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MAGAZINE JUNE 2013

THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAGMAG WHY IT REALLY IS YOUR MAGAZINE

BEST

IN SHOW

OUR MOST POPULAR EDITION OF EVERY COLUMN

TRIPLE THREAT

ALICIA KEYS KEEPS MOVING BLACKBERRY LIVE 2013 PUTS ON A SHOW

TROIKA

STYLE, CONCEPT + PHOTOGRAPHY THREE YEARS OF RAGMAG FASHION JUNE 2013

AKON’S

*

POWER PRINCIPLE THE R ‘N B MAGNATE

IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW www.ragmag.co | R A G M A G | 1


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MAGAZINE

Publisher Gina Gabriel El-Fady Editor in Chief Fida Z Chaaban Creative Lead Odette Kahwagi Assistant to the Editor Youmna Chagoury Junior Graphic Designer Eliane Elias Photographers Odette Kahwagi Deema J. Saidi of Plush Beirut Jason Zamora Christian Harb Selected images Shutterstock

Stylist Jony Matta Rabih Salloum Public Relations Coordinator Lea El-Alam Marketing Lead Daniella Tayar Administrative Coordinator Teddy Younes Responsible Manager May Ziade

Contributors Lara Ariss Jonathan Cainer Amal Chaaban Rabih Feghali Maria Frangieh Alice Hlidkova Sarah Hourany Matthew Hussey J.E.N. Maria-Elena Kassab Imogen Kimber Chris Lambert Sabina Llewellyn-Davies Maha Mazjoub Rani Nasr Nour Obaji Jacques Tchabarian Adam Volk

w w w . r a g m a g . c o

@RAGMAGMagazine RAGMAGMagazine RAGMAG

Opinions expressed are based solely on personal opinion and experience, not reflective in any way of RAGMAG, a division of Raycon s.a.l.

Media Representative Nada G. Farha | Cofounder-MD Jdeideh Chalet Suisse St 444 Center 3rd floor Tel: 01 87 16 63 Ext 103 nfarha@pinkodsal.com advertise@pinkodsal.com RAGMAG Alex Gabriel Building Rue Colomn de Sahel Sahel Alma, Keserwan Tel: 09 916 222 / 09 913 777 lea.elalam@ragmaglive.com

Printed by Chemaly & Chemaly www.chemaly.com

RAGMAG is a division of Raycon s.a.l. Copyright RAGMAG 2013 All Rights Reserved

Distributor Lebanese Distributor Company Hamra, Axa Middle East bldg. Tel: 01 368 007

PER ISSUE 10,000 LBP 6 ISSUES 50,000 LBP 12 ISSUES 100,000 LBP 4 | R A G M A G | www.ragmag.co

ON OUR COVER: AKON

Contact us by phone or email to arrange your subscription subscriptions@ragmaglive.com Lea El-Alam +961 9 916 222 / 9 913 777 RAGMAG Alex Gabriel Building, Rue Colomn de Sahel Sahel Alma, Keserwan, Lebanon

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THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

48 EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES 104 COPYCAT

36

REAL LIFE RUNWAY

120 TROIKA

THREE YEARS OF RAGMAG FASHION

102 BACKSTAGE PASS RAMI AL ALI SS2013

112 THE GRAVITATIONAL PULL OF DSQUARED2 WINNER: BEST FASHION EXCLUSIVE

OUT + ABOUT 164 BE THE MIXOLOGIST

DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS COMPETITION

CULTURE CLASH 64 MUSIC MADNESS

WINNER: BEST HAYDA LEBNEN FEATURE

48 MAGNETIC ARTWORK

WINNER: BEST ART FEATURE

52 RAWI HAGE’S DE NIRO’S GAME WINNER: BEST AUTHOR FEATURE

36 AKON’S TRIPLE ENTENTE

THE R ‘N B MAGNATE IN LEBANON!

AKON’S

TRIPLE

ENTENTE

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32 ALICIA KEYS FOR BLACKBERRY TRIPLE THREAT

FML 44 DANTE’S INFERNO

WINNER: BEST FML FEATURE

YOU + YOUR COUNTRY 22 ACCESS DENIED

WINNER: BEST ACTIVIST FEATURE

FINAL FRONTIER 60 RAGING ROBOT

WINNER: BEST TECH FEATURE

58 SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM

WINNER: BEST SCIENCE FEATURE

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THE EQUILIBRIUM ISSUE

28

112

EDITOR’S OPINION 14 REMEMBER ME?

OUR SUPPORTERS TALK BACK

MON AMOUR, MON AMI 66 THE FLIP SIDE

WINNER: BEST RELATIONSHIP FEATURE

MIND, BODY + SOUL 72 HELP ME NOUR + RABIH ADVICE

80 SKINNY BITCHES

WINNER: BEST PERSONAL ESSAY

78 APPLYING OHM

WINNER: BEST MOTIVATIONAL FEATURE

MIRROR MIRROR 92 SUMMER SCENT-SATION COOL DOWN WHEN IT’S HOT!

94 BIRDS OF DIOR’S PARADISE

the GRAVITATIONAL

PULL DSQUARED2 OF

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WET N’ WILD

82 THE SOUND OF MUSIC WINNER: BEST SPA REVIEW

98 INDUSTRY INSIDER

LINDA CANTELLO FOR ARMANI

EAT, DRINK + BE MERRY 175 TABLE FINE

WINNER: BEST RESTAURANT REVIEW

176 BRUNCH BEAUTIES

WINNER: BEST RECIPE SELECTION!

TAKE ME WITH YOU 168 HUSH HUSH BARCELONA

WINNER: BEST TRAVEL FEATURE

183

BRAINFOOD QUIZZ. DINBATS. CROSSWORDS. SUDOKU.

