Jul 31, 2010

No Women. No Play.

As you may have heard there is a campaign to 'force' Saudi Women to take part in the Olympics. The idea is that if Saudi women can not be part of the Saudi team, then the entire country should not take place. Male Saudi athletes will have to sit at home as a punishment for what is not in their hands. I think the idea is ridiculous. And the issue of Saudi women and Olympics in my eyes is like trying to put out a forest fire with a spoon of water. I mean really! There are truly more important things to focus on.

Anyway, if you have not heard about it.. the link is as follows:

No Women. No Play.

On Maids and OUR children...

This is a very big topic here in Saudi. Maids have pretty much become the de facto 'mother' of many of our children. I must say that this is not just a problem here in Saudi, but throughout the gulf, and probably amongst the upper class rich throughout the world. The difference here is that one does no have to be filthy rich to have a maid at home, and thus have a maid pretty much run the house; cleaning, cooking, caring for the children.

Picture Source: http://www.jeevanjyotiservice.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/maid4.gif

Nowadays as living expenses have gone up, it is normal and truly a necessity for mothers to go out into the work force. Many women no longer have the luxury to leave their children with family members, as the mothers may be older, busy, or not in the same city. This pretty much leaves the maids or daycare facilities. Most people opt for their maids, as the day care facilities can run anywhere above 15,000 SAR which can be a bank breaker for some couples who are already tight with funds.

Picture Source: http://rlv.zcache.com/slave_to_saudi_mistress_apron-p154873330913073585q6wc_400.jpg

The problem is, these maids are not merely nannies. Many are expected to wake up at the crack of dawn and start cleaning. Once the kids are up, they become nannies, and must juggle cleaning and caring for the kids. Once breakfast/lunch time or dinner time come around, they must juggle 3 jobs at once, the maid, the nanny and the cook. And on many occasions these maids are not treated properly by their employers, and hate every waking moment of their day.

Picture Source: http://desertdiaries.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/maids-benefits.jpg

With such feelings already festering within, what does one expect from an unhappy overworked house helper? Hate of course. And some just can't distinguish between the innocent child and their parents. All they can see is that they can hurt the parent by hurting the child. And this is where the serious problems arises.

Now the question is, how can we better treat our maids, to ensure that they are properly caring for our children. I would have to say that firstly; you must lessen the workload on them. If you want them to be your nannies, then give them limited chores during the day (when you or someone else can actually be with the kids). Let them sleep properly, and if you have a household that stays up late, let them take naps during the day so that they will be well rested to stay awake with the family. Or better yet, let them sleep early, and the parents can stay with the children and actually have some bonding time. Cook for your family whenever your available. Make it fun bring hubby into the kitchen and have a date at home :) I think you may get the gist of what I am saying.

In a nutshell, treat your maid like a human being, remember that she needs her rest, and DOES get tired from being a superwoman all day. Teach your children to respect them, and talk to them courteously (you would be surprised how many children I have seen talking to their maids in manners which had me wanting to REALLY spank that kid!) Surprise them with gifts once in a while to show them they are indeed appreciated. And once contract renewal comes around, why not give them a raise if you feel their work and time with your family was truly good.

Personal Note: I don't have to work il7amdlilah and I stay at home; I truly feel that watching my children grow up in front of my eyes is truly be the worlds greatest treasure. I am not saying I will never leave them in someone elses care; that will eventually happen, though the thought of it still scares me. But when the time comes, I do pray that I finally get a proper maid [my last experience was out of this world, and has had me truly scared of even applying for a new maid], and that we will welcome her into our home with utmost  respect.

Anyway, enough of my rambling on and on... I need to get to sleep now...

Ciao :)

PS- I know there are maids that are just EVIL even when you are great to them, I have experienced them first hand. SO I understand that it is NOT always the fault of the employer :s


Leaving kids in maids’ care: Better safe than sorry


Published: Jul 28, 2010 23:52 Updated: Jul 28, 2010 23:52

JEDDAH: With many people in the Kingdom living fast-paced, modern lives and women holding down jobs, families are often obliged to leave their children with relatives and even maids. However, the question remains whether maids can be trusted?

According to local newspapers, a three-month-old child, called Mishary, died two months ago after being poisoned by an Indonesian maid. The woman had mixed rat poison and crushed Paracetamol tablets into the child’s milk.

The three-year-old developed a severe rash, and remained in a coma after suffering heart and kidney failure. Police are still investigating the incident that took place in May. It is unknown whether the maid committed the act in revenge and whether she had been abused.

