Tag Archives Entertainment

Next wave of reality TV: Muslim Top Model

Well, model in the sense of a devout and pious young gentleman tested in Islamic and worldly knowledge; things like actually washing the dead to prepare them for burial, counseling pregnant women out of wedlock and helping orphans.

This reality show happens in Malaysia to great acclaim and a huge following. Their Facebook page has about 45,000 followers and press reports suggest and even greater following among young Malaysian women, all hoping for one of the contestants for a husband.

What do they win? Well, other than the assigned cleric’s blessing, the winner gets an all expenses paid trip to perform the Hajj in Mecca, a car, a laptop, a small cash grant and a scholarship in a main mosque in Madina in Saudi Arabia.

Is this creativity at its best or simply pandering to the lowest common denominator and using modern entertainment programming and spin it so that the maximum advertising/subscription revenue possible is milked?

Regardless, I applaud the Malaysian TV channel whose brainchild this is. They obviously recognised a niche and went with it and found success.

I’m quite sure that this new wave of entertainment is going to grace our own meagre Middle Eastern TV offerings very soon, but as usual, I’m afraid that they’re going to make pretty hash job of it. I hope that should it be replicated here or elsewhere; however, it will be done to propagate tolerance and understanding rather than increase the sectarian rift and strife in our part of the world. I somehow think that knowing the kind of religious stations we have here, it will be the latter that will be emphasised.


Bahraini Views – Abdulla Al Mabad – Raising the Bar

Not succumbing to frustration of having to wait for games to be brought to Bahrain and then made available at extortionist rates, Abdulla took matters into his own hands by researching the games market in Bahrain more thoroughly to take established businesses head-on. A challenge he was happy to take.

He successfully gained the representation of the largest games distributor in the region giving him the opportunity to release games on or before their international debut: even at 1 minute past midnight – resulting in queues of gamers waiting in the dark outside his shop to lay their hands on the latest release at the games suggested retail price or even lower, equating to less than half of what they were regularly sold at his competitor’s!

Abdulla talks here about the birth of Game District and his plans for it in the future.


With eggs on some faces, Hayfa sang!

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Hayfa Wahbi sang in Bahrain inspite of objections from Islamist MPs In spite of the “severe” objections from Islamist MPs, Hayfa sang last night at the Gulf Hotel and thrilled the audience who filled the hall with all tickets sold!

What does this demonstrate? Does it demonstrate that the MPs have no authority whatsoever, or is it that the government chose – in its wisdom – to simply stall and ignore them completely and do nothing to let the concert go on?

To me, I think it clearly demonstrate the at the very least the MPs did not choose their battle wisely, they rushed things, polarised opinions, stepped on multiple toes and in the end, the lady sang despite all their objections, resolutely poking her fingers in their wandering eyes while thanking them, even subliminally, for making her show a memorable sellout concert.

Hang on, maybe it was that in the first place, both Hayfa and the MPs were in cahoots. It was a planned PR and marketing exercise to ensure that the tickets – even the expensive ones – sell out completely!

Smart! Those MPs are very very smart!


M.Report S01E12 – Hayfa Wahbi, a clear and present danger

Or at least that’s what our dear parliamentarians and their Islamist sympathisers think. So what’s so special about this lady then, that would make her so damnably dangerous that they’re all frothing at the mouth to bar her from performing in Bahrain?

Well my friends, I hope this vlog will demonstrate that there is really nothing unusual about her, other than being a beautiful lady who can’t sing! But those qualities could hardly be held against her, she is not the first and most certainly not the last person to use what Allah has given her to her advantage.

So sit back, relax, and watch what you will be missing if she decides not to bother with a little sand-pit called Bahrain because of a few neophytes’ deafening braying.


“Gulf Idol” lands in jail!

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If you’re a Muslim, you know how sensitive Muslims are about their religion. Heck, wars are still being waged for what some might regard as frivolous excuses. So going on a stunt like the following demonstrates either the stupidity of the person in question, or maybe that alcohol is really not good for you as it impairs one’s judgement.

3 أشهر لخليجي غنى في مكبر صوت مسجد

أدانت المحكمة الصغرى الجنائية الخامسة برئاسة القاضي علي الكعبي وأمانة سر محمد مكي أمس (الاثنين) بحبس متهم خليجي 3 أشهر بتهمة تعد بإحدى الطرق العلانية على الدين الإسلامي بأن دخل مسجداً بحذائه والسيجارة بيده، وقام بالغناء. وتعود تفاصيل القضية إلى أن المتهم قام بالغناء داخل مسجد جسر الملك فهد وهو مرتد حذاءه والسيجارة في يده، وعند سماع رجال الأمن صوت غناء يصدر من مكبر صوت المسجد قاموا بالقبض عليه.

