Saturday, October 28, 2006

9 Out of 10 = A Lot!

Almost everyone has one. I don’t have one. But then, I’m not a “local” and thus am not allowed to have one – non-locals, generally, are not allowed to sponsor “maids.” There are, of course, exceptions. Certain professions of non-locals [i.e., physicians] qualify and may apply to sponsor a maid. For the most part, non-locals must use “houseboys.”

Of the dozen or so households that I have been to where there is a full-time, live-in maid, I’ve not been overly impressed by the work that they do. Perhaps my standards are just that much higher, but I know that I do a better job of cleaning and “keeping house.” I suppose that if my DH’s position here for some reason were to be eliminated then I could become a maid – oh, sure, it is an option that we could fall back on… [Yeah. Right. Not in this lifetime!] If I had not seen so many victims who have been imported as household help and if they were treated with just a modicum of decency and respect – oh – and paid a decent wage… Nahh. I just don’t think I could do it…

The maid’s aren’t really the ones at “fault” as far as the quality of work. A friend put much of this in perspective for me when we were discussing it one morning and she was telling me how their maid had ruined another load of laundry. I suggested that perhaps she shouldn’t have the maid do any more laundry as several “loads” have now been ruined and she explained to me that it was partly her fault as she hadn’t given much consideration to the fact that this maid is from a country where there is NO SUCH THING as a washer and dryer and in that case how could she [the maid] possibly be expected to know how to use such equipment?

Still, in a country where, for the most part, the majority of women don’t work, the fact that
9/10ths of the households here have at least one maid certainly is telling.

The Philippines will soon make available for sending to The Sandbox a “
Supermaid.” I kid you not. The “Supermaid” is going to be highly trained and will be given language instruction so that they will speak whatever language the country to where they are going to be employed speaks. These maids, the new and improved version, will of course cost more and there is already some balking that “locals” are not going to want to have to pay the additional 50 or 100 Riyals it will cost for the upgrade.

This seemingly makes the “maid” a “thing” that can be upgraded with newer and better options, rather like leasing a car. You can get the bare-bones, stripped down version of a Hundai or Kia, or for a few Riyals more you can get a Lexus. Hmm... It will be interesting to follow to see how many “locals” are willing to pay the additional cost for the new, improved version – the upgraded model - the "Supermaid."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Butchering Baby Brother

There is a new movie coming out – or maybe it’s out – we don’t have movie theaters in The Sandbox so the movie won’t be playing here. [There are movie theaters an hour and a half away – across The Causeway – in Bahrain.] I recently saw a commentary on the news about the movie – Greg Boardman, who owns a movie theater in Illinois, has refused to show the movie – or “drivel” as he calls it – on the grounds that the type of person that is drawn to this genre is not the type of person he wants in his theater. The movie is Jackass Two. I never saw the first Jackass movie; and I’ve never seen the television show, Jackass.

From what little I cared to research about Jackass, the premise would appear to be basically a guy or a bunch of guys doing really stupid “someone could get hurt doing this and don’t try this at home” type of stunts. Whether the television show or either of the movies has any plot or story line at all… Who knows? Perhaps there is a Jackass fan that can enlighten me.

Unfortunately, the satellite dish, although technically illegal, has provided homes here, in The Sandbox, with unfettered access to “western” television programming. A variety of systems are available, as well as different tiers of service, depending on what it is you are willing to pay for – rather like in the States where you have “basic cable” and “premium cable” packages. Thus, Jackass may well be available on one of the satellite systems that are broadcast in The Sandbox; it certainly is not a program that this household is able to view on the very limited “basic” service we have.

How many lawsuits have been filed because some kid – a child – made an attempt at imitating some stunt that one of the Jackass’s did? I have no clue. I’m sure I remember hearing about one – and after a quick
Google search I found this:

"Though this is perhaps the most unique blast against the defunct MTV series (it ran through 2000 and 2001 before
Knoxville called it quits) and $60 million-making film, it is most certainly not the first. The show has been hit with other lawsuits and much criticism after teens around the country tried to replicate the dangerous stunts and bizarre practical jokes.