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PUBLISHER’S LETTER

This month we are taking you back to the best of three years of RM. What an achievement! Through our highs and lows we never lost hope that we are one with our readers. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us through our journey. RM’s friends you know yourselves, thank you for all of your outstanding support over the past three years. Keep your positive energy flowing our way, we absolutely love it. We’ve got an exciting edition lined up for you this month- we’re going to be sending two RAGMAG readers on a vacay! Check it out in our Take Me With You section and make sure to enter, we’ll be announcing the winner on July 15th on our Facebook page. Thank you to Gulf Air for the roundtrip for two- we’re excited to see who our big winner will be. This month in fashion, we’d like to thank Stradivarius for the $300 shopping spree for our two winning readers Jessica Khalifeh and Muriel Amadouny. We’re also quite excited about winners of our Nomination Lebanon reader reward- two ladies are now the proud owners of authentic Nomination Composable bracelets with starter links. We appreciate our monthly reader rewards that make our readers feel special. There are many sides to RAGMAG- we’re both a print and a digital medium. We’re pleased to welcome visitors to our website from all over the Middle East, and we’re proud to be an integral part of the social media community. If you haven’t already done so, head to our website www.ragmag.co for more great exclusives and content! Send us your email to publisher@ragmaglive.com and talk back to me by tweeting @GinaGabriel1

Gina Gabriel El-Fady | Publisher

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EDITOR’S LETTER

THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY!

Last issue mostly got feedback for the comprehensive Social Media Awards coverage –those who attended wanted more, and those who didn’t also wanted more! We’re pleased that the #SMABeirut was so well received and we thank the Online Collaborative for their consistent support. I did get a few tweets reinforcing my opinion on Gwyneth Paltrow: ladies in general just don’t like her very much. I had expected this reaction, so I thank all of you who tweeted at me to share your thoughts. On that note, I should mention that April’s exclusive with Robert Downey Jr. is still going viral globally both on Twitter and Tumblr- we’ve had people sharing it from as far as South America and of course all throughout North America so we’re quite happy about that. “Iron Man 3” is epic, and we were thrilled to get the exclusives with both Gwyn and RDJ. And now, we’re three! RAGMAG is celebrating our third anniversary with the people who made it happen: our readers. We’ve chosen the best piece in every category over the past three years and brought them to you this issue as a reminder of what it is that we do. We’ve always made it a policy to bring you the absolute best content both from inside Lebanon and from all over the world. We also took this opportunity to revisit our three years of fashion executed exclusively by Odette Kahwagi, our Creative Lead. We are extremely

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fortunate to have one of the most sought after photogs in Lebanon at the helm of RAGMAG’s art department- #MyOtherHalf. Finally, we’ve got Akon exclusively before his June 22nd concert live in Lebanon! If you’ve been following us on Twitter, you’d know that I’m trying to get on stage to rap with him- Akon laughed it off during the interview but I’m serious! So Poliakov Lebanon, can it be #AkonAndFidaLiveInConcert? I promise I’m already practising my swag! Readers, I’ll see you all at the concert and thank you to all the tweeps who are making my bid to get on stage viral! If there was ever any doubt, I want to remind you that I’m always listening: talk to me on Twitter @fidachaaban and follow @RAGMAGMagazine for updates and reader rewards that are meant to thank you for being part of RAGMAG. If you haven’t joined us on Facebook and Pinterest yet, we’re looking forward to seeing you on those mediums as well. Email me at letterstotheeditor@ragmaglive.com to send me your thoughts and opinions about this issue. Finally, I want to encourage you to subscribe to RAGMAG and make it a part of your life every month. We are the only magazine in Lebanon that talks back and you can find us on the web too at www.ragmag.co We’re here because of the support and constant encouragement of our loyal readers. It’s Your Magazine.

Fida Z Chaaban | Editor in Chief

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EDITOR’S OPINION

3

THREEYEARS OFRAGMAG

YOUR MAGAZINE CELEBRATES OUR THIRD BIRTHDAY WITH YOU!

FOR MY OP ED THIS MONTH, I THOUGHT OF SHARING THE REASONS WHY EVERYONE ELSE SAYS THAT RAGMAG IS THEIR MAGAZINE- SO I WENT TO PEOPLE IN INDUSTRIES OF FASHION, MUSIC, AND MORE, TO ASK WHY THEY HAVE BEEN WITH US FOR SO LONG. ON BEHALF OF THE ENTIRE TEAM, I CAN SAY THAT WE ARE HUMBLED AND HONOURED BY YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND POSITIVITY. #ITSYOURMAGAZINE AND NOW #ITSYOURBIRTHDAY!

LEBANON TALKS ABOUT RAGMAG

“RAGMAG is pretty much the go-to reference in terms of what’s hot and happening. When in doubt, ask the peeps at RAGMAG. It’s edgy, it’s fresh and it’s always up to date on what’s going on in the world of pop culture while keeping it local in terms of relevance. It’s never afraid of pushing the boundaries of social norms. It’s a magazine that has something for everyone and is a great reminder that print is here to stay, especially when backed with social media that actually engages and matters to the general public.” Sam Wahab “RAGMAG picks really interesting topics and approaches them in a unique way. It’s a trendy and eclectic magazine with cutting edge content -exactly what we need in Lebanon- and the look of the cover is always striking and instantly attracts attention. Keep up the good work!” Roger Saad

“WHY I LOVE RAGMAG IS SIMPLE: EVERY ISSUE HAS ITS PERSONALITY, IT’S NOT EDITED TO PLEASE THE CROWDS” 14 | R A G M A G | www.ragmag.co

“It was a very pleasant surprise as a Francophone to discover RAGMAG, a magazine that covers such a variety of subjects be they local or international and one that dedicates space for everything cultural. It was the first time I’ve ever been interviewed so meticulously, without the ordinary questions and the person who conducted the interview having the necessary theatrical knowledge to do it.” Betty Taoutel “In my opinion, RAGMAG is the only magazine in Lebanon that focuses on true social and artistic potential and that showcases the entertainment scene that we can relate to. Highly cosmopolitan with a true dedication to what Lebanon has to offer, it makes my reading moments very enjoyable.” Celine Chami

“The RAGMAG team are lovely, great to work with and awesome on social media! Their posts are interesting, relevant and human – just the right combo!” Ziad Kamel “A GREAT magazine has authentic stuff in it. And to have authentic stuff the mag should be run by genuine staff… RAGMAG is what I call a GREAT Magazine.” Zeina Daccache

