Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Whole World Is Watching

When everyone has a blog, a MySpace page or Facebook entry, everyone is a publisher. When everyone has a cellphone with a camera in it, everyone is a paparazzo. When everyone can upload video on YouTube, everyone is filmmaker. When everyone is a publisher, paparazzo or filmmaker, everyone else is a public figure. We’re all public figures now. The blogosphere has made the global discussion so much richer — and each of us so much more transparent.

The Whole World Is Watching - New York Times.


Above is a quote from an article by Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times. Technology enabled people to make their voice heard. And as technology becomes more and more affordable it gives power to the masses to have a say. Hopefully this will lead people, and especially those with power and influence, to act with care because now they can be exposed more easily.


Lately a story of an American teacher in Kuwait who was subjected to acts of vengeance was made popular through the blogsphere. Wouldn’t the person think twice before subjecting others to such acts had they known they would be exposed? Let’s hope so.


 

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gender Change in Kuwait

According to Al-Watan newspaper, Human Watch Organization wants gender change ban to be lifted in Kuwait [Link]. Now I am not sure how this gender change goes, but I am assuming it only goes one way (male to female) and not the other way around since I am not aware of the ability of modern medicine to install artificial joints! So to think out loud here are the top five reasons why someone would want a gender change in Kuwait:

• Now that everything is segregated thanks to our Islamist MPs, you are sick of sitting on the same side of the aisle.
• You want to be able to be seated in the family only section of restaurants.
• You are tired of throwing your phone number at girls and want to receive numbers for change.
• You want to cover up head to toe and scare off your baby brother.
• And finally, who needs to be a man now that women can vote too!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crying Out for Help

I am personally aware of a very sad story about an American teacher in Kuwait. The teacher, Katherine Phillips, is Al-Bayan Bilingual School Middle School Deputy Principal. She is the victim of an influential parent who has effectively detained her in Kuwait. Her only crime was to suspend the influential parent's son for fighting! This is a normal procedure but the parent threatened her and is carrying out his threat. Her full story can be found in International Schools Review site. She is crying out for help.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fun Facts

Here are few fun facts from the book Freakonomics:



  • Timber cutter is the most dangerous job in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a 1 in 200 chance of being killed over four years’ time.

  • The typical prostitute earns more than the typical architect. (Sorry architects out there!)

  • It costs about $25,000 a year to keep someone incarcerated in prison.

  • Switzerland has more firearms than just about any other country on per capita basis, and yet it is one of the safest places in the world.

  • A Swimming pool in a house is 100 times more likely to kill a child than a gun in a house.

  • The per hour death rate of driving as opposed to flying is about equal. (Even though there are more accidents in driving, people spend more hours driving than flying so the the per hour rate evens out.)

  • A study shows that more than 50% of resumes contain lies.

 

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Safat Blues

For some reason my posts are not showing on safat anymore. I tried to contact them but couldn't get through. Any clue anyone? (Let's see if this post shows up).

Latest posts:
French Open
To Believe or Not to Believe
Women in Labor Law
Give Them Spoons

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Give Them Spoons

The make-work bias is best illustrated by a story, perhaps apocryphal, of an economist who visits China under Mao Zedong. He sees hundreds of workers building a dam with shovels. He asks: “Why don't they use a mechanical digger?” “That would put people out of work,” replies the foreman. “Oh,” says the economist, “I thought you were making a dam. If it's jobs you want, take away their shovels and give them spoons.” For an individual, the make-work bias makes some sense. He prospers if he has a job, and may lose his health insurance if he is laid off. For the nation as a whole, however, what matters is not whether people have jobs, but how they do them. The more people produce, the greater the general prosperity. It helps, therefore, if people shift from less productive occupations to more productive ones. Economists, recalling that before the industrial revolution 95% of Americans were farmers, worry far less about downsizing than ordinary people do. Politicians, however, follow the lead of ordinary people. Hence, to take a more frivolous example, Oregon's ban on self-service petrol stations.

Lexington | Vote for me, dimwit | Economist.com.


Give all government workers out there spoons!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Women in Labor Law

There is much dismay from the recently approved adjustments to Kuwait’s labor law concerning the treatment of women. Women are not supposed to work after 8 pm and are not allowed to join hazardous jobs according to the adjustments. This clearly conflicts with women’s free will.


Now what is not apparent is that the adjustments are not entirely new. The original law prohibited women from working at night, and the adjustment only specified the definition of night to be after 8 pm. The original law included the same hazardous jobs provision, so it’s nothing new.


What people did not realize is that even before such adjustments the law conflicted with women’s free will but no one knew about it; neither was it implemented. That does not mean that the adjustments should pass by unnoticed or or un-opposed. The entire labor law should be overhauled to be fair to women as well as to address the bigger issue of encouraging the private sector and overall development.

Monday, June 18, 2007

To Believe or Not to Believe

Looking at the recent crop of books on God and religion, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that whether people end up like Mr Gosse or like his father depends on whether they have an intrinsic feeling for religion or not.

Is there a God? | To believe or not to believe | Economist.com.


 I was astonished by the number of recent publications on the topic of God, for and against. So if you are interested here is a list of some of those books:


Against:



For:



The above quote talks about a father and son. Gosse was taken by his father to the top of the hill in order to protect him from being influenced by those who did not believe. This did not work and the son ended up steering clear of religion while the father stuck with his. So whatever argument you choose, more likely it will be a reflection of whether you have feeling for religion or not.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

French Open


That’s Federer in the French Open finals and more important it was me taking the picture! Even though I was lucky enough to attend the final while being away on business -yeah right!– it would have been even better had he won. After three grueling hours the winner of the men’s title will earn as much as the women’s title holder due to the latest push for equal prize money.

The rational behind equal prize money is gender equality which is understandable in normal circumstances. However in tennis men play longer and draw larger viewership. This would justify earning more than women. Some counter this argument by saying women are willing to play longer -men play best of five sets while women play best of three. Whatever the case might be equality does not necessarily result in fairness. Sorry Roger next time!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Risk Taker

Once Onassis the Greek shipping tycoon made a peanut seller an offer. He grabbed a handful of peanuts and asked the seller to guess if the peanuts in his hand were odd numbered or even. If he guessed right Onassis would pay him a bundle otherwise he would take away his entire stock. The seller dismissed the offer. Onassis tried to convince him showing him a bundle of money that he would get if he guessed right. The seller dismissed him again. Onassis tried again pointing to his fancy car and yacht to prove that he is serious. The seller dismissed him yet again.


Onassis confronted the seller with his wasted opportunity: had he taken the risk and guessed he would either get it right and gain a bundle, or if he didn’t get it right it would be reasonable to conclude that a wealthy man such as Onassis wouldn’t really take away his stock. It was a win win situation only ruined by the seller’s failure to take the risk. I read this story a while ago in one of the daily newspapers -that are popping up everyday! So go ahead and be a risk taker!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Note to Self

I’m on a high right now. Not the recreational type but a mental one. I just went through a professional examination, the grueling type, and regardless of the outcome (pray for me!) the experience was worthwhile. I jotted few notes to self while I am still in this state of mind to remember:

- Challenge yourself every once in a while: Get out of your comfort zone. Give yourself that kick in the behind. It will cause some pain but it will awaken that thing inside of you and open your eyes to a new reality or the reality you missed while deep in your comfort.
- Once you get that vision of your new reality, a vision built on you potential not your limitation, act on it fast before you fall back to your comfort zone.
- Follow your heart: remember the constant dilemma about heart vs. mind? The answer is heart, but makes sure it is your heart that you’re listening to –it’s called the gut feeling.