Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

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A candid and honest look on perhaps why i am still not married. ūüôā

So, i sit here, a man in his early 30’s who is begging the question…”Why am i not married yet?“. You see, growing up i always used to have these comical benchmarks on when exactly i would be getting married. When i was 18 i said i’d be married by 25. When i turned 25 i said i’d be married by 27. When i turned 27 i said i will definitely be married by 30. Then i turned 30 and pushed up my age of marriage to 33 (which mind you is around the corner!).

Being raised in a household with strong ethnic ties and having a Eastern European and Middle Eastern background i very often saw my family members and friends getting hitched in their early 20’s and as i grew older it really dawned on me how that was a truly unattractive prospect for me.

I suppose in the meantime i have been enjoying my life so much that it has been difficult for me to stop for a moment and analyze exactly where i am standing on this marathon called life. I come to realize that i absolutely want to get married and i absolutely want children, i am definitely not one of those “I’m too selfish to have children” sorts.

In fact the attraction for me is the fact that i am the total opposite to that, i am selfless and i put others before me, yet i cannot actually wait to have that child in my arms, that person that i am more than happy to put before myself, i am sure most parents can resonate with that.

Have i not found the right woman yet? Well, clearly not – because i am not married. Yet at the same time i do think about the cliche “It’s not you, it’s me” theology that runs through my mind. I ask myself am i prepared for marriage? Financially, yes. Emotionally, Yes. Mentally? Probably not.¬†

I do think the scars of a rough upbringing of many many years of intense physical and mental bullying, low self esteem and zero confidence really cut deep into my system. Despite me dropping plenty of weight in my early 20’s and regaining some of that charm and confidence that i hadn’t seen since i was in primary school- i still feel that even today, despite my outwardly popular and confident appearance, that i still have the remnants of low self confidence, self esteem and a battered value.

This in essence then makes it very difficult for me in relationships because my dream woman could be and probably is literally standing under my nose but i likely wouldn’t even realize it- because if my inward vibes synchronized with my outside vibes i would instantly recognize these women and i would snatch up any given opportunity- but i don’t.

Even though i do not appreciate the societal pressures of people being cornered into marriage and children, i do think its not for everyone. Yet it definitely is for me, if there’s anything i am certain about its the fact that i am very self aware- i strongly believe that i’d make a wonderful husband and an absolute kick-ass father, so i do not want to waste my life without sharing these qualities and attributes that i know i have, especially with people of which i know would earn and appreciate it.

In saying all of this, please remember i am not having a dig at those who choose not to get married or have children. As i said, i do not think its for everybody and people need to come to terms with exactly how they feel about these two major responsibilities. For me, i am up for the challenge, in fact i don’t consider it a challenge, i see it as a step in my life and it’s a step i am happy and willing to take.

Yet in the meanwhile i still have a lot of work to do on myself. I feel that i am still constructing myself into this mansion that i want to be, and i cannot let anybody else move in, whether wife or child, until i am happy with my home, until i am happy with me. The fact is, we cannot pretend that we can provide happiness for others when we are not entirely happy ourselves.

I am definitely not sad or depressed – yet i am a bit of a perfectionist. I want the timing to be right, i want to be mentally prepared and charged for the moment. I don’t just want to “wing” a relationship, i don’t just want to test the waters for years before i decide to put a ring on it. If i am at complete peace and harmony with myself and you happen to walk on by then good heavens i’d say watch out, but who wouldn’t want to be swept under their feet? ūüėČ

Peace, Salam
-Ramey

Peter Dutton is Australias official Immigration Minister and has recently come under fire for some of his statements about immigration in this country. He recently spoke out in parliament being very critical about former Prime Minister Malcolm Frasers decision in the 1970s to allow an influx of Lebanese and Muslim refugees from “rural areas” into Australia because the newest generation of Lebanese Muslim youth appear to be terrorists or conspirators of terrorism.

Now before i am found guilty of quote mining and misrepresenting Mr. Dutton, let us see exactly what he says because right after his statistics of fear he does provide a little disclaimer Рalbeit in the wrong order- before he is jeered by the opposition party. Mr Dutton says:

I thank the leader of the opposition leader for his question, if i said that i have….out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist relations in this country- 22 of those people are from second or third generation Lebanese Muslim background. I’m not going to allow people who are hard working, who’ve done the right thing by this country, who have contributed, who have worked hard, who have educated their children- I’m not going to allow these people to be defined by those people who are doing the wrong thing and who have been charged with terrorist offences, or who are involved in crime otherwise.

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Were Peter Duttons comments necessary or beneficial?

Did Mr. Dutton state the truth statistically? Well yes he did, those numbers do appear to be accurate and of course we should all be concerned about the safety and security of our entire Australian community. Yet when we look at the maths behind these statistics we find a number that is so underwhelming and irrelevant that bringing this up in Parliament appears to have been nothing more than a political push to promote our dwindling past, current and future dealings with refugees and immigrants.