A New Mexico teen died in early December trying to copy a stunt in the film, and a Seattle teen suffered severe burns when imitating the TV show in November. And in 2001, several other kids were hospitalized for trying to pull off a Knoxvillian stunt, including one boy who was burned when his friends poured gas on his legs and set him on fire and two teenagers who tried
to outrun a moving car. Even one of Knoxville's own pranksters, model Stephanie Hodges, broke her back and fractured her pelvis in a TV stunt gone awry."

More than one lawsuit has been filed. You’d think “kids” would know better, but apparently not. Oh – and – remember the
twelve-year old boy in Florida imitating a professional wrestler that killed a six year old?

Which leads us to

"A 10-year-old child was about to kill his younger brother when he tried to imitate butchers slaughtering animals, Okaz reported Sunday.

He laid down his brother and pierced his jugular vein with a sharp knife. The scene of the blood pouring from his brother’s neck drove him crazy and he started screaming hysterically – which alerted his parents – who then rushed the younger brother to the King Abdul Aziz Specialist Hospital.

A team of surgeons in the hospital rushed the child into the operation to stop the bleeding by stitching the torn vein."

I am only going to partially lay blame at the feet of the parents – mother and/or father – I realize that most parents aren’t going to be watching a ten-year old child every single waking minute of that child’s day – and I think it would be unreasonable to expect that. The parents do need to shoulder part of the blame, however, for their negligence with regard to teaching their child that a knife is NOT a toy. Further, that the parents would allow an impressionable ten-year-old child to observe animals being slaughtered by the butcher is reprehensible.

I sincerely hope the younger brother is fine – or at least okay – how can you be “fine” when you’ve just had your jugular vein pierced?!? As for the older brother? I have some doubts. This child is going to need some very serious supervision! Somehow I picture this child continuing down a rather wayward path… I know if I was his neighbor I’d be keeping an extra close eye on my two four-legged “Kids” or any two-legged ones if I had them.

If this was the “West,” a lawyer would have already contacted the family. You know the type. The “ambulance chasing,” personal injury, pay nothing unless you get a settlement, dial 1-800-IAMHURT kind of attorney. A lawsuit would be filed on the grounds that the child would not have tried to “butcher his brother with a knife” if he hadn’t seen “Jackass” on television – or professional wrestling – or the butcher down the street.

After all, shouldn’t the butcher AND the knife manufacturer – or, in actuality, the insurance companies – take responsibility for this ten-year-old child’s actions by making a knife that is used to slaughter animals and for not slitting the animal’s throat behind closed doors? One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to deduce that butchering animals should not be done in front of a child who might glean the slightest iota of an idea that he too could do what the butcher does, and “doesn’t Mommy have a knife similar to that one at home?” Um-hmm. Immediate lawsuit.

Does this happen here, in The Sandbox? People filing [frivolous] lawsuits on a whim because they refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and believe that whatever bad happens is the fault of someone or something else? To the best of my knowledge, it is just not done here on anything remotely close to the proportion it is done in the States. Having had the unparalleled privilege of working for far too many years at a “dial 1-800-IAMHURT” firm I believe can offer my opinion in this regard as an authority on the issue. Which, of course, is not to say that lawsuits are not filed here; they are. But with an entirely different type of justice system [
Sharia] coupled with the fact that insurance is a concept still in its infantile stage in The Sandbox, it is not likely that The Kingdom will be spouting billboards and television commercials touting the “1-800-IAMHURT” rationale anytime soon.

This scenario of a boy whose jugular vein has been pierced with a knife has ramifications that could have been much, much more grave if the young boy’s parents – parents as in two – Mom and Dad – were not home. Imagine for a moment what would have happened if this “let’s pretend I’m the butcher” game took place on a typical weekday: The boys are home from school and have gone off to play while Mom is sitting in front of the television watching the latest episode of her favorite soap opera. Dad is not home – he is still at work. Mom hears screaming and discovers to her horror that one of her children has blood gushing from his neck!

