starts on Friday. This, of course, will not stop business owners of trying to make money on the occasion anyway they can, including selling World Cup themed abayas. Non-black abayas was one of the topics which appeared in that now infamous MTV video. Speaking of such nonconformist abayas, Khalaf al-Harbi wrote a hilarious article earlier this week on Okaz about the Blue Abaya Controversy.

Twenty-Six

I’m 26 and I’m still here. I’m still not sure where I’m going next, and I’m still not sure where I will be for my next birthday. I’m not sure about anything anymore. Here’s to the waiting, uncertainty, and lifelong dreams…

Let’s Ban Everything

If I sound irritable lately, it is because I’m going through withdrawal symptoms. It’s been ten full days since I had shawerma for the last time. “Then go get yourself some shawerma,” you might say. Well, I guess you haven’t heard: shawerma is banned in al-Ahsa!

In a boneheaded move, Al-Ahsa municipality decided to ban shawerma during the summer. The whole thing started last year, when some people suffered food poisoning after they had shawerma at different restaurants in town. Following the incidents, the municipality issued an order to all restaurants telling them they are not allowed to serve the delicacy for the four months of summer (yes, summer here can last four, five, and even six months).

ShawermaI’m actually pissed off, not just because I can no longer have one of my favourite meals, but also because of the way the municipality is dealing with the whole matter. Instead of monitoring the restaurants to make sure they are following safety and health regulation, and then punish those who violate them, they go and ban everyone. They are punishing everyone. There are places that sell nothing but shawerma, and this decision would simply kill their business.

This type of collective punishment is easy for the municipality to inflect because the affected parties don’t have the means to protest. What could they do? Go to the municipal council? Please! Plus, even if they wanted, they can’t because they are not Saudis. You see, although these restaurants are owned by Saudi citizens, they are run by foreign workers. They pay an annual fee to the Saudi owner who does not care what the hell happens to the restaurant as long as he gets his money at the end of the year.

I’m really disappointed in al-Ahsa municipality. They have done some good work in building new infrastructure and improving streets and services. But this decision banning shawerma is just ridiculous. In addition to being irresponsible, it shows laziness on their part. They don’t want to do their job of making sure that the regulations are followed, so they go and issue a general ban.

If we are to use the (il)logic of our municipality, then we should close down restaurants altogether since you could get food poisoning from eating anything. While we are at it, we should also ban cars because they kill so many people. We might as well ask men and women not to marry or have children because, you know, they will die at some point. Let’s ban everything. That would make life much easier for many of us, wouldn’t it?

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