You see approximately 200,000 people fit within the mould of second and third generation Lebanese in Australia. Twenty Two is the number of those charged with terror related offences. Divide the numbers up and we find that 0.011% of the entire second and third generation Australian Lebanese community have been involved in terror offences.

That is right, our immigration leader is speaking out against a former prime minister for letting in these Muslim Lebanese populations in the 1970’s because it appears they produced 0.011% of the terror related population in this country today.

As a matter of fact Peter Dutton statesThe reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in, in the 1970s, and we’re seeing that today. We need to be honest in having that discussion. There was a mistake made.

You see this is where his statement hits home hard and heavy for me personally. Although i am only half Lebanese his comments do offend me and my family. Mr. Dutton is talking specifically about my fathers generation and my generation. He is addressing both my Father and I. A Lebanese, Muslim man from “rural Lebanon” who came to this country with his family in the 1970’s during Malcom Frasers leadership. Calling my fathers migration to Australia a “mistake” is essentially calling ME a mistake. His comments almost negate my existence, it is like Mr. Dutton is pointing his finger at me saying he wishes i weren’t here and that i was a mistake, along with my father. Not exactly the welcoming language you’d expect from an immigration minister.

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My Father and I- 1985. Two direct recipients of Mr. Duttons criticisms. A 1970’s Lebanese Muslim Immigrant and a Second Generation Child.

Peter Duttons argument is basically this. We should have not allowed Muslim Lebanese people from “rural Lebanon” into Australia because a few generations later they would breed little potential terrorists. That would be like me saying we should not have allowed Anglo Saxons into this country because a few generations later they would wipe out almost the entire Aboriginal population of Tasmania. Or they would later be responsible for the most drink driving deaths on the road”.

Would it be fair if Mr. Dutton made his comment like this? “Out of the last 100¬†people who have been charged with drink driving¬†in this country – 60 of those people are from second or third generation¬†Anglo Saxon Australian background.

This is where his little disclaimer fails him abundantly and even though members of his party have defended him saying he is being taken out of context, he clearly is not. His statement worked within this format. Firstly he speaks to the media and insults a former Prime Ministers handling of immigration calling his acceptance of Lebanese Muslims a “mistake”. Then in parliament he hits us with a ¬†“statistic” which reveals a dismally small percentage of his case study. Then he says BUT we cannot allow this minority to represent the majority.

You cannot negate your clear fear mongering via the media and the parliament using extremely explicit language about a very distinct community relating to both race and religion to the Australian parliament and people within this hostile climate – and then in the end say “We cannot allow the minority to represent the majority” when very clearly your statements show you are allowing the minority to represent the majority.

The fact is highlighting these figures and statistics even though they are factual is absolutely unnecessary. Do you see anybody relating to figures in regards to any topics when the total number of their example is 0.011%? Imagine if parliament spoke about every issue highlighting such statistics? It’d be tossed up and trashed in any market of academia yet suddenly it’s okay for our Immigration Minister to push these statistics of fear?

 

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I thought we were moving forward from this? Cronulla Riots. 2005.

Look the Lebanese community and the Muslim community are far from perfect, the bad apples exist just like in all communities. Yet My father, myself and the majority of my family who are of Lebanese Muslim background are contributing members of this society and i will never accept being labelled a mistake. My father came here with little English, low education from the cesspool of civil war and has established himself well here. I myself am another example of this generation that Mr. Dutton seems to look at with suspicion and tunnel vision.

I do believe what Mr. Dutton said was irresponsible and he can scream out “facts” all he likes but his position comes with a responsibility for the people. He needs to ensure that he is unifying and not dividing. His language, statements and comments about the Lebanese Muslim community in particular have been detrimental to our current social climate.

Eleven years ago we had people on a beach chanting “Fuck Off Lebs” after a race riot and we have worked so hard within the decade to bridge that gap and come together as first and foremost Australians. Yet forgive us for feeling a little uncomfortable with being labelled as “mistakes” by our own immigration minister. I think the only mistake is your own irresponsible rhetoric in parliament.¬†

Salam
R.E

Sure sure, this “buzz word” has been out and about years and just while you were hoping it would have died down and fizzled by now, i have applied CPR to it and this zombie is back from the grave and ¬†is here to stay. Yes the word is BROMANCE.¬†

According to dictionary.com РBromance is: 
a relationship or friendship between two men that is extremely close but does not involve sex.

You are probably thinking this defines the huge majority of your friends but think again. This “extreme” closeness is super extreme. Like Al Qaeda on steroids. Just think Donald Trump and North Korea extreme. Now that you’ve narrowed down these mates to single digits it’s time to appreciate them and truly recognize that you are in a Bromantic relationship. The Phenomena is nothing new, even the Bible is PRO BRO!¬†

 

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Bromance is not a new idea . King David & Jonathan were Super Bros in the Bible.


