Esra

Where madness meets reality

Monthly Archive: August 2013

Wednesday

28

August 2013

1

COMMENTS

On being a narcissist!

Written by , Posted in Uncategorized

A couple of weeks ago I met with some friends over coffee and as all friendly outgoing gatherings they can start by simple catching up talks and end with deep intellectual discussions about our futures, our beliefs, and what is next in life?

While sipping my espresso, a friend asked me why I am still based in Saudi, knowing that I’ve worked on many multinational projects over the region and I’ve had many chances to stay in a different country. My answer was: the country needs me as it needs all its youth spirit to build it. His reply was: don’t you feel this is narcissism? You are just an individual who won’t change the world by working in an office all day long or running around town fighting for women empowerment and equality.

I felt that this is where all our issues as a generation fall. We don’t believe in our importance and how impactful our small contributions are in building the national force that will empower us all.

I-love-saudi

A nation can’t be developed without the conjoined effort of all of us. We are going through a boom economically, intellectually, and socially. If you don’t jump in now and give your best and boost it, it will sail without you. It is not about the fina

ncial rewards –though eventually it’ll be rewarding- that make you want to be a part of this boom. It is the whole package; being able to make an im

pact, giving back to the society you grew up in and love, and the people who supported you throughout your life, while at the same time you gain the experience of your life. It is the sense of community and belonging to it.

I might sound overly optimistic or describe Utopia when I forecast our future here while all I am is just a girl who grew up in this country and knows how positive the future seems to be. Just a quick comparison: compare the last 40 y

ears of our history vs. all the positive and blessed changes that happened in the last decade and the ongoing and upcoming projects covering all sorts of developments.

If everything goes as projected, we will witness a massive evolution all through our lives and the quality of our living, managed and run by our youth blood. So, why would I give up all that for a career abroad? Why shouldn’t I be part of this? And why shouldn’t we all be a part of it? If this is called narcissism, then let’s all be narcissists and contribute to our gross national patriotic-narcissism.

Tuesday

20

August 2013

0

COMMENTS

Why being a woman in Saudi is so amazing!

Written by , Posted in Experience

Life has its own way of living itself whether we enjoy it or not. It is part of what we signed up for and this includes being a woman in Saudi Arabia. Nothing can really prepare you for living here; not reading about it, not even living here all your life can make you an expert in how to deal with life in Saudi as a woman, especially a local woman.

You are not allowed to drive. You can’t travel or even apply to a job or college without your male guardian’s approval, but this is not all. You are always judged and whatever you do is strictly monitored by society. The quality of your own living is decided and dependent on your own family’s boundaries –you’ll be among the lucky elite if you happen to be born into an open-minded family. We are still supervised by the tribal culture and values regardless of how big or advanced we are becoming as a country and a nation.

But things are changing rapidly and we have witnessed it especially in the last decade; we are living in the information era. People are able to gain more information easily and adapt changes very easily. One of the most rapid changes we are witnessing is the ability for women here to gain more rights and have more access to things we haven’t dreamt of 20 or 30 years ago and we are overcoming all obstacles and challenges.

saudi-women-men-working

We are amazing because of what we can offer to ourselves, our society, and to the world. We are intelligent, strong, self-sufficient, and independent. We can do what we want when we want compared to what was a burden before. We are more secure and self-motivated and this made us happier.

The government is being a strong supporter in empowering us. Laws are being put in place to allow women to have more freedom at work. Numbers are saying that Saudi women constitute more than 17% of the native workforce. The number of working women increased 280% in the last decade. Mixed gender work places are becoming more acceptable.

In 3 decades female literacy in Saudi jumped from 2% to 82% – with more than 50% with higher education degrees and the number of Saudi women graduating from colleges with high education degrees is higher than many western countries.

We have a female minister, female parliament advisors, female lawyers, and female athletes competing in the Olympics, hundreds of thousands of Saudi women studying or working abroad. Things we never imagined about a decade ago.

I do believe that sometimes we still feel down, we still demand more but let’s admit and accept that there is a moderate progress happening by the government and we shall support it rather than criticizing it. The change is happening and we strong Saudi women are leading it.

For a nation that is relatively considered young struggling between the tribal and conservative parties, the political issues, and the youth along with the government’s urge to develop the human in order to develop the country and be a first world classified country, changes happening here are structured to benefit us while not harming or causing conflicts with any party even if others see it as very slow steps we can rest assured that they are sustainable steps.

Always believe that the best is yet to come and we will get there soon.

