Thursday, August 24, 2006


Before going on with my blog, I would like to discuss what I think is the idea behind blogging: that is Writing.

As you may or may not know, History has started since our ancestor caveman decided to sculpt some symbols representing his daily life on the wall of some caves. You can say that all people and, probably, civilizations who lived before that are pre-history. We simply know nothing about them.

What started history was that basic, simple, ridiculous recording of whatever early human considered as important to him. Written language might have passed through many phases before the appearance of Alphabet. But still, some people can look at some cave walls and say: somebody lived here...

It might have taken a long time since people started writing books, philosophy and other sophisticated subjects appeared later...But in the beginning, there was the word.

As Abufares once said: "Words give us the unlimited freedom to soar with the eagles or to fuck with the chickens". Indeed, words have unlimited abilities...
Words are the way to share your experiences with people you have never met, probably many generations after yours. They are the means of spreading human knowledge and the reservoir of all intellectual products. They will enable you to draw a picture of all places you have visited and to trasnfer your feelings to your readers, to let them into your own world.

Still, in the 21st century, many people are living out of reach of history. It may be strange that in the midst of all this communication technology, people know less about each other. The need to express one's self is as urgent as it's always been.

Writing is a way of revealing ourselves to the outer world. It is almost the only way of a long-lasting expression. You may still stand up in a Speakers' Corner and shout as loud as your throat can allow; but as your voice fades away, nobody will be able to hear what you'd just said.

You don't need to be a philosopher or a creative thinker to come up with interesting pieces of writing. You can just, as the early caveman started History, start writing about your own daily life. We all have daily lives that deserve writing about, not least your life.

Everybody likes to see the reflection of his own life experiences written down somewhere. And interestingly, we enjoy reading about our own self, or what resemble it. But yet, if you have a very exotic way of living, be sure that everybody would like to know about it.

Don't wait so much. Go on and let everybody share your ideas and impressions with you. Let them cross the borders of your mortal body and last as long as there's somebody able to read. Start catching the flow of ideas that pass trough your head before they vanish. There maybe someone who'd like to share them with you, or at least the person you would be after ten years.

You have some choices here. You can get a pen and a piece of paper and write down whatever nonsense you're thinking of. You can go into a deep cave in a remote area and hide a treasure trove of knowledge there. And always, you can simply sign-up!

Keep up the good work!

Friday, August 11, 2006


I hope you are not already bored stiff waiting for my second post, and for the answer to that BIG question: “Why they don’t just take your money and not send you anything?”

I’ll try to put the goddamn answer down here. If you reached the bottom of my post that would make me happy. If you managed to leave a comment, I would be in great delight.

So whether you were a poor guy who was unlucky enough to buy something from a shop in Damascus, or an expert merchant who believes that "Business is smartness"... It doesn't really matter if you believe in that silly motto or not…
If you are someone who can sell a 300 SP item for 1200 SP, or you are still trying to find a way to convince your customers that all the Chinese goods in your shop are all French-made (No offence!) Just go ahead and read the answer!

Why don’t they take your money and send you nothing?

  • Because nobody here (I mean UK) would even think of stealing (just out of curiosity!) your mail from the pigeonhole messagebox
  • Because when you go to the shop and buy an item for £49.98, the shop assistant would give 2 pennies back. Not two "Chicklets" chewing-gums, not two pieces of sugar, not even two medic wound-plaster
  • Because a driver here would stop at a red traffic-light, whether the road was clear or not. And in the absence of any police officer
  • Because although smoking is still allowed in public places, the guy sitting next to you in the park would ask for your permission before lighting his cigarette
  • Because you can close your eyes and drive in the cyclists lane safely
  • Because a porter would knock at your door before coming in even if he knew that nobody was in there
  • Because they call the National Health Service here: the Trust, and eventually, they trust it
  • I can count endlessly, but…
Simply, if we all trusted each other, life would be much more easier than if we
all thought: “he is going to take my money and run away

Trust is not something that can be built overnight. But on the contrary, it could be destroyed at the drop of a hat…
Trust is something that could be connected to reputation, but is actually different. It is the reputation you have for a stranger, someone that you have never met…
Trust is not something written down in any textbook, it is not something that people learn at school, it is not even something clearly defined. It is that bleary feeling of safety we have towards the public. It cannot be achieved by an individual effort, but by collaborative one.

I would not go as far as saying that anybody is trustworthy. But there should be a certain limit that would enable you to have a simple, normally unsuspicious approach to everyday life.

I don’t know what level you can feel, but believe me: it deserves to give it a second thought.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Shopping & Shopping online

I used to wonder why some people add "Shopping" as a hobby in their profile. Living in Damascus - Syria, I used to hate shopping, and to avoid it most of the time. I would just tell my brother to go downstairs and get whatever we wanted for lunch or dinner. I don't really like it when you have to answer 99 questions before being able to get 1 kg of sugar for your tea. I am not anti-social, but I don't like being (or feeling that I am) interrogated for no obvious reason. However, it wasn't difficult to do shopping (or shall I call it buying). I used to feel good about the limited choices I had, but sometimes I couldn't find what I needed. Anyway, that was in the past...

Since I stepped into the UK, everything has changed. Now I would stand for hours in the supermarket wondering which bread is better, trying to tell the difference between pink and red salmon, or even trying to explain the big difference in price between two packs of noodles. I would get very confused when I find that the cheap one is very good...That would trigger my imagination to start a failed attempt of figuring out how the expensive one would taste. It was very diffucult to move from the very limited to the other extreme end. But...!

As if that wasn't even enough, I had to try shopping online! I have to admit that it was extremely difficult for me to have all those choices! It was even harder when you cannot touch or feel the item you're buying. You can never make a successful estimate of size, although "dimensions"are often mentioned. And the 1-click-buy button was so easy that I pressed it twice, which meant that I made a duplicate order!

When I was first introduced to shopping online by Abufares I had a simple question: "Why don't they simply take your money and NOT send you the item? Or Why don't they steal all the money in your credit card?" I asked. His simple answer to that was: "You have to buy from trusted websites, and you'll have then to trust them!"
That answer was enough for me at that time, but I would never say that I understood the real reason...

Let's get back to my duplicate order! I got very confused that night. What should I do? Then I came across another maggical button: Problem with this order? I had no choice but pressing the button...But I hesitated a little bit before moving to the next step: Contact the seller...I have to admit that I thought: Would they reply? But I contacted them anyway...

It was 07:41 a.m. the very same morning when they refunded the whole value for my item, plus the shipping cost (obviously it wasn't shipped). I was even thanked for buying from their store, although I haven't really been to their store!

Sometimes you have to look for answers to your own questions. Although the mistake I have made was partially an answer to my previous questions to Abufares, I was able to find the complete answer by other means. If you are still reading and not bored to death, you can get back to my blog later and find out!