For Sunday September 8th 2013
Between Us Only!
Are You A VIP?
A growing trend that needs to be nipped in the bud!
• Never take a person’s dignity; it is worth everything to them – and nothing to you! – Frank Barron
Believe me but I am a very respectful person – and I always greet elders to me – VIP or not – with the greatest level of respect, esteem and affection! I give them the highest level of patience, tolerance and respects that I can muster. When I greet anyone – I offer both hands in salutation and greetings – just like a kid to a grown up! I even slightly bow my head – especially if an elder is involved! That is how I was brought up in life – and I do the same pass on teachings and preaching to my children – and the grandchildren.
But I am also a give and take type of person – live and let live! The other day my granddaughter was lamenting loudly for all to hear – Grandfather always is confusing! Sometimes he has too much hair on his head- sometimes he shaves clean! This after seeing me lose all my hair! So the others laughed nervously – whilst all the time looking at me how I will react – and I was sincerely laughing the loudest! Believe me! I respect one speaking his or her mind – myself being a victim of such circumstances all around in my life. If in the old days I tried to joke this to my late grandfather, I would get slaps from different sources – and for ‘insulting grandfather’ – and yet Grandfather would still say – ‘I am not amused’!
I do not know if you have noticed it? I can make exceptions if it is a wedding – but certainly a funeral gathering is a different thing and place! It is not a place to pull rank – and or show your credentials to others in life!
One time at a wedding of a friend I was sitting near a VIP. And to start idle polite chat I asked him where he was working? And the good man – diplomatically and politely – replied at a certain Ministry. I had the guts and audacity to criticise the place. He seemed to want to know more – so I gave it to him! All the time I could see his face trying hard to hide his smirking face – and the shock was mine when I got a call few days later – I had given him my card! I was told ‘you talked to HE’ at the wedding – and I am looking at your case!
A few days later a friend casually remarked to me – Did you know whom you were talking to there then? I said No! Don’t you read the newspapers? See TV? I hope you did not say anything off point? Off point? What do you mean? I have met very high VIPS – yet they are very simple people – and conversely it is they that make you feel relaxed and comfortable! That is the beauty of Oman! A beacon of light and hope to others all around us!
The problems we have are with the second and third class Actors and Performers! A few baizas added in their dishdashas or dresses – a few job levels upwards – and they look at you with squinted eyes and with disdain and contempt! We are better than you! We are more important than you! Are you a VIP? No? So move along! Move away! Go away from me! Move!
The worst offenders are the organisers and the administrators! Actually self made! Self proclaimed! Nobody has appointed them to these positions! Like I have said before – I can accept and allow exceptions in weddings! We like it or not – that is how the cookie crumbles! You can never change human attitudes and behaviours! Either you have it – or you do not!
There is no middle ground – or exception? Or like I always like to quote – The Third Option! But for heaven’s sake – even at funeral gatherings – there is a class division? When someone has just died? The same worms will eat and devour you – whether you are rich or poor! They do not know any distinction and or difference! Food is food for them! Sorry to be morbid!
The other day I met this person. I introduced myself to him with great smiles, warmth and sincerity! First time I have ever met him vis-à-vis – face to face! I would not declassify him as not a VIP! But if you look at things some way people look at things – even poor me could be a VIP? One man’s VIP is another’s Loafer! Or lower level type of guy! If there is such a thing!
He was just polite casual – The Ahlaan (Welcome) was more polite as others at the funeral were around! There was no attempt to say more – or pull me to stay near him! Anyway, he was busy talking to someone near him – perhaps a Real VIP! I felt myself like wanting to sink into the ground – more when the Organisers – having checked the facts – realised I was No VIP – so let me go to the end of the sitting arrangement seats end! No one came to pick me to me to the centre – or to the nearby aisles! I was not VIP! So why bother?
Next time I will think twice to go to a funeral gathering especially – unless I know well the died person – and or family! When my father died – and when my mother died – I did not see any of even the sorts of VIPs I knew at the gathering – 2 or 3 sent only emails and SMS! I was not VIP! But yet at their family members’ funerals – I had cancelled everything to attend!
The East Africans say – Those who go up the ladder will have to come down! Or Be nice to the person going up – because you will meet him coming down! – East African famous!
By: Majid Al-Suleimany