Monday, December 31, 2007

Aamir Khan - Taare Zameen Par

I wish everyone a blessed new year to come. May you discover the beauty of Islam and have a new beginning in your life. I pray for you and your family's health, happiness and prosperity.

Yesterday, I got the chance (wonderful chance) to see the latest movie from one of the Indian actors that I really admire, Aamir Khan. In my opinion he is a rare Bollywood actor who continues to suprise his audience. In recent years, he had been taking roles which are of essence. He transforms himself into the character that you fail to see Aamir and instead sees this person he is portraying.

The movie is Taare Zameen Par, don't ask me what it means because I don't speak Urdu. I remember the first movie I watched alone, without anybody aiding me to understand the movie was also his, Lagaan!

Anyway, the movie is about Ishaan, a young kid from a middle class family who was suffering from learning(academic) difficulty. With his parents and teachers, not understanding the dilemna he is undergoing, it seemed like his mother and brother were the only ones he can turn to.

The film will make you realize the dilemna, frustration, pain, struggle, loneliness and hopes children with the same situation go through.

Aamir on his first directorial job proved he have a heart and the talent not just as an actor.

Alhamdulillah he is great!

I won't give away the rest of the story, enough is said.

Just make sure you see his movie and visit his blog site.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Charice Pempengo and Arnel Pineda - buzz and waves in America

You won't believe it, i've been spending unbelievable time online searching for whatever new information i can get about Charice and just early this morning, about Arnel.

Obviously both these amazing talent are creating a stir in the US and worldwide, both pro and con!

But the amazing part is, they are getting noticed.

Hey guy and girl... keep it simple and keep your feet on the ground.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Birthday Shoaib

For the first time in our 5 or so years of friendship... i got lost in space and forgot its my bestest friend's birthday today. Normally I wait until 00:01 to send him a birthday message on the phone and then give him a quick call, but today, i don't know what happened.

Its easy to get overwhelmed by so may stuff in your life you then forget the small but more important things like this.

Better late than never.... happy birthday 'Bbi!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Copy of Letter to the Editor 25Nov07 in Arab News

Copy of my letter to the Editor which came out in the Arab News issue 25 November 2007. I wrote about my personal experience of being "frightened" by a supposed Passport officer in plain clothes.

- to be continued -

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

4 Saudis Arabized iPhone

On today's Arab News is an exciting article entitled "Saudi Developers 'Arabize' iPhone.

Merely 5 months after its launch, this sure is a breath of fresh air for many Saudis and other Arabic speaking customers to finally get what they want out of their "unlocked" iPhone.

Congratulations to Yousuf Omar, Mohammed Milyani, Yousuf and Bandar Raffah!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Something to Inspire

I wrote this song yesterday 19 November 2007, just about before leaving the office and turning off my pc. I hope this inspires you during times when you feel alone.



Like an oasis in a dry desert land
Like a river in a valley of sands
Like a mist on a leaf after the dark lonely night
Like a breath of fresh air under the burning sun

Your love and mercy is there for me
Your strength and glory is just above me
Every step of the way, every breath that I take
In every moment you just doesn't fail

Like rain falling on the hardened dry land
Like the colors of the rainbow dancing in the sky
Like the beauty of spring flowers after the snow
Like the comfort of a mother's hand after a fall

Your love and mercy is there for me
Your strength and glory is just above me
Every step of the way, every breath that I take
In every moment you just doesn't fail

Your love and mercy is there for me
Your strength and glory is just above me
Every step of the way, every breath that I take
In every moment you just doesn't fail

For there is no other God, no other creator
Fore there is no other Judge, redeemer and guide
Every step of the way, every breath that I take
In every moment You are there

Monday, November 19, 2007

Charice Pempengco is on the news again!

Way to go go girl!!!

On one of the episodes of E! Daily 10, the highlight of her performance in a TV show in Korea was shown briefly.. and guess what..... they think she upstaged Jennifer Hudson's performance... and she is merely 15 years old......

A veteran of singing contests in the Philippines... she sure brings inspiration to many aspiring singers!

Congrats.... keep your feet on the ground!

Me and the team I work with

They are the team I work with in Emaar Economic City. 99% Saudization. Hardworking, decent, educated and smart. Not perfect, but better than the rest! I am both happy and blessed to be working with these group of Saudis who are part of what will shape the future of the employment scene in Saudi Arabia.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Canceleld Trip to Pakistan

(above is a picture sent to me by one of my friends, Ahmad Raza who worked with us briefly from an external auditing firm)

Pakistan is one place on earth I really would love to visit.

