Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Grandma's Song

This is a clip from a West End show in London based on the movie Billy Elliot. I saw it last year and really loved the whole thing. I've already seen the movie, and the song writing and stage production were top-rate.

But I especially loved this song. Made me really feel for the old woman. Her anger mixed with longing and mourning for her long dead husband. Plus it's pretty funny.

And these are the lyrics:

I hated the sod - for thirty-three year
We should never have married of that I'm quite clear

He spent the housekeeping money on whisky and beer

And never lifted a finger
Times were hard, but the swine rolled back pissed

So we'd fight and he'd swing and he rarely missed

So I'd clobber the sod when he couldn't resist
Asleep, you can't lift a finger.

But we'd go dancing.., and he'd hold me tight

He was air, He was water, He was breath, He was light

And he would hold me there, with all his might.

And it was bliss for an hour or so

But then they called time to go

And in the morning we were sober.

O he'd drink and he'd talk just like a fool
Lie like a bairn and snore like a mule

Rarely was sober, pretty much was the rule

And he never lifted a finger

I suppose times were hard, things were different then

Women were women and men, they were men

Seventeen, that was it, your life ended when
You had a ring around your finger.

But we'd go dancing, he was me own Brando

And for a moment there my heart was a-glow

We had dust in our hair and nowhere to go

But we were free for an hour or three

From the people we had to be

But in the morning we were sober.

But if I went through my time again,

Oh I'd do it without the help of men

Or at least your Grandad

But then again, you know

Best not to linger

What is the use of dreaming now?

I had my chance, well anyhow,

If I'd only known then what I know now

I'd've given them all the finger

And gone dancing, and not give a shit

And spin around and reel and love every bit

And I'd dance alone and enjoy it

And I'd be me for an entire life.

Instead of somebody's wife

And I never would be sober.

And I never would be sober.

[Thanks to for lyrics]

I liked the repeated use of "..lift a finger", each time with a different meaning. Similar to arabic "Zhairiyat", I think these have a name in english too. Great writing no doubt.

I advise anyone who passes by London anytime soon to get tickets for it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.4 + 3laiwi

Thank you all who prayed for Ali, his operation went well last Monday and just now I got the message that he's being moved from the ICU to the observation room. Yippeee!

May Allah reward your prayers with Jannat inna3eem ya rab, and save you in your direst of needs inshalla.


The Rules of the Game, featuring:

The Iron Rule: Do Unto Others As You Like, Before They Do It Unto You.

Here, the rule goes back to the basics, which is to fulfill your own needs, period. The application of this rule is widespread and very appealing, simply because it offers immediate gratification. You don't have to wait for judgment day or wait for the social system to go through its cycle and reward you God knows when.

You like something, you take it, you are happy, now.

This doesn't mean that followers of this rule are savages, they can be cunning snakes as well, waiting to make sure that they can get away with their crimes before committing them. Which is simply another form of following the same rule, because if they get caught, they will get punished, they will be unhappy, also now.

So its the rule of the jungle, so to speak. And here its also interesting to note that low morality is again associated with stupidity (jungle rules = animal rules).

To expect society to reward you for following the Golden or Silver rules can be misleading, you simply may wait and wait and never get rewarded.

So I claim that only by expecting your reward to come in the form of eternal bliss in heaven can you truly be able to follow the good rules. And if you don't think that heaven is real, or even hell, then I can't imagine why you'd follow anything other than the Iron rule.

I believe that "being good" can only be realized by the fear and love of God.

No amount of democratization, no amount of "secular application of the law" (the law mostly coming from God anyway) can ever make sure that we will be moral people. If you expect your reward for being a "good man/woman" to come from anyone other than Allah, then you'll be disappointed.

Next in this series: The Tin Rule. <= really good one, don't miss it :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

منا و فينا

أول شي سلامات للكل بعد الإنتخابات أخيرا افتكينا. أنا عن نفسي وجدت ان قدرتي على منع نفسي من الخوض بأعراض الناس و نقل إشاعات عنهم مالي فيها علم موثق تضعف ضعفا شديدا أيام الإنتخابات. و كما قال الرسول الكريم صلى الله عليه و سلم: كفى بالمرء كذبا أن يحدث بكل ما سمع

و ثاني شيء هو أننا إذا كنا نتوقع من نوابنا الكرام أن يكونوا مثال العقل الراجح و الحوار الهادئ فعلينا أن نتذكر انهم منا و فينا

يعني طباعهم من طباعنا. و هم خير من يمثلنا. لم انا واثق من هذا؟ ببساطة لأننا نحن الذين اخترناهم. محاسنهم هي التي اعجبتنا و مساوئهم لدينا منها المزيد. ليسوا بالملائكة و نحن منا الشياطين. فاحمد ربك هذا أفضل الموجود.

