December 31, 2009

On University Registrations

Ah registration. Ever since my first semester, it's always been a stressful event. Despite there being an online system, students always have to try to register as soon as possible before the sections close and they either end up with a terrible schedule or have to go beg someone to let one more person into their section.

Registration this time was exceptionally stressful, however. Not only did they make it on a Friday, when no one has the option of going to the university if something doesn't work out, but they also made it on Christmas day. Now it would've been fine if all we had to do was simply log in when it starts and register, but after 5 semesters of experience with our registration department, we know very well that they never start on time, so all we do is keep refreshing the page until it opens. So assuming this year wouldn't be any different, I, along with half the student body spent 6-8 hours refreshing the same page. And when it did finally start at 2 PM, turns out they changed the entire system so we couldn't register for half our courses.

It was an unbelievable waste of time, and I decided to send an email about it to both the registration department and the university's president. The registration department didn't even budge, but much to my surprise, the president actually replied a day later telling me to come see him. He told me that my comments were taken into consideration and even apologized for setting registration on Christmas day and I must say I was very impressed. We tend to complain a lot, but I felt like this time complaining actually helped in doing some good.

And this is why I urge everyone who has a problem to complain, to the right person at least. Maybe nothing will happen, but then again you might actually get your opinion heard and help solve whatever problem you and a whole lot of other people are facing.

December 10, 2009

A New Government. Yeah, so?

While the decision to dissolve the parliament about two weeks ago was met with pure joy and relief, the appointment of a new prime minister was met with either disappointment or most probably indifference. Sameer Rifai, the new prime minister is the third generation of a family of prime ministers, something that probably happens only in Jordan.

I like to think of the whole thing as a game. There's this circle of elitists, the ones allowed to play, all of whom at one point or another were ministers or CEOs and every couple of years one of them gets their turn as the top player. Now this top player would proceed to "reshuffle" the current players, or if he's looking for some change, add a couple of new ones. The field that each player is in charge of is truly irrelevant to their area of expertise. Now once the parliament is elected, the game of who destroys who first begins! Fun fun fun.

So I don't really think it matters who gets picked as the prime minister, the same cycle of events seems to repeat itself regardless of how optimistic we are of the new government. But not to be part of the blame culture, because we should take the blame as well. We should be part of a responsible, incorrupt election that would result in a parliament that speaks for the citizens rather than attack them, but hey that's just wishful thinking.

Once again, Emad Hajjaj depicts it best.

December 6, 2009

Amman Stand-Up Comedy Festival 09

Yesterday I went to the second night of the Amman Comedy Festival that was organized by the Greater Amman Municipality and it was a great show! First of all, just entering the place makes you feel like a VIP, with all the people smiling at you and telling you to have a great night. Not something you see in Amman everyday.

They started right on time, and we were sitting in the very first row, practically on stage that each stand up would make jokes about the people in the row (a married couple and a lady with 3 kids in particular became the targets of maaany jokes!). Dean Obeidallah from the Axis of Evil did a great job in hosting the show and Nemr Abou Nassar and of course Maz Jobrani were the funniest.

I have to give it to the municipality, they've been doing a great job with cultural events. You just feel like Amman's growing culturally, from the marathon which was very well-organized to other events like Fastwalk Jordan (it's not organized by the GAM but without their help wouldn't have been able to become as widespread as it is today).

These are a couple of videos I took, the first is of Nemr Abou Nassar and the second is a video of Maz Jobrani shaking it! A girl actually raised her hand in the middle of the show and asked him to do the infamous happy birthday dance, but sadly he didn't oblige...