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Sunday, June 21, 2015

A rare instance of self-flattery

I have self-worth issues. Those who know me well know that very well. Funnily, some interpret it as humility. Not so. I think we all--even arrogant people--agree that being humble is a great attribute, but it's not a very easy one to adopt. Again, I am not humble.

I always think of myself as intellectually superior to most people. Now, if you feel offended, it means that you think you're stupid. You really shouldn't. I believe intelligence is what you make it out to be. We all have brains (don't we?) and, therefore, we all have an equal opportunity. I am not really arrogant, but I sometimes "catch" myself thinking that someone (or a whole group of someones) is stupid. Stupidity is a trait acquired by choice.
 
So, I don't believe that intelligence can be quantified. IQ tests make no sense to me whatsoever. I might take a test today and score upward of 130, and score much lower on the same test one year from now. Trust me, I've tried. Besides, these tests make me feel like a lab rat. I hate labs and I hate rats.

Now, as I said, I am smarter than most, but that doesn't mean that most can't be smarter. What I am good at (which is not really a good thing) is that I can, in a sense, control my intelligence. (Can't we all?) Let me explain. When dealing with the "general public", I use language and thinking processes that make sense to those people. It has to be a perfect match. Otherwise, I'm perceived as either arrogant or stupid--I've been called both on different occasions. The smarter the person I'm conversing with is, the smarter I sound and think. When I find someone whose intelligence is close or similar to mine, that's when I feel comfortable: I talk in whichever way I want, I use my own lexis and accent, and I get a sense of connecting--something I strive for.

Sometimes I feel like I have personalities that are as numerous as the types of people I deal with. This is not OK, but it's how I protect myself form people. I know it might not make sense.

Adopting people's attitudes doesn't get me closer to them since it entails hiding the real me where they can't get.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Who do I think I am?

I had a little adventure yesterday. OK, not so much an adventure as it is a desperate try to get as many things done in as short a period as possible. First, I went to Jordan University of Science and Technology to get my hands on my certificate (yay!). That virtually being my last ever visit to JUST, I began to see things differently. I even took pictures! Here, I'll show you some. (I'm a terrible photographer.)
This is the first one I took. It's (a portion of) the library.

This is supposed to be an abandoned tram track.
 
After JUST, I had to go to the Justice Palace in Amman. Apparently, I have to get some "clearance" paper to testify that I'm not a criminal. Well, they could've just asked me!


On my way to the Justice Palace, I encountered this next to the parliament building. It's a part of a verse from the Qur'an that might be translated into "... and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves..."


When I got to the named palace, I was frisked after passing through the metal detector. Funnily, I had to put my backpack through some X-ray machine, and I saw that the mess inside looks even messier. I regretted not having taken a photo right after I walked away.

The dome of the Justice Palace from the inside.
 I think the "official" name for the place is the "Palace of Justice", but I write whatever I want in my blog. I got the thing done within an hour, and rushed home. My next stop was the Jordanian Dental Association to apply for a "membership". Alack, when I arrived, at about 13:48, they had closed. I have to go there tomorrow morning instead.

I'm sure everyone thought me a tourist; I had my backpack on, and I kept taking photos. Now, I've never "photo-blogged" before, and it feels stupid. Like those kids that feel an inexplicable need to "share" everything they do with complete strangers.
I am truly sorry.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Language

I've noticed recently that I'm an idiot. Why am I much better at English than I am at my own language? This, of course, is not to say that I've mastered English; just that I'm better at it than I should be right now. But I just can't resist language.

Ever since I was born, I had an immense interest in language. In that time, the only languages "available" to me were Arabic and English. My mom, an English major, helped me a lot by answering my questions, mainly those of lexis. I remember even making up words "in Arabic" and  asking her what they meant!

For a significant period of time in my childhood, I would be the only person at home, in a sense: my father would be at work, my sister at school, my mother still asleep. I used to watch TV, even at that age; and I liked watching cartoons in English, even though I couldn't understand what was being said. I sometimes watched Sesame Street in Hebrew. I can still count to ten, which is all the Hebrew I learned back then, regretfully.