اذا هم لا يعجبونك بالجملة فهذا معناه
1- لا يعجبك اختيارك. أو
2- أنك في الأقلية و يجب عليك احترام الأغلبية التي حواليك

صحيح ان حتى الأقليات يجب اعطائها حقها. ولكن حق الأغلبية أولى و أكبر. و النائب اللذي لا تحبه تذكر ان هناك الألاف التي ارتضته فاحترم هالألاف من اخوانك الكويتيين. و عيب ان تقول انهم منومون مغناطيسيا. ففقدان العقل مدعاة للشفقة أو الازدراء بحسب قدرتك للرأفة. يعني أن تصفني بالتبعية و عدم التفكير هو أن تسبني سبا شديدا و هذا هو انعدام الاحترام. فعيب

و إياك أن تقول الأغلبية خاطئة و ما تفهم و غوغاء. فإذا قلت هذا فإنك تسب الكويتيين. و عيب تسب ولو شخص واحد فما بالك بسب شعب كامل؟

مو عاجبك تفكير الكويتيين؟ فكنا و هاجر رجاءا
بس تريد الأفضل من ذلك؟
خلك معانا و حاور بهدوء و افتح عقلك. و لا تزعل اذا خسرت. و حاول مرة أخرى

بس المهم ان نحترم بعضنا بعض و أولى من هذا ان نحترم ولاة الأمر و هم الحكومة و المجلس

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Your Prayers Can Help

Dear Everyone,

My close friend is currently on a plane to the UK with his wife and 3 year old only son.

This afternoon or tomorrow they'll operate on 3ali his son inshalla. This will be his 2nd open chest operation to fix irregularities in the ways his arteries are connected to his heart. The 1st was a success il7amdella, and now this 2nd operation inshalla ya Rab will be just as good.

Ya Rab, I beg of You to save this little rascal. Coz I love how when you ask him "how are you?" he replies "jeen amdella".

Please pray for his safety and quick recovery, o likum il'ajer min Allah sib7ana.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.3

"Repay kindness with kindness," said Confucius, "but evil with justice."

This might be called the Brass or Brazen Rule:

Do unto others as they do unto you.

It's the lex talionis, "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," plus "one good turn deserves

In actual human (and chimpanzee) behavior it's a familiar standard. "If the enemy inclines toward peace, do you also incline toward peace," President Bill Clinton quoted from the Qur'an at the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
الأنفال 61

Without having to appeal to anyone's better nature, we institute a kind of operant conditioning, rewarding them when they're nice to us and punishing them when they're not. We're not pushovers, but we're not unforgiving either. It sounds promising. Or is it true that "two wrongs don't make a right?".

-- Carl Sagan, The Rules of the Game.

The above Bronze Rule feels "just" and to me atleast feels more applicable. I have no problems subscribing to it. But does it help societies as a whole become better? let's examine that, other people will start learning that we HIT BACK, but also, that we are GOOD NEIGHBORS. This in theory should encourage all of us to refrain from bad acts, and do good.

The only snag here is CYCLES. What if someone kills someone else on the pretext that it was preceded by a previous killing. I.E. the claim is that its justified, while the victim's family don't recognize the past offense. Some offenses are so hard on our psyche that we tend not to be able to think rationally. So we can slip into a cycle of revenge (THAR) with no end in sight.

Not only that, but our response will never be accurately equal to the original kindness or offense. We tend to easily "overreact" when we are wronged.
And also "underreact" when we are done a good deed.

This is precisely how World War One escalated. A very silly and shameful affair.

So which of the Rules do YOU think is better (and more applicable) now?

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Rules of the Game p.2

The previous part was entirely dedicated to the Golden Rule. Its the most famous of the moral rules. Why? I think because its the most "weird" to us. Its the one the goes against our grain the most. In short, its the most noble.

But if you think its too much for you, you can try the Silver Rule instead:

Do Not Do Unto Others What You Would Not Have Them Do Unto You.

I know it sounds a bit convoluted, but it simply means: Don't hurt others.

It doesn't say go and be nice to others, but atleast you're not allowed to cause them harm. But what if the other person slaps me a good slap on the cheek? You don't take revenge, you simply refrain, abstain and be passive.

Its essentially the "Ghandi-way". Passive resistance. il7egran yga6e3 ilmesraan taken to the extreme (ignoring someone cuts up their intestines, don't you love literal translations?).

It is less noble than the Golden Rule to be sure, but its still good.

Is it effective in making us better people? I mean atleast its more accessible and easier to comply with. So we're more likely to stick to it. But we become essentially doormats. 6ofa habee6a (low wall.. :P). Sure it served Ghandi well and shamed the english into leaving India, but it also failed the South Africans and eventually they said "to hell with it" and took up arms in the end. Tibetan buddhist monks are reaching their own limits and getting all riled up against the chinese oppressors.

It doesn't take.. it feels weak. At least the Golden Rule shows the offender that you're shaming him with your good deed. At least you're doing SOMEthing. It doesn't even handle the case of if the other person did not offend you at all, but was good to you, how do you treat them then?

Verdict: Silver Rule is too Passive. bleh.. mo shai.

But more importantly, What do YOU think?