Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Crazy & random thoughts

I feel more lonely when I'm around people than when I'm sitting by myself.
I don't like to say anything unless whatever I'm saying will have some benefit of some sort.
I fully understand the world but it doesn't want to understand me.
I like to read the fine print in every text to make sure that every word is fully comprehensible.
I have lots of family members, people I know from distant past but I don't have anyone that I can call a friend
I feel that everything in this life is built on a quid pro quo basis and nothing else.
I believe that controlling the speed of the data mining inside our brain is the key to maintaining sanity
I think that hearing about things makes stick into our mind much faster than reading about it from a written source.
I concur with the saying: A trip of a thousand mile begins with the first step, though there is no guarantee that you will get there.
It is true that it takes only one Shepperd to lead the flock, but it is also true that one Shepperd can cause a lot of damage to the same flock.
I don't know why we always wish that there was a second chance to do the same exact thing that we failed to do the first time around.
I think that bias, discrimination, prejudice are facts of life, it only turns lethal if and when it is practiced on you.
I think that morality has no clear cut definition, people identify moral and immoral only according to the way they understand it.
I believe that both God and the Universe have no beginning and have no end.
I think that judging other people arbitrarily is the worst thing that any one can do
I think that admitting your mistake and apologizing is a very Noble thing to do
I think that turning the other cheek when slapped is rather courageous and not cowardly
I think that these days parents aren't getting the appropriate respect they deserve from their children.
I think that everyone must learn how to swim with the sharks and not get eaten alive

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Decent Housing For Decent Living

According to this published report in the Jordan times, the government represented by the minister of public works is proposing new scheme for the decent housing for decent living project to make it better than the way it is being currently handled.

The scheme entails that the house loan pay back period would be extended from 20 to 30 years, the limit imposed on the age of the recipient would increase from 60 to 70 years, and finally, the beneficiary would commit 50 to 55% of his income toward paying back the loan as opposed to the customary 30% that was practiced during the initial stages of the project.

If these changes represent the new scheme that the government is marketing then I have a news for them, it is going to fail very miserably because it is much worse than the present situation.

First of all, extending the life of the loan from 20 to 30 years means lengthening the bay back period and in turn increasing the interest rate that would have to be applied toward the loan and at the same time reducing the principal amount by a similar margin. Most studies showed that the ideal pay back for a housing loan is 15 years, although many banks issue loans for 20,25, and 30 years, notwithstanding, these loans aren't beneficial to the buyer at all, they only benefits the issuer of the loan which is the bank.

As far as increasing the repayment amount from 30% to 50 or 55% of the recipient net income is indeed the biggest folly of all follies. It is the primary cause of why the housing industry collapsed in the United States. Study after study showed that between 1940 and 2000 when the people in the United States where paying back 28 to 32% of their net income toward their house purchase the rate of default was so insignificant to the point where banks have never thought of it as a trend at all.Only when the repayment has gone up from 30 to 50% of the recipient net income went toward the house loan did the rate of default went up to the sky and people started abandoning their houses because they couldn't meet the monthly payment toward the house.Case in point the house payment should never ever exceed 28% of the net income.

Finally increasing the age limit of the recipient from 60 to 70 years is worse than the first two proposals, given the fact that a lot of people retire early, the life expectancy in Jordan isn't that glamorous either, and who wants to be over 70 years old and still be paying for his house, as might as well not buy a house in the first place.

The way to move decent housing for decent living is as follows: Offer loans at a low interest rate matching the prime rate only, in another word interest rate should be anywhere from 2 to 4.5% only. Then drop the repayment percentage to represent only 28% of the net income of the beneficiaries. Any thing else is a waste of time and going round and round in an empty circle without moving an inch forward..If the government insists on pursuing the new scheme all they are going to have is built out empty city with lots of empty buildings with no buyers coming forward, even those who somehow qualify for a first time buyer will eventually default on their loans and the government would find itself obligated to repossess the houses all over again.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

King's Interview with Fareed Zakaria

In his interview with Fareed Zakaria, King Abdullah stressed that strengthening of the middle class would be a definite plus for the future of Jordan, he didn't exactly use these words but I understood it to mean that way from watching the taped interview.

As far as I'm concerned there is no clear definition of what is a middle class in Jordan supposed to mean, over the past few years columnists in the newspapers talked time and again in their daily columns about the slowly but surely diminishing character of the middle class.

To a casual observer such as myself, Jordan has two classes, the elite, or should I say the super duper elite class and the rest of the population class. I can't possibly give you a definitive percentages because this isn't based on any empirical inferences but rather on a casual personal observation.

If I would have to speculate though I would say that ninety to ninety five percent of the population is a mixture of upper lower, and lower class, while five to seven percent represent the elite class.