I have friends in Lahore, Karachi, Sahiwal and Peshawar and was actually looking forward to visiting there.

Several months ago, I promised my friend, Shoaib's parents that I would visit them in Sahiwal. They came to Jeddah for Umrah and I had the pleasure of meeting them in Makkah. It was funny when I met them. I have not actually met parents of my Pakistani friends.... together. Normally I get to be introduced only to the father. But that time, I had them both together. After making a few calls so we can finalize the meeting point, I finally got to see them, sitting under the small clock tower fronting one of the major gates in the Grand Mosque. I like meeting parents of my friends, its like family. So me and Shoaib's father shook hands and hugged, as is customary, and his mum reached for me, well actually you know, that time, I didn't know how to react……she reached to tap my shoulder as if to bless me, and to my own amazement, of not knowing how to respond, I did the same to her… aaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……. LOL……. It was so awkward, because I realized that it was very foolish… that I learned from my other Pakistani friends, well actually I have few.. lets see.. I have Shoaib, Saqlain and Hasnain Jillani – my friends from Lahore. Shoaib is my bestest friend in Jeddah, anyway, I also have Asim Hafiz – from Karachi, Umer from Lahore also and finally Salam Khan, who I call Khanji – from Peshawar. So I have this little Pakistani circle of friends.

So because of this exposure to almost everything Pakistani, there grew inside of me a desire to visit the place. Besides, I have seen a lot of beautiful tourist destinations on TV. I definitely will be very happy to see a glimpse of Kashmir, Muree, Peshawar, Sahiwal, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Gilgit, Payperu etc.

Anyway, I made some plans to visit there this year, in December…. Unfortunately because of most recent events, I had to put that plan off….for obvious safety reasons. This kindda make me feel a bit frustrated.

But anyway, in the right time, inshAllah….. I hope next year will be a better time for my visit…. You know what is more amazing? Sometimes I dream of retiring as a farmer in one of the mountainside farms in Pakistan… well why not… dreaming is free anyway, no need for plane ticket!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Weekend - 14 November 2007

Can you believe it.... we've only got a month and a half before the year ends....... ummm.

I got to think, well, this is not really a very positive thought... but every day we live is a day closer to our.... death.. really. Scary huh.. but its a reality.

Anyway, this weekend I have just been spending a lot of time enjoying old music videos and live concert snippets from my fave artists at Youtube. I got to tell you that Youtube is a great service to humanity. Its just amazing thinking about the amount of information available there.

I am also glad that they have 'safety' measures in place. Although I do hope that there would be some sort of filtering for prospective violent activities, you know like pre-empt them from happening. How about opening a group of Youtube users who will commit at least sometime everyday to check new uploads and sort of alert others of impending threat, like what happened int the US and most recently in Sweden.

Going back to my weekend, finally I got to clean my Canaries' cages, after months of lazying around the idea. Washed them and sprayed them with vinegar dilluted in water... as a disinfectant.. well I hope it works... I read somewhere sometime ago that Vinegar removes smell and kills bacteria......

Three of my canaries... the father and 2 teens have grown bald the last few months.. so I was suspecting mite infestation. Amazingly, I have another one which is actually doing fine.

Got some leaves from Neem tree (which is very much abundant here in Saudi Arabia) and am actually air drying them. Later on I will just boil them in water and cool it down to spray on the birds.... I hope it gets rid of all the mites, if they do have them.

And as usual, I got to spend sometime in Shoaib's computer store, where I normally spend most of my non-working time in.

Will post audio of my Canaries singing next time.


Protect yourself from becoming a victim!

This is a copy of my letter to the Editor of Arab News in reaction to a report today (17 November 2007) regarding expatriate victims of crooks posing as Saudis. The common strategy is to strike on the naivety and vulnerability of the expatriates.

I know of one Kerla guy working in Balad who is regularly being harassed by a person, whether he is Saudi or not I don't know because I have not seen him yet. So because he was cowed once into giving the man 200SR, the culprit learned where the poor guy work and every now and then he shows up, the Kerla shakes and gives in into handing him 100 or 50Sr... all because the criminal is threatening him that he is from the Jawazat or Passport Office.

