Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Quantity over quality

Okay, no story today since there is an important event taking place:
  1. Government and Syria’s allies called for a "1 million person" demonstration.
  2. Lebanon’s capital Beirut will be the place.
  3. Lebanon’s population is around 4 million persons, so one fourth of the population is what the government is expecting to see.
I hope there will be some Lebanese flags to remind us that it is actually a Lebanese demonstration…

For those who forgot what it looks like ...

Monday, November 29, 2004

Writing Lebanese

Yo Lebanon!!! Wazzzzzzuuuuuuuuuup?

Another Monday, another week... I hope everybody had a nice weekend...

When the Internet was introduced in Lebanon, it was impossible to write in Arabic. Email programs and chat rooms only supported few non-Latin languages, and Arabic wasn't one of them. We had to stick to English or French when typing until we found a way to overcome this problem...

We started to write Lebanese*... Lebanese!?

Yes Lebanon, and by writing Lebanese, I mean using Latin characters to write Arabic words. We had already done so a million times... Since schooldays, we had to write the names of our cities and villages in French and English on non-Arabic forms. Even now, my home address contains the word "Jdeideh", the Lebanese equivalent to "new".

Having the reputation for adapting to all situations, Lebanese people started to write Lebanese in chat rooms... We even created characters for the sounds not available in Latin. So instead of using "h" for writing "habibi" (which means "my love"), we started to use the number 7 to write "7abibi". This way, translating from characters to sounds was faster and clearer. We also used the number 2 for the Arabic "A" and its variations, and the number 3 for a previously written "aa" sound. For example, the translation of the word "crowded" became "3aj2a", a word impossible to write previously.

Lebanese became the standard for writing in chat rooms, and later the same thing happened with mobile phones’ messages known as SMS.

Few years later, the option to write Arabic became available, but apparently, few are the people who can type it quickly on a computer or a mobile phone. The Lebanese language proved to be more practical, faster and more effective when it came to expressing ourselves in writing.

We think Lebanese, we speak Lebanese and we write Lebanese.

Some say we are Arabs, others say we are Phoenicians (I know I say so), but one thing is for sure... We are LEBANESE!!!

* I believe Mr. Said Akel was the first person to come up with the Lebanese language idea, but he encountered opposition by the advocates of the Arabic Lebanon ideology.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

NASCAR Drivers Only

Dear Lebanon

About a year ago, I was fed up with the same daily news we see on TV and in newspapers... "1 received 2" , " 3 said so " , " 4 replied " , " 5 protested " and so on. I had to change my news sources.
I still read the headlines on naharnet.com and The Dailystar online, but my interest shifted lately to what the foreign press is saying about us...

While doing my regular news' search yesterday, I found a tourist's report about Lebanon. YES my friends, Lebanon's tourism sector is growing... However, a great deal of work is needed to improve our image, not only on the security/safety issue, but on all aspects.

In her article dated November 26, Elinor Garely* from New York was talking about visiting Lebanon and describing her experience there. One funny thing she mentioned was the following: "There is much to see and do, and unless you are an expert NASCAR driver, you may not want to get behind the wheel of a car rental."
To those not familiar with NASCAR, it is a high speed car race in the USA where bumping to other cars is allowed.
Come to think of it, she is absolutely right.

A German guy visiting our company once asked me: "Why does the taxi driver stop only on few red lights and not on the others ?"
The truth is... We make our own rules...

Lebanon, you turned us into experienced NASCAR drivers in the eyes of the West...I thank you for that.

Well, have a nice weekend Lebanon, and I'll see you again on Monday.

* You can read Elinor Garely's article by clicking on this link.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Wet Wet Wet and Motorcycles Cemetery

Dear Lebanon, looks like another storm has started last night. Again, I try to do my best not splashing/wetting people walking on the sides of the river (oops I meant road).

Well, I have some photos (in the bottom) to show you today, and since a photo is worth a thousand words, I won't comment on them... But I bet you will laugh and email them to your friends. They will probably be emailed all over the world, and one day someone will send them back to me.

Emails forwarding...That's something good to talk about.
How often did you receive the same messages and pictures from different people?

Even better, how often did someone email you images you originally sent?
In order to analyze this issue, I will do some tests with my photos...
And of course dear Lebanon, I'll keep you updated with the results.

See you Next time Lebanon !

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Good Morning Lebanon !!!

Hello Lebanon, and welcome to my blog.
I will be referring to Lebanon as a person throughout this blog...So I don't have to name a lot of people and hurt their feelings...

Looks like winter has officially started this week... Heavy rains, strong winds, low temperatures... All the natural signs of winter... Plus our regular share of flodded roads and traffic jams.
As if driving in Lebanon wasn't adventurous enough, we have the privilege of testing our driving skills on river-like roads, specially on my way to work in the Industrial City of Bauchrieh.

Lebanon, I have so many things to tell you but I don't know where to start...

Well, today is a big day... I finally got my Hotmail upgraded to 250MB.
unfortunately dear Lebanon, I had to give you up for that and change you for another country ... It appears that Lebanon will be one of the last countries where storage will be upgraded from the ridiculous 2MB.
However, I can't blame Hotmail... It is taking more than 14 years to rebuild you and so far, I would say we haven't made you the Lebanon we hoped you'll be.
Now I can be assured that my mailbox won't be full when my friends send me emails with pictures. I don't really need 250MB, since 10MB would have been enough... Specially on our cheap and reliable state of the art Internet connections...

See you tomorrow Lebanon...And don't forget to comment on my stories...

Lebanon News - Aggregated by Google