Stop this law, and start working on something else!

Most of the Lebanese citizens try hard everyday to make Lebanon a better place; they believe in this country and strive to make it among the best.

Normally, citizens get the support of their government, but sadly not in here. As I am writing this post, the Lebanese government is setting a vote for Tuesday, June 15 to modify the ICT law that deals with electronic information, signatures, and e-banking, and make the Internet world, a place when everything is being watched, rated and controlled!

I mean come one, what are we in the1960s, dear ministers, a quick reminder, we need to go forward, forward you see and not backward, I don’t know but maybe you got this whole idea wrong, if you did, then we are here, (the social media people, the citizens, and whoever is concerned) to tell you to stops this law, stop it, we don’t want to change the ICT law, we don’t want this world to be ruled by you, we like it the way it is, we need our privacy, we need to know that we are able to express ourselves without being watched over!

So we, and we go for the Lebanese citizens, ask you, the people in the government, to stop this law, and do it now, there are more important issues that you should worry about in Lebanon, other then restricting our options online!

Tweet about it and lets do something about it, we might be able to make a change! use #stopthislaw

To read more about it check :

SMEX

Gabriel Deek

Qifa Nabki

Trellalb

Maya Zankoul

Beirutiyat

The Identity Chef

Independence05

Beirut Spring

Now Lebanon

Riham Berjaoui

Archangelus

Plus 961

Jad Aoun

Lebanese Nights

Dany Awad

Salim Al Lawzi

Al Akhabr

Al Balad

Gino’s Blog

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Feng shui: achieving harmony through colors and furniture alignment

“He was known for being angry and cranky all day long; I went to his office [and] made a study. I found out that all what he needed was an aquarium in his office for him to feel better and smile. A month later he was happy; three months later, he started a new business in China.” This is how Jessica Khudeida, a feng shui consultant in Lebanon, describes one of her cases.

Feng shui (pronounced ‘fung shway’) is an old Chinese system that is used to improve people’s lives by receiving positive energy (Qi, pronounced ‘chee’). According to Khudeida, who has been a feng shui practitioner for 10 years, it is about “assessing the flow of Qi in a property and how this affects the residents. It is a metaphysical science; it deals with math, geography and physics.”

Khudeida first studied Business Administration at Saint Joseph University.  “The first time I heard about feng shui was by coincidence through a magazine from Britain,” she says. She started studying feng shui in Britain, but became disillusioned. “There are two types of feng shui, the modern and the classical [and] unfortunately in Britain their focus is based on the modern.”

Modern feng shui deals more with colors and home accessories. “There is what we call Color Psychology, which is an important aspect [and] I often use it in my work,” she explains.

On the other hand, classical feng shui has its roots in China, where, originally, it was just for kings and wealthy people, who used it to obtain business analysis. “Feng Shui was first called Chinese medicine,” explains Khudeida. “It is based on the five elements: water, fire, wood, metal and the earth element. These elements were used to analyze sickness. It has nothing to do with religion. It is a lifestyle that helps you achieve balance and accomplish a perfect life.”

“[Feng shui also] teach[es] you the basic elements; how to observe your surroundings, and how it affects you. I was in the States last month and we spent a lot of time just observing mountains and their colors,” adds Khudeida.

Khudeida’s ‘cure’ When providing a private feng shui home consultation, Khudeida first goes to the house in question and drives around observing its surroundings. Then, she heads to the roof and observes the geography. Later, she goes into the house and observes its architecture. “I look at how the rooms in the house are laid out and how it is decorated … I also take into consideration the personality of the people in question. I may realize that for one of the people red has negative connotations, so I won’t use this color. This is color therapy. Some people might be in need of water in their room for positive energy. It all depends on the person,” explains Khudeida.

Then, Khudeida takes the person’s year of birth and adds up the last two digits. For example, for the year 1985, 8=5+13. Then, she adds up the figures of the result; 1+3=4. Each number has a special direction, which means that each person has a different, suitable direction for their house; some people feel at ease facing southeast while other people feel better facing northwest. Khudeida recounts the case of a mother who liked to spend time in the kitchen, while her son preferred sitting in the living room; he called his girlfriend from there and even slept there. “My studies showed that the living room was his direction for Yanyam (love and social relations),” Khudeida recalls.

