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Monday, October 12, 2009

Iran Through The Eyes of Diego Buñuel


Picture from NGCAfrica

One of my favorite shows on TV is "Don't tell my mother I'm in..." on National Geographic Channel, hosted by Diego Buñuel, grandson of legendary French surrealist cinema filmmaker, Luis Buñuel. Diego travels to countries with bad reputations as potrayed by western news and countries, such as North Korea, Afghanistan, Colombia, Congo, and Gaza. He gets a behind the scenes view of those countries. Some of those countries do have and stands up to their bad reputation (such as North korea for example), but most are nothing like their bad reputation.
Last night I watched his latest episode on Iran, and it is really nothing what you may have heard or seen in the news. Iran is a country full of colours, nice warm people, tolerant, and very very democratic.

Not only do we see the country from Diego's point of view or his Islamic Iran guides, but half of the series Diego was guided through Iran by a Jewish Iranian. This is something I never knew, a Jew in Iran??

In fact, the 2nd largest population of Jewish people in the Middle East is in Iran, and they also have seats in the parliament both as representative of 25.000.000 Jews in Iran, and also as party members. Yes, Iran is a democratic country where everyone has equal rights no matter of their religion. It is the biggest democratic country in the Middle East.

Iran is also home to many temples, synagogues and churches. People in its society are given freedom to pray according to their faith, freedom to do anything as long as it is under the Islamic Law. And get this, the synagogues have speakers outside, and their chanting can be heard by everyone. This is something we just never thought possible in a country like Iran.

What is Islamic Law? The Islamic law is a law like any other laws. It doesn't force the people who live under the law to be Muslims, but to just governs their daily life to be halal/kosher to live in.
A Jewish store keeper told Diego about living under Islamic Law. He likes it, low crime he says. He is able to do everything he likes to do as long as it doesn't break the law. He can drink Vodka and get drunk as long as it is in his home and he doesn't bother the neighbours.

Almost of the end of the series, Diego talked to a Jewish parliament speaker about the conflict between Iran and Israel. The parliament speaker answered: "It is not the Jews that Iran is fighting against, but the tyranny of Israel towards Palestine and how it is becomming a bully to everyone in the region."

To find out more about the series, watch "Don't Tell My Mother I'm In..." every Tuesday nights on National Geographic Channel.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

ToniJacks : As S#!tty As That Other One

ToniJacks : As S#!tty As That Other One

DR Bambang N Rahmadi, the then-owner of McDonald's biggest franchise in Indonesia was pissed by McDonald's decision to sell its majority franchise ownership of McDonalds Indonesia to the Rekso group (owner of Teh Botol Sosro).

One day after opening his 13th new McDonalds shop door, he converted all of his McDonalds restaurant into ToniJacks, a new fastfood restaurant under its name.

What do you expect, a conversion of an old McDonalds still taste like McDonalds. The burgers still has the same McDonalds bun and beef. Its a bit dry since it doesn't contain any pickles McD uses to keep their burgers a bit moist. The fried chicken (only available in Indonesia) still taste the same although Bambang N Rahmadi said he made changes. Well what did you expect, he was the one who made the recipe for McD's shitty fried chicken in the first place.

I'm not defending McDonalds here, coz I'm not a fan of the clown myself, but sadly the only menu I go to McDonalds for isn't there: The McNuggets. I mean if you dress your logo up as a pirate and still "pirate" most of the recipes, go for the ultimate: Chicken McNuggets.

The restaurant's moto says "Better than that one" which will eventually brand them as sore losers, because if you keep looking back and find your old business partners as adversaries, you just won't grow. Why put your adversaries in such a high pedestal? As a startup, Tonijacks should focus more on improving the quality of their food, service, cutomer's satisfaction and their brand.

My current quote for them: "As Shitty As That Other One", says that they are exactly like McDonalds, so I hope they create their own unique style soon before the fad is over. Hopefully, Tonyjacks will Improve. Maybe I went into the restaurant with too much high hopes. I'll give it another try in 6 months from now.