Petra in a snow globe!

I have been excited about this for few months now. A friend of mine and I realized that, unlike a lot of other countries, Jordan doesn’t offer its historical monuments for people who visit us in snow globes. We do have different kinds of souvenirs, some are good and some are not, but we haven’t seen anything as attractive to the eye of a tourist as a snow globe. The most common worldwide item one can pick from a new country he visits is missing! It might be just our personal intake on this, but we believe that Jordan’s sourvenirs market, for sure, was in shortage of snow globes – and many other items we have in our mind for future imports -.

We started with the world wonder Petra and the Roman Amphi theatre in Jerash. We have two designs of one size for now but we have different ideas: different designs, other monuments, and different sizes for the future. We still need to do a lot of marketing work, contacting different souvenirs shops in the country to place our items in them. For now, we sell them first hand ourselves, and have them available at Books@cafe.

If you are interested in getting one of our snow globes, you can either contact me at: 079 7320985, or pay a visit for the mailto:oBooks@cafe for now.

A short story from "The Kite Runner"

I have finally finished reading “Memoir of Geisha”. While I can’t say that it is not a good read, I can’t say that it got me hooked either. In fact, I struggled at the beginning to keep myself interested in the book because of some strong reviews of friends, and later it took me ages to finish. Nevertheless, the whole setting of the life and culture of Geisha is very rich in the book. It is worth the read!

Anyway, I put “Memoir of Geisha” aside and picked up ‘The Kite Runner” for Khaled Al Husseni. I wanted to read this book for a very long time now. I never managed to buy it, but then got it as a gift last month from a very sweet friend. The book instantly got me hooked! Not just for the style of writing, but also for the amount of information in it, the cultural aspect and the engaging story.

In the very few first chapters, I got touched with this short story written by the main character in the novel. It talks about a poor happy man with a cup that can translate tears into pearls. Since the poor man is happy in his life, he never tears, and thus never managed to get those pearls. He, then, started upsetting himself in order to get those pearls. The more upset he is, the more pearls he got. With time, he became a greedy person, and ended up sitting on a pile of pearls weeping with his slated wife’s body in his arms!

The story hit me hard as I have been facing some stress recently trying to engage myself in different projects in order to be able to gain more money. I think that it had ate from my happiness which is something that I shouldn’t compromise. I know that many people have fall into such pit and lost their happiness in the process. The answer of bringing money may not be of doing more work that eats of your happiness, it can very well be by coming up with a creative smart way to do so. The man in the story could have easily shed tears by using onions instead of going down the lane of making himself unhappy!

Tales of a beautiful life – Naming our homes

Why don’t we have the habit of naming our homes?

Naming something gives him a totally different perception. For a home named “Mr. Arab Observer home“, it feels way much different if you name it ‘The home of warmth“.

With naming, many other attributes are obliged to follow. We would have it at the back of our heads when doing the decorations and purchasing the furniture. You can imagine how “The home of warmth” can feel different than “The home of inspiration”, or “The home of promising future”, or “The artistic home”, …etc.

I haven’t picked a name for my future home yet, but I certainly would want it to reflect a sense of harmony, happiness, ambition and love. I would want to have a big sign printed with my home’s name on int. I would want people to feel what my home represents and enjoy their visit with me and my partner hospitality to the max.

Maybe something along the lines of “Happy moments”, “The future promise”, “Love’s embrace”, “Tales of a beautiful life”.

Those names make me feel like loving our homes. I would want to visit my different friend’s houses and experience their own taste of life. A new creativity would emerge in our homes and a sense of harmonial energy would cover our city.

Would people follow? One can light a candle, and wait for the light to emerge..

How much our social structure affects our financial status?

We usually tend to blame the government for our financial status. This is fair to an extend because the government is responsible of setting the necessary regulations and control the flow of the economy in a way that guarantees the best level of living for the citizens. That being said, one would also try to think of other factors that affect the current financial situation of many Jordanian families. A glimpse on the local cultural and social behavior would give us a better idea.

Being an integral part of society is costly in Jordan. Following a set of rigid social traditional rules is necessary. Marriage takes the top spot in term of expenditure and acceptance, and while men are responsible of financing the big chunk of this process, women have also to invest in themselves in order to raise their rank in the market for a better ‘husband’ opportunity. That is clear in the way young Jordanian women reside to buying a costly new car that takes the major amount of their salary for a couple of years once they start working. In the other hand, young Jordanian men usually settle with a mid-aged car – they usually use their parents’s car – in order to save whatever amount of money for their wedding day.

In Jordan, a couple must be legally bonded. It must live in a 3 bedroom house with good quality furniture. It must own a car or two. And it must have at least one or two children few years in their marriage.

An alternative model would be having young girls and boys start working early – as early as 18 -. Lower social expectations of expenditures on weddings parties and focus on giving stronger values for young entrepreneurs rather than those who are married.

Instead of whining about the cost of living and how bad our government performance is, it may be a good idea to monitor our expenditure and guide our money to whatever raises our quality of life rather than gaining a hard achievable social acceptance.

Emos! a new catch for traditional writers!