Khudeida stresses the importance of the building design. For example, if the elevator is located right in front of the entrance and there is not enough space between them then there will be bad energy. “I assure you that the inhabitants suffer from marital problems and health problems, and the owner finds it hard renting these apartments,” she explains.

Common sense, superstition or magic?Not everyone agrees with Jessica Khudeida about feng shui.

“You shouldn’t let the bed control you, you should control the bed,” said one woman to whom I tried explaining feng shui. Another lady said, “It is all psychological; I wouldn’t pay 300 dollars for anyone to come to my house and make me believe that he/she could make me attain love”.

On the other hand, Rola, 27, explained how she began using feng shui. “When I started reading about feng shui, I was very interested. I gave it a try; after all I had nothing to lose! I found out that the way I sleep is wrong and maybe that is why I was always having bad dreams and hating being in my room, so I moved my bed further from the door, and without noticing I started to sleep better.”

Alia, 35, also believes feng shui helped her to achieve greater wellbeing in her home. “It is just common sense; it is what our grandparents used to say and we used to laugh at them thinking how come? It made me more organized at home; where and how to put things, how to position the bed, what color of blanket to use in order to stimulate calm sleep, how important [it is] to keep the bathroom door closed [as otherwise] it would absorb all the good energy that is flowing around the house, and how important is to keep all your furniture unbroken because broken furniture presents obstacles,” she explains.

Lana, 37, started “believing” in feng shui five years ago. “I was in Dubai and I visited a feng shui shop there. I said to the salesman that I needed something for good luck and for me to find love. He gave me a gadget and asked me to hang it on the wall above my bed. I did and few months later I got engaged! I love feng shui!”

Maybe it all depends on your personality, and how willing you are to believe that Chinese science can help you achieve harmony and “perfection” in your life.

Feng shui tips for a more balanced home

In the kitchen

* As fire and water are opposing elements, keep the stove and the sink apart from each other, or place something wooden between them.

* Don’t place the sink, which represents the water element, next to the stove as this can result in financial problems.

* Don’t place any fire element, such as the stove, in the middle of the room as this can result in health problems.

In the bedroom* Don’t sleep with your feet aligned with the door as this may cause blood circulation problems or insomnia.

* Don’t sleep with your head towards the door or under a low roof as this may result in migraines.* To prevent nightmares, move your mirror so it isn’t the first thing you see when you wake up.* Don’t sleep under a window.

This article has been published in Hibr newspaper issue 6

Revealing the future

“She told me I would get married next summer to a very rich man! Ufff! I still have to wait for summer!” exclaims Marina, 27. “I will have three children, two girls and a boy…I would prefer to have two boys.”

Recently, Ali Sabat, a Lebanese psychic, was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for sorcery. He had been arrested in the holy city of Medina while performing the ‘omra’ pilgrimage.

While fortune-telling is considered synonymous with witchcraft and is outlawed in Saudi Arabia, in Lebanon, it is big business. Yet, it still has its dangers.

Marina, like many other people in Lebanon, has no qualms about building her entire life on predictions. She follows fortune-tellers’ advice, no matter what they say. “Two years ago, one of them told me that I would be traveling within a period of a month and I did! I went to Dubai to visit my sister!” she exclaims.

When such a prediction comes true, the client gets sucked into this obsession.

