All Posts By mahmood

Conversion in progress

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Conversion in progress

Took this really interesting and clashing shot this morning at the BIC on the second day is the F1 weekend.

An Islamist society set up their missionary booth for the 6th year running in the entertainment area behind the main grand stand.

Not sure if they gained any conversions, but I did see a number I’d their give-away books in the rubbish, including the Quran unfortunately.

Is this the right venue for this?

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The Garden in 3D

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A new service that’s just come up on the Internet, take a couple of pictures – one simulating the view from the left eye and the other the right eye and the system combines them.

Perfect for garden shots like this one!

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Battle of the Telcos has started!

Here’s the VIVA ad this morning thanking the people of Bahrain for their welcome and for the unmitigated success of their number launch campaign:

VIVA\’s Ad

and a couple of pages later we find Bateclo has taken the top half of the page with this:

Batelco\’s Ad

Which is a deep poke in VIVA’s eye!

The background of this story is that when VIVA launched their number booking campaign, their servers crashed horribly for a few DAYS, allegedly because of the huge load they experienced with people trying to reserve their favourite numbers. That wasn’t a good sign at all, especially that VIVA claim that Broadband is their main product surpassing that of mobile telephony.

Batelco’s not letting them get away with it, of course, as with this ad, they’re reminding people that words are cheap and when the chips are down, VIVA already lost the battle because of that gigantic crash of their IT infrastructure, which, of course is the backbone of any Internet connectivity product AND that VIVA’s infrastructural reliability leaves a lot to be desired.

“The crash” is undoubtedly an extremely embarrassing event for VIVA, especially when you consider that they have advertised the number booking website (33.com.bh) very heavily and encouraged people to book through the web rather than go and wait in line for hours to book their favourite number.

While I have no doubt some heads must have rolled due to that royal fuckup, Batelco – and most probably every other telecoms company in Bahrain too – will never let them forget it.

What would you think is the best course for VIVA to surmount that embarrassment?

In my humble opinion, running “Thank you” ads, while admirable, is not enough. It’s time for VIVA to double their investment and more importantly redouble their effort into intelligent (and humble!) PR, backed up with solid and transparent messaging to regain the ground they’ve lost.

This is far from easy, of course, and it will require a lot of creativity and courage. Will VIVA have these required qualities? Time will tell. I know this though: with this new arrival, we certainly are living in an interesting times, with Batelco already scoring a win and it hasn’t even put it’s gloves fully on!

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Sleepless in Gaza… and Jerusalem

On March 1st — this coming Monday– the premier episode of a 90 part series, “Sleepless in Gaza…and Jerusalem” will be launched on YouTube. It will be a video diary about four young Palestinian women, Muslim and Christian, two living in Gaza and two in Arab Jerusalem/West Bank.

PINA TV Production camera crews will be covering Ashira Ramadan, a broadcast journalist based in Jerusalem; Ashira’s friend in Gaza, the documentary film maker Nagham Mohanna; Donna Maria Mattas, a 17 year-old student at the Holy Family school in Gaza who dreams of growing up to be a journalist, and Ala’ Khayo Mkari who works with Caritas in Jerusalem.

The intention of this series is neither rant nor rhetoric. It is rather an opportunity for all of us, who do not live in Gaza, occupied Arab Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, to grasp how these four young Palestinian women live out their daily lives, precisely because their lives are stories we journalists were taught almost dismissively to think of as “human interest” and almost necessarily conflict driven.

How, as human beings, these four Palestinians can also experience moments of personal and community achievement, and the warmth of friends and family life that in real life is possible even in the most difficult circumstances of siege and occupation.
Each episode runs 26 minutes and will be shot in Jerusalem/West Bank and Gaza, edited and uploaded the same day. So you will find a new sequence six days a week at www.youtube.com/SleeplessinGaza. On Friday, we all rest.

Apart from this effort and its product being very exciting for its own sake to show us life in that part of the world, from a professional point of view, I think this is the first full series totally produced for YouTube.

I think this is the last nail in the Arab TV channels coffin – yes, you too Bahrain TV, but then you’ve already been dead more than 20 years!

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Dead Goats

Oooh look! Some dogs attacked and killed EIGHT goats in some farm in Sitra!

This is sucha a newsworthy article that it deserves to be on the front page. And why the hell is it below the fold? Don’t the editors care about animals enough to put it above the fold? What? Al-Wefaq’s latest spat and the government’s concerted threats against erring political societies for “insulting families and personages” more important than this?

It can’t be.

