Mutawwa-ing Second Life

22 08 2009

As reported by Al-Watan newspaper on the 17th, the mutawwas and the PVCV of Saudi Arabia are growing in the virtual world of Second Life. Apparently, there are going to be lectures and “methods to excite the young people” on the virtues of Ramzan and its benefits. Also, apparently, (apparently coz I’m depending on Google Translate), using computers and Internet for this purpose was an Islamic no-no, but it was justified since “Arithmetic has a very large value in Islam”.

Declared the island “Middle East” in a “Alexand Live” that for the first time will be held on Tuesday a lecture by a senior official in the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, has been the world’s second default under the title “Ramadan guys” to raise awareness of spirituality to seize the holy month.
The lecture will be delivered by Director General of the religious police in Mecca, Sheikh Ahmed al-Ghamdi, the default in the mosque, which was inaugurated recently in the “taste of Arabia” island “Middle East”, which belongs to participants from Saudi Arabia.”

Nice! Now virtual lectures on how women should keep only one eye uncovered, why they should not drive, how to claim to be the bastions of Islam in the world and at the same time destroy all evidence of the objects present at the time of the Holiest figure of Islam. (article from 2005, even more damage now)

Historic Mecca, the cradle of Islam, is being buried in an unprecedented onslaught by religious zealots.

Almost all of the rich and multi-layered history of the holy city is gone. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades.

Now the actual birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed is facing the bulldozers, with the connivance of Saudi religious authorities whose hardline interpretation of Islam is compelling them to wipe out their own heritage.

It is the same oil-rich orthodoxy that pumped money into the Taliban as they prepared to detonate the Bamiyan buddhas in 2000. And the same doctrine – violently opposed to all forms of idolatry – that this week decreed that the Saudis’ own king be buried in an unmarked desert grave.

A Saudi architect, Sami Angawi, who is an acknowledged specialist on the region’s Islamic architecture, told The Independent that the final farewell to Mecca is imminent: “What we are witnessing are the last days of Mecca and Medina.”

According to Dr Angawi – who has dedicated his life to preserving Islam’s two holiest cities – as few as 20 structures are left that date back to the lifetime of the Prophet 1,400 years ago and those that remain could be bulldozed at any time. “This is the end of history in Mecca and Medina and the end of their future,” said Dr Angawi.

The driving force behind the demolition campaign that has transformed these cities is Wahhabism. This, the austere state faith of Saudi Arabia, was imported by the al-Saud tribal chieftains when they conquered the region in the 1920s. Read the rest of this entry »

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Here Comes the Bling!

22 08 2009

With the general exodus of all sorts of people and things from the UAE, seems that a few of the oddities are also finding their way stateside. Recently spotted this little gem near the ministries area.

DSC01049-copy

DSC01052

DSC01051

Now that’s some serious cheap bling! Apologies for the crappy photoshop.

-TFK





Sexist PC

16 08 2009

Today’s post is a good comic strip-site. (click to jump)

20090813

I Laughed. Is that bad?! 🙂

-TFK





H1N1: Schools, Ruwi & Lulu

15 08 2009

Really brief. After the case of an Indian School student falling ill and passing away due to swine flu, the Indian Schools have closed for an extended holiday. That comes after an annoouncement that they would not close. But they are now closing.

The Pakistani School had announced that they would not close. But they had ‘off-d’ primary school kiddos. Seeing the severity of the cases (and the huuge amount of snot-nosed not-so-kids), vacations have been announced for another week, 15th to 22nd Aug.

Rwui Ruiw Ruwi has had a general sweep by the baladiyah, handing out masks and forcing the general shopkeepers and shopassistants to wear them. Gives Ruwi a sterile look. Now you can’t even identify the person who is giving you the eye (or the x-ray eye). Same for all medical centers, where HongKong-esque masked smoochers were seen by your truly.

Lulu is as much a cesspit of all kinds of virii as usual, human-type and others. I’m sure that if there is any place where H1N1 and H1N5 are going to mutate, that is going to be Lulu; where, this friday, I saw 200 people per minute (ppm) entering and exitting the doors. And Ramadhan shopping still has to commence, with people going starking mad, buying wholesale items (I saw a local buying atleast 7 cartons of red Jello, swear). Consider with that the amount of cars parked (in their newly opened multi-tier parking space), the humid, wet smell of coconut in the air there, open fruits (and flies) and you can get an idea of the genetic experiments going on in Lulu’s atmosphere. shudder. And no masks, mind you. When pharmacies are going to sell facemasks @ R.O. 5/- per box (50 pcs), why would Mr. Raj, with a family of 5, buy a whole box!? Especially when no one has told them that the friggin masks have to be replaced after a couple of days of use (the flimsy ones).

Here’s to me, heading for all the lonely places. Yo, beach up in Yeti, here I come!

-FK





15th August: India Independence Day

15 08 2009

So, 62 years ago, the British were expelled from the Indian Subcontinent. The Muslims congregated to one side of the place, the Hindus to the other, a demarcation line was set, and 2 countries were born. By raffle luck coin toss arrangement with the British, 14th August was set as the independence day of Pakistan, while India celebrates the 15th.

