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Copyright© 2001-2010, Renato Obeid
"Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.”
-Jane Perrone, The Guardian
Sunday, July 29, 2007
IRAQ ‘’WINS’’ASIAN CUP FOOTBALL FINAL
-not everyone convinced
''Let me make this prediction. Sports teams of countries with governments submissive to the US will be miraculously winning more games in the near future. In fact, with the new Salam Fayyad government, I would not be surprised if a Palestinian team wins the World Series. And it would not be surprised if Fu'ad Sanyurah is declared the world heavy weight champion of boxing, and if the Saudi King wins a gold medal in high jumping...
Do you notice this in the US and Saudi media? How they are treating the victory of the Iraqi soccer team as it is a validation of the Bush doctrine? We will live to a day when countries are invaded under the pretext of improving the performance of their soccer teams.''
''The French foreign minister is visiting Lebanon. A reporter asked him a serious question about what France was really doing to help Lebanon. He answered her by telling her that "she is pretty" and that he salutes her.''
Friday, July 27, 2007
''When Americans take their polls and surveys overseas, problems arise (in translation and in methodology). My best example is from one massive study by University of Michigan's Ronald Inglehart who has done more global surveys than anybody. But in his massive book, Human Values, which contains the results of global surveys, people were asked how they feel about having Muslims as their neighbors. According to the study, more than 90% of people in Turkey said that they would not like to have Muslims as neighbors. That leads you to believe that some misunderstanding, or mistranslation happened along the way''.
- anygryarab.blogpsot.com (my emphasis)
Thursday, July 26, 2007
My eight hour day - eight hours trying to get to sleep, eight hours sleep (if I’m lucky) and the remaining eight hours doing what ever I can manage to fit into them.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I’m not giving away any national secrets here, but for about two months, since soon after the shenanigans at the Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee camp began, we have had heavy around-the-clock police security here at the Paradise Buildings.
One end of the road is blocked off with concrete barriers and there is a checkpoint at the other end.
Cars aren’t allowed to park next to the buildings on the adjacent highway.
I must say that the police are very efficient, maybe too efficient.
Almost every time I’ve left the house since the siege began, I’ve been accosted by a policeman (‘’’Ello Ello, what’s going on ‘ere then?’’).
Their usual line is ‘’I saw you leaving the buildings’’*.
My reply is that I was leaving the buildings because I live there.
They politely apologize and leave to go and harass somebody else presumably.
But it’s getting a bit much.
Three weeks ago today I was going for a walk, albeit at 4.30am, I’d cleared the barriers and was walking down the highway when I heard thumping footsteps behind me.
I stopped and turned around to see one of the cops chasing me.
I was a bit peeved off and told him, in no uncertain terms, that whilst we appreciate and thank them for their efforts, they can’t chase me every time I leave the house and that we’re neighbours so they should get to know their neighbours already (which they belatedly have – they’ve finally stopped accosting me).
The usual apologies ensued.
Shouldn’t proper security be about scrutinizing people entering rather than leaving a secured area?
If people are leaving a secured area and you don’t know who they are then you’ve already failed. This is not to mention the roaming police commando patrols who also accost me on my walks.
These are tough times and it goes without saying that the police and the army have my full support but I finally broke my silence when I saw one of the coppers accosting a nun who had parked her car on the highway a couple of minutes ago.
I couldn’t hear what they were saying but it looked like the nun was pretty adamant about staying there until she had finished dusting her car which she was in the process of doing.
So she did whilst the copper stood guard, although not right next to the car as they usually do with cars that have broken down and are awaiting assistance.
When she finished dusting the car, inside and out, she got in, adjusted her habit and drove off.
Good on her – the Lord works in mysterious ways and who are we laypeople to judge that she wasn’t doing the Lords work there?
Cleanliness is next to Godliness as they say.
How many nuns are there who are members of al Qaeda?
Maybe he thought she was Whoopi Goldberg.
But I must stress they’re very decent and friendly blokes.
My twelve year old cousin even has a crush on one of them (so cute).
After all, he did say ‘’bonjour’’ to her twice; open the boom gate for her to pass while she was riding her bike even though she could have easily gone through the gap on the side and ask her brother what class she was in at school.
I must also stress that I’m not making fun of them, just marvelling at their thoroughness.
*It reminded me of an Australian television comedy sketch from the 1980’s where a psychotic Vietnam veteran security guard at a department store shoots a shopper because ‘’she was looking at the stuff’’.
His flabbergasted superior tells him ‘’that’s standard consumer practice’’.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Despite all the political turmoil, I maintain that Lebanon is still a lot safer than most other countries in the world.
Heck, there were more suicides than there were murders in the first half of this year.
According to police statistics cited in local newspapers, there were 57 suicides compared to 51 murders in the first half of 2007.
Although a lot of those suicides are probably what I’d call ‘’deaths in custody’’ – foreign domestic maids kept as virtual prisoners who commit suicide to escape - so should be classed as murders.
Just watched half an hour of a documentary on the Discovery Channel about the building of a massive bridge in Hong Kong.
I’ve seen enough – I reckon I can do it.
I’m itching to give it a shot.
How did they used to teach engineers before the Discovery Channel?
I reckon I can also be an astronaut and customs inspector too (amongst other things).
I also know how to make neon lights and hockey sticks too (amongst other things).
All thanks to the Discovery Channel.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I spend half of my life trying to get to sleep and the other half trying to wake up.
Nonetheless I try to keep busy when I’m awake because I believe that if you don’t ‘'work’’ during the day, you’ll ‘’work’’ at night.
That is, if you don’t occupy yourself productively during the day it will catch up with you at night when you’re trying to sleep.
Even then, it’s not a guarantee but at least you know that you did what you have to do and have taken ‘’precautions’’.
Apart from being good exercise, my walks are a form of insomnia ‘’insurance’’.
It doesn’t always work, just like insurance doesn’t always work, but it’s reassuring anyway.
That’s why I classify myself as a “full-time professional insomniac’’
It’s like a job!
Most people don’t even work for eight hours a day!
Even when I sleep on the first attempt, the whole procedure still takes at least four hours which makes it a part-time job.
So I’m doomed to be either a full-time insomniac or, at best, a part-time insomniac but it could be worse, it could be a “3er’’ (taking three attempts to get to sleep) which, when it rarely happens, means that it takes me around twelve hours to get to sleep and is thus a full-time job with overtime.
Now that’s time-and-a-half!
I really should get paid for this because it’s not volunteer work.
Nobody would volunteer to spend up to twelve hours trying to get to sleep so if it’s not volunteer work then technically it ought to be paid work.
I certainly didn’t volunteer for this.
If I’m going to be doing volunteer work then I’d much rather it be something like collecting tinned food for poor people.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
For guests that aren’t mine (i.e. my parent’s guests) I’ve developed a patented fail-safe system that creates an illusion of ‘’attendance’’.
I ‘’attend’’ for the first and last hour of their visit (if they’re staying over – reduce to fifteen minutes if it’s a normal visit).
Because they see you when they first arrive and before they leave (at the bookends of their visit so to speak) they will think that you spent more time with them than you did and that you were there throughout, subconsciously associating you with being there for the duration.
First and last impressions count.