Monday, April 17, 2006

Even Tintin!!!!

I am a big fan of Tintin, the renowned comic character from Herge, and who isn't.. And now that my brother got the whole animated series, I started watching it with extreme pleasure. My parents could not understand why.. Luckily I don't have to explain.
My point is: up until now I thought I have read aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllll the Tintin book.
Wrong........ And those of you in the Arab world... you didn't either.
Two stories: Tintin and the black gold, and Tintin and the red sea sharks, have not been made into Arabic.. And now I know why.
Both books contain the character of a "Gulf" emir and his tricks-loving son Abdullah. In one of the stories the Emir gets overthrown and seizes control again. His character is not an evil one though. Looking back in the Tintin and the crabs with the golden claws, were the main events take place in Morocco or Algeria, that story contained evil arab characters, but no emirs. And this book was published.
So what conclusion can we get??? shouldn't have an "Arabic symbol" represented in kids books?? even if they were not evil?? or is it because it is perceived as bad??
But regardless of the reason... even Tintin would get tabooed and censored?? What a shame

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Art of Smiling

My cousin was here yesterday, and I spent the AM hours (late AM hours so no one gets confused), going with her on several errands.
The final station was at the Assad library, which has security processes like a military campus. It is a huge library with what should be a huge collection of all kinds of books. But I don't know the data.
What is going on so that people can't show you their teeth anymore?? At least the good teeth, those of a smile. If you ask someone a favor or a question, which is a natural right of yours, you get the idea that you are a bank robber or asking for illegal sex. Not a single smile, from the loan manager who disgustingly signed our permission passes (her thoughts at that time may have been: damn bastards they made come back into the office while I wanted to go out for my severth brake for the day), to the archive attending (her thoughts could have been: I was happy here doing nothing, where did these folks come from now???), to the digital indexing officer (is this bitch through with her questions??).
Not to be blamed with negative thoughts as always, the guys at the safety locks (shelves rather) were cheerful.
A smile is not only seen. It can be heard too. The one thing most of clerks in our government ran offices did not learn, or no one stressed on them they should do. Take for example the "what do you want?" of the airport arrival and departure clerk instead of "How can I help you?". the "what do you want?" includes also a subtext saying "I have more important things to do that waste my time on you silly questionj, go read the newspaper."
When your needs are not met, it is not a problem when you are faced with a smile and a simple apology. But when you get it with a frown and a look of annoyance, you get the feeling you did something wrong. It becomes your fault after all.
And please, I hope no one stands up and say, poor guys they don't get proper salary and how do you expect them to be happy?? This is a common phenomenon, and the cure if not from inside, is but active teaching and instruction.
When a patient comes to me and I greet him with a stern or poker face, he will probably walk out saying to himself "what an asshole", some doctors do that, and I guess they do get paid well in general.
Once again, the customer is not right. Is that possible?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Silly question!!!

How come the Latin nation and linguists could not come with a single letter for the sound "sh"???
Isn't it annoying to have to write two letters for a genuine and original sound??
I hope this happens on my life time, because it is time already.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Long Time.... No See (aka: chatting, taxes, شوف الواوا, and the mourning literature)

I know I have been away for a long time now. And those who have been keeping up with me are now forgetting to pass by. I don't blame them, I have almost forgotten.
To start with, I haven't been busy more than normal lately; in fact I wish I were. But there hasn't been much thing to write about. No new experiences. But I think I can come up with some new events. And I will try to summarize what was going on with me over the past two weeks or so.
First of all, I transformed to Batman. The first half of the day is killed by sleep. As I stay late till 4 or 5 AM, I am bound to wake up late too. And lately there wasn't any work for me in the morning, so I'm enjoying it. If you wanna ask what do I do at night... god bless the video chat, a totally good invention, brings close all the elements that exist, except the one you want... a sweet killer in other words.
I am done with my taxes too. Not the Syrian taxes, those do not exist really. But as a part-year employee in USA I had to file my taxes before the 15th of this month. Now that was a pain in the ass. I have read tons of forms and publications in addition to using a couple or more tax softwares, and when I thought I got it, I found out I was an asshole. It is the first time I do it myself you know. Previously accountants took care of it; they did the job, but in retrospect they sucked. I am happy to announce that I think I did it, for free too.
Sudoku has taken some of my time. Like any new toy or gadget you buy, the first weeks are spent in admiring it then the brightness fades. Sudoku is a mental game in which you have to fill empty squares with numbers. Although these puzzles seem silly but some of them are really bad. That took out some time too, but now is, as mentioned above, fading.
What else... Haifa Wehbe released her number one hit: "شوف الواوا" and in it the lyrics reads as follows:

شوف الواوا بوس الواوا خلي الواوا يصح
لما بستو طاب الواوا صار الواوا بح

In the mean time 150 million Arabs (the male Arabs) are trying to figure out were is the "wawa (pain in child's language)" and for those who don't know English, it is not the Canadian city, nor the Pennsylvania deli chain.
I consider myself good in translation, but I am unaware of any English expressions that can describe the lowness of these lyrics. But to give it a try here you go:
See my wawa, kiss my wawa, make my wawa go
When you kissed, you healed my wawa, and you made it go
Concurrently, three prominent Syrian writers have died (Al-Maghout, Al-Malouhi, and Al-Ujaili). I have grieved most for the latter being a doctor too. Looking at the course of event I think that the Haifa song and their death is not coincidental but rather causative. They were all of old ages, diseased, probably with weak heart; such a "benign" song have probably been the last straw.