The Sleeping Royal (due to FB boredom)

Facebook, as we all know, was originally designed as an intranet for university students.  Soon, it exploded onto the World Wide Web.  With a carefully crafted profile uploaded since 2007, HRH The Princess Swan has seen it vacillating between progress and regress to its current surge where its use includes advocating action towards the redress of social injustices. Used as a pivotal logistical tool to awaken an entire region from its Winter of Discontent into a blossoming Arab Spring, it assisted in:

  1. toppling  three governments (Tunisa, Egypt and Libya),
  2. removing a President (if Saleh is true to his word and steps down in February),
  3. informing the world on the serious, Syrian “Situation”,
  4. bringing about some constitutional changes in at least in one Monarchy viz.  Morroco, and
  5. keeping us abreast of the daily intensity of the Teargas Bubble Bahrainis, to date, inhale on a daily basis.

Of course Facebook has many diverse uses and not all of us are social, political, cultural, artistic or human rights activists. (Unfortunately a lot are slacktivists..but….that’s for another blog.). Not all of us have the gift of the gab, although one should constantly guard against the Upper End, excreting garbage. It is utilised to stay in touch over distances, photo-share, business, flirting and of course, lots of err…cyber poking.  Its use subsumes that a ‘person’s page is a person’s page’, therefore one has the right to post status content as one desires, with some exception, given of course one lives in a country where one is not in danger of incarceration (or death) by authoritarian regimes, and where freedom of speech is respected (also with exceptions of course).

Thus, given that an entire region brought about, and is still bringing about major political and social changes, utilising Facebook as one of its logistical tools, and its diverse additional usages, HRH wonders………

……………………… Whats App with these statuses that just makes one want to Yawn, slip into a state of Hypnagogia and eventually succumb to a Ménage-a-Trois with Hypnos and Morpheus?

These are the top eleven statuses (in no particular order) she advocates as best to avoid, lest one slip into an eventual Coma (forgoing that err…Ménage).

  • Facebook User Checked In At…..

I mean really now doll.  Unless one has checked in at…

  1. the bedroom of Johny Depp and he’s lounging around naked, (with John Abraham (Bollywood) about to join the err….party), and ones is able to upload accompanying pics or better still the vids);
  2. Al Jazeera and one is about to go live on The Stream or 101 East;
  3. the Hague and one is about  to pronounce Messrs  Bush, Blair and Obama guilty of crimes against humanity for killing 160 000 odd Iraqis,  or murdering “America’s Most Wanted” (who are now instituting talks with its current leaders, when they said they would never dialogue with “terrorists”);
  4. a Bedouin tent in the Oasis of Gabr Oun in the Sahara full of err…hot, ‘thirsty’, ‘starving’ Arabian Knights, …………………..why would the proletariat be interested?. :s

Gabr Oun---Where a Princess is "Bound to Bump" into some Arabian Knights

Muses HRH, “Yeah yeah yeah….I know this App, which I as The Princess Swan has had to disengage on advice from the Crown Purple’s Chief of Security lest a disgruntled Knight stalks my movements, is intended to aid ‘The User’ to connect with friends (or perhaps to remind an errant wife that she needs to check into bed with her husband), but why not just not just phone a friend if one feels like doing err…push-ups at Virgin Active.  I mean, that’s why friends come with benefits” 😉

  • What Facebook User Has Had Or About To Have For Breakfast Lunch Or Supper. (Or What Wifey Or Hubby Has Been Cooking)

Doll, unless it’s

  1. sperm-whale eggs or something equally exotic;
  2. oversized carrots/cucumbers/bananas grown in ones garden that’s like really err…big, (with photo), which of course automatically ups ones green footprint;
  3. the real Moët et Chandon, that one err…swirls before one swallows, or
  4. one is making Gnocchi or Halwa Puri from scratch, without the assistance of the kitchen staff, …………………HRH aint interested.

Note:  Vegetarians/Vegans are excused. At least they’re educating the Proletariat as to an alternative to The Masses’ voracious, carnivorous diet, conscientising The Masses that The Masse don’t actually need to kill animals for food. (And HRH doth thinketh that killing animals for cultural and religious purposes is not cool either, but that too is for another blog…..)

