Tag Archives: Women driving
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Why Most Saudi Women Dread Holidays –

27 Oct

… Unless they’re traveling.

If you’ve lived in Saudi for any length of time you will have noticed that anyone who can will rush to the airport as soon as there are a few days off, even a day or two earlier. It’s not because we can’t do with our London/Paris/Nyc/Cairo/Beirut/Dubai/Istanbul visits, (well, it is but that’s not all) It’s because on holidays, most women and families are driver-less, hence stuck at home unless the dad/husband/driving age brother feels like some family time and takes everyone out for a walk on the corniche or around the mall.

It gets even worse when the holiday is attached to the weekend. As if it’s not enough that 50% of my weekend (Fridays) is unplan-able unless its within walking distance or I manage to sort out some other driver. This year, al Adha Eid happened to start on a Saturday. This made for two consecutive stuck-at-home days. No wheels, no friends, no errands, no plans. (In truth we went out for a family brunch on Sat, but you get what I mean).

I’m not advocating making drivers work on holidays, on the contrary I’m all for fair working hours and good holidays. I just don’t see why that should come at the expense of my own rights. Why should my freedom of movement mean someone else’s enslavement? Because let’s face it, that’s what it really is if you expect 18hr workdays and no weekends or holidays. No wonder so many Saudis travel. What all the above cities have in common is that you can just walk out and go to a cafe and see people. Or take taxis and metros and trains and other modes of public transportation. I don’t know about you but the taboo on taxis still stands in my family. And I’ve heard some weird stories about these companies that you hire for individual rides (won’t name names, but one guy started calling my friend on her phone and harassing her, and she had hired him via an app!).

I know some people (hopefully none of you) will say “well big deal, stay at home for a day or two”, but no thanks, I’d rather my lazy couch-potato, anti-social days be self-imposed and not mandatory.

couch potato homer

 

 

 

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How Candy Crush has Saved My Realationship With My Driver

4 Feb

unnamed

I’m going to admit to a slight addiction to the notorious Candy Crush. But since I have a fear of Addictions, I limit my use to certain locations… before bed, when I wake up, in the umm… “loo” , and in the car. That last bit has probably saved my driver from having me freak out on him for wrong turns, taking the long way, flashing his lights at cars, weaving in and out of traffic, and various other annoying to dangerous driving habits that my otherwise un-preoccupied self would have jumped at.

Basically I’m not paying attention to his driving, or the road, or the idiots and the road. Not backseat driver, a lot less stress.

So Thank you Candy Crush. You might be a huge waste of time, but in this case, you’ve been very useful!

No way out

6 Nov

There’s a saying in arabic,
لا يرحم الناس ولا يخلي رحمة ربنتا تنزل
It means “he doesn’t show mercy to people nor does he let God’s mercy come down”
It is said when someone does not give you an alternative.  No way out.
With the current ministry of labor crackdown,  most illegal drivers’ legal papers are still being processed,  taking forever because the ministry is totally overloaded.  Some drivers have been here for so long,  totally evading the system that they do not exist,  making it even more difficult,  if not impossible to correct their status.
The “driver for hire” companies are so overloaded that they stopped answering calls of desperate women looking for a ride.
There is no form of safe clean public transportation.
We women are still not allowed to drive.

The only option left is the reckless unreliable and somtimes dangerous taxi drivers in the street. Or the local interpretation of “taxi”.

The problem with bringing in a driver from abroad on your own sponsorship is not only that it’s very expensive,  but also that you can’t test-drive them. Or interview them in person. You risk a lot of money for someone whose only driving experience may be that of driving a rickshaw,  which I’m sure you’ll agree is not the same as a car.

A small part of me hoped this crackdown on illegal workers was a step towards legalising our driving status. I keep being rudely woken up by reality.
What are we supposed to do?

“No Woman, No Drive”

26 Oct

Gotta laugh at these guys. Satire is sometimes the best way to emotionally deal with these situations.
Alaa wardi, Hisham Fageeh and Fahad Albutairi lighten the air once again.

