August 17, 2009
Egypt as Multilingual Outsourcing Destination, Well I'll be bugered
Frankly given my experience with Egyptian non-mastery of accents, of course anecdote I must confess, this FT.com arty Egypt invests in outsourcing industry raised me eyebrows. Nevertheless it appears to be working, doubtless for reasons similar to why the Tunisian and Moroccan outsourcing industries have worked - a pool of otherwise unemployable university graduates with useless degrees, but reasonable language skills. If one is willing to train them up (which is not such a bad option given the way university tracking works in most of MENA, there may well be among the French and English Literature students perfectly fine IT Response Tele-Monkies or Tel-Services Monkies who merely did not have the cash to go for private coursework (of suspect quality anyway). Of course, the flip side to this is that the depth of the pool of talent is not that great, and if one does not price in the training, bad results will happen.
August 26, 2007
Risk Taking and Egypt (Umm ad-Dunya, example to the Arab world ... or simply easy place for Anglo Journos to do interviews....)
Perhaps the start of a small, tradition, commenting on stupid IHT articles, although to be fair Egypt searches for a balance that rewards risk-takers while valuing the past is an AP article and not without interest as a discussion of evolving business culture... or aspirations of evolving business culture.
Some reactions or thoughts then on Risk Taking
June 04, 2006
On Cairo & Egypt: Billmon's Little Adventure [Updated]
I may be moved to comment further on some items of substance (e.g. the dopey comment that galabiya and scraggly beard means fundie), but Billmon's entry on Cairo is amusing and shows what a real observer can do with Cairo (rather than an immature twat of a drooling talentless incompetent idiot like Totten) in conveying the hell that is Cairo as well as the extreme inefficaciousness of the vast Egyptian apparatus except at making one's life miserable. Why it brings back the burning bile I used to feel towards that city when I lived there. As well as the courage I had to work up to work my way across Midaan Tahreer the first time oh so long ago.
The bank story reminds me of when I had to bribe a postal official to just weigh a fucking letter I was sending. Lazy slobs. Nowhere but Egypt. (Although I do recall causing disorder once in Jordan having gotten some books on private equity and having made the mistake of translating the titles into good Arabic for the postal police. Private equity if "properly" translated just... well just translate litterally, let me put it that way as the so-called proper translation leads to all kinds of unique reactions from postal officials. Or better yet, just keep yer yap shut and let your driver do the talking.)
May 22, 2006
The Wisdom of the Egyptians: US & Egypt
While many 'Aqoul readers likely are aware that Egypt is passing through some rather severe political tensions at present, as disgust with the vampiric Mubarek regime seems to be bubbling up like a half-suppressed urge to vomit, I thought I would depart from my normal Egypt aversion and comment on The Financial Times's piece on PM Ahmed Nazif's Wisdom, Egypt ‘not under US pressure’ over political freedom (reporting by Mr Wallis paired with the esteemed Roula Khalaf who hopefully can impart some street smarts to the man so my precious FT space for MENA is not taken up with announcements that Egypt supports "Arab Unity").
May 18, 2006
Hot News: Egypt urges greater Arab integration
I am beginning to have a sensation that someone needs to send William Wallis of FT some news clippings before he writes more .... well waste of time articles such as this one Egypt urges greater Arab integration.
I suppose a short brief might be merited, but a full length arty? We have little enough proper news reporting on MENA economic issues, do we really need to waste valuable space repeating tired and worn out Egyptian attempts to distract from their domestic crises?
February 13, 2006
Oh what a surprise.... Mubarek's enthusiasm for elections wanes, elections post-poned
Why this is such a surprise.
Only two years, I guess the lying shrimp eating liar was feeling generous.
December 19, 2005
Out of Boredom and Thanks to Narcotics: Ignorant blundering idiots
Now, I ran across Totten during the much ado about the "Lebanese intefada" blithering on when naive fools saw the protests over the Hariri assasination marked some great "democratising" moment, and ever since have considered him a gullible fool. Amusing sometimes, but an ignorant gullible fool.
October 16, 2005
Appears to have passed.
While my financial interest wants this to be meaningful, I have to say I would bet that this is 90 percent likely to be another meaningless 'benchmark' as I don't believe any of the real drivers in the inter-communal politics have changed.
