Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: egypt

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment poll

I found an interesting poll at This poll has been closed but I was struck at the poll result! 33% of the women who wear Islamic attire have never been sexually harassed in the West, while 32% of the votes said they have. Yes, I know… the poll show a strange result if you look at the percentages of other options, but this is a reminder that sexual harassment are plaguing women every single day… no matter where they live. Based on my experience of living and traveling in the West and Muslim world, I have to agree with the result of this poll. I have never been sexually harassed in any non-Muslim-majority countries that I went to. It is in the Muslim-majority country that I often experience such thing. In fact, it’s reported that 90% of Yemeni women said that they had been harassed (80% for Egyptians and 30% for Lebanese). Isn’t it sad?!

Saudi Arabia is a place where I constantly experience sexual harassment. It’s not a safe place for women to go around without men. And it’s NOT always a guarantee that you wouldn’t be harassed when you go with your brother or father. I have been stared from top to bottom, hissed, followed, thrown a business card, touched (thank God “only” my hand, but others may experience worst that me), and I have seen something that I should have not seen. I have also been followed with a car, which was scary! I have heard lots of inappropriate and sexual comments directed at me on the streets and the malls. It doesn’t happen only to me, I assure you. No matter how old you are and no matter how much you cover yourself, women in Saudi Arabia experience harassment almost every single day.

If you think that Mekkah and Madinah are the least place for women to experience sexual harassment, then you are gravely wrong! Inappropriate comments here and there can be heard even when you are in the Holy Mosque! I remember I was constantly stared by this creepy old man for an hour prior to the Eid Prayer at the Haram Mosque in Mekkah. I was very angry but I couldn’t do anything except to ignore him. I did react a couple of times when I was sexually harassed, but I didn’t want to cause disturbance this time at the mosque during one of the holiest months. Normally, women do not react when they experience such thing, allowing men to do it again as they please. BUT I’d suggest to do something about it! Scold him or  even threaten him to the religious police!! That would make him dead scared.

Anyway, the experience I wrote above didn’t only happen in Saudi Arabia. Indonesia is no exception, although it’s still “ok” if compared to Saudi Arabia. But still, sexual harassment knows no boundary. Even if it’s in the form of comments like “where are you going, pretty girl?”, it’s still considered a harassment.

I always wonder, why does it happen so frequently in the Muslim world? Is it because we’re too strict? (I’m talking about Saudi Arabia or Iran) Is it because men and women are forced to be segregated all the time? Is it because of the concept of mahram (guardian) that is being abused and misused?

Or are we perhaps too flexible and laid-back? (like in Indonesia or perhaps Malaysia) Men and women are not segregated. They can mingle as freely as they can without worrying about religious authorities. If that’s the case, why does sexual harassment  still exist there? I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as sexual harassment in the West, but I never experienced it (hopefully I won’t!). Maybe it’s different if I wore revealing and skimpy clothes and went to the club. Maybe! I don’t know. I never done that hahaha.

One day, a friend of mine asked me via twitter: “as a globetrotter, don’t you think the more liberal the country is, the less sexual harassment they experience? No hidden curiosity”.

That’s a tricky question! While I enjoy my life in the West free from disturbing comments or weird stares, I don’t support liberal views for obvious reasons (e.g. religion). We don’t need a totally free society but we also don’t need a strict one! But how can we be in the middle between the free and strict system? How can we teach the kids in a way that when they grow older, they wouldn’t look at women merely as an “object”? I don’t know the answer to those questions, to be honest.

My friend, who has been to Iran, Jordan, and Syria, also told me that out of all the three countries, she thinks Syria is the best. Iran is too strict, so it’s common for the youth to secretly hold mixed-sex parties with alcohol and drugs. Jordan, on the other hand, is too liberal and the women often complain about sexual harassment over there. Syria, according to her, is actually in the middle between Iran and Jordan. There are no restrictions imposed, nor visual judgment on women who don’t dress modestly. But most women dress and talk decently. Please note that her opinion is based on her observation after traveling to those countries and mingling with the locals (through CouchSurfing! What else, really?!).

She makes me want to go to Syria again!!! I want to go there and meet my uncle and aunt to discuss about this. Hopefully Syria is “recovering” soon from the unrest.

I want to conclude this post with this verse in the Qur’an:

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.

— The Qur’an (24:30)

Memories of Egypt

with cousins in Cairo, Egypt. I was the one with the white bear

At the Cairo Tower. Little me sitting on the right hand-side

I’ve had little memories of my years in Egypt. Yes, I was born there. But I only lived there for 4 years until 1989. I managed to visit the country for a month in 1997, but sadly I didn’t have that much things to remember. We were there during summer, making it harder to enjoy our travel as it was SOOOO hot!

So I’m planning to come back. I’ve been planning to come back for so long. The one city that I’ve been wanting to visit is definitely Luxor. I’ve been to Alexandria and Suez, but I’ve never been to any cities in southern part of Egypt. I want to see Abu Simbel toooo! (and all temples around Aswan!)

