3 Mar 2006


I see lots of them everywhere I go. Sometimes I sympathize. Sometimes I get so annoyed. I watch them over the course of time. One or two have been there forever. This 'rababa' man, I have been seeing for decade now. I initially used to give him something, now I literally hate him. Get so annoyed by him. Whenever he approaches me for money, I tell him to fuck off. I say that, 'Fuck off bugger.' I look into his eyes, and I just see greed and 'makr'. He is so greedy. If you know this man, look into his eyes when you put your hand in your pocket to give him money. His eyes would jump, racing your hand to the money. His eyes drip with greed and need. I urge you to take a look. In case you are interested, check 26th July street, Zamalek. The 'rababa' guy over there. If you are more interested--alif you might do that--follow him to where he lives. I am so curious to know how he lives after all these years of begging.

I am not at all careful with money. I dont have an organized purse. I just throw my money in it. I like it like that. I hate to count my money. Put them in order or even carry a purse. Just a bag and I throw the money in. Although my company begged me to make an ATM card, I never did. I prefer to get my money cash. In 100's. In fact, I dont have a bank account now. No money in the bank. For religion reasons? I don't know, and I don't care. Could be that I don't see the benefit of money thrown into a bank account. Sitting there. Accumulating interest. Fixed. Variable. Complex. Bank statements. Fees. All these transactions and effort for something I dont know or get personal with.

I tend to think that our relation to money handling is a reflection to who we are. Yes. Just like anything else. I hate to work so hard everyday. Spend all this time at work and when I get paid, I found it transfered to the bank. I want to see the translation of my effort. To touch it. To spend it. To enjoy it. To invest it in stocks. To lose it. To win it. To wrestle with my effort. But deposit it in a bank and cash it through a plastic, non recyclable plastic card is annoying. It is as if I am throw who I am in a blackhole that I don't see.

As a kid, when my Pa spoke about his money been deposited there, I give him a blank reaction. I had, and still have, no clue what he is talking about. I ask myself, what on earth is he talking about. The poor guy doesn't even know where his money sleeps now. He never even saw his money. Never touched it. Never felt it. Never had any connection with. The only connection is this piece of printed paper that arrives every month to our mail box. He stacks them. A statement over the other. Numbers, numbers, numbers. That's it. It is as if he had an illegal kid who just pays for his meals but refuses to have any emotional responsibility towards. Could it be that my father doesn't want to spend the money, that he doesn't want to take its responsibility and thus give it away, energetically, to a bank?

I don't really know!


Blogger Safiya said...

I have to ask this, but do you still live with your parents? It's just that the one thing that changes your attitude towards money is leaving home and having to fend for yourself. Then it all becomes paper, bills, statements in and money straight out again.

My money is numbers on a screen, I don't trust it as paper in my hand as I feel like I spend it far too quickly.

As for beggers, we used to have loads of them in our city but it's not so bad now. I'm not proud of of this, but back when I used to drink alcohol, I was at an ATM when a begger asked if I had any money I said "Yes, Lots! Ha ha ha!" I think that's the meanest I've ever been to a begger.

3/04/2006 07:16:00 am  
Blogger haal said...

I lived alone, away from my parents and home since I was 24. So it has nothing to do with living or not living with them. It is, in my opinion, a reaction or an attitude. I also suppose that it has to do with generation as well, opportunities and circumstances.

I remember my father saying stories about how they he used to earn a lot when he was young, but saved none. His attitude changed only when he had family and wanted to 'secure' their lives.

To be more mature, it also has to do with the time when the gap between social classes start to increase, and having money becomes an important measure of class and status in Egypt. The start of workforce fleeing to the gulf to get more money to 'secure' their kids' life becuase everything was so expensive and rare. When before, no one cared about accumulating, or pre-buying of apartments and daughter 'gihaz' for her marriage, except when the society became all of a sudden, a showoff, nouveau riche one!

3/04/2006 07:49:00 am  
Blogger Safiya said...

Thank you for not being offended by my question. I was worried that I'd worded it poorly.

What you've said about the changes in personal finance in Egypt reminded me of this article called of Love and Money on this site:

I agree about the difference in attitudes between generations, my parents are of the "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" school of thought, whereas people my age fully subscribe to the "Buy now, pay later" philosophy.

3/04/2006 01:22:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

Not offended at all. All cool here!

Well, the newcairo article is really amazing. Willow actually used to have a very decent blog, dervish in cairo, or something like that. But anyways, the article is really great. Thanks for pointing me to it.

I am not a borrower that's for sure, but I am a lousy lender unfortunately. And I hate to ask for my money. I leave it to the politeness of the borrower. I even refuse to take a reciept or any papers of that sort. I admit, that I am wrong in that. In Islam, it is advised to do that, to avoid conflicts and tensions and barriers. Which is exactly what happened to me.

3/04/2006 02:31:00 pm  
Blogger Safiya said...

It was from reading Willow's blog that I found all your blogs (yours, Mohammed's, Alina's e.t.c). It's good she's doing something new and I'm glad you liked the article.

3/05/2006 02:13:00 am  
Blogger MoonLightShadow said...

Concerning the beggar part, it reminded me of those parking guys who thought that they bought the street. These are really who get on my nerves, and I have to argue with each and every one of them. I hate it when people force me to give them something that they don’t deserve. I don’t and I won’t. It’s not the matter of money as much as it is a matter of a principle.

Concerning the money and the bank part. I believe that the more people have responsibilities, the more they are careful about money.

3/05/2006 10:53:00 pm  

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