Today marks the 19th anniversary of the passing of my late father, Salman Mohamed Al-Slaise. I was seven at the time and only remember bits and pieces of that day. It was a Friday morning and it was raining heavily. I took a raincoat and boots and played in the puddles running and sliding on my stomach covering the raincoat full of mud.
I hung the coat outside the back entrance of the house by the kitchen and went back into the house. Not knowing what was going on, our neighbour Mrs Latifa, who was also my Arabic teacher in Awali school, took me and my younger brother Yousif to her house where we sat down and watched “al7o9on” on TV. We didn’t go to Friday Prayer and I kept wondering why.
Later that day, I was brought back home, my mother covered in black and my elder brothers clearly had been crying while we were away and we stood in line to console our mother on our loss, she hugged me tightly and wept.
I didn’t shed a tear.
As life changing an event it was, I never truly felt that I was missing a father nor a father figure. I remember one time in Awali School, we were asked to draw Father’s Day cards and I sobbed, Ms Mellor, our teacher at the time, felt very sorry and asked me to draw anything that made me happy. I went on to draw bumper cars in (the old) Adhari Park, remembering my birthday party there when my elder brother took me and my friends..
alhamdulillah I’ve been blessed with a mother who truly sacrificed her time and happiness to raise five boys and being their mother, father, uncles and aunts, confidant and friend all at once.
As I grew older, especially after I started working and attending my Uncle Ali’s Majlis every two weeks, I started to learn more about my father through his cousins, his work mates and even from people who’ve had brief encounters with him but left an everlasting impression on them.
I learned about his never dying love to his hometown Muharraq, to the point he would roll down the window just to smell its air as he crossed the old Sh. Hamad bridge..
I learned about his work ethic and how he worked hard from being a young teenage office boy, to studying in the UK and being a pioneer in the Health and Safety sector in the Gulf..
I learned how much a great public speaker he was, and has a conference room named after him somewhere in Iraq..
I learned how much he loved his country and countrymen as JFK’s infamous quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” was one of his favourites, and how he never saw people as Sunni or Shia, but all as countrymen and friends.
Most touching of all, I learned how much he was loved and respected simply by the way people’s faces light up and eyes sparkle whenever I mention I am his son. Every “Allah yiri7meh” I hear sounds sincere and full of yearning of meeting a much missed relative, friend and colleague.
One of the obvious lessons is that Life is short, and not taking care of your health only makes it shorter. I’ve taken the conscious decision never to smoke nor drink coffee (excessively) and watch my diet so that I can enjoy my life and stay longer with my loved ones.
I aspire to be like my father in his work ethic and positive attitude and influence in the lives of the people around him..
His name is carried on through his grandsons, three young beautiful Salmans, each born in different countries and different backgrounds.
I just want to wish you all a lovely day between friends and loved ones, and take a few moments to remember those who have passed may Allah have mercy on our souls inshalla
To say that my ‘recent’ posts on this blog have been few and far between is a misunderestimation. It’s not only that I’ve been busy learning my Japanese -mas’s, -desu’s and Kanjis but that I’ve found a new form of expression and time wasting, plus quenching my ‘comment’ driven thirst.
That my friends is through Facebook.
We all know what we can do in Facebook blah blah blah etc etc..
Just a couple of things have really caught my eye about Facebook, ever since I arrived in Japan, via a HDD camcorder, I’ve recorded a number of videos documenting my experience and sharing the weird and funny things and places I visited.
As the days passed by, these videos grew quite popular between my friends and were even tagged as ‘genius’ and ‘hilarious’.
I was encouraged by a few friends to share these videos with everyone on Facebook, as they were originally only viewable to my Facebook friends.
I am the kind of person who actually knows all his Facebook and have met them before except probably one or two (good onlines buddies from back in the day!). I wasn’t prepared to accept friend requests because they wanted to see my videos.
So the idea of creating a ‘fan club’ was born. Using Facebook’s Groups Application, I created a ‘fan club’ where I reposted my older videos and updated it with newer videos, news and even a promo photo gallery.
Yes it was a truly fully fledged fan club. I thought myself as a big superstar as another way to laugh at myself really.
But, not everyone got the joke though..
My family didn’t like the way I conducted myself on camera and showing it to the world, my mother even began to worry that I was here all alone, that I had lost my mind somewhere between Bahrain National Airport and Nagoya Central Airport…
This was a major downer to be quite honest and also seeing my friends, who I did the videos for in the first place not commenting nor watching the videos and were replaced by other whom I’ve never met or probably will never brought me even more down…
With every new video I tried to rectify previous mistakes but end up doing something worse! Thus, less satisfaction for what I was doing…
The videos also gradually became more ummm techie! the first videos would take me 20 minutes from shoot to edit to upload, now it takes me a couple of hours! and I’m the sort of person although I like to make things cool by adding a bit of effort into them, I also relish the mind numbingly simple!
