Thank You So Much For Listening

The following conversation was in Arabic between me and the manager of SACM financial dept. I translated to English to share it with you.

Murtadha: Hello Dr  Saad Asswailim ( Many of SACM employees are obsessed with being called a doctor, I even call the reception employee doctor too)

Mr. Asswailim smiled: Doctor? I am not a doctor

Murtadha: Oh, but doctorate isn’t all about the degree 🙂 . Many people became doctor because of their understanding and respect to others. It is life experience, I think.

Mr. Asswailim laughed: That is true

Murtadha: anyway, I am calling you in regard my problem. I have sent an email to Dr. Al-essa (director of SACM) in regard my problem and few days later, my advisor told me that I will be reimbursed for the GMAT course.

Mr. Asswailim: I read your email, but I don’t think we can reimburse you.

Murtadha: Ok. why?

Mr. Asswailim: Because we don’t reimburse students for GMAT courses, and I can’t treat you different than the rest of the students.

Murtadha: I totally agree with you, every students should be treated the same, but the problem is that I am not asking to be treated different.

Mr. Asswailim: So, what is your problem then?

Murtadha: My problem is that I asked my SACM advisor before I take the course about whether or not, the SACM cover the cost of the course and she told me Yes. Of course, that isn’t enough, so I asked her for financial guarantee stating that SACM cover the cost of the GMAT and they issued me one. So based on the information I got, there is nothing that disprove the fact that SACM cover the cost of the GMAT.

Mr. Asswailim: Ok, but that isn’t my problem. I am not the one who issued the financial guarantee for the GMAT course and I didn’t tell you that SACM covers the cost. I have policies that I follow here and I can’t break them.

Murtadha: I totally agree with you. I actually respect that. Can I ask you a question?

Mr. Asswailim: Of course you can

Murtadha: If you were in my situation and your advisor had told you that that SACM cover the cost of that course and she issued you a financial guarantee as a confirmation for that , and after you took the course, and paid the cost, you sent your paper for reimbursement, then you the employee tells you: ” no, we can’t reimburse you” what would you do then:

Mr. Asswailim: Mmmmm, I totally understand your situation, I think you should call Dr. Alissa (director of SACM) again to open an investigation on this.

Murtadha: I will call Al=essa again. I think I find a new journey in life now. I would call it ” Murtadha’s Journey in getting his reimbursement”

Mr. Asswailim: Laughing

Murtadha: by the way, I have to say that you are too kind, because you listened to what I wanted to say. You didn’t only listen, you also respected me and allowed me to discuss the issue with me. That is something I really really appreciate.  So, thank you so much for that.

Mr. Asswailim: You are most welcome. It is my job to listen and talk with you and other students so please don’t hesitate to call back if there is anything else I can help you with.

Murtadha: I will , thank you again so much for listening to me. Listening something is so important and from my experience with Saudi governmental agencies, I found that people who work there like only to talk or give commands. It is rare to find someone who would listen. That is why I want to tell you how much I appreciate that. Thank you for simply listening to me.

End of the conversation.

Mr. Asswaili was very surprised on how something very small such as listening, is so important and valuable for someone else like me.

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My View of Valentine Day

I honestly don’t believe in Valentine day.  I feel it represents love as a product of consumptionism. I think companies found V-day as a very smart idea  to manipulate the prices and increase people consumption  so the flowers that cost 20 dollar is sold for 99 dollar in V-day!

I am not against love celebration at all but I feel love is so beautiful when it express simply and continuously. This means that you should celebrate your love to your wife every single day she smiles at your face, every moment she holds your dreams and in every second she share a breath with you. Schedule your  own love day on your own calendar,  pick a day each month to surprise her with a flower or a gift and it doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be more sincere.

My point of the whole post is your love to your wife shouldn’t be appointed by somebody else, or by companies that want to make a profit out of you.

Notes before you comment:

  • I provided my personal opinion which means that I don’t say that the celebration of V-day is wrong and I don’t force people to agree with my opinion.
  • I am totally against what Saudi moral police do in V-day of forcing people not to celebrate the event. I don’t think it is sin in Islam at all to celebrate V-day and I don’t think anyone has a right to prohibit people from celebrating V-day.
  • Please read the comments below. I think most of my readers share a different take on the subject. That is always what I like about blogging. It always gives you an opportunity to learn new perspectives from people.

