Hey Mr, call me Dr Engineer please – I have a Ph.D.

Since English is a language that is infused with culture, it is difficult to teach English learners exactly how to address people. Non-English native speakers often feel confused about how to address people properly, which make native English people awkward. But this isn’t why I’m writing this post, it’s because of a complex I notice in Arabs genrally, and in Saudi’s particularly — how they like to be addressed, at home and abroad!

Hello, I’m Dr. folaan!… OR Hi, my name is Engineer Olan! I think you see where I’m going with this…

I’ve lived in England for over 25 years, I did an Engineering degree and almost completed my PhD, so I’m more likely than most to meet Engineers and Dr’s in my every day life – and in all my time abroad, I have yet to meet a non-Arab that introduced him/her self to me with a title! What does this say about our complex for titles?

What gets under my skin is this – so many of our “religious” media personalities who obtained PhD’s from “theology” departments at Saudi universities {whom we all know very well lack academic integrity, and research skills required for world-class research hubs} insisting to be referred to as Dr. sheikh zu3tan!

Some of you might be mumbling under your breath as you read this stating “It’s about respect”, trust me – I have met some of the brightest movers and shakers this generation has to offer, not once have I heard one of them asked to be addressed by titles…

Respect is only gained by ones idea’s and thoughts, and not by what type of degree they hold or how they think people should address them!

اللغة الإنجليزية هي لغة لكنها ايظاً مليئة بالثقافة، فإنه من الصعب تعليم اللغة الإنجليزية بالضبط و خصوصاً كيفية إستخدم المصطلحات في المكان المناسب. غيرذلك، الناطقين باللغة الإنجليزية الأصلية في كثير من الأحيان في حيرة حول كيفية التعامل مع من لا يفقهون إستخدام اللغة من ناحية ثقافية. ولكن هذا ليس السبب الذي أردت أن أكتب عنه، ولكن مدخلاً لموظعي…

مرحبا، أنا الدكتور فلان! … أو مرحبا، اسمي المهندس علان!

لقد عشت في انجلترا لأكثر من 25 عاما، معي شهادة في الهندسة وقريبا سأكمل درجة الدكتوراه في العلاقات الدولية و القانون الدولي، غرضي في هذه المعلومة هو بيان الدائرة المحيطة بي، وقد أتشرفت بمعرفة الكثير من المهندسين والدكاتره في مجالات عديدة- وفي ال ٢٥ سنة و حتى الآن، لم أتعرف مع غيرعربي يعرف نفسه لي بعنوان دكتور أو مهندس! فماذا العكس صحيح في مجتمعنا؟

الذي يثيرني الكثير – هو العدد الكبير من الشخصيات “الدينية” الاعلامية الذين حصلوا على شهادة الدكتوراه من كليات شرعية في جامعات سعودية {الذي ندرك جميعا بشكل جيد للغاية كم تفتقر من النزاهة الأكاديمية، والمهارات البحثية اللازمة لمراكز الأبحاث ذات المستوى العالمي} يصرعلى ان يشار الىه بعد تخرجه بسماحة العلامة الشيخ الدكتور زعطان!

البعض منكم قد يعلل هذه الظاهرة قائلا “انه من الاحترام”، ولكن ثق بي – لقد التقيت بعض ألمع المحركون فكرياً وانشط اساتذة العلوم هذا الجيل، وليس مرة واحدة سمعت أحدهم طلب أن يعرف به بغير إسمه فقط…

اكتساب الاحترام من قبل الأخرين لا يكون إلا فقط بالفكر النير، وليس بالظرورة نوع الدرجة الجامعية التي حصل عليها…


Don’t Point – It’s rude!


Recently I watched a Youtube clip of a TV pannel show on an Arab TV station, and I was shocked when the person who was supposed to represent the religious establishment started pointing his finger at the person he was debating with!

Whilst I understand that some simple gestures and non-verbal actions can mean different things in other countries/societies (or even offensive and insulting), I always grew up being told-off when I pointed my finger at someone, and rightfully so! It’s rude and bad manners!

First of all it’s authoritative and aggressive, and there is never an excuse to be aggressive or rude in a conversation – yes, even if you dont agree with the other person!

So, next time you ant to point your finger at someone, stop and think for a second, and ask your self ‘how low do I want to look?’ because frankly, when people start pointing fingers, I start loosing respect!

