Category Archives: M & Lebanon

Still Wanna Use Uber and Co?

Now that it’s out an Uber driver murdered Rebecca Dykes, a British diplomat in Beirut,  I am beyond shocked – and I feel the need to share this:

Around 6 months ago, I was contacted by Careem, another chauffeur driven car booking service operating in the Middle East, as an ‘influencer’ to promote their service on my social media:

I was riding with around 6 girls to Halat Sur Mer, the driver/ pilot commented that his boss doesn’t know he is a Careem chaufeur, so he doesn’t want to show in my posts. When I asked him where he works, he did not answer which got my girlfriends and I very uncomfortable.

Also, when he first picked me up, I recall he told me that I was more than 5 minutes late, so he turned off the map.

When we reached our destination at around 9 pm, I realized that I had left my wallet in his car. I called the pilot and told him that I need him to bring me back my wallet, he didn’t come back. Instead, he asked me to “order a Careem for my way back” . Not wanting to be rude, I agreed. I spent my whole night without a wallet. At around 1 am, I order a Careem. 5 minutes later it turned out, the pilot assigned wasn’t the same pilot who had driven me there. I cancelled the trip, and tried again. After 30 mins of trial and error, with my girlfriends and I waiting, I called the pilot and asked him to get my wallet right away. 

I called Careem’s marketing representative and apologized saying I don’t want to recommend this service to people who follow me. I deleted all the posts. The marketing rep told me it was my bad that I was late for pick-up, and couldn’t understand that I was actually more worried about the driver “turning off the map” and working “under cover”. 

25520044_10159704269960084_1563505195_nHowever, I still ordered uber sometimes both in Dubai and in Lebanon – since I thought it was an “international standard” service AND valet-fees-free. Now when I think about it; Even though most of uber pilots were nice and friendly, a lot of them were aggressive especially when it comes to “rating them a 5” or making them wait for 5 minutes – and by aggressive, I mean really aggressive. I have a rating of 4.88 on Uber, I had no idea that there was any Passenger rating till a rude pilot once mentioned that we both rate each other in a weird tone.

I also was once charged twice on my credit card for one Uber trip. I tried to contact the headquarters, the only way I could reach them was FACE BOOK MESSENGER – which is ABSURD! They promised a refund, I’m not sure they refunded my money. 

I remember when I was still in school, we had “3ammo George” my friends and I used to call. He was a dad, he was like our dad. We would call him at 5 am, he would get out of bed just to drive us all home. From THAT, to modern apps with complete psychos driving digital natives around the city,  is ridiculous! 

Being talkative and always questioning life, I ALWAYS asked every driver if he is both an Uber and Careem driver. 90% of them told me they were both, Uber and Careem drivers in Lebanon need to have a red plate/ public-driving license – so they’re limited and usually work with BOTH. It was a chance that this diplomat ordered an Uber, it could be either.

The reason I am writing this is to warn everyone, that I was NOW about to order an Uber (even though all of the above) to Mar Mkheyel, now I am just in shock and grateful I am ALIVE!!!!

Order a taxi from real reputable companies, NOT ON THE STREETS (my mobile phone was stolen from one of those once) “3ish ktir shouf ktir”; REAL COMPANIES who are always in contact with their supervisor, on walky talkies, THOSE!! Uber and such are just apps that take around 20%-30% of the fees you pay per ride. Even though they’re trendy and cool, they are simply NOT SAFE!

Or at least don’t ride with them before: 
1- Drivers cannot turn off maps!
2- Drivers are inspected especially for criminal records!
3- A 24/7 costumer service department answers complaints and not Facebook Messenger!

PS: Many UBER drivers were nice and extremely friendly and “fatherly”
Stay Safe Please!
M

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KASSER. RECYCLE. REPEAT. @KasserLebanon

Having a garbage epidemic did not really reshape our daily routines into being less violent towards our daily usage of everything. Solving the size of this issue starts with reducing, reusing, and recycling. When we reduce our usage of products, less items will go to waste. When we cannot reuse an old item – when it is completely retired, we recycle it.

It takes us a lot of patience to think of recycling our beer glass bottles – however it takes everything but patience, if we were to actually smash glass bottles to tiny pieces getting our rage out – instead of getting it out on the streets. Yesterday, I smashed an old phone, an old TV set, kitchen blenders, a lot of glass bottles…

– and I FELT GREAT!

Let’s support @KasserLebanon into getting the word out!
Basically the initiative is smashing out old unused items & sending it to recycling. Kasser will be arranging a lot of events and collabs so make sure you stay tuned with their socials.

