Vegetables, Steam and In-laws

22 07 2009

As I departed in the immortal words of Arnold, with a resolution of “I’ll be back”, little did I know that my solid confidence and regards for the Queen to uphold my blog and keep the visitors coming would be brought crashing on by her solitary post with all its tartiness in effect. The detrimental effect of having the amount of unique visitors drop from 40-something to a measly 10 for the last 4 days shows how tempered and generally non-tarty-minded my readers are (all 4 of them; the rest 36 are, I think, accidental Stumblers).

Anyway, the in-laws are still in, with an impending travel date finalized. Things are fine (and those two sentences are not related, mind you) and going well.

The atrociously weird post heading brings me to the vegetable market in WadiKabir next, where a bulldozer was spotted digging up the floor and wrecking general havoc. At the risk of upsetting dear wife, I managed to stop the car and get a peek and saw these great large trenches and deep pits all dug up, which proclaimed a “they’re resetting the drainage system” comment from an elder, after which they’ll have to re-do the flooring with new tiling. No signs of any accelerated work, nor are hordes of little dark workers being dumped; no urgency to completion, not even regular speed, as there has been no work in evidence for 3-4 days now (based on when I manage to drive by there). I did take some pics, but currently don’t have the mechanism to make them reach this pc, so that’s all pended for a later update.

Humidity and heat in the atmosphere elicited a comment from a 10-year old who pompously stated that it was so hot because of all the steam in the air. Trust good ol’ brain-farted me, who spent a good 10-minutes explaining to him the difference between humidity and steam, only for him to remark, in the manner of all 10-year olds, “I know!”, leaving me feeling pretty uncomfortable. Sadly, I avoided a 10-year old kid for the rest of our excursion trip.

Otherwise things are going on. Life goes on and the dents you try to make are pretty soon popped out by the pressure of everyday events. The huge dent put in by MJ with his death and memorial and all has already started filling in, where you can spend 3/4 hours on the telly without seeing an MJ story. QoT’s rant on Joe Jackson’s mug notwithstanding, the key players in the children’s money custody drama to emerge are more busy with lawyers and stuff than ever, who shall be ignore by the media until something untoward happens, such is the twisted demand of the viewing masses.

The Renissance Day holiday has been announced on Saturday, the 25th. All talks of the govt joining the Islamic Holiday of Israa’ wal Me’raaj and Renaissance Day have evaporated with only 2 discrete off days in 2 consecutive weeks. Good thing though that the extended weekend shall bring more people out of their houses if the current overcast condition prevail till Saturday, as it did Monday.

Stay In Peace.

-FK





Who me?

16 07 2009

I was supposed to write here? wtf? Oh, hiya all. My name is the Queen of Tarts and I’m quite Tarty in that respect. I was checkin’ out my old stuff and discovered a finely honed talent of mine that is the inability to throw away old stuff. I don’ frikkin’ wanna be like those old dodgers on Opera who’ve gotten these whole warehouses o’ stuff in them there 3 room houses. Ugh!

Anyz, here what I think I look like

I like me more tarty than that

I like me more tarty than that

Of course I’m not a redhead. I’m beach blond.

Last night, returning from a footy, there standing in front of me, in all his grimy glory was a playa from the match. The bastard had managed to catch my eye and was “mistakin y’ all for a friend o’ mine, nevermind you”. Pompous ass. It was high mighty fine time for a chunder but somehow I stopped meself and decided to give him a gobful. That turned out the right thing to do, as the playa was a mighty wuss, running away without a single word to say to me!!! LOL! Poor thing must’ve gotten all his gonads in hyperdrive on seeing a sheila, turned out all his bluster and grace was as useful as tits on a bull for all I saw, wonder what they  feed these players nowadays, musta been all them drugs.

Police refuse to take mugshots of Joe Jackson, they say their lenses crack

Police refuse to take mugshots of Joe Jackson, they say their lenses crack

Wacko Jacko splenidified all of us mere mortals in his memorial service. I know FK likes MJ so I won’t go in my Morpheous-stance on the matter. On the other hand, if I had a dad as evil looking as joe jackson, I’d probably throw an acid dish on his face as well as mine. Jacko did the latter, forgot the former. I think this is the same reason all of MJ’s siblings have their plastic surgeons on speed dial, their pops’ face. Damn if he ain’t ugly.

