Friday, August 27, 2004

Be Happy… Be Optimistic

One of the common diseases in our time is pessimism. No matter young or old, people are only seeing the bad sides of life in all fields. They lost hope in life, God, luck, and worst of all, they lost hope in themselves. They surrender to sickness, they give up their dream of success, they stop fighting for their rights and they simply forget about any possibility of making things better.
Abraham Licoln said: “ people are just as happy as they make up their minds to be”, and I totally agree. Because the strong will works wonders. So the first step to take in the road of happiness is having a strong will to lead a happy life. And I believe we can all revive the will inside us and give it the green light to take control of our dreams and performances. Yet will alone isn’t enough for us to reach our goals, we also need to have hope and never give up even if we make mistakes. Let’s learn from the great Marie Curie and her determination when she said: “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done." Despite the mistakes you make, and the obstacles you face, the important thing is to move on, let nothing stop you from fulfilling your dreams. No matter how complicated the situation you’re put in is, there’s always something left to be done. With some thinking, with some focus, you’ll work things out. Just don’t give up, and don’t surrender to failure. Then again, will, determination and hope are not enough, you need to take care of those around you. Mark Twain suggests you should "keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." That doesn’t mean you should abandon all those who criticize you, no, but you have to distinguish between those who criticize positively, and those who are trying to destruct your confidence. You must know those who appreciate you, and those who underestimate you. Be selective, and if you had no choice of selecting those around you for any reason, then at least don’t let their words ruin your evaluation of your own self. Draw some limits and tell them to mind their own business and save their bad comments for themselves.
And to make things perfect, do your best to be optimistic. No matter how dark things may seem, know that there’s always a bright side to look at, only we have to find it. Being optimistic supports your confidence in yourself and opens more doors to your own interest, just as Winston Churchill once explained: "a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Being optimistic kills the fear of risk, but this doesn’t mean you should go on risking your life in the name of optimism, you have to be optimistic, realistic and rational at the same time.
And finally know that “being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you have decided to look beyond imperfection”.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Work Diaries (8): Just forget about it!

There is this hotel we were trying to get an agreement with to provide us with special room rates. So we contacted the marketing responsible in January 04. He promised to send us the contract in a couple of days, but we reached February and heard nothing from him. We kept calling him, he couldn’t be reached for some reason. We tried to meet him, but it never worked out. So we never saw him.
Anyway, we switched to another Hotel in April, and forgot TOTALLY about the other hotel, and I also forgot the man’s name.
The other day, someone comes to our office, he introduced himself to me, he was from the same hotel we were trying to deal with. He asked me about the possibility of making a contract, I explained that we tried to earlier but we had no response so we had to deal with another hotel. He insisted on giving them a chance, so I took the guy to the boss. A mistake I really REGRET.
Boss: I think you know now that the mistake was from your side, we did our best to reach this loser from the marketing department, but he never cooperated with us.
Guy: I apologize for this, what can I say! employees these days… you know, lazy, irresponsible and are such a shame for their employers.
Boss: But we’re talking about marketing here! Your hotel should be selective, it has such a great reputation, it’s a big loss for the hotel to lose many clients coz of some lazy bastard!
Guy: If you can tell me his name I’ll teach him some responsibility and respect.
Boss: Eman, what was the name of this stupid marketing responsible in this hotel?
I: Hmm, I don’t remember, but I guess it doesn’t matter any more. Let’s just forget about it, do you see any possibility of dealing with them?
Boss: I will only consider this possibility if I teach the sick bastard a lesson. Please Eman, go check his name in your address book.
I: Ok.
I go check out the name, only to find that the “bastard” is actually H.S. the guy in our office!!! I went to the boss’ office tried to make him understand that the guy sitting with him is the “bastard” he’s talking about. I stood behind the guy, looked at the boss and pointed to the guy. He didn’t understand.
Boss: What was the loser’s name?
I: Sorry I don’t have it. Must have written it somewhere on a piece of paper and it was lost.
Boss: No way, come on, remember.
I: It really doesn’t matter any more. If we remember him we’ll tell this gentleman here and he’ll do his job.
Boss: No, I need to know his name right now.
Guy: Ok, let me list the names of the marketing department to you, maybe you’ll recognize the name.
(I took a paper and wrote: the bastard is the one with us)
I: Sir, I forgot, can you please sign this paper for me, it’s really urgent.
Boss: Eman, nothing’s more urgent than teaching this bastard some manners.
(I go to his desk and put the paper in front of him)
I: Sir I’ll leave it here, just take a quick look at it and tell me if I can get the initial ok, client is waiting.
Boss: Later Eman, later, please.
Guy: We have L.L, S.D, ….etc.
Boss: None of them sounds familiar.
I: Sir I think Mr. H.S is trying to do his best to help you, why don’t we contact him later when I find the paper.
Boss: YES YES, H.S is the name of the ********* bastard.
(I wished he falls down unconscious to save us the embarrassment)
Guy: Sorry? What did you just say?
My boss seemed to have FINALLY realized that I was talking about the guy with us, so to make things worse he went like:
Boss: You are HIM!!!
Guy: You are talking about ME!!!
Boss: I will NEVER EVER deal with you.
Guy: Neither would I!
The guy left, and forgot his offer on the boss’ desk. 5 minutes later, my boss calls me:
Boss: Shit, his offer is a lot better than the one we have with the current hotel. Eman, do me a favor and work things out with him.
I: After all that’s happened, I guess we have no way of dealing with him.
Boss: You’ll find the right way, I’ll be waiting for a confirmation on the offer on my desk by next week.
The guy refused, so my GREAT boss talked to the manager of the whole hotel complaining about the service and requested a contract asap.
Till this very day, we got no offers from them :P