“Reading into culture and conflict, engaging in the world of entertainment, beauty and glam, RAGMAG refreshes my personal social agenda.” Katia Yasmine

“There are so many reasons to love RAGMAG... it has real material for everyone! Whether I’m looking for the latest topics on fashion, art, music, or lifestyle… the features in RAGMAG are all written in a daring and very interesting way. I appreciate the unbiased reviews on restaurants, spas, and more, and I look forward to seeing who the exclusive interview is with every month and last but not least, I love the team behind it all!” Serene Itani “I am a big fan of RAGMAG magazine since day one when I was introduced to it and the team. It represented a new way in magazine journalism on both levels: design and content. New fresh way of tackling stories, the editorial team always looks for new ways to communicate the news whether it is in fashion, lifestyle, travel, culture etc. They’re open to new ideas and brave to be taking them on board and this is what makes them unique. I wish you great years of success.” Suzanne Bou Dargham

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


YOUR MAGAZINE CELEBRATES OUR THIRD BIRTHDAY WITH YOU!

“A NEW WAY IN MAGAZINE JOURNALISM ON BOTH LEVELS: DESIGN AND CONTENT. NEW FRESH WAY OF TACKLING STORIES, THE EDITORIAL TEAM ALWAYS LOOKS FOR NEW WAYS TO COMMUNICATE THE NEWS NEWS WHETHER IT IS IN FASHION, LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL, CULTURE” “RAGMAG is young, RAGMAG is fresh. RAGMAG is musical and into nightlife. RAGMAG is artistic, and appreciates the crazy in you. RAGMAG is healthy and has great taste in cuisine. RAGMAG is the first one to take you backstage and meet your favorite artists. RAGMAG is caring and appreciates all feedback. RAGMAG is fun, fun and more fun. Could I ask for more? NO, because RAGMAG has it all!” Raya Haidar “Why I love RAGMAG is simple: every issue has its personality, it’s not edited to please the crowds.” Paola Rebeiz “My relationship with RAGMAG is so personal that I feel that I am involved in it, a feeling I’ve never encountered with any other magazine. I love its articles, its professional standards but most of all, I love the bond the mag builds with its readers and even its clients. I consider myself part of the team if I may say so, and I’m proud of it!” Roula Dfouni “I am a friend of RAGMAG because RAGMAG cares and shows it. The RAGMAG team support friends, tweet about friends and write to friends about real life stories and experiences! Also, RAGMAG has the most beautiful, creative, sensual, sexy photo shoots. I always look forward to reading RAGMAG. Devoted people actually stand out and this is why I love you RAGMAG!” Maya Mukhi “RAGMAG is fresh and cool and consistently supports the local hospitality industry by promoting events and sharing them on their social media platforms. I can only say this comes from a well-trained and dedicated team. Keep it up RAGMAG. February 30 loves you!” Rony Abou Saab

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EDITOR’S OPINION

3

“Ever since RAGMAG came out, I thought it stood out. Through its friendly and direct writing style, as well as the creative direction of the shoots, the RAGMAG identity quickly became exclusive. What I like most about this magazine is the passion that is put into every issue: you can feel the effort that is poured into the subjects, the shoots, the layout and the incessant social media communication which is making a huge online buzz, differentiating it from any other Lebanese magazine or brand. Love you RAGMAG!” Philippe Ghabayen “It’s very rare to find an English magazine in Lebanon that covers diversified topics! After you find this rare English magazine, it’s hard to believe that its content and writing are friendly. Now that I found this magazine, I can give you its name: RAGMAG!” Roula Rebeiz “I love RAGMAG because it’s not another set of printed press releases from ad agencies, but genuine reporting and exposes that often include my favorite subject: science, among many, many others.” Gino Raidy “RAGMAG is modern and constantly bringing up trendy and up-to-date national and international topics with different and interesting angles and approaches. The team is young, professional and always thinking out of the box. It always tries to progress and go forward and especially responds to the many concerns and interrogations of its target audience regarding many issues and subjects. I wish you the best and I’m sure RAGMAG will continue to be successful.” Joumana Rizk “I enjoy reading RAGMAG because it’s full of global content but with local flavour. I also love RAGMAG because it dares to say what others will not, and it highlights important issues without politics or agenda. It’s beautifully presented and well written.” Carissa Crowley

“THE ARTICLES ARE OFTEN FUNNY AND SATIRICAL, WITH A TONGUE IN CHEEK LOOK AT CULTURE AND PEOPLE”

THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES TALKS ABOUT RAGMAG “RAGMAG is such a diverse magazine covering topics from the trendsetting fashionistas to gay and lesbian rights in the Middle East, all made into an easy read for the average magazine reader. The content is current and well thought out, aiding readers across the region to indulge and enjoy. Not to mention it is very pretty to look at too ;) <3” Emily Kidman Lee

“RAGMAG is one of my favourite titles because it’s a great example of breaking traditional Middle Eastern taboos. I love to smile and the magazine never fails to put a smile on my face it sometimes puts me into a hysterical fit from how daring and bold it is with the issues discussed– ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH IT!” Mashael Aldakheel

“I am a loyal reader of RAGMAG simply because of its out-of-the-box interesting content, its attractive and consistent design, but most importantly because it’s loyal to its readers. RAGMAG knows its readers and offers them what no other magazine does: food for thought.” Zeina Hallassou

“As far as I could tell, RAGMAG is the only magazine in Lebanon with balls. It actually takes a stab at openly discussing local social culture, never shying away from the taboos of society (albeit a really messed up Leb society). No issue is the same and there’s always something in there that grabs my attention (both positively and negatively). The secret unknown factor is what all good publications can claim.” Sam Mohtady

“It’s who is behind RAGMAG that makes RAGMAG what it is. I have thoroughly enjoyed working hand in hand with the editorial team this year and commend their creative and continuous efforts in making each and every issue of RAGMAG an interesting read and maintaining content that appeals to such a wide audience. :)” Shimaa Elsayed