Monday

12

August 2013

1

COMMENTS

Finding The Right Path in Life

Written by , Posted in Babbles

As we grew up this was a taboo to discuss or even question. We were taught that the religion or doctrine dictated to us in school is the right path in life without any further questions. You are not allowed to ask or to wonder even though “not everyone who wonders is lost”. I believe questioning and wondering will always lead you on the right path. You need to ask questions to get answers to believe, otherwise you are just a follower to what you found your ancestors doing which all religions came to earth to fight.praying
Religion is not a form of physical acts you do without understanding the rational behind it. It is a spiritual journey that guides you through life to lead you to the happy ending or heavens; the ultimate goal of life.
I was afraid to ask. I couldn’t negotiate or challenge anyone with questions as the answer was always: Don’t debate. Don’t argue.
What you can do is start reading. I realized that to find your right path in life you have to keep an open mind, start opening to others and observe their cultures and beliefs. The more you are exposed to the more you start getting a clearer picture.
Free yourself from all the guides you had built in your head. Start with a clean slate and don’t accept or reject any idea you are exposed to.
Beware of the “gurus” or whoever consider themselves a part of a cult. Cults usually position themselves asspiritual groups that control you mentally or physically.
Embrace uncertainty; nobody is absolutely sure about anything. Knowledge can never be absolute.
Don’t be polluted with what is going on around you: what others are reflecting isn’t a reflection of their religion. Religions have been altered to suit and benefit the strong parties in each culture till it was negatively presented.
Never compromise thinking for social acceptance or just to fit in. You were given a brain to think and challenge.
Religion and faith are more than a dress code, more than a booklet being shared by a tribe, and more than a guru sharing his/her wisdom in a TV show.
Faith is a nonstop spiritual journey of what you believe in.
In the end, I realized I believe in peace, in coexistence,and in accepting others and this is what I found all Abrahamic religions call for especially Islam.
Islam was the most misinterpreted religion. Some Muslims harmed Islam more than they benefitted it, but this will never ruin or affect the fact that Islam was found to help humanity prosper: “Mercy to all worlds”.
Till today Islam is being mistaken with terrorism, jihadists, degrading women, and unaccepting of others while the core values of Islam are peace, equality, and prosperity for all ages as far as mankind exists. In Islam you are asked to never stop learning or working till the end of the world. “If the Day of Judgment erupts while you are planting a new tree, carry on and plant it”. The first word in Quran was “Read”.
After embracing this faith I do believe that it is my role to share this with the world and to be a good Muslim as much as I can to represent a better image of this great religion.

Sunday

4

August 2013

2

COMMENTS

Salary Isn’t Enough… or Is It?

Written by , Posted in Babbles, Experience

money-flying

There was a hash tag that turned into a national case which turned into a worldwide discussion that the majorities in Saudi Arabia are complaining about their income, and that their salaries aren’t enough for necessities due to inflation and all other affecting factors.

I’m neither an economist nor a specialist who can decide whether salaries are really enough or fairly covering the basic needs. What I’m going to discuss here is what each individual in this society can do to help boost his/her own income, which leads to better financial sustainability.

What I do believe in is that fixing or restructuring the salaries scale won’t be useful or benefit us if we don’t, as individuals and as a nation, understand how to properly manage our finances. Not all of us can afford a financial planner, but with a few simple tips each one of us can be his/her own financial planner.

– Did any one of us enroll in a financial literacy program educating us about our financial rights and how to save a few pennies weekly or monthly to build a better financial foundation for ourselves? There are a lot of CSR initiatives such as Riyali on social networks educating us for free about financial literacy.

– Have you ever planned your income budget and stuck to it?

– How about using your talent or whatever you are good at in earning some extra cash? Relying on a fixed salary is never the answer.

For example:

– Do some freelancing, list yourself as an Arabic/English translator, do some audio filing for an old lady looking to convert her cassettes into a digital library, teach Indians or Mexicans online Arabic or about your culture, or use your office skills in doing some virtual assistant work.

– How about starting a blog and exchanging ads or listing your blog in AdSense or AdChoices and earning extra cash whenever someone visits your blog?

– Advertise for products on your Twitter or Instagram account.

– Resell your old stuff on eBay, Mstaml, or Souq.

– Bake some goods, or pickle some carrots and sell them to your family or friends or over social networks.

– Get a second job; instead of spending time watching sitcoms you can get a second job with a decent paycheck that can help boost your income.

– Stop buying things you don’t need.

– Invest in yourself; have you ever saved some of your current income to enroll in a community program or an online course that will help expand your knowledge and experience to help you advance in your career?

– Buy books that feed your brain instead of fancy coffee and chocolates that feed your tummy.

The idea is not whether the salary is enough or not, it is how we deal with our salaries. We tend to brag and spend more than we earn to gain some sort of fake social respect. This needs to stop! We have to live up to our incomes and set our lifestyle accordingly. We tailor our lifestyle to our incomes not the opposite.