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.

Breaking News: Crisis in Riyadh

It is raining heavily on the capital Riyadh at the moment, and the situation looks disastrous. From what I can see, it is a scary reminder of the Jeddah floods. People are stuck in highways and streets around the city, especially in the north and east. Major roads are blocked. At least one person is dead. The Civil Defense and the Ministry of Health have announced a state of emergency. You can follow the news on Twitter in real time using the hashtag #riyadhrain. You can also use, which aggregates content from Twitter. People in Riyadh are advised to stay home as heavy rains are expected to continue.

UPDATE: Watch these videos taken in Riyadh earlier today:

UPDATE 20:50 5/3/10:: It started raining in Hofuf and other cities in the Eastern Province.

UPDATE 21:00 5/4/10:: Jihad has created this very useful interactive map of Riyadh. The map shows blocked roads and streets in red so drivers can avoid them. The roads in green are reported to be okay. You can contribute to the map by using this form. The info on the map are for the last three hours.