Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Mafsoum is a great Arabic word. It’s something of a meme in the company wot I work for, made popular by the Jordanians and a word all of us use frequently, and amusingly, in conversation. It’s very useful, one of a few compelling additions to Ten Word Arabic and, when used judiciously, it will scatter your enemies like shouting ‘I’ve got a cobalt bomb in this briefcase!’ would scatter a WEF Plenary. Because mafsoum means ‘schizophrenic’.

Isn’t that cool? Just slip it into conversation: “Enta mafsoum!” (you’re a schizo!) if you’re feeling like risking a black eye, or a sly “Howi mafsoum!” (he’s a schizo).

Why am I babbling about schizophrenia? (‘ere listen to ‘im: ‘es ‘avin’ a go at ver bleedin’ schizowotnots now!)

The fact that Etisalat is promoting a service, on its Weyak mobile services platform, that lets mobile users take pictures and upload them to their Facebook page surely is evidence of a most fundamental schizophrenia. On the one hand they’re blocking social sites like Orkut, Flikr and Twitter and even lumps of Facebook itself, on the other they’re trying to drive the adoption of these services!

Rather cack-handedly, if I’m professionally honest: a blunderbuss of SMS spam is probably not the best communications tool to use in driving adoption of a Facebook related service. Perhaps they'd have been better using... errr.. Facebook?

Is this evidence of an internal battle between conservatism and free thinking radicals? Is it a cross-company integrated strategy to build adoption to the point where the block is untenable? Perhaps it’s just good old fashioned addle-pated organisational idiocy?

Or just simply that they’re mafaseem!...


Samwer said...

hahaha :D I adore this word :)

Nice post Alex! Etisalat are Mafaseeem :)

Seabee said...

I think it's Left-Right Hand Syndrome. Neither knows what the other's doing.

alexander said...

Oops! Edited the post: Samwer's gentle correction noted!!

Samer Marzouq said...

lol, I wish that I can edit my comment, I was writing quickly and I wanted to hit backspace to fix my name, but instead I clicked enter, and so I became Samwer :)

Mars said...

i shall add that to my growing vocab of arabic.

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