Forming Our Own Web of Beliefs

Let’s start our journey of the Observation From Inside with this week’s news. The former Saudi ambassador Turki al-Faisal shook the hands of Danny Ayalon, the Israeli deputy foreign minster. Now the incident itself isn’t important for me as observer because, remember, our goal is to understand and analyze the human behavior, not anything else. So what is important for me here is to observe how Saudi react to this incident, how they perceive it and how they interpret it.

  • Observation:

From my observation to people in twitter, I have noticed three different reactions. When person A heard about what happened, He went and made his own judgment before seeing the video or asking for any additional information. When person B heard about what happened, he chose not to believe what he has heard and decided to wait until he sees the video and after that he made his judgment. When person C heard about what happened and then saw the video in YOUTUBE, he chose to wait for prince Turki Faisl’s  explanation before he made his judgment.

  • My Analysis:

My observation of the three people can represent the dynamic of how people build their web of beliefs and how they make their judgments. Some people accept information without any questioning while some people question and then they accept the first answer they get. Some people question and remain skeptical of any answer they get.

  • The disapprove of my observation.

Person A‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that he accept any information he gets without questioning. Maybe he made his judgment based on his previous old information and facts.

Person B‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that he always questions the information he gets. Maybe if he has heard that that a Syrian ambassador shakes hands with Danny Ayalon, he would made his judgment without questioning because he might be biased toward that person.

Person C‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily means that he is always skeptical about any answer he get. Maybe he is skeptical only in politics while he might believe anything he heard in his religion without any skepticism or questioning.

Now, this example illustrated exactly what I means in Observation From Inside! I hope my idea now is clear for everyone. Please share with me your thought about the observation.

Observation From Inside

If there is a list of societies that can be the best target for psychological’s  and sociological research and observation, Saudi society should be in the top five of the them. You have gender segregation and you can easily do a psychological observation about how women  are perceived by men and how men are perceived by women in segregated society like Saudi and then compare that to mixed society like USA.

You can also study the sexual behavior of the people, how do they express their sexual desire and how is it interpreted by the society ! Does the sexual behavior of the human being get strong in the open society more than the closed one? You also have religion, Saudi is known to be very religious country! you can study how religion impact people’s life and how can people play around it!

If you have an interest in any of these topics, then you are most welcome to join me in a journey called “Observation From Inside.” In this journey we (you and I) will do the following:

  • We make an observation!

An observation is very important concept. To understand the logic and the reason behind every human behavior, you have to observe it first and pay attention to every single detail about it.

  • Gather data and information:

You can’t just make a judgment based on one single observation. That is what most people do and it is really wrong. You have to gather data about it and compare it to other studies and observations.

  • Approve and Disapprove that observation:

Because we are naturally bias, we can’t just make a judgment only based on our observation and our information. We have to think of both sides. We have to find what approve and disapprove our observation.

How do you participate in this journey:

You can send me an email via Contact Me to tell me about your observation on specific behavior. You and I open the discussion in here in my blog. Everyone share his analysis then everyone make his/her own judgment based on his reason and logic.

The Story of Buraidah Girl

I have been asked by one of my friends to comment on the marriage of 12 years old girl to 80 years old man in  Buraidah of Saudi Arabia.

The truth is that I can’t write about this story. I really can’t. The reason is that that the process of writing to me is the process of imagining. It is the process of feeling each word I write. and when I imagine this story, when I imagine this little girl standing alone in one room with this monster, I feel paranoid, angry and tortured.  Then, I feel a sense of insecurity, embarrassment, shame and self destruction.

Kathryn Monet

Kathryn Monet! you may not have heard of this name before, but many Saudi students in Oregon have. She used to work for Saudi Cultural Mission as an academic advisor on Saudi students.  We  have never seen someone dedicated to her/his work as much as Kathryn does.

From the first five minutes you talk with her, you will quickly realize how caring she is. I told her in my first conversation with her that I felt as if she is a darling sister to me.  Kathryn to me is more than just an advisor. She is very inspirational person. She gave me an example of how sincerity in your work impacts the life of others and how the little smile and kindness have the power of transforming people lives.

In fact, the day she decided to leave her position in SACM, was very sad day for all Saudi students in Oregon. In my five years experience with Saudi Culture Mission, there has never been someone like kathryn.

Sometimes, saying “thank you” to a person that has been so kind to you isn’t simple because these two words aren’t always capable of carrying our gratitude and appreciation. There has to be something more especial and valuable and I find it important for me personally to acknowledge this person and to talk about how she made a difference in my life.

I have so many wishes in my life and one of them is eternal happiness for Kathryn. I really wish and pray that her life is filled with happiness, health and joys.