For Example...

It was me, him and her sitting in the "SUKUK" training course.

He had a question. So he drew the figures like that:

"Why do they all have to be GUYS?" she said and added two strokes with her pen.

"no..we are in an islamic country"..I said as I covered her hair with my pen

"to be more specific, we are in Saudi Arabia"..he said before adding the final touch

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My Valentine...

If you know me well enough, then you know that I was never a supporter of such one-time annual occasions such as: "Mother's day", "Valentine Day", "Father's day" etc. I always believed that I shouldn't wait till new year to make a new resolution, for valentine day to express my love or do anything special.

But like many other things, my opinion has changed after I became another victim of this morphine that runs in my veins called "routine", the morphine that has stripped away my liveliness, passion and creativity.

I woke up last Thursday with one objective in my mind; to make my day a bit special. To fill it with love, even if it didn't exist. I started my day by rejecting the two breakfast invitations I got. I had something more important to do.

Me and my friend (who somehow shares my suffering) decided to write a small poem about valentine. The idea is to write a 10 versed poem, one of us would write a verse and the other would complete it with a rhyming one.. This was the result of our joined effort:

On this day of love, the day of valentine

Let me have your heart next to mine

And wake my soul to feel again

And cast aside the sorrows of the rain

That over drowned my shattered heart

Patching yours & mine will mend the broken part

Binding it by love which lasts forever

On an eternal journey that shelters us together

So I offer you a potion of the love dose

as an emblem of the passion with this red rose

What a challenge it was. It took us more than 4 hours to come up with this. While it might not be appealing, Iit is enough for me to make me feel good as I had to dig deep in my heart and shed the dust on those feelings that have been dormant for months.

After we wrote it, we both agreed that I choose a person on her facebook to put it on her wall-to-wall and she'd do the same with me. What was funnier is that one of us got the reply of "thanks for the song". Wow, it was being perceived as a a SONG..I didn't think we were that good.

Getting excited, I even went far of making a LOVE songs CD compiling favourite all-time love songs that I haven't heard in a long time. Each song is associated with a memory that reflect my experiences and feelings. Here is my track list:

  1. Fatal Hesitation – Chris De Burgh
  2. Until I find you again – Richard Marx
  3. Am I the only one – Marc Anthony
  4. Alone again (naturally) – Vonda Shepard
  5. I'll always be right there – Bryan adams
  6. There for me – Sarah Brightman & Josh Groban
  7. Nothing is gonna change my love for you – George Benson
  8. Just one last dance – sarah connor
  9. Almost here – Brian McFadden & Delta Goodrem
  10. I guess I loved you – lara Fabian
  11. Anytime you need a friend – Mariah Carey
  12. A song for you – Celine Dion
  13. I (Who have Nothing) – Tom jones
  14. You don't bring me flowers anymore – Neil Diamond & Barbara Streisand
  15. Foolish Beat – Debbie Gibson
  16. I hate you then I love you
  17. Broken Vow – Josh Groban
  18. L'Italiano – Marco Missinato
  19. I close my eyes and count to ten – Dusty Springfield
  20. Return to love – Julio Iglesias & nana Mouskouri

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Blogger’s Book Club Discussion: 1984

Right now, I am at page 150. So far, I have to say that I am quite impressed by the writer's forecast of the future. For a book that's written in 1949, you can tell that the writer was really influenced by the after-math of the 2nd World War that ended in 1945. The story is set in 1984 in Oceania (previously called "London") where there are 3 major superpower empires who are in continuous war against each other. Does it ring any bell? In the 90s there were 2 to 3 major superpower countries in the world in form of SOVIET union, USA and UK. Whereas the writer have been right in predicting the existence of superpowers, he was wrong when he was referring to military war rather than the actual cold war going on.

Discussion 1:

One of the most brilliant things about the novel is the creation of a whole new language called "NEWSPEAK". More information can be read about the structure of this new-generation much simpler English language in the Appendix found in page 309. I was impressed by its simplicity and it made me wonder whether it would be feasible in our day-to-day or not. Frankly, I'd be the first one who'll endorse it..What do you think?

Examples of Newspeak language: all the antonyms of positive words are replaced with un+word. E.g. "bad" will be come "ungood".."expensive" will become "uncheap". Another example is where all variation in degree of words would be replaced with "er" and "est". E.g. more, most could all be replaced with "gooder", 'goodest'.

Discussion 2:

Ministry of Truth..thought police..doublethink...Big Brother...telescreens...Many ideas & original concepts who have one shared theme...Media Propaganda. It shows you how much the authorities want to dictate your life and constantly monitor its "comrades" and ensure that they behave accordingly. They do this by alienating them, stripping them of all the emotional ties they had with parents, wives, loved ones, and even ensuring that they won't develop future intimacies with any of their fellow co-workers. All the energy and tought of those comrades should be towards one goal---serving Big Brother.

Discussion 3 (mini-spoiler):

Internal struggle within self that Winston is going through. Being already a victim of the system, he starts questioning the whole system and whether life has always been like this; full of lies, no privacy, governing by fear, being always dictated what to read, what to eat, and what to know..not allowing them to ever think of something that might be against the slogan of "War is Peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is Strength".