I know this blog is s’posed to be be all neat and clean and shit, and that I’m supposed to do some political post too, but whateva. I mean weve got a Pompous Ass as the Prime Minister whose head is inserted somewhere where the sun regularly shines, that place gets so much outing. I’ll marry the person who does something and removes the PA from where he is right now.

Formula 1 is all frickked up. Looks like them dead beats governin the sport kno they’re about to die, so they decide to mess with the FOTA’s head. I bet they’re snikkering over all this over a coldie in whatever manor they hold their orgies parties in.

Gotta stop yabberin’. don’t stop readin’ what FK writes coz of me. ignore me. I’m just an ashtrayon a motorbike! 🙂

Bye.

-The Queen ‘O’ Tarts





Kill ’em Infidels!! The Fatwas

12 07 2009

(from Part 1)

The prevalent attitude of the Saudi ruling family pertain to something like “do what you want to do, just let us do what we want to do. If you interfere in what we want to do, you get snapped”. Consider it a zero-tolerance, mutual existence governance. In order to defer the responsibility of running the country, the govt has many councils and committees who act almost-independently, working to keep the country running, while the Saud family do what they do best. This manifests itself as a collection of organizations that are one another’s peers and have their own fields of activity, working independently, sometimes overlapping. Conflicts are often resolved on a case-to-case basis, often with the intervention of a Saud family member, since no governing rule exists. Placeholding rules are there, but they are precisely that, placeholders.

This has given the CPVPV (and other councils/committees) a very free hand to do whatever they want to do. And since the CPVPV has learnt which toes not to step on, they run pretty much scot free. The fatwas they decide to get implemented, they do themselves, since they have their own force, no police co-op required. And since words are cheap, they say pretty much whatever they want to. Add to this mix the cold-war with the al-Azhar university to become the official voice of Islam, and you have a plothera of fatwas, left and right. Below are some of the more wonderfully stupid samplings. Note: I do NOT follow, believe, nor promote these in any way. Sources might be biased. Make your own decisions.

Shias are infidels. The scholars are definitely infidels, the people, unknown.

...unislamic pic unrelated...

All Shias are infidels

Pokemon is haraam.

Saudi Women must cover one eye.

Pet animals are a threat to morality

OK to slap wives

Pigeon-breeding forbidden: act of sodomites

Soccer is forbidden.

Mice are to be exterminated: Mickey Mouse is haraam

Travelling haraam during Swine ‘flu

International Jihad haraam

Women-only health clubs haraam (arabic)

Women cannot go online without a male guardian

Women can hit back: outrage over fatwa

Cheating on non-Muslim wives/women okay

Islamic banking unIslamic (okay, this one is from Pakistan)

and so on…

I’m sure if there are any reader from the Kingdom, they’ll attest to the day-to-day challenges and issues that arise out of a simple inconvenience of following rules and regulations that are quite unique in the Islamic world. True, that following the Islamic law to the spirit is not very prevalent in the current world scenario, but there are places where that does happen, and it does not look anything like what SA has going on.

The ruling hierarchy in SA most often than not turns a blind eye on these rulings. In individual cases, their acts can overrule the religious fatwa (such as the release of the film produced by a Prince, support for soccer, traveling to the USA during swine flu season etc), but not vice versa. Also, they have the luxury of getting fatwas issues, such as fatwas against a few writers who were critical of the Saudi regime. After all, they are the rulers, right.

But the religious faction is all set to exercise its ruling rights too. Sweeping powers to issue laws and get them implemented does get to the head after a while. Currently, the Saud family has managed to curb the need-to-rule of the religious fraternity, but this need has previously, and again shall rise. The religion-fuelled activities in the wake of 9/11 led to some activity which was squashed. Something might gel them again. Think of it as two balloons with equal length strings in the same hand, both trying to occupy the same place and constantly bumping into one another.

