Archive | January, 2013

The driver bubble

31 Jan


I remember a time when the going rate for a driver was SR 1200 a month. Then it was 1500. Now it’s anywhere between 2000 and 3000. That’s not to mention the rise in visa and iqama prices. It has become so complicated and expensive to bring in a driver,  people are just hiring “local” drivers, poaching them from other employers by offering a raise.  Question is: Are we experiencing a driver bubble?  How high will these prices rise? And what will happen when it becomes too high a price for most people ?


What The **** ???!!!!

25 Jan

I don’t know if these people are pretending to be psychos or really believe the shit they’re saying. This kind of offensive and hateful language should not be tolerated. Shame on them for adding the word “sheikh” and “‘Allama” before their names, what a sick joke. Either way, they should be held accountable for what they tweet… by being castrated. Part of me is in such shock that it suspects or hopes that this is a sick psycho trying to ruin the image of religious people in the public eye. What do you think?


UPDATE (9:07 am – sat, Jan 26 -2013):

I got a request for translation, which I think I avoided subconsciously because I couldn’t bring myself to read such disgusting language again. But here goes:


“Al Sheikh” Dr. Abuabdulmalik : #what_would_you_do_if_you_had_the_hat_of_invisibility I’d arrest the head of the “fusaq” (corrupted) , the caller to driving Manal Al Shareef, and take her to afhganistan where she can be a “sabeya” (an old word for female prisoners of war that would essentially be taken as slaves, spoils of war) ridden by the mujahideen there.

“Allama” Abu Umar: #if_saudi_women_drove based on several fiqh researches I’ve done, it is permitted to take women who drive cars and spread moral prostitution as slaves (in this contexts, its sex slaves, aka. rape) .

“Allama” Abu Umar: #if_saudi_women_drove I announce it clearly: whoever wants to get rid if his wife, let her demand driving because I will kill her and burn her body.

There. Done. No comment.


UPDATE (10:33 pm – fri , Jan 25 -2013):

So I checked out the twitter accounts, and @BinHellfire has been suspended (YES!), while @Abuabdulmalik is still roaming free… his tweets are so ridiculous I’m almost sure its a joke, like @Abaleeso, designed to shock and outrage. He has 4,000 followers, most of which I suspect started in the past day when the picture above went viral.

Sometimes I think these kinds of accounts were designed to draw out the twitter users who DO think like that, because some people are actually agreeing with him. Like bait. I don’t know why but that’s the feeling I get.

abuabdilmalik copy

Translation for his bio:

In a world full of whoring … in a world full of contradiction between your moral standards and your reality… there is no room for peace of mind… I have vowed myself to defend the borders of my religion against the phenomena of whoring and corruption. I am not joking. Ask about what you want through this website:


YES! I’ve just been proven correct!

24 Jan

In a past post, titled “My Theory Of Moderate Silence” , I hypothesized that the number of conservatives and liberals were roughly the same, with the vast majority being moderate, and therefore, quite. I admit I did not have any numbers or statistics to support my theory, but I nonetheless believed in it.

Today, ladies and gents, I have come across some data that fully supported my theory, thus proving my genius. Here it is below, as you can see the liberals and conservatives COMBINED make up about 43% of the Saudi facebook users (the liberals 21% and consies 23%). That means that the other 57% have other interests, making them the “silent” majority when it comes to issues like women driving. Thank you, The Marketing Department for your lovely infographic. Feel free to deduce other things from these pie charts, like how its more saudi men than women on facebook, except in shopping where they’re equal. Funny.

Everyone’s idea of ideal is different

18 Jan

So I was in my friend’s car the other day, and she commented about how although her driver doesn’t know the roads,  he’s chill and doesn’t talk so she likes him. Just needs to train him. And it dawned on me: we each are looking for something different in our drivers. To some, driving safely isnt a must, but being abke to manuver and drive fast is. To others its also important how their driver looks and dresses because they feel its a reflection on themselves.  I remember one friend was so used to arab and ethiopian drivers that when she had a phillipino she still insisted he wear the thobe and ghutra as a work uniform.  Honestly it was pretty funny watching him struggle with his new outfit and trying to balance the headgear. I felt sorry for him.
Body odor and personal hygene are an important issue. The driver I had a fight with last week refuses to use deo because “he’s allergic”. If I have to sit in the same car as him ever again I’m pretty sure I’m going to break out in hives.
Not talking too much is another trait some look for. That includes not eavesdropping,  gossiping, or talking back. Then again, I’ve had drivers that cant even confirm if they heard you and understood you or not.
Someone reliable and trustworthy is important as well. I think you can bunch these two together just because they have to do with trust. Normally you find out if your driver is those two only after several months and sometimes years. To me, if I catch him lying about small things like where he is or gas money, hes on the blacklist to be replaced ASAP.
Knowing the city and the roads is always a plus.  Its such a headache taking the wrong turn and winding up getting stuck in a jeddah weekend traffic jam. And as my sister once said “if you see s car suddenly break in the middle of the road,  then turn left from the right lane after some hesitation,  chances are its girls trying to explain to their driver where to go only he reacted too slow”.
That’s one more point: quick reflexes. Cuz slow drivers here are dangerous.
Oh, and how could I forget: languages. English or arabic or both or none. I think some women communicate with their drivers in sign language. We normally need one that can read English for reading our grocery list.
Also, as sad as this may sound, I’d probably prefer a non-muslim driver, just so I don’t have to worry about getting stuck somewhere for an hour at every prayer time. If he had his rug with him and made-do whenever the mosque wasn’t available I’d be fine with that.  But many drivers are in the mosque before athan and the last to leave and I call that exploitation.
In a way, its quite complicated finding the ideal  driver for you and your needs. Perhaps as complicated as finding a husband! Haha, Have I forgotten
anything? Let me know!

The “you snooze you lose” protocol

17 Jan

In my home, we have something the “you snooze you lose” protocol.

Its very simple: if you sleep past 9am, you miss out on the chance to get in on the morning driver-slicing.
Example: this morning I was planning on going to Athr Gallery for a talk im interested in. My sister wanted to have breakfast at my uncle’s house and I knew my mom wanted to go buy some material for new abayas. Both my sister and I were up and about by 8:30 am, but my mom wasn’t up till 9:30, early enough to wave good morning and goodbye to use from her breakfast table but too late to catch a ride. Yep, even mumsy, the queen of the house has to go by that rule. God knows I’ve been left behind plenty enough times.

Now try explaining to your friends why even though you don’t have a desk job you still have to be up by 8:30 am if you want to have any driver-rights.

Most just shake their heads and laugh. Or nod knowingly if they live here.

Now that we have female representatives …

14 Jan
Saudi's Shura Council in session. (Getty)

Saudi’s Shura Council in session. (Getty)

عضوات في مجلس الشورى يعتزمن مناقشة قضية قيادة المرأة للسيارة باعتبارها حق من حقوقها الإنسانية والمدنية.. =====================================

كشفت أكثرمن عضوة من المعينات أخيراً في مجلس الشورى السعودي أنهن يعتزمن مناقشة قضية قيادة المرأة السيارة باعتبارها قضية ملحة تطرق أذهان النساء في المملكة.وأكدت عضوة مجلس الشورى الدكتورة ثريا العريض في تصريحات صحافية أنها من المؤيدات لذلك، وقالت: “أتحدث عن نفسي حين أقول إن القضية مهمة جداً، والأمل كبير في أن يناقش هذا الملف من قبل المجلس”، مستحسنة أن يُحسم الموضوع بقرار رسمي دون حاجة لنقاشه مرة أخرى في المجلس، فيما أوضحت الأستاذة بجامعة الملك سعود الدكتورة لبنى الأنصاري أنه في حال طرح مثل هذا الملف للنقاش، فإنها ستكون من المؤيدات له، مشيرة إلى أن نسبة بسيطة من النساء تعارض السماح للمرأة بالقيادة – وفقا لها – وأن مجرد إتاحة الفرصة للمرأة للاختيار بين القيادة أو رفضها هي مسألة مهمة جداً ونقلة نوعية للمرأة السعودية.
من جهتها كشفت عضوة مجلس الشورى الدكتورة لطيفة الشعلان بحسب صحيفة “الشرق” تأييدها لأي مشروع يسمح للمرأة بقيادة السيارة، واصفة ذلك بأنه أحد أبسط حقوقها الإنسانية والمدنية والذي عطلته الأعراف والعادات، ولم يتعلق رفضه بمخالفته لتعاليم الدين

So according to this women’s rights group I follow on facebook, more than one of the newly appointed female shoura members have voiced that they plan on discussing the women’s driving situation in the kingdom as an important issue.

Dr. Thuraya Al-Urayed has voiced her support on the issue, while Dr. Lubna AL Ansari has said that she would support it if the issue came up for debate. According to Al-Sharq newspaper, Dr Latifa Al Sha’alan said that she would support any project that supports women’s driving, describing it as one of her simplest civil and human rights disrupted by local tradition.

That was a basic summary of the announcement. Like I said in a previous post, I remain skeptic about the influence of the Shoura council, but I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised.

I’m Back.

14 Jan

In KSA, that is. On day 3 I had a fight with the current driver (some new guy, so its inevitable a power struggle happens), and on day 6 I had a “Oh God what have I done, why did I come back” breakdown/moment.

Now I’m just throwing myself at work and family and slowly starting to see my friends again after hiding in bed for about a week (I’m not cut out for depression).
So now I have daily new material to entertain you girls with, plus all the new news on the “will we ever drive” scene.

Oh, and a few days ago I wanted to go to this new cafe I heard so much about only to find not one, but TWO Hay’aa 4x4s parked outside! Needless to say, I just told the driver to drive on. Couldn’t be bothered to deal with the drama so early in my return honestly… dammit I missed out on a good breakfast!

My personal theory is that the day the Govt announces great steps in the reform of women’s rights here, the Hay’aa goes out the next day to flex their muscles, take revenge and prove they still exist. Like the announcement the day before about making 20% of The Shoura council women and announcing the names of those women. In theory that’s great progress, but honestly I’ve yet to see any real change come out of the Shoura council to believe that they have any influence in anything at all. The day after that announcement was the first time I’ve ever seen the Hay’aa that far north in Jeddah. Revenge. But that’s just my personal opinion.

Back to the driving stuff…. Stay Tuned…