Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why General El-Sisi should be the next President of Egypt?*

I know the title of the post is deceiving....but bear with me, I will talk about why he shouldn't be the president of Egypt and why we need someone else.

Since I moved to China I sort of stopped following the news from Egypt not because I don't care but because I want to avoid any kind of useless sophisticated political discussions with any of my fellow Egyptians on Twitter or Facebook.

But of course everyday while checking my social networks' feed I accidentally read a piece of news here or there and recently I stumbled upon this huge discussion on Facebook between a supporter of El-Sisi and another dude who is advocating for a civil state and that's when I decided to write this post.

First of all I have to declare that I'm not against General El-Sisi in anyway, furthermore I think that he did his duty in saving Egypt from the hands of the fake Islamist rule of the Muslim Brotherhood who were trying to convert Egypt into another Iran.

But at the same time I don't think El-Sisi is fit as a presidential candidate, for once in our life we have to try and get rid of the idea of Egypt being ruled by a pharaoh. Being the head of the armed forces in Egypt is enough power for one person but having too much power corrupts, giving all these authorities to one person is a mistake we did many times before.

I think it's time to give a chance to new blood, new ideology and a chance for one of our young calibers - who have been marginalized for a long time - to prove himself (or herself) and step up to be the president of Egypt.

It's time to stop taking the easiest choices because we tried that before, we tried the brain of the crowd before and we suffered a lot as a result to our uninformed decision.

We need a charismatic leader who can negotiate with his opponents and not just cuff them or kill them. At this point we should be able to realize we can't oppress a certain group, party or minority. It's time to live in peace and learn from other countries which are a century ahead of us.
It surprises me how in china there are many ethnicities, many dialects and many religions but still all of them live in harmony identifying only as Chinese citizens while in Egypt we have 2 main religions and only 1 language and we still fight and kill each other which is doing the country no good. 

* The opinions mentioned here are my own opinions, I don't belong to a particular party or group.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sex Education in China - STDs, what do you mean?

China sex education

Being a pharmacist here in China gave me the opportunity to discuss with both locals and expats working or studying here about STDs and what they know about it.

One can't ignore the fact that the population of China in 2013 is estimated to be approximately 1.354 billion which poses a big threat if there was an outbreak of a disease here in China. So I started thinking about discussing this with people and exploring their opinions and how they see it.

I know that i didn't include a lot of people in this small self-started study of mine because of the sensitivity of the topic especially in a traditional country like China but at the same time this will give a generalized idea how people in the middle kingdom think which is also something hard to speculate considering the huge diversity in education and cultural exposure.

I classify the people I talked to into 4 groups most of their members are between the ages of 20-30 years old.
the 4 groups are Chinese males, Chinese females, expat males and expat females.

With the first group being the Chinese males most of them don't use protection because "they don't like how it feels" with complete unawareness about STDs and a lack of self-education about the topic.

The second group was very similar, Chinese girls mostly don't use protection due to a lack of knowledge about STDs, what's funnier here is that whenever i ask if they use protection their reply was so naive, mostly they said that they would take the morning after pill and when i further explained my question asking about sexually transmitted diseases they thought i was making a joke because they were sure no one can get sick from having sex!!

When it came to discussing with my fellow expat males who are known for their high sexual activity in China...most of them said they would always use protection in cases of one night stands but they wouldn't use it with a girlfriend. When i asked them whether they got the girls and themselves tested before deciding it was needless to use protection they all said no because they know that Chinese girls are generally not active sexually and don't usually have many bed-partners which is an opinion i don't agree with but i will talk about this later in the post.

The last group here sounds the safest - although not really protected since it's all a closed circle - expat females in China tend to have less sex partners because they are generally not interested in Chinese guys while foreigner males are more into Chinese girls and that leaves foreigner women with less chances. Most of the girls i asked said they will never have sex without using protection and they were generally more educated and more aware what STDs are.

Sex China STD
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I don't really have any significant results from the data provided here but I have this feeling that what's happening here is a time bomb waiting to be detonated at any point considering the rate with which the traditional Chinese population are progressing towards a more open-minded society that now accepts pre-marital sex especially in bigger cities so now it's not that hard to find Chinese girls and guys who are very open about their sexual activities who sometimes have more than 2 or 3 sex partners at the same time which of course can lead to an outbreak of a disease like HIV if they were not all using protection.

The lack of sex education here in China is definitely one of the causes and it's ironic how Chinese are becoming more accepting of polygamy while still not able to discuss a topic so important like STDs and safe sex in schools.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why you should use Wechat instead of Whatsapp - The ultimate Whatsapp alternative

Wechat Whatsapp Android Iphone

Before I arrived in China i had never heard of Wechat but since day 1 in China people have not been asking me about my phone number if they want to keep in touch instead they were asking me for my QQ number or my Wechat ID.

I decided to try both and right now i have to say that i can't really do without Wechat.
Wechat is a Chinese instant messaging service developed by Tencent, I think it's the only competitor to whatsapp at the moment.

Wechat Whatsapp Android IphoneBefore using Wechat I had the prejudice that a Chinese software can't really compete in the market because I assumed it will be a copy of Whatsapp but after I tried Wechat i found a lot of different features that are not available in Whatsapp.

Wechat is expanding dramatically in the user base, in January 2013 they reached 300 Million subscriber.

Let's take a look on some of the strength points of Wechat over Whatsapp (I will not mention here the features available on both) :

1- Wechat is completely free, it's not a trial for one year then you have to pay like whatsapp.

2- Wechat supports signing in with a user ID and a password unlike Whatsapp where you can only sign in using your phone number.....It means that in case you change your phone number you still have the same user ID, same contacts and same profile in Wechat while in Whatsapp if god forbid you change your phone number then all is lost.