Marina has visited many fortune-tellers over the last two years. Recently, she paid a visit to ‘el sit Mayada’, or Madame Mayada. “Mayada is blonde [and she] had lots of makeup on, and she was wearing many gold bracelets,” says Marina. “She was rolling some stones that helped her predict my future.”
Three weeks ago, Marina visited another fortune-teller, Helena. “[Helena] didn’t look like a typical psychic; she wasn’t wearing a lot of jewelry and her face wasn’t covered with make-up,” says Marina. “She looked at my face for few seconds and told me that I would meet someone during the summer. It will start as a friendship and end up [being] something serious. Well, we will see about that.”
“I don’t know if I should be listening to what these women tell me but I am so anxious to know my future that I don’t mind ‘believing’ them!” adds Marina.
Like Marina, Lina, a 23-year-old university graduate, loves visiting fortune-tellers. “I always think that this particular one will tell me the truth; she will tell me what I wish to hear!” she says.
“I don’t believe much in them but it is just out of curiosity,” says Rola, 27, who, although skeptical of their predictions, also visits fortune-tellers. “What astonished me the most was a fortune-teller who was able to find out through reading my eyes that my cousin was gay! She told me her initial and she was right! I was shocked.”

Many young people, such as these women, are spending their lives wondering anxiously what will happen in the future, forgetting to benefit from each moment they spend alive.

Mona, 32, is no longer a fan of psychics. “I was engaged [and] my fiancé wanted me to move with him to Saudi Arabia after we got married. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, so I asked a fortune-teller, who I used to visit from time to time, her opinion. She told me not to and she even asked me to end the relationship…and that is what I did.” Eight years later, Mona is still single and living with her parents. “I hear that my ex-fiancé is living happily with his wife and two kids…But who to blame? I ruined my life with my bare hands! Fortune-tellers lie even when they say the truth!”

Mona has not visited a fortune-teller since. Whenever she meets someone who does, she tells them her story. “I want everyone around me to be aware of how dangerous this ‘hobby’ can be,” she says. “I lost many things as a result of my foolishness and my ignorance!”
Once, curious about my future and looking for answers, I visited a couple of fortune-tellers. “You are going to get married and live happily ever after!” “You are going to travel a lot!” The fortune-tellers came out with many such statements, hoping that eventually one of them would make me smile and I would hear what I had come looking for.

It is sad that so many people visit fortune-tellers on a regular basis, believing that the predictions will make their lives easier. Educated and ignorant people are both victims of this trap. These fortune-tellers are smart; they manipulate us to pay money for predictions that won’t do us any good!

This article was published in Hibr issue 5

What does new media mean to you? The videos and some analysis

We reached a point where we no longer depend on traditional media, we, nowadays, tend to depend more on what we call  new media; it is what the internet has been providing us with the last few years. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, WordPress, and Blogspot are some on many tools that are considered to be part of new media. It is time for you to make the news, you no longer have to wait for them, it is time for citizen journalism. You are the journalist now!!!

Ayman Itani asked us, the LAU social class, to interview three people from three different age group and ask them what does new media mean to them.

I chose Hussein Wehbe, he is 19 years old, and he is majoring in business. Hussein, as many others, is mostly interested by Facebook, he thinks that it is a cool way to look for news and to say in touch with his friends. Fatima Farhat, 24 years old journalism student, and Haytham Zein, 29 years old, couldn’t agree less with Hussein,. All three of them happen to look at Facebook as a took to keep in touch with old friends.

But we can see some differences, when it comes to other new media tools. Hussein likes twitter and considers it a very good source for instant news, he also has an account on Flickr. That reflects how Hussein is sort of sucked in the new media world. Haytham, on the other hand, doesn’t know much about it, but he is trying to explore it and he is learning to like it.  29 years old, Haytham, doesn’t know anything about Flickr or WordPress. I can notice how his knowledge about new media is limited with facebook and Twitter. Fatima Farhat, who happens to be a journalist at Hibr newspaper, seems to be very familiar with new media and with the different tools that it provides. She exploits the internet world for her won interest, not only to communicate with others, but also to do some research and to enrich her knowledge about a certain topic. She also looks at it as a platform where she can express her thoughts and worries and let the whole world listen to her.