I have always been first to admit i love my bro’s and i am not ashamed to admit it. These Bro’s of mine are people that accept me for me, and i for them. We reserve judgement. Offer polite criticism and stellar advice. Our support is like the frame works of a building. When you smile, we smile- when you cry, we cry. Yes, the weight of being a bro does not come easy, it is a role with huge responsibility.

There is no time for them fake Press On Nail type mates. Your Bro is the real deal! Now before all my fellow Muslims shout “Haram” and assume this post is treading on “dangerous territory”- think about what our own Prophet did in the below situation.

A¬†man was with the Prophet when another man passed by and he said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I love this man.” The Prophet said to him: ‚ÄúHave you told him?‚ÄĚ He said: “No.” He said: ‚ÄúTell him.‚ÄĚ So he caught up with him and said: “I love you for the sake of Allah“. He said: “May the one for Whose sake you love me-¬†also love you.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (no. 5125)

Woah, dude. SO MUCH LOVE. Am i right? Or am i right? You see i appreciate my Bro’s because they have been there through thick and thin. We can talk about anything and have no fear about preconceived notions or post conversational judgement. We are cool.! Now as much as i love my womenfolk i do feel a little bit more reserved to wear my heart on my sleeve, i tend to take it slowly and cautiously.

 

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Below are 5 steps to become a BRO!

If you want to become someones Bro it’s actually not rocket science. Here are the tips.

Tip #1) Be generous.

A true Bro is willing to extend his hand generously to his friend.

Tip #2) Be supportive.

There is no better feeling than knowing your Bro has “got your back”

Tip #3) Be involved.

Get yourself involved in your Bros life. Play sports with them. Stay updated on their life events.

Tip #4) Be open.

Your Bro might be in a 9-1-1 dilemma and need you. Always let them know you’re a phone call or a door knock away.

Tip #5) Be real.

There is nothing to hide from your Bro. Whether good or bad you know you can say anything you want to each other.

So what are you waiting for? BE A BRO TODAY! Now when i say Bro i don’t mean i am Batman and you are Robin. No! That is not how a Bromance works! I am Batman and you are Batman and together we make Bratman! Just picture¬†when you are looking in the mirror your Bro looking right back at you, giving you the Bro-fist of approval! If a girl were to find you both attractive¬†you wouldn’t compete and leave your Bro in the dirt. You’d pretend you were Siamese twins and tell her it’s all or nothing!

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“We’re actually Siamese twins. If you¬†like one you’ll have to like us both! ūüėČ “


Do you get it now!!?

Peace, Ramey.

I have had the travel bug for the last 5 years of my life and i have managed to see some amazing sights and sounds. From the glitz and neon lights of Hong Kong to the wonderful Croatian Coast. From the stunning mountains of Queenstown to the turquoise waters of Honolulu. I have never been shy in venturing to unexplored territory, whether with others or riding solo, i never give up on an opportunity to stay somewhere new.

You see this time last year i was planning a holiday to the Mainland United States. To be honest it has never been so high up on my list because when i travel, i want a culture shock. My mind tells me that the USA is like Australia but on steroids, sure its a preconceived notion based on little evidence but such are the wonders of a peculiar mind.

Last November i decided, it was finally time to pay visit to the United States of America. My first stop was to be Los Angeles. WAS is the keyword here seeming it never manifested and the reason is perfectly justified in my own mind, yet then again so is eating raw lemon with salt justified in my own mind. I had already planned the date of my travel to Los Angeles, i had intended on staying there a few days before beginning a road trip and this adventure was going to likely be a solo one.

What is it that makes me want to avoid Los Angeles?

What is it that makes me want to avoid Los Angeles?

I was literally only seconds away from booking my ticket before i decided to look at some accommodation i may stay at whilst i am there. Scrolling through the hotel booking pages i looked for discount tickets because when travelling Solo budget is usually the way to go. I found a hotel that had a wonderful 52% off per night. It was 3 stars and located in Los Angeles. Demographically i know nothing about Los Angeles, even Geographically i have no idea what is where and my mind does not comprehend the potential size of this city.

Yet i was happy to click away and take this steal of a deal. The Hotel was called “The Cecil” Hotel and it sounded classy enough and the select few high definition photos looks quite decent. Yet i consider myself a smart traveler, i knew how hotels work, they always make things look flashy and you likely will arrive disappointed. So i decided to check out a few cheeky reviews before clicking on that BOOK button.

This decision to check reviews of the Cecil hotel was the page turner in my fate to avoid Los Angeles. It was the step that made me turn back and run far far away from this city of mystery. What i was about to read shocked me. “The Cecil” hotel has a very rich history, so rich that recently the hotel has decided to change its name to “wash its hands clean” from its many unsavoury stories. The Hotel is now called “Stay On Main”, sure you can change the name but you could never…NEVER delete this history of this hotel.