In essence the King is absolutely right because there is no such a thing as a middle class in Jordan, it may have existed at some point in time over the past fifty or so years' but over the years and due to the massive changes that have taken place in Jordan, the middle class melted away and was down graded to upper lower and lower class.

So our task now would be to start looking for a mechanism with which by it we can create some sort of a definition of what a middle class is? And when we do-- we need to create another mechanism that would lead to the strengthening of that middle class.

In my opinion, middle class in Jordan consists of someone who is married, has two children, owns a house or an apartment paid out, earns approximately JD 1500 per month. Has a paid out late model car, has health and life insurance, and eligible for social security or pension upon reaching retirement age.

I have no idea as to how many people meet that definition, but unless a large percentage of the population start to emerge meeting this narrow definition then the middle class is no where to be found.

Let us not kid one another, life is very expensive in Jordan, salary of JD 500 a month is considered a poverty line, and that is a fair description, salary of a JD 1000 a month would be barely enough for a family of four, that is why I chosen an income of at least JD 1500 per month to be able to live a half way decent life for a family of four.

So let us join hands with the king and start to coalesce in a fashionable approach that would not only redefine what a middle class is, but also strengthen it in a way that would signal a powerful Jordanian men and women, young and old middle class citizens.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama Speech

Last night President Obama delivered his first stste of the union speech, he didn't mention anything about the Arabs or the Palestinian issue, the speech was mainly about his domestic agenda for the United States, it included issues like health care, jobs, deficit, Tax cuts, and other highly ambitious programs. I'm not really concerned so much about the speech, I'm more concerned about the comments which people made after the speech, here is a sample of quotes of what the conservative American people said about the President and his speech.

He is the most egregious and outrageous political liar I have ever seen

Obama is a liar and a fool

Patently false and foolish speech delivered by a politician

He is a twerp and so is his assistants

He is totally incompetent of handling the President's job

Who in the right frame of mind would criticize the supreme court

The Pied Piper of Poverty took his show to the country last night and gave us the middle digit in our collective eye.

He bows to despots and dictators but he wouldn't bow for the American people

He abused his power since day one

When he delivered his speech he did it in a way like he was watching a tennis match

Mr. Obama seems to be delusional

He wants to dodge the ball

He sounded like the kid who took his ball and went home because of a call that was made against him

He sounds like he just got drafted when in essence he was elected to be President

He is amazing when he starts using that Negro accent

He wont get it until the country bankrupt and then the revolution would follow

He preaches more of the same when the American people want something different.

My comment on the above is that: It is all about freedom of speech, freedom of speech means that you are allowed to speak about the negative as much as you are allowed to speak about the positive, freedom of speech means that you say what you have to say without fearing that you are going to go to jail for whatever you said.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

50 Postives/ Negatives about Jordan

I can't believe that I'm joining this charade but nevertheless here we go. My list will include a combination of both positives and negatives.

1) Not being able to find change even for one Dinar

2) Not being able to find public bathroom in downtown after the Husseini Mosque bathrooms close around 9:00pm

3) Watching people and shops in down town

4) Discovering one souq inside another souq inside another souq. I must of discovered fifteen new souqs inside and through other souqs in down town

5) Habiba Knafah by the Arab Bank alley

6) The peanut guy (recently passed away)

7) The Book kiosk by the Arab Bank in downtown

8) Basman mixed nuts shop

9) Jefra Cafe

10) Hashem Restaurant

11) City Mall

12) Trip to the dead sea

13) Taxi Drivers you got to love/hate those

14) In Ramadan waiting in line for Qatayef dough to cook

15) The slaughtered sheep head stays hooked to the body untouched for verification

16) The traffic police stopping you for no reason sometimes two to three times in one day

17) The chaos at the land and survey department

18) The schools having no heat to warm the children in winter

19) Child labor Children working all over the place

20) Slow internet connection

21) House/ Land hunting

22) Very cheap bread prices

23) Hard time at the bank for check cashing or hard currency withdrawal, most of the time they ran out of dollars to give to their customers.

24) Car dealers don't explain about their cars. They just sit and watch

25) Traffic at the circles during rush hours WOw.

26) Abdali Friday market, they have everything, I used to go there to buy fruits and vegetables at bargain prices.

27) The children museum first class really.

28) DO NOT ENTER signs are ignored by all drivers they enter any way.

29) You can buy any medicine from the pharmacy without prescription.

30) People go out of their way to appear to be very nice to you

31) People leave their phone and lighter at the table in-front of them wherever they sit, sometimes they forget to take it when they leave.

31) Income Tax department, don't bother going there for any reason, they drive you nuts.

32) Government Hospitals almost always out of medications

33) People Park their cars behind your car

34) In super markets it looks like someone is always watching you to see if you are going to steal

35) Driving from Amman to Irbid then through the Valley and back to Amman

36) The perfume shops in down town, like millions of them

37) The shoe stores in downtown, like millions of them

38) Amman Bridge, the citadel, and the Roman Amphitheater, I love all three.

39) Public schools uniform

40) The Rainbow street

41) People insist that you should have Soba even if you have central heat and air condition

42) People insist that you should have several extra spare gas tanks 6 or more

43) Getting your documents certified at the government offices after 2:00 pm. Forget it it isn't going to happen

44) Every dentist tells you that the other dentist is stupid

45) More Kia Sephia than any other place in the world

46) Everyone wants to paint their house Tatbee3.

47) The foreign maids have their own quarter in down town where they meet on their day off usually on Fridays

48) Amman stairs, I just love them

49) Salah Edin Bakery on Salt street, I love that place

50) Omar Abdallat I love his patriotic songs

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And Justice for all

you all must by now have heard about the Court of Cassation decision to make the notorious press and publication law apply to the electronic media in the same fashion it applies to all other media. Therefore, all the news websites are now subject to the judgment of the watchful eyes of those in charge of enforcing that law. The exemption clause is rescinded, the honey moon period expired, it is now up to each one of us in the electronic media to decide for himself where to draw the line without violating the press and publication law. People who comment on the news websites are as much responsible as the owner, editor, and the administrator of any given website. meanwhile, the government is sitting back relaxed and sipping a cup of coffee, in essence they absolved themselves of the controversy that will ensue over this ruling. They can legitimately say hey we have nothing to do with it, the court of Cassation is the one that decided to make it so, it isn't us, as a matter of fact remember two years ago when this very same issue come up for discussion out in the open, we, the government decided then that the electronic media isn't subject to the press and publication law since a lot of websites were registered out side Jordan and therefore couldn't be subjected to the same law, then soon after the case was closed and you guys have not heard about it until the court of Cassation decided to rule in favor of including the electronic publications under the umbrella of the press and publication law. As you all know Jordan is a country of Laws, the law is above any body, the law in this case spoke up, so don't be going around accusing the government of doing this or that in order for it to restrict what is being said on the electronic websites. The government this time around is absolutely positively innocent of this ruling. If the electronic media personnel are unhappy about the ruling they need to take up the issue with the court. if they think that they shouldn't be included under the umbrella of the press and publication law, then they need to argue their case before experienced justices, even if they have to take it to the supreme court, I don't even know if there is a supreme court in Jordan since according to published reports the court of Cassation is supposed to be the highest level of Justice in Jordan. So I'm not even sure if there is any way to overturn this decision and the ruling may end up becoming irreversible. Good luck boys and girls, it is time to start brushing up your skills on what is lawful and what is unlawful that is if you care about not serving time in one of Jordan's notorious detention centers, the minimum is fourteen days in case you forgot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


What is going on in Jordan?! People are killing themselves left and right, so far six people commited suicide since the start of the new year, that is an average of one suicide every other day.Is the life in Jordan getting so intolerable to the point where people find no way out other than kill themselves. Many years ago,While I was growing up in Jordan the suicide phenomenon back then was a woman thing usually reserved for battered women only, the method that they used consists of dousing themselves with paraffin and subsequently set themselves on fire. I guess in modern times the suicide phenomenon had switched from being a woman thingy to a man thingy, since according to published statistics more men seem to be taking their own lives than women. It is about time men started taking responsibility for their own failures and not taking it out on their wives or their sisters causing them instead to take their lives. I'm not gloating or anything I'm just trying to figure out what could be the reason behind this switch. I know for a fact that life is really rough in Jordan sometimes it can turn into a very trying time, but at the same time I don't think that it is so bad to the point that would make the person want to take his/her own life. The problem though is when one tries to investigate the cause -one gets faced with a stone wall since -one- can't interview the deceased for obvious reason, and when he tries to talk to the family usually- they don't get no where -since the family almost never want to discuss suicide with anyone- since they consider suicide a sin and would rather forget about it as quickly as possible. They don't mind if they don't discuss it with anyone ever again. For instance the father of the suicide bomber that killed seven CIA officials not only did he not want to talk about it but there are reliable reports that he abandoned his place of residence in Amman altogether.I don't know if he is ashamed, overwhelmed, anxious, or what?! We may never know because again he doesn't want to talk about. Never mind that his son's case is one of the extreme cases of suicides, but even the normal straight forward suicide cases are no different, the family stay mum and that is it.It is hard to forecast whether suicide is going to go upward during the coming months and throughout the year, but given the current bad economic situation, poverty, and high unemployment, the over all ambiance is ripe for the weak personalities out there to take their own lives. I personally can never fathom how someone takes his/her own life, there has got to be a better way out there other than taking the ultimate dive, but again to each its own and that is the truth