September 15, 2009

Sexual Harassment & Blaming the Victim

Reading the comments on this article, I had a hard time controlling my blood pressure. The article discusses sexual harassment against women and how it is still present in Ramadan. First of all, what did ya expect? With all due respect, who doesn't have moral standards for the 11 months of the year isn't going to suddenly develop some, holy month or not. Second of all, the prevailing mentality seems to always blame the women and practically fear them for their "fitnah".

Now I understand that there is such a thing as a provocative outfit that could attract more attention to a female, but any female above the age of 12 who has spent more than one hour walking a street in Jordan will tell you, the demeaning comments will come whether you're wearing a Jilbab, a veil or a a normal jeans and t-shirt. Also, there is something very wrong with a culture that divides women into fully veiled and therefore decent and not veiled or not properly veiled and therefore have no morals.

So it really pisses me off to tell me that it's my fault for being insulted by an asshole with no manners who considers my walking down the street an invitation for him to express his carnal thoughts.

And for the commentators who blame the women, are you comparing yourselves to animals who just can't control themselves at the sight of a woman? By what logic should we lock up the women at home -several comments seemed to suggest that-, if you're the animal that cannot be controlled? I say we should lock YOU up.

I know I'm preaching to the wrong audience here, but sexual harassment is an issue that hits a nerve for each woman. It is an issue that needs to be strictly dealt with, and not by blaming the victim but by punishing the offender. I'm not one to encourage violence, but I think every woman should buy a taser and stun the hell out of any asshole who dares to come near her.

September 10, 2009

What's the Deal With Quest?

Ok so it seems a lot of people are entering this supposedly lucrative business of network or multilevel marketing, namely this company called Quest. If you've been approached, probably one of your friends or acquaintances has tried to wow you with this fascinating presentation about the business. You can become a millionaire with the least effort possible, all you have to do is buy JD500 worth of their so-called unique online products and you're in. Now what you have to do is keep making these presentations for people in order to recruit them so they'd buy the products in turn. And the more people you recruit, the more money you make.

Frankly I've done some research about it, and the whole thing is just too fishy, I'm not buying it. Their products are incredibly overpriced and you can only get them if you want to get in the business. Old members have to recruit new members in order to make money, but won't this have to stop at some point? Eventually the new members will be unable to recruit any more members, the very basis of what is called a pyramid scheme. Moreover, they fascinate you with their endorsements from FIFA and United Nations (even the Vatican!) but when I actually looked it up, I couldn't find a source other than the Quest websites themselves to verify this information.

Now some people I know have actually made some money already, but I fear they're making it from their friends and family who may very well lose. So my question is, does anyone know anything about this?

September 9, 2009

Dear Orange, YOU SUCK

The Black Iris is trying to make a campaign or a social experiment to see if we can do something other than complain, and I am more than happy to participate because God knows how much Orange piss me off. We don't get the speed we're paying for, if you try calling their customer services you're left to wait for a number of hours and the only thing they are persistent at is practically threatening their customers to pay. So spread this letter around if you agree that Orange SUCK.

Dear Orange Telecom (and all Jordanian service providers),

It’s been a while since I’ve written. In fact, I’m simply terrible at keeping in touch, so let me get straight to the point. You have a problem and it’s starting to affect others around you. Just like that guy at the gym who refuses to wear deodorant, we’ve started to notice. Indeed, something stinks terribly about your level of service, which I was for-warned about but was prepared to forgo in order not to deal with the hassles of third-parties. I wanted to deal directly with the source. Instead, the source has given a daily blinking red “disconnected” light.

All in all, I feel bamboozled. Swindled. Cheated. Robbed. And to a large extent, those adjectives are not far from the truth. For the 2MB connection that I receive from you, and which I pay a generous 50JDs a month for - has now, on average, gone down to around 0.60MB. It’s still the beginning of the month so I know I haven’t used up any of your very limited download capacity. I know that much.

I’m writing to you now about how your problem is affecting me, because you are someone who has been consistently communicating to me your own needs, and a good relationship always requires a two-way street when it comes to communication. You constantly send me your news in the form of an SMS. Something that states:

Dear Orange internet customer you have reached 70% of your download capacity, to extend your download capacity & avoid speed downgrade, please call our customer care at…


Dear Orange Customer, we would like to kindly remind you to settle the bills due on your internet service within 1 week. Thank you from Orange internet.