  • A Prayer To A God/Allah/Buddha/Lord Krishna/Respective Honour Diety

I mean honestly. So ‘God’ has now migrated to Facebook? How demeaning to ones supposed revered diety. These statuses HRH refers to as the Pharisees of Facebook (Refer Matthew 6:1,2 & 5 as well as Luke 18:11)

And by the way….If one does a Sunday prayer status, or telling one that one had just attended Church/Temple/Mosque/Synagogue et al, remember the debauched one, one posted of ones drunken sexcapades during the week.  There’s the possibility that it could be used against one in a court of law as evidence of schizophrenia.

  • Wishing A Friend, Family Member, Husband, Wife, Lover Et Al “Happy Birthday/ Anniversary/Bon Voyage/Glad You Passed Matric/Et Al.

(Recalling that this is in reference to an actual status and not posted on the other User’s Wall)

I mean c’mon, one does not even know the person.  Have The Masses become so impersonal with personal relations that the sentiment can not be expressed in person, with a phone call or sms? One suspect guilty parties here have “family/relationship/intimacy issues”? 😉

  • Those Equally Boring “I Love You”, Including Wall Posts.

Subscribing these to what one can only describe as insecurity and fear of abandonment issues, one often wonders who are these updaters are trying to cajole.  Wonder what would happen if one leaves a True Story comment with “Doll, I’ve saved the scroll (Royals are not sent smses) he hath delivereth to me, sent on the morning after the night before we three went out, asking me if he could come around to “drinketh from the cup” as he’ll be lonely while you’re off to your mother’s for the weekend”.

If one really loves and respects ones lover(s) …it should be said in person.  Of course one has public declarations, therefore the institution of marriage, civil union or shacking-up. Suffice to remember that displays of public affection invokes the decree of Access to Public Property and Engagement with that Property.

And, when it is no more, don’t forget to post the “I hate you” follow on ;-), although this of course could contradict Item 6 below, …..but do note the exception to that status.

  • Your Lover’s /Divorce/Break-Up Spat,

Unless of course one is lamenting the lost bedroom antics with photos, (or YouTube vids) of the size of his Hardy Boy pleasurable bits, it’s just so plain…..well…….bourgeois.  There is a saying one should always subscribe too viz. “One should not wash ones dirty laundry in public”.

  • Those RIP Ones.  Subdivided into the categories of:
  • Celebrity RIP:  Thus besides ‘God’, Michael Jackson/Cesario Evoria/Amy Whinehouse are now also sitting reading Facebook.  (Refer status 3). Entertain us with one of their memorable quotes instead, or even those silly jokes, but do keep it sensitive hey.  One does not ever want a repeat of the Freddie “Another One Bites the Dust” or the Amy “We don’t serve spirits in this bar” genre. Better still; Show ones condolences by donating just £2 to their charity, and post The Masses the link.  Now that would make a difference wouldn’t it?
  • Personal RIP.  Seems one has relationship/family/fear of intimacy issues cropping up again.  Why else not just pick up a phone.  Sure, if one has lost a loved one it is extremely hurtful and one needs to grieve.  Facebook has also become a modern means of informing friends and family that a loved one or a mutual friend has died. Thus this yawn status does not refer to a notification or notification of funeral arrangements.  It refers to those one liner “RIP Andrew Hougaart”.

Oh, by the way. When it’s HRH’s turn she has decreed to be honoured with a HRH POH (Parties on Harder) instead of a RIP?  Enunciates The Princess Swan, “Daaaahlinks, in the after-life I’m destined to become the Queen of the King of Darkness, wear Prada and promises of hot, steamy, sweaty eternal sessions with his princes, (instead of just being touched by an angel). Thus I aint gonna be sitting reading Facebook.  (I mean Jesus Gurlz !!, have you seen Azazel in Fallen!!!! )”

Azazel, HRH's Favourite Fallen Angel. Isn't he just....too die for?!


  • A Quote, That One Has Not Credited, Including Original Status-Phrases Of Friends.

