So I’ve been getting quite a few comments lately that this blog is too negative. That it criticizes nidoers too much. I’ve also been asked by Gardens of Sand for a positive post about nido.
To begin with I have to admit that praise when discussing the political sphere does not come naturally to me. Over countless years of my life and ever since my birth, I have witnessed so much grovelling and toe-kissing done in such a bad manner and in such low quality to the point where I have vomitted frequently:
صاحب السمو معالي الابهام العظيم, ان برثن* فخامتك العزيز لتعجز عن مجده الامم. ما من مصاعب يخشى قهرها ظفرك الوسيم, لا قاع البحار ولا اعالي القمم. ان لئيم غلط على شعرات ابهيهيمك** الكريم,اخبطه بساقك خبطا حتى واساه الندم.
*برثن = ظفر, مخلب
**تعبير دلع للابهام
I think I have been affected beyond repair. Anyway, I believe shock therapy can be good to overcome this problem, and so outward and full brown praise of nido might be good in this respect. So here it goes:
Nidoers, nido, nidoism, the nido generation, and the nido culture generally has some positives. Let’s start with superficialities. On the surface , nidoers can be quite attractive. All that tanning, whitening creams, waxing materials, vitamin tablets, body building supplements, expensive gym memberships, herbal teas, gucci handbags, bally shoes, armani suits, italian designed bikinis, fancy night dresses, bassam ghetras, revlon eyeliners, christian dior foundation, carreti sandals, nose jobs, teeth braces, Toni and Guy Hair cuts, De Beers Diamonds, Rolex watches, ck underwear, victoria secrets bras and thongs, hair straigtening products, hair dyeing products, hair plucking apparatus, liposuction, teeth whitening products… I could go on… The marvels of the modern world can have some amazing results. It makes for some serious eye candy. Come on, let’s be honest. We all sometimes go to nido functions and restaurants just to marvel at the “beautiful people.”
More substantively, one of the main strengths of nidoism is the education system. Schools such as Bayan School, Ibn Khuldoon, Saint Chrisophers, Sacred Heart, the Indian School and Bahrain school are quite good when compared with others in the region, and have a decent shout at claiming to be the best private education system in the gulf. Particularly worth noting are the “national” schools such as Bayan and Ibn Khuldoon, which unlike e.g.Saint Christopers and Bahrain school did not depend completely on expat and foreign expertise to set up. For example, their board of directors and trusties are made up predominantly of Bahrainis. The infrastructure and resources are quite impressive, with good sports fields, music facilities, art centres, and libraries. The subjects taught and quality of teaching is quite high compared to state schools and is of comparable international standards. You get to do subjects such as French and pottery that you would be hard pressed to find in other places. Sure, the arts and social sciences (discounting business and economics) are put on the backburner, and the standard of Arabic can be quite pitiful in some of these schools, but at least they’re quite good in other subjects.
This links to another positive in nidoers: They generally have a high level of skills and qualifications. Many of them are professionals. The country can now claim to have a considerable number of doctors, lawyer, accountants, engineers, It specialists, etc. Obviously not all of these are nidoers, but a good chunk of nidoers fall into these qualifications. This is a good thing. You can’t really complain about having too many professionals. In fact we probably need more of them.
The comparably high level of nido professionals and education, by GCC standards is praise-worthy. You can see this also in the amount of qualifications nioders have from “prestigious universities”. American, British, French, you name it. You could probably find a nidoer with a qualification from any of their posh universities. Bahrain can also claim to have the highest level of English in the Gulf and even has a shot at being top of the Arab world. Hell, many a nidoers only speak English, with a spattering of “Arabic” such as Shakbar interjected in the middle for good measure.
