It’s time for New Year resolutions ...

Speaking Out Jonna Simon

THERE is something very exciting about the start of a brand-new year.

It’s as is a thick, black line has been drawn under December 31, indicating “this is over, gone, forgotten” and we are all set to become better people showing more goodwill towards our fellow human beings, able to enjoy a more exciting career, improve our skills and can now forget about the mistakes made in I the old year.
All around the globe, countless people will be celebrating the start of 2005 at midnight on December 31 and umpteen of them will be making New Year Resolutions – yet again. Hope and optimism are an integral part of the human psyche, after all, as are determination and courage.
I don’t know how long it will take before I start breaking them, but I’ve made the following New Year resolutions:
1) Not to lose my temper, when a young driver overtakes on the inside on the hard shoulder at 180 km. I must remember that he could possibly be training for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and fervently hopes to be a Formula One racing driver.
2) Not to lose my cool when a businessman starts barking into his mobile phone just as we are boarding the Emirates flight to London – and pretends to be clinching a deal with someone, who obviously either works in the middle of the night or at least close to midnight. However, I will still inform the cabin crew if the man pockets his mobile without switching it off.
3) Not to wince, when my husband brags about how many years we have been married in cocktail chatter when told another of our acquaintances has ditched his wife of many years for the secretary or a work colleague. I can see the females working out of my age, as my better half rabbits on. I do not have the statistics but, casting around the colleagues, it does appear that the Gulf seems to cause at least four in ten divorces, but maybe that is a lower percentage than in Europe, for instance?
4) To ignore the anti-Western diatribe, which some Gulf newspapers seem to revel in, forgetting that at least half of their readers are expatriates from Europe, North America and Australasia… and we do not appreciate snide remarks from leader writers more interested in Western politics than their own.
5) To continue to grumble loudly and send back expensive meals, which have not been served according to the description on the menu. I’m fed up with paying top prices for low-quality meals in so-called five-star restaurants. Spelling the name of the dish correctly on the menu is fine, but if the chef then changes an American favourite into a spicy alternative, I am not amused.
6) Not to tip, when we have received inferior service. Tips are an acknowledgement of extra special service, not a gratuity to be given haphazardly.
Also to walk out of any restaurant, which takes more than five minutes to acknowledge our presence. If they are too busy to welcome us to their restaurant, they do not need our business.
7) To visit at least one other Arab country during the year. I have not yet visited Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait or Sudan. I am told from a reliable source that Beirut is a great place to spend a vacation nowadays, so it is now top of my list of “regional” trips.
8) Not to get irate, when visiting British journalists refer to Dubai as the “ugliest city in the world”, as one scribe from The Observer recently wrote in an article, which had more negatives than the British Airways Holidays with which she travelled would have relished. Ugly is starving, homeless children in war-torn parts of Africa, muggings in British and other European cities, Eastern European Soviet-style buildings. Dubai is far from ugly, I think “it’s a beaut”, as the Aussies are wont to say.
9) To take up oil painting again. I used to indulge many years ago. I wonder where I stowed the easel and palette? It’s those wonderful Gulf sunsets, which starts me thinking of being creative, but maybe I’ll make do with a cracker of a photo?!
10) Learn more about the computer and the internet. One of my grandchildren is only six years old and he is already a real whiz, which makes me feel somewhat inadequate. Someone told me recently that you can telephone cheaply through your laptop, but I’m not sure that is legal. And I have yet to use the Bluetooth system on my mobile, though I know that Herald Bluetooth was one of the early kings of Denmark more than a thousand years ago and I bet that not many mobile phone users know that!