November Panorama

  • “He was buried there or maybe under my feet…or somewhere else! suddenly, I thought, why all the reading on my brother’s tomb, he hadn’t sinned. He just lived for his sickness and then my father killed him. I remembered the words of the Imam who buried him, “your brother is now with angels”, he said. My brother became an angel, and I will become the devil, that is most certain. children become angels when they die young, and adults become devils. I have missed being angel! Part of Mohamed Chouckri’s autobiography, For Bread Alone.
  • “What! I spend half of my day working under the heat of the sun to pay for gas, water and other home expenses, while my wife enjoys her time watching TV under the air condition. In addition, the total of my expenses are no more than 500 S.R while my wife’s make up for the wedding of her sister costs me more than 700 S.R.” one of my Saudi friend commenting on how women are living a better life than men in Saudi.
  • “Saudi women are very respective, kind and wonderful compare to men here. They always treat me with respect and kindness.” Said an indian taxi driver when I asked him to compare between saudi men and women in term of how they treat him as a taxi driver.
  • “Did delivery guy just say “love u, bye” on the phone after I said “thank u, bye”?”  Diana’s tweet about the funny incident that happened to her.
  • “It is always unclear to me how the society function here, if you talk about the problem here, they say “you are westernized”, if you don’t, oh, they say: “why didn’t you make an effort to solve it” God damn it, how could someone solve a problem without talking about? tell me how?” a Saudi friend talking about his frustration of Saudi society.
  • “And with the passing years, what had once seemed like a miracle or the luckiest of chances and which he had always promised himself he would never become enslaved by, has gradually become his sole reason to go on living.” A quote from Paulo Coelho’s last novel, the Winner Stands Alone.
  • “I really think that everyone who drives a car here in Saudi, should go and see a psychologist at least once a month!” I, telling my friend about the horrible driving experience I have here in Saudi.
  • “Getting married is very much like going to a restaurant with friends. You order what you want then, When you see what the other person has, You wish you had ordered that.” A very funny status that I read on Abdulaziz Alyabes‘s facebook.
  • “Depression is not sadness, it is an absence of feeling. My world feels flat, like a grassy field in Illinois” Said Fatima in her Blog Mushroom Mellow
  • “The increased conservatism of our society over these past years has only moved social interaction to the inside of people’s homes.” reading part of WikiLeaks document on Saudi from CNN.
  • “No, no, no comparison! Pakistani women are more beautiful than Saudi women. Here, Saudi women are like decoration, too much make up!” said Pakistani’s taxi driver after I asked him whether saudi women are more beautiful than Pakistani women.
  • “As a 26-year-old woman living in Manhattan, I have zero tolerance for couples who exhibit very private affections in very public places. Although I try to look elsewhere, these amorous displays are hard to avoid. Everywhere I go, people are fondling each other as if the entire city were a cheap motel room” Said NYT editors Nicole Ferraro in her article Complaint Box, Public Smooching
  • “I don’t want this indepencey, not even the responsibility that I dream of. I want to come back to my father and mother.” Said a female Saudi student in USA, Najla Barasain in her Blog’s post, America, I am sorry, but I don’t like you
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5 thoughts on “November Panorama

  1. Wakhah! I thought I recognized Choukri’s name. I should read his autobiography. Paul Bowles seemed to meet only male prostitutes and other members of the demi-monde in Tangiers. Some he helped to get published. Some he “borrowed” stories from. Interesting that it was the infamous Driss Basri who banned Choukri’s books–though not surprising. Quite the study, that particular MOI.

    I particularly enjoyed the personal reflections on Saudi society that you quoted here.

    Nice Panorama!! Thanks!

  2. Yay, glad to read one of these again! I really love how you ask questions of people like whether Pakistani or Saudi women are prettier and others that let us see how people think. I also like how your friend expressed his disgust at people who shame him for talking about problems when – to him – talking is an important step in the process of changing and improving society!

    It’s interesting to read how your Saudi female friend wants that protected lifestyle. I guess independence is difficult when you have been used to something else your entire life. A commenter on another blog said he would like to have the privilege of just letting his mom feed him instead of doing all the tasks required of him. I guess all that freedom he has is too much since his sisters and mom can’t go out on their own. Thus he has to drive them and chaperone them. I wonder if that is the prevailing thought in Saudi and women really do want to stay in their air conditioned houses all day watching TV and putting on lots of make up. It’s all quite interesting to me!

    Hope you are doing well and getting the hang of driving like a Saudi! 🙂 I miss your posts from Oregon – and the pictures, but I am glad you are keeping up with this blog from time to time to let us know how you are doing.

    Oh, and yes, most adults are devils. 🙂

  3. Jerry M

    “Getting married is very much like going to a restaurant with friends. You order what you want then, When you see what the other person has, You wish you had ordered that.”

    Sounds like a very odd view. I hope that view isn’t common among Arab men (and I assume it is an Arab man from the name). I live in the US and I have never heard anything like that said by any of my friends of acquaintances.

  4. Sarah O.

    You should do more of this.. Have you ever heard of the website “Overheard in New York”? You could do something similar such as “Overheard in Riyadh”.

    It’s so funny….

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