See? You’re always communicating your needs to me. And I would kindly oblige to your requests but see, our relationship has sort of become like that broke uncle who’s always asking to “borrow” some money, and you just know you won’t get it back. As far as I know, that’s not how our relationship should be. Our relationship is supposed to be based on give and take: I give you something, you take it, and I expect a little giving in return.

To put it bluntly, I expect to get what I paid for.

And please do not ask me to call your customer service because that’s like asking me to explore new levels of frustration and I’m just not in to masochism. The person on the other end of the phone never knows what they’re talking about and you end up wasting 15 minutes with them (which I suppose is good for Orange Telephone), and this is after waiting 30 minutes to get through to a representative. They end up arranging for a visit by one of the technical crew, and that is a visit that requires at least a week of being Internet-less.

No, it’s not just you. I have met few people who are genuinely happy with the level of service they receive from the telecom sector in general. It seems the only good thing these companies are excellent at is taking their customers’ money. And by the way, even that requires me to line up for 40 minutes while tellers are busy servicing other people who are shopping around for a phone; why counters dedicated to bill payments cannot be arranged, I don’t know.

So how can I help but feel cheated?

And I won’t even mention my dropped cell phone calls in this letter.

If there’s one conclusion to be drawn from experience in the Jordanian sphere, it’s that we are relatively good at providing a serivce but terrible at delivering a service. In other words, we’re great with coming up with the next great marketable idea and taking money for that idea, but exchange is never mutual. We never get what we paid for.

And I know. This post might fall on deaf ears as others have. After all, why should any company that makes a great deal of money every year bother listening to its customers?

But fellow blogger Jad may have been on to something when it comes to starting an online campaign. It might need a better name, but I’m betting that bloggers and their readers alone can force a change simply by blogging about a company such as yours, and simply by putting Orange Jordan in their post titles, a little bit of tagging, a little bit of twittering, digging, Facebooking and other nifty weapons at our disposal, we can probably have our posts reach Google’s top ten ranking. So every time someone searches for your company, some of the most pertinent results they’ll get involve unsatisfactory reviews from your customers. And if you think that’s never made a difference, well, Google around and see if it ever has (try Dell for starters).

How else is a customer supposed to react when their satisfaction is no longer guaranteed? When they can no longer communicate effectively with their service provider?

I wanted this relationship to work out; I really did. But I feel like you haven’t given me any choices. It’s just been one bad thing after the other and I’m writing to let you know that I might be ready to move on. I know, I know. Our relationship didn’t last too long, but we all deserve a little happiness in our life. You once wrote to me that “Internet = Life”. I saw your message all over town in fact. It was sweet. But if that equation is true then I’m afraid, it seems, I can’t have that kind of happiness with you. So I want you to know, just so this is all out in the open, that I am starting to look for other people.

But whatever happens, I promise to stay in better touch with you (depending on the stability of my connection).

Yours Sincerely,

Naseem Tarawnah

September 5, 2009

Cervical Cancer Vaccine: The Controversy

Last month's "Living Well" had an interesting topic over Gardasil, the vaccine against cervical cancer. Definitely one of the greatest breakthroughs in the medical field over the past few years has been the development of this vaccine which prevents 70% of cervical cancer cases, the second most common form of cancer among women worldwide. The vaccine should be given to girls ages 9 to 25 as three shots over the course of 6 months with each shot costing 150 JD if memory serves.

So what's the problem? We've come up with a vaccine for cancer! Why would any parent refuse such a vaccine for their daughters? All cervical cancer cases are caused by strains of a virus called HPV which is sexually transmitted. And when the words sexually transmitted are involved, the average middle-eastern parent will become utterly offended by the fact that they're even offering a "sex shot" as it was referred to in the magazine. Such a vaccine will be seen as a green card for girls to start having sex, as if the only thing standing between them and promiscuity is the chance of contracting cervical cancer. One interviewed mother said she would not give the vaccine to her daughter, but were they to develop it for males she would give it to her son.

Tell me one thing, though. Do you tell your child to go play with rusty nails after giving him a tetanus shot? Would you kiss a flu patient because you've had your flu shot? Of course not. A vaccine is not a green card for anything, it is simply a rational precaution against a known disease. And to have anyone die from something completely preventable is absurd, in my opinion. One woman said "I'd rather live with the unfounded suspicion of my daughter sleeping around than to bury her one day because of my irrational decision".

I think at least there needs to be awareness about the subject so parents can know about it before it's too late. I for one had no idea the vaccine was available in Jordan.

So what do you think? Should Gardasil be given to girls? And for the ladies under 25, would you take it? For the parents, would you give it to your daughters?