In ANY other country Mom simply grabs her pocketbook and the CAR KEYS and immediately rushes her child to the nearest Emergency Room. Only, here, in The Sandbox, is it haram* for Mom to drive! Uth-oh. Now what? Wait for the ambulance? Wait until DH can leave work and get home to get Mom and Boys to go to the Emergency Room? Hope one of the neighbor’s has a car and driver ready and available? And how much blood has this child now lost in the meantime?

Just food for thought… How many little children have to die before women are going to be allowed to drive in this Country? [Actually, the ten-year old son could have driven his brother to the hospital – believe it or not that would be more tolerable than letting Mom – or ANY woman – get behind the wheel.]

That there won’t be a lawsuit filed against Jackass or the World Wrestling Federation is a plus. And, unless I’m quite mistaken, there aren’t too many video games that involve butchering animals – so suing Nintendo or X-Box is out as well.

Haram – Arabic term for “that which is strictly and specifically forbade in such a way that doing it would bring punishment in the hereafter and possibly a penalty in this life as well.”

Friday, October 06, 2006

Where is PETA?

The opportunity, or, admittedly, the desire, to try camel’s milk has yet to present itself. If the time ever comes when someone offers it to me, I will probably at least give it a taste, just so that if I ever have to say, “I don’t like it” then I can do so knowingly, because, as all mother’s have said at some point in time, “How do you know you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it?” However, as the Food and Drug Administration highly recommends that cow’s milk should be pasteurized, I might be just a bit leery of drinking a glass of fresh, unpasteurized camel’s milk.

Considering that camel’s milk has been a staple and provided sustenance for a country of people for as long as it has been, then it can’t be all bad. I have yet to hear of anyone dying after drinking camel’s milk. People are
killed by camels, fairly frequently here, but not by consuming them.

There are other “camel” products here –
cheese – that are quite popular among local folks, and they eat camel meat – although I have heard – and do not know this to be fact – that the first time you eat camel meat you will get quite sick. [Make my camel burger well-done and I’ll have ketchup on that, please!]

It is the month of
Ramadan, here in The Sandbox, where people fast from sun-up to sun-down, when breaking their fast by eating “breakfast” or Iftar. An article in Arab News states that “for some, an Iftar without camel milk is no iftar.” There are ample opportunities for people to get their fresh camel milk prior to Iftar as one young explains.

Anyone who has read prior posts at this site knows that I am an animal lover; it is not a secret. I truly lose sleep at night worrying about homeless cats and kittens that I see on the streets in Al Khobar; I feed the stray cats around the compound and have actually been warned that I am not allowed or supposed to do so [but I just can’t help it!]. I have made full provisions for both The Boy and The Baby to be taken care of in the event something happens to me and DH. I have never seen The Lion King because I know that one of the Lion’s dies at the beginning of the movie leaving his son without a Dad…

So, what about the baby camel’s then, who are not getting the nourishment they so need as little cubs [I did not know that baby camel’s were called cubs until I read this article*]? Where is PETA? Would they approve of a camel’s teats being covered with fabric to prevent Mama Camel from nursing her little Baby Cub?

In the grand scheme of things – and knowing that in just a couple of short weeks we are going to be seeing sheep and goats hanging from trees as Muslim’s prepare for their Eid celebrations – that a little Baby Cub camel goes without a meal or two probably isn’t worth losing too much sleep over… I’m going to try not to. I just hope the little Baby Cub camel doesn’t have to go to bed hungry…

*Baby camels are not called cubs anywhere else but this article;
this site says female baby camels are “heifers,” and this site says “female camels are called cows,” “males are called bulls,” castrated males are called “bullocks,” and “baby camels are called calves.” I’m just going to call all the little ones baby camels.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Diluted Ketchup

As amusing as this is, it is NOT funny. I had to do a quick Google search to find out what a jerry can is. Why would you store ketchup in a jerry can? I’ve seen ketchup come in big industrial, gallon-size containers – like those big pickle jars you see in a deli – but never in a “jerry can.”