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Facial Expressions

One of the things I learned throughout the years is the fact that facial expressions are not just a reaction to a certain mental or psychological status, but also an action, when created, forces a certain desired reaction.
I don’t mean to be complicated, but looking at facial expressions as reflects does not mean they can’t actually reflect an action we create. Let’s take the smile for example, a smile is a reflection of happiness, or kindness, or appreciation, or love, or peace of mind. In short, it’s a reflection of a positive feeling.
But what I learned is, we can make the reflection an action by forcing a smile on our face to create a positive feeling :) Try it out yourself. When you wake up, force a smile on your face, you’ll feel calm and peaceful. When you answer the phone, draw a smile on your face, you’ll immediately feel that your voice has this happy tone in it. While you’re walking down the street, a smile on your face will make you feel more confident. But if you have a frown, your tone will be more serious, you’ll look sadder and your day wont be as happy as it’d be when you have a smiley face!
This brings us to acting. Acting is about creating reflects to certain actions and situations, actors force the facial expressions to convince the audience that these expressions are reflects to certain actions. So the audience sees the expressions as reaction although they are actually actions!
Which means facial expressions could be both actions and reactions, not at the same time though.
I really encourage people to force some positive expressions on their faces in order to be happier and to support others around them, but I’m certainly 100% against taking advantage of this and turning it into cheap acting to lie to someone, trick someone or hurt someone.
If you still have no smile on your face then what the hell are you waiting for? Force one big smile on your face, this will take care of the most complicated problems and the worst moods you might be having :)

Monday, August 23, 2004

California To Add Solar Energy To Homes

California should try to add solar energy systems to 1 million homes by 2017 to save electricity and cut pollution from power plants, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Friday. To implement the energy plan would require home builders to offer solar panels as an option for new homes in the state by 2008. Home buyers would get an estimate of costs and energy savings from installing a solar system, and the state Energy Commission would offer rebates to add photovoltaic solar panels. The program could save 2,700 megawatts of electricity during peak demand periods and offset more than 50 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, the governor's office said in a release. One megawatt is power for about 1,000 homes.
"This proposal is about smart, innovative and environmentally friendly technologies that will help improve the state's ability to meet peak electricity demand while cutting energy cots for homeowners for years to come," Schwarzenegger said.
Funding for the plan would come from an initial $200 million already approved by the state Legislature for renewable technologies.
I believe this is a very big step forward, and hope other countries will follow, specially Arab countries which have sun shining all around the year.
Source: Reuters

Can't Wait :)

The last few days were extremely busy, I had so much work to do and for a moment I felt work will never end. But thank God, today I was done with the worst and most complicated part of my work.
What really got me laughing are the wonders the word “vacation” works. I mean it’s really funny when you ask for a vacation (a right of every employee) how the employers try to squeeze out the maximum of your time and effort, overloading you with stuff to do as if you’ve asked for retirement or for resignation, not a simple right: vacation.
This may explain why for the past few days I could barely lift my head up and rest my eyes for few minutes. That’s terrible, but well, who cares, I’ll be visiting my family soon, that will make me forget the most horrible moments I go through at work :) Ah, nothing’s better than VACATION :D