The Saud family’s bump is currently stronger.

-FK





Mixing it up…

1 07 2009

DSC00956

… at the ROP traffic police office in Qurum. The window, for women only, being ‘manned’ by women, had 2 male customers! OTOH, he ‘did’ have his wife/a female with him, I suppose.

Lately, I’ve noticed that seeing the tiny queues and exclusive counters for women, some men just melt into the background and send the womenfolk to get whatever done. I’ve seen this happening at ticket counters and a lot at govt. offices. What gives? Is this ok?

P.S. Is it allowed to take photos in govt. public service offices?

-FK





ICC T20:We Have a Winner!

22 06 2009

In more ways than one. Having an all-winning team winning something is just continuation. Having an all-losing team t20_world_cup_2009(25)winning something is just a coincidence. Having Pakistan win the T20 World Cup is just astounding!

There are many tiny elements that seen individually cannot predict the final outcome. The slowly building media-realization of a pitch-perfectly-consistent bowler; the simple move of a batsman from #6 to #3; the return of an old player; the wiping off of a grin from the captain’s face and the simple feeling of pride on success  garnered carefully by the team’s management; all these factors exist and have existed at different times, but for all of them to come together and produce a fitting outcome for a team & a country that needed something like this, desperately.

It makes me happier in the knowledge that the displaced refugees from the Northern Areas of Pakistan would be smiling last night. Many would be jumping in joy and the ones able to, would be dancing and celebrating on the streets. Victims of mindless terror attacks and suicide bombings might have forgotten their sorrows and allowed for a smile to flit across their faces, bringing back some of the color lost to tension, fear and sorrow. The politicians, keeping their lies to themselves, commended the team, their first truth spoken in years. It makes me happier to see the people spontaneously coming onto the streets, instead of running for their homes; people dancing and laughing openly, instead of unashamed tears over losing a loved one; the municipality cleaning the roads of confetti and sweetmeat boxes and colorful ribbons, instead of washing away blood and dismembered parts. It makes me happy to have Pakistan in the news for winning a World Cup, instead of losing a life.

Jolly good show, sir!

-FK





ICC T20 WC

15 06 2009

Busy in life. Yup, that’s what I have decided to blame my laziness to. I have not been on vacation, I have not been busy in work (infact, lately I have been working hours more and more like a govt. officer rather than a private-sector employee).  A very routine 9-5, followed by a usual trip to TSC, ending up at home with nothing to do except waste time. Some relief in the form of the ongoing ICC Twenty20 World Cup, but that doesn’t promise to last long with the random performances of Australia, West Indies, England & Pakistan, the only teams I can support. Good time to be a Sri Lankan though, however I think that if I become a Sri Lankan to support the team, I’ll lost the urge to support the team. That’s the way they are. They just are! Its as if they had to be, and if given a choice, they’d choose not to be. But since they are, they are! Splat!

There are a few good things about the ongoing tournament though. The best thing about the opening ceremony was that it didn’t happen. It would have inadvertently a roughed up copy of the IPL opening ceremony, since everything else is, with the gyrating 3-somes that they call cheerleaders, the blast of incomprehensibly small fragments of music, destroying good songs in between overs and wickets falling. Thanks to the powers-that-be that sixes are being called sixes and not a “ICC-T20-WordCup-Super-Six”.

Kudos to the Pakistani captain, Yunus Khan for mentioning that “”In this form [of cricket] it is better to take it easy and have fun. It is like WWF.” Not sure who is going to take offense, animal-rights-activists for equating the WWF to cricket (willow bats and leather balls anyone? Or rather tree-killer-bats and horse-killer-balls…… no, no, no, I didn’t mean THOSE balls!!!!)

Negative points to Australia for losing out, however, if I were a conspiracy theorist I’d say they had this planned all along in order to fully concentrate on the Ashes, leaving a befuddled England to play this and then re-organize themselves for 50 and 500-over games. Also gives the Aussies more time to down some Irish Guinness, which they can compare to the colored water sold back home.