According to a study released recently by Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, 40 percent of Saudi working mothers leave their children in the care of their maids, 42 percent leave them with their parents and 18 percent leave them in nurseries or day care centers.

Hana Al-Saeed, a 29-year-old working mother of two, said she has no option but to leave her two children with either her maid or her mother. “I work from eight to three and my husband also works so I have to leave my kids with someone,” she said.

Al-Saeed has thought about quitting her job but said she needs the money to secure her children’s future. “With inflation and fees for private school so high I need this job,” she said.

Fatima Turki, a 32-year-old mother of three, said she read about Mishary in newspapers and feels it is wrong to completely trust maids. “Once my maid was looking after my son who was then three years old. While she was looking after him, he burned his knee with an iron. I can never forget the day when I came home and saw his leg,” she said.

Turki said the maid was ironing some clothes and left the iron next to her son while she took a phone call. “My son held the iron and it fell on his knee. He still has a scar. It was a case of negligence but then he is not her son so why would she worry so much about his well being,” she said.

As a result, Turki left her job and says she prefers spending time with her kids.

Leaving children with maids could be the only solution for working parents. Sadly, some mothers leave their kids with maids even when they are home.

Dareen, a 30-year-old mother of two, said her friend’s three-year-old son doesn’t know how to speak proper Arabic because he spends his entire day with the maid. “He can pronounce Indonesian words better than Arabic. I told my friend it’s unfair on the child, especially since he is about to go to school but she doesn’t listen,” she said.

Dareen said her friend is more worried about looking beautiful and hanging out with friends rather than spending time with her child.

A nursery owner in Jeddah who requested anonymity said some parents leave their children from eight in the morning and don’t pick them up until eight in the evening.

“I opened this nursery to help working mothers and look after their kids while they are away. One divorced woman used to leave her son with us for more than 12 hours. I told her it’s unfair on the child,” she said.

The owner said it is also improper to leave children with maids. “I always say to mothers don’t trust anyone with your kids because they’re not responsible for them. I also tell them not to mistreat maids because they will eventually take revenge by hurting the kids,” she said.


Jul 28, 2010

A No Brainer!!!!

I can't believe this even came under discussion! Its like issuing a fatwa now saying that Drinking is 7aram!!? I mean come on! But I am glad that the verdict is officially out (again) for these perverted men to realise that NO they can not legalize any sort of prostitution for their own pleasure! GROW THE HELL UP!!!!!


... NOT

Picture SOurce: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_hznCU6aX8-s/SxC1I8pLOMI/AAAAAAAAAMk/G-kiZ-_K_jk/s1600/love_is_temporary_insanity_curable_by_marriage_magnet-p147732032525282285qjy4_400.jpg

Scholars condemn fixed-term matrimony


Published: Jul 25, 2010 22:51 Updated: Jul 25, 2010 22:51

JEDDAH: Saudi lawyers and Shariah experts have classed “tourist marriages” — the practice of some Saudi men to travel abroad and marry women for specific periods of time — as illegal.

The tourist marriage has been added to the long list of different types of marriages that Saudi men often undertake, at times to overcome the Ministry of Interior’s strict restrictions on marrying foreign women.

A typical tourist marriage usually lasts for fixed periods of time (sometimes ranging a few days) and is aimed at gaining sensual pleasures and not procreating. Marriage officials often carry out these marriages with two witnesses. The officials are, however, often unaware of the fixed time periods that the couples fix between them, a clause that would, according to the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, render the marriage illegal.

Abu Fadi, a 45-year-old Saudi, used to repeatedly travel to a Southeast Asian country to recruit housemaids. It was during one of these travels that he married a woman for a short term “to avoid committing adultery.” [WHATEVER!!!!!]

“We had memorable moments together, especially since I thought my marriage was legal Shariah-wise. I, however, regretted the decision because my ex-wife sent an e-mail with photographs from the marriage to my Saudi wife,” he said. “It was a terrible experience. My wife, however, forgave me after I expressed sorrow and regret on condition I would allow her to accompany me abroad, regardless of whether it is for business, education or leisure,” he added.

After returning from a trip abroad, Abdullah has been left with a sexually transmitted disease. “I contracted herpes from a hotel receptionist while abroad; we were in a tourist marriage. My friends noticed that I liked her and it was they who suggested I marry her," he said, adding that he stayed with the woman for a month before returning to the Kingdom.