I tire very quickly
and as fun as these vids are in doing them and uploading them, I don’t want them to become a chore.. I’m planning to round up the ‘season’ with 20 episodes (and a 30 minute special *yes I am this obsessed) and comtemplate continuing onto a new season…
If you’d like to see what this post has been rattling about visit the group and enjoy (It’s all in Arabic..sorry!)
Over the last few weeks, it seems that the Bahrain blogosphere has shrunken dramatically to a handful of ‘regular’ writers. Blogging is an activity that at times can be really time consuming, especially for Arab people, mainly because I think we like to write the perfect sentence (in either language Arabic or English). Also, I think that blogging shouldn’t be all that perfect anyways, as the main aim of blogging (from my point of view) is to send a message and a way to reach out, especially in our testing times.
Many, or actually everyone who reads and/or contributes to the Bahrain blogosphere are saddened and disappointed by the abrupt end to Mahmood’s Den, the biggest and most influential Bahrain blog, and Mahmood, the man who many could say singlehandedly created the Bahrain blogosphere and nurtured its growth like any one of his award winning garden’s plants… and aggregated it for the world to see and feel Bahrain.
Mahmood pushed the envelope and opened our eyes to Bahrain, the Middle East and the world around us, using such colourful vocabulary such as ‘brainfarts’, ‘Good News TM’ and ‘mtvSM‘ along the way. He was and will always be one to stand up for the right of freedom of speech and against sectarianism and hate speech, and we all should to, if we want to live in a better Bahrain.
Mahmood and his Tree of Life will leave behind a massive electronic archive of Bahrain’s modern history in both his Den and Bahraini.tv blogs which I’m sure will be googled and treasured as long as they are online.
From a personal point of view, I am still relatively new in the world of blogging and this blog isn’t exactly ground-breaking nor is it insightful by any means, but I think that we as Bahrain bloggers should make an effort in bringing out what Bahrain is really all about, the good, the bad and the ugly so to say.
So my friends please blog! Even if your opinion about something only covers a short paragraph! We really need to build up this community again and contribute to what we believe will make Bahrain a better place.
Thanks for reading this and looking forward to see what you guys think of this..
There are a few things I don’t seem to understand..
-Why do some people complain that they are overworked and underpaid and go on to work overtime?
-Why do we spend almost two decades of our lives in school trying to understand thousands upon thousands of ideals and concepts but rarely do we give ourselves the space and time to overstand and become innovative?
-Why do we undermine people to make them less important whilst we underline text to make it more important?
You can say that I’ve been brought up in a ‘Western’ environment where I spent my early childhood in the little town of Awali and went to the British style Awali School where Arabic only had 45 minutes of my school day and Islamic Studies only 45 minutes of my school week.The first word I said (at the very late age of four years old!) was ‘Elepint’ (Elephant) and till I was ten or eleven years old, I barely spoke any Arabic except for (you guessed it) my Arabic lessons!
This all changed when I went to intermediate school (You can learn more about the Educational System of Bahrain here ) at West Riffa Primary Intermediate Boys School.
That first year was an eye-opener, I couldn’t wear shorts, my classmates smelled funny and I had classmates who shaved and one who was married… yes MARRIED! (I was only 11 at the time, by the way)
During that time (where I managed to better my Arabic and learned that boys can do…erm..boys) I had first hand experience with ‘Bedouin’ kids.
OK..OK.. I must admit that there aren’t no real bedouins i.e. living in tents and following mirages in Bahrain but the point here is that they have bedouin traits I had seven ‘bedouins’ who were all cousins and had their own bedouin corner. For those who are unfamiliar with ‘Bedouins’ here are a few of their characteristics:
- Wearing anything other than a thoub and ghutra is considered an embarrassment.
- They speak Arabic with a heavy and dry accent similar to that of Saudi Arabia.
- English for them is as difficult as tapping your head and rubbing your stomach whilst on one leg.
- Although hating cats and dogs, they like to keep (ضب) or desert lizards as pets.
Most people find bedouins hard to interact with but after studying with the same group from intermediate to secondary and graduating they have some traits that have caught my eye and stuck with me till this day like:
- Great generosity
- Sticking to your beliefs
- Taking pride in what you are
This post looks like it’s not going to end! So I’ll break it here and continue in my next post inshalla how my studies abroad made me realize that I’m a bedouin in heart and soul….