شاهدت مقطع على اليوتيوب منقول من قناة فضائية عربية، و انصدمت عندما شاهدت الشخص الذي كان من المفترض أن يمثل المؤسسة الدينية كان يشير بإصبعه الشخص الذي كان يتناقش معه!
أنا أفهم أن بعض اللفتات البسيطة قد تعني أشياء مختلفة في بلدان  و مجتمعات أخرى، لكن نشأتي وتربيتي علمتني أن اعاقب إذا أشرت إصبعي في وجه شخص ما! لانها سلوك سيئه!

قبل كل شيء، الاشارة تولد العدوانية، وليس هناك أي سبب أكون عدوانيا في محادثتي مع أي شخص ما – نعم، حتى لو كنت لا أتفق مع شخص آخر!

لذا، إذا أردت الإشارة بإصبعك على شخص ما، توقف و فكر للحظة، وتسأل نفسك: “كيف أريد المجتع أن ينظر لي؟”،

عندما يبدأ الناس في توجيه أصابع الاتهام، يبدأ فقدان الاحترام!

22 year old, the youngest Member of the European Parliament, not in Saudi

Ok well this is not going to happen in Saudi any time soon, and I don’t mean getting an “elected member of parliament”, but just having a young senior official holding any office….european-parliament-brussels-inside

With the Lisbon Treaty being signed by all European Union member states, the Pirate Party has gained another seat in the European Parliament. The second Pirate Party seat will be occupied by the 22 year old Amelia Andersdotter, who will become the youngest Member of the European Parliament.

Ironically, The Pirate Party was against the Lisbon Treaty, which has now doubled the number of seats the party has in the European Parliament.
Amelia Andersdotter, will become the youngest Member of the European Parliament. In order to free up time for her political career, Amelia recently decided to quit Economics and Spanish at Lund University in Sweden.

Amelia will officially take her seat in Brussels on December 1st, where she will be joining Christian Engstrom. The two will have plenty of work to do in the years to come, countering the growing influence from pro-copyright lobby groups.
Although some may argue she is far too young to take such an office, I think the fact you can have young blood and passion in such institution can only be a force of good. Lets face it, she had thousands of votes to get that seat, and for that I salute her and her ambition… next stop, Saudi politics? Ya riiight!

Four Lessons About How To Treat People

I came across this and I thought I should share!

1. First Important Lesson – “Know The Cleaning Lady”

During my second month of University, our professor gave us a test. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy, and on many occasions Dorothy became my saviour in unlocking doors I had no access to, that I would have otherwise ended up waiting for the next day to do.

2. Second Important Lesson – “Remember Those Who Serve”

A 12 year-old boy entered a coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “£4.50,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “£3.50!” she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she started to look around, and you can see her eyes started to swell-up. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, was a fifty pence, two twenties and a ten pence!. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

3. Third Important Lesson – “The Obstacles In Our Path”

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand – “Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.”

4. Forth Important Lesson – “Giving When It Counts”

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to hear a story of a little girl who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for only a moment before taking a deep breath and said, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.”

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

أربعة دروس مهمة تعلمتها في حياتي…

1. “اتعرف على عامل أو عاملة  النظافه”
بعد شهرين من بداية دراسة الجامعة، قدم لنا أستاذنا اختبار. بدأت أجاوب الأسئلة حتى قرأت آخر سؤال: “ما هو اسم المرأة التي تنظف القسم”اعتقدت أن من المؤكد ان هذا السؤال دعابة من الاستاذ… خصوصاً لأني لا أعرف اسمها!  سلمت ورقة الأجوبة، وترك فارغاً عند
السؤال الأخير… قبل أن نخرج من الغرفه، سأل أحد الطلاب إذا كان السؤال الأخير يحتسب في درجة الاختبار ؟

“بالتأكيد”، قال أستاذ. “في حياتكم المهنية سوف تتعرف وتتقابل على الكثير من الناس. بعظهم مهمين وستعتقد انهم وحدهم يستحقون الاهتمام والعناية، ولكن في حقيقة الأمر، كل إنسان تقابله يستحق الاهتمام حتى عاملة النظافة – كل ما عليك فعله هو ابتسامة…

لم أنس أبدا ذلك الدرس. و بعدها تعلمت اسم عاملة النظافة في القسم- اسمها دوروثي- وأكثر من مرة أفادتني في فتح أبواب مغلقه بالمفاتيح، بدلا من أن انتظر دوام اليوم الثاني…

2. “تذكر أولئك الذين يخدمونك”

دخل صبي لا يتجاوز من العمر ١٢ عاماً مقهى وجلس على طاولة بجواري. جاءت الموظفة وسألها الولد “كم قيمة الآيس كريم سندي؟” (سندي عبارة عن أسكريم فوق موزة و عليها شكلاطة ). أجابة الموظفة  “4،50 £”

