Rosetta Stone

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Ask MaGdee

“On a car turning left, the rear outer (right) wheel must rotate about its axis faster than the rear inner (right) wheel.

How do the two remain synchronised mechanically on a rear wheel drive car?”


Hellme, what the... Okay, I’m not an expert mechanic and this is not the kinda questions I expected... but let me try... when you turn into any direction the inner wheels travel a lesser distance than the outer wheels, so the outer wheels spins around the axis faster than the inner to cover the difference in distance and speed. Well, This process is mechanically synchronized by a device called the differential or as I think the mechanics in Egypt call it “corona”. Basically this differential distributes the engine power on the wheels when you turn. I’m not sure Hellme but you tell me, am I right?

“I read a comment by you on some other blog that you were having problems with your fiance regarding that she wants to wear 7igab, how did this work out for you now?”

Mido, well, a lot of people misinterpreted my comment as anti-Hijab thing. I’m not pro or against veil, my point was that men and women have preferences in their partner, based on personality, looks and style. I was raised in a Hijab free environment, my mother, my aunts and my little sister they don’t wear hijab and they are all practicing Muslims. I never dated or had a girlfriend who wore a veil, that’s what I meant when I said “I never thought of myself with a woman who wears hijab”. Adding to the fact that I don’t believe in hijab as a measurement of a woman’s faith, as I said my mother doesn’t wear hijab and she never missed a prayer or a fast in 25 years. I believe if a woman wants to wear hijab that’s her choice, as long as she is convinced with it’s a spiritual and moral meaning.
Regarding my fiancé situation I told her that I’m not convinced because I know the real reason behind her choice, but if she decided to go on and wear it, I’ll shut the hell up and be supportive. And the update on the situation that she surprised me one time by wearing hijab when we went out for dinner, I felt like it was a slap in my face with no advanced heads up, but as I promised I kept myself mute and I was supportive by telling her how pretty she looks in hijab. The other day she took it off, and when I asked what happened? She said that’s she still on a trial period and till this very moment she didn’t make up her mind... I’m trying to exploit this hesitation to convince her that this is a sign that she not ready to wear hijab and I believe that it’s working. (I’m so mean)

“Hi MaGdee
Please do not think I want to be offensive, it´s just that I have never been to your country or to any other Islamic country.
One of my collegues at work has a very negative attitude towards Muslims. He has lived in Egypt for a short while and keeps talking about the way men talk about western women,believing them all to be sluts. He also says, that western women are regularly seen as fair game to be touched offensivly.
How is the reality?”


Erlenda, It’s not offensive at all in fact I’m glad that you brought this topic up. It’s a definitely a popular perception of Western women in Egypt, mainly in the lower and uneducated classes. The majority here perceive Western women to be open minded, and it might form some negative perception among conservative and ignorant Egyptians. For example, if a guy wants to marry a Western girl, his family might oppose to this marriage be saying that she will be unfaithful and their offspring will adapt to low morals. It may come as surprise to you that it’s not only the Muslims who hold this prejudice, I know a Christian guy who wanted to marry an Italian girl and his family opposed to this marriage giving the same reasons. This prejudice feeling may also extend to the educated class, my best friend is married to an American woman and now he has a lovely baby girl, you won’t believe how he was subjected to pressure from his mother in order break up this marriage as many Egyptians perceive the West according to what they see in Hollywood movies.

Regarding that western women are regularly seen as fair game to be touched offensively, it might be true again with the uneducated masses, there is even a very offensive Egyptian saying that I won’t mention in words because it is very profane, but it basically encourages having sexual intercourse with non-muslim women. The ultra-conservatism, ignorance, xenophobia and economic depression, are main factors that drive many Egyptian youth to these kind of believes, making them believe that Western girls are easy than locals because Western girls won’t mind it as they are open-minded. In some parts of Egypt mostly rural, wearing clothes that show a vast amount of skin is a taboo, and they treat women who waer this kinda clothes as prostitutes, whether they are Egyptian or non-Egyptians, so if some guy from this parts sees a foreign lady in shorts or something he might as well treat her as a prostitute.

A year ago I witnessed an incident while I was strolling down a street in downtown Cairo, some foreign group of girls were accompanied by a couple of Egyptian guys in a Falafal restaurant and one of these guys was trying to make a move on one of the girls but the girl turned around and slapped the lights out of him. So, the guy turned hysterical over this rejection and he kept shouting and screaming, so all the patrons gathered around and he kept telling them that this girl is insulting Egyptians and she is insulting Islam, but non of the patrons bought his story, as they all saw him sexually harassing the girl, so they grabbed him and called the cops. So, you see average Egyptians mostly don't have have this kind of prejudice.
Although, I believe another factor adding to this problem that many of the foreigners here mix-up with the wrong crowds as they try to explore the rural parts Egypt, the parts that are not on the tourist maps (some places that I won't even dare to go to), so they end up hooking up up with the low-lives scammers or sexual offenders.

“What is, hands down, the best Egyptian movie ever made?”

Holly, I think it’s Iskendria leih? Or “Alexandria... Why?” directed by Youssef Chahine, I believe this movie perfectly captures the different Egyptian classes in the era of World War II, with an All-star Egyptian cast. It’s also the first in a series of movies made as an autobiography by the director Chahine. Other movies in this series includes “Egyptian Story”, “Alexandria Again and Again” “Alexandria – New York” but I don’t recommend them.

Another movie that I love is Al-Massir or “The Destiny” it’s the story of the Andalusian Arab philosopher Averroes, which is also directed by Youssef Chahine. If you like historical movies such as this than it’s worth checking “Salahdin” also by the same director.
If you need a contemporary Egyptian movie, a social drama about troubled young couples, I recommend Sahar El lialy by the director Hani Khalifa.

"Are you Zamalekawi or Ahlawi?"

Anonyn, I'm a crazy soccer fan! Which includes both watching and playing soccer... and this soccer craze inside of me is loyal in support to one club which is Al Ahli... so to answer your question, yes I'm a die hard Ahlawi and screw Zamalek.

Twosret, ahhh you spoiled my reply to Hellme's question, but I guess you deserve a reward for that too :)

Posted by MG :: 2:58 PM ::
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