Winston is trying to find answers. He is slowly rebelling against the system. He started writing in his secret diary the only things he owns..his thoughts. Things get interesting in Winston's life when he meets the "dark-haired" girl who shares his enthusiasm in their hatred for the Party. Without ruining it for anyone who didn't reach as far as I do, I can't wait to see what the future hides for those two and how long can they survive in their hideout and fight.

I was a little bit touched by the dilemma that Winston is going through. It partly resembles my experience especially in the sense of being lost, going through the routine life and the nostalgic memories of the past that keeps haunting us.

Discussion 4:

O'Brien? A big question mark...I am totally clueless on his role and how it'll develop.

Of course, there is room for alot of discussions. Let me hear your thoughts.. J

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Egypt Day Trip III

Egypt Day Trip I , Egypt Day Trip II

And that’s why I decided to become a vegetarian” were my last words after seeing that bull being slaughtered.

But only for 12 hours. When it was lunch time, I couldn’t resist the temptation to eat from its meat. Everybody kept complimenting how good the meat was and that it was almost fat-free. Considering the hyper activitiy of the bull after that chase, I won’t be surprised by the high metabolism it has for burning fats.

We spent the next 3 days of Eid in Ain El-Sokhna; A small village with a great potential to become one of the greatest touristic sites in Egypt. You can tell by the amount of real-estate construction going on there. We stayed in different resorts owned by our family friends. “Venezia Resort” was the one where we spent most of our time in. We call it the adults resort because it was too quiet and peaceful. It is one of those resorts where you’d go to relax and stay away from people; or at least hang out with people who are coming here to relax. The other resort that we guys used to go to at night was called “STELLA” resort. It was mostly occupied by Christians and especially the youth generation. And by youth, I am referring to university students who spend their weekends or their mid-semester vacations there. Our timing was good as there were alot of partying going on. Most of them were Christmas-spirited parties.

In general, we enjoyed our time in Ain El-Sokhna. BBQ, soccer games, racket games and one hell of a boat trip under mild weather conditions. The chilling wind and the violent tides that were rocking our boat rendered half of us to sea sickness. We couldn’t cope up with the frequency of people who were puking all over the place.

After finishing our Eid days there, our next stop was Hurgada. We’d reach there through a 4 hour road trip. Considering the crappy taste of the driver in music, I was thankful for bringing my novel with me (Love in the time of cholera) and my cellphone/mp3 player. However, my familys’ misfortunes were in fact signs of joy in discovering that we were the only arabs in a Russian-populated hotel. Oh how great it was to stay away from an arab-dominating culture for a while.

But as usual, my parents and family friends never fail to exploit the situation, the fact that were were the only arabs there, especially when it came to the food quality. Since most of the cuisine was very Russian-oriented and could not cater the desires of our Arabic taste buds, my dad utilized his talents in demotivating the hotel staff by bashing their biased service. By our last day, the master chef got used to us walking to his kitchen and making special traditional Arabic requests: wara2 dawali (stuffed vine leaves), Fatteh, Kuskusi (traditional morroccoan dish), custom-made grilled dishes.

Although it was sunny, the weather was a bit windy making it extremely challenging to consider the idea of swimming. I overcame the temptation and swam ONCE in the sea. It was the biggest mistake. I managed to survive for only 10 minutes as each stroke I took felt like 1000 knives were cutting me. Even after I left the water, I remained shivering for one hour.

One of the interesting tours we took was the one hour glassboat tour ride that explores the underwater life of fishes and corals. I took over 100 snapshots and video files for this memorable journey.

One of the other secret tips about entertainment life in Egypt in general is to go to the worst chaotic places out there where you can play by no rules. We applied this theory when we went for our carting session. No rules, no flags, not even a safety driving suit. The only thing we wore were the dusty safety helmets that look like they were scavenged from the October war in the 70s. As I was negotiating with the owner of the house, I heard the echo of a barking dog that kept getting louder. The loose dog was running straight for us..straight for me.

20 meters....I am reminding myself to stay calm...15 meters...don’t show any sign of fear....10 meters.....damn he is not slowing down.....5 meters... RUN HAMZA RUUUUUUUUUN. He chased me for merely 10 seconds before his owner called him off. That was a close call

There was so much adrenaline in me that I vowed to myself that I’ll avenge to this incident. I was harmless in my first two laps as I was orienting myself to the arena. By the third lap, my destructive evil side started taking control. On the 4th lap, my brother’s cart was in front of me. He saw me and was stepping aside to give me room to pass...but NOOOO...I wanna crash to him. With a sharp turn to the left I sent his cart skidding off road making two 360 degree turns. Nothing happened to my cart and what a great overwhelming evil feeling it was. I can never do this in real life.