So you have been to the mall, and were appalled of the behavior of teenagers?
It is not those who smoke that bothered you,
neither those young boys harassing young girls
or even those bored ones, not knowing how to spend their spare time except by strolling back and forth in boredom
What bothered you is their looks!
Guys don’t look like “men”? huh
Girls don’t look like “women”? huh

This is not an unusual condensing tone of traditional writers
It was gel that bothered you at my time
Now it is wax!
It contributes to the spiky heads, no?
That is not manly enough to you!
A man with a spiky head equals a disaster, no?
For all men are like the powerful Shamshoon!
Their hair is their source of masculinity!
(not exactly like him, for long hair is a feminine attribute these days!)

It isn’t about the hair, is it?
It is those low waste trousers that are driving you crazy!
When you were at that age, no one dared to show his underwear!
It must be the end of the world, no?
We must go back to the military era!
and bring back those tough men of the 60’s
They knew how to fight and protect our land, no?

It is a totally new culture that you can’t understand
so you freak out and warn of a disease!
Satanists are on the rise!
and then you discover homosexuality
It spreads like a cholera for the lack of strict rules! no?
and then
this is something new
a catch for the attention your readers

Emotional teenagers
Ofcourse, you don’t bother to understand
for it is easier to generalize, assume, and attack

They wear black
They have a certain hair style
They listen to a special kind of music
They are depressed
and they cut their veins!

Like in all fast generalizations
you fail to grasp what really brings those group of young people together
It is easy if you look at the name they identify with
They are emotional teenagers
We all know how emotional teenage can be
and we all know that some people are just more emotional than others

There is no need to condemn and fight them
and there is no need to find answers of the cause of what we interpret as a phenomena because it is not
There is no need to group all teenagers under the same umbrella

Sometimes our teenagers may just need
Someone to listen
Someone to hug
Someone to reassure
to help them cope with their turmoil of emotions
and show them the right path of controlling them

Screams may only strengthen their bad feelings and push the small cuts that someone’s adhere to in order to ease their emotional pain, into a bigger ones that may lead to suicides

How much you reflect of your self in your clothes?

I usually wear a trendy jeans with a colorful shirt. A couple of years before, at college time, my choice of shirts colors was limited in few dull colors. At that time, grey, black, and blue were the only common colors for men. Later on, when Bossini, Pull n Bear and Zara brought colors to our wardrobes, a lot of young men of my age were reluctant of picking up on the new found colors for dark dull ones were still part of the norms and percieved to be part of their masculinity. Men shouldn’t wear red or pink, this is still alive in the perception of many of us. For those of the new generation, the rebellious ones, who wanted to say that they don’t really stick to the norms of our society and follow the traditional intake of what we wear, colorful shirts became a trend.

Sometime it puzzles me trying to realize what really happened in the era between the late 70’s and mid 80’s. There has been a huge shift of people’s choices in terms what is acceptable to wear and what is not. The other day, a friend of mine posted her parents 70’s pictures on facebook. Her dad was wearing a light blue trouser with a pink shirt, her mother looked so stylish in different outfits. Both left me wonder of how beautiful that era of time must have been. Since when colorful trousers stopped being allowed for men? My dull jeans has been my only comfortable *cool* trouser for ages now! I certainly wouldn’t risk wearing any colorful trouser at this point of time and become the joke of people around me.

But what does our choice of clothes mean?

Paulo Coelho, in his new book “The Winner Stands Alone” that revolves around fashion (he publishes it directly on his blog), states that:

Fashion. Whatever can people be thinking? Do they think fashion is something that changes according to the season of the year? Did they really come from all corners of the world to show off their dresses, their jewellery and their collection of shoes? They don’t understand. ‘Fashion’ is merely a way of saying: ‘I belong to your world. I’m wearing the same uniform as your army, so don’t shoot.’

It sounds like a statement we issue to the world to define the attributes of our personalities. My trendy casual outfit seems to be a reflection my easy going character. Something I started taking good care of in my teenage at a point where I felt lost of popularity and a need to define where I belong.

Her cut is part of the equation, my friend has been chosing a short hair for more of her life. She is thinking of growing it now, and has been reading about why some women prefer a shorter hair. In her readings, she found out that some women who do so, tend to be rebellious one. It is like some women way to stand up for themselves and break the norms of their societies.

For me, as a man, my short hair is a pleasant choice over my couple of year back longer hair. It does give me a stronger feeling of masculinity, and a peace of mind for not having to fight people over a longer not popular hair style.

Our style and fashion communicates where do we want to belong to the world, some people develop a sweet addiction to the latest trends of fashion around the globe. Styloholic is a new fashion blog for style fans. Glamour seems to be the styloholic writer statement of belonging. I am usually not a fan of fashion blogs, but this one is quiet interesting. Check it out here.

Ideas: Colored Kenafeh, Panty hose 7atta, Buttoned shoes

Some weird ideas have been crossing my mind lately that I am not sure how much potential they carry or how possible it is to implement them. I wanted to write them down in my idea book, but it seems that sometimes I find it easier to take it out on my blog rather than searching for a pen, look for the idea book next to my bed, and put them there!