Here’s a visual image you will not want to retain: Just how does one pee in a jerry can? No. I just am not going to think about this.

I’ll Wear the Shorts

This just isn’t right. I don’t know if “Gym Attire Seen as Latest Attempt to Force Shari'a in US” is necessarily an attempt to force the United States to accept Shari’a law or not. I am not going to “debate” that aspect of the article. I am angry about the complete lack of any attempt whatsoever made for assimilation or integration of different cultures, Muslim and Islamic or any other culture and/or ethnic group, in the United States. Efforts to do so by any number of minorities appear to be totally, thoroughly null and void. Conversely, if an American makes a decision to move to another country, with the exception of some European countries, assimilation into that country’s culture is not only anticipated but expected and in some instances required.

In the country I currently reside, yes, certainly, by choice – well sort of – I am required to not only respect the culture and customs but to adopt many of the same norms and traditions that are an integral element of the lifestyle. Doing so is not an option. I do not get to make the decision based on what would be normal and customary ways of life for Americans in the United States. It is implicit that the code and manner of how one must conduct oneself will be governed by The Sandbox’s long-established beliefs and principles.

Why isn’t this something, then, that the United States requires? Apparently “assimilation” is one-sided. And that is my argument. I cannot wear
shorts, here, just to run and do a quick errand on the compound where we live without being scolded by Security. However, Americans in the United States are expected to bend over backwards to accommodate the wants of every other culture in the world regardless of the fact that other countries offer absolutely no compromise to Americans or others who may be guests.

What irks me even more is that, per the article, local middle and high schools are going to have their policies reviewed to make sure they are accommodating the religious needs of Muslim students during Ramadan and Eid and throughout the school year. No. Whoa. Hold up, right there! This needs to be further explained. There are laws that separate church from state and state, here, being PUBLIC schools.

What, exactly, is this going to entail? That a Muslim student, celebrating Ramadan, gets to start classes two hours later than everyone else because he or she has been up late partaking in festivities associated with this month-long holiday? Does this student get to take the month off from school? Do classes get stopped at certain times so that a Muslim student can pray? Are certain, special foods going to be served in the cafeteria?

If one particular religion is going to be acknowledged, contrary to laws already on the books, then ALL religions are going to have to be acknowledged. Thus, by making sure PUBLIC schools are accommodating students who happen to be practicing Islam the door isn’t just going to have to be opened – it is going to have to be taken off the hinges! No? Sure it will. Once you have accommodated the religious beliefs of one faith in the PUBLIC school system, all PUBLIC schools will have to open their doors for students practicing Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Scientology and Wicca – and every practicing faith in the world! What is outrageous about this is the fact that only one will be excluded. Yep. Only one… Christianity. You just watch and see…

Anna Nicole Smith Stern

This whole situation is just kinda odd. I am truly sorry that Anna Nicole has lost her son. Having a son, myself, I am sure it must just be devastating.

I was just looking at the headlines on MSN and there, again, on top, is Anna Nicole Smith – this time about the paternity of her new baby girl… I didn’t read it. Don’t care to. Have seen and heard more than enough already on the news.

Anna Nicole just recently married her long-time attorney / companion, Howard Stern – somewhere in the Bahamas or Jamaica – again, heard it on the news. Howard Stern says the baby is his. Now someone else has come forward to say that is false, that he is the father of the baby. Either way. The quickie wedding is what I’m questioning…

It has just occurred to me that the reason Anna and Howard Stern got married is so that they cannot testify against one another if, in the future, criminal charges are filed against one or the other or both, as a result of the still not all clear reason for the death of her son. Am I the only one that has given this any thought?

Ooohh. Shudder. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.
Site Meter