By the time I took two more laps, they finished fixing my brother and his cart. I did 3 more laps utilizing the adrenaline concentrated blood stream running in my veins. Fate brought me one more time with my brother’s cart. This time I fixated my mind on making the damage severe and...BHAAAAAM..I felt my body was about to be launched from the vehicle. This time my brother’s cart flew even further off-track till he was stopped by the walls surrounding the arena. He came out with a bruised leg and swore never to go back again.. By the smoke released from his cart, I concluded that it was damaged beyond redemption. Mine was a bit better. I drove it for a while before I realized that the brakes are no longer functioning and the steering wheel can no longer respond to turning left. When my cart finally stopped, the manager was approaching me and I could already see the flare in his fiery eyes. He scolded me and told me that i was done for the day, that i already damaged 2 of his carts.

“But I still got 2 more minutes”..I dunno how I dared to say that. It was the last thing I said before I got kicked out of there. Its ok. No hard feelings. He deserves it. That’s for setting the loose dog on me you jerk.

If there is something that I’ve learned about this whole trip, then it is the fact that Angels DO exist. There was this gorgeous girl who mesmerizes the eyes with her glowing beauty. If you know me well, you know that I rarely get enthralled unless it was an extremely exceptional situation. She was so stunning that staring at her for more than half a minute would overexpose my mind to incomprehensible level of beauty that might risk damaging it beyond repair. She was like those rare jewels that were existed for the sole purpose of being admired. It would be sinful to touch her, approach her or even communicate with her in fear of disgracing the holy aura circumventing her splendour. In the 3 days I stayed, I would occasionally let my soul be submitted to the enchanting of her prettiness by stealing a glance every once in a while at her; At breakfast, lunch, pool time, BINGO night, Dinner, Christmas night and many more. As I said, I never intended and wanted to talk to her and that’s why I was disappointed in my last day to know that the binding spell was breaking when she approached me holding a ping pong racket in her left hand and a ball in her right arm and in her Swedish accent said:


Sure why not..I joined her and the kids she hang out with. The two hyper South African 9 year old boys and 2 korean/Chinese twin sisters that were almost 6 years old.

Meanwhile, my brother and his friend befriended one of the Egyptian ushers who help in organising events around the hotel. The Egyptian usher was delighted to finally see an arab group and hang out with them. As part of his job in guiding, he even befriended the Angel Girl and her accompanied kids.

So, all of us joined for quick ping pong matches. We played till the 5th point. I demanded that my turn be the last. When it was finally my turn, I aroused my dormant ping-pong skills that I’ve picked back 7 years ago in my first university year when we used to play tournaments in the dormitories. I took the Egyptian usher down. I won the two boys with a merciless 5-0 score. I slacked a bit against the Korean girls and won them 5-2. Then it was the turn of my Angel Girl against me. As we played, the Egyptian usher was teasing me in Arabic on how I will slack out and let her win. When I was up 3-0, he remarked in Arabic sarcastically:
allah yekhrebetek..kol dee bzaz wi 3andek 14 sanah...7ate3meli feena eih amma teb2ee 18?” (“oh boy..if this is the size of your boobs at the age of 14, then what’s its gonna be at the age of 18?”)

My world was shattering. 3-1...the beautiful image I preserved of her in my mind was slowly losing its glow. 3-2.. this was soo funny..but why did he have to mention her lustfully? 3-3

Wait a second....did he mention that......3-4...she is just FOURTEEEEEEEEEEN? FOURTEEEEEEEEEEEEEN? Damn..what was I thinking... 3-5

woohoo” she was celebrating her achievement and clapping vigorously for beating the master that has eliminated her team-mates, the same master that felt the impact of the news like a meteor that cratered his fragile heart.

“bos 3aleihom benatnatoo il zay.. wana mosh batkalem 3al 3eyal...rakez ma3aya” (look at how they are bouncing...and I am not talking about the kids) winked the Egyptian usher..


and enough of this memorable vacation. Roadtrip back to Cairo, stayed one more day there before we headed home back to Jeddah after spending more than 16 hours in the airport for an unforeseen delay in the departure of the flights.

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Me & the Three Scrooges

There are things in life that you should not consult people with, like shopping. Nevertheless, I occasionally take a couple of friends when I go look for something. Here is a sample of what went with me the other day:

"Dude, you should get this suit. Go wear it....oh it looks good on you..perfect fit. Get it man. Its only 10 days of work for a suit that will last you for years" – clothes fanatic

Hmm..I like the way he thinks. To measure the price of an item by the amount of time I spend at work

"You crazy. You wanna spend that amount of money on a suit? With this amount, you can get a PS3 and a game on top of that. You are talking about endless hours of videogaming kupo. Get the ps3. Get the PS3" – videogame fanatic

Oh who am I lying to? Of course a ps3 is more valuable to me than a new suite.

"What kind of a boring idiot are you? With this amount, you can go to venice for a 3 day trip and come back. VENICE man. VENICE. They will be the most memorable day in your life." – travel fanatic

STOP it.

They don't know that I'll listen to none of them. In the end, I am going to invest my money on an illegal MK 48 so that I empty my ammunition on the sorry corpses of those fanatics. They are definitely on my hit list.

Oh my...Oh my..what did I just say? I guess I am giving the authorities enough reason to start tapping my phone line.

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