Esra

Where madness meets reality

saudi Archive

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.

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.

Tuesday

16

July 2013

0

COMMENTS

Smiling is Not Flirting

Written by , Posted in Babbles

I tend to be the smiling person you run into while grabbing your morning coffee or maybe, sometimes, the person striking a conversation at the airport terminal or while waiting for your dentist appointment.smiling-woman

I was raised in an open free house with a multicultural background and have been living in different parts of the world as I grew up exposed to all kinds of ethnicities being a daughter of my great never stay still family. I do believe that my background made me open to the world and more accepting of others. I really see myself as a friend to everyone.

In the past few years I settled in Riyadh, a dry, emotionless city. It’s sad that I’m giving it this name, but everyone who ever lived or stayed here would agree with me that even with all the urban modern architecture around us, the desert is still affecting the society badly in being strict, firm, and cold, emotionally. It is rarely witnessed, and relatively weird smiling to strangers in the street; same or cross gender.

With all of the strict cultures, the social boundaries, and religious barriers – as they claim-, people became aggressively closed to themselves which resulted in misinterpreting any positive or nice gesture – especially with the other gender- and I really started to notice it heavily and to be honest it is one of the most annoying feelings ever to have your genuine acts misinterpreted just because of the cultural or old social misperceptions.

What I’m writing here might sound self-involved and delusional but I want to assure you I’m not the kind of hair-flipping narcissistic diva tearing hearts apart with her looks and walk. I’m not even aware if physical appearance has any involvement here when it comes to transforming any act of politeness into an invitation to start an unwanted conversation and in worse cases you end up getting yourself a stalker with a set mentality that you were meant for each other because you did give him the green light when you smiled back while exchanging business cards at an event.

It annoys me to find that some might consider my millisecond longer smiles or my ‘have a pleasant evening’ wishes an indication of flirting or a welcoming sign to go further with their moves.

I do understand the mechanism of relationships and how social relations develop; we can see it happening everywhere in real life and in the cyber world. We all start as strangers in the beginning but there will always be body language, a physical distance, or an emoticon that can tell if the other participant of the conversation is interested. You need to pay attention to that.

The last thing I or any other outgoing woman can ever imagine is living in a closed, stressed, smile-less world because of this condition so please let’s all agree:
Smiling is not flirting!
Texting to check on your health after a week of the flu is not flirting!
Holding the door for you at the entrance is not flirting!
A handshake while exchanging business cards is not flirting!
And of course, replying to your tweet or complimenting your blog post is not a flirtation, whatsoever.