They are very interactive on instagram and facebook, Follow them, DM them and they’ll answer! 😉

Also, here’s the team’s instagrams: @pedroskt @mariadoloresgebrael @gass13 @cyntttttt

With Love
Less-Stressed M

 

I learned كوميدي عالواقف in 48 hours: @comedycentralar #ComedyHunt

I have been off the map for the past 48 hours and this is why:

Comedy Central Arabia OSN (namely the comedians Khaled Omar and Ali Al Sayed) came all the way from Dubai to give us comedy-interested people a 2-day-workshop:
#findcomedycentralarabia

[Sunday September 24 2017]
An Open Mic (us trying our material and trying the stage out)

[Monday September 25 2017]
A Full Day Workshop introducing the classical Structure of a good Stand Up Comedy show & An Assignment that will guide us to developing a good show

[Tuesday September 26 2017]
Workshop Day II: presenting our prepared stand up show in front of our peers then at 8:00 pm in front of our friends in A Legit Stand Up Comedy Show at Retro Active Monot

 

What I took from this workshop?
A Stand Up Comedian is the writer, director, and performer of his show.

A Good Stand up comedian:

  • Comes up with his own material – something that he cares about
  • Avoids mentioning genital organs or swear words – just for the heck of it
  • Never disrespects another comedian
  • Knows well how to be an audience member – Zips it
  • Attacks Up never down – An ugly girl attacks Victoria Secret models and not vice versa
  • Always makes the audience feel superior

A Good Joke consists of a premise (subject), Setup (place/location), and Punch line.
Types of jokes:

  • Acting Out
  • Impressions In Sounds (the impression is not the joke, whatever is being said should still sound funny even if there was no impression)
  • Compare & Constrast
  • Analogy
  • Breaking Logic: Exaggeration

A one-hour stand up show doesn’t mean a longer build up for jokes; Louis CK presents one-hour sets consisting of one-minute-jokes.

It is best to start with a 5 minute set, then move to a 10, 15, 45, and 1 hour sets. Classically, the show should start and end up with the funniest material.

So much love for our mentors & the Comedy Central production team!
M

..القانون يحمي القويّ، الوحش، المُغتصِب

القانون لا يحمي المغفلين
فمن يحمي القانون؟

وكيف نُعرِّف المغَفّل… الاحمق؟
هل هو العاجز؟ المُتَّكل؟

المغفّل في ايامنا
هو الانسان الذي يُضرَب ويُهَدَّد
هو القلب الطيّب
هي الطفلة البريئة
هي المرأة الطموحة الساكتة الخائفة

القانون يحمي القويّ
الوحش
المُغتصِب
الغنيّ
المستغلّ الغير
المهدِّد

هذا هو قانوننا
قانون الغاب

صار وقته القانون يحمي من التحرش الجنسي
#mesh_basita
مش_بسيطة#

 

Photo & video credits : Emir Kreidie 


Currently, there exists no national legislation specifically confronting sexual harassment in Lebanon. To confront this lack of laws, a number of initiatives by civil society organizations and government entities have recently pushed for legal reform to address sexual harassment in public spaces and at the workplace. Within the last few years, draft laws criminalizing sexual harassment in public spaces and in the workplace have been prepared and submitted by various bodies, the latest of which is now pending voting by the parliament.

The KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality at the Olayan School of BusinessAmerican University of Beirut, and in partnership with the Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, launched the “Mesh Basita,” a national campaign that aims at highlighting the need for legislation around sexual harassment within the Lebanese landscape and mobilizing the general public’s opinion towards pushing for legal reform. While many often tend to downplay instances of harassment, suggesting that these are part of everyday social life, this campaign hopes to highlight the many forms harassment may take in an effort to draw attention to the fact that they are violations.

In order to confront the idea that sexual harassment is not a serious issue, “Mesh Basita” stands for the idea that sexual harassment is “not okay.” Offering a double meaning through a message of empowerment, it also suggests that the person is not naïve and that they are taking a stand against harassment. In doing so, the campaign ultimately aims to highlight the need for legislative reform around sexual harassment in Lebanon.

All Day, All Night with JB ;)

ANOTHER ONE! Guys! Jim Beam is ROCKING the Lebanese Crowd AGAIN – This Time at IRIS Beach Club on the 5th of August 2017!

Supporting the Local Talent Scene is the Main Concept this year with four DJs and a Line-Up of the FINEST 8 Local bands (Meen, Jammit, Iklil, Paola & The Band, Peter & Naji, Rasta Beirut, Happy Faces, Etyen, and Ingrid Naccour).

Come with an empty stomach because there will be some BBQ going on – plus fun inflatables and for you aesthetics, art exhibitions!

 

Also, @jimbeamslb is giving you a Chance to WIN Tickets if you:

1- Follow @jimbeamlb on instagram & Pose CREATIVELY on instagram with anything that resembles Jim Beam (Bottle, flag, flask, poster…)

2- Post it with the hashtag #caughtoncamwithJB #mayaacraJB

3- Tag me @mayaacra & @JimBeamLb in the picture
PS: Make sure your profile is public till the winners are announced!
Good Luck!!

Check my instagram to get inspired!