The Lower Criminal Court yesterday (Monday) sentenced a Gulf national to three months in jail after entering the King Fahad Causeway mosque without removing his shoes and while smoking a cigarette. He also proceeded to sing a song through the mosque’s pubic address system. The court charged him with denigrating the Islamic religion in a public way. Causeway police arrested the gentleman when they heard his singing on the mosque’s loudspeakers.
Al-Wasat – 15 Apr 2008

What a twerp! The fool should be thankful for being caught and sentenced in Bahrain. Had that been a few meters away – literally – he would have gotten a lot more than he bargained for. Head chopping wouldn’t be too severe I should think.

Unfortunately the news piece did not carry any information about the song being sung. Has anyone any idea what it might be?



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We went to STOMP tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it, so did the crowd. There was hardly a seat free at the excellent Arad Fort venue and this is one of the last Spring of Culture activities for this year. I think it’s on for a couple more nights; if you have a chance, I highly recommend you go see it.


Sato’s, how to NOT run a restaurant!


We thought we would go to a special and different dinner to celebrate our daughter Amna’s 18th birthday a few nights ago and decided to go to the oldest Japanese restaurant in Bahrain; Sato at the Gulf Hotel. As it was mid-week, it wasn’t difficult to get a table.

We were received on arrival by the maitre d’ and led to one of their Japanese rooms where you sit at the table with your legs in a hole beneath it giving you the impression that you’re actually sitting on the floor Japanese-(or Arab)-style but you’re actually just sitting “normally”.

As the restaurant wasn’t that busy, we were soon attended to and placed our orders. We were all looking forward to a nice quality family night. Unfortunately, Sato’s had other plans.

I must admit that our knowledge of Japanese food is minimal. I prefer some kinds of sushi and teriyaki, but couldn’t tell you the contents nor do I know all the names; however, the minimally explained menu somewhat indicated what we can expect to get. We all stuck to the teriyaki side of the house that night, thinking better be safe than sorry. Amna, probably did the best thing and chose a set menu.

We chatted a bit after placing our order thinking that – as in a normal restaurant of its ilk – the order will take a while to arrive – something I generally enjoy – but I was mistaken. No sooner than the drinks were served then the first course arrived. Amna’s course, that is, while everyone else was left waiting much longer to get theirs. One would have thought that the arrival of food for all patrons at the table would be coordinated; not this one. That mish-mash of mis-coordination was symptomatic of the whole evening, leaving us at various stages of dinner, capped by them forgetting to bring my main course until almost everyone had finished!

That could all be forgiven of course had the food at least been acceptable. It was far from it.

I don’t think you will find me at that restaurant again by choice. If I ever want to enjoy Japanese food again, I would be much better served by picking up a Japanese meal from Al-Osra and enjoy it at my own pace rather than be hurried and harried as we have been at Sato’s. What a disappointment.


bin Rajab’s redefines the role of maatems

bin rajab celebrates the healthy return of his majesty the king of Bahrain

I am so gratified that we have visionaries in this society and am doubly so when I find an honourable member of the reigning cabinet extends himself even further by bridging the cultural gap that maatems[1] traditionally play in society.

For instance, what is wrong with local maatems, like the ancient and quite famous Ma’atem bin Rajab, holding meetings to celebrate the healthy return of our beloved king? What is wrong with almost all the maatems in Muharraq putting up boards of welcome and well-deserved congratulations for our illustrious prime minister for receiving the honour of the UN Habitat Medal? Of course this is part of their mandate as they reflect the people’s views from the grass-roots up and their love of this country. It is – I understand – nothing to do with positional politics at all, but a clear and an unadulterated fiesta of gushing love to our beloved leadership.

I shall of course attempt to be present at this national festival of love and urge everyone to do their utmost to do so too.

I wish to congratulate the right honourable excellency Mr. Mansour Hassan bin Rajab for taking this very much needed initiative and pray God that that ancient area of Manama which embraces his family’s maatem not to suffer any electricity blackout during the celebrations and poetry recitals.

[1] Maatems: plural, religious halls of mourning frequented mainly by the Shi’a.


Bahraini Harry Potter Campaign!

Niqab dress

I think that cinemas using their 34 screens to show Harry Potter’s latest movie in Bahrain should strive to involve the community considering the considerable takings they will reap from that film.

So in keeping with Harry Potter’s world-wide tradition, why not let people in appropriate costume watch the movie for free? And what better reward that the niqab costume wearers can hope for? They are perfectly represented in the movie. If the cinemas deem that as not their policy, at least make a special section in their halls especially reserved for those people.

So come on, let’s start a petition: Bahrain Cinema Company must allow niqabettes to watch the new Harry Potter movie for free!

Who’s with me?