Cmon, that’s just plain plagiarism!!

  • Those Sms Language Statuses.

Unless HRH’s  ToyBoy Knight is lounging next to her to decipher, (subject to their current err… ‘status’)….she skips and yawns (and probably snoozes in his lap).  A polyglot,  the language of love being her favourite, she sets her linguistic goals on being an Oxford English/ L’Académie Française / Real Academia Española Purist Princess.  (She exempts USA citizens as they were cursed with poor spelling ability when they refused to show allegiance to The Crown ).   Contrary to popular belief, computers do have language settings as well as auto spell- checking.  The Crown Purple, South Africa and Commonwealth countries’ official English is Oxford Standard.  Thus for example it’s colour, programme (unless it’s a computer program), doughnut (not donut), centre, etc.

One has often been accused of “elitism” just because the ignorant hear the word “Oxford” when presenting this argument but……….

Refer to South Africa’s literacy capabilities. Bad -, SMS – and American spelling are not accepted in schools, and contribute to, in the case of Mzanzi, an appalling literacy rate.   Additionally this rule goes for any language, not just English. In South Africa citizens have the right to express themselves in the language of choice, but that does not mean one can rape that language.

  • Déjà vue Statusses.

 Subdivided into three distinct sub-categories, they are as follows

  •  Those ‘FaceTweets’ viz, Facebook-Twitter linked accounts.  The etiquette rule is…Facebook is for ones status update, twice perhaps three times a day, (unless it’s the SWC or ones friend is kidnapped my Yemeni Tribal groups Twitter is for those “per second expressions”.  Follow Helen Zille aka GodZille on Facebook and Twitter, respectively, so see a classic clear example of someone who understands and employs these rules.
  • Those Copy and Paste if you have the most loving mother/care about cancer/whatever. HRH cares about cancer….therefore akin to duties of a Royal, The Princess Swan volunteered at St Luke’s Hospice for many years.  How is a copied status going to cure or alleviate cancer? What happened to originality? Constructing ones own thoughts on matters? Scientific studies have shown the less one uses ones brain the earlier the onset of dementia.  One rests the case of the “Bestest Mother/Brother/Wife” in reference to Yawn Status 4.
  • Duplicate Group/Fan and Friend status.

Dude, unless…

  • the Sultan of Oman is investing in ones new product;
  •  one is mentioned in the book titled ‘150 Bollywood Moments in South Africa’  as well as the second edition titled ‘250 Bollywood Moments in South Africa’ with the likes of screen goddess and UNICEF goodwill ambassador, Shamila Tagore (whose son Seif Ali Khan leaves a Princess….breathless) ……why regurgitate the same? :s

HRH with Screen Goddess Shamila Tagore in 150 and 250 Bollywood Moments in South Africa

Appeals HRH: “One takes the trouble to join a friend’s group, business or fan page, which a number of other friends have not. Could one at least be treated with the dignity of friendship by once again the separation of business and pleasure?

  • Constant Advertising of Ones Business, Event or Moonlighting Stints.

Surely, one business/organisation/profession/moonlighting stint can not be the whole of a person?

Of course if….

  1. Prince Hamdan of Saudi Arabia is the err…Moonlighting Stint;
  2.  Preiti Zinta or HRH’s current front runner favourite, Nobel Peace Prize 2012 proposition,  imprisoned Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja…is endorsing/attending/speaking at ones event/launch,………………. by all means go mas loco (and see that HRH is invited to at least relieve you of some Moonlighting duties).

HRH Prince Hamdan

As said, one should never mix business with pleasure; therefore Facebook has the option of Pages or Groups as well as paid advertising. This in turn gives the Friend the option of following ones business/organisation/company interest or not.  And as friends, even close ones, we’ll never be interested in everything the other one does. One sees this as “forcing the issue” …….although not being interested in Opera is unforgiveable 😉

So, one now has mutual understanding as friends, what works for HRH and what doesn’t?