It is nice to see how from one person to the other, the concept of new media differs. Some are aware of its multifunctional tools, while others are satisfied with some of its basic use. I believe that all three are familiar with Facebook, because it is the most popular site, especially here in Lebanon. On the other hand, i think that their background, and their major, defines how much they know about new media. The problem here that universities don’t offer the students an opportunity to explore this world, lucky enough, LAU, took another path, and included in her schedule a social media class. Being part of it, i feel that i am, somehow, more absorbed into new media, and i find myself more attached to it everyday. Hussein, for example, started tweeting when he first joined the Hibr team. Fatima did it on her own, last year, she is majoring in journalism and she knows where to go to fond some useful information, while Haytham joined Twitter because a friend of his asked him to do so. I believe it mostly depends on the occupation of the person and how he/she looks at the internet and the different aspects it offers them.

Each of these 3 videos was recorded with my phone camera (E71), i sent it to my computer by bluetooth and then i uploaded it on my Youtube account. For the subtitles i used the method of annotations. At the beginning i added an annotation to introduce the interviewee and at the end, an annotation to thank him/her.

The best part of this project was listening to three different opinions about new media, and i enjoyed recording the videos as well. When you watch the video you will definitely notice how the interviewees were acting all natural, and they were talking about their experience at ease. There was nothing that i didn’t like it about this project, maybe the annotation part, not because it is hard but just because it takes some time to do it and include it in the videos.

In conclusion, i believe that every person has a different perspective of new media, some might not know about it, because unfortunately they haven’t been exposed to it, while others are completely aware of it and they try their best to use it to their own benefit.

Hussein Wehbe-19 years old-Business student

Fatima Farhat-24 years old-Journalist

Haytham Zein-29 years old-Employer at an insurance company

What does New Media mean to you?

My project revolves around interviewing 3 different people from three different age groups, and ask than their opinion about New Media, for that I chose:

-Fatima Farhat, 24 years old, majoring in journalism and has a wide experience in social media, so I believe that her opinion will be quite interesting.

-Haitham Zein, 30 years old, working at an insurance company. Once he created a Twitter account but I guess he is not very active.

-Hussein Wehbi, 19 years old, studying marketing at the Lebanese University, he likes writing and he spends a lot of time surfing the internet.

The 5 questions are:

How long do you spend online on daily basis?

what do you do when you are online?

How does the internet help you in your daily live?

-Do u know what is twitter/Flickr/WordPress/….? if not then ok… if yes do you have an account on any of them?

How do you define the importance of these applications online as Facebook and…..?

Arab Pop Culture : Cartoon and graphitis

 

On April 22nd, I was present at the Arab Pop Culture, to cover the 4th session at 11 am at Irwin Conference Room. The moderator was DEREK BOUSE.

The conference started with Tina Sleiman, from Zayed University in Dubai. She discussed Fragments of Identity: Perceptions and Visual Popular Culture in the Arab Region. Sleiman explained how her students, Emirati females, have different ways to deal with visual arts. They basically work on collecting images. She showed how each person is influenced by the type of visual pop culture they grow up with. Then she related to some examples, as Majed magazine, first published in 1979 and still going on and as Sindibad (anyone raised in Egypt will relate to it).

Sleiman showing the work of her students

 Then Hala Abou Taleb, from the University of Jordan, took the lead.” Today we are talking about cartoon”, she said. According to her we should look for a different way of persistence for Muslims; it is either Haifa or Binladen! If they represent the Arab Muslims as villains, belly dancers, billionaires, we definitely need to find a place where we are common people. Latinos made use of the spaces on the walls. Certain walls carry political messages. Why don’t Arabs and Muslims do that? In Palestine, some activists-artists are trying to occupy the spaces of these walls with art, definitely a political message. Arabs are known 2 be beautiful people with beautiful art. WE have to reclaim it.

Then Harris Bresslow, from the American University of Sharjah, started talking about graphitis in Lebanon. He said they are about sex, politics and religion. “If you want to go to Palestine, go to Bliss Street, you will find many arrows saying “nahwa Falesteen” To Palestine .  He showed pictures showing many graphitis on the walls, each one carrying a different message, most of them political. He ended his presentation with a video of a rap song about graphitis as well.

Hashem, from the American University of Sharjah, started another discussion: LOL, Star academy, Bab Al Hara are signs of what is happening in our culture. “I think that anytime you have majority of any culture, som1 or something will become popular.”