Wait for me, Egypt. I’ll be back for the third time. I’ll visit the New Egypt, insya Allah.

"Amalia" in hieroglyphs

The Guy Behind Omar Suleiman

Who's the guy behind Omar Suleiman?

This was Omar Suleiman, announcing on Egyptian State TV that Mubarak had resigned. The people had finally brought down the regime. Egyptians never felt so free and happy until that day.

Watching Suleiman’s announcement over and over again, one might wonder: who in the world was that guy standing behind him?! Yes, he looked like that ALL THE TIME!!! With his sharp eyes and high-arc eyebrows, he rolled his eyes from left to right, right to left. He just stood there, showing no emotion or whatsoever. His face and eyebrows didn’t change at all for the course of Suleiman’s short announcement. Only his eyes rolled.

It turned out that it wasn’t the first time that he appeared on the televised announcement. This is another one:

Who's the guy behind Omar Suleiman?

Today, I found a Facebook page The Guy Behind Omar Suleiman that has been circulating in the Twitworld.  The photos cracked me up!!! Everyone should check the page out!

In the bid of finding who the guy really was, someone compared him to 4 different people who looked like him, one of them was Ben Ali! Hahaha. ROFL.

Who's the guy behind Omar Suleiman?

He was even replaced by some cartoon characters and KFC’s Colonel Sanders!



And here are other hilarious photos:


ROFL =))

Facebook page: The Guy Behind Omar Suleiman

The Fish’s Demand

The fish demands the collapse of the regime

The sign reads: El-samak yurid esqat el-nezam (the fish demands the collapse of the regime). Didn’t Mubarak get that message?! *sigh*

My new post: Creative & Humorous Egyptians.

#Egypt Best Tweets

The BEST thing about Twitter is that, you can get so much information that is not published in the media. You can follow the events as if you’re there! And that’s what I like and that’s I’m doing right now. I’ve been following Egyptian activists and journalists for the latest news about Egypt. I’m going to put some of these tweets that are worth mentioning (warning: only recent tweets are published here as I didn’t save those that were published last week).

This is my favorite tweet by an Egyptian journalist, Nadia El-Awady:

Your worst day living in a democracy is better than your best day living under a dictator.

She also wrote about losing her camera: (I concatenate multiple tweets here)

I did not cry or cringe when I was tear gassed and shot at by Egyptian police. I did not cry when I saw dozens injured, unconscious or dead emerge from the front lines of fighting with Mubarak police or civilian thugs. I cried when my camera was broken by Mubarak thugs. My camera was my weapon in this revolt. It was the tool that created a role for me. Today, I leave home without my camera. I will not be able to afford a new one for a long time. But I will not be intimidated to stop reporting. I am equipped with two phone batteries and will tweet as long as I have internet. I will continue to give eye witness accounts to international, regional, and local media of what is happening on the ground. And I will resort to old school journalism. I will WRITE. I will write what I witness. I will continue to play my role as a reporter as long as there is still breath within me. My tools are changing but my role remains.

Sarah Abdallah, an activist, posted these tweets:

"We will never be slaves again. We will have our freedom." ~ Slogan being chanted by 2 million protesters in Tahrir Square.

There is no greater power than the unity of a people standing together against oppression.

Another Egyptian activist, Alaa Abd El Fattah, who is the son of Ahmed Seif (a human rights defender & activist who was prisoned and tortured for 7 years in 1983), was in Tahrir Square on 2  February, when Mubarak thugs attacked the peaceful pro-democracy protesters. These protesters tried so hard to protect and safeguard the square from being occupied by the thugs. The battle took at least 15 hours, day and night. He tweeted:

The battle of the [6 October] Bridge is won, at a great cost, at least one more martyr [was lost]. Army was deployed after fact shooting in air. I can’t believe the bravery and determination of revolutionaries. I abandoned the post thinking this was impossible to win. It required rushing en mass under barrage of fire from above and in face of live ammo. The sad truth is no politician in this country is worthy of the support of these heroes. At some stage, I found an elderly university professor throwing rocks next to me, I had to drag him away by force. One of the doctors giving medical aid to protesters broke down and cried while giving report to AlJazeera Arabic. This is how bloody it was.

Last but not least, Wael Ghonim, the admin of We Are All Khaled Said Facebook Page which drove many people to the streets on 25 January, tweeted:

Dear Egyptians, failure is not an option.

Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it.


Tweets of Al Jazeera’s Journalist

A lot of interesting things post on Twitter. But one that I remember the most is these tweets by Dan Nolan, one of Al Jazeera’s correspondent.

The faces of the guys defending square last night are images I’ll never forget. Freedom really is a struggle people, don’t ever forget that!!

My life was pretty much in hands of those protestors defending the square last night. If pro-Mubarak thugs found me inside, well u know…

Struggle for freedom is etched in their faces. Last night u could also see fear – maybe the taste of freedom on Tuesday is all they’re gonna get?

Protestors with me were pharmacists, lecturers & students – nicest people you’d ever meet. One cried because I had to see his nation like this.