Thursday, August 19, 2004

A Gentle Word

Words are not simply some letters combined together with ink to decorate paper. Words are not meaningless sounds united to be uttered for nothing but fun. Words are not some signs put together as forms to be seen on screens and monitors. Words are much more important than that, words are magic.
With words, you can express your feelings, show your intentions and translate your ideas. With words you can show who you truly are, or, if you wish, you can create a character you wish you’d be. With words you can help someone, draw the attention of someone, get close to someone, support someone, trick someone, hurt someone, win someone, and even lose someone. Words can reflect reality, fiction, imagination, truth, and lies. Words do not force themselves into our minds, we force them out of our mouths. We can make words funny, serious, boring, helpful or destructive. It’s us who apply the magic of words, and unfortunately most of us prefer the evil magic.
A Bulgarian proverb says: “ a gentle word opens an iron gate”. Use words the right and most profitable way, not by taking advantage of someone’s kindness or stupidity, but by favoring your good side. Don’t let the evil in you take control of your thoughts, encourage your good soul, your kind heart and your loving nature. The more gentle your words become, the more gates you’ll open; the more gates you’ll open, the more chances you’ll get; and the more chances you’ll get, the more meaningful your life will be.
Let’s take the “F” word for example, it might trick you into thinking you’re cool, it might loosen up the tension you feel for some reason, but it’s all nothing useful. All of us can simply say that word, and all of us will feel the temporary satisfaction, but soon we realize it didn’t solve a problem, it didn’t sound appropriate to some people around us, and didn’t succeed winning the right kind of people’s attention.
Therefore, whenever you want to react to a certain situation using words, be selective; pick only the words that can be transformed into positive response and constructive action. Words that are waiting for humanity to re-discover and use to improve the quality of life and reflect a more gentle, more tolerant and more educated generation.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Make A List

Get a piece of paper and a pen, consider today your last day of life, make a list of the things you’re really proud of in your life, the things that you consider the source of your happiness.

You might write job, but you wont write salary, you might write home but you wont write house, you might write blog but you wont write PC, you might write family but you wont write fights, you might write friends but you wont write enemies… In short, you’ll be listing the basic elements of satisfaction, warmth, love, and happiness. You’ll be listing healthy relationships, things you did and made a positive difference in your life or the life of others, things that symbolize the perfect balance between giving and receiving. You wont be mentioning your TV, or the size of your home, or your car.
Therefore never mix between what’s really important and what most of people use to evaluate your importance with. The real meaning of success is never what and how much you’re able to collect in your life, but unfortunately a lot of people waste their lives believing this is success… don’t be like them, and keep in mind that after you die nothing will really mean anything, your possessions will be thrown away, or, if valuable, they’ll be inherited by people who will die sooner or later and will mean nothing any more. The only thing that will make you remembered and will keep you alive after your death is your good deeds, your achievements. The nice words you said, the amount of smiles you forced on people’s faces, being there to help and support and being able to protect healthy relationships from being lost.
Reconsider your life, see the real important things. Don’t be ashamed of the small house of yours, or of the fact that you have no car. Instead, work on the real important matters. It’s never too late to start a list of proud achievements, and there’s nothing better than making this list bigger and bigger…

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Lesson Of The Day

“I can –so easily- tell others what to do, but I find it always so difficult to figure out what I should do” – a client.