I was about to book and stay in the Cecil Hotel, LA.

I was about to book and stay in the Cecil Hotel, LA.

First of all is the location, this hotel pretty much smack bang faces a place called “Skid Row”. Now if you’ve ever played any of the recent Grand Theft Auto games and hung around the roughest hood, it’d give you a rough idea of where this hotel is located. Yet its odd location was the least of my worries after i kept reading article after article about this spooky hotel.

Serial Killers actively chose this hotel as their “home stay” in between their murder sprees due to its close proximity and easy access to easy drugs and easy targets such as prostitutes. Not to mention the Cecil in the 1980’s was an extremely affordable hotel, so much so that people often remained there long term. ¬†Richard Ramirez, also known as the “Night Stalker” was a serial killer that called the Cecil home in the mid 1980’s. The Satanist burgled, raped and killed his way through the most troubled spots of Los Angeles and quietly made his way back to his lair, the “Cecil”. He got away with this sick cycle 13 times (Yes, he killed 13 people!).

Then came the case in 1991 of Austrian citizen Jack Unterweger who stayed in the hotel for 5 weeks and slaughtered three prostitutes in the Cecil hotel. He stayed there for $30 a night and was left undetected to continue his murdering spree. These horrific scenes had occurred in this Los Angeles Hotel after he had already been jailed and released in his native Austria for a similar string of murders.

Satanist Serial Killer Richard Ramirez used

Satanist Serial Killer Richard Ramirez used “The Cecil” as his killing playground.

The Hotel itself was also a hotbed for many suicides from the 1950’s onward. Yet the particular case that not only caught my eye but raised the hairs on the back of the neck was the 2013 death of Canadian student Elisa Lam at the Cecil hotel premises. In January 2013 the bright and bubbly Elisa decided to embark on a solo journey through the West Coast of the United States, much like what i had initially wanted to do once visiting the mainland.

Yet her journey was cut short, under very mysterious circumstances. It all begins with video footage of the Cecil Hotel elevators and the footage of a single young female of Asian appearance entering the elevator. The next couple minutes of footage is puzzling, baffling and downright frightening. Elisa appears to push the buttons in the elevator, to no avail. Then she hides behind sections of the elevator, trying to have a sneaky peer from the edges of it, to whatever awaits outside.

The lift refuses to move, let alone close. In frustration Elisa pushes all buttons, then decides to step out in some scattered movements. Her arms begin twisting and distorting as she appears to be communicating to someone- or something just outside the lift. Elisa finally disappears off camera, then suddenly the lift doors decide to close, without her in it. Moments later it was presumed she was dead. Her naked body was found weeks later at the rooftop water tank of the hotel. The only reason they found her body was the harrowing discovery by hotel guests who complained of “pungent black water” running through their taps.

Elisa Lam's final moments before her mystery death were captured on CCTV of the Cecil hotel.

Elisa Lam’s eerie final moments before her mystery death were captured on CCTV of the Cecil hotel.

Elisas mobile phone was missing and no other clues have come as to how she got in the water tank of the hotel. Yet police deemed the death “accidental”. A flavour that seems very bitter to many people who find the entire situation suspicious. She had no drugs or alcohol in her system. This story of Elisa Lam has become a “token” story in Los Angeles. Almost “fashionable” to talk about. Her story genuinely scared me because it is missing pieces of a puzzle that have been forced to “fit together” to fit the narrative that it was an accidental death, a narrative that makes no sense.

As captivating as her story is it has pushed me far away from Los Angeles because it is not only Elisas’ story that haunts me- the Cecil hotel being the portal of such bizarre activity and knowing i was only a click away from staying here really sealed the deal for me. I don’t truly believe Elisas case to be closed and its an incomplete circle. I do believe Elisas story needs to be revisited but most definitely not by me. The Cecil gave me a huge irrational fear of Los Angeles,¬†i understand and acknowledge that it is an irrational fear yet reading up on the history of the hotel and the many characters that played a “lead role” in this place¬†really made me realize i have no interest in making any appearances on its stage any time soon.

Peace, Salam.

I have traveled extensively over the last 5 years, mainly due to the fortune of working in the industry that takes us to said destinations. Sure when you scale out and look at the Entire Earth as a hole i have still only seen a little fragment of it, yet that is the excitement of travelling, it’s not only so much where you have been, it is also where you are going!

I have conducted a “Top 5” list of places i have been based on specific “Subjects”. Please note this list is strictly only highlighting places i have seen with my own two eyes and also note each photo on this article was taken by me during these travels between 2010-2015. If you ever get the chance to visit these places i can confidently say it will enrich your life. So let us begin, shall we?


TOP 5 COASTAL SCENES:

Bicheno, Tasmania, Australia

Bicheno, Tasmania, Australia

5) Bicheno, Tasmania, Australia

The Island state of Tasmania will feature many times on my list and it is no surprise it has an abundant range of beautiful beaches. I visited Bicheno during a overcast day and even then it blew me away. The Sand was bright and white, the rocks were a deep shade of orange and even with that cloud cover the water shimmered in a Turqoise mix.