“My kids are faster than me in writing a msg. They wake up at 6 am and spend time messaging their friends in the state.” He explained how electronic devices affected the sleeping habits of kids.

Due to time inconvenience, only 2 questions were asked. DR Ramez asks Sleiman what is her conclusion about her presentation. She said, people work is related to their childhood and the way they grew up. Second question was directed to Hala. “Why do we care about how Arabs are looked at?”She said when I see how foreigners are treated by us when they come; the image is haunting us, politically speaking. “Unfortunately we bring pictures like Bin Laden and al Zarqawi. We help representing ourselves in a bad way.

Personally I believe people in Lebanon should give more importance to the drawings on the streets, I agree

With Hala Abou Taleb, we should take advantage of the city walls, and spread along messages, walls could be looked at as public blogs, where each individual can express his/her opinion about a certain issue.

I enjoyed looking at Bresslow’s pictures. We see this graphitis everyday on our way to work or on our way back home, but most of them don’t take time and think about its meanings, Bresslow explained how each of these wall pictures carried a different political message.

I was really happy to live cover such an event through Twitter, and LAU Social live, I was even happier when I saw that one of my tweets was retweeted, it showed that the audience was engaged in the coverage. I think that uploading videos and pictures is very affective in attracting more audience. For the 1st time I did a well job, but I believe for the next time I need to take more pictures. Off course one retweet is not enough, but I guess if I have announced a couple of days earlier what I am going to cover, more people would have joined me, maybe next time I could ask people on twitter questions, this way they will find themselves connected to the issue we are covering.

Arab Pop Culture event at LAU :)

The Lebanese American University is organizing a week (April 20-23) dealing with Arab popular culture. The conference has been organized by LAU’s Institute for Media Training and Research (TIMTAR), & the Department of Communication Arts. Because of the Volcano in Iceland, some speakers couldn’t make it to the event. Elyssa, a very known Lebanese pop singer, was one among these who got stuck in Paris and wasn’t able to show up at opening day of the conference and discuss lebanese pop culture.

For those who couldn’t make it, the LAU social class will be tweeting live from different sessions of the conference, making sure to keep the outer world updated with what is going on at the event. Either follow #lausocial on twitter, or at http://live.lausocial.com , this way you will be able to have an insight look at the discussion.

I will be covering the forth session on Thursday at 11 pm, that will take place at Irwin, conference room. It will be about  Fragments of Identity: Perceptions and Visual Popular Culture in the Arab Region, Claiming Back the Aesthetic Spectacle, and Graffiti and the Beirut Cityscape.

If interested follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/Sarahilal000/

🙂

Maya Zankoul again in LAU social class!

Maya Zankoul was our guest speaker again in class but this time we had no idea, Ayman Itani kept it as a surprise. We were very thrilled to have her in class. This time Maya explained to us the concept of creative commons and she taught us how to put our blog under CC . We can choose the license we want among many ones, most of us chose Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial . I believe that creative commons is a great way to share your work for others to use it and add their touch to it, and then you will be able to see what you created in other dimensions.

Maya Zankoul helping one of the students, Natasha, during class.

It is always nice to have Maya around, she is always smiling and ready to help us in a any possible way!

Maya we are still looking forward to have you again and again in our class! 🙂

El Classico!!!

What an amazing game! Real Madrid lost for Barcelona 2-0 in el classico of this! The extraordinary player Lionel Missi scored the forst goal during the first half, and Pedro scored the second is the other! The Real Madrid “people” didn’t feel any good about it! I was in a cafe watching it with a friend of mine, and can tell you the excitement was clear on all the Barca fans!

Haitham and I during the game.

After the game, fans were roaming in their cars with the Catalonian Flags, and others with shirts!

We enjoyed every second! I just want to say congrats to all those supporting Barcelona and to the others yalla ma3leh khayra bi ghayra and let us remember keep your hopes up you never know…maybe one day…

My brother’s ultimate passion

My 12 years old brother, Dany, has a strong passion for soccer and he is the number one fan of FCB 😀

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