Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cuddle Your Wife for $1 Million?

May I never have Nasser Hussain's mentality.

Here is the story summary. Allen Stanford, a rich Texas billionaire, has organized the richest cricket match in history. This weekend, the winner of the 3-hour Twenty-20 cricket match between England and West Indies (or Stanford Superstars, as they are branded), will take home a cool $20 million. Imagine that, for three hours of work, provided you win, the $20 million is yours to be split amongst 11 people.

Yesterday, Allen Stanford apologised for his behaviour after being caught on camera flirting with players' wives and girlfriends. Er, he was not just flirting, he had his arms around two of the wives and another wife (of Matt Prior) on his lap [Cricinfo].
Stuart Broad, who was bowling at the time, commented: "When the pictures came up on the big screen there were a lot of gobsmacked people in our side. Matt Prior was in a state of shock, especially as his wife is pregnant."
After the apology though, here is what Nasser Hussain, the former English captain and now a commentator, had to say.

"It was pretty harmless, to be honest, and the wives must remember that their husbands are potentially earning a fortune by being here and they are in a lovely place having a lovely time in the sunshine.

If the man who is putting up all the money wants to give them a quick cuddle for the cameras is that really a big problem?"

Updated: Video.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vacation Question

So I was surfing Facebook and then I noticed one of my hijabi friends posted her vacation pictures.

With nothing to do at lunch I clicked on her album. It seems she had gone there with a few of her girlfriends, all of whom are hijabis, and very conservative Muslims too.

Where did they all go for their week long vacation?

Er, Las Vegas.

So what does a bunch of hijabi wearing, Quran-toting, non-gambling, non-drinking, non-sex-show-attending Muslim chicks do in Las Vegas?

Seeing her online, I messaged her.

"So, you don't drink, you don't gamble, you don't attend burlesque."

"So, what exactly did you gals do in Las Vegas?"

And she, after a brief pause and with what I can only imagine in a beautiful smile on the other end replied with that famous line,

"Mezba, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!"

Er, something's wrong in the picture, methinks. :-D

Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

I'm also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said, such things as, "Well, you that know Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I could not help but applaud when I saw this video and this statement of Colin Powell in his endorsement of Obama. Make no mistake, this is no black solidarity. Powell is a strict Republican. But at his heart, he is what we call in Canada a "Red Tory", a fiscal conservative, center-right, someone not comfortable with the hard, right-wing, evangelical turn that the social conservative Republican Party has become. And so the endorsement of Obama.

However, Powell went further than that. In his explicit, well thought-out, statement, not only did he defend Muslim Americans, he even raised the story of the soldier who served, and died for America.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. - [Full transcript here]
Powell was referring to this photo (photo #16 on the link).


One can have opinions of his support for the Iraq war and his role in the Bush administration. By the same token, when the man takes guts to say the right thing, one can only say bravo.

By the way, completely unrelated, and strictly for 'entertainment' purposes, here's a study on Playboy models and recession.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Of Elections in USA, Canada and Dubai

No, no, there's no election in Dubai. But I do want to talk about them in a bit.

First, my prognosis of the final US debate is up. It's been a long circus process, but finally we should see some closure in about 17 days. Unless something big happens, I expect Obama to take this election comfortably. Of course, at the back of my mind lurks the unpleasant feeling that the Americans can fuck this up again - after all - this is a nation of whom 17% believes Bush is doing a great job, and where scare tactics apparently work.

Second, our Canadian election was over on Tuesday. It was a disappointing result for us Liberals. We had a decent and honest man of integrity as our leader, but it turned out he wasn't the politician we needed him to be. I wonder what it says about us as a nation when decent men can't win in politics by taking the high road. Although I suspect a faulty tax plan, a team not ready for an election, not speaking English well enough, and other factors also played a part. While I am glad to see Gerrard Kennedy and Ruby Dhalla win their seats, I was sad to see Omar al-Ghabra lose his seat. I hope he is back the next time.

Coming to Dubai, I was informed by a reader (Musa) that an interview with me was used in an article of the National.

South Asian professionals forsake West for Gulf jobs
Aaditya Tangri, 23, and Mr Mezba Mahtab, 27, both moved to Canada from the UAE with their families when they were in high school. Mr Tangri came back last year and Mr Mahtab is hoping to do the same.

Mr Mahtab would like to stay in Dubai for five years, “make lots of money, save as much as I can and then move back again”.

He is not put off by the hot weather and finds the intrinsic Muslim culture that flourishes in the cities most attractive. “In Dubai, when everyone is fasting during Ramadan, you don’t feel out of place.”
The interview was taken almost a year ago, before I started my Masters program and before many other developments in my life - suffice it to say I am not that attracted to returning to Dubai (or Abu Dhabi). Moreover, I distinctly remember saying to the reporter I was thinking about returning, not planning it. Not only do I not like the treatment meted out to Asians, but it seems Dubai is a big bubble waiting to burst.

However, when I see the house prices here, and then I calculate how long I will have to work before I can pay off my mortgage, suddenly 4-5 years in a sunny, tax-free earning country doesn't sound so bad, does it?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Eid Mubarak with Shadher Lau

Eid Mubarak, every body!

We went down to Rogers Centre (a stadium here, hired for the day by Muslims), and prayed with over 10,000 other Muslims. It was a bit different from the usually intimate environment at the mosque where we used to go previously.

My uncle had come over and he had a special gift for us - a lau (Bottle Gourd).

Now I showed you guys our previous examples of laus before, but my uncle's was in another league by itself. I leave you with those pictures, and hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday.

Laus in his garden.


Labelled laus for everybody.


Our lau.


My uncle with the lau.