But this is where it turns sour. Yes nidoers have decent English, but at what expense? Look at the pitiful Arabic that many of them claim to have. These are people who were born and raised in Bahrain, with Arabic being the main or only language of many of their parents. Yet they cannot mutter one full sentence in Arabic without interjecting in it some sort of “I don’t know”, “cool”, or some other silly English phrase in the middle.In fact, you can’t really say these nidoers speak Arabic, not Fus7a anyway. At most you can say they have a weak grasp of Bahraini Arabic, not Modern Standard Arabic. Have you ever tried testing a nidoers qawa3ed or grammar? Have you ever tried asking him to speak intelligebly in fus7a, let alone making him read it or write it? Many a nidoers I know have the Arabic writing skills of a ten year old, with the construction of any sentence going beyond:
الولد يلعب في الساحة
causing serious difficulties.
Seriously, isn’t it disgraceful? That many a nidoers get a headache reading three sentences in an Arabic newspaper let alone any sort of Arabic book? This in a country that claims to have Arabic as its first language, and where they were able to get the best education and schools the country has to offer? If this is their standard of Arabic, what will that of their kids be like? Does having competent English mean abandoning your mother language, let alone a language as important, rich, beautiful, ancient, holy, and dynamic as the Arabic language? Does modernity and advancement mean foresaking Arabic and replacing it wholeheartedly with English?
Really? Then how come the most advanced non-English speaking countries in the world hold on ferociously to their language. How come even the most nidoey people in those countries always use their mother tongue as the first language of speech, communication, and thought? Look at Germany, France, Spain, Japan and Italy, to name a few. Have you ever heard of a French person born and raised in France that does not speak French? In fact it is a ridiculous concept to start with. Try asking a German person “Do you speak German?” He’ll look at you quizzically and think you’re a moron. It does not even make sense. “A German who doesn’t speak German? Speak intelligibly boy!” Compare this to Bahrain. How many nidoers, if being honest, would answer “Do you speak fus7a Arabic” with “No”, “Not really” or “Huh?”? On the flip side, have you ever checked out how amazing the Germans speak English? Their level of English competency would destroy that of most nidoers. Then look at how dynamic these countries are, producing movies, songs, books, research, journals, and high quality professionals that enhance and develop their languages. Compare this to many of our nidoers, who don’t even know how to type in Arabic. Doesn’t the decline of an ancient and rooted language in the most educated and richest circles of a society show a comparatively weak society, one that is unstable, static, unsure of itself, in an identity crisis and unable to cope with modernity and advancement? Isn’t this the antithesis of being modern and advanced?
Same thing goes for education. It’s all good and well that nidoers, the richest in society, can afford these decent schools. But is this really all that great? Nigeria has private schools. So does Egypt, Indonesia, South Africa, etc. In fact I am finding it hard to even come up with a list of countries that Bahraini Nido schools would compare favourably with. The former Soviet block traditionally has good schooling even in the state sector. China and India, although the situation is very disparate, also have very good schools and universities. This is the rub. Pretty much every country in the world now has good private schools that cater to the rich. The rich can pay, and if you pay enough, you can get pretty much get whatever you want. If you’ve got the millions, you can setup home in the deep Jungles of the Congo and still get to have a decent education, if you’re willing to pay that is. There is nothing stellar in this. The more important thing is to take the big picture. Does Bahrain have a great education system on a global level? What’s the point if only the rich get to have the best education and to go to the best universities (the ten-odd people they send every year on the Crown-Prince scholarship notwithstanding)? I doubt many people can argue Bahrain has a great education system. Let’s look at schools first. Our state schools, although not extremely bad, are nothing to write home about. They lack the adequate infrastructure, resources, and training. Our universities, well let us not start (maybe that’s for another post). How about those universities? Well, there are only two establishments that can be really called universities: Bahrain Uniersity and The Arabian Gulf University (and the latter one is highly specialized and it is more accurate to call it a college). And we all know about the problems inherent in these two universities. Just look at how most nido parents decide to send their kids abroad. Is this a good reflection on our university sector? And the sad indictment is that many Bahrainis send their children to study in Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon (in fact some of these universities are setting up shop in Bahrain!), countries with much more limited resources than ours, but you don’t see a flood of Lebanese, Jordanian and Egyptian residents coming to universities in Bahrain. Then we have the research facilities, an essential part of any advanced educational system. Oh, our world class research facilities. Their output of new technologies, inventions, and academic papers is a non-stop stream. In fact it’s an avalanche. Countries all over the world cannot stop raving about and envying the embarassment of riches we have produced in research. Academics are falling over each other trying to be the first to come to Bahrain. Ivy League schools have been complaining that Bahrain has stolen their best professors.
