Tuesday, June 28, 2005

UAE Driving Theory

They drive so fast yet walk ever so slowly....now I know why!

There is common whine among expats living in the deserts against the local arabs of the UAE: they are very fast and often dangerous drivers; and yet and this is speaking of the local students in particular, they are quite slow walkers and this is even reflected in their general actions – they walk ever so slowly like the world could cave in and they just don’t care! Finally, I have come to see some bleak yet disturbingly probable explanation. Here’s my take on this local phenomenon.

Driving fast like crazy kamikaze dingbats out of hell.

They are still used to camels. And boy can camels run! If you’ve seen horse races, well camels can give some of the horses a run for their money when it comes to speed. So a local arabo would still feel like he is riding on a camel, that – by instinct – can avoid collision with other camels or objects that may obstruct its path.

You’ve got to see one of these locals perched on his 4 x 4, one leg up one foot on the accelerator, a hand on the steering wheel and the other on a mobile phone talking loudly to his pal who could be driving as well.

Another near-death experience would be two locals trying to outrun one another in the 4 x 4s or one running so close behind another that a small step on the brakes would bring them into collision. These guys think they’re in a camel race!

Another reason why the arabos do not fear meeting death on the roads is the fact that for them, by their faith, one immediately goes to heaven when one dies of an accident. Especially if you drive like crazy and died on the holy month of Ramadan. You will surely go to heaven! Wow, you’ve gotta hand it to these guys about how strong their beliefs are! Yeah right, even if your were such an asshole to everyone but yourself, so long as you died of an accident (since you were THAT assholic, you’d have probably caused he accident anyways!) you go straight to heaven. Bloody convenient, don’t you think?

This year alone, over a hundred deaths have been caused by collisions of speeding cars, predictably driven by local arabos and sad to say, the ages are from 18-35. The youth of this nation is slowly being destroyed by their heedlessness of traffic signs and disregard for road safety.

In the course of a semester, you see several students whose legs are in casts or walking with arms on slings or with crutches. The reason, aside from the most common, football, driving mishaps would come a close second. Scary and real!

Big, heavy feet.

I’ve often wondered about the speed at which these arabos drive and it finally dawned on me looking at my students sandaled feet. My gosh, these people have huge feet! They’ve got huge toes and really stocky feet. The use of sandal left their feet unencumbered by shoes and so their feet grew larger than people wearing shoes all the time. Imagine a “maglulupa” and his feet so adapted to the land, so is an arabos feet – so adapted to the heat and sand – sturdy, strong, humongous.
Which could explain why they walk so slowly...their paces slowed down by the size and weight of their feet. So too would explain why they drive fast, their feet are so heavy, once they step on the accelerator, the gas just gears up from fast to very fast to ridiculously-dangerous fast!

The speed of their walk is inversely proportional to the speed of their driving which is directly proportional to the size of their feet. Good scientific-like explanation to a real desert mystery. How’s that for a theory?

More on this next blog.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Miss Universe

The Miss Universe 2005 pageant had been held over a week ago but well, being in the desert, some telecasts are a bit late in these parts so I just watched it last night. I think I'm not alone when I say I am both reproachful of but also magnetised by beauty pageants. Not only are women showcased like commodities, they are also condescended and blatantly exposed in a 'let's indulge her as we gloat and indulge ourselves' kind of way. It's psychotic. But each year, I never miss watching it since as far back as i can remember. Why? Because everyone watches it. Everyone may have a variety of opinion about it but everyone sits in front of their television sets, eyes glued to the screen as each and every contestant representing her country sashays in wearing her bathing suit, evening gown and national costume.

Strange enough, in my own small, insignificant sphere of the world as we know it - you'd think a lot more men would ogle at these ladies in swimwear but no, it is a fact that more women do. And the comments? "She got wide hips." "Oh she's got a funny nose." "Look at her legs! There like a man's" and many more.

And I'm sure in the dressing room, behind the scene - having watched Miss Congeniality and the like - these beauties would also be in bitchy mode, going at each other like a cat protecting its territory. Yet the contest continues as well as businesses from hair remover to diamonds, masscara to evening gowns...And many other versions have sprung from them like Miss Teen something, mother and daughter pageants, etc. like we can never have enough of them!

One change I've noticed though was how smaller and smaller the world has become. With inter-racial unions, you now have several generations of mullatas, hybrids of a sort that are Amerasians, Eurasians, African-Caucasian mixes. So you have a Miss India who looked like she came from England and a Miss France wholooked like Miss Jamaica. Many an established western countries had representatives that would have a tinge of Eastern European in them - probably a Bulgarian or Russian blood somewhere the family tree.

Imagine later on, if this continues, we'd have no well defined face for any country (except those that would like to keep their bloodline pure, Achtung!) and instead consider beauty in a more general light.

When that time comes, perhaps representatives from Naboo and Tatooine may also join us as the term "universe"...does include their sectors too.