BIGGEST.HYPOCRITE.EVER.

20 Oct
The Accused

Yes, I chose one of the most unflattering pictures I could find, but this is also mid-transformation- thanks to plastic surgery.

So it seems that the “woman of the hour” is none other than the Emarati singer Ahlam. Her latest twitter faux-pas has earned her a mention on my blog, which would have never EVER happened otherwise.

Apparently she said some stuff on her twitter account @Ahlam_Alshamsi (I can’t believe I’m advertising for her) about how Saudi women should NOT drive and should “fear God” or something like that, which naturally unleashed an avalanche of sarcasm, anger, and jokes at her expense. Probably some rude remarks as well. I really don’t know what she was thinking, since a simple google image search will reveal that she is anything but conservative by this regions standards. It’s like throwing stones when your own house is not only made of glass, but so is everything inside your house and the target you happened to be throwing glass at is an army tank. She can’t be that stupid. Maybe she’s just bored and want’s to get attention the same way Kuwaiti singer Shams did, only by being contrarian. I think that’s pretty clear. She also comes from the UAE, which does not ban women from driving.

BUT attention she did get (I am writing about her after all), and you can go to her above twitter account or search the special hashtag created in her honor (or dishonor) by Saudis, #أحلام_تعارض_قيادتنا_للسيارة . This joke even made its way to a few news websites, including this link that mercilessly makes fun of her. It’s honestly really funny and got me laughing at the reactions. I guess a lot of people are bored out there. Her latest tweet announces that she (in the “royal” plural form) has decided to give people a chance to apologize to her.

Big.Fat.Chance

One of the meany memes tweeted in response. Love!

One of the meany memes tweeted in response. Love!

Wa Fadee7atah “وافضيحتاه”

3 Oct

For those of you (including myself) who had some doubts that this story about Saleh Al-Luheidan might have been taken out of context or misquoted, it is clear in the video above that he is not. Yahala show decided to bring the man himself over so that no one can dispute this. Ya Hala show also brought over an OB-Gyni who is challenging him medically.

For those of you who can understand Arabic, you can see that he keeps rambling off and dancing around the Issue, not really giving a straight answer or a scientific answer. Basically he compares the prostate in men to the uterus in women. I think that’s proof enough that he has no idea what he’s talking about.The poor doctor is clearly getting frustrated because he’s asking the “sheikh” for his references, and he’s replying that he should get back to himself and ask himself about that, and to give him proof that driving does NOT affect the ovaries!

So yeah, the dude was (still is) serious! I applaud the Doctor’s self-restraint in not being rude to him.

I think the Ya Hala show has done us all a great favor by addressing the issue head-on and letting this “sheikh” show exactly how irrational he is and expose himself for the fraud that he is.

Pop Music Jumps On The Bandwagon!

27 Sep

I find this highly amusing. A Kuwaiti singer named Shams has recently released a song that is causing quite a stir. It’s titled “It’s Our Right To Drive” and the lyrics go between asking, cajoling and teasing. She even sings that’s she’s rather save the money she pays the driver and buy a gift for her man instead! I translated one verse from the song:

“Let me drive a car,

understand the street and it’s secrets,

try me one let me drive a bit,

trust me you won’t lose a thing,

This is my right and I want it,

and tomorrow it will be mentioned in the newspaper”

There’s even a guy who replies:

“It’s better for you if you’d just ride a Camel”

 

Hilarious.

 

I don’t get the end though but apparently an ambulance is needed. Gee Shams, thanks a lot for the optimistic outlook.

In reply to the wave of criticism she faced, the singer just said that she’s free to sing about anything she wants and if they don’t have a sense of humor and don’t get it she really doesn’t even care that they exist. Hahaha! That’s Kuwaiti singers for you, with kuwaiti attitude to boot.

 

I’m not sure if she’s helping the issue or making it worse, or if she supports it or is using it to get attention. But hey, the more the merrier.