Sharing those ideas on my blog may also be a good opportunity to discuss them and get different opinions about them. They may be silly ones, but they may have some promise if someone implement them in the right way. Feel free to do so, but don’t forget your idea source 😛

Colored Kenafeh

Kenafeh has been at the top of the arabian sweets cuisine for hundreds of years now. Nabulsi people are the most famous in making a Kenafeh. Kenafeh for those who doesn’t know is based on two layers, white cheese at the bottom and vermicelli at the top. We have hundreds of Arabian sweets shops that serve kenafeh, and all of them serve the same orange-brownish vermicelli kenafeh! Not a single one tried to add some flavors to the vermicelli with a different colors that would make it more appealing to different tastes and different occaisions.

Here are some options we can have:
1. White Kenafeh are perfect for wedding ceremonies – Mint flavour
2. Black Kenafeh are perfect for elegant events – Soos flavour
3. Pink Kenafeh are cool for children – Strawberry flavour

You can go creative here, write down more suggestions in your comment.

Panty hose 7atta like pattern

The traditional 7atta has became a popular scarf around the world. Someone creative enough came up and decided to make different colors of the 7atta that we, for many years, have only knew the red and white versions of it!

Building on the success of that pattern, and seeing the beauty of it around people’s necks, it might be a good idea to come up with different options for people to wear the same design pattern around their body parts.

I can imagine it very pretty as a panty hose under women skirts, no? It can be the next fashion craze!

Buttoned shoes

We have always had shoes with laces, sometimes shoes with a zipper, or even with something that stick, but never tied our shoes with a button!

Why? Why does a button work better on a shirt than a shoe? I can imagine it looks nice on a shoe with opening unlimited design options! Someone can make it work, no?

What do you think guys? I want a percentage!

Red in a broad line on LBC: Arab homosexuals and their surroundings

It seems that the most successful business strategies for modern Arab media is to give their audience what they want to hear regardless of how much truth is there in their statements. LBC, the Lebanese broadcasting channel, has been trying to penetrate the gulf area and gain more user base for sometime now. Homosexuality is becoming more and more of an interest topic for people in the Arab world in general and in the gulf area in particular.
Because of the controversial nature of the issue and the religious dimension of it, people usually have strong feelings towards it. With the lack of real knowledge of what homosexuality really is, misconceptions strive around it. For LBC and other unprofessional Arab media channels, what would be better? Build upon these misconceptions and gain popularity? Or do some small scientific research, give the audience an objective scientific opinion and risk gaining anger and losing market ground? The former is a wiser choice, no? That is at least how people behind ‘a7mar bel khat el 3areed’ (Red in a broad line) seem to think.

The episode aired last Wednesday meant to concentrate on Arab homosexuals and their surroundings, as what one would understand from the title of the episode. Unfortunately, what seemed to be the focus of the editorial team, the host, and the lousy counselor, is highlighting the misconceptions about homosexuality and give an affirmative tone for every wrong popular theory about the cause of homosexuality in the Arab world.

The four people they hosted, two men, and two women (from different Arab countries), barely admitted being homosexuals! All what they confirmed is having same sex relationships at some point of their life and then stating confidently that they are attracted to the opposite sex! So what the heck! They bring straight people to testify in an episode meant to highlight homosexuals and their surroundings?!!
Following are the misconceptions of the causes of homosexuality that the show host tried to focus on:

1.Children sexual abuse: Like in the case of the Lebanese guy who claimed that he has a same sex relationship because he was sexually abused in his childhood, oddly enough, he stated that he is attracted to women and that he even wears jewelry to attract women towards him!

The truth: There is no scientific proof that sexual abuse causes an alteration of sexual orientation. Statistics shows that 1 out of 4 children is subjected to some form of sexual molestation/abuse one way or another. If sexual abuse causes homosexuality, then we would end up with 25% of the population to be gay, which is not the case.

2.Lack of an opposite sex partner: The Saudi woman claimed that she had a same sex relationship with another woman because she didn’t have a male partner to have sex with. She said that she isn’t attracted to women and love men – regardless of their betrayal nature!

The truth: Sexual attraction is what triggers sexual relationships. Having sex with someone you have no sexual attraction toward is more like a punishment rather than a pleasure fulfillment. What really happens in strongly segregated societies is that people with slight same sex attraction tendencies find it easier to act on their feelings where they wouldn’t do that in normal circumstances. There many bi-sexual people with different degrees of attraction to either sex.

3. Lack of a father model: The claim of the Egyptian young boy. He said that his father works as a pilot and that his relationship with his father is bad. The counselor – mistakenly – tried to analyze how a young boy needs to man role model in his life and that with the lack of one he tries to attract other men to fill that role!

The truth: A lot of people are raised without a father (Either because of divorce or death). While not having a father might cause different emotional troubles, it doesn’t affect one sexual orientation. It is wrong to assume that every divorced family’s children would turn up to be homosexuals.

While a lot of people in the Arab world may lack the knowledge of a certain issue or another at this point of time, and while we are yet to catch on the culture of the importance of knowledge, it is upon our media duty to research and study and to raise the awareness of people. We are at the age of information, with small internet research; the credibility of a respectful channel would just disappear!