Waimanalo Beach, Hawaii, USA.

Waimanalo Beach, Hawaii, USA.

4) Oahu East Coast, Hawaii, United States

Hawaii is home to many wonderful scenes, yet one of the most memorable to me was the Eastern and Southern Coastline of the most popular Island of Oahu. The steep mountain backdrop complete with its lush scenery and the array of colours along this dramatic coast really left a lingering memory in my mind.

Muscat, Oman

Muscat, Oman

3) Muscat, Oman.

Oman, a 45 minute flight from the glamour of Dubai is a nation that is riddled with amazing people, culture, history, deserts and who would have thought? Coast! The coast around the city of Muscat is decorated with many impressive Portuge Forts that loom over the waterways and the mountains resemble something from another planet, surely a unique experience!

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand


2) Queenstown, New Zealand

The city of Queenstown boasts some of the Worlds most amazing waterways. Despite the unappealing element of the freezing cold and its empowering snow capped mountains the water scenery in New Zealand is absolutely captivating with Queenstown being no exception. The Greens, blues and yellows blend in one perfect harmony!

Wayalailai Island, Fiji

Wayalailai Island, Fiji

1) Wayalailai Island, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Despite my Fiji trip being one of my oldest (taken in 2010) i have to say the Yasawa Islands are without a doubt one of the most wonderful sights your eyes will ever be blessed to see. It is like something out of a postcard. Coconut Palms litter the sands as hammocks sway in the breeze and the Isolation of the beaches and reefs draw you right in!


TOP 5 MOUNTAIN SCENES:

Barren Falls, Queensland, Australia

Barren Falls, Queensland, Australia

5) Tropical Far North Queensland, Australia

Australia might not be world renown for its Mountains but it surely has some gems. Far up North in the Tropics of Queensland there are some lush rainforests found in the midst of some steep mountains and cliffs. One of the more impressive sections would be Barren Falls, which is especially neat in the wet season. The cliffs and many pools really give a dramatic take to the calm and pristine surrounds.

Wadi Shab, Oman

Wadi Shab, Oman

4) Wadi Shab, Oman

“Wadi” in Arabic means Valley and there are some stunning Valleys in Oman, usually carved by some remarkable pools and waterways. Wadi Shab has a perfect movie set backdrop, sheer drops from its bright red cliffs are met by the dusty green of their Palm Trees. Truly, this feels like a Jurassic experience!

The Peak, Hong Kong

The Peak, Hong Kong

3) The Peak, Hong Kong

This might be an odd choice for some yet taking the Cable Train up the steep hills overlooking Hong Kong is a satisfying experience, especially if the pollution is low. From the vantage point of the Peak you can see far out into many sights of Hong Kong and in all directions are other various mountains overpowering the skyscrapers in height!

The Remarkables, New Zealand

The Remarkables, New Zealand

2) The “Remarkables”, New Zealand

The Remarkables are a Mountain Peak near Queenstown in New Zealand. These Mountains are so overpowering and really make you feel small. They sure do humble you up as they dominate the landscape around them. Especially beautiful when they are often snowcapped, this is hands down one of the best Mountainsides you could ask for!

Ben Lomond, Tasmania, Australia

Ben Lomond, Tasmania, Australia

1) Ben Lomond, Tasmania, Australia

What is that? An Australian mountain range takes the cake for best Mountain Scenery? Well yes, Ben Lomond to be precise! I will never forget chasing the signs to this Mountain Range during sunset, hugging the narrow road as it winds its way in elevation. Until you find yourself facing a landscape that looks nothing short of Mars. It was absolutely amazing and the fact that not a single soul was there made it extra special. The roads that winds its way up to the top is daunting and exhilarating at the same time!


TOP 5 CULTURAL EXPERIENCES

Tanah Lot. Bali, Indonesia

Tanah Lot. Bali, Indonesia

5) Bali, Indonesia

Yes, it might not have the best reputation. This country well known for its corruption has both dark and beautiful sides to it. When venturing away from the party towns Bali in Indonesia has many wonderful sights and sounds to offer. Whether its Lambongan Island or Tanah Lot temple this place has a deep cultural significance and sticks to the mind.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

4) Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The city that is built in the desert is a place of great contrasts. One moment you could be shopping at one of the most prestigious shopping centres and the next riding a camel under the starry night. Although Dubai is obviously “Artificial” it is captivating in its own right. Constantly breaking its own records Dubai is a place to tick off the list, besides Fast and the Furious 7 may have added to the “culture” of this tourist Mecca.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

3) Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a city that is absolutely surrounded by amazing Heritage Listed sights dating back for many centuries. Upon arriving at Istanbul you are instantly overwhelmed by the Cultural mixture of East and West, mingling around one dense city that is full of cultural significance. The food is unique and also delicious. One cannot help but feel immersed in the culture whilst in Turkey.