“RAGMAG KNOWS ITS READERS AND OFFERS THEM WHAT NO OTHER MAGAZINE DOES: FOOD FOR THOUGHT”

“I just want to say that RAGMAG ROCKS. They rock because of the variety and subject matter that most articles explore. Their ability to be consistently refreshing is wonderful. Lastly, RAGMAG are the best example of my favorite motto ‘work hard and be nice’. They have supported me so many times and I know they do the same for so many others in the community. Much Love.” Mariana Wehbe

THE STATS IN BLACK + WHITE NEMR ABOU NASSAR SETS THE RAGMAG RECORD

“I love RAGMAG because it’s different :) It’s love at first sight (the covers are captivating), this is how it started with me ;) Since I’m fond of fashion shoots, they have the best team for this. Not to mention all the RAGMAG stuff that readers get to know with each issue! Keep RAGMAG-ing and loads of love.” Pierrette Katrib

“Twenty percent of the success of this article came from me, but 80 percent came from RAGMAG and the fine people that work there. The media industry in Lebanon could learn a valuable lesson by following the tenets of standards that RAGMAG has established. This issue was one of proudest moments of my life. The dedication of everyone who made both this issue and my career such a success overwhelms and humbles me.” Nemr Abou Nassar

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The August 2012 New World Order issue is the bestselling issue in three years of RAGMAG to date. Starring Nemr Abou Nassar, the New World Order issue is also the number one issue viewed and downloaded online, and Nemr’s feature interview and cover story is the number one most shared and viewed page on our website. Beating out every international celebrity exclusive that we’ve featured (including Julia Roberts, Armin Van Buuren, Slash, Sting, and even Robert Downey Jr.), Nemr’s issue also prompted the most reader images and emails, not to mention unprecedented social media feedback and interaction.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

FOR OUR MAY ISSUE WE CONTINUED TO TALK TO YOU VIA OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMSPINTEREST, TWITTER + FACEBOOK. WE THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS AND PARTICIPATION AND WE HOPE YOU CONTINUE TO INTERACT WITH US ONLINE

JOIN US ON FACEBOOK AND SCRIBBLE ON OUR WALL TO WIN, WRITE TO US AT LETTERSTOTHEEDITOR@RAGMAGLIVE.COM OR TWEET US ON TWITTER @RAGMAGMAGAZINE!

IF YOU’RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO TAKE A PIC WITH YOUR FAVORITE ISSUE, SEND IT OUR WAY VIA SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAIL! YOU’RE ALL SO PINTERESTING, SO PIN US. RAGMAG IT’S YOUR MAGAZINE! RAGMAG reserves the right to edit for clarity and content

We’re showing off some of the best images that our readers sent in via email and Twitter. Thank you to all of the readers who sent us tweets and emails of their copies of RAGMAG.

SHOUT OUT TO

BLVD44!

We rewarded one of our tweeps with a night out at the new nightlife venue. Here’s an image we got during the contest. Get ready to #dothe4 with RAGMAG! Talk to them on their social media platforms and look for an exclusive feature in our July issue. @BLVD44Beirut

BLVD44Beirut

WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU SO KEEP IT UP!

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WHO WILL LEAD IRAN AFTER AHMADINEJAD?

RAGMAG’S VOTE OBVIOUS

IS PROFESSOR STEPHEN HAWKING’S BOYCOTT OF THE ISREALI CONFERENCE EFFECTIVE? The fifth annual Israeli Presidential Conference, Facing Tomorrow, is taking place this month. If news of the conference doesn’t usually go viral, this year it certainly did: Stephen Hawking, world-renowned physicist, is boycotting it as a sign of his support to the Palestinian people. According to “The Guardian”, Hawking accepted the invitation to headline the conference, but later “wrote a brief letter to the Israeli president to say he had changed his mind. He has not announced his decision publicly, but a statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine

FIVE QUESTIONS

with Hawking’s approval described it as ‘his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there’”. Many activists and public figures have commended Hawking’s decision, and his boycott also elicited strong reactions from supporters of the Palestinian cause like Noam Chomsky, not to mention the conference organizers. How much impact does an academic boycott, even from one of the best-known scientists in the world, have on the Israel/Palestinian State debate other than virality? RAGMAG’S VOTE NEGLIGIBLE

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THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

STEPHEN HAWKING SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES | RAANA PLAZA SOURCE : AP

As this issue went to print, the Iranian presidential election is less than two weeks away and all eyes are on the possible outcome and the subsequent reaction. The last Iranian presidential election in 2009, that saw current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad win his second term, was followed by months of unrest and demonstrations against the official results. Under Iranian law, the president is limited to two consecutive terms; Ahmadinejad can’t be reelected, but that doesn’t mean that Iran will see a more moderate political figure leading the state. Almost any Iranian adult can register as a candidate but the Guardian Council gets to decide who is eligible. This year, the council announced its eight-member list. According to CNN, only three candidates “are not known to be devout followers of Khamenei” which may mean a lesser chance for them to win. One candidate’s failure to make the list, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, created some turmoil, with Ahmadinejad stating he would challenge his aide’s disqualification. According to the Middle East Institute, the current president’s support to Mashaei “has been widely interpreted as a Putin-Medvedov-like scenario in which Ahmadinejad will officially hand the reins over to one of his supporters such that his camp would more or less run the country over the next presidential period.” Who’s going to win and will it change Iran’s existing foreign and nuclear policies?