Woman’s Day In Tunisia

Tomorrow August 13th, is an official holiday in Tunisia, it’s Woman’s Day.
The streets are full of signs with “Tunisian Woman Day” and “We Respect Women”, and stuff like that. Assi Al Hillani (a famous Lebanese singer) is throwing a concert on this occasion, and I’m sure so many women’s rights organizations and activists will be making speeches and activities to celebrate this day.
If you’re not living in Tunisia, then you must know that it’s one of the leading countries all around the world when it comes to women’s rights. But I personally think women are exaggerating sometimes. Women here asked for their rights, they got it, but it wasn’t enough for them, so they asked for more in the name of equality to men, till they overloaded their lives with duties and jobs, leaving men enjoying a less hectic and more comfortable life.
It is so impressive to see women working and living happily. It’s great to know they’re equal to men, but equality does not mean doing the same things, no. It means having full rights, being constructive and effective members in society and being protected from assaults or mistreatment. Freedom, independency and liberation of women, are definitions that got really mixed up because of some activists who unfortunately think, a woman can never be an equal to man unless she lost her femininity. Do I have to grow a mustache and have muscles about to explode just to prove I’m strong enough?!
From the beginning of existence women were born with their own responsibilities as females, and so were men. I’m not against women entering most of the fields that were exclusively for men, but I’m surly against treating men as competitors! Men and women are to work as a team, hand in hand, side by side, work can be in an office, at home, anywhere. As long as each has a duty, each has certain responsibilities, and both are happy, then there is no need to ask for more and more, it’s enough!
If a man buys the fruits, and the woman makes the juice, and they both drink it, then they’ve both played a role and they’ve both earned the drink equally. I don’t have to insist on buying the fruits myself and him making the juice! We should complete each other. Some women are tougher than their male partners, in this case, there’s no harm if she does the hard work as long as she’s happy with it and not being overloaded and as long as he’s helping her in other ways. But a woman should stop thinking that she’s never equal to man unless she cooks, works, drives the kids to school and back, goes out, cleans the house, and gets double the salary of her husband for example. This is slavery to a stupid useless idea. If the man is ok and can do his job, then both should make some kind of balance to guarantee a healthy comfortable relationship.
I just hate the fact that some women say they’re free and have their rights, when they’re working as twice as men, and being used every day of their life.
I wish women will really open their eyes and get their perfect role in life as working members, mothers, students and everywhere. It’s not in the quality of work, it’s the balance between rights and duties that makes the woman feel her freedom and be satisfied with her rights.
Anyway, happy Woman’s Day to all women of the world, specially the Tunisian woman, since tomorrow is her day:) Hoping all women will be as happy and well-treated as they wish.

Evil Competition

Aside of war, massacres and unfair sanctions, people are enjoying watching other people suffering, starving, being tortured and humiliated. Not only this, but somehow a person can no longer enjoy this life unless he/she kills or at least hurts someone else.
Evil is growing stronger and stronger, till this whole life is totally destroyed, which, I assume, will happen soon.
Now the main concern of people is to compete: who wins, who gets paid more, who looks better, who has more friends, who’s funnier, who has more affaires, who’s sexier, who has a better position…etc. I’m never against healthy competition; competing to improve, make progress, and make this world a better place. But unfortunately, this is not the case in most of the occasions. Competition nowadays is anything but healthy and good. It’s mostly for one of two reasons: a personal interest, OR hurting someone out of envy and jealousy.
This evil competition is present in all fields of life, specially at work.
Employees, instead of working as a team, they trick each other, steal each others’ opportunities, stand in the way of one’s success, spread rumors about each other, cause fights between each other, and are ready to hurt any one just to win the complete confidence of the big boss. The boss, who spares no effort in annoying his/her employees, underpaying them and underestimating their abilities and talents. Employers nowadays can never be happy unless they show disrespect.
I really don’t understand this! Work is a relationship of mutual need. Employers need employees and vice versa. And just like hundreds of employees are killing themselves to get a job, hundreds of employers are killing themselves to hire qualified and good mannered people.
Look around you, why isn’t work done in the right way and on time! Why should employees go begging for a raise when they do their work perfectly? Why should employers have their own “office-spies” to keep things under control? Why must clients threaten not to pay so that they’ll get their work on time? Why, why, why?!!
It’s all because of the cause-effect equation. Treat employees right, they’ll work hard, you’ll get work done on time, client pays you, all are happy, they work harder, you reward them, they trust you, work with loyalty, and things go perfectly. In such an environment, there will be no space but for healthy competition.
Don’t wait for others to start the cause, no, you be the cause, work hard, and give your best, if not appreciated, then move from the cause status to the effect status and look for the place where you’ll be appreciated.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Islamic Relief

"Whoever saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind" Qur'an 5:32
Islamic Relief is an international relief and development charity dedicated to alleviating the poverty and suffering of the world’s poorest people. It is an independent Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in the UK in 1984 by Dr Hany El Banna.
As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, Islamic Relief promotes sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities - regardless of race, religion or gender.
For more information about Islamic Relief, more details about their programs, donations and vacancies Click Here.
Take a look at their site, and try to help in any possible way. No matter how little you think your role might be, be sure it will make a very big positive difference in the life of many people in need all around the world.