Trsat, Rijeka, Croatia

Trsat, Rijeka, Croatia

2) Adriatic Sea, Croatia

I think one of the most charming, romantic and stunning coastlines in the world would have to be in Croatia. Not only due to the obviously gorgeous beaches but due to the rich history that is preserved in beautiful towns settling beneath mountainous backdrops. Croatia has thousands of islands to choose from and seafood to your hearts content! Who could say no!?

Kakadu National Park, Australia

Kakadu National Park, Australia

1) Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Cultural heritage is more about buildings, sometimes it is about the land. Kakadu National Park in Australia is a huge place, roughly the size of Slovenia. This National Park is an important cultural landmark in of itself with many sacred and holy sites to the local Indigenous population. Hiring a Helicopter over this tranquil scenery was one of the greatest memories of my life. From waterfalls to rock-faces to Crocodile infested waterways this place had it all, the nature was outstanding!

Ladies and gentlemen this is just a little sneak peak of some of the amazing sights and sounds i have encountered over the last few years. The World is an amazing place so go out and see it! I hope i have inspired you to want to travel and enjoy this special place we call Earth that little bit more! ūüôā

PEACE!

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The Daily Telegraph this morning published an article by so called “journalist” Tim Blair- titled “Last drinks in Lakemba, Taking A Look Inside Sydneys Muslim Land”. Lakemba is a Suburb in South West Sydney approximately 20 kilometres¬†from the city. I live in the Lakemba area and I have lived here for a huge chunk of my life and this article had many blatantly paranoid views from a journalist that must have experienced a “culture shock”, despite knowing nothing about the culture- or the suburb itself.

Let me be the first to admit, sure enough Lakemba might not have the lush greenery of Sydneys Northern Suburbs or the glistening beaches of Sydneys South. Indeed it might not have that “cosmo” feel of the Inner West Suburbs nor the “wide open spaces” of the far West, yet this “Muslim Land” as he calls it has a lot more to offer than he had stated and sitting in a pub just talking to an Anglo Australian about Muslims is not exactly the most balanced way of getting a true taste of the area.

Tim Blair confronted by Lakembas display of Foreign Flags- he must have missed the Australian one!

Tim Blair confronted by Lakembas display of Foreign Flags- he must have missed the Australian one!

Let us first look at the confusion that Tim Blair has when he visits Lakemba. Tim Blair at first is shocked to not find a Gideons Bible inside his Lakemba accommodation, a $50 a night pub. I wouldn’t think a tacky pub hotel would be the most appropriate place to learn about God but lets move on from there. To soften the blow he initiates his article with a few compliments about the area, according to him Lakemba is a great place for Middle Eastern food and he compliments the suburbs late closing hours for every day amenities and that Ladies and Gentlemen is where the compliments end from this ever so curious Journalist. In his brief evaluation of the positives of the area he mentions that it has good food and that is about it. There is one very important aspect missing from his evaluation, what about the people? What about the PEOPLE Tim? We will get to the people in just a moment.

In his introduction photo Tim Blair posts a photo of Haldon street in Lakemba, in particular a bunch of foreign flags waving above foreign looking shops. Indeed this street looks more united than the United Nations itself, yet the shock value is lost once you find that the biggest and most obvious flag on top of these shops is…you guessed it…the Australian flag! Furthermore Tim Blair is extremely confused with the demographics of Lakemba and cannot seem to see the difference between Middle Easterners and Indian/Bangladeshi folk. I guess they all dress alike in Muslim attire so its one and the same. In his article he says that Lakemba is an” ethnic mix that seems similar to what you‚Äôd find in any Arabic city.”

Tim Blair confuses Lakembas mainly Bangladeshi/Indian and Pakistani population as "Arab".

Tim Blair confuses Lakembas mainly Bangladeshi/Indian and Pakistani population as “Arabic”.

The only bleeding obvious fact is that Lakemba is NOT an “Arabic city” and any layman can witness, with their own two eyes the extremely strong Indian and Bangladeshi influence. According to the 2011 census 21% of Lakembas population are of Indian/Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent whilst only 5% are Lebanese or “Arabic”. Tim Blair continues to then state that Lakemba is multicultural but also strictly is a MONOculture, which is highly offensive given that only 50% of the population are Muslim and again according to factual demographics the area also covers at least 20% Christians, 6% with NO religion and 5% Buddhists so yes, according to the demographics¬†Lakemba¬†does not have a single¬†monoculture but is in fact a varied blend¬†of races and creeds.