3- Wechat works on different platforms just like Whatsapp available for Nokia, Blackberry, Android, Windows phone and Apple....However Wechat excels because it has a web platform so you can use it on your browser.

4- Wechat can find people nearby and allow you to message them so you can get to know new people ;) which is a completely absent feature in Whatsapp.

5- There's a feature in Wechat to allow payment through your phone by connecting your credit card to it although i haven't figured out how this works exactly and i'm not very sure i want to safe my card details on a phone, from what I hear is that this payment service is available in some places in Shanghai and Beijing.

6- On Wechat you can backup your chat history exactly like Whatsapp however Wechat excels here as well because you can save the chat history into their cloud for 7 days and retrieve at anytime during the 7 days.

7- Wechat has a feature called moments which is like a timeline for you to post statuses and photos...absent in Whatsapp.

8- There's a Shake feature through which you can talk to strangers if both of you are shaking your phones at the same time.

There are so much more to discover with Wechat and I'm predicting that soon people will switch over to Wechat and abandon Whatsapp because why would you pay for something you can get for free?

I also predict that Chinese software companies will continue booming in the future providing free solutions to different issues we have at the moment.

You can go over to Wechat website to download and discover more features.

Fractured Rib - Time Heals Everything

Suffering from my second rib fracture in less than six months got me to start thinking. I knew that there's nothing to do in cases of rib fractures because it's not worth it to get a cast.
The way to treat rib fractures is just to wait....It takes 6-8 weeks to heal during which you experience pain while sleeping, moving and sometimes even breathing. It's also recommended to start taking painkillers to make it easier to breathe which is supposed to prevent from rib fracture complications, respiratory tract infection in particular.

That made me realize a fact that is really important....I came to realize how powerful time is because not only can it heal a fractured bone but it can also heal a broken heart or a feeling of anger towards someone or whatever else.

Time can also bring people together, recently i ran into this guy i hated when we were in school some 10 years ago but once we stopped and said hi we started talking about school days and the good old times. We forgot completely how much we hated each other in school and we appreciated talking together because it made both of us remember this fragment of the past.

Human brain is amazingly powerful because not only it can store information better than the mightiest computer ever created but it can be selective of which information to store and which to get rid of, over time we tend to forget about the bad memories and we remember the good ones.

This is how i see it now, no regrets because at the moment i don't remember most of the bad things people did to me. I just remember good times and good memories.

So enjoy the your life and don't be scared to break your bone or even your heart because TIME will heal it eventually.

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Take on The Beanstalk Rom for the Galaxy Note 1 N7000

I tried so hard to resist the urge to flash a custom rom on my note N7000 but as people on XDA forums always say "my flashing finger was itchy" so i couldn't resist anymore.

The first rom i tried was the one i trust most and the one i knew wouldn't disappoint me: Cyanogenmod 10.1 which is built on Android 4.2.1 Jellybean and i have to say it was up to my expectations a clean interface, stable radio and smooth.

n7000 beanstalkBut after a couple of days I wanted to get more customizations for example the transparent status bar and it was really hard to get it done on Cyanogenmod 10.1 so I decided to search for a different rom that allows more customizations. As usual i started doing my research surfing through the XDA forums sifting through different threads while checking on youtube for rom hands on until i found BeanStalk Build 4.3.1001 which is built on android 4.3

I flashed the rom and i was surprised how fast and smooth it is, not only that but it's full of different functions and customizations that i didn't expect will be all included in one rom.

I have been using it as a daily driver for more than a week now and so far it's been great. No random reboots, strong signal, not laggy and a long battery life.

Worth mentioning that if  you post about any problem you are having with the rom in the thread you'll get a prompt reply which is a good support for the rom.

You can check out the list of the features and download the flashable zip from the Beanstalk thread on XDA here

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You love Chinese food? Think twice before answering - My experience with Chinese Food

scorpion skewer China

"Can you find something to eat in China?" is a question i get asked every time I fly back home or I skype with a friend who is not living in the middle kingdom.

Before ever setting foot in China and while discussing my plans of coming here to live i was talking to my friends back home, a few of them have been to China before and i was just taking their opinions about the decision i'm about to make. What impressed me is that 2 of these friends told me that i would suffer to find food and they went on and on about how hard it was for them to find something they can eat during the week they spent in China.

Of course I didn't believe them although I knew it would be a little bit tough to adapt to Chinese food but i was sure it's doable. However when I think about it now I can say it's not doable.
Let me explain what happened...When I first arrived here it was really hard for me to eat anything other than noodles because everything seemed weird for me: chicken feet, turtle heads, silkworm cocoons...etc.

The Chinese cuisine is known all over the world for it's diversity and it's definitely true that Chinese people enjoy some delicacies that no one else can imagine but at the same time there are a lot of different dishes and recipes that are pretty normal. Now after a lot of trial and error I can say i made my safe food list and a blacklist as well.

Now i know what to eat and the restaurants that fit my 
taste so i have no problem finding food i can eat.

干锅土豆片My favorite meal here in China would be 干锅土豆片(in the image on the right) which is some sort of a pot that comes with a flame under so it can cook while you are consists of potato slices with onions and pepper....this is a complete meal that you can eat with rice and it's very similar to a dish we have back home.

Another favorite of mine is Malatang 麻辣烫 which is your selection of vegetables and tofu boiled with noodles and served in really spicy sauce.

The biggest challenge for me was to learn how to use chopsticks to eat rice (even now i still didn't master it) 

So yeah i admit i enjoy Chinese food (it's also cheaper) but not all of it and now i have an answer to the question on the beginning of this post.

***This post is inspired by Echinacities' article found here