سحب الولد من جيبه القروش و بدأ عدها. سأل مرة أخرى “طيب، كم قيمة صحن من الآيس كريم فقط؟” .  لأن كثر الزباين و بدأوا ينتظرون الموظفة في الطاولات الاخرى، فردت عليه الموظفة متوترة “3،50 £!”
عد القروش المعدنية مرة أخرى. “سآخذ الآيسكريم العادي”، قال. جابت الموظفة الآيس كريم، وطرحت  الفاتورة على الطاولة.
أنهى الولد الآيس كريم، ودفع المبلغ وغادر. ريجعت الموظفة لتجمع القروش و تنظيف الطاولة للزبين الجدد، عندما تفاجأت و بدأ عينها تدمع. قد وضع الولد على الطاولة في الطبق الفارغ، و1£!
أدركت الولد لم يطلب السندي ايسكريم، لأنه لو طلب السندي، لم يتمكن من ترك ما يكفي للبخشيش.



3. “عقبات في طريقنا”

قصة معنوية لا أعرف مصداقيتها  في العصور القديمة:

وضع الملك صخرة فى نصف طريق مدخل مدينته ، لأنه أراد أن يعرف من الذي سيزيل الصخرة الضخمة من الطريق…
وجاء بعض من أغنى تجار المملكة وحاشيتهم، ولكنهم ساروا ببساطة من حوله الصخرة.
ثم جاء فلاح بسيط يحمل شحنة من الخضروات. وحاول نقل الصخرة الى جانب الطريق بعد عبء و وقت طويل نجح! لاحظ  الفلاح وجود حقيبة حيث كانت الصخرة تتضمن محفظة نقود ذهبية كثيرة ومذكرة من الملك تشير إلى أن الذهب كان للشخص الذي يزيل الصخرة من الطريق.
قصة الفلاح تعلمنا – ” وراء كل عقبة فرصة”.



4. “الإعطاء”

قبل سنوات عديدة، كنت أعمل كمتطوع في أحد المستشفيات في مقاطعة دفن، جنوب غرب بريطانيا. و اتعرفت على قصة حدثت قبل عملي من قبل أحد زملائي في المستشفة…

كانت في المستشفى فتاة صغيرة تعاني من مرض نادروخطير ويتطلب الأمر أن ينقل دم من شقيقها الذي يبلغ من العمر 5 سنوات.
جلس الطبيب لوضح الوضع للولد الصغير، ثم سأله إذا كان مستعدا للتبرع بالدم لأخته. تتردد للحظة وقال: “نعم، سأفعل ذلك لاختي”.

حينما كان يرقد في السرير المجاور لأخته ابتسم،  وسأل الطبيب وهو يرتجف: ” هل سأبدأ أموت على الفور؟”.
كونه صغير العمر، ساء فهم الطبيب عند الشرح، لانه أعتقد بإعطاء أخته دمه، هو سيموت من أجل انقاذ حياتها.

Saudi Telecom expands broadband GPON/ DSL network

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) has announced that it has signed a multi-million Euro frame contract with Saudi Telecom, the main telecommunications operator in Saudi Arabia and the biggest Arab operator, to expand, extend and upgrade its existing broadband network to serve an additional two million residential and enterprise customers by the end of 2010. Underserved customers in areas of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will now be able to enjoy innovative triple play services such as IPTV and converged communications.

The network upgrade is made possible by the enhanced aggregation and transport features of Alcatel-Lucent’s broadband access, IP, optical and services solutions.

“Our strong presence in Saudi Arabia and our long-term history with Saudi Telecom enabled us to understand its network requirements, and work together to provide the best solution in an optimal timeframe,” said Vincenzo Nesci, Alcatel-Lucent’s Vice President for Middle East and Africa.

Saudi under Cyber attack!

Saudi Arabia tops all Gulf countries in attacks by Internet hackers, UAE daily Emirates Business reported on Thursday, citing software firm Trend Micro. Of all the recorded cyber attacks in the first nine months of this year in the Gulf, 64 percent were directed at Saudi Arabia and 20 percent at the UAE. There were 769,698 cases of “compromised systems breakdown” in Saudi Arabia and 248,034 in the UAE, according to Trend Micro data. Kuwait recorded 94,910, followed by Bahrain at 60,440 and Oman with 37,105 cyber attacks. Due to high concentration of wealth, Internet security experts put the Gulf at high-risk of cyber threats as criminals try to steal vital data from the public, including information such as bank details and credit card information. UAE Daily