Great to see how individual people can force entities such as the British Government to leave an area as rich and as fine as the Indian Subcontinent. It was not without reason called The Diamond in the British Empire’s Crown. If they (British) had managed to stay, wonder how things would’ve been now! Atleast we’d be travelling to Europe visa-free!

1. India never has had an indigenous standing army in her last 100000 years of pre-partition history.
2. Pre-partition India was primarily ruled by the minioriy Muslims till the British advent.
3. India has the largest number of Hindus in the world. By law, India is a secular country.
4. The name ‘India’ is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers.
5. Chess was invented in India.
6. India is the largest democracy in the world, the 6th largest Country in the world, and one of the most ancient civilizations.
7. India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.
8. The largest employer in the world is the Indian Railways, employing over a million people.
9. Until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world (Source : Gemological Institute of America).
10. The four religions born in India – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world’s population.
11. India is surrounded by Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma.

Congratulations to people on the other this side of the border.

-TFK





14th August: Pakistan Independence Day

15 08 2009

So, 62 years ago, the British were expelled from the Indina Subcontinent. The Muslims congregated to one side of the place, the Hindus to the other, a demarcation line was set, and 2 countries were born. By raffle luck coin toss arrangement with the British, 14th August was set as the independence day of Pakistan, while India celebrates the 15th.

Great to see how individual people can force entities such as the British Government to leave an area as rich and as fine as the Indian Subcontinent. It was not without reason called The Diamond in the British Empire’s Crown. If they (British) had managed to stay, wonder how things would’ve been now! Atleast we’d be travelling to Europe visa-free! 🙂

1. Pakistan has one of the highest %age of national budget allotted to military uses.
2. Pakistan is USAs biggest non-NATO ally (in terms of military/monetary aid).
3. Pakistan has had more time in military rule than democratically elected governments for any constitutionally democratic country in the world.
4. The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu. This is now the name of the Southernmost province of Pakistan.
5. Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies, which were invented by Muslims.
6. Mughal India was one of the richest countries till the time of British rule in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus, attracted by India’s wealth, had come looking for a sea route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
7. Pakistan held the world cups for snooker, cricket, hockey, squash, yatching and boxing. All were gained and lost within 4 years.
8. Pakistan’s national sport is hockey, not cricket.
9. Bangladesh was a province of Pakistan till 1971.
10. There are only 2 official border crossings
11. Pakistan grows 20 different varieties of mango. Only 3 are exported.
12. Pakistan is surrounded by Afghanistan, Iran, India and China.

Congratulations to people on this side of the border.

-TFK





Rembrandt Visits Oman

29 07 2009

Gulf News has an article titled “Rembrandt show to draw Omanis and Dutch closer”. Basically, it is about a month-long (Ramadhan long) exhibition of Rembrandt’s original paintings at the Grand Hyatt from 10 am to 12 midnight, non-stop.

Expect more of such images, Its titled The Jewish Bride

Expect more of such images, It's titled "The Jewish Bride"

“A hundred original works of Dutch artist Rembrandt will be displayed for the first time anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa (Mena) region when the Grand Hyatt Muscat hosts an exhibition during Ramadan.

“Rembrandt’s original paintings and etchings have travelled world over but this is the first time they are being brought to the Middle East,” the Dutch ambassador to Oman, Stefan van Wersch, said.”

It opens on the 19th of August.

“Al Salmi Library, a family enterprise, is bearing the cost of the Rembrandt exhibition. The total expenses involve 600,000 Omani riyals (Dh5.7 million) plus the insurance cost.

“They are obviously insured and would be well guarded during the month-long exhibition,” said Shaikh Abdullah Al Salami, chairman of Al Salmi Library.

“It is being held for the first time in the region and only in Muscat.”

“The Grand Hyatt Muscat would be transformed completely to look like a Dutch palace,” revealed Ashok

This is not what it looks - The Return of the Prodigial Son

This is not what it looks - "The Return of the Prodigial Son"

Suvarna, CEO of NPA Events, who are managing the exhibition.
The Royal Oman Police will take over security of the exhibits once concerned agencies from the Netherlands hand it over for the exhibition in Muscat.

Entry for the show will be free from 10am to midnight during Ramadan.”

Now since Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salmi has mentioned twice about the security measures and about the paintings’ insurance, it seems security was a hurdle in bringing the multi-multi-million dollar paintings to the region.

This all shall be followed by a reciprocal 7-month event in Amsterdam, featuring something of Oman. Wonder how they pulled ‘that’ off!!

NSFW - I don't think this one'll be there (click to enlarge) - "Bath Seba"

Now since the age of consent in Denmark hovers around the 15-year-old mark, and hash is almost-legal, I’m sure bringing Omanis and the Dutch closer will be all for the good! Atleast no one will be ‘robbed‘ in Thai hotels, that’ll happen in Dutch hotels!

I’m sure the “unclothed art is art, totally fit for viewing” theory shall be useless here, so I think the exhibition shall be kiddo-safe, however I have no idea on how to keep an exhibition safe from a kiddo. And I don’t think a Rembrandt exhibition is the place for a kiddo, especially if they’ve decked out the hotel “in the style of a Dutch Palace”. What does that mean? Is the Dutch foortbaarl team going to be there? I’m sure they live in a castle!

-TFK