Lawyer Rayan Mufti described tourist marriages as “legalized prostitution.”[ ILLEGAL!] “These marriages are popular among men who want to commit adultery with licenses. All of the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence, the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Hanbali and the Shafie, agree that marriages such as these are illegal,” he said.

“This is downright fornication because these marriages are designed solely for sexual pleasures without the responsibilities of a marriage proper,” he added.

Mufti said such marriages are particularly harmful to women who are treated like commodities. “They are also harmful to any children who may be born because they more than often end up without fathers … Women should be wary and not think these marriages are right. Children born from such matrimonies are also illegitimate,” he added.

Islamic researcher Abdullah Al-Jifin said marriages that have fixed time periods are not considered sound and legal in the eyes of Shariah. “The so-called tourist marriages which are meant to end after certain periods of time are totally Haram,” he said.

“Men who travel abroad during the weekend, get married on a Wednesday evening and divorce on a Friday before boarding the plane back home are committing sins. How can a good marriage only last for 72 hours?” he said, adding, “This is not a marriage.”

Dr. Sameer Zamou, a consultant in dermatology and venereal diseases, warned that such marriages can lead to those involved contracting sexually-transmitted diseases, such as herpes and AIDS.

Saleh Al-Daboul, associate professor of criminal sociology at King Fahd Security College in Riyadh, said many social problems stem from such marriages. “Husbands often leave their wives and children behind without caring for them,” he said, adding that there are many children from such marriages abroad whose fathers are not even willing to recognize them as their own.

Ali Al-Hamdan, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, also described tourist marriages as “legalized fornication” and blamed the strange fatwas issued by some scholars for the phenomenon. “Many young Yemeni girls fall into these kinds of unlawful relationships due to extreme poverty. They then come to the embassy seeking help to find their Saudi husbands,” he added.

Abdul Rahman Khayyat, the Saudi ambassador to Indonesia, said the embassy cannot deal with women who do not have proper documents proving they were married to Saudi men.

He, however, pointed out that the embassy is helping children who have been abandoned by their Saudi fathers.

Ali Al-Hanaki, an adviser with Awasir, an organization that cares for the families abandoned by Saudis abroad, said there are at least 596 Saudi families with 1,602 members stranded abroad for various reasons.

He said these families are stranded because the father has died, fallen sick or absconded. He added that Awasir is working hard to help these families.

Source: Scholars condemn fixed-term marriage

Jul 26, 2010

On The Face Veil Ban...

I have been wanting to write a post on the 'burqa ban' that has been sweeping many countries. It was implemented in Turkey, Belgium enforcing a nationwide 'burqa ban', France is just about to fully pass a ban on the face veil, Syria has implemented a ban on the face veil in Schools and Universities, Egypt has been wanting to impose a ban for a while as well, there are many other countries that have enforced or want to enforce some type of 'burqa ban'. There are people of all walks of life calling for a ban on the face veil around the globe.

Picture Source: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/11/13/article-1227574-026D22F9000004B0-590_233x366.jpg

So whats my say on this issue? I say I am against the ban. I am against the fact that other people want to chose how a person wants to live. If a women has chosen to wear the veil on her own, then she should be given the right to do so. I don't see the difference between someone being forced to cover, or forced to un cover. People tend to equate the covering with oppression. But I also add forcing someone to uncover into the equation.  I have read many different blogs on the topic, and thats the beauty, people have the right to disagree. I must agree with some other bloggers that this ban is nothing about giving women freedom, and is more a political step to get more people to follow the 'right', conservative, republican etc wing!

Hijab By Country           

Jul 25, 2010

My 2 cents On the Saudi Marriage Process...

Many people are probably aware that in order for a Saudi National to get married to a Non-Saudi national they need a permission paper stating that they are allowed to get married to their prospective spouse. The process can be short and sweet (with proper Vitamin W -Wasta- Connections), or can be a never ending dilemma where the marriage occurs abroad and where kids are in the picture well before the permission is granted- IF its even granted.

There are many reasons for this process such as; to force Saudis to marry Saudis to avoid 'spinsterhood' , this is amongst the biggest reasons people object to such marriages. Another reason is that many in Saudi believe that marrying a foreigner is not as noble as marrying a local from a notable tribe (think business merger). For that reason it may be hard for someone to marry a foreigner without getting some family member firmly against it. In Saudi, it is not only your nuclear family you worry about, it is your extended family and at times your entire tribe. Some other reasons could be that many believe that bringing in 'foreign' or 'western' influence to Saudi will have negative influence on society, and in essence take away from true Saudi culture; the same people that will easily travel to the 'West' yearly or several times a year once vacation time comes around.