She inveigles The Proletariat to post comments or just critique the wisdom of a Royal. (She can just see The Bourgeoisies scouring for those spelling errors…hehe).   A comment previously levelled was “just hide those updates” But says HRH: “That to me is being disingenuous to a friend.” As for critique on this decree, HRH loves constructive contributions and/or criticism. Advises HRH, “Remember Daaahlinks. I give it, but can receive it much err….harder “ 😉

Note: Most examples of exceptions are in honour of the Species of the Male. But of course the converse to the honour of Species of the Fairer Sex also applies. Thus in the case of a male these statuses will eventually effect an embrace with the goddess Epona .  Exception examples would be   substituted for example, Pippa Middleton for Johnny Depp in “Facebook User Checked In on Bed of Pippa Middleton” …. or in the case of joining HRH to POH you’d be partying with Onoskelis  (but will also if wear Prada for all eternity).



A Treasure

I had just had my WeetBix with soya milk, fruit salad with yogurt, and as it was a public holiday, (which qualifies as a Sunday), a slice of cake, (OK….two), with some honey-sweetened [i]Rooibos Tea.   Armed with my reading matter, the BlackBerry (a few years ago it would have been the “Sunday Times”), I commenced my favourite breakfast complimentary pastime – consulting the Twitter timeline.  My heart started pounding; it may have missed a beat. The tweets I was reading seemed surreal, [ii]incroyable. I actually started to cry, yes, cry.  @angryarabiya, Zainab Al Khawaja, Human Rights Activist, fighter for democracy and daughter of Bahrain, had been arrested. South Africa had just woken up; ready to celebrate National [iii]Reconciliation Day, 16 December 2011.

Having ascended to the self-coronated thrones of the star-studded, Twitterati, accordingly requires that one surrounds oneself in equally illustrious company.  It must be noted that surrounding oneself in illustrious company is an important exercise of a Princess; she must always have an eye on her potential subjects, especially those err…Arabian Knights. ;-).

Thus, amongst others, I  subsequently added, over the past few months, a good few prominent Twitteratis of the Arab Spring inclusive of Libya (whose Twitterati seemed to have “calmed down” or perhaps they’ve err……excised me due to my scathing tweetacks on the murder of Ghadafi vís-a-vís fighting for democracy, freedom and equality for ALL).

An activist in her own right, and news editor, I sometimes interact with @JustAmira in Bahrain, about her cats, me being a err….. Cougar by Experience, ;-), and equally a cat lover; @BloggerSeif in Lebanon at times has refreshing liberal tweets, sometimes even in French; @ChangeInLibya kept me more updated (and more accurate!) than what AlJazeera could with the battle for Tripoli, and the capture of Ghadafi;  @RevolutionSyria tells me what no one wants to hear, and @Saudiwoman inspires one to believe that one day there will be full gender equality, yes, even in Saudi Arabia.

The under-reporting of the Revolution in Bahrain, on most international news channels, let alone our own SABC or Etv, or newspapers, has over the past 9 months lead me to add additional Bahraini Twitterati to my timeline. However, I had not actually enlisted to follow @angryarabiya, Zainab Al Khawaja, as her tweets often reappeared in several Arab and Bahraini fellow followers’ retweets, ensuing that she always materialised within my actual timeline.

Thus a number of these active Twitteratis, including others from around the globe such as @onemillionfacts, with whom at times I dispute factual accuracy (like the tweet that India in its 10 000 history, had never invaded another country when India, as a country, has only been in existence since 1947); or @SaiRajesh with whom I interact on the cricket scores have, according to me, become [iv]Twiends.  I now understand why some tweets are just a ‘hello’, ‘good morning’ or ‘good night’. (I think mutual followers on Twitter are genuinely interested in each other’s lives, well-being, and interests as opposed to Facebook, where I think most of us just seek the elusive number of boasting 4000 or so err…..friends).

Thus, I found the arrest of a “Twiend” viz. @angryarabiya utterly shocking. This juxtaposed against a “Proudly South African Moment” celebrating the arrival of our 16th Reconciliation Day, declared as such since 1995, since the arrival of our Democracy in 1994. I had earlier, while languorously cutting that second sliced of cake, thought of how far we have come via the [v]TRC – although there’s admittedly still ‘a long way to go’ as a South African Twitterati @chantalgal, reminded us all.