Plus points to Pakistan for squeezing New Zealand when it was required. This gives them a spring in the step, a bounce in the jump and a bigger stick up the nether-regions when they lose out in the next big match.

-FK

I’ve been out of sorts, kinda. Apologies to my full harem of readers (all 3 of them). Things promise to pickup (and then fall drastically) soon. Keep those hits coming. And thanks for reading.





‘Nabil Nabs Pole Position’

2 05 2009

I like that post title! 🙂

Nabil ‘Nabs’ al-Busaidi has become the first Omani/Arab/GCC-ian to reach the North Pole. He was with the Oman North Pole Expidition Team and they managed to beat 4 other teams to reach the North first amongst themselves. Nabs, JP & Claire sacrificed sleep, food and rest to do so. This did result in the them hallucinating and falling asleep while walking. Sounds like something I do everyday. Also, on the last-leg Nabs ‘man-hauled’ (is that a word) 50kg of equipment and walked 650 kms!

Nabs

Nabs

My special interest in Nabs’ case comes from a seemingly random event in April last year. Sitting with a business associate (boss, more likely) in Qurum in a semi-business meeting, my associate recieved a phone call (after rejecting/silencing 20 of them). After talking for about 7-10 minutes, he ended the call & in way of apology explained that the call was from the Minister of Sport (my associate is a ‘heavily’ networked person). One of the chit-chats was about a young Omani who had been training in Bahrain & now was in final stages of his project and he wanted to reach the North & was enquiring as to how to get any media coverage and sponsorships. He was given due advice and an enquiry into a possible sponsorship by the Sports Ministry and so forth. At that time I was more awed by my BA’s seemingly-casual relationship with a Minister and forgoed the content.

Then this story started appearing in the news. I’d followed it from the start & now we see Nabil reaching his destination successfully. Kudos to him.

Edit: Nabs’ blog detailing account of the journey.

mountain_climbing1

BUT, We have a problem.

Seems there have been other Arabs & GCC-ian there already. Is there some difference (type of approach/ascent etc) or has the Ministry/reporter managed a faulty press release? (Thanks to Rich for fixing me, wherein I linked to this)

Help!

-FK





Omani Blogger Trial – Released

25 04 2009

Ali al-Zuwaidy has been released. Gulf News managed to get a few words out of him:

“I have mixed feelings,” Ali told Gulf News later but pledged that he would continue Blogging albeit with some more restraint.

“The judge in his judgement did say about freedom of expression but also added that it must come with responsibility and authenticity,” Ali said, adding that henceforth he would be more guarded.

At the same time, he added, he would not hesitate to criticise.

Ali said that the trial period was tough and yesterday morning before the verdict, his blood pressure went up considerably. “I am relived now and have already posted an entry on Sablat,” he revealed.

He said that he was unlikely to appeal his conviction. On his acquittal, he said he was happy that the judge exonerated him. On possibility of Omantel or Dr Al Woahibi appealing against his acquittal in the first charge, he said that he doesn’t see that happening. “Dr Al Wohaibi is no longer the Omantel CEO and I think the matter has ended here,” he reckons.

He, however, wondered about the true identity of the Blogger Booz Allen, who posted the entry accusing and criticising the Omantel CEO. “I have feeling it was some insider and close to him and with excellent IT knowledge,” he believes. The authorities’ efforts to trace his IP address led them to Berlin as the Blogger had cleverly masked his IP.

“When the post was first blocked by me I was reminded of my belief in freedom of expression by the other Bloggers and I ran it,” he says about the post that put him in prison for 11 days and had to endure the trial period.

So much for listening to others. Carry on kiddo!

-TFK





Just Noticed…

16 04 2009

This is not new news, maybe a new review of an old news, but still not new, just something I noticed now. Better late than ever, eh.

This site has an article that is pretty pointed about the Doha Summit that took place recently. Whilst I shall not comment on the other things, this statement strikes me as pretty odd:

This year’s Arab League summit meeting, held in Doha, capital of Qatar, was intended to promote Inter-Arab reconciliation following Israel’s violent invasion of Gaza at the end of last year. A united front was also sought to take a stand against the spread of Shi’ism sponsored by Iran.