Monday, August 09, 2004

FINALLY... I Can Drive :)

I’ve been living in Tunisia since the end of September 2002, ever since then I never drove a car. The reason is that my husband’s car is normal gear, and although I’ve passed my driving test in normal gear, yet I never drove but cars with automatic gears. When I came to Tunisia, I was still adapting to my new life, and didn’t know the streets and the driving rules in the country. So I decided to give myself a couple of months to get more familiar with the new country. A while later my husband and I decided he’d take me driving -in relatively empty places- every now and then till I can be ready to drive in normal gear again. The disaster was when I went with him the first time and I couldn’t even manage driving 1 km long, lol, that was so embarrassing. Anyway, we decided to forget about the idea and turn to a driving school to get some lessons to remind me of driving normal gear.
The problem is, in the start of our marriage, things weren’t as easy as they're now. New life, more responsibilities, and only my husband worked. A driving school was not our 1st priority at that level. After taking the first step into improving our life from all aspects, which is moving into a smaller apartment, everything seemed to get really better, thank God for that of course.
Anyway, one day, a short while after we moved to the new home, my husband asked me to give it one last try and somehow I managed to follow my husband's instructions correctly and was able to drive better than the first try!! So he took me driving for short distances around our new neighborhood, whenever we had the time. But I wasn’t still ready for driving in crowded places or in highways. A driving school became a priority but I always got back really tired from work, and had enough things to do, and although I looked for driving schools online, and found close ones, but I never made an appointment.
And last Sunday, August 1st, I was fed up being afraid of driving, we were going shopping for stuff for our home, I looked at my husband, and was like: “ok, enough is enough, it’s about time I move forward and drive, so I’ll drive us to Carrefour today”, my husband was shocked, yet happy, but as soon as we reached the car downstairs I was like: “well, maybe not today” :P but he was like: “oh no you don’t, you’re driving us today and NOW”.
I drove there, with my hands shaking, my face as red as the Tunisian flags on the sides of the roads, feeling so damn tensed and scared to run over someone or hit another car. Anyway, it went well, except for my dear husband having the worst time of his life :P To make it even worse for himself, he encouraged me to drive back home as well, and I did. The next day he took me driving in “Les Berges du Lac” where I work, around 10-15 minutes from home. I drove there in the morning, then in the evening, and the day after it he actually took me driving from home to “Les Berges du Lac” further to “Le Kram”, the 2nd most crowded place after downtown Tunis, I drove then to my beloved Carthage then continued to “Sidi Bou Said”, where we stopped for some tea (he parked the car though :P) then I drove from “Sidi Bou Said” to home, passing by “La Marsa” where my in-laws live :) and kept driving through the highway till we reached our home sweet home :) So I can announce now, that AquaCool can officially drive in the crazy streets of Tunisia since last week, and God knows how HAPPY I AM for this achievement. And well, just in case you think I’m a loser for being afraid of driving in Tunisia, you’d better take a look at the REASONS .
Anyway, I have to first thank my great husband for tolerating my driving, having the patience to teach me how to deal with normal gear and how to drive safely, and for supporting me all the time, and thank all members of my family, who kept on encouraging me to adapt to my new life and drive as soon as possible.
Yippieeeeeeeeee… I made it :D

Friday, August 06, 2004

Work Diaries (7): New music collection

LOL! I really can’t stop laughing, this is so damn funny. Lol!
Well, the thing is, my boss has this special taste in music. He only listens to Beethoven, Mozart and this kind of music. Every once in a while he’d play a new CD he got from a country he visited. And although I love this kind of music too, but it all depends on my mood. Sometimes I’m really sleepy and stuff like Beethoven makes things worse. Anyway, he’d always mention that he stopped listening to Arabic music veeeeeeeeery long time ago because of his traveling. But now, and thanks to The International Carthage Festival , he comes every day with a new music collection of Arabic music and plays it all day long till I’m about to throw up of boredom.
Anyway, the trick is, he made up his mind to go to all concerts of the festival this year, and to enjoy himself, he can’t go to a concert with songs he’s not familiar with. Therefore he buys a CD with the top hits of each singer he’s going to a day or two before the concert takes place. He plays the CD till he’s satisfied with his “background” of the style and lyrics, and after he goes to the concert, and if he really liked the singer he goes on and buys as much albums as possible, and of course, his office is the best place for playing them :P
And to see a loyal fan of Mozart and Beethoven listening to new fast beat music with really stupid lyrics sometimes is just funny :D Today’s Amr Diab concert, so today’s CD is with Amr Diab songs, I have no problem at all ;) and while I’m posting here, Amr Diab’s Hit “Habeebi wala ala baloh” is playing in the boss’ office, and I can see the maid dancing her head off not knowing I’m actually writing about her, lol, bad, bad, me :D
Anyway, Arabic music has the nice and the bad in it. And the nice part is really great with talented people, beautiful voices and meaningful lyrics. And I guess it’s about time my boss knows Arabic music, the music of the world he belongs to. Still that doesn’t mean he has to play the CD over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over……

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Lesson Of The Day

“It’s so easy to stick to your principles and defend your opinion when you’re a responsibility-free employee. Moreover you’ll be called brave and strong. But when you have bills to pay, a family to support, and a house owner waiting at your door in the end of every month, then it becomes safer and more logical for you to compromise your principles and simply follow orders; fighting for your principles -in this case- will be considered insanity and carelessness.” – a former coworker.

READ THIS!

“Made in Germany: Architecture & Ecology”

An exhibit on ecologically friendly architecture in Germany "Made in Germany: Architecture & Ecology" opened in Barcelona on July 6, and will travel to 14 other cities before it closes, in April 2006. The exhibit highlights the country's position at the forefront of a growing movement in 'green' building techniques.
The German architect and engineer Werner Sobek has made quite a splash with his home, called R128, which he completed in 2000. The house -- perched on a hillside in Stuttgart -- is made entirely of glass, allowing unobstructed views over four full stories. It also relies exclusively on infrared sensors instead of handles, with doors popping open and faucets shutting on and off at the wave of a hand.
R 128 is one of nine buildings featured in the exhibit. The buildings featured range from personal homes, such as R128 and a solar-housing settlement near Freiburg, to a daycare center whose roof collects rainwater used to flush the toilets, to a 'zero energy' subterranean train station (lit by cathedral-like skylights at ground level). There is also a "zero emissions factory," a high rise that makes use of thermal energy, and the "Heliotrope," a solar-energy powered building that rotates to follow the sun.
In 2002, a similar exhibit in the United States -- called Ten Shades of Green -- featured nine instances of ecological architecture from around the world. Of these, four were German. This overwhelming presence is a testament to a general interest in conservation in Germany, and to considerable government financial support. Details…
I just adore environment-friendly houses, and my dream is to have one :)

In AUGUST!

Temperature was around 43 degrees yesterday, today it’s raining!!! I’ve never seen such a crazy weather anywhere else but in Thailand.
I hope the rain will make the weather a bit better, although I really doubt this possibility. It’s been terribly hot in the last couple of days, specially yesterday. The best word to describe yesterday –in my opinion- is OVEN!
On my way home yesterday it was so humid with a really hot breeze, as if one was sitting in an oven. This kind of weather makes me really lazy. All I feel like doing is either sleeping, or eating, or watching movies/ TV. I do feel like swimming a lot, but most of the time I’m just too lazy to move :D
From my office window I can see the rain drops evaporating the second they touch the boiling streets. Looks like the sun isn’t in the mood today, it’s hiding behind the clouds. Good for us, no one will be frying. But well, the fact that the sun and its rays are not visible doesn’t mean they’re not there. Heat is the same, and the sun rays are even more dangerous when the sun is hiding behind the clouds.
As for me now, I’ve been going through a very hectic period at work. I was mostly doing stuff I really hate, like reports and accounting for example. Today I was really fed up, I decided to take a break, a BIG ONE, so here I am eating some yummy chocolate biscuits that my husband brought yesterday, writing and enjoying myself. I just love this guilt-free feeling I get every once in a while :) It cools me down and makes me feel really fresh.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Teaching Islam In German Schools

With the legally embodied freedom of religion in Germany, Muslims have the right to get Islam lessons. But although 3,2 Million Muslims live in Germany, there are still no proper approved Islam lessons in the German schools. Teaching Islam in German schools failed in the past because of lack of the suitable teaching staff. This will now change.
The “Centre for Religious Studies” in Münster University in Germany begins now with the education and training of Islam teachers.
The learning will be through Professor Muhammad Sven Kalisch, an Islam scientist from Hamburg.
According to Kalisch, the first step to teaching religion is the language course. “It is so important for us that the instructions are given in German” Kalisch says. He isn’t against teaching in mother tongues, but he believes that if Islam is wanted to be a part of the German society then Muslims should learn their religion in German to know how to express themselves and to be able to fit in society. On the other hand, Kalisch and his colleagues want to train religion teachers who have both a scientific and an Islamic background, in order to avoid any extremist tendencies. It’s not yet clear how many Islam teachers will be trained, but the need for such approved teachers is highly requested. Around 800,000 students in German schools are Muslims.
The courses for Islam teachers will begin next winter semester 2005/2006. To get the permission for these courses, the applicants should be Muslims, and should qualify as teachers, or at least have the goal of teaching in their course of studies.
After having the qualified and approved Islam teachers, schools will be offering Islamic education for the Muslim students. The Ministry of Culture and the Muslim associations will be organizing with each other to know how to offer this kind of education.

Personally I believe this is a great step forward that will help Muslims in Germany learn Islam the right way and in German.
Source: DeutscheWelle

Monday, August 02, 2004

Work Diaries (6): Hopeless Case!

The manager asked me to arrange with a driver, who is the stupidest person God could ever create, so that he’ll deliver a package to a client. I warned the manager of the consequences that may take place, but he insisted this driver is the best for this mission. So I called the driver and he came to the office.
I: Listen I need you to go deliver this package to Mr. …. Here’s his address and phone number in case you needed any extra details. Anyway, do you know the place?
Driver: Sure, it’s so well known, I go there all the time, plus you provided the address and a street plan, so even if I don’t know it, the plan will help me. No worries at all.
I: Ok, it’s 9:00, it takes you around 30 minutes to get there. We need this package to reach the client before 12:00, ok?
Driver: give me 40 minutes maximum and it’ll be there.
I: That’d be wonderful. You’re sure everything’s clear?
Driver: Sure, sure, please stop worrying will ya!
9:30 ----------10:00----------10:30----------10:35 I call the driver.
I: is everything ok?
Driver: Yes, almost there, don’t worry.
I: Ok, great, call me when you deliver the package.
Driver: No problem.
10:40---------11:00----------11:30----------11:45 again, I call the driver.
I: I was waiting for you to call, it’s11:45 already and I didn’t hear from you. Is everything ok?
Driver: No, I can’t find the place.
I: WHAT!! Why didn’t you call me or call the number I gave you?
Driver: It didn’t cross my mind, I just kept looking.
I: Are you kidding me? Don’t you understand how important this is?
Driver: I know, it’s just that time flew by without me noticing.
I: MORE THAN 3 HOURS FLEW SIMPLY BY!! Why didn’t you tell me when I called you earlier?
Driver: Didn’t want you to get worried.
(I almost got a heart attack)
I: Just tell me where are you now!
Driver: I’m in the street where you’ve put an (X) to mark the building.
I: So where’s the problem? Go to the (X).
Driver: I can’t find it!
(I break my pencil in two pieces)
I: I assume you’re in the start of the street with the (X), so the bus station must be to your right.
Driver: Exactly.
I: Just GO ON DRIVING TILL YOU REACH THE end of the street, the building will be facing you, with its name …… written OVER IT. Its number is 10.
Driver: I’m driving towards the end of the street, I can’t see the building.
I: Are you sure you’re in ……. Street?
Driver: Of course I’m sure, I’m a driver for God’s sake!
I: Then WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH YOU??!! JUST DRIVE TO THE END MAN!!!
Driver: I can’t see any ends?! There are only buildings!
I: That’s because the street has a DEAD-END!!! WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE BUILDING …… NUMBER……. FACING YOU!!
Driver: There must be some kind of a misunderstanding, or maybe you’ve made a mistake.
I: Tell you what, I’ll call the client and make him send someone to meet you.
(I called the client and gave him the number of the driver just in case)
At 12:00 the client calls:
Client: We don’t want your proposal anymore ok!
I: Why? What happened?
Client: we call your driver, agree to meet in a certain place, we reach the place we don’t find him! We call again, and he simply says: “I waited 5 minutes, no one came, I turned back to where I came from!”
( I felt like killing them all)
I: I’ll deal with it, I apologize for the inconvenience.

I talked to the manager and told him about the problem which is caused by the driver. The manager calmed down the client, waited for the driver to bring the package, got it from him, had a BIG fight with him, then the manager went to the client in person and things went well.
When the manager came back to the office, he prepared another package. He came to me and went like: Eman, please call the driver (yes the SAME one)and arrange with him to go deliver this package to a client.