A middle class citizen who feels lucky

last week Batir wrote about his personal financial situation as a middle class Jordanian man living in Amman and how he feels lucky that while he has to work 12 hours a day to maintain a decent life for him and his family, his work is mainly based on mental work rather than physical one.

Batir’s post is an excellent piece of work that helps highlighting what people are going through in Jordan in order to maintain a good life. I thought that maybe we can turn it into a tag and pass it around in the Jordanian blogsphere so that we all can testify and give real examples of Jordanian citizens dealing with everyday life’s responsibilities.

Like Batir, I feel also lucky for having a job that doesn’t require any hard physical work. I am also lucky for having a good English language, computer skills and good educational background that are essential to modern economy.

Unlike him, I don’t have a family of my own to support, which lay back a lot of responsibility and pressure for having to look for a second job. I work for 10 hours a day and I know that my current salary wouldn’t be suitable to give a decent life for a whole family. I am approaching my 30s next year while knowing that if I ever wanted to get married, I would be able to make it financially before another 5 to 10 years without compromising much of my level of living.

Most Jordanian young men, if not supported by their families, spend their first 5 years of their professional life saving for their marriage, and another 5 years after their marriage paying the loans they took to cover wedding and opening a new house expenses. Some of them start their lives with a big loan to buy a new house that they most probably carry it with them through their entire life.

My dad started his marriage life with loans, and till today he is struggling to meet them up. Through the years he has been able to provide us with a very decent life. Our family income may have been to the lower side of a middle class Jordanian family income, but we have always lived a lifestyle that has been above than we make. My mother had to work as well for years in order to help my father with family expenses.

My father’s business has always done well, but never good enough to get rid of the never ending loans cycle. He mainly worked the last 30 years to cover the bank interests and our family expenses forgetting any luxuries in life that he would life to treat himself with. We were his only luxury.

Even with his tough financial situation, he provided us with an excellent education. He taught us in one of the best private schools in Amman. Investing most what he gets in us in order to provide us with the essential tools to carry on in life.

I am afraid that I am taking my father’s path once again. I already took a loan to start my own business (Licky Licious) with my friend. Meeting up with the loan’s disbursements along with others expenses that we face daily for starting this business are eating up most of my salary. I have learnt the hard way that starting one’s own business in Jordan is never an easy task.

I have big hopes for my new business to give me the financial uplift that I am looking to. It took me 7 years in order to be able to take such a move, and while others spend their first couple of years saving to get married, I decided to take the risk and doing something for my own. Ofcourse my working hours would be doubled once we open it and ofcourse I will be dealing with a lot of more hectic, but maybe one day I would be able to look back and say: I did the right thing.

Let’s pass this as a tag. I tag Hayat, Hala, Kinzi, and Pheras

Abdoun’s baby and society’s absurd reaction!

So after few days of me writing a post about domestic workers sexuality in Jordan. A new baby born is found abandoned under Abdoun Bridge. After investigation, it turns out that the parents of the baby are a female Asian house maid and a male Arabian house guard.

I just wish I have a larger voice where I can reach larger audience before something like this happens, but what I can do, I am just a blogger! I don’t write in daily newspapers and I don’t appear on TV, I am neither a government official where I can take some action. But in the other hand, maybe it is just a bless that my voice doesn’t reach out, because the reactions of the officials and the society at large is just too absurd (check out Pheras’s dismay of official’s reaction) where I am starting to believe that it may be better to keep things ignored.

According to Suher’s Bushnaq, a writer at Al Ra’e newspaper in her article yesterday 12/9. She believes that we are giving our domestic workers a lot of freedom and that with such freedom we are subjecting our selves and our families a lot of potential risk. She brilliantly calls at the most popular Jordanian newspaper to subject our domestic workers with more slavery conditions than they already endure.

And to make her article more professional, she sure had to consult a social counselor which I have no idea from where did she get her degree because I believe that social counselors should know at least with basic human rights concepts. The quoted social counselor name is Rabab Allam. She said that people should NOT give their domestic workers any day off including weekends! (Notice the tone of slavery and the violation of every law of workers rights). She also asked families to keep an eye on their maids and restrict their freedom (as if they have any).

Bushnaq goes on describing how families after hearing the news of the baby are taking stronger measurements to prevent such condition to happen to their maid. Those who used to let their maid go out to the supermarket and owning a cell phone are stripping them from such luxuries. We are basically doing a group punishment for all domestic workers in Jordan for what we perceive as an unaccepted behavior from two people.

This case is really hitting on my nerve. The stupidity and ignorance of our society is highlighted like never before. Acknowledging our maids sexuality means tightening their freedom instead of respecting their choices. Instead of punishing them, why don’t we try to sexually educating them and provide them with condoms to at least have safe sex? But as we say in Arabic ‘Faged al shay’ la yo3teeh’ (One that he doesn’t have a thing, can’t give it)

And I leave you with Khalife Omar ibn El khattab saying ‘Matta esta3battom al nas, wa qa waladathom ommahatehom a7raran’ (When did you enslave people and their mothers born then free?)

May God be mercy on us!

Would you tell your loved one that he/she is dying?

When the doctor informed the old man at Grey’s Anatomy’s yesterday’s episode that his wife, whom he loves the most in life, is dying of cancer. The old man asked the doctor not to tell her in order to spare her the fear of knowing that she is dying. Unfortunately, (or is it fortunately?) in the USA, doctors have to tell their patients the exact status of their conditions. The doctor told the old wife that she is dying of cancer in 4-6 months. The old lady in return asked her not to tell her husband so that to spare him the fear of losing her.

