Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Musing #3: Regaining Faith In Lebanese People (or Why I Love Lebanon!)

About a month ago, I had no faith in Lebanon or Lebanese people. I mean, my vision for the future was to study abroad and work as a programmer there. Because Lebanon sucks right? I mean we have no electricity, no water, no fast nor cheap Internet, everything's expensive and everything's of bad quality, there's no work, and don't let me even get started about the politicians.

Sounds like there's more than enough reasons to take the next plane to Singapore, right?


I used to think so too, but then something happened that made me change my mind.

I decided took the gloomy glasses off, and put the pinky ones on.

I decided to give Lebanon a last chance and fully immerge myself, in the Lebanese experience and see what it has to offer.

I started by participating in Shoot As You Walk, a truly magical experience that led me to meet new interesting people.

It ignited something inside of me that I never knew existed, a passion for patriotism and a desire to develop my country.

And then I said to myself: "Maybe Lebanon isn't that hopeless after all..."

To make a long story short,  I went from pro-immigration to pro-patriotism overnight.

I discovered that the Lebanese people could be as much interesting, fun, smart and conscious as the other people of the world (if not more).

Which led me to share my blog Conscious Living with all my Lebanese friends after I've been hiding it for more than a year except from close friends.

Room for improvement

1. PayPal

Anyone who does business on the Internet would know how important it is to have a PayPal account. But PayPal isn't yet available in Lebanon. I tried to contact them about that so I sent them the following message:
"PayPal! Y U NO available in Lebanon?"

And their reply was:
"Dear Bilal Kamoon,

Thank you for contacting PayPal.

We'd like nothing more than to have you as a PayPal customer. Unfortunately, we don't currently offer services in Lebanon. We currently support services in 190 countries and regions worldwide, and though we can't provide an exact date for coming to your region, we can promise you we're working hard to get there.

Yours sincerely,

There's a facebook page for bringing PayPal to Lebanon but I'm not sure how effective that could be.

2. Veganism (Un)Awareness

I only know one Lebanese vegan but she doesn't live in Lebanon anymore so that's a down point
Forever alone?

3. Bank Service

Since I'm turning 18 soon (August 27, mark it on your calendar (; or never mind, facebook will take care of it), and I was planning on getting a credit card. So I contacted several Lebanese banks on a thursday night for information about requirements for getting a credit card. Here are the results:

Bank Audi: replied Friday morning
Byblos Bank: replied at Friday noon
Blom Bank: never replied 
Jammal Trust Bank: never replied
BankMed: never replied (Nour K. cough cough)
and in the first place...
Fransabank: No email or contact form available on site

Of course it's not fair to only mention the downsides of living in Lebanon without citing the upsides.

Incidentally, there's a twitter hashtag called #ILoveLebanonBecause which started at April 12 as an initiative for the Lebanese civil war memorial. So make sure to check it out.

Long Live Lebanon!