Monday, January 29, 2007

Pre-natal sex selection throws up ethical issues

As read in today's gulf news... The full article is below. Such an enormous Dowry my daughter will command, since she'll be outnumbered by about 33,000 to one in another 30 years.

By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter, Gulf NewsDubai:

Doctors admit there are ethical issues connected to implanting a sex specific embryo into a woman, but rule out misuse of technology here. Doctors at a public fertility centre have successfully implanted a sex-specific embryo into a woman in the first recorded case of gender selection in the UAE. To date, specialists at the Dubai Gynaecology and Fertility Centre, under the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms), have produced two viable gender-specific embryos, both males, since early this year. The first embryo was implanted into his mother's womb about a week ago. The second embryo has not been implanted. Dr Husnia Gargash, director of the centre, acknowledged there were some ethical issues connected to the procedure, which is now available to all patients. "It is a fear that it will be abused if left completely open," she told Gulf News. Sex selection, either for social or medical reason, is an ethical hot potato. Some are against the total use of the technology. Others allow choosing the sex of one's child only for medical reasons, while still others believe the technology should be allowed as it was just another facet of progress. In some countries, where many view daughters as burdens, pre-natal sex selection is considered a boon. However, specialists at the centre doubted that such parents would come knocking on their door. She said the clinic followed the ethical guidelines set by the International Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetrics in sex selection procedures to prevent abuses to the technology. Families with only daughters or only sons, seeking to add another from the opposite sex, or would-be parents with gender-related genetic disorders, such as haemophilia, may undergo the procedure. Dr. Samir Radi said the price tag of at least Dh30,000 was another limiting factor.

Oooh! Look at the pretty lights!

I am only going to say this once.

When there is an ambulance behind you on the motorway...

GET OUT OF THE WAY! You inbred fuckwit assclowns. That's right, assclowns.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Best Thing About Oman

The Fabulous Royal Oman Police.
Ladies and gentlemen of the ROP, I applaud you. You are so fantastic, disciplined, friendly, and full of good cheer that i have to remind myself that you are actually police. It is so so sooooo hard for me to drive past you in your adorable uniforms and not lunge from the car and hug each and every one of you repeatedly. Allow me to list some of the many reasons I love you.
  • Riot Police: I love how you wave and smile in your riot gear. Plastic shields and black flack Jackets cannot curb your enthusiasm for life.
  • Traffic police: I love it when you pull me over just to chat or practice your English.
  • Security Gate police: I love it when you won't let me through the gate until I tell you many, many times that my car is not for sale. I adore my (totally impractical, unreliable, Loud and ugly) cars to the point of lunacy, and I'm thrilled when someone else likes them too.
  • Salalah Police: Do you guys remember the event organised by the crazy white woman who shouted at you, your captains, and your Colonel? Once there were enough of you, you were all fabulous. I was so touched that you all wanted your photos taken with me afterward, though I suspect my face is adorning dartboards all over the Sultanate now.
  • Police at desks in Al Khuwair: Thank you for your tireless efforts to retrieve my laptop from the guy who stole it. You were all so lighthearted, professional, and cherry even though it was Ramadan. Thanks for helping me get it back.
  • Paperwork Police: Despite having jobs that must be frustrating and unrewarding, you are always sweet, kind, and cheerful whenever I see you
  • Colonel Yaqoob from Salalah: You are a Scholar and a Gentleman. You are a dedicated father and family man, and an excellent role model for Omani's everywhere. You are a conscientious leader, a man of high morals, and a credit to the ROP. Should HM ever need a top advisor, and ask me to pick him (fat chance) you would be it.

That pretty much concludes my thoughts for today.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Three quick things

Hello Muscat. Three quick things today.

1) What are the guys sitting on blue plastic lawn chairs doing all over Shatti Al Qurum today? I waved but none of them would wave back.

2) You know Darcy's Kitchen? If you sit at the table next to the escalators, facing away from Starbucks, you will find yourself getting an eye full if a Lady in a short skirt or a guy in loose, short shorts rides down. it's the glass sides on the escalator.(After pointing this out to suburban spouse, I was offered the opportunity to change places.) My friend Ali, whenever I see him there, is almost always at that table. Hmmmm....

3) I'm thinking of starting another Blog called Bad Parking Oman (catchy, No?) where I'll take pictures of various parking transgressions and then post them for the world to admire. Watch out Mr. Too-special-to-walk and Mr. I'm-only-Handicapped-Mentally.

That's it for today, more in a few days.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Scary Secretary

To: Useless Secretary at Photo Centre HQ
CC: All other secretaries in Oman
From: A potential customer

Dear unknown female-who-occasionally-answers-the-phone-except-when-no-one-answers-it,

Allow me to introduce myself, My name is Suburban and we've spoken on the phone three times a day for the last three weeks. I am hoping that eventually our little conversations will result in my being able to speak to someone from your audio visual rental department, as I hope to spend close to USD 10,000 on renting your fine equipment. Alas, my efforts are fruitless, as each and every time I call you inform me that whomever it is that handles these things "is not on his seat". Perhaps you should glue or staple him to it.