Thinking that the reconciliation process is an undertaking that the Arab Spring would have to commit itself to, once the current battles towards the institution of democracy have been won, (less it plunges itself into a permanent Winter of discontent).

Throughout the Arab Spring, a  ‘season’ that has now lasted [vi]365 days + a bit, I’ve always read or heard, at times, of the arrest of some prominent freedom fighter, a prominent opposition leader or prominent personality.  Yet, news of these arrests, and the subsequent call for their respective release, seemed so far removed. I recall the Egyptian actor, whom his detractors even tried to “discredit” as gay.  (As if sexuality is not inclusive of human rights); the Syrian actress Fadwa Soliman although not arrested (yet?), also comes to mind. Digressing, it often makes we wish that personalities within the arts and entertainment industry in South Africa, could commit themselves to voicing a stand against the injustices that do not belong in our democracy, such as the [vii]Protection of Information Bill (POIB), in its current form. (Excluding [viii]Steve Hofmeyr, please?)

Never had I thought that a Twiend would suffer an arrest. I felt helpless, and angry. Nearly as helpless and angry when @ahmed tweeted about his assault, and trampling of his spectacles, while on a conference in, I think, in a Latin American country (I stand corrected).

When ur in chains, living with no dignity or rights, bowing to criminal dictators, the first step is to forget ur fear & realise that it’s ur right….to be angry.” Angryaribiya

I felt angry at those despots who deny their own citizens their rightful freedom.

I suppose of all the Arab Spring countries, Bahrain, has a special place in my heart. I had the pleasure of visiting this country, or more accurately, its capital city Manama, while in transit on both the departure and the return trip en route to and from Pakistan in 2006/07.  In total, almost 24 hours. [And one hour is all one need to see the entire island Kingdom. OK, perhaps one and a half. ;-)].

HRH The Princess Swan, at the time, was in awe of being hosted in a Monarchy.  If only she had known, she would have sought an immediate audience with the King, , espousing the tenants of the Imperial Jacaranda Palace, the only Absolute Monarchy in the world that affords full democracy towards its subjects. But of course in HRH’s de rigueur style she got side-tracked flirting with the Arabian Knights instead.  (She still vividly recalls the super hot Arabian Knight guarding the entrance to the Mall. Tall, dark and dangerously handsome.   A man of not too many words. Apparently it was forbidden for Knights while on guard duty to entertain Princesses?) – Kindly note: The rest of this paragraph is now protected by the POIB .

I particularly recall the return trip affording me an entire day of sightseeing in Manana. It’s refreshing sea breeze aroma reminiscent of the Mother City, Cape Town.  I was in awe of the amazing skyscrapers constructed, and a few still being constructed at the time, although I must say I do not remember Pearl Square :s.  I had landed late the evening before from Oman. I had planned to spend a week’s holiday in Muscat, and had thus booked flights via Oman to Lahore. Alas those bookings had gone awry, consequently the holiday did not materialise.  My outbound flight to South Africa from Bahrain, via Gulf Air, since discontinued to South Africa :S,  was only due to depart the following evening. The inbound trip five weeks earlier was primarily an overnight stay with a morning departure. It however, afforded me a “night out on the town in the hotel club” and a morning stroll to shake off the morning after the night before cobwebs.

Thus, having just returned from Lahore, Pakistan, where one, in the cities, and some major towns, can easily get away without a scarf covering ones head, and dress in the most vibrant of colours that even the most colourful Spring would be alarmed at, including “Western clothes”, I had intentionally packed bootlegged black trousers, a matching black sleeveless mini flared dressed, and a black billowing-metres of a  chiffon scarf; to be drapped á la Benazir Bhutto – but with extra added length á la a Bollywood trailer.  This was my “to fit-in-look”; an improvisation of the traditional black Abaya, with a hint of sex appeal through chiffon draped flesh.  Yes, I too thought at the time that I was pushing it a bit.  However, much to my surprise, I discovered that I could have just as well have worn the mini-dress on its own, (OK, that’s now really pushing it, even now) as the “Western Girls” were flaunting it in their jeans and tops. (I often wonder why the resident “Westerners’ do not at least assist the Bahrain revolution by vocalising their disdain for such oppression and citizen abuse.  I mean now really, how can one, brought up in a democratic country, silently sit and watch undemocratic processes in the making without voicing ones scorn :s?  Doctors being  arrested and incarcerated for treating wounded protesters!? And the “Westerners” stay mum? Or is their support for the Revolution also under reported?).

Returning to the Fashion Parade, I was even more surprised at the Bahraini girls flaunting it even more in what I call “The Half Abaya”. A sort of coat it seems ,styled to appear from behind as if it is a full Abaya, but seen from the front, it ‘exposes’ glittery jeans, kitsch tops and over the top jewellery.  I felt “naked”, but at least I could now drape the black billowing chiffon scarf á la pashmina, off the shoulder style.


If Bags Could Talk 😉

Having just learned the art of bargaining while in Pakistan, strolling through the souks was an experience. I picked up a few bargains. My star buy however, came not from the souks but, the Mall. One of my most treasured possessions to date.  Ridiculously priced.  Fortunately marked down.  Luckily I had arrived during sale season.  Strange…. my treasure buys in France were also during the Solde. Seems sales have some funny way of following me? But, let me not digress…again. The Bag, a treasured piece of accessory that seems to match with most of my saris, Punjabi suits and even my favourite magenta, princess, velvet ball gown dress. It, (the bag) often to this day, still receives gasps of “where did you buy it” as well as compliments. [And if that bag could talk ;-)……….]

That bag, to me, symbolises angryarabiya.  A human rights treasure; the bag a treasure.   A favourite Twitterati from Bahrain; the bag a favourite from Bahrain (besides the memory of that Arabian Knight with not too many words). I’d be mortified if that bag ever gets damaged.  I am mortified at the indignation and assault this Human Rights Activist had to and have to suffer at the hands of her oppressors. (Not even allowed soap to wash her bloodied face and clothes. Not even allowed her spectacles I believe). I’d be mortified if that bag is ever lost. I shudder at being mortified if the world should loose more angryarabiyas.

I’m not really one to add my voice to the global calls on governments to free Human Rights Activists.  I often feel that so many are doing it already. However, this to me was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt I could no longer be silent. I had to add my voice to the global call to “Free Zainab Al Khawaja” and all other Human Rights Activists!  All she wants is Freedom, Democracy, Equality and Justice for the citizens of Bahrain. The time of despots, dictators, monarchs et al (except HRH The Princess Swan of course) denying Liberté, Egalité et ‘Fraternité’ to all humankind, had reached its sell by date on the 14 July 1789……Did the others not get the memo?

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed

Martin Luther King Jr.

Zainab Al Khawaja since her arrest, is being held in detention for 7 days………(and counting………)

Post Script: Zainab Al Khawaja was freed on Tuesday  20 December 2011.  

[i] Rooibos tea is cultivated in South Africa and loosely translates as Red bush Tea. It is caffeine free, and a healthy alternative.

[ii] French for unbelievable

[iii] National Reconciliation Day commemorates two definite historical moments of South Africa. The Battle of Blood River in 1838, and the founding of Umkhomto WeSizwe (the armed wing of the ANC, 1961). Opposite political agendas now commemorated on the same day thus lending itself to…… reconciliation.

[iv] There are numerous others too from around the globe and in South Africa too.

[v] Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

[vi] Mohamad Bouazizi of Tunisia set himself alight on the 16 December sparking the Arab Revolt

[vii] The Protection of Information Bill (POIB), is currently hotly being disputed by organisations such as Cosatu and the Nelson Mandela Foundationas an attack on South Africa’s democracy and freedom of speech by the ruling ANC. Cosatu, the Human Rights Commission and South African History Archive are amongst those who have threatened a Constitutional Court challenge.

[viii] A South African primarily Afrikaans singer who over-indulges in politics. His most worldwide famous feat was tossing his ticket into the Jukskei River in protest at perceived support by U2 for banned hate speech RSA struggle song loosely translated as “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer”..