 

Why I never miss a Jim Beam Concert is the VIBE – it has become a Yearly Tradition, all Good Vibes, everyone enjoying the music, making friends, drinking from the Bar, dancing… All Day, All Night with Jim Beam 😉

 

Click here to Get your tickets Online
Tickets Available at All Virgin Ticketing Box Offices
More info on: 03 126 444

 

Women, Homosexuals, and Artists as Politicians in Lebanon – @theKIPProject

… following my Not Your Ashta Blogpost..

I was happy to be invited to the KIP Project this year held at the American University of Beirut (AUB), since I was extremely sick for the past week, I could only attend it on the 1st of April (I missed the first day).

*Whereas all the panelists truly inspired me and scratched my head, I will only mention those who somehow triggered my senses more than others.*

Panel (Highlighting Discrimination through Art & Media)

One of the panelists, Bahaa Harmouche, is a creative director and works on the stigmatized HIV Positive outcasts in our modern societies – more specifically the homosexual HIV Positive people in the Middle East. He speaks on behalf of them saying “Accept Us and Love Us, we are not your enemy.”

Homosexuality is still an extremely controversial issue in the Middle East where all religions completely reject it as being un-natural and devilish. Individuals are living an internal conflict day after day, especially those who belong to extremely religious families. HIV patients – often persecuted by (somewhat) hypocrites that mainly engage in the same actions they did, but were luckier to not contract such a fatal disease – victimize themselves due to their little awareness, education, and luck.

“The gay society is already marginalized in our societies. The homosexual HIV Positives are even marginalized in the gay society itself,” claimed Bahaa during his panel.

It was definitely the first time I hear such a panel – a taboo, an unspoken battle, and a condemned group by even the minority sub-culture – a courageous topic to address.

Heather Jaber, an independent researcher, discussed the fact that homosexuals are often portrayed in Lebanese series as depressed, and are sent or exiled to other countries. While this portrayal of reality has its positive aspect where it shows that these individuals are unaccepted in society, other questions arise like: why isn’t the media showing us the successful happy homosexuals in Lebanon as normal characters living with us everyday – and are WE  giving them the option of either living with depression, committing suicide, or unintentionally sending them to extreme exile? Why is the sexual orientation the only layer a character is described with in Lebanese cinema and why is homosexuality the only artifact that is leading gay characters into depression?


Panel (Marginalized Groups in the Lebanese Political Sphere)


Carmen Geha and Krystel Tabet shared with us the findings of their research of the little engagments of females in the political life. “Politics is masculine” she said, “women are usually brought up in Lebanon to be honest, thinking about the benefit of the community rather than personal benefit whereas men usually possess more ego, aspire to be powerful and are more interested in politics.” Other reasons discussed were the patriarchy of sectarianism and the (debatably) little resources of women, their little effectiveness in national institutions, and their less availability (since they are mostly also mothers and house wives).


Reem Saab’s research highlighted a slight difference in the degree of political voting among men vs women (men are more likely to vote by 1.2% than women) yet a rather great-low representation of women in politics, due to lack of interest, lower chances of employment, and lower education levels.


Nada Anid, representing the NGO Women In Front, shared with us her findings of Lebanon being ranked 180/187 (in Women Parliament Representation) and 143/144 (in Women Governmental Inclusion). She states that a better Quota of women will only happen under one condition: Real Political Will.


In addition to the absence of a Feminist Block and the misconception of the role of politics, one can not but note that the seats in the Lebanese Parliament are barely fitting our politicians that are almost devouring each other for one seat, what if a WOMAN was to take that seat? Unfortunately, giving a seat to a woman is regarded as more of a gentleman act than anything else in the Lebanese government.

Perhaps these issues are disregarded in oppose to what our country is facing these days, however there exists a definite misconception of the role of politics.

Women and activists are less likely to consider politics due to the global interests/lobbies that do not appeal to the interests of such individuals. However, the KIP Project reminded all its attendees that politics is not about Russia, USA, France, or the Middle East, it is about our daily life struggles.

The representation of labor in the syndicates and unions has a direct effect on the rights of the practitioners of a certain labor force. The municipalities are responsible for the concerns of its citizens and we (and our votes) are to be blamed for the traffic jam we are stuck in every day. The government is held responsible for the tax, the double-electricity, and our endless expenses. Politics is not whether Iran and USA are on in “tsingof” or “TGIF” mode. Politics is the daily stress or distress we live with every single day.

The panel  (Art as an Alternative Catalyst for Change In Lebanon) featuring the Kesserwany sisters reminded artists that usually have no interest in politics to address social change in their own creative way. Yes, even artists are responsible for fixing Lebanon, no one is exempted – not the women, not the homosexuals, and not the artists. We are all in this together.

I hope one day all Lebanese People find this as interesting as the numerous pointless memes circulating our useless whatsapp groups,
With Love!
M

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From the book Louder Than Hearts Poems – Zeina Hashem Beck Winner of the 2015 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize