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ravel and work are the twin themes of this, the third edi-
tion of FOCUS. More light will fall on the former since
work may often play a less conspicuous role in the wild and
wicked world where ETs*¹ live. They are by fate inveterate
travelers. Yet they do not flit from city to city via Holiday Inns
and Intercontinentals and then claim a special wisdom that
has escaped those who are given air-tickets in steerage, and who are still
inclined to think that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.
Living on the brink of broke half the time has these virtues: it sharpens the
mind and the eye; it stimulates versatility and resourcefulness; it encour-
ages resilience to ordeal. What does not kill you makes you not only
stronger but wiser and more understanding, a lesson we might find in the
interview with our intrepid aviator, whose astronomic fuel bills, etc…..
I myself vividly recall traveling by air for a good five thousand kilometers
only to find that I had been appointed to Africa’s equivalent of Dotheboys
Hall. What was that cockroach cemetery on “my” bungalow living-room
floor meant to signify? The wood-smoke-blackened kitchen walls? The dun-
geon classrooms? The maimed secretary on a twisted crutch? And later
on it all got worse. This was Malawi in Banda’s day. One of Africa’s more
enlightened dictators, this self-styled “immortal President” only removed
about two hundred thousand of his compatriots from this vale of tears.
All ETs --- certainly of my generation --- have undergone such tribulations,
but they tend to sift out their more gruesome memories if they are asked
to reminisce. The author of A City on the Sea, i.e. super-civilized Barcelona,
could easily have written some grievous history of head-hunting on the
Xingú or apocryphal tales of the merciless candirú fish. So what about you?
Now I bet the girls think that we chauvinists round here have either forgot-
ten their exploits or omitted them out of jealousy. Not a bit of it! We are all
terribly proud of their winning both first and second places at the GCC-wide
public speaking competition in Dubai on 28-29 November. What a terrific
performance from all the girls who took part, and their teachers, of course.
J. Jeremy Beastall
The Caucasian Challenge...
Driving in a Different Direction
Coping with Co-op
Jam Language
Managing your Time 9
Branding Saudi Gas Stations 10
The Ford Factor 11
Collage as an Art Form 12
Flying Cars: Tony Helou 14-15
Up in the Air 17
My Grandmother 18
Poems 19
Paris A La Carte 20
A city by the Sea 21
Symbols of Saudi Arabia 22-23
End to an Honourable Journey 24-25
PSU Wins again in Dubai! 26
Journeys Real & Imagined
Reflections of a Travelling Filmmaker
At the Crossroads in Shake City 30
Beyond our Control 31
Alternate Prespectives 32-33
Financial Fair Play Explained! 34
Kindle Suprise!!! 36
Renaissance Man 37
Windows 8: Hit or Miss? 38-39
Movies that Matter.... 40
....Future Films 41
Dreaming Free 42
The Art of Presuasion 43
Hajj 44-45
Never Say Never 46
Forza Motorsport - Release Event 47
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Focus PSU
Contact for article submissions
FOCUS December 2011 3
The Caucasian Challenge....
Driving in a Different Direction
When planning a holiday these days, a popular method is to look
at a map of the world, choose some alternative destinations, do
some research online or in Lonely Planet, and book your flights and
hotels. Using this method, you often know what to expect before
you’ve even left your house.
This summer, some friends and I decided to do something a little
different. We had heard about a rally through the Balkans and the
Caucasus – parts of the world that aren’t top holiday destinations –
and were immediately interested. The element that really grabbed
our attention was that it was in aid of charity.
Seeing as the three of us are all teachers in Saudi Arabia, we
named ourselves Team Arabian Knights. We met the other teams
in Memento Park (filled with statues and reminiscences of the Com-
munist years in Hungary), Budapest, on 15 August.
The aim was to drive through ten countries, a distance of 6000 kms,
and cross the finish line in Yerevan, Armenia, and, once there, to
make a donation to an orphanage.
There were twenty teams who participated. Countries represented
were the United Kingdom, the USA, Ireland, Canada, Australia,
Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Serbia, and the Czech Republic.
The first day saw us driving south from Budapest and stopping to
find answers to questions about Mohacs, the site of a massacre of
the Huns by the Ottomans in the 15th century AD.
From here we drove through Croatia, and arrived in the evening in
Sarajevo (Bosnia). The final task for the day related to the assassi-
nation of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, an event which sparked
World War I.
The first night party was held in a bar in the centre of Sarajevo, and
there the band who were touring with us (they were making a TV
documentary about being the first band to play in some of the
places we visited) played the first of several impromptu concerts. It
was also here we found out we had Miss Hungary and her runner-
up in one of the teams.
Day two saw us exit Bosnia, travel the length of Montenegro, ending
up in Peje, Kosovo. Over the next few days, the rally went through
Albania, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, the Karabakh Republic, crossing
the finish line in Armenia.
Within the lifetime of current PSU students, the majority of the coun-
tries the rally visited have been warzones, either for religious or po-
litical reasons. At a place we stopped in Kosovo, the houses along
the road had been built by Serbs to house Serbian muslims. The
existing Christian community had been either forced from their
homes, or shot. At several places along the road were graveyards
filled with locals, all of whom died in the 1990s.
In Karabakh (officially Ajerbaijan, but actually a disputed area – no
man’s land - currently inhabited by Christians) we visited a once
thriving city of 150,000 people, which now is not even marked on
the map. Every building had been systematically destroyed by tank
shells or mortars.
There was evidence of trucks having been used to block off streets,
to offer some protection. These too had been destroyed. Whilst we
were there, a missile flew overhead, and exploded a kilometer
Perhaps the highlight of the trip was the scenery. Travelling on
roads cut out of the sides of mountains, with barely any traffic on
them, offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the amazing ge-
ography & geology of the region.
But it was not just the natural environment that was impressive. The
signs of human endeavour – the building of roads and tracks
FOCUS December 2011 4
through the mountains, the construction of enormous dams – bore
testament to the tenacity of the human spirit. Even where these
roads had been bombed during the years of conflict, efforts had
been made to ensure that they were still passable.
6000 kms is a significant distance, and there is evidence of many
different ways of life. Budapest shows signs of the cosmopolitan,
globalized lifestyle that many of us are familiar with, but by the time
we arrived in Georgia, we were immersed in a completely rural en-
vironment, where cows rule the road – more because they take a
long time to move out of the way than for any official reason.
Armenia proudly counts itself as the ‘country’ (it was not a country
at the time) that first adopted Christianity for the entire population,
in 301AD. There are hundreds of churches, cathedrals and monas-
teries littered around the countryside.
The fact that it borders Iran and Azerbaijan, both Muslim countries,
yet it has good relations with the first but not with the second, shows
that there is more than just religious history linking this region to-
The route also provided glimpses into different ecosystems. In Bu-
dapest there was the hot, lush European summer. In Montenegro,
whilst travelling through the mountains, the rain set in, and it was
as bleak and barren as the northern isles of Scotland. The beaches
of the Black Sea were impressive holiday resorts, whilst the peaks
of the mountains in Georgia were covered in snow, and one of the
villages we stayed in was a gateway for hikers to the glaciers that
spread into Russia.
Not all the teams made it to the end. One car’s engine exploded
whilst en route from the UK to Budapest, forcing the team to buy
another vehicle in Germany. One vehicle rolled and was written off.
Three other vehicles just died, at different stages of the rally. But
there was only one participant who didn’t make it to the end. Even
those who found themselves without their own vehicle were offered
space by other teams.
When we reached Yerevan, Team Arabian Knights collected the
computers they had ordered for their orphanage, and set them up.
The orphans ranged from 6 to 17 years old, after which the ones
FOCUS December 2011 5
who could went to university, and the ones who couldn’t set out on
the rest of their lives.
Despite all the natural beauty that surrounded us, it was the human
spirit which was the most impressive and notable aspect of the trip.
Whenever one of the teams had a problem, any other teams that
saw them would stop to help, regardless of how long they may
delay themselves. Add to this the locals who would come out of
their houses, or stop their cars, and there was no shortage of peo-
ple willing to help.
When suffering from extreme food poisoning, one of the team mem-
bers was taken to hospital and cared for by the owner and chef of
the restaurant where it had been contracted. After a team rolled
their vehicle, the police were genuinely helpful, historically inform-
ative, and entertaining. A restaurant owner in Georgia, who spoke
no English – only Georgian and Russia – came to sit with and ‘talk
to’ (actually, laugh with!) the team who were dining at his establish
The orphans were so grateful for their computers that they were all
involved in a music and dance presentation to say ‘thank you’. The
boy in charge of cooking the food at a road-side café used a
hairdryer to help the wood burn faster so the meat could be cooked.
The woman staffing an information kiosk looked up the answers to
some of the challenges, so the team could get underway quicker.
These are some of the small things that provided entertaining yet
memorable moments.
But there is the greater scheme of things too. The people of Kosovo,
who were subjected to heavy ethnic cleansing by the Serbs, who
seem to be happy and relaxed, and incredibly helpful. The people
of Mestia, Georgia who, despite carrying frowns from their years of
Soviet suppression and hardship of life, were so appreciative of a
band coming and playing in their village that they asked them to
play for a second night, and brought along their children.
Many people were met, and many friends, both the lasting and
‘Facebook’ vaieties, were made during the trip. Many places were
visited, and many sights seen. Everyone who took part will relish
the rally for the rest of their lives, and several will participate in oth-
ers. Joining a rally is an excellent way of visiting countries, although
driving for 12 – 14 hours a day doesn’t provide much opportunity
for exploring the places you spend each night at. It certainly teaches
people resourcefulness they maybe didn’t know they had, and is a
great way of interacting with people from other countries.
Andrew Conder
FOCUS December 2011 6
Copi ng wi t h t he Co- op
Each year, in order to complete their undergraduate
degree, the students of Prince Sultan University
take one semester to go out into the workforce and
gain some valuable vocational experience with an
employer that has been matched to each student’s
major. The co-operative programme is designed to give PSU stu-
dents the edge over the competition and provide them with real
world life skills. Faisal Salamah talks about some of the important
things a co-op student needs to know.
When we start our Co-op we are usually have a set of expectations
synchronized from our experiences and from what we have learned
at school. We want to learn some hard skills, we want to be as-
signed some real responsibilities and simply we want to be recog-
nized for our efforts. These are the standard measurements that
many of us use to judge the Co-op. They are also the reason why
many of us may not feel satisfied about this period of vocational ex-
perience. Too often, students fail to see that the values they gain
from the Co-op are different from those in their minds.
The first thing you need to do in your Co-op is to redefine what is
valuable for your future career. You may never get the opportunity
to gain this kind of experience that adds ‘vertically’ to your knowl-
edge again. However, as is life- you will probably be offered some-
thing different from your expectations. Somehow, it is often better
than what you hoped to have been offered, all you need to do is to
change the way you value things. For example, you may sit idle for
days dipping tea-bags and starring at people like a camel lost on a
highway. Apparently, this is not good! But think about it this way,
you are sitting at a position where you can observe issues and prob-
lems that even your boss is unable to see. Think about these prob-
lems and about how you might improve things and start building
your own vision about the business. It is highly unlikely that you will
have this blessing while you are officially employed after gradua-
You are in a special business environment where your errors are
forgiven, and your thoughts may not always count for your em-
ployer, so take it easy and invest in observing and building your
business cognition. Also, remember that many successful business-
men needed only a tiny thread to hold on to before they arrived at
their wealth and success. Thus, even if you couldn’t see the full half
of the glass while indentured with your Co-op employer, just a few
extra drops might be all you need to see if you have the right atti-
tude for the real world.
Faisal Salamah
The current discussion in law, politics, sociology,
and anthropology and linguistics on the importance
of language reveals that this aspect of humanity is
important in at least six ways. Firstly, language is a
medium of communication. It mirrors one’s identity
and is an integral part of culture. Hence in this discourse, linguistic
diversity becomes symbolic of cultural diversity, and the mainte-
nance or revitalization of language signals ongoing or renewed va-
lidity of the culture associated with that language.Secondly,
language is a means of expression and allows a person to partici-
pate in community activities.
“Language is an integral part of the structure of culture; it in fact
constitutes its pillar and means of expression par excellence. Its
usage enriches the individual and enables him to take an active
part in the community and its activities. To deprive a man of such
participation amounts to depriving him of his identity.”Thirdly, lan-
guages are also valuable as collective human accomplishments
and on-going manifestations of human creativity and originality as
it can also be a source of power, social mobility and opportunities.
Language is important to all of us. Learning and practicing it would
be much easier if both theoretical and practical paths are taken.
Many students learn English as a subject but often the repetition
and monotonyof every day activitiesareboring, especially to our fu-
ture Scientists and Engineers at PSU
I thought Sparx would be a funway to explore language and all the
enjoyment that is lying dormantbeneath it. More than a literary club
with some Drama (role playing) and Nano-fiction, JAM and debates
between the participants I hope itwill encourage good verbal sports-
manship and provide entertainment.
To elaborate: JAM (“Just A Minute”) is another version of extempore
speaking. It is a gameplayed between 10 players with 5 rounds. Be-
fore the topics are given, a brainteaser or a cryptoquoteis given to
the participants, the rule is simple, and whosoever gives the answer
first starts JAM. Players are to speak for minute on the given topic
for 1 minute without any mistakes, be it grammatical or any other
error, as such.If a playermakes a mistake, theother players
must“JAM”them and identify the mistake in front of the judges.If the
mistake is clarified he is awarded with 10 points if not 5points are
deducted from him account. In every round different topics are
given which are more amusing, funny, and interactive as well as
brain storming, challenging and arduous. The last and most awaited
round is “Spit-Fire Round”.In this round players have to continue
their topic in one completesentence without taking a pause or a
break, if he is out of breath he is given 2 seconds to take deep
breath and go on. Points are awarded for every single second. If
the player completes it in 1 minute he is awarded a bonus of 30
Shahrouz Mirza
FOCUS December 2011 8
Managing your time
Being a student is a full-time job nowadays.
At least that’s how it is in Saudi Arabia. Stu-
dents spend an average of 9-10 hours a day
in university with another 5 hours spent out-
side doing assignments and studying. There
is no doubt that the pressures of being a stu-
dent are high. Part of this stress includes the workload and meeting
deadlines, but students also have to meet the expectations of their
families. What’s more, they also need to fulfill their social obligations
as dictated by their culture and religion. The question then arises:
how does one achieve a balance?
The answer escapes many even though it is simple. It is Time Man-
agement. This is nothing complex or abstract. Neither is it only for
businessmen and other professionals. It is there for you and me to
apply to our lives.
Before we look into the what’s of time management, let us get a
clearer picture of the why’s. There is a lot of talk among students
about academic pressures, but does what we actually do justify our
grousing? I have been student in Saudi Arabia for eight years and
I have studied at PSU for four. This experience tells me that the an-
swer to the above question is a big NO! The problem begins with
procrastination, putting things off until tomorrow*¹ --- whenever that
is. Why do we do this? We face many distractions daily, and we
don’t really need reminding what most of them are.
Top place for distractions goes to the Internet. We can easily spend
3 or 4 hours a day on websites such as Facebook, or maybe Netlog,
while some may go to YouTube. These 3 or 4 hours, you will agree,
are the most unproductive of the day. Second place goes to social
izing with friends whether over the phone, in coffee shops, istirahas,
and even sheesha dives. These take perhaps 2 hours from our day.
And, because of this running around, we can add on another hour
stuck in the inevitable Riyadh traffic jams.
So how is Time Management a solution to all this? Let me say first
that TM does not mean removing from our lives the activities out-
lined above. TM is a way to prioritize and thus to deliver on what is
important first and then follow on to the next. One very simple
method is to get a daily planner and jot down the “to-do’s” as you
go along in your day. At the same time you can have a date sheet.
Date sheets keep track of deadlines and dates of all major assign-
ments and tests. It has worked like a charm for me since the begin-
ning of this year. Having a list will help you to look objectively at
what you have to deliver and then to plan accordingly. Another so-
lution is to use what is called a Time Management Matrix. It allows
you to differentiate between the important and unimportant, and the
urgent and non-urgent. An example of the matrix is shown.
The solutions can be implemented through a step-by-step ap-
proach, or they can be all used in harmony, which will ensure that
you are not just effective but also efficient. Like many others no
doubt, I used to think I was rather good at TM. Then I saw the error
of my ways. As a result, I have also seen a great drop in my stress
levels, and I have achieved a balance between my social and my
academic life. So the sooner you start what I did, the better it will
be for you.
Ziyad Ali
*¹ Ed’s note: Connoisseurs of the art of procrastination (= putting off till tomor-
row) may wish to go one better with perendination = putting off till the day
after tomorrow
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FOCUS December 2011 9
Gas stations are simply a regular stop for any driver, who thereby
becomes a potential customer for other products and services be-
yond the sale of gas. But the majority of stations in Saudi Arabia
offer few, if any, additional –services. Many marketing opportunities
are missed, and many people cannot enjoy a quick meal or short
shop. In my opinion, individual ownership of gas stations has been
one of the most significant reasons why this is so.
Let us take a look at the UAE. There we find that three gas station
brand names exist: ADNOC, ENOC, and EMARAT. All three are
well-known corporate names that provide professional petroleum
service to customers. The main reason behind the success of these
companies is their having developed very strict guidelines when it
comes to branding and investing in gas stations. As a result, they
have benefited from increased income and expansion.
If we take the example of EMARAT, we will find that the stations
offer fuel, yes, but also a minimarket, a baker’s shop, a fast-food
concession, a café, tire and engine services, an ATM, credit card
payment, an air-conditioned mosque, and clean toilets. All this is
under one roof. It does not matter whether you are inside the city
of Dubai or 100 kilometers out in the desert. The same service and
quality are available in every EMARAT outlet.
Now here is the importance of gas station branding. It involves the
engagement of employees with their workplace and of customers
with their favourite stop. Gas station companies need to build a
brand image which both employees and customers can be happy
In the Saudi market, we very much miss the brand experience. We
find local gas stations, often dirty, and with different owners on
premises that comprise disorganized minimarkets and so-called
maintenance services. This chaos does not endear any gas station
either to its local clients or its visitors.
However, there is some good news in the air. One local company
is aiming at a re-branding approach for its chain. This is SASCO, a
very old petrol service company in Saudi that has started launching
new stations with a new identity inside the city of Riyadh. All serv-
ices are under one roof, including a branded minimarket called
Palm. I believe this is a very healthy development, and it will en-
courage other competitors such as Al-Drees with 346 gas stations
to improve their own marketing.
Local companies have to realise that the branding process is not
just about a nice-looking gas station in a chain. Branding can pro-
vide many more benefits for owner companies: better management
of production and distribution, lower marketing costs, laying of the
groundwork for future extensions, maintenance of a consistent
brand image, and quicker identification and integration of any inno-
vations. One might also mention package offerings on media space
and advertising for external companies inside the gas stations,
which increase the ability to handle partner brand names such as
those of coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, banks and motels.
If SASCO’s approach spreads to other large chains, such as Al-
Drees, SARAWAT, OHOD, and NAFAT, then we in Saudi shall have
better-looking cities and highways. We shall also have far more
contented gas station employees and, of course, far more happy
Tawfiq Hathloul
FOCUS December 2011 10
The individual that I admire most is a man who started his global
success with virtually nothing is Henry Ford. It is difficult to think of
another man who has carried the torch of business further than
Henry Ford, a man who started off as a farmer much like his father.
While Ford is mostly known for the creation of the assembly line
that revolutionized the motor industry, he is also credited for the use
of conveyer belts on cars, mass economic growth, applying more
than two million citizens with jobs and the creation of the model T.
the model T was one of Ford’s lifelong dreams, a production vehicle
that was reasonably priced, reliable, efficient, easy to operate,
maintain, and handle on rough roads which led to its immediate
success. What is more interesting than Ford’s remarkable achieve-
ments is that he dropped out of school in order to aid his father in
expanding their family farm. In addition, Ford did not have any en-
gineering nor business skills when he was living at he’s fathers farm
but it was his ambition and motivation that led him to be one of the
world’s leading visionaries that created an empire from the ground
up. Henry Ford is the ideal individual who has carved his own path
by sheer ambition.
Of all the automobiles that have been designed and built in the
world, there is one that stands out as most significant above them
all, and that is Ford’s model T. The model T introduced mass pro-
duction and single-handedly modernized the world from horseback
transportation, to one where we have machines that are run by
gasoline engines. All this was accomplished by using the moving
assembly line, Henry Ford was able to build the cars in about one
tenth the time it took to build other vehicles by hand made before
the model T. the cars were simple, rugged, cheap and as Henry
Ford use to say “you can have any color you want as long as its
black.” Ford cleverly paid his employees five dollars a day which
was substantial at the time; he also reduced the working hours from
nine to eight hours a day. By doing so, he was able to have not two
but three production shifts working and that enabled his company
to build produce cars around the clock. As a business pupil, what I
admire about Henry Ford is that his mass production was taking
place at a time of economic difficulty and deprivation in the United
States, which he used to his advantage. The result of that was peo-
ple came from all over the country seeking jobs at the Detroit auto
factories and of course their choice was Ford due to the increase
in daily salary and decrease in working hours. Finally after nineteen
years of production, from 1908 – 1928 Henry Ford had built almost
fifteen and a half million model T’s. They were by far the most pop-
ular and plentiful vehicle on the road. Astonishingly, Ford jump
started his empire with none of his own money; he raised his capital
from friends, which is referred to nowadays as OPM (other people’s
money) he explained that it was for initial working capital purposes.
He then executed striking deals with his suppliers that enabled him
to purchase parts on credit. Moreover, this motivated him to sell
parts quickly at a profit, so that he could repay his suppliers.
Ford improved the lives of many individuals from all races; he paid
his employees a more than fair salary, improved the economy and
gave back to the community. Many people believe that Henry Ford
invented the first gasoline engine, which is not true. Instead what
Ford did is take other people’s ideas and make it better “Others
made cars. Henry Ford made better cars. And he sold them for less
money. Others built car factories. Henry Ford built the biggest fac-
tory of its time. And he made the whole factory a moving production
line.” After years of reinventing profits into his business and making
them more beneficial, the Ford motor company became an indus-
trial empire and its founder became forever immortalized as one of
the leading business legends.
Mustafa A. Al-Mashhadi
FOCUS December 2011 11
Collage is an artistic expression created by arranging and gluing
newspaper clippings, colored paper, magazine images, photo-
graphs and other found objects on to a paper board or canvas
surface. The technique only recently became popularized in the
early 20th century. However, the origins of collage can be traced
back hundreds of years.
The art of pasting papers to a support was called papier collé, the
French term for pasted paper. The word collage derives its name
from the French verb coller, to glue. This term, collage, was coined
by two famous French artists, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso
in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a
unique part of modern art. In 1912, these cubist pasting and gluing
experiments of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso broke up
space and shapes and often used torn, cut, and pasted papers
as primary components of their designs. Newspaper headlines
and typography were used for their texture and graphic impact,
but were not intended to be read. To this day, two-dimensional
paper collages are still a popular means of expression.
Collage holds a permanent place in the lists of major media, along
with drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. While it is often
used alone, collage is also combined with other media (painting,
drawing, and printmaking) in various forms of individual commu-
nication. Collage is used to explore ideas, advocate concepts, and
develop possible directions in which to work.
As a long-time artist, I have always been interested in collage as
an extension of my drawing and painting. In the past 30 years, I
have created hundreds of collages. I first began by experimenting
with mixed media collage, combining acrylic paint, oil pastel, col-
ored chalk, ink, as well as colored paper, magazine images, pho-
and other found objects.
Recently in the last few years, I have focused exclusively on using
images from magazines and newspapers. The process of cutting
and pasting is a spontaneous, yet at the same time, paradoxically,
a carefully planned endeavor. When choosing the images and de-
ciding how to arrange them, I often experiment by manipulating
the ‘golden mean’. This is basically means dividing the space into
a proportionately pleasing composition while considering the ele-
ments of design such as space, texture, color, line, and shape.
The theme or subject matter varies from whimsical to somber.
The process is often a subjective – intuitive one. I am constantly
experimenting with the elements of design to see how they might
fit together. The possibilities are endless. It’s a great way to spend
my free time.
The process of creating is what’s most important to me; therefore,
I leave it to the public and art critics to judge the final outcome.
Carl Schraefel
Collage as an Art Form
FOCUS December 2011 12
Contact us:
FOCUS December 2011 13
Fr om Lebanon
t o London,
Par i s t o
Bei r ut ,
Fr om Ri yadh
t o Ral l y Car
Raci ng,
Tony Hel ou
Li ves i n Top
Gear, We put
t he br akes on hi m
t o f i nd out what ’ s
Happeni ng i nsi de
The Hel met of
a speed Legend.
FOCUS: So Tony, Tell me about your car.
TONY: I own a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 Ralliart. It’s a sedan
four-wheel drive car.
Specs: 6 speed manual transmission, 2.0 Turbo engine. The car
has around 360 bhp with just an exhaust change.
FOCUS: What got you started with rally car driving?
TONY: My father and his cousins used to take me to watch rallies
in Lebanon from the age of 4. I’ve been in love with it since then. In
2005, I participated in my first rally and been doing so since.
FOCUS: How does competitive racing differ from recreational driv-
TONY: The two are completely different. First of all, competitive rac-
ing is much safer. It is held within professionaly organized events
where safety is the main issue. Recreational driving is unsafe es-
pecially when other cars are around. Second, competitve racing
pushes the driver to his limits in a safe and controlled manner,
whereas recreational driving (if fast) can be hazardous to the driver
himself and other cars on the road.
FOCUS: What does a driver need to begin? (car, helmet, suit etc-
setup costs)
TONY: At first, the driver needs to hold an FIA license (Federation
Internationale de l’Automobile). Then, in order to participate, both
driver and co-driver should wear FIA homologuated suits, under-
wear, gloves, shoes, balaclavas, and helmets. The car should also
be homologuated (suspension, brakes, tires, fuel cell, seats, har-
nesses, roll cage, etc) according the which group it competes under.
FOCUS: How much does it cost to enter and compete?
TONY: A full season in Lebanon (3 rallies and 3 hill climbs) will cost
around USD 40,000 as running cost. This excludes the price of buy-
ing / renting a rally car. The administrative fees cost around USD
3,000 a year. Car prices can reach EUR 400,000 for S2000 cars
and EUR 150,000 for PWRC cars.
FOCUS: How do you fund your competitions?
TONY: I try and get as many sponsors as possible to fund my races.
I cover the remaining cost most of the time. It can get pretty expen-
FOCUS: What do you look for in a sponsor and what does a spon-
sor look for in a driver?
TONY: I look for sponsors that are ready to invest in rallying since
it provides great exposure for them. On the other hand, sponsors
look for drivers that can reach top 7-10 in a rally in addition to the
amount of exposure they get out of it.
FOCUS: What benefits can a company get from sponsoring a team/
individual for a race or a season?
TONY: Sponsors get a lot of benefits especially these days since
there are many methods of exposure.
Sponsor logo on all sides of the car, helmet, suit
Facebook page related to my Rally facebook page.
Free advertising on
Newspaper and magazine interviews.
Live TV coverage
Launching event before each race.
Any idea the sponsor might propose.
FOCUS: What is the most dangerous aspect of rally car competition
TONY: The most dangerous aspect of rally driving is knowing your
limits during night stages. Mountain roads can be extremely tricky.
Accidents do occur but physical injuries are unlikely to happen due
to the safety measures.
FOCUS: Best experience in a race?
TONY: 4th in the 2009 Cedars rally
FOCUS: Worst experience?
TONY: Flipping my car 4 times in a valley during practice.
FOCUS: Stories about other drivers or events that will get a laugh...
TONY: A handfull of drivers had accidents during rallies because
of old ladies throwing soap and water to clean their front yards and
FOCUS: Dream Garage- Your ultimate car/ car collection...
TONY: Ferrari F40 (ultimate car)
Jaguar e-type
AC Cobra
G55 amg
Mc Laren F1 (road car)
FOCUS December 2011 15
Mr. Ian Rennie does much more than simply direct the affairs of the
English department at PSU. In his spare time he is also an acrobatic
daredevil of the skies.
FOCUS managed to catch him with one foot on the ground just long
enough to get some answers to the crucial questions...
FOCUS: Flying... What’s the attraction?
IAN: An interesting question, I think it relates to being in a different
dimension and facing challenges different to everyday life, with dif-
ferent variations. There are numerous aspects to flying also, with
weather conditions and locations heavily factoring into your deci-
sions for how to approach each situation, for example acrobatics
requires a vastly different approach to sea flying or mountain flying.
FOCUS: Your youngest memory associated with Flying?
IAN: I was four years old and I can remember standing on the bal-
cony of my parents’ house and I heard a loud engine noise coming
from somewhere. Suddenly, an old bi-plane of tiger moth vintage
popped out from between two houses. He was wearing the tradi-
tional leather flying cap, goggles and jacket and he turned his head
and looked at me before roaring off. This was after the Second
World War when pilots could virtually go where they wanted, when
they wanted.
FOCUS: A striking visual image indeed- how then did the fascina-
tion with piloting planes develop?
IAN: I have two main interests – bird watching and flying. The first
started at around the age of ten and the two seem to fit hand in
glove. Natural flight and artificial flight had a hold on me and grad-
ually until I got my pilot’s licence I fostered each of them.
FOCUS: Who has had the strongest influence on your aeronautical
IAN: Well, in fact there were two people, both instructors and com-
pletely opposing characters. One, who was close to 70 at the time
of my training you would not trust an inch on the ground. He was
something of a con-artist but in the air he was as straightforward
and honest as can be. The received wisdom was that in the air you
must be honest with yourself. There’s no use in trying to kid anyone
that you’re better than you are up there- it could well be fatal even
if you are a less than honest person on the ground.
The second influential character was a young man from a new club
I went to check out. He made a point of quizzing me about my back-
ground. This fellow, in contrast to the first gentleman, had total in-
tegrity on land and in the air. From him I learned the importance of
thoroughness in all aspects of aviation- to check and recheck every-
thing. The instruments you use are designed to keep you aloft, so
if they malfunction and you’re not aware of it, you could find yourself
in a lot of trouble.
FOCUS: What is your advice to people who have similar passions,
but prefer recreational flying to a career in the industry?
IAN: Keep to recreational flying. After hanging around a lot of air-
ports and meeting a lot of pilots, many of them have told me they
wish they had done something else for their career. For this reason
a number of pilots fly light aircraft recreationally to experience the
enjoyment of what it was that attracted them to flying in the first
FOCUS: Do you have a particular model of plane or planes that
you admire?
IAN: Any general aviation pilot admires the Cessna aircraft because
it is so safe and it’s difficult to make a mistake when flying one. The
Grob is a model that will bite you if you make an error but it gives
fair warning. A story I read once retold the adventure of a pilot who
was instructed to ferry a plane between two airfields. He had been
very busy and was tired when he embarked on the trip. As a result
he fell asleep for two hours. When he woke up, the Cessna had
kept its bearings and was 1,000 feet higher than its original altitude.
Far from falling out of the sky, the plane barely moved from its di-
FOCUS: What are the most important things to remember when in
control of a plane?
IAN: An instructor once said to me “Never put an aircraft where
your mind hasn’t been”. You must be aware of where you are so
you don’t intrude on others’ airspace and if you make a mistake
then the best thing to do is admit to it.
FOCUS: Tell me about some of the more memorable adventures
you have experienced involving aircraft- any tales of derring do?
Well there are a few; however, we’ll have to leave some for the
memoirs. The only time I’ve ever been really scared while flying
was during an acrobatics turn. I was inverted on a loop the loop ma-
noeuvre when some liquid splashed on to my face. It hadn’t come
from me and so my only thought was that it must be gasoline from
the fuel tank, which caused some degree of consternation. Initially,
I made straight for the ground from an altitude of 5,000 feet but after
checking all instruments I decided I wasn’t in any danger of turning
into a fireball right then and there. As it turns out, the compass hous-
ing had sprung a leak and showered me in methylated spirits. I felt
that I recovered from the shock quite well and continued with my
FOCUS: Words of encouragement for novices?
IAN: People interested in flying should go for it – get to the nearest
flying club and start training. It will develop one’s perspective and
FOCUS: Any maxims that have stuck with you over the years from
your instructors?
IAN: It’s better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up
there wishing you were down here.
FOCUS: Any final thoughts about this passion of yours?
Longevity seems to be a common trait in flying – there are a great
many pilots who are well advanced in years. I have heard another
amusing adage that complements this fact “There are old pilots and
bold pilots but no old bold pilots”. If you can combine that with the
sensible advice not to take an aircraft where your mind has not
been then you may fly and live to a ripe old age.
FOCUS December 2011 17
My Grandmother
There's nothing harder than saying goodbye to people we love.
They leave an empty place in our hearts. I'm living a moment like
this right now. This Friday, my grandmother is going back to Sudan.
It's a long story, started years earlier…
After their marriage in Sudan, my parents emigrated from our vil-
lage, Al Sair, in the north of Sudan to Saudi Arabia, where my broth-
ers and I were born and grew up. Al Sair is a very beautiful place:
the green lands all over the village, the cows and sheep around,
and the Nile through the village. I've never been there but I've seen
a lot of photos that made me think that people would fight for the
sake of staying in such a place.
We've stayed in Saudi Arabia for a very long time. We've been in
this beautiful country for more than twenty five years. I've had the
best welcome, the best treatment and the best education. But I've
always looked forward to meeting my relatives who I had never
seen: my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.
One day about six months ago, my father came home and told us
he was going to bring our grandmother from Sudan and he was
working on the visa. I felt very happy with this news because I al-
ways wanted to see her. She saw me only once when I was a baby,
and I didn’t remember her at all. A lot of thoughts came to my mind:
What would she look like? Would she recognize me? Could she
speak Arabic well? Because in our village, they speak a Nubian lan-
guage, which I can't speak. How could I speak it if I've never been
there? I was excited and nervous at the same time.
We all started cleaning the house and brought new furniture. We
didn't sleep the night before her arrival, because the plane was sup-
posed to arrive at midnight. My father went by car to the airport to
bring her while we were waiting at home. The airport was so far
away that my father had to drive about a hundred kilometers. He
came back with her in the morning which was the most wonderful
morning we have ever had…
My eighty-year-old grandmother entered the house and the tears
were falling from her eyes with great happiness. She spent a few
minutes with each one of us hugging us and giving us hundreds of
kisses. She told us that she felt very happy that she had finally met
us before it was "too late" … She was short, thin and bent, but the
way she walked and moved showed something different; She was
agile and strong. She was wearing a white headscarf and coloured,
rose-printed Sudanese thobe. I also noticed the colour of her skin.
My father is darker than me, and my mother is lighter, but my grand-
mother’s skin had exactly the same colour as mine… We carried
her bags inside and my mother told her to rest because the journey
was tiring. We were tired, too, because we were awake for too long.
But she didn’t want to rest… She wanted to stay with us.
In the evening, she opened her bags. She brought some pistachio,
nuts and biscuits that cannot be found anywhere in Saudi Arabia.
She also brought some Sudanese clothes and some incense and
perfumes. Then she raised her hands and started saying prayers
in Nubian, and crying at the same time. I've never seen a person
as emotional as her. She praised the elegant, kind and polite treat-
ment of Saudi people. She also told us about her last visit to us
about twenty years before… It was like a piece of Sudan coming to
The next day visitors started coming from different places, Riyadh,
Jeddah and Dammam. Some of them met her in Sudan a long time
ago. The funny thing was that she recognized most of them, after
all of these years! I couldn't believe how aware she was.
As an old person who had a lot of experience in her life, she told
me and my brothers a lot of things about our ancestral culture and
traditions such as weddings, what people wear in special occasions
and stories about our relatives. I listened to her with full attention,
because at first, I was afraid that she would be disappointed in my
ignorance of these things. But the good thing was that she accepted
that we were living in a foreign land, although it bothered her a little
Every time I got back from college, I saw that bright and warm smile
on my grandmother's face, and she said that I must be tired and I
should rest. More than once, she pretended that she wanted to
shake my hand, but actually she was holding some money and
when I shook her hand she left it in my palm. She embarrassed me,
but she was really kind and loving. She was also diligent and active,
never thought about her age. She did a lot of hard work without any
help, and no one could stop her. I saw her once pulling a big twisted
carpet in the courtyard outside!
One day I got so sick that I was throwing up all the time and my
limbs were numb. She held my leg and pressed it with an amazing
strength, like a young man's, and told me that it would help the
blood stream. Then she gave me a drink she had made herself. I
didn't know what she put in it, but I knew that it tasted terrible. The
effect was quick, and I stopped throwing up and my limbs became
normal immediately. It was like magic. She told me not to use drugs
because there's always a natural remedy.
Although she was happy to be with us, she was homesick, because
in Sudan, culture and social life are not the same as in Saudi Arabia.
There, she is used to going to farms, neighbors and parties, but
here she couldn't do whatever she liked. So she decided to go to
Mecca to perform “Omra” with my uncle, and refresh her spirit. They
went in my uncle's car and spent five days there, and it was a great
experience for her.
Three months passed like three days, and the time for my grand-
mother's return has come. I feel very sad that she is going to leave
us, but very happy to be reunited with my country and my family.
Those ninety days were the most wonderful days in my life. There
was a dark side in my soul and she lit it for me with her love, hope,
faith and optimism in life. I will miss her warm hug, her beautiful
smile, her kind words and great love… I hope we can surprise her
and visit her next summer vacation. Although I don’t want to say it,
goodbye grandmother.
Essam Sayed Ali Ahmad
FOCUS December 2011 18
through the mirror (27 looking to 17)
you can trek to the furthest border
but don't you ever cut the corners
and don't you ever do to me what i done to you
scale a waterfall
make the mountains crawl
but don't you never do to me what i done to you
make their ashes laugh
make her tears roll back
but don't you never do to me what i done to you
even if they push your teeth out
don't you ever let lies leave your mouth
and don't you ever do to me what i done to you
graze in fields of glass
walk the ocean's paths
but don’t you ever do to me what i done to you
if you ever slip, don't fall down
and even if you fall keep crawlin'
and don't you ever ever never
no don’t you never ever never
and don’t you ever do to me what i done to you
Daniel Oliver
Some Theoretical Findings from a Galaxy Concordance
The objects of astronomy present a macrohierarchy, including entities like galaxy clusters,
galaxies, stars, planets, and subsidiary bodies,
and bear in mind our modern picture of the universe dates back to only the nineteen-twenties
when Hubble demonstrated there was more than one galaxy,
but now it seems, (and soon it may be orthodoxy) that from any chosen view-point, that every
other galaxy is going away from you,
in addition to a new theory about the origin of our Solar System that suggests that the Sun has
not been flung out into the void at random,
but rather that is in a special place in our Galaxy, and that it would
be incorrect to draw inferences from insular studies of our stellar neighbourhood
as the Solar System orbits the centre of the Galaxy (by the latest recks) at a distance of thirty
thousand light years – that’s 10 kiloparsecs –
that’s why some scientists believe the Sun, like other stars, may be part of a binary system and
have a twin somewhere out there in the dark
and a shortcut to it might be if a spaceship could go into one black hole and come out of an-
other on the other side of the Galaxy, like a mole,
and, talking of black holes, they may well be more than the number of visible stars, which, in
our galaxy, are about a hundred thousand million in total,
but, back to the question in hand, biologists would tend to say, “No, probably, here is no ad-
vanced intelligent life within OUR Galaxy.”
Yousuf Hindess
walk the Line
*for small-army son of rule-of-the-spear*
i awe at no Mountain
& if One stands
in my Way, i'ma climb It
or turn It to Sand
cuz i walk a straight Line
& i’ll stride 'cross the Sea
or cut It in half
if It try to drag me
i walk a straight Line
that don’t go left or right
even if the Sun blinds
or i'm swallowed by Night
my Line go straight
no, i'll never turn back
even if Lava creeps
or Claws tear my back
Daniel Oliver
*in loving memory of bukhari rice*
furry bikes w/horns, misled
painted beards: orange, & red
kisses on the cheeks of men
gnitirw backwards with a pen
concrete villages, scarce wind
oases, pilgrims permanent
when shops close the sinners hide
beauty's a secret to sunlight
boys in replicas are clad
don't mind them, they're just shabaab
fragrances design the air
at green, don’t pause or horns will blare
the moon spawns poetry and names
gnarléd limbs shake as they pray
Daniel Oliver
i dont lisn 2 rap
cuz rap talx 'bout killn blax
&i'm blak
i dont 2n n2 newz
cuz newz crewz say how muslmz r bad
&i’m not bad
Daniel Oliver
FOCUS December 2011 19
hen you return from the long vacation, does your English teacher usually give you that
most tedious of assignments: “What did you do last summer?” Mine used to, and it sim-
ply spoiled the fun of reminiscing about the whole experience. But since I am older and
wiser now, and the assignment is optional this year, I will tell you about my summer vacation in the
land of republicanism, the beaux-arts, and frog-eating *¹.
This was the first time that I had visited France, and I was struck by how beautiful the country is.
The first stop for any typical Saudi visitor is the Champs Elysées. Here there are a great number of
gourmet restaurants with great service --- actually, that seems to mean being rude to foreigners and
overcharging them French style.
The question you might well have been asking yourself in Paris is this: ‘Did I go anywhere of partic-
ular interest, or did I just loaf around as I do in Dubai?’
Well, my friends and I went to two notable places, the Louvre and Versailles. The Louvre is Franc-
e’s most famous museum, filled with paintings of beautiful people and statues of naked ones. You
will, for example, be able to see art from Ancient Greece, and from Europe in the Middle Ages and
the Renaissance. It is all really awe-inspiring except for the creepy baby paintings that will scare
you for keeps.
We also got to see the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, and it is every bit as awesome as I had
imagined. (My theory about her mysterious smile is that she is trying to hide her bad
teeth --- a common misfortune in those days.)
The next stop was Versailles, the palace of Louis XIV. It has golden thrones, a corridor filled
with mirrors, and paintings on the walls that show Louis just being stylish or simply wasting
his enemies on the battlefield. Never since Rameses II has a king loved himself so passioa-
tely. You can understand why, eventually, the 18th-century peasants got round to re-
volting and to guillotining royal heads.
Anyway, my trip ended with going to the best chocolate store ever, La Maison du Cho-
colat. This chocolaterie is so amazing that no Parisian wants to tell you about it when
you ask for directions. In fact, I was told the wrong way to go. But if you explore the
Champs Elysées as closely as I did, you will find this magical place.
And my overall impression of my French trip? France is a place which sometimes
welcomes its guests and which, at others, can really be snooty and snotty
and snub them. That is France’s dual personality. At least it has one, I suppose.
*¹ Ed’s note: = batrachophagy, if you like the big word for this ghastly habit;and they
do malacophagy!
Mohammed Al-Lehbi



FOCUS December 2011 20
Barcelona is a beautiful little city on the Mediterranean Sea and a
long way from from the towering skyline of metropolitan New York
where I was born and grew up. In fact the two places seem to be
almost opposites: New York with its capital–of-the- world attitude
and Barcelona with it’s our-little-corner-of-the-world attitude.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a small nation that is officially
part of Spain. There are only 6 or 7 million Catalans, which by New
York standards is very small-time. Yet Barcelona has given the
world some amazing gifts. I lived in Barcelona for over 20 years and
although I am not a native, I feel like a New Yorker and a
“Barcelonin” in equal measure/Barcelona is my city too.
The first and most extraodinary thing about Barcelona is the city it-
self. It is full of magnificent buildings and architecture. Gaudi is the
city’s most famous architect and is responsible for several of
Barcelona’s’s iconic buildings and spaces. His wavy lined LaPedr-
era and the reptilian roof toppped Casa Batalho on Barcelona’s
main stree,t Paseo de Gracia, are must-sees for all who visit the
city. Park Guell with its mosaics and serpentine benches offers a
tremendous view of the city. In addition to Gaudi’s work, this city
boasts of many other fascinating buildings such as the Palau de la
Music, an Art Deco theater, the undulating roof of Mercat de Santa
Caterina, a neighborhood food market or the Santa Maria del Mar,
a gothic cathedral. I had never been interested in architecture until
I came to the city and here I learned to see buildings in terms of
line, form and structure.
People actually live in these buildings. They spend a good part of
their lives in the plazas terraces and balconies throughout the city.
There are always people in the streets going about their business.
In fact a recent poll in the El Periodico newspaper showed that
about 30% of the “Barcelonins” walk to work every day. Even more
people use the public transportation systems of subways, buses,
trams and trains that crisscross the city. This means that you see
people everywhere you go and that local shops, restaurants and
cafes are more popular than generic shopping malls found all over
the world. I loved travelling around the city and seeing people and
now thanks to mobile telephones, I often overheard snippets of their
private lives too. Barcelona is not a good city for private cars as it
often takes 30 minutes or more just to find a place to park.
People love to go out in Barcelona. There are outdoor cafes, clubs,
pubs, restaurants, theaters, discos, cinemas and festivals for all
sorts of people and budgets. In recent years elegant restaurants
with celebrity chefs have become very popular. In these restaurants
dinner can easily cost 150 Euros or more. On every street there are
family run restaurants with 10 euro Menu del Dia lunch specials.
These lunches are usually traditional Catalan foods such as lentils,
baked fish or tripe. Thursday is Paella day. Of course there are all
kinds of international restaurants too. In recent years scwharma has
become very popular with young people. Tapas are also popular
with everyone but the Basques from Northeastern Spain are better
known for tapas than the Catalans. In the United States meals are
quick and practical events especially during the week but in Spain
meals are celebrations and can take 2 hours or more. Good food
and good company is the Spanish way of life. Nearly all offices,
stores and businesses close from 2 – 5 pm for lunch so that people
can enjoy their main meal of the day,
Football Club Barcelona or Barça is the pride of this city. The world’s
greatest players such as Maradona, Ronaldo, and Messi have
played for this team. There is a special excitement in the city on the
days of a big game, I could hear the neighbors cheer for a Barca
goal and moan in despair whenever Barca missed a shot. Sports
bars would be packed with fans watching large screen TVs. If
Barca won an important match, hundreds of people would drive
around the city honking and waving flags. If Barca lost there would
be silence and recriminations. When the club elects a president,
the event takes on the proportion of a parliamentary election with
millions of Euros spent on electoral campaigns and televised de-
bates. Barça is the current European and Spanish football champi-
ons. Barca is one of the very best clubs in the world and this is a
source of tremendous pride for the entire city which is why Barca is
“ more than a football club”.
Barcelona is a bilingual city. Some people speak Catalan. Some
people speak Spanish. Newspapers are published daily in each lan-
guage. Computer translation allow one newspaper to publish the
same edition in both languages. Although the city is divided almost
evenly among Catalan and Spanish speakers, Catalan is the offi-
cially the first language of the city. All public information is presented
in Catalan. Public television is exclusively in Catalan. Street signs
are in Catalan and even the names on private businesses must be
in Catalan. Some people choose to live their lives in Catalan. Oth-
ers speak Spanish. Some people speak both. Most foreigners
speak Spanish because there is an unwritten social rule in the coun-
try. Whatever language you meet someone in is the language you
always use to speak to that person. Since most foreigners do not
know Catalan when they arrive they end up speaking Spanish to
My years in Barcelona were very happy years and, with no disre-
spect to my first love, New York City, I would have to say that I have
fallen in love with Barcelona too. Yet tourists ride through the streets
without ever knowing the soul and the beauty of the place. I am
happy to say that Barcelona’s beauty and charm is an important
part of my life and something I will always remember with a sweet
sensation of love and admiration. Barcelona is city by the sea that
does not care if it is the largest or the best but just likes to be what
it is.
Robert Cavallo
A City by the Sea
FOCUS December 2011 21
Symbols of Saudi Arabia
Way before I was born, my grandfather found pleasure in
collecting national symbols. He found a special interest in
the various Saudi currencies of the current kingdom be-
cause they represent a particular time and place most
acutely. He passed his passion along with his collection
to my father, who took care of it and added his own touch,
and that’s how it eventually came into my possession.
Browsing through them, it is noticeable that unlike the Ot-
toman Empire currencies (Gold coins), the Saudi currency
began as metal coins in 1933. Thirty years later, the first
paper-based currency was introduced by King Abdul-Aziz
the founder of the country (in 1952 A.D.). That became
the precedent and thereafter a tradition for each king to
introduce his own currency, and later on, even the value
distribution per bill was increased.
The new paper currency was initially not very popular in
King Abdul-Aziz’s time compared with the more valuable
gold coins of the Ottoman era. It did however; finally find
favour during King Saud’s reign. King Faisal came after
him but no major changes were made to the currency in
the period of his rule.
King Khalid had a significant impact on the currency’s de-
sign in the late 1970s. He was the first monarch to intro-
duce pictures to the design, but rather than adding his
own portrait, as nice gesture, he had King Faisal’s and
King Abdul-Aziz’s pictures added.
In the 1980s King Fahd added the 20 SR, 200 SR and
500 SR denominations to the currency.
Most aspects of the modern Saudi legal tender have re-
mained the same since the 1990s, however, King Abdul-
lah has had some of the images on the present currency
updated and has refreshed the look and size of the one
Riyal note.
Ibrahim Yamani
King Abdul-Aziz in 1952 A.D. introduced the first Saudi paper bill, it was origi-
nally for Hajj visitors, which is why there are six languages apparent on the bill.
Some of the bills King Saud had commissioned (1961 A.D.) were too big
and were later reformatted to a more convenient size.
FOCUS December 2011 22
Some of King Abdullah’s bank notes ( 2007 A.D.)
Currency during King Faisal’s reign in 1968 A.D.
King Khalid currency 5 SR bill had King Faisal’s picture, it had a spelling mistake -
“Khassah” Riyal instead of “Khamsah” Riyal (edited later) and other bills ( 1976 A.D.)
These were special editions during King Fahd’s reign, designed for the 100th anniversary of the start of
unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (20 SR, and 200 SR ), and the rest of his bills (1984 A.D.).
FOCUS December 2011 23
n the morning of the 22nd of October, 2011 I woke up to a phone call from a friend asking me if I had seen or heard
the terrible news. Like a bad dream I couldn't wake up from, this sad revelation came as quite a shock to me. I felt
that our nation had lost a part of its identity, a part of its soul. The whole region was mourning the loss of the Crown
Prince, Sultan bin Abdulaziz. He was a great figurehead for the country and influenced its politics and defence systems
as well as the lives of many people in many positive ways. It has been said that he devoted his life to help others in
need and this legacy lives on through the work he has done for many communities in Saudi Arabia.
Prince Sultan was born in Riyadh on the 30th of December, 1929. He held many important positions in the Kingdom
during his political career. His first major role was in 1943 when he was appointed as Head of the Royal Guard by his
father, King Abdulaziz. After that he was given the post of the governor of Riyadh in 1947. During King Saud's reign, he
held the position of Minister of Agriculture and helped set up a project for settling the nomadic tribes of the Kingdom.
When he was appointed as Minister of Transportation in the 1960s, he oversaw the construction of the Riyadh-Dammam
railway. However, perhaps his most important role was in 1962 when he was appointed as the Minister of Defence and
Aviation and Inspector General. Since that time he helped to establish the modern Saudi Arabian armed forces, including
the land, naval and air defence forces. After the accession of King Fahd to the throne in 1982, he became Second
Deputy Prime Minister. When King Fahd passed away in 2005, he was subsequently appointed Crown Prince and
Deputy Prime Minister.
He was frequently referred to as "Sultan al Khair" because of his charitable deeds. In a popular (possibly ap-
ocryphal) tale, it was said that his father gave him twice as much pocket money as his other sons. The reason
for this favouritism, according to the story was due to the fact that he spent all his allowance on those around
him. As with his later life, he devoted much of it to helping people in need, establishing many health institutions,
such as the Prince Sultan Humanitarian City on the outskirts of Riyadh in 1995. This provides social services
and health care for the elderly and rehabilitation programs for the disabled. He also had a hand in opening
up several medical centres for disabled children across the Kingdom. For this and numerous other duties he
was awarded the Medal of Honour for Humanitarian services in 2007.
Prince Sultan also had a great interest in the preserving the indigenous wildlife of the Kingdom. He establ-
ished the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development in 1986 to protect the nation's
endangered species.
I had the good fortune to have met Prince Sultan on more than one occasion. My impression of the man
was that he always had a warm, welcoming demeanour and an easy and comforting smile that never
left his face. He was the kind of person that in spite of being pulled in many directions, with innumerable
demands on his time, never forgot those he met; and for this reason alone it could be said that he was
truly one of a kind.
So we mourn the passing of Sultan, our prince of hearts. His absence will leave a gap in the character
and history of Saudi Arabia and a reputation that no other will be able to match. Although most of us never
had a chance to get to know the man, his good deeds and acts of compassion have left behind him a pos-
itive legacy, an example to ordinary folk and those who wield power that generosity of spirit, action and word
will leave warm memories and feelings for those who have been touched by a gesture of kindness.
Nawaf Al-Saud
End to an Honourable Journey
For the second year running, PSU won first place in a GCC-wide
public speaking competition. Not only that, PSU took second place
too and became the first university ever to win the trophy twice or
to retain it.
This year it was two girls from PSU-CW who did PSU proud at the
11th Inter College Environmental Public Speaking Competition or-
ganized by the Emirates Environmental Group at Dubai Knowledge
Village on 28-29 November. Athough Alsughayer, from the Depart-
ment of Interior Design, was the overall competition winner, winning
both her topic, ‘Development with destruction – is it possible?’, and
the right to take the trophy back for a year. In second place, by just
one point, was Haneen Al-Ghamdi, from the Department of Law,
who won her topic of ‘GCC countries- 25 years from now’ and came
in as the competition’s runner up.
Both girls put in marvelous performances which drew applause and
commendations from the audience. The pair were ably supported
by their teams who had put in several months of preparation and
practice prior to travelling. As the final results were announced, the
PSU entourage shrieked in jubilation thrilled that their hard work
was rewarded with PSU’s best ever showing. Even arch-rivals Al-
Yamama University sang along in celebration, proud that a fellow
Saudi university had claimed victory.
So the Women’s College have maintained and extended PSU’s un-
surpassed record of always winning some position in the EEG com-
petition and once again a group of young undergraduates have
gained invaluable experience researching an environmental topic
and presenting their findings and their opinions to their peers.
Well done to our two girls’ teams from PSU-CW!!
Overall Winners of the Inter College Environmental Public
Speaking Competition were:
Winner: Prince Sultan University (Department of Interior Design),
1st Runner Up: Prince Sultan University (Department of Law), KSA
2nd Runner Up: Al Yamamah University (Business College), KSA
Yousuf Hindess
PSU wins again in Dubai!
FOCUS December 2011 26
I recently found myself at 33,000 feet somewhere over Australia’s
giant red centre reflecting on the ease with which we move vast dis-
tances in short periods. I was heading to France for the international
premiere of a film I began working on almost a decade earlier. The
film is based on my experiences in the rain forests of Papua New
Guinea where travelling only a few kilometres is a major undertak-
ing and often takes days. Life in the remote region of Lak in South-
ern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea was often difficult. The place
is hot, stinking hot, even thinking makes you sweat profusely and
moving results in a constant stream of perspiration. There is no
power in the Lak district, no roads, the water supply and food is dug
out of the ground or speared as it runs by. I was often forced to walk
for several days though the bush just to reach a dirt road that only
the most foolhardy four-wheel drivers would venture down. I even-
tually spent two years shooting a film about the lives of the Lak peo-
ple and the strange events that occurred in this remote community
in 2001. A decade later I found myself travelling at 900 kilometres
per hour to the other side of the earth about to descend on one of
the greatest cities in the world, Paris France.
I spent eight days in Paris wandering and exploring the city in be-
tween screening my film at the Jean Rouch Festival International,
watching other films and talking to audiences. There is much to ad-
mire about the French and their beautiful city. Every bridge across
the Seine is a work of art, every building is a statement about its
time and place and every artwork is monumental in its scope and
vision. The cafés are serviced by waiters who perform their job as
a profession; they deliver food, recommend wine and serve humour
and wit between light hearted conversation about their sporting he-
roes and national treasures. By comparison, in my country (New
Zealand), a bridge gets you over water, buildings are for housing
things, artwork is framed and hung on a wall, and waiters are peo-
ple looking for another job.
Between films at the festival the local réalisateurs (directors) would
talk in passionate tones about their likes and dislikes, and the
meaning behind the images. I spent several fascinating evening
viewing and discussing films with other filmmakers. The festival, the
city and the experience of stepping outside of my normal life pro-
vided a great opportunity to reflect on what it is that makes a great
documentary film. All too often filmmakers think that it’s enough for
a documentary to put across information and to tell the story of a
place, person or event. In my opinion, it’s not enough. Films should
also be emotional journeys that push the boundaries of what we
know as filmmakers and audience members. The cinematography,
sound design, and editing should reflect and compliment the subject
and contribute to the film in meaningful way. Just as the French turn
every building and occupation into an art form, documentary films
should be artistic in their rendering of the ‘real.’
After an amazing week in Paris I was lucky enough to have the op-
portunity to visit Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was my
first visit to an Islamic country and an unforgettable experience. As
a documentary film maker Saudi was a visual and aural feast. The
aesthetics of Arabian architecture captured my imagination and my
camera lens. Just as the call to prayer announced through loud
speakers from every Mosque and every tower pervaded the aural
environment. The ways in which Islamic practices are integrated
into the language, dress and daily routines of all Saudi Arabians
was a fascinating insight into a living and vibrant culture. I only re-
gret that my time there was too short.
After almost a month back in New Zealand, I have had a little time
to reflect on my travels and experiences. The opportunity to travel
to both Paris and Riyadh afforded me the chance to step outside of
my routines and everyday practices and gave me the opportunity
to experience, see and explore different cultures and ways of being
in the world. It also provided the chance to reflect on my own prac-
tices as a filmmaker. Saudi especially reignited my passion for ex-
ploration and discovery. As a filmmaker I have the opportunity to do
the same for audiences. To take the viewer on a journey to both
new physical spaces but also new emotional and intellectual places.
Good films take the viewer in new directions with content, craft and
sound,on a journey of discovery, beyond the everyday toward the
unexplored and uncharted.
Ironically, in the next twelve months my film about an isolated rain
forest people of Papua New Guinea who rarely have the opportunity
to move outside of their region will afford me several more oppor-
tunities for international travel. I hope one day to be able to take
some of the Lak people with me. The experience would no doubt
change them immensely in many ways, but perhaps also, provide
them with perspective and the reflective space to confirm their own
practices and see their own lives anew.
Dr Paul Wolfframteaches Film Production at Victoria University of
Wellington, New Zealand. His most recent film “StoriTumbuan: An-
cestors’ Tales” tells the story of the Lak people of Papua New
Guinea and the dark history of their region that continues to haunt
the people and the place.
A preview can seen at:
Journeys Real and Imagined
Reflections of a travelling filmmaker
FOCUS December 2011 28
FOCUS December 2011 29
On the 4th of September 2010 Christchurch awoke to a 7.1 magni-
tude earthquake centred west of the city. It either damaged or de-
molished a number of modern and heritage buildings in the central
city; miraculously, despite injuries being reported, no-one was killed.
A few months later, on February 2nd at 12.51 pm, another smaller
earthquake, technically considered an aftershock, struck in the mid-
dle of the working day. Although registering 6.3 on the Richter scale,
the location and nature of the event was powerful, reducing a sig-
nificant portion of the central business district (CBD) to smouldering
ruins. 181 people lost their lives. Thousands of aftershocks have
pummelled the city since the original incident and some residents
have fled to other parts of the country in search of sanctuary.
In August 2011, as part of my annual return visit home, I spent a
day touring the city with my parents, who remain in Christchurch,
as the citizens of my hometown respond to the campaign to rebuild
the damaged urban centre.
The change to the city is at first not obvious. The CBD is currently
off limits as demolition and stabilisation projects are underway.
Thus, a direct view of the devastation to my childhood home was
somewhat lessened. What did, however, become apparent was a
very personal level of loss in the following hours. Missing houses
are like pulled teeth that create gaps in an otherwise normal smile.
The evidence of condemnation is there, in the form of cyclone
fences, cordoning off swathes of urban streets and shipping con-
tainers stacked two high, protecting commuters from rock falls on
main roads across the esplanade in one of the most scenic areas
of the city’s landscape. The streets are a patchwork of tar seal cov-
ering the scars where the rippling effect of successive shockwaves
has torn gaping holes and left a crisscross of trenches over the en-
tire transport network. Homes, rendered uninhabitable teeter at the
edge of the Eastern cliffs while a recently constructed apartment
block overlooking the estuary and Brighton Spit lists drunkenly,
abandoned and awaiting demolition.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the new era curfew is the im-
pact on the nightlife and youth culture enjoyed by the sizeable stu-
dent population. Classes have been disrupted from primary to
tertiary level across town, with pupils taking shifts at local schools
from morning to afternoon and afternoon to evening. University lec-
tures are held in tents on the sports paddock and many more are
cancelled or postponed. The evening time sees the sun dip below
the Southern Alps and life seems to freeze; people retire to their
homes. A jaunt to the famous Dux De Lux in the Arts Centre to see
locals shake it out to guitar bands and DJs is but a fond memory.
Despite all this, some flowers are blossoming through the liquefac-
tion (mud and silt) that is forced out of the destabilised ground with
each new tectonic shudder. In the Eastern light-industrial zone of
Woolston, formerly a no-man’s-land after the 5pm clock punch, a
new breed of entrepreneur has taken the initiative to build afresh.
The risks of such enterprises abound as questions about the future
direction of Christchurch’s identity arise and much uncertainty is ap-
parent. Payouts by the Earthquake Commission to repair and re-
build properties are mostly keeping pace with peoples’ needs but
at the back of their minds all hide a fear that another “big one’ could
be just around the corner. Alasdair Cassels, an engineer, manufac-
turer and investor, has kicked off the cultural renaissance with the
opening of the Brewery Bar. The final of the World Cup rugby match
between New Zealand and France drew a crowd of more than 500
to the outdoor courtyard where a giant screen had been erected for
patrons. Alasdair, seated in the cafe, casual demeanour and flat
white coffee alongside, discusses plans for the adjacent block of
buildings where a number of new businesses will open. This will
create a vibrant retail village and bring a heart back to at least one
community. Blair, a colleague, explains that the whole project is in
full swing, recent aftershocks, sagging masonry and other disrup-
tions notwithstanding.

The whole city has suffered a huge blow” says Alasdair, whose own
family home is directly in the danger zone and has had to be evac-
uated after a boulder the size of a mini narrowly missed ploughing
through the living room. “...but here we have an opening to start
something new and everyone is 100% behind it”. While we sit dis-
cussing the various opportunities, not one but two aftershocks rattle
through the building. The customers fall silent for a few moments,
breathe in, hold for a beat and then play the guessing game à la
mode: “3.8?” “ that was a 4.5, for sure”. I feel a little like an out-
sider as the Kiwi streak of black humour, typical here, widens to a
mile. Plans for more community centred nightlife hotspots are surely
on the books then? Let us hope that by the time I get back for my
next visit, they’ll be enjoying some of the dividends from their in-
vestment in Christchurch’s future. And some much needed peace
and quiet to calm the frayed nerves.
As I climb into the calm blue sky aboard my flight and head north to
Wellington, (another city famous for its shaky nature), I exhale
deeply... relieved not because I have survived the trip but that be-
cause old city is being regenerated under the watchful eye of people
with integrity and imagination- the resilient folk back home imbued
with the “mainlander spirit” are at the wheel and steering the good
ship in a new direction on a journey of rejuvenation.
Dylan Longley
At the Crossroads in Shake City
FOCUS December 2011 30
Nothing could be truer than the old proverb; “you don’t know what
you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
We all go about our lives doing this and that; the little routines and
rituals. Then in one second on one day, everything changes.
Christchurch had its “dress rehearsals” on September 4th and De-
cember 26th but February 22nd brought our city and her people to
their knees
The “Garden City” has always had a powerful and magnetic effect
on me.
Before we left Christchurch to live in Canada and the USA in 1962,
I remember going downtown with my grandmother, Nan, on a Fri-
day night. It was a short walk to Cathedral Square from our house.
We went down Salisbury St, turning right into Colombo St, along
Peterborough St where we paused at the corner. The black and
white screen in the Electrical shop window was playing the Marx
Brothers “A Day at the Races.” I recall being desperate to stay and
watch it, as television had just come to New Zealand and we didn’t
have one. However, we pressed on and soon reached the heart of
the city, Cathedral Square. We walked past the Cathedral, across
the Hereford St intersection, looking in shop windows as we went.
Nan got us fish and chips, hot and wrapped in yesterday’s news-
paper. This was my town, where I was born and to where I returned.
We all have our precious pre-quake memories.
What is Christchurch like now?
I tried to retrace my childhood journey yesterday but only got as far
as the town hall. The shops in the block where I saw the TV are all
gone except one. Even the old electrical store on the corner had to
be demolished. The Cathedral has been damaged in a way that is
inconceivable, no more Rose window, and no majestic spire rising
heavenward, just a heap of rubble at the base. A trip down memory
lane is not possible. The physical recall triggers are silent in their
absence, carted off to become forgotten landfill on the edge of
And it is very easy to forget the scale of what has happened until
you pass through “The Red Zone” where the demolition of many of
Christchurch’s key iconic structures is taking place. The thought
that comes into my head each time is that we have lost our city and
that that city is never coming back.
The immediate feeling is one of sadness and emptiness, like the
gaping hole in the Cathedral where the Rose window once hung,
but in order to have a viable city centre once again we must blend
beauty with profitability. Our forefathers had a vision of Christchurch
and now we have our memories of it. In order to heal the wounds
we need to honour those who were lost and rebuild our magnificent
heritage with a vision of our own. One that is worthy of the city that
was and the city that has yet to be. The promises of a brighter fu-
ture beckon us now just as they beckoned the founders of
Christchurch in 1848.
Suzanne Hunter-Welsh
Beyond our Control
FOCUS December 2011 31
Brett Longley is a senior Policy Ad-
viser for the Ministry of the Environ-
ment in Wellington, New Zealand.
An avid surfer, mountaineer and
trekker through some of the gnarliest
breaks, highest peaks and most re-
mote parts of the world, Brett has had
a lifelong love of the art of photogra-
phy. From the school of Ansel Adams
in the rugged and beautiful Yosemite
Valley to the tough streets of Chicago
and New York here is a collection of
some of his lens-bending composi-
With a keen eye for detail and charac-
ter, a wry sense of humour and a deep
understanding of viewers’ intellect, the
following images were shot in Septem-
ber of 2011 including some portraits
from the commemoration of the tenth
anniversary of the September 11th
World Trade Centre terrorist attacks in
New York. In assembling these pic-
tures the Focus team hope you enjoy
the spirit of adventure, captured here.
Alternate Perspectives
Financial Fair Play Explained!
Last June marked the
beginning of Financial
Fair Play, the fruit of
Michel Platini’s Uefa
presidency, a new set of
rules that will revolution-
ize how football oper-
ates. Financial Fair Play
has been designed to
crack down on debt-
laden clubs.
Starting from this season
the 660 top division clubs from 53 European countries will begin a
3-year transition toward breaking even. These rules were born of
Platini’s desire to a see a level playing field for all the clubs under
the Uefa.
Uefa’s general secretary claims to have secured unanimous agree-
ment across Europe for the new rules. As an initial compromise,
clubs will be able to record maximum losses of €45 million in total
over the following three years. €40 million of said losses could be
subsidized by an owner but only if they invest the money perma-
nently in return for shares. If owners are unable to subsidize debts,
the maximum loss is €5m.
From 2014 to 2017, the overall permitted loss will fall to €30m for
each three-year block monitored by Uefa. After that, Uefa hope
clubs will be genuinely breaking even.
If a club fails to meet said criteria based on information from the
2011-12 and 2012-13 accounts, action can be taken to ban that club
from Uefa competitions (i.e. Europa league or Champions’ league).
The first exclusion order could be issued during the 2013-14 season
and it’s served at the 2014-15 season.
The task of ensuring the rules are correctly applied falls to the newly
created Club Financial Control Panel, a team of eight independent
experts chaired by former Belgium prime minister Jean-Luc De-
Yet there’s skepticism about how rigidly the rules will be applied. If
Manchester United’s massive interest payments continue to push
them into losses, or if Manchester City qualifies for the Champions’
League courtesy only of huge overspending, will Uefa play hardball
and wield the axe?
However, even as clubs are required to cut back on spending, play-
ers with a weekly salary of €200,000-a-week may not be affected
by this transition. Sam Rush, chief operating officer of Wasserman
Media Group, whose clients include Steven Gerrard and Michael
Owen, does not expect the income of the elite athletes to be af-
fected.“I don't think Champions’ League footballers should expect
their wages to decrease at all,” said Rush. “There are plenty of rev-
enue-generating opportunities that have not been explored in the
past so I'm certainly not worried that the elite entertainers in world
sport are going to suffer financially as a result”.
Wael Al-Jaber
The Road to Euro 2012
This summer is going to be HOT!!! After the first stage, all teams
have shown that they are qualified to win the championship; no big
teams or small teams exist after Greece won Euro 2004. Spain,
Germany and the Netherlands are at their peak performance. Spain
and Germany are the only two that have won all their qualifying
matches. Netherlands would have joined them, but Sweden got in
their way at last match. Italy, France, and England are getting back
on the right track after the failure in the last World Cup. Russia,
Denmark, and Sweden have shown the potentials for winning the
Euro 2012. Poland and Ukraine are qualified directly as co-hosts.
But that is not all; there are the play-offs that will determine the last
four seats for the teams that have placed second in their groups to
qualify for the tournament. All the 8 teams have to fight for the last
time in order to make the dream to the euro 2012. The kick off of
the final stage groups will be on the 8th of June this summer.
Mohammed Sharaf
FOCUS December 2011 34
*sensor sold separately



What is Kindle?
Kindle is an E-book reader developed by that enables
users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspa-
pers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media. So Kindle is a reg-
ular E-book reader?! Not quite! Kindle uses a technology called “E
Ink electronic paper display” that is able to show up 16 shades of
gray which in consequence simulates reading on real paper and
lowers the power consumption. Many people prefer using Kindle
devices instead of regular tablets since they do not have all the
extra distractions in them and because they are better for your eyes.
Is Kindle actually better for my eyes?
The main difference between “E-Ink” displays and “LCD” displays
is that “E-Ink” displays effectively uses ambient light for illumination
whereas “LCD” displays do not reflect light and require their own
light source to be illuminated. So what does that mean? This means
that Kindle only needs to change the pixels when moving from one
page to another while regular tablets need to change the pixels
AND they need to add light behind them so you can see the pixels.
This means that reading on a tablet is just like reading a computer
screen or watching TV, which requires your eyes to accommodate
all the different light levels that increase eye strain.
The Kindle Evolution!
It all started with the first kindle device the “Kindle 1”. This device
was featured on the 19th of November 2008 for $400 and it was a
huge success. At the time Kindle store offered 88,000 titles avail-
able to download, which was all the more reason for its success.
On the 23rd of February 2009 “Kindle 2” was released to the public
featuring a better, less bulky design and a text-to-speech feature
for having the device read out loud. The price slowly dropped to
$260 over time so again Amazon started to sell its device like crazy
and at the time the number of titles in Kindle store grew to 275,000
titles. In May 2009 a bigger and slimmer version of the “Kindle 2”
was released that supported PDF documents and reading in land-
scape mode. It was called the “Kindle DX”. “Kindle 3”, arrived on
July 28, 2010. It was far smaller and lighter than previous versions.
As for the price, it was lowered over time until it hit $139. At that
time the Kindle store had already exceeded 500,000 titles. Then it
happened on 28th of September 2011 Amazon announced its two
latest devices “Kindle Touch” and “Kindle Fire” in an attempt to com-
pete with other tablet manufacturers especially Apple. The “Kindle
Touch” has a starting price of 99$ being ad supported and the “Kin-
dle Fire” has a price of 199$. These prices make the Kindle devices
real competitors in the market along with a Kindle store that has
over 1 Million titles.
Kindle Fire!
Amazon’s latest tablet is called “Kindle Fire”. It is a 7” tablet pow-
ered by Android OS that has a lot more to offer than its tech specs.
Usually when a new Android tablet comes out its gets compared to
other tablets based on its specifications and features, but it is a dif-
ferent story with this one. “Kindle Fire” is equipped with the best
and the latest hardware to make it stand and compete with other
tablets in the market and, if that is not enough, the tablet is also
connected to Amazon’s cloud service. It is clear that Amazon wants
to provide people with an ultra-affordable way to consume content
which includes an impressive amount of apps, books, movies, tel-
evision shows and more. During the Kindle Fire announcement,
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “We’re building premium products
at non-premium prices.” And it is clear that “Kindle Fire” is an ultra-
affordable way to consume content, with special emphasis on “ultra-
affordable.” Below you can find a full list of the device specifications:
7″ multi-touch color IPS display •
1024×600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi •
1GHz TI OMAP 4 dual-core •
512MB RAM •
Wi-Fi – 802.11b/g/n •
8GB internal storage •
Unlimited cloud storage of Amazon content •
8 hour battery life •
USB 2.0 micro port •
Top mounted speakers and audio jack •
Runs highly modified Android 2.3 OS •
Amazon Silk cloud-accelerated web browser •
1 year warranty •
14.6 ounces (0.9lbs/414 grams) •
Amro Munajjed
FOCUS December 2011 36
October 2011 saw one of the most iconic personalities of this cen-
tury pass away. Steve Jobs’ innovations, inventions and ideas cre-
ated the modern world of digital media and revolutionised half a
dozen industries. However, before all that he was born in San Fran-
cisco to graduate students Joanne Schieble and Abdulfattah “John”
Jandali, a Syrian Muslim. The infant Jobs was placed up for adop-
tion after Schieble’s father opposed Jobs’ parents’ marriage. He
grew up in Cupertino, California a middle-class kid with a keen in-
terest in applied mechanics and computer circuitry. Jobs became
friends with Steve Wozniak at a company they were interning at
over a summer and where “Woz” had been employed to build a
mainframe computer. Jobs had the idea to make and sell a com-
puter as a fully assembled item with a printed circuit board, perhaps
his first “revolutionary” idea. Wozniak, at first sceptical, was later
convinced by Jobs that, even if they were not successful, they
could at least say to their grandchildren that they had started their
own company.
After enjoying the giddy heights of success in the early 80s, Jobs
was unceremoniously dumped as head of the Apple Company by
John Sculley, the Pepsi executive he hired to help promote their
products. He found himself investigating new avenues of creativity
when he bought into a little known animation outfit called Pixar.
With an ability to work with talented individuals and bring the best
out of people, Jobs raised the profile of the company to reach a
multibillion dollar turnover and produce some of the most advanced
and memorable full-length animated feature films of the 1990s and
the new millennium including the Toy Story series.
Returning to a struggling Apple Corporation in the mid-90s, Jobs
took a fresh approach to the everyday objects people interact with
such as the personal computer and the personal stereo (known to
some as the Walkman). His determination to overhaul contempo-
rary perceptions of what these products could and should deliver
to the consumer, and indeed their very appearance was revolution-
ary in terms of their innovation rather than the outright reinventing
of the wheel of media production and consumption. He continued
on for a decade, reimagining the world of communications and con-
sumer electronics, often imitated but never beaten, and left the
Apple Corporation in its strongest position since its foundation in
1976. The small company that started in Jobs’ garage is now worth
over 350 billion dollars, making it the richest public company in the
world (richer in cash terms than even the current government of
Steve Jobs invested his personality into the products he designed
and such was the strength of his convictions and his ability to suc-
cessfully market them that nearly everyone reading these words
will have experienced some aspect of his creativity in the last two
decades. Determination to bring the best to the consumer and a
vision for a better experience in everyday electronics drove Steve
Jobs to make Apple a dominant force in the global market. We have
a lot to be thankful for and certainly must acknowledge that, in this
respect, Steve Jobs fulfilled his mission.
Khalid Al Haider
Renaissance Man
FOCUS December 2011 37
Windows 8:
Hit or Miss?
In a bold new step, Microsoft has announced its latest operating
system (OS), promising that it will for the first time unify an interface
across all user platforms including desktops, laptops, tablet devices
and smart phones. “Microsoft is re-imagining itself” Steve Ballmer
said when he announced Windows 8. But does Microsoft really
have a cutting edge piece of software on its hands? Is Windows 8
a better product for the future? All these questions can be answered
by testing the available version of Windows 8!
Is Microsoft really re-imagining itself?
From the start, Windows actually does have an impressive new
look. Microsoft has clearly redesigned its interface to match the
trend of mobile touch-screen devices. This new mobile-friendly in-
terface is called Metro UI (User interface).
The main problem I discovered with Metro UI is that it was odd to
interact with on non-touch devices –like my laptop; I also found it
to be confusing.
Figure 1: The New lock Screen
The first example is that the lock screen is designed to be flicked
up with a simple touch. However, with a laptop you have to click at
the bottom of the screen and drag it upwards, or you have to figure
out intuitively that with a double click on the bottom it will bring you
to the login screen. The purpose of this gesture is intended to be
more “personal” than previous releases.
Figure 2: The Login Screen
When installing Windows 8, the user is asked to enter their Hotmail
credentials in order to sync email, contacts and other information.
While this is not a new step compared to other Operating Systems,
such as Apple (with Apple ID and Mobile Me as with Android and
its Google Account), it is nonetheless a new step for Microsoft.
It is important to mention that since Windows 8 is designed to be
used across multiple devices, syncing accounts is essential to have
the sense of familiarity between handsets, and computers. That is
why Microsoft announced their new Microsoft Store to enable users
to download their apps on all their devices at once.
Figure 3: The New Start Screen (Metro UI)
So by introducing Metro UI Microsoft is in fact re-imagining itself. Is
that a good thing? Well, that depends on the quality of their design-
ers’ imagination! The problem with Metro UI is that thus far it is not
fully integrated (explained later) although it is Microsoft’s main focus
right now.
What is on Microsoft’s Mind?
Microsoft is planning to maintain their legacy OS – including Win-
dows 7- by pretending that the original/desktop interface is just an
app and not the whole system! At the same time, with the imper-
fections and lack of integration of Metro UI the need to return to the
desktop UI could become more likely.
Figure 4: The Desktop Interface as an App
It is possible that the team at Microsoft may be thinking that the new
interface will succeed on two fronts, satisfying mobile customers
and PC customers. However, the reality is that a two-interface OS
could actually be confusing for both groups.
Figure 5: The Desktop Interface
Here are some of the mix-ups that can occur for a typical user:
There is no Windows Explorer or Media Player for Metro UI •
There are many duplicated apps between the Metro UI and the •
FOCUS December 2011 38
Desktop interface. Such as Control Panel, Internet Explorer,
Painting programs and others.
The legacy apps only work on the Desktop interface –until now- •
which leaves the Metro UI abandoned and obsolete except for
certain apps. This shortcoming must be addressed.
Because of the non-availability of the market at the time of pub- •
lication, all apps must be installed in the traditional way rather
than being automatically incorporated upon selection and down-
loading to your account/ device.
Figure 6: The Unreleased Microsoft Store
So why would Microsoft allow these Mix-ups? The answer is: Mi-
crosoft has simply created mixed uses. Meaning, customers can
now make a choice if they want to use their device as a mobile de-
vice, or they just want to stick to the traditional desktop interface.
This point was made clear when Microsoft gave the developers
Samsung’s Windows 8 powered Slate at the recent BUILD confer-
ence. Microsoft wanted to offer a new option for PCs: a portable
screen and a compatible dock much in the same manner as the i-
pad can be used with a keyboard.
Users can therefore use Metro UI with their PC screen on the go,
but in times for productivity and work they can still use the traditional
desktop interface.
Is Windows 8 better for the future ?
For typical domestic users Windows 8 will be better for ease of use
in the future. This does not mean that it will therefore be better for
the enterprise/business customers, which means that Windows 8
might not be good for Microsoft itself! It seems that Microsoft knows
that it is a risky idea but it is planning on the uptake being wide-
spread and popular. It is even moving forward and applying some
Metro UI interface elements on Xbox’s Dashboard.
Figure 7: Some (Metro UI) elements on Xbox's Dashboard
Back to the present: in its development phase Windows 8 has not
been an overwhelmingly pleasing experience for a number of users,
some even diehard Windows fans! Some people prefer to use one
interface at one time –Android users, Mac Users and Apple Fan
boys! - would not enjoy the use of switching between interfaces.
However, for users (like me) who enjoy using hybrid/cross-platform
operating systems. -The new Microsoft OS might be the best ex-
perience we have seen from the company, (if not the only good
one!) Yet, if it should succeed, competitors will not rest until they
definitively match and then improve on the Microsoft Windows ex-
Anas Afadar
FOCUS December 2011 39
From Director Nicholas Winding Refn (Pusher Trilogy, Valhalla Ris-
ing, Bronson) his latest offering features the supreme screen pres-
ence of some new wave Hollywood actors as well as traditional
favourites. Ryan Gosling, Cary Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Ron Perl-
man, Brian Cranston and Christina Hendrix light up the screen in
what essentially equates to a single shot superhero origin film. The
city of Los Angeles stands in here as the backdrop (what Gotham
City is to Batman) in an intense study of good and evil and the
lengths people will go to when circumstances beyond their control
conspire to test their humanity.
Adapted from James Sallis’ titular novel and scored to an incredible
soundtrack by Cliff Martinez that weaves and surges through the
film, Drive does not, as the title may suggest deliver a high octane
action story. Rather it is a subdued character-focused piece punc-
tuated by tense chase sequences, violence and misguided good
deeds along with moments of beauty and tenderness. Gosling as
“Driver” the nameless hero, inhabits the darkened streets of L.A. as
an avenging angel with a dual life. By day a mechanic and stunt
driver for the movies, he doubles as a contract wheelman, special-
ising in getaway capers for stick up artists.
The father figure, played by Brian Cranston (a grimy, grease stained
Alfred to Gosling’s Bruce Wayne) keeps driver in work on three
fronts, fixing cars, crashing them in Hollywood action scenes and
piloting hot wheels in some exceedingly tight spots. There have
been some complaints levelled at the film from punters that the ac-
tion level falls below that of genre films such as The Fast and the
Furious franchise, yet this is indeed one of the film’s principle
strengths, as it shifts through the gears from a tense opening heist
sequence to the introduction of a family in need of protection from
a clutch of vampiric mafia connected gangsters that feed off the vul-
The film follows the transformation of Driver from an existence of
meditative seclusion to a blazing firebrand of horrifying single-
minded determination on a crash-course trajectory with the hard
hearted underworld mobsters that threaten to destroy the sanctity
of the family next door. Beyond redemption, many of the characters,
driven from within to pursue competing and conflicting ambitions
are at odds with themselves over their morals and their actions.
This examination of the themes of heroism, redemption and be-
trayal are skilfully blended by the director who displays his confi-
dence and precision behind the lens. Refn draws forth exceptional
performances by his actors who give searing portrayals of people
trapped in their worlds and within themselves.
Far from an easy watch, Drive challenges the viewer with some
graphic and disturbing imagery but equally, rewards them with some
exceptionally haunting moments of tender beauty. In its most in-
tense sequences, Drive slams the passengers hard into the seat,
like a punch from the V8 cradle of a supercharged four wheeled
chariot in a ¼ mile drag race. If speed is your medicine then this is
the adrenaline rush you’ve been seeking.
The Guard is a warm and funny movie. You should see it. Now, we
could just leave it at that- take my word for it, enough said, give it a
go. But for those of you that require a little more detail when choos-
ing your entertainment fare, I shall elaborate.
Brendan Gleeson’s character Sergeant Gerry Boyle is intoxicating
to watch. He manages to nail every whimsy of what you imagine
the mischievous Irish leprechaun spirit to embody, without falling
prey to the traps of cliché or stereotyping. His portrayal of the Irish
Garda in the remote seaside village of Galway, constantly at odds
with superiors, colleagues and criminals alike is utterly disarming.
With a mother dying of cancer, a missing partner, a rumoured cargo
of dangerous drugs and the FBIs finest narcotics agent pursuing
the case, Sergeant Boyle takes it all stoically on the chin. I can’t re-
peat here what he has to say about a cappuccino coffee (a city
boys’ drink, then) for fear of mangling the wonderful way in which
the derisive derogation is delivered, or the effusive foul-ups that
take place between some of the recurring characters, nevertheless
the dialogue would make Shakespeare blush in its tongue-twisting
trickiness in places.
His penchant for mischief of all shapes and sizes provides another
layer of amusement as he flagrantly flouts the code book and yet
still manages to accomplish police work of an order that makes the
“straight crowd” look like an assortment of bumbling nincompoops.
This is unequivocally Brendan Gleeson’s movie. However, director
John Michael McDonagh has assembled a great supporting cast
with Don Cheadle and Mark Strong giving their best supporting per-
formances in what amounts to a hilariously offbeat Irish send-up of
In Heat of the Night.
The Irish lilt, black humour, rustic scenery, razor sharp dialogue
(you’ll find yourself reaching for the subtitle button on the remote
more than once I daresay) are definite draw cards to this Celtic
crime caper. With a score by the excellent and eclectic Calexico
from America, the freakish combination is complete. You’ll realise
as you watch this understated masterpiece that the point of the jour-
ney is never about where you arrive but how you get there that’s
important. If you can remember that, then Sergeant Gerry Boyle of
the Galway Garda has done his job nicely.
Dylan Longley
Movies that Matter...
FOCUS December 2011 40
Cast: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte
Review: Warrior is an American mixed martial arts film. The story
is about two estranged brothers and their formerly alcoholic and
abusive father. Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy) visits his father (Nick
Nolte) in order to be trained by him to enter a mixed martial arts
tournament called Sparta which is similar to Ultimate Fighting
Championship. The father tries to seek forgiveness from Tommy
for his past transgressions but his son finds him pathetic and wants
no reconciliation.
On the other end is Brendan Conlon, the older brother, a high
school physics teacher and former UFC fighter. His house is being
threatened by foreclosure due to the economic crisis, so he enters
the Sparta competition to win the prize money in order to save his
family from a life on the streets. These two brothers separated by
history and the sins of their father must, inevitably clash with each
other. Unlike other fighting films such as Rocky and
The Fighter the two protagonists are three dimensional human be-
ings who have equal reasons to win the competition. The acting is
excellent from all three actors in this movie and the characters and
story hold much more emotional depth than is expected in this
The fighting is also really brutal and exhilarating with broken limbs,
gut-wrenching maneuvers and throws that you feel you are actually
watching the fight live. I highly recommend someone interested in
a tough film with a bit of heart to check it out.
Mohammed Al-Lehbi
Director: Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer. He is known for
such classics such as Blade Runner, Alien, American Gangster and his most ac-
claimed movie Gladiator which won five academy awards including best picture.
Cast: Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Michael Fassbender (X-
Men First Class), Guy Pierce (L.A Confidential, Memento), and Charlie Theron
(Monster, North Country)
What to expect: Prometheus is the prequel to Ridley Scott’s psychological sci-
fi horror film Alien. The trailer may be the most tantalizing of the year only offering
clues about its plot or setting. Characters exploring a mysterious alien world that
radiates with menace, voices screaming in horror and one shot of a man’s face
being burnt to the bone by acid. Prometheus promises to meet the demands of
horror fans and sci-fi fans alike.
Director: Peter Jackson is a New Zealand film director and producer. He is
known for such classics as Heavenly Creatures, King Kong and his most ac-
claimed movies The Lord of the Rings Trilogy which won him three academy
awards including Best Director and Best Picture.
Cast: Martin Freeman (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) , Elijah Wood (Lord of
the Rings Trilogy, Green Street), Christopher Lee (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Jin-
nah), Ian McKellen (Richard III, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, X-Men Trilogy), and
Cate Blanchett (Lord of the Rings, Elizabeth, Aviator).
What to expect: The Hobbit is a prequel to the Lord of The Rings. The trailer
ties in the story of Bilbo Baggins and how it relates to the story of the Lord of the
Rings, which his nephew Frodo was involved in. The trailer evokes the imagina-
tion and fantasy of the Lord of the Rings while seeming to a more light-hearted
tone, with a journey of twelve rambunctious dwarves, and a hesitant and fright-
ened protagonist. The movie is the first part with the story ending in the sequel
The Hobbit: There Back and Again. The Hobbit seems to be a film that will please
Lord of the Rings fans and fantasy fans alike.
Director: Christopher Nolan is an English film director and producer. He is
known for such classics as Memento, Prestige, Inception and his Batman series,
particularly The Dark Knight that was both a critical and box office success.
Cast: Christian Bale (American Psycho, The Dark Knight, The Fighter), Anne
Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs, Rachel Getting Married), Michael Caine (The
Prestige, The Dark Knight, Hannah and her Sisters), Morgan Freeman (The
Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby, The Dark Knight), Marion Cotillard
(Public Enemies, Inception), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50, 500 days of Summer,
Inception), and Gary Oldman (Dracula, Leon, Harry Potter Series, The Dark
What to Expect: This is sequel to the Dark Knight and the end to Christopher
Nolan’s Batman Trilogy. The trailer shows an older Bruce Wayne walking with a
cane sprouting white hairs having to deal with seductive Catwoman and his
greatest adversary yet: Bane. Brace for lots of explosions, a flying bat mobile
and the hulking evil Bane and an infamous Tagline stating “The Legend Ends”.
The film promises to be an epic conclusion to the Batman series and seem also
to assure viewers the same quality as its predecessors Batman Begins and Dark
...Future Films
FOCUS December 2011 41
Dreaming Free
What could it mean to be conscious in your
dreams? For most of us, dreaming is
something quite separate from normal life.
When we wake up from falling down a well,
or being in a spectacular garden we realize
with relief or disappointment that "it was
only a dream."
Yet there are some dreams that are not like
that. Lucid dreams are dreams in which
you know at the time that you are dream-
ing. That they are different from ordinary
dreams is obvious as soon as you have
one. The experience is something like wak-
ing up in your dreams. It is as though you
"come to" and find you are dreaming simi-
lar to what people saw in Christopher
Nolan’s Hollywood blockbuster movie In-
Lucid dreams used to be a topic in the field
of psychic research and parapsychology.
More recently, however, they have begun
to appear in psychology journals and have
dropped out of parapsychology, a good ex-
ample of how the field of parapsychology
shrinks when any of its subject matter is ac-
tually explained.
Lucidity has also become something of a
New Age fad. There are machines and
gadgets you can buy and special clubs you
can join to learn how to induce lucid
dreams. But this commercialization should
not let us lose sight of the very real fasci-
nation of lucid dreaming. It forces us to ask
questions about the nature of conscious-
ness, deliberate control over our actions,
and the nature of imaginary worlds.
A Real Dream or Not?
This presented a challenge to lucid dream-
ers who wanted to convince people that
they really were awake in their dreams. But
of course when you are deep asleep and
dreaming you cannot shout, "Hey! Listen to
me. I’m dreaming right now." All the mus-
cles of the body are paralyzed.
It was Keith Hearne (1978), of the Univer-
sity of Hull, who first exploited the fact that
not all the muscles are paralyzed. In sleep
the eyes move. So perhaps a lucid
dreamer could signal by moving the eyes
in a predetermined pattern. Just over ten
years ago, lucid dreamer Alan Worsley first
managed this in Hearne’s laboratory. He
decided to move his eyes left and right
eight times in succession whenever he be-
came lucid. Using a polygraph, Hearne
could watch the eye movements for signs
of the special signal. So lucid dreams are
real dreams and do occur during sleep.
Becoming a Lucid Dreamer
Surveys have shown that about 50 percent
of people (and in some cases more) have
had at least one lucid dream in their lives.
Of course surveys are unreliable in that
many people may not understand the
question. In particular, if you have never
had a lucid dream, it is easy to misunder-
stand what is meant by the term. So over-
estimates might be expected. Beyond this,
it does not seem that surveys can find out
much. There are no very consistent differ-
ences between lucid dreamers and others
in terms of age, sex, education, and so on
For many people, having lucid dreams is
fun, and they want to learn how to have
more or to induce them at will. One finding
from early experimental work was that high
levels of physical (and emotional) activity
during the day tend to precede lucidity at
night. Waking during the night and carrying
out some kind of activity before falling
asleep again can also encourage a lucid
dream during the next sleep period and is
the basis of some induction techniques.
One of the best known is La Berge’s MILD
(Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming).
This is done on waking in the early morning
from a dream. You should wake up fully,
engage in some activity like reading or
walking about, and then lie down to go to
sleep again. Then you must imagine your-
self asleep and dreaming, rehearse the
dream from which you woke, and remind
yourself, "Next time I dream this I want to
remember I’m dreaming."
A second approach involves constantly re-
minding yourself to become lucid through-
out the day rather than the night. This is
based on the idea that we spend most of
our time in a kind of waking daze. If we
could be more lucid in waking life, perhaps
we could be more lucid while dreaming.
German psychologist Paul Tholey sug-
gests asking yourself many times every
day, "Am I dreaming or not?" This sounds
easy but is not. It takes a lot of determina-
tion and persistence not to forget all about
it. For those who do forget, French re-
searcher Clerc suggests writing a large "C"
on your hand (for "conscious") to remind
The third and final approach requires a va-
riety of gadgets. The idea is to use some
sort of external signal to remind people,
while they are actually in REM sleep, that
they are dreaming. Hearne first tried spray-
ing water onto sleepers’ faces or hands but
found it too unreliable. This sometimes
caused them to incorporate water imagery
into their dreams, but they rarely became
lucid. He eventually decided to use a mild
electric shock to the wrist. His "dream ma-
chine" detects changes in breathing rate
and then automatically delivers a shock to
the wrist.
Dream Actions
As we watch sleeping animals it is often
tempting to conclude that they are moving
their eyes in response to watching a
dream, or twitching their legs as they
dream of chasing prey. But do physical
movements actually relate to the dream
Early sleep researchers occasionally re-
ported examples like a long series of left-
right eye movements when a dreamer had
been dreaming of watching a ping-pong
game, but they could do no more than wait
until the right sort of dream came along.
Lucid dreaming made proper experimenta-
tion possible, for the subjects could be
asked to perform a whole range of tasks in
their dreams. In one experiment with re-
searchers Morton Schatzman and Peter
Fenwick, in London, Worsley planned to
draw large triangles and to signal with flicks
of his eyes every time he did so. While he
dreamed, the electromyogram, recording
small muscle movements, showed not only
the eye signals but spikes of electrical ac-
tivity in the right forearm just afterward.
This showed that the preplanned actions in
the dream produced corresponding muscle
Waking Up
Waking up from a lucid dream is quite dif-
ferent from waking up from an ordinary
dream. Upon waking up from a normal
dream, you usually think, "Oh that was only
a dream." Waking up from a lucid dream is
more continuous. It feels more real, it feels
as though you were conscious in the
If this is right, it means that lucid dreams
are potentially even more interesting than
we thought. As well as providing insight into
the nature of sleep and dreams, they may
give clues to the nature of consciousness
Ibrahim Al-Othman
FOCUS December 2011 42
The Art of Persuasion
For a certain amount of time I have been
monitoring and observing peoples’ charac-
teristics and behaviors. I am a marketing
student, and it is essential for me to under-
stand these characteristics and behaviors.
I have watched many speeches and pre-
sentations, but what really attracted me the
most are those persuasive presentations
and speeches. God, how can they con-
vince tens, hundreds, thousands even mil-
lions about what they say?
Persuasive speeches are those where a
speaker tries to change certain beliefs or
behavior. Basically the speaker is trying to
tell others that what they think is right and
what to do. Peoples’ perception differs from
one to another. They might accept it or they
might reject it. Now each presenter has his
own way to deliver a speech. Those who
are professionals rely mostly on one ques-
tion. Who am I presenting to? By knowing
your audience you can fill in the blank on
what is proper. However, there are some
certain standards that you need to use from
a psychological aspect to be able to
achieve your goal. I am first going to ex-
plain some important barriers that prevent
people from accepting your words, and I
will tell you two stories that will help you to
understand. Also, I will offer a demonstra-
tion to clarify my point.
For my first point I would like to tell you
about those barriers. Now, as we know,
there are a lot of barriers, they can be eth-
nocentrism, information overload, stereo-
types, selective perceptions, bias, etc… but
there are three barriers that we don’t really
focus on or hear much about. So why do
people reject such knowledge? Why do
they attack you and laugh at you? It defi-
nitely has to be one of these reasons.
1) From a psychological viewpoint people
have gained and assimilated certain stan-
dards over the years of their experiences,
and by being exposed to such things, their
brain will recognize that they must re-
arrange and re-program that information
that they have accumulated over the years,
which is difficult to reverse.
2) Egocentrism, some people are happy
with what they know and they won’t accept
it if you tell them that what they know is
3) Some people are self-centered and they
are happy with the way they are living.
They only care about themselves and their
comfort zone. These are the three impor-
tant barriers that prevent people from being
easily persuaded. So, here comes the art
of persuading those people, but first I want
to demonstrate something.
An ancient Chinese adage tells us when
someone is thirsty and asks you for a cup
of water, you should give them just half a
cup. If they remain thirsty you give them
another half. This means when someone is
thirsty for knowledge, you ought to give
them a certain amount of what they need.
If they want more they will ask you for it.
Don’t give them a gallon of water or too
much information immediately because it
will drive them away. This is one art of per-
suasion. You don’t overload the listener.
The best way to change a belief is by let-
ting others experience the situation and do
their own research about it. Let them use
their brain let them find the answers first.
Instead of telling them what to do, ask them
questions about it. What do you think about
this and that? Here is when you are going
to create a certain trust and comfort that al-
lows you to discuss your opinion. If they
want to know more they will ask you about
Another art is by choosing your words,
choose your words carefully and present it
properly. I heard a story once, about a king
who had a dream. He asked for an inter-
preter of dreams to be sent to him. The in-
terpreter told him that the dream meant that
his family would be likely die soon. The
king of course didn’t like what he heard and
put the man in jail. He asked for another
person and the same thing happened. The
third man was smarter he told him your
dream means that you will live longer than
your family and God knows. The king was
happy. Now if you notice living longer does
in fact mean that your family is going to die
before you do, but it is the way he pre-
sented those words that met success with
the listener.
In conclusion, remember the barriers and
the art of persuading others. Use the skills
regularly and wisely because it is possible
to change a mind, a perception or some-
one’s behavior if you believe in it.
Ali Abbas
FOCUS December 2011 43
Hajj 2011 was a major event for two of
the Focus staff at PSU. Travelling by
Road for over two and a half thousand
Kilometres, spanning the Saudi Ara-
bian nation from Riyadh to Taif, to
Mecca, Mina, Mount Arafat, Muzdali-
fah, Jeddah, Madinah and back to
home-base, the intrepid twosome
negotiated highways, train stations,
crowds of millions, crazed kabsa ven-
dors, hospitable hamlas and amazing
Makkan locals, the tired and the hun-
gry, patient and helpful security forces
and encountered the most resilient
and amazing children of a hundred na-
tionalities on a photojournalistic as-
signment from God.
The odyssey lasted a week. It felt like
seven years’ of living though. The rich-
ness of experience and the beauty of
each moment was enough to make
anyone want to relive the experience
again and again. The challenges of
course are manifold – sleeplessness,
illness, throngs of people, hot sun and
a lot of walking. However, the enjoy-
ment of committing yourself to the
service of God in body, mind and soul
for an extended period, undergoing
shared hardships and the highs and
lows is a chance that ultimately re-
freshes and revitalises. From the
lenses of the prefects of PSU, we pres-
ent the faces of Hajj 2011.
It is surprising how one can be enlightened by those very 'mistakes'
which are so often found in students' writing. The fact that they are
so obviously wrong, and so frequently seen, generates a slash-and-
burn mindset in the listener or reader.
Everyone has an artillery of bolts to launch at those who trespass
upon their own notions of what is 'correct' or not. For instance, in-
formations, equipments, and advices are supposed to be inevitable
errors in a learner whose mother tongue is Arabic, where all three
words exist in the plural. Yet they are also part of English idiom too.
They belong in legal, naval, and commercial contexts respectively.
This is merely a brief list of 'surprises' --- a reminder, perhaps, that
it is always best to question the ‘truth’.
1. IT'S = ITS:
The neuter possessive adjective was born at the end of the C16th,
and writers continued to spell it as it's until the end of the C19th.
Some, even the BBC indeed, unwittingly continue the tradition
After all, the's is an apostrophe marking a genitive of possession,
as in, e.g. John's book. This ‘apostrophe’*¹ is, by origin, an adjective
meaning 'elisional'. For instance, o'er, can't, who's, etc., clearly have
letters elided. (Who's was also once a possible - and revealing -
spelling of that disguised genitive now written as whose.)
But neither John's nor possessive it's has anything excised. They
are simply constructed on analogy with a long-gone
masculine/neuter ending in Old English better seen, perhaps, in
modern German (e.g das Buch des Kindes, the child's book).
By the end of the C16th, when grammatical gender had long been
lost, the distinction by sex was coming to the fore. "His" once did
the job of the new its/it's. The first line of the Canterbury Tales runs:
"Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote"…..
So this neologism usurped the place of his. There was resistance.
In his lifetime, Shakespeare never used it; it was editors who added
it's nine times in the 1623 folio. The A.V. Bible of 1611 also avoids
the word. Thereof , or of it, are found in contexts where modern
English would use 'its'. One may certainly argue that some writers
thought the word ugly and empty. If its is substituted for his in
Chaucer’s line quoted above, all the blood runs out of it.
English has never been comfortable with this cold word. For exam-
ple, when someone sees a baby for the first time and, not knowing
whether the infant is a boy or a girl, he goes on to enquire: "What's
its name?", there is an unmentioned chill in the air.
Why not say his or her and risk a pardonable mistake?
English prefers affective words. This is why, for example, every bird
is a 'she' to a falconer, just as ships are to the Queen, and cars to
the automobile enthusiast. If it is a blank, its is a void.
*¹The other apostrophe, derived from the Greek noun, not from an
adjective like the one above, is a rhetorical device that means
'a turning away' from the main flow of the speech in order to address
a person present (in Classical times), or (now) absent, or even
2.A. "AN WAY":
There are also two distinct "A(N)s " in modern English , just as there
are two "THEs" ('The sooner, the better' = an adverbial formed from
an old instrumental case).
The so-called 'indefinite article', the metamorphosed version of 'one'
= 1 (old form āne) appears as an even before consonants in south-
ern English until around the mid-C14th. Till the end of the C15th,
'an woman/an yere' were heard. 'An head ' survived until well into
the C16th. There is still some hesitation with initial 'h'---an hotel?
an historical event?
The usual student’s mistake is to write, e.g. a books. A visible, spe-
cific 'indefinite article' is as absent from Arabic (as it is from Greek
and Latin, too). So it is no surprise when a beginner misuses it; and,
naturally, he is also unaware of any connection with the numeral.
He may be forgiven. English has been doing something similar for
"There are bad news from Palermo', wrote Shelley in 1852. The
word was, after all, inspired by the mediaeval French plural 'nou-
velles'. And how many native speakers now use the Latin plurals
agenda, data --- or the Greek criteria and phenomena --- as singular
Even doctors talk of a bacteria (a Latinized Greek plural) as if it
were a single microbe. Usage is king, and the singular will become
'correct' just as surely as riches from the French singular richesse
has been construed as a plural.
Perhaps the best example of this grey area of 'singular=plural'
(known as synesis*¹) is the possessive adjective their, which good
King Charles spelled there.
Any university*² student who wrote "Each man in their degree", or
"A person can't help their birth", would be on the primrose path to
grammatical perdition. Yet the first is a modernized quote from
1420. The second comes from Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" (1848).
*¹ Synesis is a Greek word signifying 'a sending together', hence
'sense, meaning, understanding'. The AHD has a useful entry on it.
It occurs, for example, in the Septuagint, Proverbs 1, 7:"The fear of
the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and there is good understand-
ing to all that practise it."
*² University, 'a being turned into oneness', derives the sense
thereof from Mediaeval Latin universitas, which is really an abbre-
viated version of what, when translated, would read in full: 'corpo-
ration of teachers and students'.
2.B.The second a(n) is the disguised preposition on which was in-
strumental in the development of the continuous tenses in English.
Thus, "The king is on hunting" ( preposition + verbal noun) became
ahunting and, finally, "The king is hunting".
This leads to another point. We still hear the ATM’s request :
“Please wait while your transaction is processing”. This recalls the
pre-C19/20th constructions seen in Jane Austen, etc., such as 'The
house is building', which re-echo through the halls of time. Is this
'active' not far more elegant than ‘The house is being built'?
The a(n) = on is clearly seen as distinct from its 'sister' in the
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" ('away' = an/on way, viz.
to somewhere else).
To be continued...
Jeremy Beastall
FOCUS December 2011 46
Release Event
This year at the Riyadh Car show, staged inside the opulent
Four Seasons Hotel Ballroom where the Kingdom Tower soars
over Riyadh’s skyline, the next instalment of your virtual driving
experience was unveiled in the Xbox Pavilion.
In a racing kit driver’s seat, steering wheel and 3D TV experi-
ence each punter could immerse themselves in the burnout,
breakneck speed extravaganza through the best race tracks
and roads the world has to offer.
Not far behind the goggle eyed velocity vipers was an unbe-
lievable collection of the world’s fastest, costliest and most fea-
ture laden driving machines money can buy. From Luxury
brands such as Mercedes Maybach, Bentley and Rolls Royce
to brutal American muscle in the forms of the Ford Mustang
Shelby Super Snake, Rousch and Boss 302 and Japanese bad
boy dominators the Nissan GTR and the Lexus LFA . The Ital-
ian stables featured the Lamborghini Gallardo and Murcielago
,the Ferrari 458 and California, German built bullets from the
Audi R8 to the amazing 2012 BMW M5 and proper English
Sports cars for “enthusiasts” such as the Aston Martin Vantage,
DBS, Vanquish and Rapide. Honestly, there was more car ex-
perience under one roof than anyone could hope to enjoy in
just one evening.
I know, it just isn’t fair. Even the wealthiest of the wealthy would
wince at paying the price on the tags for all of these dreams on
wheels simultaneously. Yet for true car enthusiasts with an eye
for items of engineering perfection but who lack the bank bal-
ance of a Belarusian black gold billionaire can yet enjoy the
speed and luxury of the whole collection in just one package,
from the Bugatti Veyron to the Pagani Zonda, all the power and
the glory is at your fingertips, just waiting to be unleashed at
the push of a button.
So for you folks who feel that a visit to next year’s premiere car
event would just be too much torture to take, with beauty and
prices beyond your reach, remember that the fantasy is at your
fingertips (minus the insurance premiums, security detail and
hefty maintenance expenses). Now that’s a trade off I think I
can live with.
Dylan Longley
FOCUS December 2011 47