I’m really glad that our illustrious parliament is looking into a new, modern and capable Press & Publications Law which not only jails journalists for their troubles, but goes further and inculcate a new sub-paragraph to hang them!a

What’s this world coming to, I say. Bloody Al-Wasat – neighbours though you are – you should have more self respect than this. Put the dead goat story above the fold. Scape-goats; however, don’t deserve to be on the front page at all.

links are in Arabic

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Mumbo Jumbo “Science”

This cracked me up in yesterday’s Al-Waqt:

أحياناً تنفع الأعشاب في علاج السرطان، خاصة في بعض الحالات، وقد جربت هذه الأنواع من العلاجات في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية إضافة الدول الأوروبية ودول الشرق الأوسط وقد سمع الكثير منا قصصاً عن أناس قد جربوا هذا النوع من العلاج وشفي عندهم السرطان، الكيفية غير معروفة ولكن الشفاء قد تم. فقد كانت إحدى مريضات المستشفى التخصصي في الرياض مصابة بالسرطان وسافر بها أهلها إلى الحرم المكي وشربت من ماء زمزم واغتسلت به على أمل أن يشفيها بإذن الله، وحدثت المعجزة حيث عند رجوعها إلى طبيبها وبعد إجراء الفحوصات تبين أن السرطان قد اختفى. قد يكون هذا بالنسبة إلى بعض الناس ضرباً من الخيال ولكن هذا الأمر تكرر مع مرضى عدة. لذلك لا ضير من إشراك العلاج الأعشاب وماء زمزم، إضافة إلى العلاج المتفق عليه مع طبيب السرطان ولابد من مشاركة الطبيب بذلك حتى يتابع هو الحالة المرضية وكيف يمكن أن يساهم هذا النوع من العلاج في الحد من انتشار المرض أو شفائه، سواء في مراحله الأولى أو المتقدمة.

Google translation:
Sometimes benefit the herbs in the treatment of cancer, especially in some cases, have experimented with these types of treatments in the United States of America as well the European countries and the Middle East, many of us have heard stories about people who have experienced this kind of treatment, and they have cured cancer, how are unknown, but healing has been completed. It was one of the patients specialist hospital in Riyadh had cancer and her family traveled to the Grand Mosque in Mecca and drank Zamzam water and washed, by the hope that heal, God willing, and where the miracle happened when she comes back to her doctor and after tests found that the cancer had disappeared. This may be for some people a form of imagination, but this is repeated with many patients. So no harm in engaging treatment of herbs and Zamzam water, in addition to the treatment agreed with the cancer doctor should be involved in order to follow your doctor is the condition and how it can contribute to this type of treatment in reducing the spread of disease or recovery, whether in early or advanced .

Sorry, I couldn’t bother properly translating this tripe.

Did you notice that the whole thing is built on “sources” peppered with plenty of “maybes” that you might as well change the “Zamzam” water with “Whiskey” or even “Margadoosh” and the end result won’t be much different.

And for this to actually be printed in a national paper, taking more than half a page as well, demonstrates what a backward society this is, at least as far as science and technology are concerned.

Judging by the scientific output level that the Arab and Muslim world combined enjoys, and the number of “scientists” we are privileged to the presence of and of course the plethora of university graduate equivalents, we’re a-okay!

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Jaleel Sharaf – Planning for Success

The company you work for suddenly closes but customers still call you wanting their promised projects to be completed. What would you do?

Well Sayed Jaleel Sharaf took on the responsibility to deliver what his erstwhile employer promised, and in the process established one of the most successful ICT groups in Bahrain turning over close to BD4 million a year through a conglomerate of 9 companies catering to the business community from programming through to feasibility studies and real estate.

Sayed Jaleel never lost focus even with so many entities in his portfolio and continue to innovate in every sector. Lately, he won the highly prized Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoom’s prize for the top SME in the Middle East by creating an innovative Arabic content portal catering to the health industry. His passion, vision and drive are not abated.

Winning this prize enthused him even more to follow on from that success to provide more Arabic content for the web, with only 6% of the current content being in the Arabic language, he wants to make a real impact by increasing that meagre ratio as much as he could.

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Ammar Al-Aradi

After graduating from the States in Business & Finance and spending 6 years working for one of the top banks in Bahrain going through to managerial level, Ammar felt that he had more to offer and was concerned that his creativity was not being utilised. This drove Ammar to take a courageous decision to leave a secure job and follow his passions: writing, photography and music.

Ammar established a website through which he filled with information about Bahrain, entertainment spots, and other elements he thought would be interesting to both Bahrainis and visitors. He ultimately decided to distill all of this information in a monthly electronic publication he called HalaBahrain and decided to turn it into a self-sustaining project by selling advertising to be published within it. That required a lot of effort on his part to convince prospective advertisers of the efficacy of online advertising in Bahrain. He was successful in doing so and now the magazine (registered with the Ministry of Information & Culture) constitutes one of his sources of income.

The magazine enjoys a monthly readership of 15,000 spread across the world. 60% are from Bahrain, 20% from the Gulf and the rest are from the rest of the world.

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