Huh?! A united front against spread of Shi’ism? Why? Is religious freedom wrong on an Arab level now? Or is it just that Shi’ites are a particularly nasty brand of  species? Searching for appropriate texts on the Doha Summit, I could not find any news that corroborates this statement. Of course, I could go and try and read through the transcript of the meeting, but not now.

Still, are such things still discussed at head of state level meetings? “Oil, Economy, Israel, and oh yeah, lets also do something about this 15% of the population”. Okay, our brotherly northerly neighbours have had an official stance against these people. Saddam also officially took offence. Persecution of Shi’ites is nothing new, but still.

*shaking head in wonder*

-TFK





Healthcare? What healthcare?

15 04 2009

It pisses me off. It really, royally pisses me off.

In the near past, I’ve had to spend some time in a hospital room. Mom had a bout of food     poisoning (probably) followed by weakness, resulting in dehydration, shooting of her blood-sugar level (darned diabetes), blood pressure and hospitalization. Called from work by a very flustered sister and being the nimbnomcoop that I am, I took Mum to the great Badr al-Sama’a in Ruwi.

Were sent to the emergency ward/room. The inital emergency saline drips were attached and  lots of blood extracted for tests. That is fine. Apparently.

After initial reports, the case is referred to Dr. S. He arrives, looks around for someone with her, spots me, confirms if I am with her, and in a very important voice proclaims “There is severe dehydration and weakness. Blood sugar is high, we shall try to control it. Also there are many ketones. We shall have to admit her for atleast 2 days”. I hmm & huh in the right places, say ok, confer with dad, consider our options and decide, ok, lets continue here itself. Mistake # 1.

Then comes up nurse # 1, hands me a slip of paper and vanishes. I stare at it, at the place where she was and then figure maybe I need to get Mum registered as a patient, after all, the “paperwork”! So I go to the reception, state the case, present our medical insurance cards, get a stare and get a :

“Where’s the patient?”

“In the Emergency Room”.

“Who are you?”

“Her son.”

“Whose medical card is this?”

“Hers”

“What is company name?”

“Xyzabc ltd”

She then proceeds to press 20 keys, the spacebar 5 times, looks around twice and asks 2 people something in her native language. Rest assured I don’t understand a word! She then calls the company, asks for a relevant person, gets Mum’s profile, rank/grade/file and get a confirmation of the medical coverage. After being satisfied *phew* she proceeds and processes us. What if it had been after-office hours? What if the relevant person had been unavailable?

“Show me Labor Card”

Okay. I show her mine.

“Is this the patient?”

“No, this is me!” *Duh*

“Want patient’s card”

“I have no idea where it is, at home, in her purse. I can find it and bring it later. You need it now?”

“Yes, now”

“We came in an emergency, kinda. Can’t it wait?”

“Now”

Luckily Mum had her purse alongwith her with her card innit. Another What If…?

Anyway, we get a room, transfer Mum, do the first round of settling in. Get a couple of close relatives to know what’s happening, get a few essentials from home, I volunteer to be the permanent attendant (I have never trusted the nursing staff, sorry). Then begins the ordeal.

We stayed there 3.75 days. I was there with Mum the whole time. In 24 hours, there are 3 different nurse shifts of 2 nurses each for the in-patients. The evening shift 5pm-1am has 3 to cope with visitors & extra load & all. Out of 7 professional nurses in an Arab country with multinational citizens in a medial clinic only “one” was kind enough to understand and speak “a bit of” English.When I asked for a spare blanket, I got a bedsheet. When I asked if there was some facility to re-heat eatables/any microwave ovens, it was something like a conversation between  2 deaf mutes, sorry, but seriously:

“Can we reheat this?”

“Huh?”

“Do you have some thing to heat this?”

“Huh?”

“Do you have a pantry? A kitchen?”

“No tea. Tea downstairs.”

“No, no, no. Do you have a microwave?”