Being a receptionist, I assume you have access to paper and pens and could perhaps take a message, that you might later pass on to the person concerned. On the occasions you have deemed to take my message, it appears not to have gone through to the mystery AV man. Maybe you lost it, maybe you are too busy, maybe the concerned individual doesn't' actually work for Photocentre. I wouldn't have a clue, because you, in your depressed and dim-witted voice usually hang up on me before I can enquire.

Kindly find below the transcript of one recent call, and then my suggested script for a fantasy call where the receptionist might have a clue.

Actual call
Secretary: Allo?
Suburban: Is this Photo centre?
Secretary: Mmmm?
Suburban: I would like to speak to someone regarding A/V rental for an upcoming event
Secretary: What?
Suburban: I would like to rent speakers and sound equipment in march. Do you know who I could speak to?
Secretary: Yes
Suburban: Could I speak to them?
Secretary: He is Not on his seat
Suburban: Could you take a message?
Secretary: Maybe you call in one hour.
Suburban: You Can't take a message?
Secretary: Your name? Wait, Hang on.... (rummaging, clunks) OK your name?
Suburban: My name is Suburban, my number is 9923-4567
Secretary:OK, but he is not on his seat
Suburban: Maybe you could give the message to him when he is on his seat?
Secretary: (click, Buzzzzz)

Now, the fantasy conversation:

Secretary: Good afternoon, Photo Centre. This is Salma, how can I help you?
Suburban: I would like to speak to someone regarding A/V rental for an upcoming event
Secretary: I'm afraid Bob isn't available at the moment, would you like his Voice mail or may I take a message?
Suburban: That would be great thanks, My name is Suburban, my number is 9923-4567
Secretary: OK, let me repeat that- Suburban, number is 9923-4567, regarding AV equipment.
Suburban: Right.
Secretary: Great, I'll be sure he gets it. Would you like his mobile number?
Suburban: No thanks, I'm sure you'll pass the message to him, then he can call when he is in the office and can concentrate.
Secretary: ANything else I can help you with?
Suburban: No Thanks Salma, you've been great. Take care now.
Secretary:My pleasure Suburban, and thanks for calling.

See the difference? Print this off and practice it, and share it with all your secretary friends. Thankfully, I don't have to speak to you anymore, because I finally found the number for a colleague who put me in touch with MR. AV. It's been a pleasure to hear your dour and disappointed voice each day because it reminds me that somewhere there is someone unhappier and more useless than I could ever, ever, become.

Kindest Regards,

Suburban Muscat

I hate to pick on Photo Centre exclusively, as it's just as hard to get anyone to put you in touch with anyone who could actually help you. Just one of more than ten examples from the last three weeks- Suburban fans: Try the following homework assignment in your free time.

Assignment 1:
  1. Look up the number for the Crowne Plaza in the 2005 phone book
  2. Dial it, it's a fax machine
  3. Check on the Crowne Plaza international website. The number is wrong, but being local you'll figure it out.
  4. call the Crowne Plaza and ask to speak to banqueting, if you're lucky they'll connect you by the third try.
  5. the phone will ring through, eventually to a voicemail box, informing you that the user at extension xxx does not have a voice mail box.
  6. Get disconnected

This kind of pathetic disorganisation is rampant in business here. When I call a company as a customer, my first interaction with them is a reflection of the overall business's competency. YOUR RECEPTIONIST CREATES THE FIRST IMPRESSION A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER GETS. It shouldn't be so difficult to leave a message, or have receptionists who can direct you to the individual you need to speak with via email, voice mail, or good old fashioned paper and pencil.

End of Diatribe. I should really do some tangible work now. More from here in a few days.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A familial invasion of epic proportions, coming attractions

With the holidays behind us, the suburban household population has decreased 66.6%. Sisters, children, brothers, brothers spouses, and brother's spouse's sisters have all flown away to return to their education and work in various westernized countries. Suburban infant and Velcro the cat have been returned to their previous states of benign neglect, and the housemaid is likely breathing a sigh of relief. At last I have some time to blog / write to myself. Look for plenty of updates in the coming days, as recent work and social endeavours have given me a lot to complain / comment about.

Future topics are likely to include:
  • How, exactly, did Qatar win so many medals at the Asian Games?
  • Why Oman is unlikely to host the Olympics in the near future
  • What is the deal with high ranking government employees having a hotmail address for an email?
  • An informative paragraph regarding turn signals and what they are for.
  • Globish, a solution to communication issues in our multi-cultural Oman, or is Hinglish already the answer?
  • Oman FM: the good, the bad, and the barely intelligible.
  • Al Jazeera English; why I love it.
  • Times of Oman letters to the editor. and letters from the editor.
  • The upcoming, fabulous, Rally Oman 2007!!!!!! One of the best, yet most widely ignored events in the Sultanate.
  • And Tomorrow's topic: Secretaries of Oman, you are half the reason the country is stagnating. Please, for the sake of all of us, learn to take a message.

Tune in tomorrow for further news from Suburban Muscat.