FIVE QUESTIONS THE WORLD IS ASKING

BANGLADESH FACTORY COLLAPSE: IS SOMEONE GOING TO PAY? The debate over ethical clothing has been revived after the collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-story building in Bangladesh’s Dhaka District. The building housed a number of garment factories, mostly operating to provide Western-based brands with their wares. After the April 24 tragedy that left over 1100 dead, the IndustriALL Global Union Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh emerged, stating that “The undersigned parties are committed to the goal of a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi Ready-Made Garment (“RMG”) industry in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. […] The signatories to this Agreement agree to establish a fire and building safety program in Bangladesh for a period of five years.” Consumers the world over urged the brands employing people in Bangladesh to sign up using social media, but it didn’t go very well. While most European brands like H&M, Benetton, Marks & Spencers and Mango did sign the agreement, some American brands -like Wal-Mart- declined, expressing issues with the binding arbitration. Will there be accountability for both the Rana Plaza disaster and the inhumane working conditions in these sweatshops? RAGMAG’S VOTE UNCERTAIN

HOW COULD THREE CAPTIVE WOMEN GO UNNOTICED FOR A DECADE? On May 6th, 2013, a man hears a woman screaming from inside a home in Cleveland, Ohio. He helps her get out with a child; and the police are called. The woman appears to be Amanda Berry- reported missing 10 years ago. Two other women are freed when the police arrive: Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight who respectively went missing in 2004 and 2002. The news went viral, as this seemingly happy ending is not one we’re used to when it comes to kidnapping stories- this time, not only were the victims found alive but the bad guys were also apprehended. The “New York Times” reported that “the police said […] in a statement that three men, all in their 50s, had been arrested in connection with the episode,” one of them being Ariel Castro, who lived at the house. Later on, Cleveland’s deputy police chief Ed Tomba stated that “Ariel kept everybody

at a distance,” and that they couldn’t link the two other suspects (Ariel’s brothers Onil and Pedro Castro) to the kidnappings (source: CNN). Though everyone is happy to have found these women, one can’t but wonder about the effort –or lack thereofthat police put into investigating and finding the missing women. Cleveland.com (online edition of Cleveland newspaper “The Plain Dealer”) second-guessed the Cleveland police as soon as the missing women were found and neighbors claimed that “they saw signs and told the police about them but received no response. Among the most salacious claims is that police failed to respond to a report that a naked woman on a leash was seen in Castro’s backyard.” Cleveland authorities say that “they have no records to support such calls”- is this a case of law enforcement failing to do their duty?

RAGMAG’S VOTE UNFORTUNATELY

WILL DAN BROWN’S NEWEST BOOK BECOME ANOTHER CULT FAVE? Acolytes of Dan Brown, you’ve been served! According to “The Guardian”, Brown’s fourth novel “Inferno” is a hit with readers since its release, having “soared to the top of the UK’s book charts in its first week in shops, selling a whopping 228,961 copies”. Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”, Brown’s newest work (despite stellar sales) isn’t a favorite of critics. Book critic David L. Ulin, of the “Los Angeles Times”, explains the plot and where it goes wrong: Robert Langdon “wakes up in a Florence hospital bed with a head wound and a case of retrograde amnesia but there is no fear,

JUNE 2013

no struggle, not even when the arrival of a hired killer forces him out into the city.” Ulin finds Brown’s hero unappealing and we tend to agree: “Langdon has no pulse, no personality, nothing to make us care.” Thus far, it’s been hard to find one completely positive review of the book -critics were actually much more enthusiastic about the first three installments of the Robert Langdon saga. However, having cultivated a cult following amongst thriller readers, will “Inferno” make bestselling novel of the summer? RAGMAG’S VOTE APPARENTLY

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YOU + YOUR COUNTRY

ACCESS

BEST ACTIVIST FEATURE APRIL 2011 ISSUE 11

DENIED BEING STATIC DUE TO

SOCIETAL BARRIERS BY YOUMNA CHAGOURY

“W

hen you’re in a wheelchair, you have 2 options: You either put a gun to your head and pull the trigger, or you accept your condition and live your life to the fullest.” Fadia Srour, a 40 year-old esthetician makes it clear that she chose the second alternative. Wheelchair-user from the age of nine, possibly due to malpractice while being treated for a small infection, Fadia has learnt to accept her physical disability but still finds it hard to deal with people’s reactions. To her, people’s maliciousness knows no bounds, “Every time I go down to drive my car, I hear the neighbors’ whisper ‘ya haram-s’ and the ‘poor hers’. Instead of seeing how independent I am trying to be, driving my own car, going to work or the supermarket, they pity me. They sometimes make me question myself; am I too dumb not realizing I should be sad and miserable?

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Because that’s how they look at me.” Fadia has had chaotic schooling since her paralysis. The first year her parents were still trying to figure out her disability and all the schools in the neighborhood lacked disabled access. Homeschooled until she was 16, she decided to move to the US in a fit of rebellion against a society that doesn’t help nor understand her. “I used to dream of living in a country that would accept me like everyone else, where there would be access for me everywhere, and where people wouldn’t look at me like I’m some freak.” She came back to Lebanon a few months later to study esthetics and make a living out of it. Working at a beauty salon was a choice based on practicality more than a real passion for the vocation, the only special equipment needed being a low bed for Fadia to reach the client’s face and body. She remembers her last exam

like it was yesterday. “I had sent a special request for the body treatment exam, in which I asked for a lower bed, or an exercise that didn’t need my full sight. Of course, I didn’t get what I needed. I wasn’t being treated like every other student. It was unfair to me, because I was physically unable to do the same exercises, since they hadn’t provided me with adequate equipment.” Maria*, a 27 year-old woman who saw her life turned upside down after a car accident leaving her wheelchair-ridden in 2005, says the only place she didn’t encounter difficulties due to her physical disability was the office she works in, “I work with very respectful people, who never make me feel like I was a burden asking them to hand me stuff I couldn’t reach. But these people are the exception… when you’re in a wheelchair, every single person around you looks at

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“THEY SOMETIMES MAKE ME QUESTION MYSELF; AM I TOO DUMB NOT REALIZING I SHOULD BE SAD AND MISERABLE? BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THEY LOOK AT ME.” you differently.” Maria knows that when she meets someone new or sees an old acquaintance, they see “Wheelchair Maria”. The only people to see her for who she’s always been are her family and even they’ve changed their behavior with her, being overprotective to a point where she sometimes feels oppressed. Maria says the hardest thing for her is dealing with people’s rudeness, like the staring in public places when she enters, makes her way to her table, and even while she is eating and drinking. The most annoying thing for Maria is having to call and ensure there is wheelchair access every time she wants to try

JUNE 2013

a new venue and dealing with staff ignorance. Maria remembers calling ABC Achrafieh’s Grand Cinemas, “We spent five long minutes trying to explain what disabled access was, a ramp, wheelchair access. We tried every synonym and definition we knew, and when he finally understood, he just said, ‘No, no, we don’t have anything like that.’” People unaware of disabled needs is a major issue in Lebanon; it is the fruit of a very simple vicious circle. “There is no disabled access. People using a wheelchair can’t go out easily. The people are not in direct contact with them. Therefore, they’re like non-existent, and no one will think of creating ramps and specially equipped restrooms. It’s really dumb, and it’s just the way it is,” says Tony, whose mother became paralyzed after getting sick. “Unless you become friends with a physically disabled person or you know someone in your family that uses a wheelchair, you can’t understand how difficult it is for them in Lebanon. They literally live ‘under’ everyone, having to move around seated and no one gets how oppressed they can get in public places and how dependant they are forced to be. It needs to change!” Tony owns a construction company abroad, and since his mother’s illness, he began incorporating disabled access in every construction project his company undertakes, like ramps, restrooms and lower kitchens. All the persons interviewed agreed on the same fact: the situation is not understood therefore they’re not treated as they should be. Fadia says her disability also stood in the way of every relationship she’s had. To her, it wasn’t because she wasn’t attractive according to the Lebanese dating standards. The problem runs deeper: “When I was a teenager there was always a guy who wanted to go on dates

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and get to know me better. But I’m the one that actually kept the relationships friendly. Even if they did love me, their families and friends would stand against it for a thousand excuses, without ever saying the real one: am I able to have children? I’ve been asked about my period by dozens of women and believe me, you never get used to it.” Fadia simply gave up on dating Lebanese men, finding them and their families too much trouble to cope with. “The last municipal elections made me realize how unequal disabled and ‘ablebodied’ people were to society. A dog would have been treated better than me that day,” says Maria whose voice breaks every time she remembers what she considers as one of the worst days of her life, the day she went to exercise her right and duty as a Lebanese citizen. “I went

started arguing with the friend who accompanied me to help. After letting him in, I went behind the curtains, voted and came out to put my voting paper in the ballot box on the observer’s table. That’s when the nightmare started, the ballot box was way too high for me to reach its center. An argument started again between the observer and my friend, who wanted to take the paper in a visible way and put it in the box. We tried to explain that the box was too high, that I couldn’t stand up or even slightly raise my body [but] he wouldn’t listen. He didn’t even agree to take my vote and place it himself in the ballot box. I could not imagine that I would just give up on my right to vote. With, ‘She’ll just have to work it out on her own’ and literally barking every time someone tried to help me, I finally put the paper in the box and had

“THE LAST MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS MADE ME REALIZE HOW UNEQUAL DISABLED AND ‘ABLE-BODIED’ PEOPLE WERE TO SOCIETY. A DOG WOULD HAVE BEEN TREATED BETTER” to vote at the end of May 2010. The polling being held in a school, of course full of stairs and lacking of disabled access, I was worried I would have to be lifted in front of everyone. Fortunately, women had to vote on the ground floor but my relief was short-lived. As I entered the voting rooms, one of the observers

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my vote validated. I went out appalled and mortified.” The incident of Maria is not an isolated case: Fadia simply couldn’t vote. Every day, thousands of disabled people in Lebanon are shunted aside and suffer unfair treatment or denial of rights, countless discriminatory acts which Lebanon

is against... at least officially. In May 2000, the Lebanese Parliament approved a new legislation, Law 220, which called for focus on full accessibility in education, jobs, health services, transportation and tax relief. “It’s been 11 years, and nothing has really changed. 90 percent of the law is yet to be implemented,” says Ibrahim Abdallah, president of the Lebanese Council for Disabled People (LCDP), an umbrella organization that aims at promoting the human rights of disabled persons and their economic and social integration. LCDP is the major Lebanese organization for disabled people to work on a national level by lobbying and negotiating with the government. To Abdallah, the 220 bill on disability has a major flaw: it doesn’t call for total inclusion. It tackles the problem of integration in regular schools and universities, only to condition it. It assures financial help, only to restrict it to education and a 75 percent of the minimum wage for people who can’t work due to their disability. “With less than the $330 Lebanese minimum wage, how can a person with no disability survive? And they really expect people with special needs to live off it?” deplores Abdallah. Being disabled in Lebanon means one of two things, firstly living with a disability (without it being an everyday life handicap) –this means being financially able to afford good equipment and medical care- or live secluded be-

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RAMPS ARE NOT ENOUGH, WHAT’S THE POINT OF HAVING ONE IF THERE ARE NO DISABLED RESTROOMS OR AT LEAST RESTROOMS WITH EASY ACCESS? WHAT ABOUT LIFTS THAT ARE TOO SMALL TO FIT A WHEELCHAIR? WHAT ABOUT MAINTENANCE, IF THERE ARE HOLES IN THE MIDDLE OF A RAMP? cause you can’t afford good wheelchairs and chair-friendly places, when and if you are able to find such things. Patrick* says his whole family tightened their belts to help buy an electric wheelchair for his cousin, unable to use his arms to move around in a manual chair. “It was a $3000 chair, and it was the best we could find in Lebanon. Other countries like the US provide wheelchairs that are even lighter and more easily driven, but they would have cost us an extra $2000.” Fadia says she thankfully could afford a good chair, but her brothers actually modified her car to fit her needs because she couldn’t afford the imported car’s taxes, “The only financial help provided by the government concerns my municipality taxes. I don’t need that. I need a special car, I need medical care like

physiotherapy [and] I need to be able to go to a hospital on the government’s expense when I can’t afford it. The last time I needed to go to a hospital, I had to go all the way to Beirut and back with a disabled card provided by the Ministry of Health. I was refused everywhere, and finally paid everything on my own.” Abdallah says the lack of healthcare is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed urgently, “We have a national issue between hospitals and the Ministry of Health. The Ministry doesn’t pay its charges for the free beds they are supposed to provide in every hospital in the country. But it’s always the people in need that pick up the pieces, particularly disabled people.” Forcing the construction license owners in Lebanon to create disabled access seems to be one of the

“THE ONLY FINANCIAL HELP PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT CONCERNS MY MUNICIPALITY TAXES. I DON’T NEED THAT. I NEED A SPECIAL CAR, I NEED MEDICAL CARE LIKE PHYSIOTHERAPY [AND] I NEED TO BE ABLE TO GO TO A HOSPITAL ON THE GOVERNMENT’S EXPENSE WHEN I CAN’T AFFORD IT”

JUNE 2013

solutions, according to Maria, “There’s a newly constructed building everyday in Lebanon. If the government can’t force the old buildings to have disabled access –and I’m sure they can- it could at least make the new ones have it. I can’t believe public places and transports have to pay fees if they don’t provide people with disabled access in Europe. What is wrong with Lebanon?” Some places in Beirut and its suburbs did actually create what they call disabled access. Unfortunately, many of these places are developed without efficiency studies, like Dunkin Doughnuts Maameltein’s ramps, but allow cars to park in front of it blocking access. CityMall has disabled parking spots, but they’re used by random people or trucks half of the time. Leila’s ABC Dbayeh has a new ramp, but when Maria went there with her family, the slope of the ramp was so steep she needed four waiters to help her: two to push and two others to pull. “They should have just left the stairs, it was less humiliating.” Maria insists that ramps are not enough, what’s the point of having one if there are no disabled restrooms or at least restrooms with easy access? What about lifts that are too small to fit a wheelchair? What about maintenance, if there are holes in the middle of a ramp? Not only is not practical, it can also be dangerous. “Some friends and I went to Byblos a few months ago, and wanted to go on the docks,” says Fadia. “There was a newly constructed wheelchair ramp, but a rock had fallen on it and it was still there. I can assure you that if the rock had been on the stairs, they would have removed it the following day. I don’t get it… they did think of helping disabled people and made a ramp. Why don’t they spend a few more dollars for maintenance? My friends, wanting to be helpful, offered to lift me. But every time someone offers it, my heart skips a beat. It takes me a single second to remember everything, my condition, and the reason I am in a

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NOT WILLING TO PROVIDE ELEMENTS AS SIMPLE AS A RAMP IN PUBLIC PLACES OR PRIVATE PLACES WITH PUBLIC ACCESS LIKE HOSPITALS AND THEATRES ONLY MEANS THEY ARE NOT WELCOME IN THESE PLACES

wheelchair, while I was starting to think that I lived like everyone, that I was no different, and that my life was good. And when I am actually lifted, I feel more belittled than ever.” “It’s amazing how inefficient we Lebanese are when it comes to disability access,” says Fadia. “I once went to Norway for a camping trip where we were offered great outdoor activities, like cycling in the woods and horseback riding. When I went horseback riding in Lebanon, my friends put a lot of time and effort to lift me and put me on the poor horse –in a quite dangerous way I must say. There, they just thought of creating an elevated ramp, I just had to wheel myself up and transfer onto the horse they had put right underneath the ramp. Simple, free, brilliant.” To Maria the lack of disabled access is a lack of recognition and respect for disabled people. Not willing to provide elements as simple as a ramp in public places or private places with public access like hospitals and theatres only means they are not welcome in these places. The LCDP focus their effort on implementing not only the May 2000 Law 220, but mainly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed by the Lebanese government in 2006. The convention calls for respect for difference as part of human diversity and non-discrimination against persons with disabilities. According to the Convention text, “discrimination on the basis of disability” means “any distinction, ex-

clusion or restriction on the basis of disability.” That’s where the shoe pinches. The UN is “concerned that […] persons with disabilities continue to face barriers in their participation as equal members of society and violations of their human rights in all parts of the world.” It seems to be at least the fate of disabled people in Lebanon. The figures vary from one organization to another but nearly 71000 Lebanese have disability cards issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Different DPO (Disabled People Organizations) like LCDP estimate the actual total over 150000 people

LEBANESE NGO’s THAT PROVIDE HELP FOR PHYSICALLY DISABLED PEOPLE Arc En Ciel

John Kennedy Street, Jisr el Bacha Sin el Fil, Beirut 01495561-5 FAX 01512107 aec@arcenciel.org

LCDP

Hamra, Beirut 01738297 nard@cyberia.net.lb

Lebanese Physically Handicapped Union

Corniche Al Mazraa, facing Russian Embassy Rifai Bldg, 1st Floor 01307366 info@lphu.com www.lphu.com

CONSIDERATIONS California State University, Northridge (USA) added a document to its website, listing a few points on how to act with a disabled person with respect for their person and their environment • If a person uses a wheelchair, conversations at different eye levels are difficult. If a conversation continues for more than a few minutes and if it is possible to do so, sit down, kneel, or squat and share eye level. • A wheelchair is part of the person’s body space. Do not automatically hang or lean on the chair; it is similar to hanging or leaning on the person. It is fine if you are friends but inappropriate otherwise. • Using words like “walking” or “running” are appropriate. Sensitivity to these words is not necessary. People who use wheelchairs use the same words. • When it appears that a person needs assistance, ask if you can help. Most persons will ask for assistance if they need it. • Never come up behind a person who uses a wheelchair and push them. Always ask first while facing the person. • Never take the door out of a person’s hand to assist them in opening it, they may be using the door for balance. • Accept the fact that a disability exists. By not acknowledging this fact is the same as not acknowledging the person. • People with physical disabilities are not “confined” to wheelchairs. They often transfer over to automobiles and to furniture. Some who use wheelchairs can walk with the aid of canes, braces, crutches or walkers. Using a wheelchair some of the time does not mean an individual is “faking” a disability. It may be a means to conserve energy or move about more quickly.

*Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved

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DOLLARS + SENSE

The

GOLD STANDARD

BEST ECONOMY FEATURE

DECEMBER 2011 ISSUE 19

WHAT IT MEANS + HOW IT AFFECTS LEBANON BY MARIA FRANGIEH

T

he gold standard is defined as “a commitment by participating countries to fix the prices of their domestic currencies in terms of a specified amount of gold. National money and other forms of money (bank deposits and notes) were freely converted into gold at the fixed price,” according to the “Encyclopedia of Economics and Liberty”. Therefore each country’s money supply is tied to the gold reserves it holds. Let’s take a look at what that actually means. This month’s Dollars + Sense is going for the gold- helping you understand the financial speak behind it and what that means for Lebanon.