Tim Blair then decides to take advantage of the fragile and most recent Israel and Gaza conflict that cost the lives of almost 2,000 Palestinians. He mentions that a few weeks ago the streets of Lakemba were riddled with Pro Jihadi Muslim men chanting for both Palestine and Jihad. He then goes on to mention the link between a few extremists in the area and their supposed link to ISIS. In this summary based on the PEOPLE of Lakemba, we are off to a bad start because thus far Tim Blair has only painted the people of Lakemba to be violent extremists.

Tim Blair seems more interesting in meeting Islamic Mannequins, than actual Islamic people.

Tim Blair seems more interested in meeting Islamic Mannequins, than actual Islamic people.

Is Tim Blair aware that hours before he wrote his¬†misinformed article that Muslim officials gathered in Lakemba along side government officials to¬†openly condemn extremism and promise to fight it? Funny how that is conveniently missing from his biased narrative of this suburb. Not to mention NSW Islamic Council‚Äôs Khaled Sukkarieh said in regards to the actions of extremist activity ‚ÄúWe condemn it all in the name of Islam‚ÄĚ.

In what appears to be a move made by someone trying to fulfil their preconceived notions about a place, as opposed to openly wanting to learn about it. Tim Blair made his way to an Islamic Book Store in Lakemba¬† to sift through books and find particular pages with quotes that he found disturbing, including a Q&A book on Islam that openly stated you cannot support or love disbelievers. If Tim Blair had bothered to open the highest book of authority on Islam he will see that friendship is allowed. “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who do not fight you for your Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.” (Quran 60:8.)

He then goes on to find other unsavoury book titles, of which I myself found to be in bad taste but alas if I were to walk in to any library in New South Wales I am sure that somewhere, somehow I will find a book or a quote in a book that I deem to be offensive, counterproductive or damaging– but the reality is that book, or that quote- still does NOT represent the people of the area and in this apparent smear campaign of Lakemba it appears Tim Blair is pulling at any straws to make Lakemba a place of savagery.

Hours before Tim Blairs article Muslim leaders IN Lakemba openly condemned extremism and promised to fight it.

Hours before Tim Blairs article Muslim leaders IN Lakemba openly condemned extremism and promised to fight it.

Tim Blair then takes his article to a whole other level by not only saying that the people of Lakemba are backwards extremists but he pulls the “unemployment” card out to indicate that the Muslim community of Lakemba are also lazy by¬†highlighting the suburbs high unemployment rate. Sure, Lakemba has a relatively high unemployment rate in the Sydney district but how he links this to Islam or Muslims is rather peculiar seeming there are suburbs with HIGHER or similar rates of unemployment with extremely low Muslim populations- with these facts we break his chain of over the top assertions.

Lakemba has an unemployment rate of around 11%. The Sydney Suburb of Cabramatta has an unemployment rate of about 14%.¬†Cabramatta has a 50% Buddhist population, will Tim Blair make a sweeping statement about welfare loving Asians or Buddhists? The unemployment rate of Wollongong in Sydneys south is¬†almost 10%. No Religion is the highest demographic in the area. Will Tim Blair make a sweeping statement about Non Believing Heathens and their lazy Godless lifestyles? The unemployment rate of the Sydney Suburb Fairfield is¬†almost 13% and the highest religious denomination is 35% Catholic. Will Tim Blair make a sweeping statement about shady “priests”¬†and their lazy perverted population?

Lakemba hosts the hugely successful month long Ramadan Food Festival.

Lakemba hosts the hugely successful month long Ramadan Food Festival.

That just shows how shoddy this “drive-by” type of Journalism is. Tim Blair assumed that by renting a hotel and lingering in a suburb for some hours that he could make such ridiculous statements about this community, and yet still not a single nice thing about the people of Lakemba found in his article. If Tim Blair was honest in his endeavour to know more about the people of this estranged “Muslim Land” would it not make sense to visit Lakemba Mosque? The most popular mosque in Sydney? I am absolutely confident that he would have been welcome there with open arms by both officials and worshippers. Besides Lakemba Mosque is the venue where they have¬†“open days” allowing people from all walks of life to tour the mosque, ask questions and learn more about Islam. Isn’t that what any honest journalist with integrity would¬†do if he really wanted to “learn more” about a place and its people?

Lakemba is a diverse place and in fact the¬†Ramadan Food festival just finished up in Lakemba. Where food stalls were open for all people whether at 6pm, 10pm or 2am. The News even broadcasted this event and on the two occasions I was at the 2014 Ramadan food festival I saw people from different cultures attend. I was sitting next to an American girl in a cafe having a laugh with her African American friend.. I saw two Latvian tourists. I saw two middle aged English ladies trying a Camel burger. I had a few work colleagues attend. This was another sign of the areas yes- good food but also good hospitality. I take my non Arab and Non Muslim friends to my area so they can get a glimpse of this “other side” and they always return home with nothing but good words to say, not only about the delicious food and late closing hours but also the strong sense of family and community that is seen all throughout the Lakemba region.

Tim Blair must be unaware of Lakembas annual "Haldon Street Festival" attracting many thousands.

