Friday, January 12, 2007

The pleasure of being tagged.. (yeah, right!..)

One of the main pleasures of blogging is that you get to 'meet' people in cyberspace, and through their writing and through their thoughts, you get to feel that you know them... The flip side to that, as far as I am concerned, is that they may get to know more about you as well.. Being a rather private person (or so I thought!..), I am not very comfortable bearing my soul in public.. and, as I have once said, it is not a pretty sight, anyway!.. Not that I have many 'skeletons in the cupboard' or anything.. I really do not have much to hide.. Nevertheless, the concept of opening up and answering intimate questions about my thoughts and feeling, strikes fear in my heart!..
Hence my deep unease when I get a comment on my blog with the terrifying words 'You have been tagged'!..
However, I do feel almost duty-bound to respond to such approaches.. I have to accept that such tags are part of the joys of blogging, and I will, grudgingly, respond to the latest one from my newly-found friend Dubai Jazz...
Dubai Jazz posed a few probing questions, and my first reaction was 'Surely, he must answer these questions first.. right?..' So I posed a challenge to DJ, to which he rose admirably!.. My pathetic attempt to snooker Dubai Jazz backfired so spectacularly!..
So, here I am, trying to give some witty, but truthful and unpretentious answers, to a set of very clever and rather awkward questions.. Let's see how I fare!..

1- Are you a principled person? Or are you pragmatic?
The question seems to suggest that you can be either one or the other.. I maintain that a wise man must be both.. I am certainly principled when it comes to core issues, like those of honesty, probity, honour and duty.. At the same time, I am quite pragmatic when it comes to many day-to-day matters.. I am not a stubborn person. I am very accommodating, and always try to see matters from the other person's perspective.. My view is that if you accommodate people, they are more likely to accommodate you..

2- Do you believe in people or in ideas?
What good are people without ideas?.. and where do ideas come from, but from people?.. Great ideas need charismatic people to carry them through, or else they remain just that.. great ideas.. The value of an idea is in how it contributes to the betterment of society and humanity. Great people have the vision to allow them to apply good ideas (not necessarily their own) for that purpose... In my book, people win.

3- How good are you in separating what is business from what is personal?
My problem with this question is that my business is very personal!.. I get involved in my patients' problems.. I sense their anxieties.. I share their concerns... and, to some extent, I share their jubilation, as well as their grief..
I have been in the business of Emergency Medicine for over 15 years, and I often have to break unexpected bad news to people.. I still find it very hard to tell someone that they have lost a loved one.. I always tell my trainees that, with time, you should get better at breaking bad news, but that doesn't mean it should get any easier.. I maintain that if such a time comes that I can break bad news to someone about their loved ones, and not feel a touch of sadness myself, then that would be the time that I should quit!..
So, in brief, I am not at all good at separating what is business from what is personal.. nor would I want to be!..

4- Do you have role models? How good are you in following their trajectory?
I have several, in fact.. and by the nature of that multiplicity, I am not good at all in following the trajectory of any of them!.. My course in life is charted by the complex amalgamation of a number of 'role models', each of whom had some influence on my thoughts and practices.. from my father, to a few of my teachers and mentors, even various national and international figures.. each of those had some impact on what constitutes the Syrian Brit of today.. No doubt, future acquaintances will continue to have some effect on shaping my future path..

5- A British saying goes: “Manners maketh a man”, what else do you think makes a man ‘a Man’?
I firmly believe that it is 'Deeds that maketh a Man'.. Not words.. not simply manners.. but deeds and actions..

6- Do you believe in taking risk? Do you follow your guts feeling? Has it ever failed you?
(First of all, this is cheating!.. This is not just a question.. These are AT LEAST two questions!..)
I believe in taking calculated risks.. I do not believe in being foolhardy, but I also feel that some risk-taking is essential for moving forward in every aspect of life.. Luck, no doubt, favours the brave..
As for following my gut feelings.. well.. I have done on many occasions.. and, of course, you win some, you lose some.. One several occasions, it paid off.. but on one or two occasions, my 'gut feelings' have let me down quite spectacularly..

7- Have you ever been through a ‘paradigm shift’? if not, do you believe that such process exists?
If what is meant by 'paradigm shift' is a 'St. Paul-style', 'thunderbolt-like experience' that changed my beliefs, then the answer, I am afraid, is a boring 'No'.. If, on the other hand, it refers to life-changing experiences that constantly modify and alter one's behaviours and attitudes, then the answer is a definite 'Yes'... I have no doubt that today's Syrian Brit is a much more mellow, reasoned and sensible person (making him, perhaps, more boring), than the Syrian Brit who, at the age of 19, refused to pay a bribe to a Traffic Policeman who wanted to fine me for something I have not done, and ended up spending the night in custody, and paying twice the amount in the morning to be released!..

