The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Kiss Me, I'm Saudi 

I am grateful to JS for drawing this snippet to my attention.

Livestrong, Saudi-style

The enterprising gentleman ( from the Indian sub-continent of course, we Saudis are not such innovators) is selling a neat line in green wristbands with the inscription "Proud 2B Saudi").

There are two problems with that. The first is that not many of us are actually proud to be Saudi. Proud to be Arabs, yes, and Arabs from Arabia, yes, certainly. But the name "Saudi Arabia" derives from the time when the country was conquered by AbdulAziz Al Saud, who then "christened" it (if I can use that expression about a Muslim country!) after his own family name. Conceited, or what? Even the world's most self-important and psychotic egos didn't do that. Did you ever hear of "Kim Korea" or "Ulyanov Russia" or even "Idi Amin Uganda"? But our modest and demure royal family have dreams of grandeur that the rest of us can't begin to imagine. So while the Saud's and their related families think "Saudi Arabia" is a great name, the rest of us think it sucks, big-time.

The second problem is, as you will see from this list of wristbands, its meaning is ambiguous....

Awareness Wristbands

....because there's also a green wristband that says "Kiss Me, I'm Irish". Now there are many Irish in the Kingdom; indeed if they ever left, the major dairy in the Riyadh area, Almarai, would grind to a halt, and all the cows would burst. So there could be lots of these Irish wristbands in circulation, which would of course give the Muttawa a big problem. Therefore we can expect them to be inspecting wristbands soon. A green "Proud 2B Saudi" will be OK, but if it says "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" then you're in for big trouble. Don't expect them to kiss you, although you probably wouldn't enjoy being kissed by "Bad Breath", "Mr Acne" or "Black Teeth". No, they'll make you wear their own wristband instead. It's modelled on the "Support Our Troops" wristband, and says "Support our Religious Police". It's dirty white with coffee stains, and smells like stale sweat. They'll sell like hot cakes on eBay!

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