Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Arabish Names

There are some Arabic names that I could never inflict on my future children. This is mostly because no matter how well I speak Arabic...I think in English. For those readers who are not Arab it's important to know that for most Arabs, the meaning of a name is very important. Sometimes its meaning supercedes the way the name sounds. Having grown up in America...where people sometimes create names (my sister included) and most people may only have a vague idea if any of what their name means, the way a name sounds becomes VERY important.

During the course of our marriage and the resulting three children, my husband and I have had many discussions and some serious fights about what to (or what not to) name our children. Here is a list of some names that are flat out rejected and will NEVER be considered.

Banned Names (M or F for gender)

Turki (M) (also spelled Turky) - gobble gobble

Nayif (M)- pronounced like 'knife'

Bender(M)- uh...why's he bending or what's he bending?

Anas (M)- Too close to 'anus' to be comfortable with that name.

Abeer (F)- Budweiser or MGD?

Lamaa (F)- sure to be pronounced llama

If you think these names are bad on their own, just try hyphenating them for a whole new twist:








It also gives new meaning to the phrase, "I'll have a-beer".

Thursday, June 7, 2007


A few days ago I saw a report on CBS Evening News about China's efforts to improve mistakes in English language around the nation...dubbed "Chinglish" (Chinese English), in preparation of the upcoming Olympics tourism there. We have our own version, called "Arabish" (Arabic/English). Although I have yet to see an "Anus Hospital" for a proctologist like they had in China, some signs can get a bit corny. I usually don't have to look any further than my own family...myself, husband and kids included, to get the best Arabish (a later post) but these specimens are out for public display:

Do you feel lucky? Take a chance with our oil.

In case you ever wondered where the town's fat-a**es go to play pool:

Nursing homes are so cruel. We just throw all the old guys in one neighborhood so they have their own little community. We call it "Old Kout" area. (old coot in American English=old codger for those in England):
In a country where young men and women sometimes marry without having met each other, you can get to know your seafood and poultry in a meet-and-greet before they're killed for your dinner:
In case your turkey needs a trim:
Possibly free delivery or is the food free if I 'arrive' there?:

Just in case there's someone who feels like commenting on how cruel I am and how these people are trying and I should give them credit since this isn't their language...blah, blah, blah... I suggest you take yourself to that "Anus hospital" in China and get that stick removed so you can laugh more:D

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Forcing Maids to Wear the Veil

I never once considered getting a non-Muslim maid. I think it causes many issues for a non-Muslim maid to work in a Muslim house...especially one with children. One of these issues, although one that I don't think is important enough to write an article about, is with covering in public. This is an issue for most, if not ALL, female ex-pats who come to live/work here as it is for for housekeepers.

Although I've never insisted that my Indonesian housekeeper wear a face-veil in public, we did buy an abaya for her after her arrival in Al-Hassa; a very functional on-the-shoulder one similar to my daughter's. Although I have seen some maids in public without them, they really catch my attention because they stick out. This, in itself, is reason enough for maids to wear abayas in public, in my opinion. My housekeeper already wears a headscarf of her own accord, even around the house since my husband and other males are here and she is a practicing Muslim woman.

Is it so strange to expect an abaya and headscarf to be part of a 'uniform' that maids in Saudia must wear? I had a worse uniform at the first job I worked at as a teenager and I'm sure many of my readers have uniform horror stories of their own:) Why should it be an issue? Couldn't we just chalk it up to being 'part of the job'? After all, they don't need to come here to work, they're all given choices of what country they want to work in before they leave.

Why Keep the Tea-Towel Look?

This could be one of the reason's why ghutras aren't going out of style anytime soon:

Saudi Arabia: Over $ 320 Million Spent Annually on Hair loss Products

This article also hints that all the product used in an effort to manage hair loss is contributing towards another hair blight of the Saudi population....dandruff. For a desert area there's sure a lot of snow here!