Archive | February, 2009

What Do Sudanese Youngsters Think of Sudan?

28 Feb

Last night, as I was browsing the Sudanese blogosphere, trying to explore what other Sudanese people thought about their country, it occurred to me that I have never asked my eleven year-old sister what her opinion about Sudan was. Since I knew she was online (evident by the many forwards she was sending me at thirty-second intervals) I e-mailed her and asked her to tell me what she likes and dislikes about Sudan, and what are her general impressions about the country. Not ten minutes later, she replied, and her reply was not only funny and amusing, but, in my opinion very insightful! I copied and pasted her response exactly as she sent it to me via e-mail; here is what she had to say:

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Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

27 Feb

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech one of my favorite speeches ever. I listen to it every once in a while and it helps me put things into perspective, so I highly recommend that you listen to it intently. The speech in its entirety is fantastic; but, here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path and that will make all the difference.”

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith… You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

And my favorite part of the speech:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Watch the whole thing (highly recommended) here:

Exams Week!

25 Feb

I’ve got two exams and a major project due in the next 48 hours, woohoo! I probably will not update this blog until the weekend, since I will be busy kicking midterms in the A-ES-ES.

In the meantime, enjoy your week, be kind to everyone around you, and keep smiling!

Pax,

The Optimist

The Sudanese Headdress

21 Feb

This is a very interesting and informative video by Al-Arabiya news channel about the history of the Sudanese turban, or ‘Al 3imma’ as it is colloquially known in Sudan. The video explores the different ways different Sudanese men wear it, and why they chose to wear it that way.

This video is in Arabic and unfortunately does not have subtitles.

However, be sure to watch this silly video featuring two pals, a Sudanese and a Saudi, competing on who could put on their traditional headdress (3imma/shmagh) on faster. Hilarious!

Sudan’s Restrooms: Germs Galore!

20 Feb

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How would you feel if you had guests come over and your bathroom looked like that?

The sanitary violations at the Khartoum International Airport’s restrooms are so disgraceful that I hesitated a lot before sharing these pictures on my blog. It’s truly embarrassing to admit that my country’s airport looks like that. Thing is, I’m not talking about any public restroom; I’m talking about the Khartoum International Airport First Class Lounge restroom. I shit you not (pun intended.) How bad is that?  This is shameful. Or better yet, it’s outright un-Islamic! Isn’t ‘Al nathafa min al Eman wal Qathara min Al Shaytan?’ Then why oh why aren’t those valentine’s-despising clerics protesting for cleaner more sanitary restrooms. Isn’t it also un-Islamic to harm others? Dirty bathrooms are certainly unhealthy.

Nice roads and tall buildings are not indicators of civilization. With a little bit of speculation and empirical evidence, you can reach to a convincing analysis of any country’s economical status quo. Civilization on the other hand, is manifested in social norms, customs, and public restrooms. Seriously, maintaining clean restrooms is a requisite for a civilized society!

If we don’t improve our restrooms, service, and general cleanliness and manners, then none of those nice buildings matter. You can’t build fancy facades on a shoddy and fake foundation! Didn’t you hear what happened to the luxury hotels that were built on an artificial island? Okay, that’s admittedly a weak comparison, but you get the point!

I love Sudan, but I think it needs a whole lot of tough love…and extra strength Clorox.

It’s a Sad Day Today

18 Feb

Sudanese novelist Al Tayeb Salih has passed away today in London due to health complications from a kidney condition. Salih was 80 years young.

Sudan has lost a dear citizen, who has contributed tremendously to Sudanese and Arabic literature. His most acclaimed work is the 1966 novel “Season of Migration to the North.” The novel was, at one point, banned in Sudan for its inclusion of sexual imagery, yet it was declared “the most important Arabic novel of the 20th century” by the Syrian-based Arab Literary Academy in Damascus.

Earlier this year, The General Union for Sudanese Writers, requested Al Tayeb Saleh to be preliminarily nominated to win the 2009 Literature Noble Prize.

Al Tayeb Salih’s death will definitely leave a big void in the Sudanese literary world. He will be greatly missed.

R.I.P. Dubai

17 Feb

This is sad. Dubai is well on its way to becoming a ghost town. With recent reports of massive layoffs and most major construction projects coming to a halt, Dubai is slowly becoming emblematic of the historical and inevitable failure of ‘east meets west’ attempts. Considering its serious lack of historical depth or relevance, Dubai’s attractions are becoming rather trite, and seem to only lure the shallow, fickle, and vapid ones.

The City is also facing dire consequences for denying Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer a Visa in order to be able to participate in the Dubai Tennis Championship. Peer is qualified to participate in the tournament and has full rights to demand being granted a visa, especially since the WTA has a “clear rule and policy” that tournaments cannot deny any player entry to a tournament based on their nationality. Just seems like everything Dubai does is another indication of its potential (inevitable?) demise.

Many reports now indicate that some artificial islands are sinking, and the luxury hotels atop those man-made islands have serious infrastructural failures, to the point that only cockroaches come out of water taps! Credibility of those reports aside, the fact is that Dubai’s stock market value is plummeting, not to mention the city’s $80 billion debt which is proof that Dubai seems to be on its deathbed and breathing artificially-but will it ever fully recover?  For now, it is anybody’s guess as to what the city’s ominous future holds!

Oh well, now I need to find a new place to fantasize about moving to in the near future. Rio de janeiro perhaps?