8- Do you believe in unilateral love? Have you ever been through such experience?
I do believe in unilateral love.. As for the second part of the question, I wish to invoke the Fifth Amendment, giving me the right to silence, to avoid self-incrimination!..

9- How good is your assimilation within your social sphere?
I believe that I am very well assimilated within my social sphere.. Furthermore, I am happy rubbing shoulders with the best of them out there.. I am not intimidated by the 'Socialite', by the 'Big Pretenders', or by 'the Good and the Great' .. I can hold my own in most environments, and I enjoy challenges.. (particularly ones that I end up winning against the odds!..)

10- Can you name some of your new year’s resolutions?
Well. what can I say?.. It is only January 12th, and some have already been forgotten!..
Getting better organised?.. Already fallen by the wayside.. Finishing that paper I have been writing for months?.. Well... plenty of time to do that.. Sorting out my ever-expanding filing cabinets at the office?.. I will probably delegate that joyful task to my long-suffering Secretary!..
On a serious note, I set out wanting to get fit again this year, and I still intend to. I like working out, and I enjoy the buzz I get from exercise. Last year, I suffered a slipped disc (two, in fact) which resulted in me being almost bed-bound for a couple of weeks, and limited my ability to exercise.. However, I am determined to regain my fitness.. Very soon... Just.. don't push me.. I will do it in my own time.. OK?!...

Well, Dubai Jazz.. my friend.. Here are the answers to your tag!.. Are you satisfied now??...
Photo by SB: In the ground of The Imperial Summer Palace outside Bangkok


Dubai Jazz said...

Dear Syrian Brit;
Thanks a million for responding to my Tag, and yes, you fared quite well my friend!!
Believe me if I said that through such writings, so much GOOD is conveyed to the younger generation.
One of the things I always feared is the disconnection between Syrians abroad, see for example how many Pakistani and Indian immigrant scholars are repatriated every year or at least involved in temporary mentoring programs. I don’t think that we Syrians (officially) can even claim that we are emulating them. Internet is one of the venues that allows us to make up for some of the losses, although in this case it is more like a motivational mentoring and not educational.
That glimmer of motivation requires the personal touch sometimes. Similar to the case of your trainees being prepared to handle the breaking of bad news, Syrian youth are in need for somebody to tell them things like ‘it is alright’, ’you can still make it’, ‘you have to believe in yourself’, ‘don’t let realities grind you down’…etc…I know, I am digressing, but it is all co-related…
As far as the fifth amendment is concerned, yes you do have the right to remain silent, I just hope that silence itself doesn’t indict you!
There is I believe an unspoken accord in the world of Blogging which is that a Blogger can not Tag a fellow Blogger more than once a year. Being mindful of that; I tried to stuff my Tag with the maximum substance possible, hence the cheating attempt! The good side of this is that you are now relieved from my burdensome behavior for the rest of 2007!
Again, thank you so much for responding dear S.B. I apologize if this was of any inconvenience….

abufares said...

I have to thank Dubai Jazz for the partial exposure of your person.
You know what I find weird though? The many parallels we share. We even have the same damn back injury. Talk about coincidence, check my latest post and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Great replies Syrian Brit.

I love Munich said...

What GREAT responses - thoroughly enjoyed them! I received, last month, the same tag (of course from my dear friend Dubai Jazz) ... you'll find my answers on my blog (December).
It is interesting to learn you're a physician in emergency medicine ... I'm an RN (x3) who worked most of her "career" on ICU departments and focused over the last number of years on cardiology and EKG-analysis.
I have to make you laugh ... call me crazy but I always - when I read "Syrian Brit", thought, you're a FEMALE, some 26-28 years young! Now as I type that, I am laughing myself .. I am quite sure the association to the German first name "Brit" (or Britta) did the job which lead to this embarassing boo-boo! I hope you'll forgive me .. I promise it will never happen again!! :-)

P.S.: I put your link to my side bar .. if you don't mind!

The Syrian Brit said...

Hello Karin,
Well, my dear, you are forgiven!.. I have been called many things in my days, but never a female!.. As for the age.. I guess you're as old as you feel, and after reading your comments, I feel positively 27!..
I have frequently visited your Blog, and I think I have left comments on one or two occasions (the one occasion I remember, in particular, was to a post you have written about a lady in Gazza?.)
I am honoured and privileged to have a link to my blog on your distinguished blog.. Thank you, and please keep popping round!..

Philip I said...

Syrian Brit

I am tempted to guess your birth sign from your answers to DJ. I already know you are 27 and female, so I just have to fit the month and day to your character(pure science)!

Belated congratulations on your first anniversary as a blogger and thank you for leaving a comment on my post regarding the elections in Syria.

Rime said...

Lovely informative post! How right you are that actions and deeds make a man ... and how convenient that you take the Fifth every so often! :)