Tim Blair must be unaware of Lakembas annual “Haldon Street Festival” attracting many thousands.

Journalists like Tim Blair are detrimental to society because they pretend to seek knowledge knowing they are endeavouring to only fulfil their own quota. It is beyond obvious that Tim Blair already had an opinion on Arabs and Muslims and he took this express trip under the guise of “journalism” to highlight this fantasy that he had- actively looking for what he wanted and sneakily avoiding what he wished not to confront. He travelled all the way to “Muslim Land” only to not speak to a single Muslim. How odd. As I said, I know that Lakemba is not the Santa Monica of Sydney, but for what its worth it has a lot more to offer than what Tim Blair presented in his dirty piece published by the Daily Telegraph.

Peace, Salam.

Sometimes a little bit of self reflection goes a long way. We all like to think we are productive, moral and intelligent products of our society who are contributing to it with enrichment. Some days when I am sitting there smoking on my shisha pipe I think I am as intelligent as Einstein, as wise as Ghandi and as influential as Mandela but the fact remains our “assessments” of our own selves are often quite skewered and off the mark. In saying that if there is something I can confidently say about myself is that I am definitely not a bigot of any sorts, I hold my opinions and I stand by them but I safe guard them from corruption.

First of all let us evaluate what exactly a bigot is, according to the dictionary a Bigot is: “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.”.

You may have heard the saying that opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. It is true, we all have something to say and it is only natural our opinions differ but the true test is how we handle other beliefs or opinions. I have conducted a list of the “Top 5 Signs” that you might be a bigot, read attentively.

Generalizing Gary:

Generalizing Gary is a self confessed patriot, a lover of his nation. He waves the flag, cheers the team and sips on the rum and coke. He believes that he is truly living the ideal life of which he lives in freedom and prosperity. Yet Generalizing Gary has some bones to pick in regards to “migrants” that are battling across his beautiful shores. These “welfare thieving” boat people are coming to “his land” for the mere purpose of “cheating the system”. Generalizing Gary is in fact a bigot, despite him being passionate about his country, he in turn decides to generalize people collectively making broad assertions about a people that haven’t even touched down on his soil yet.

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Over Hyped Media Coverage Breeds Fear.

I’m no racist” Rory:

“I’m no racist” Rory is quite a common one. He has very deep imbedded feelings and opinions about other people that he quite often bottles up, yet rest assured when attempting to make a point – “I’m no racist” Rory most definitely will use his famous disclaimer prior to making his statement to clear him of any premature accusations. “I’m no racist Rory” is in fact a closet racist and is a bigot. This is because a person that is not a racist, simply is not a racist and is confident enough in their statements to realize that what they say cannot even remotely be interpreted that way.

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Bigot Alert…Bigot Alert…

Wary Waleed:

Wary Waleed is a man with strong political opinions, he is often the first to speak out and voice his views on certain others. Wary Waleed will mix politics and religion to promote his masked bigoted opinions. Wary Waleed makes compelling statements by mentioning a few examples and somehow alludes that this evidence is enough for him to hold his Wary views of the “others”. Wary Waleed will often trample on any good works by his ideological enemies, including but not limited to telling others that such said party “cannot be trusted”.

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Well that escalated quickly….

Banning Bob:

Banning Bob is a man full of passion. He is a pro-active “Go getter” and indeed he promotes change and “challenging” the system. Yet Banning Bob is particularly obsessed with another party of people, despite knowing nobody of the creed he is opposed to he relies on television interpretations of such a people and desperately clings to extremists so his own extreme views may become validated. You see Banning bob is all about democracy and freedom, yet simultaneously wants to ban things- books, items of clothing, teachings and policies. So by using the democratic procedure he prides himself in, he’d like to achieve something entirely undemocratic.

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Cause rape is only bad when a “Muslim” does it.

Double Standard Debbie:

Double Standard Debbie is a very selective type of lady. Skimming through newspaper articles she scans to find her “targets”. Basically she looks for ammunition that backs up her wild claims against others. She will provide links based off shady websites to highlight her “strong” opinions. Her lack of research is relatively evident with a quick double take of her source of information. Yet the true double standards come in Debbies research, she will highlight the negatives of certain people and rely on criminal activity to back up her point, yet when people of her own creed commit the exact crimes, to a higher volume -she is entirely silent.

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Double Standard Debbie you reading this?

If you have the above traits then you may be a bigot, it is okay though there is a cure for you. It is called reliable research. It is called co-mingling, where you face your supposed “demons” and come to see it really isn’t that bad at all. It is where you put down that paintbrush of which you single stroke an entire race/culture/religion/people and grab the magnifying glass to inspect each specimen, each individual. Indeed it is so easy to put up your guard and generalize major populations based on the supposed actions of their minorities. This is not philosophical, it is actually short-sighted and mind numbingly stupid. A lazy mans tyranny.

-Peace, Salam ūüôā