Saturday, January 10, 2009

2008 Resolutions - Review

I dug-up my 2008 resolutions and wanted to review them, here are my 7 resolutions and the progress I have done:

1. I'll pursue to completion one personal goal in life.
I did this one right. There was a reason I put this first in my resolutions because it was/is very important to me and I am happy that I exceeded my expectations. More on that later.

2. I'll read more, especially in new topics/areas.
I did this one right too. I went out of my way to read in interesting areas, I read more Arabic books, read about Physics and just finished an uber book that I'll dedicate a post to later.

3. I'll continue going to the gym to lose 10KG.

Ah yes, this one. *ahm* not good. Didn't lose 10KG. This resolution will be high-up on my 2009 resolutions.

4. I'll be a better son.

I am very happy with my progress on this one. Spent more time with the family, did more 'adventures' with the parents. I like to think that in 2008 I was a better son than in 2007.

5. I'll start conserving water and electricity where/when possible.
Didn't do it. Started with small steps but didn't pick it up as a habbit. Need to evaluate if I'll put it as a resolution in 2009 or not. 

6. I'll continue to travel, visit 3 new countries.

Yes! did it! And visited a LOAD of new cities!

7. I'll do one thing about my interest in Stand-Up.
Nothing!

Overall I'm happy. I had my resolutions in order of importance and with the first 4 of them being the most important to me. I am glad that I pursued my goal and achieved it, glad that I read more, glad that I become a better son. Though I failed to reach my goal of losing 10kg, I sustained the habit of going to the gym regularly and that is something I am glad I did.

I will be compiling my 2009 resolutions in the coming weeks as I venture back to the Frozen Wastelands were temperatures drop to shrinkage-inducing -20C. Yay!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Cairo, 2080 A.D.

Originally published in Alter Ego magazine, Jan 09

At the turn of the century, Cairenes marveled at the city Cairo was. As the biggest city in the Middle East, Cairo boasted more traffic, corruption and sexual harassment per dollar spent than anywhere else. It was the happening place if you were an average masochist who was into spending hours in traffic jams, had a relative in high government office or had unfulfilled “needs”. 

The Second Great Depression (2007-2019) took a big toll on the world. The government, always on top of these things, responded via an array of hard-thought-out initiatives to combat the Depression’s impact on Egypt and on Cairo specifically. Curbs were painted, extra lanes were added to the 6th of October bridge and even cheaper high-speed internet was introduced! Surprisingly, those tried-and-tested techniques did not work this time. It was a time of confusion and in an eleventh-hour push, the government put together a fantabulous bid for Cairo to host the 2016 Olympics. Do I need to say more? 

As that didn’t work out, change hit Cairo hard and soon the party was over. The danger that always lurked in the shadows was becoming a reality. A young, foolish government was elected. No one understood the new government’s radical ideas of focusing less on lavish Middle East peace conferences and co-chairing the fancy Mediterranean Union with France and focusing more on applying successful anti-corruption policies that were developed in ex-communist nations in the 1990s. Curbs were left unpainted for months. Ugh, they were barbarians. 

By the middle of the 21st century, Cairo had been transformed into a new city. Downtown is no longer the strange mix it once was of cheap clothing stores, beautiful 19th century buildings and ugly, ugly new buildings. Zamalek, unfortunately, no longer exists. No one saw it coming, with the global warming and the rising Nile and all. I am happy to report though that Zamalekites (mostly foreigners, diplomats and ├╝bercool Egyptians) have migrated to higher grounds.  Most importantly, corruption is no longer with us. I too miss getting my driver license back with one phone call after I am caught speeding. 

By 2080, Cairo did not become the political or economic center of the region. However, better education and better governance has given Cairo a commanding middle class and propelled the city once again into a league it was once part of in the distant past. But it’s not all good news. Cairenes, to this day, find it hard to queue – it is genetically impossible for us. Traffic is still horrible. While we used to run out of gas in traffic jams on the 6th of October bridge, your Toyota Hovercraft runs out of jet fuel over the Nile. You need to swim fast and stay clear of the super-intelligent race of evil fish that now lives in the Nile. Officially, the evil fish don’t exist, since they are a result of a military experiment gone horribly wrong. My advice if you ever face them, never to look at the third eye; it agitates them and God knows you don’t want to do that.