On the ground, my family had to face this kind of situation twice. The first time when my grandfather (mother’s side) was diagnosed of having cancer at an advanced stage where there was no point in treating him. The family decided not to put him through the hassle of chemotherapy and they never told him about his condition. He only suffered much on his last days, and he passed away without knowing that he had a cancer.

We recently faced the same problem, this time with my grandmother (father’s side). She was diagnosed with cancer last year, and was treated with chemotherapy without even telling her that this kind of treatment is for cancer’s patients. Her condition has only gone worse, and yesterday morning she demanded my aunt to call my father to go and see her. She said “I am dying, let him come”.

With the amount of spread of this deadly disease, and without a requirement for Jordanian doctors to be loyal to their patients and inform them about their condition status, Jordanian families are facing the hard question whether to tell their loved ones that they are dying or not. It is an impossible situation, and with our cultural preference of keeping things in secret, people usually go with the decision of not telling, snatching those they love the right of knowing that they might be living their last days, and thus knowing how to prepare themselves to leave.

I have always believed that if I ever get diagnosed of having only few months to live, I would want to know, but yesterday watching that old couple madly in love with each other while wanting to save each other the fear of knowing it, I am not really sure where I stand. While we all know that we are dying one day, knowing that “death is near” is very frightening. I may want to know myself, but would definitely want to spare my loved ones that pain.

It is a tough call. Sometimes we deprive our loved ones from their basic right for what we believe is the best for them, and our love can easily turned into a betrayal of their trust and their right to know what is going on in their bodies. Maybe if everyone write it down and made it clear what they want, people who love us would find it easier to decide to tell us that we are dying when we are or not.

My grandfather was crying yesterday because he realized that he is losing his life partner (they never told him about her condition as well). She on the other hand, lay in bed seeing all whatever believed in manifested in front of her. She called my aunt: “Look outside there is a huge beautiful cross”. Ofcourse my aunt didn’t see it.

May God help her through this.

Masochism and sexual education

In Desperate Housewives – the famous American series – season one. Bree, the red head desperate housewife, was shocked to discover that her husband Rex, whom she has been happily married to for 18 years, used to betray her with another woman in the neighborhood.

As the story folds out, we discover that Rex wasn’t really having an affair, he only had some *special needs*, as they put it, that he was afraid of sharing with his wife, and thus he turned to a secret prostitute where he paid her to fulfill those needs.

Rex was sexually masochist, which means that he gets sexual gratification in the infliction of pain or suffering by another person. And while Psychiatrists are bend on considering sexual masochism as a kind of a sexual profile rather than a disorder in itself (if not accompanied with other personal disorders), Rex knew that society and including his own wife wouldn’t tolerate such needs, and so he looked out for someone else to fulfill them.

While Desperate Housewives is considered to be a comedian show, I consider this issue of Bree and Rex very important. This is no porno. It is a demonstration of someone’s personal profile that is shared with many other men around the around. For an Arabic audience who is obsessed with masculinity and the domination of men over women, introducing such a character of a man enjoying sexual humiliation and infliction of pain from a woman is quiet shocking.

In our part of the world, we still have people who are still get married without even going out and talking with the potential life partner. Sexual preferences of our potential life partners is never discussed before marriage even among the most liberal Arabs. With a huge ignorance of human sexuality in the Arab world these problems are just bound to happen. I really wonder how many men are betraying their wives for such reasons, and how many women are betraying their husbands for this?

Recently people around the world are more open about their sexual preferences, the internet helped to facilitate dating when anyone can search for a compatible sexual partner from his/her sexual profile on the dating site page. That is still not the case in our Arab world and even in the majority of people around the world. It draws questions about human sexuality and the institution of marriage, and how much a person can really go to accept his/her partner’s special needs.

Bree never forgave her husband for his betrayal, but she was willing to adapt and provide him with his special needs. She was appalled of what he asked her to do, and most probably never expect herself to be in such situation. Maybe if she had better sexual education and openness, she would have discussed this matter with Rex before they got married.

We here ask for sexual education for our children at school to get to know what sex is all about, but no one suggested to include special needs in the syllabus of sexual education, not just for the sake of potential partners, but also for the sake of children who grow up with such special needs and don’t know how to deal with them.

Choose you focal point

There are some tools in Adobe Photoshop that Graphic designers are versed in, and in which they can open any image they want, and tint it with the color they have in mind. As a result they would have the same image, with all the details, but with a dominant color.

In real life, most people do the same. We tend to pick up (usually inherit) a certain color and tint with it anything that reaches our perception. It is like our play room. We fix everything were we think it belongs to, and when new things arrive, we do our best to tune it down to fit with what we already have in mind. We have an identity, a certain color, an inner peace that we have managed to build over the years and that we are ready to fight anything that would shake it.

It may be hard to reject new guests, especially when they refuse to leave. But it isn’t that hard to tint it. Just colorify it. There is always a weak point that we can sneak from to nutralize our guests and enslave them with the same code we have at house.

The color tinting in the previous analogy comes out usually from a certain focal point. Our instinct is efficient enough to realize that existance of the focal point without being consciouslt aware of it. Whenever we meet a new person, we bring up our guards till we figure out their focal point, and then we decide whether to proceed going closer or not.

Subconsciously, we are aware the effect of our focal point on our lives, and we reflect it on others. We know that for some it is their religion that is their focal point, others their race, some their skin color. It differs from a person to person and can be tricky to detect, but once you figure it out, you can conclude a lot. Just be careful not to stereotype others based on your own tint.

Maybe sometimes it is wise to re-asses one’s focal point. If it is causing you a lot of headache, then why not move to a different one? This can add a lot of exciting experiences to your life and would give you more freedom to jump from one focal point to another. The more you discover, the more freedom you achieve. It can be a good practice to converse with other people and copy their focal points as some other options for you.