October 01, 2005
On Arabic, for Praktike
I noted the ever productive praktike has had a series of comments on Arabic that somewhat reek of the new learner.
I thought I might engage in a public service of a comment or two.
First, from this note
Incidentally, I'm now at the point in my Arabic studies where I can at least recognize who is and isn't a comfortable MSA speaker, and I'm beginning to understand As'ad AbuKhalil's snobbiness in this area. Gamal Mubarak speaks somewhat haltingly and melds Egyptian colloquial with MSA, whereas the Al Jazeera anchors and my teachers can prattle along like it ain't no thang, the latter with case endings and everything. I can imagine that being schooled abroad stunted Gamal's linguistic development.
Abu Khalil is a snotty prat of an arch literary leftist snob with regards to Arabic; arch purists like him should be disregarded,
September 26, 2005
Gulf Finance, Booms & Inefficiencies
Our friend and sometime contributor Waterboy draws attention to something obvious to all involved, and yet an item that remains out of control: overliquidity in the Gulf region and the consquent mad asset price boom in the Gulf. His observation is spot on, that there is
there's too much cash chasing too few investment opportunities in the region; too little oversight, regulation or transparency; too much exuberance - bear in mind, as Japanese bank Nomura pointed out, that Saudi Telecom's market capitalisation of US$74bn is worth more than BT (US$35bn), AT&T
(US$15bn), SK Telecom (US$15bn), and Telekom SA (US$9bn) combined - and far too many unsophisticated investors who think that having the names of a couple of ruling family members in the IPO prospectus is a valid alternative to a business plan - or, for that matter, an existing business.
No doubt about this at all. Some conversations I had over the past week painfully illustrated that. This aside, a key point of disequilibrium is the degree to which despite the asset valuations in the Gulf being absolutely looney to the point of surreal, the money is not flowing within the region to a reasonable degree.
August 18, 2005
On Egypt and Democracy, An Amusing Comment
This comment amused me. Unfair to a moderate degree, but only moderate:
Additional American State Department funds are also being earmarked for a “Women’s Political Participation in Egypt” project ($350,000) and “Establishing a Network of Democrats in the Middle East and North Africa” ($750,00). The latter seeks to establish “a formal network of democrats.” What’s that, I wonder? The announcement says “training sessions” will be organised and “moral support” proffered. Capital, where can I sign up? There’s nothing I’d love more than to spend my time being recruited and educated by the American government about democracy. I say, it’s so radically thoughtful of the Americans to offer us wretched natives some training in democracy.
However, Democracy is in with the State Department politicos, so you're going to get rather lame democracy education efforts run by bright eyed Americans, like the ones I meet here going the same thing. Very earnest. Very clueless.
August 15, 2005
On Diplo Services and Reform
I thought I might be lazy and refer to some comments I made on the site of the dear Zenpundit regarding a perceived need to reform the United States' diplomatic service, at A State Department Worth Creating largely for further discussion here if there was an interest.
August 11, 2005
Market Madness or Brilliance? US Gov Private Equity for MENA Announced (cross from Aqoul main)
At the risk of descending into flackery or something approaching it, I thought a brief comment here might be fun.
Certainly this plays into my personal interests. (and in this cross post I indulge in them)
July 18, 2005
The US of A
Back in the States for the first time in quite a while. Always amused by how fat people are. Tubby people everywhere. Of course ever escalating portions I note seems to be reaching Roman levels of gluttony. Connexion?
Regardless, going to be very busy packing in meetings in my rare pilgrimage to the centers of power and the like.
Everyone seems to taling about the Karl Rove and Plame issue. I find the topsy turvey politics peculiar, but unsurprising. Rather clearly they leaked a secret agent's name for sordid political score settling. Law aside, that should be punished, sordid political score settling should be within certain bounds. I'm unhappy the "Conservatives" - or as I have taken to refering to these people, Right Bolsheviks - do not see that sometimes one has to cut out from the fold for one's own good. Having Agency people involved in open political warfare is a bad, period.
Well, no matter, not my concern in the end.
Else I draw attention to this important article in The Washington Post.
In Egypt's Countryside, Farmers' Anger Seen As 'Silent Time Bomb'
Recent Revolt Over Rents and Evictions Draws Support of Mubarak Opponents
By Daniel Williams
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, July 17, 2005; Page A16
Will comment on later.