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.
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MTV, beauty queen camels, flirting with books, and more…

  • As part of their True Life series, MTV has broadcasted a one-hour documentary on Saudi youth last Monday. Even before it was aired, Resist the Power, Saudi Arabia has attracted big attention. Over the course of last week, I have received many emails asking me to watch it, and more emails later asking what I think of the episode. I have not watched it yet. I will probably watch it, but only after this silly hoopla dies off. Local media, as expected, jumped in with the usual mixture of conspiracy theories and anger caused by the documentary. Very typical. There are rumors that some people who appeared in the show could be prosecuted, but nothing is confirmed at this point. Many bloggers reacted, and most of what they said have been balanced and well worth a read: here, here, here, here, here, and here.
  • Forget about MTV, and watch this short video by local artist Abdulaziz al-Muzaini which pokes fun at Riyadh rains:

  • Remember the guy who was suing Aramco over the death of his beloved beauty queen camel? He has actually won case. Saudi Gazette reports that the General Court in Khobar has ordered the oil giant to pay 1 million riyals to the heartbroken owner. Aramco’s lawyer said they intend to appeal the verdict with the Court of Cassation.
  • Based on her experience with a public library where she lives in Dubai, Badriya al-Bisher believes that opening more public libraries will encourage Saudi boys and girls to flirt with the books instead of flirting with each other. That’s an interesting theory which I would love to test in Riyadh. It will make for one hell of an experiment.
  • The first patch of graduates from private medical colleges in Jeddah were previously told their can intern in university hospitals. Now they are told they can’t, and that if they want to intern then they have to pay SR60,000. Unbelievable. Shada Ahmadi, a student who is yet to start her internship, told me “it’s a big frustrating issue in our college.” UPDATE: Intern doctors graduating from government universities, who had their monthly reward cut in half by a decision from the Council of Higher Education five years ago, have launched an online petition asking the government to reconsider that decision.