What’s wrong with this picture?

I went out for a drink with a friend of mine, during the high-tourist season that hit Lebanon this year, and we got into discussing tourism and stuff of the sort. This friend used to work in a well known and reputable bank in Lebanon, in the head office, and had access to a lot of “secrets”.

Anyway, during our interesting conversation, she mentioned to me two very interesting, yet very sad facts currently happening in Lebanon:

1. People are going to one of the high-end nightclubs in Beirut, dancing, drinking excessively, and – get this – paying their bill by installments to the bank where my friend used to work! Yes, don’t pick up your eyeglasses and don’t change the resolution on your screen, you read me correctly: paying the bill from a high-end nightclub by installments. I mean, not only do they go to a nightclub where a bottle of the cheapest vodka or whiskey is over-charged (imported beer = $10, whereas in any ordinary club it is $4 max), they also pay the bill by installment to a bank. What’s wrong with this picture? Haven’t they heard of interest? I mean, why would anyone in their right state of mind do that? And for what? A one-night out!!!

2. Another really high-end nightclub in Beirut, which is a seasonal one, has devised a special offer for those who want to ensure they have a reserved table. $36,000 per season and a table is yours every Saturday night. Now what is wrong with this picture? People in this country nag all the time, claiming that they have no money to pay their dues, and yet you find them “making reservations” at so-and-so club for $36,000/season.

Where are we going? I have heard, may a time before, about how the Lebanese are “shallow” and care a lot of appearances, a fact – I was told – from before the civil war in Lebanon. But this?! It is too much, and the problem is that the people, the society, is actually drowning further in this shallowness, believing it to be a sign of being modern and civilized. Well, news flash: it is not! Civilized is an attitude, and not drowning one self in debts to banks only to show off and party in one of the most expensive places in town. Civilized is abiding to the street lights, respecting the elderly, having rules and respecting them.

What saddens me deeply is that despite our little employer-employee dilemma (mentioned in a previous blog called Welcome to Lebanon), people are drowning in a whirlpool of shallowness and believing it to be the norm and what is right. They see it in movies and on TV, and believe that this is how life should be.

There are other more important things in life – in Lebanon. I am not referring to politics, for that is a total different area of discussion that would never end. I am talking about life as a whole: dreams, ambitions, family, honesty, integrity, hard work that is rewarded…

I might be a dreamer, but at least if ever my dreams come true, the world might become a better place.

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