================== = = = ===================== = = = ==================

Dear Sir,
I appreciate your reporter and your paper's efforts in bringing this subject to light. All too often, expatriates are victimized because they are the obvious most vulnerable for such.
My personal experience could have been similar to other's fate had I not been confident. I was on my way home from a friend's house at around 12:30midnight, only within my neighborhood in Sherafiya Jeddah, when a car stopped. Tha man demanded to know my nationality. Immediately I felt intimidated because I had done no wrong. I asked him why and he insisted. Firmly I asked what his problem was and he told me that he is from Jawazat and demanded my Iqama. I pulled my Iqama from my walled but refused to show it to him before I could see his ID. If he is from Jawazat, he would have an ID. He showed me a photocopy and I said that won't do, it is not original. He told me to come inside his car to check his computer about my Iqama. Thinking probably that I am stupid not to recognize that the computer he was pointing at is the monitor in his car for GPRS navigation and phone calls. I smelled danger so I refused. In a louder tone, I asked him again what the problem was and I challenged him that I will call my sponsor so he can talk with him, otherwise, I am willing to walk and he in his car and we will go to the police, which on hindsite, was not really a smart thing to do. When he realized I am not going to be feared by his antics, he moved slowly away from me, while I was pretending to make a call, and I was eyeing his plate number.
Had I been overcame be fear, we never really know what could have happened, I could have been mugged, my money and Iqama stolen, or worse - sodomized and killed in the desert.
Expatriates, among themselves and with the help of their consulates should be informed on this current modus operandi. We should be well equipped with information.
On the other hand, I would like to encourage people to remember to call 999 immediately in the event of any untoward incident. I believe that the 'real' police here would be able to help, and always make the number of your HR or Manager available.
Be safe,
Mario Yusuf GerminoJeddah

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This is me, Fred Garces and Don Mata. Fred works with me in Emaar The Economic City together with another Filipino, Rey Plete. Don on the other hand is from ICOM.

Paid Blogs

Out of frustration, and need.. I started looking for taking steps in to realizing some sort of a dream..... getting paid for my blogs. I have another blog, which after more than 5 months online have generated more than 2,800 visits but I am not sure if they allow bloggers to do paid blogging.

Now I am trying my luck hopefully this will work. I want to improve my writing skills and at the same time, earn little extra cash.

Me after lunch athe Saudi Diar canteen

Just chilling out after a good lunch at the Saudi Diyar canteen, where we normally take our daily lunch....

My new gizmo

The most hi-tech gadget I have probably is my laptop and my mp3 player……… until last night. I have been always been an admirer of new technology, but sometimes couldn't just afford it. When I saw my friend's iPhone… I was thrilled and in awe of its features. Ok, there are some flaws here and there, but we have to admit, the iPhone is one heck of a great gadget to have. The touch screen, the flexibility, the sound, the resolution, well except the price, I do wish that they would have a cheaper version. Which led me to some really surprising discovery.

Many Chinese companies are banking on the touch-screen technology….. a couple of them, probably the major ones in the game, have come up with iPhone clones, albeit not as a phone but as an MP4/3 player, with camera. But I won't be writing about that until I get hold of one. Last night as I was visiting my friend, Shoaib's store in Corniche Commercial Center in the heart of Jeddah's Balad district, he showed me some very interesting stuff. And I just fell in love with a cute little MP4 player, well not really little, its got 2"+ screen. The cool thing is that it uses the touchscreen technology, although not on viewing screen, but on the control panel. Instead of buttons to press, you can simply pass your finger to forward, rewind, scroll up or down, select menu, increase the volume, select the pre-set equalizer etc. For a cheap price, it’s a worthy catch.

I couldn't sleep tinkering with it. Takes a little time though to get used to it. One very bad setback is the poor English used in the manual. It will take you some time to realize the manufacturer could have used a translation software bought in their local market to do the job instead of hiring a human translator… the grammar and sentence composition sometimes doesn’t just make sense. But then again, anybody into technology and these kind of stuff can, in no time, figure it out.

The resolution is also good, albeit the built-in speaker is like listening to a cockroach-choir… so its better just to use the headphone which came with the package. You can easily re-charge the unit either through direct AC or via USB to your computer. I like the image of the battery while charging, as it is displayed on the screen.

I got the 1GB, but can't wait until I can take a bigger capacity like 2 or 4GB…. So I can download all my favorite Youtube clips…and speaking of Youtube… well.. I got to talk about that in another posting.