Do you like Cousa Mihshe as much as you like Fish and Chips? Are you curently residing in two cultral hemisphers, walking a fine line between what is and is not ok with your teta or mama or any other family member, community or country?
Do you belong to your own cultural party, mixing and matching the best bits of life's mojo juice ? Is your Arabic a bit pigeon but full of good intentions?

If you ancwered yes to one or more of these questions chances are, it's safe to keep reading and you fnd its your perfect cup of tea, or Nescafe ma Halib

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Goodbye London...

A few days till I leave for what feels like an age.

My love/hate relationship with Old Blighty & lovley London is almost at an end and the imminent departure feels bitter sweet. I will miss the vibrant ‘Britishness’ of it all, the queuing, the transport bedlam, the long walks in the rambling Essex country side that I always pretend to hate but secretly love doing in near silence, walking besides the man who makes my heart sing.

I will miss the calm of living so anonymously and almost invisibly amongst a sea of people I will never ever see again. My taste buds will always think fondly of High teas in Devon to Dim sum in China Town, & Turkish delights in green lanes.

Yet of all the things that I hold dear it will be my dearest most wonderful friends that I will miss wholeheartedly as I head off to the desert winds and start the next chapter of my life. Impending adventures away from the wisdom of those incredible people that helped me form a better understanding of myself will be a strange challenge and I can only hope that the love I feel for them will continue to light up our communications via other modes.

Thank goodness for skype, for phones, for texts for tweets and even Facebook deserves a mention or an accolade for making it easier to feel the pulse ( all be it electronically) of those I love. Will look forward to finding out if distace truly makes the heart grow fonder or is it... makes the heart go wonder...Either way, its Good bye London, Hello Arabia

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Stars of Science shows of the power of homegrown Arab programing at its best

Like many young people, I grew up mesmerized by the power of Sesame Street. It taught me to read the alphabet before I made it to school; it exposed me to life changing themes like ‘co-operation’ and ‘listening’ and since those early memories of Educational TV I was hooked! Over the years as grew into a person who worked on TV shows rather than just consumed them I have been in search of that holy grail of the TV world and finally I’m thrilled to say… MOVE over Big Bird… The Edutainment Program Stars of Science has landed once more in the Arab world.
A brilliant Initiative of the Qatar Foundation the 9 week program is Educational TV at its best. Who could resist the powerful cocktail of young Arabs, a spirit of Innovation, and shared hopes & dreams to helps humanity. Like sesame Street before it (created as one of the first edutainment format designed to establish mental and emotional foundations for children) Stars of Science offers viewers who are bored of conventional and questionable reality TV formats a chance to watch a raft of young want to be inventors battling it out in front of a Jury to secure their place in a competition that could lead to their ideas moving from a concept to an actual product.

Considering the challenge of having had an entire generation of young people who were reared on a TV diet of trash TV, resulting in a crazy rise of want to be pop stars, it’s extremely refreshing to see scientists, academics and innovators hailed as the new heroes. My heart went out to each and every one of those innovators who stood up full of hope and presented their ideas for everything from Potatoes & people power to lab sampling equipment! Dr. Fouad (the Simon Cowell Mr Bad guy) of the Jury was firm in his feedback but even that didn’t deter the un-selected innovators who later confess in interviews that the experience has just made them more resolute in their vision and mission.

 I was powerfully struck by this buoyant optimism of these young people, some who had traveled miles to attend the casting session and the power of a program to move people from where they are to where they want to be in an ethical & ecological way. By communicating clearly as the program did that you don’t have to be a pop star to be a hero, Stars of Science has unleashed a refreshing new and unlikely pin up. Looks like my Big Bird poster is about to be replaced!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Goodbye Big Brother … Good bye Big Brother Arabia

So it’s goodbye to big brother UK tonight. The coffin is out the RIP stings adorn the top of the screen and there are people dressed in black waiting for the final wake tonight but frankly tonight I’m saying good bye to Big brother in a completely other light as I’m still getting over a pervious Big Brother death that took place 6 years ago in Bahrain on a small island near the coast of Muharraq.

The ill-fated death of Big Brother Arabia, or ‘The Boss’ as it was affectionately labeled by Endomol who had previously rolled out a similar format twist successfully in Africa,  was elegantly branded by MBC’s award winning Creative department and designed with the type of care and attention to detail rarely applied to a TV show at that time.

It lived (in pre-production terms) for almost 6 months and then once delivered to TV screens across the region, it lasted only 11 days. If it’s nasty and body less death had been predicted by all those people who participated in its creation and production, perhaps it would not have been so hard to see it go in such a confused and chaotic way like an honor killing no one was prepared to take responsibility for.

Unlike UK’s big brother – that is celebrating its achievements, adventures and hours of mind numbing television with the pride of a mother watching their child pick up an achievement award, in a carnivalistic and joyful way, ‘The Boss’ died with no fan fair or learning’s. Actually it died under an invisible cloak that shamed and blamed the program & pointed to its contestants, producers and TV station for threatening Islam, with one woman quoted on the BBC for calling it ‘Television for Animals’.

Ironically, ‘Television for Animals’ was exactly what it was not , as the programs intentions were of being a program that joined the dots between region, showing young people (mostly for the first time) that it was possible to be a young person, practice your faith and have a conversation with the opposite sex without being banished to damnation. The 12 Big Brother Pan Arab contestants gave young people in the region a chance to see what other young people in other Arab countries were thinking, doing & feeling at a time when no other program in the region had. In 2010 reality shows with girls and boys from all over the Arab world living in one place all trying to win the singing, fashion, performance or even marriage competition they are part of are a dime a dozen but back in 2004, Big Brother was a trail blazer, acting as a litmus test to the world. It aimed to bridge the gap between the old and new generations to show that respect, tradition and modernity were possible if you listened or looked at the spirit of what these people in the house were up to for those 11 days. The talked about religion and explained one another’s faiths though the simple act of preparing food, they talked about family, and their aspirations for the future. If that made the program, ‘television for animals’ I am not quite sure what that lady would make of television today.

To say the death of ‘The Boss’ was a seriously missed opportunity to reach out to a planet of switched on moderate young Arabs is an understatement. With a reach of over 2 million + viewers per episode, it could have been the Facebook of its time, doing more for cross cultural communications then a peace summit. It could have offered fresh role models and public debates that would have paved the way for better co- existence between counties and generations.
Now if you will excuse me… I have a TV funeral to attend.

big up the Banksy

well did you know...

well did you know...
No pressure then!

list of all the things a part time arab my worry about

  • to que or not que ... that is the question
  • how do I say....
  • how manny cousins do I have?
  • should one say Bleease or Please when in the motherland?
  • not being Arabic enough
  • being too Arabic