While chatting with my sister yesterday, something new dawned upon me. Maybe, just maybe the marriage permission process is also a way to safeguard foreign woman from some Saudi men. I mean really, some Gulf men are known to play around with a poor girl abroad and come home and marry someone that was already chosen for them. I know there are probably people sitting there disagreeing with me, but let me just make what I am saying clear.

Picture Source: http://gulfnews.com/polopoly_fs/16-op-arab-foreign01-5-jpg-1.100869!image/946264486._gen/derivatives/box_475/946264486.

There are many men around that want to marry a foreign girl, I am not just saying Saudi, as the example I can think of has to do with a Non-Saudi Gulf national. No names to be mentioned though. A Gulf national has met a foreign girl, and wants to marry her. He has no job, and lives off his family. He is already divorced, and the girls friends are pretty sure that he just wants to play around with her, and then just divorce her when the time comes. This is where the Saudi marriage permission would have helped her. A Man needs to be 100% sure he truly wants to marry the woman he has chosen, I mean truly, want her as his wife. He needs to go through a tough process to have her allowed to even enter the country as his wife. He may have to set aside many days/weeks/months completely focusing on obtaining this marriage permission; something he would only do for someone he truly cares about and has no foreseeable intention to divorce after having his 'fun' with her. He will be showing his family and country ahead of time that this woman he has chosen is noble in his eyes, and surely lives up to his idea of what he wants as a wife, and as the mother of his children. He has to stand before his family and firmly state his intention to marry this foreign woman, and bring her into his family. So under the Saudi permission process, I have finally found something i find positive; it has given the foreign woman a piece of mind that her husband really loves her enough to go through this process, and will hopefully stay devoted to her for many years and hopefully a lifetime to come.

Anyhoo, that was my 2 brand spanking new cents on the topic, and would love to wish you all a good night from Rio-KSA :)

PS- While searching for a picture to add to this blog post, I came across this interesting article, and thought I would share it; Why Emirati men marry Foreign women

Jul 6, 2010

Modestly dressed Mannequins...

Qati Nafsak Ya Mannequin! :)

While at the mall yesterday I saw something that made me go, OMG, are you for real?!?! While in the Gap, I was browsing around and I noticed 2 of the Philipino sales men talking n Philipino, I am still not really sure how I understood, but he said something about a shawl and the Mutawa, and I put the two together and figured out they were talking about covering the mannequins with a shawl so the Mutawa's would not get at them. I really could not believe t, I mean how aroused can one get by a headless mannequin to need to have her covered up with a shawl? The mannequin already had a cute sundress on, and the salesmen told me that they were not allowed to keep it like that and that they had to cover them with either a jacket or a shawl so that they would not get in trouble by the religious police. I mean come on, is the job so boring that one must now dictate what a headless mannequin wears?  I really think they should put there time to better use!

I really have nothing else to add, it was shocking to me, and I wish I took a pic of the headless mannequins up on display.. next time!

I have added a picture I found online of headless mannequins in Sharjah

 Picture Source: http://gulfnews.com/polopoly_fs/18-ae-mannequin-gn-5-jpg-1.81955!image/1998259647._gen/derivatives/box_475/1998259647.

I am off to bake cupcakes for my baby girls last day at summer camp... ciao :)


I spent a little over 8 hours at the mall yesterday, shopping most of it, and had some coffee during the Dhuhr prayer time, kept at it, got lunch for my daughter right before the Asr prayer time, and shopped some more, finally got myself something to eat, and took my daughter and my friends daughter to play for about an hour in the indoor kids area. My son was being a good little boy, May Allah bless him. Maghreb was about to come in and I was done. I needed to go home :) As you may already have heard all malls in the kingdom will be open all day throughout the summer save prayer times of course. Too bad I have to go back to return and exchange some things :(

If you are taking a cab and would really like to be as safe as possible, I would suggest you take the London Cab service (they look just like the cabs in London), you will find booths for them in most malls. I saw the booth while I was waiting for my husband to come pick me up.

Oooh and  I clocked in at over 16000 steps on my pedometer.. 5 weeks and 6 kg down... I am proud :)))

You would think that they would use spell check right?!

And I found an interesting store.. A world cup 2010 store.. hmmm... I wonder whats going to happen to it after the games are over?

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