*blank stare*

“Can I make this *pointing to dish* hot? For eat?”

“Ah! Hot!”

*enters the bathroom, opens the hot water tap*

“Ergh” *facepalm* “Forget it. Thanks”

In the end we got one of those electric hotplates.

And then there was Dr. S. He made his rounds twice a day. Only 2 rounds for an inpatient with an in-doctor (don’t ask me how I know, but he lives in the same building. 3 days in place teaches you lots.) Apparently more money is made treating out-patients. So he comes in at 9 am, when the patient is invariably asleep. But no problem, his 9 am can be as late as 11 am, no worries. He sees the blood/sugar reports, sugar/bp/medic log of the past 24 hours, the nurses and he converse in their local lingo (tamil/malaya/telgu no idea).  And then leaves. Only because I interrupt his Snape-like sweep of his coat to return, does he consider telling me something, “Blood sugar is high, we’re administering Insulin. These drips shall continue. We are giving medicines for blood pressure. Ketones are still there”. Another Snape-movement. “Doc. Till when do you expect to have her here? I need to fix things with her office and mine.” “I shall wait until stability is there.” And then Gone! Leaving me staring at the door open mouthed! (This was my 2nd encounter only. I was numb by the 8th time).

Being the way that I am, out comes the trusty P1i and Wikipedia and I search Ketones. Apparently they are something that forms when body nurtition is low. And, apparently, they are not much of a big deal. Whenever you skip a coupla meals, ketones appear. But whatever the doc says.

To cut a long story short, Mum came home. Alhamdulillah. The company footed a bill of 370-something rials. But atleast Mum was home. Albeit with 9 tablets to have per meal. For 3 days. After 3 days, the weakness is still there, blood sugar is still high, blood pressure is still high & now, her taste system is wrecked. Everything tastes ultra-salty. So we go back. Dr. S, in his infinite wisdom, increases the dosage.

“You were taking 2 tablets of Diamicron per day? Now take 2 in the morn & 2 at night!. Take 2 multivitamins.”

“For how many days?”

“30”

O_O

The same night, after the 2 multivitamins, some weird sort of swellings, alomst like insect-bites, on the whole of her arm. So at 3 am, we go back to the Great Badr alSamaa. The doc on duty, bored out of life, looks, sees the prescription of his colleague and tells the nurse to prepare a syringe with something. I dare to ask,

“Is this an allergic reaction?”

“Maybe”

“Maybe? Can it be something else also?”

“She has taken no medicine that can be allergic”

“Ah! So you’re injecting an anti-allergy?”

“Hmm.. yeah”

“Fine!”

But when repeated home-checkings of BP & blood-sugar show no improvement even on the double dosage, my non-spidey sense tingled. So did Dad’s. We took Mum to our almost-family doc, a very nice guy, his own clinic, inner Muttrah. We also take the Badr al-samaa file. He sees the list of medicines and then starts,

“This injection they billed you 8 rials. Its actual price is 300 bz”

“This injection they billed you 12 rials. Its actual price is 700 bz”

“This tablet they billed you 1 rial. Its actual price is 200 bz”

“This drip they billed you  1 rial. Its actual price is 150 bz”

“This anti-allergy he injected for 9 rials. Its actual price is 3 rials and that is because it is NOT an anti-allergy, it is a steriod”

!!!!

So this doc does his own tests, decreases the amount of tablets to be taken to 2 per day, enforces a strict diet regime (the previous one had allowed almost everything except obviously sweet things). He called Mum back everyday for 5 days for tests then is satisfied with her progress. Alhamdulilah, its been 2 weeks now, the sugar levels have dropped 50 points (but are kinda hovering around the 170 mark), Mum is back in her swing and is fast gaining on her nutritional levels.

And this latter doc, he charges us 7 rials only & 1 rial for every subsequent test.

GOD I am so anti-Badr al Samaa. Atleast make mindless profits but don’t be lax about our healths. Especially since we, being expats, cannot go to proper hospitals and have to stick to clinics.

Pray for us all.

-The Fark Knight