The same can be said about the health sector, the industrial sector, the electricity sector (How crazy is it that we have electricity blackouts in a country with gas and oil?), water sector, and the housing sector. In essence, all the vital sectors of a modern life.
Why is it that only nidoers, a small fraction of the population, are the only ones that have comparable standards in these things to advanced countries? Why is it that the rest of the country, the vast majority of the population, have to be content with third-rate resources? Why can’t the majority of this tiny country be provided with schools, hospitals, and facilities of a decent standards, comparable to those in the developed countries?
And the sad thing about it all is we are an oil region. A region where literally a massive hoard of cash lies below the ground. All you have to do is shovel it out. Whereas other poor countries have to fret about where to get the resources to fund these things, our problem is we choose to waste it on other “advancements”. Somehow the Formula 1, with all its difficulties and the risks involved, deserves $500 million dollars, while the Arabian Gulf University had to give up its main campus, shut up shop and stop teaching the majority of its subjects because of lack of resources. Somehow, in a country that does not stand a cat’s chance in hell if it enters a war, 1 billion dollars are spent on military equipment (from the U.S. only) in the last 5 years. This while the country does not even have enough electricity supply. The list can go and on and on. It is seriously depressing.
And I wonder why most of my posts are critical.
Why is it that we cannot learn and adopt from the advanced countries? Why is it that we are industrially, educationally, and technologically so far behind countries like Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, countries that until very recently were not all that developed? Did you know that Korea and Egypt had similar levels of GDP 50 years ago? Look at the where Korea is now and how Egypt is languishing. Why can’t we have similar levels of schools, universities, hospitals, industries? And the unfathomable part is that it should be so much easier for us! For one, we have their experiences and strategies to learn from, so we don’t have to “re-invent the wheel” again. Secondly, the population of the gulf is miniscule by world standards (not more thant 20 million nationals in the whole GCC, and even that is probably exaggerated), and so we don’t have the problem of e.g. China’s of how to educate, industrially and materially advance more than a billion people. Thirdly, and most importantly, we have oil! These countries did not have any notable natural resources to depend on! They had to work their socks off, with so much misery created in the process, in order to reach the stage they are in! We have oil to pay for the roads, the building, the schools, the hospitals, and the universities. And yet we choose to spend the biggest chunk of it on fake islands, big Hummers, useless F-16s, and fountains. Why is it that the main things we have imported and learned from these countries is where to buy the best bikinis, the best hair styles, the hippest movies and sitcoms, the latest fashion accessories, and the best guns? Where are the producers of Harvards, Nissans, Panasonics, and Nobel Laureates in the gulf? As they say, a Hummer lasts ten years; An education lasts a lifetime.
Alright, I think that shock therapy has worked pretty well. Enough optimism and praise for one post, back to criticism and ranting.
Any other benefits of nido some of you out there can think of?
ِAnyway, in the interest of “looking on the bright side”, from now on I’ve decided to post a clip or song with each post. Today’s choice is “khalah shakou” (Auntie What’s Wrong).
خاله شكو – مكادي النحاس
ِA faster version:
خاله شكو – حميد منصور
ُAnd this is the Abdel 7sain Abdel Redha version from Saif el 3arab:
عبدالحسين عبدالرضا – سيف العرب – خاله شكو