Having learned to read (at least in Arabic) a while before actually going to school, and having access to printed material (books, sorry!), I had the opportunity of improving myself quite rapidly. (At least for a few years; my childhood was a bit turbulent.) I didn't go to "KG 1", which is a good thing, really. As a child who heard about school from his sister, I couldn't wait to jump on the bandwagon. She taught me "the letters" at that time, and I was really enthusiastic about it.When I finally went to school, my teachers were surprised that I could read at all. I think our educational system doesn't expect much of the students, which is funny, because that was a private school that we went to, and those are supposed to be the "good ones". I remember my first day at school. I was alone/parentless. I was the first student to arrive in my class. My teacher was sitting at her table, and was surprised to know that I'd read my name on the list at the classroom's door. Oh, how I don't miss school!

Anyway, I've retained an interest in languages throughout my life. Once, in the ninth grade, I bought a book whose title read something like "Learn Spanish in five days without a teacher". What I learned from that book is that you shouldn't buy books like that. Ever! In my first few years in university, however, I was leading a more or less pointless life, and had to fill the void. The internet was a new addition to our household back then, and I tried to make use of it as much as possible. I was introduced to the Michel Thomas Method of learning languages, and was very happy to find something--trivial as it might be--to do with my life. I learned French and Spanish, which was an enjoyable experience. I think, maybe, that was one of the things that reshaped the way I think. That period was when I also started taking Japanese classes, which is sugoi!

All of this is OK, I guess. the only problem is that I seem to have neglected my own language, Arabic! I love my language and I know that it's quite vast and rich, and so I need to go back and catch up with it. What better way than reading and writing, huh? Yesterday, I thought that maybe I should start blogging in Arabic. I need to do that! So I started today.

I just created a new blog, zeitozaatar.blogspot.com. You might be interested in it if you're an Arab. Especially if you're interested in making fun of my lack of mastery of my own language.
OK, sorry; no one is interested in me...

Monday, June 1, 2015

Je suis stupide!

I know it's a bit "too late" to write about this topic, but please understand that first, I was kind of busy when the whole Charlie Hebdo attack thingy took place, and, secondly, I don't have permanent access to a computer these days, and it's much more difficult to post here from my cellphone.

Funnily, what concerns me isn't the caricatures themselves; it is the reaction of the Muslim world that is strange. The way I understand it, a group of "artists" makes fun of prophet Muhammad peace be upon him--a group that apparently once published "anti-Semitic" caricatures but had to back off due to Jews' reactions--in a disgustingly inappropriate way, in the name of freedom of speech, and consequently get massacred for it. I'll take that bit by bit.

I said just now that I will not get into detail as to the "justness" of the punishment these caricaturists received. (OK, now I said it.) But did they commit a crime? Yes! How does mocking a living person, regardless of whose status, incur legal action/punishment, by means of a slander/libel suit, while mocking a prophet (Muhammad or Jesus, peace be upon them) is more or less all right? Is there really a just legal system in modern-day World? Why on earth has no one on earth taken steps to stop them?

Now, is freedom of expression a good thing? Absolutely! Our prophet found difficulties spreading Islam because of the closed-mindedness of his people. In those times, just like today's Arab World, freedom of speech was not a thing. So, any Muslim that claims to call for freedom of expression has to first demand it for himself/herself, and, if that's too selfish, for fellow Muslims, before calling for the rights of other peoples. It was nauseous how Arab "leaders" marched in the streets of Paris, all in support of freedom of speech, when it's unthinkable in their own countries. Sorry, in our countries! Arabs that admired the "tolerance" of their leaders need some serious help. Even if it were OK to hypocritically walk in that demonstration for political/diplomatic reasons, it is an abomination to be in a place where dirty drawings of our prophet are held high--literally and figuratively. Freedom of speech is not synonymous with obscenity.

As concerns massacres, how many people are killed every single day in the Arab World today? Doesn't anybody--peoples and leaders--care?

Although an average Arab doesn't really run the risk of being shot dead at his workplace for self-expression, he/she faces the possibility of imprisonment or any other punishment that a military court sees fit--The Jordanian State Security Court, for instance. I don't know if we're even allowed to announce that we're not allowed our freedom of speech.

Finally, here's a definition from Merriam-Webster's dictionary:
Semite (n.): a member of a group of people originally of southwestern Asia that includes Jews and Arabs.
So, if I were to generalize, I'd say "Semite" means "Arab". Jews are a minority in this category.

What a hypocritical world we live in...