CURRENCY BACKED BY GOLD

Countries under the gold standard were able to freely convert their money into gold at the fixed price. In this case countries will be setting a price for gold; each unit of the country’s currency will be exchanged with gold. The gold standard provided a security system against inflation, and allowed a higher level of trust in the currencies redeemed in gold. The gold standard allowed the monitoring of a country’s money supply.

DROPPING THE BAR

During World War I, the Gold Standard broke down due to the inflationary finance and was replaced by the Gold Exchange Standard from 1925 to 1931. Under the Gold Exchange Standard all countries could hold reserves in gold, dollars or other currencies, except in the cases of United States and United Kingdom whose reserves were only in gold. In 1931, due to the large outflows of gold and capital, the United Kingdom decided to drop the Gold Exchange Standard and as a result the Standard broke as well. The Bretton Woods1 system was installed between 1944 and 1971. During this period, the different countries backed their currencies to the dollar or to the pound but the United States redeemed its currency in gold. The gold standard was abandoned in the United States in August 1971 by President Richard M. Nixon. Even after abandoning the gold standard, many countries find it interesting upon inflationary pressures.

1 The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world’s major industrial states. The Bretton Woods system was the first example of a fully negotiated monetary order intended to govern monetary relations among independent nation-states. (Wikipedia, 2011)

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KEEP ‘EM OR LOSE ‘EM

Gold is tangible, difficult to carry around unlike money, which limits robberies, and retains its value over a long period of time. Gold standards were adopted mainly for their characteristic of limiting inflation. When countries are under gold standard they need to back each additional printed dollar with gold, and as gold is not easily produced, these countries will benefit from low inflation. Another plus of the gold standard is to limit the intervention of the government and Central Bank in the money supply. Prosperous economies with high productions were directly rewarded when the country was under the Gold Standard. Higher production led to higher exports of goods, allowing the country to accumulate a larger gold reserve. In this case printing more money will boost investments in the profitable industries, leading to higher growth. On the other hand, countries under the gold standard did not have flexible monetary policies,

which limited the government’s economic power. Governments use their monetary policies to fight deflation and recession. When governments aren’t under the gold standard they can print money to cover their debt, which leads to the undesirable circumstance of inflation. Major gold discoveries will have a havoc effect on the economy, countries won’t be richer but money supply will automatically increase, leading to inflationary pressures. In some cases, especially when economies are growing, it is healthy to allow the money supply to grow the level of production. Recently world economies are changing due to globalization, international shocks and other factors. If these economies are under a gold standard, it would be very difficult to keep the exchange rate stable, and the gold standard is considered an impediment to international trade and investment. In 1930, the gold standard was first ques-

WHEN COUNTRIES ARE UNDER GOLD STANDARD THEY NEED TO BACK EACH ADDITIONAL PRINTED DOLLAR WITH GOLD, AND AS GOLD IS NOT EASILY PRODUCED, THESE COUNTRIES WILL BENEFIT FROM LOW INFLATION

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tioned as the Unites States observed the gold standard but sunk into the Great Depression. It is important to note that the Great Depression was not only caused by the inflexibility of the monetary policy, many other factors led to this drastic situation, but the gold standard was a contributing factor

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ONE CARD, A WEALTH OF UNIQUE EXPERIENCES FOR YOU ASK FOR YOUR CARD NOW, AND ENTER A WORLD OF GLAMOROUS MEMORIES TAILORED TO INDULGE YOUR SPA AND CULINARY SENSES. +961 1 369 100 LTE.CLUB@PHOENICIABEIRUT.COM WWW.PHOENICIABEIRUT.COM 30 J|U RNAE G2M0A1 G3 | www.ragmag.co

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


DOLLARS + SENSE

THE GOLD STANDARD | WHAT IT MEANS + HOW IT AFFECTS LEBANON

LEBANESE LIRA BACKED BY GOLD? After its independence in 1943, the Lebanese economy was characterized by a young Lebanese pound, the value of which was a concern to the Lebanese authorities. After the Bretton Woods agreement was implemented, the European currencies were linked to the gold-backed dollar. As a result, Lebanese authorities purchased a lot of metal to improve the value of the Lebanese pound at the price of $35 per ounce. When the United States delinked its currency from the gold standard, the Lebanese Parliament ruled out the possibility of selling the gold without its approval. This decision could have resulted in the devaluation of the Lebanese currency after the civil war especially that acting Prime Minister Salim el-Hossâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1987 proposal to sell 20 percent of the gold reserves in exchange of $800 mil-

lion was declined. The Lebanese gold reserves reached $17 billion in August 2011. Many Lebanese economists and policymakers considered selling the gold reserves to pay off the debt, but eventually they agreed on keeping the gold reserves untouched. This dilemma resulted from the $52 billion public debt that is currently draining half of the yearly government revenues. Liquidating the gold reserves will allow the Lebanese government to relieve 31 percent of its debt and invest nearly $1.3 billion in public spending. The problem that arises in this case is the absence of confidence in the Lebanese policymakers and their uses of the collected money, not to mention that the gold reserves of the country were not meant to be accumulated to pay off the debt. The gold reserves made the Lebanese

pound a strong currency facing the different crisis it went through under the rigid fixed exchange rate system. This as well represents a threat, as the current strength of the Lebanese pound is based on the high price of gold. Questions crop up like will the Lebanese monetary authorities partially or fully liquidate the gold reserves? How would these authorities maintain the credibility of the Lebanese pound under such continuous political wavering? Would it be better to default on the debt without liquidating the gold reserves? Previous experience has proved that many countries liquidated their gold reserves and defaulted on their debt, while others defaulted and returned to normalcy. In the era of financial crisis, it may be recommended to keep the gold reserves for desperate measures

LIQUIDATING THE GOLD RESERVES WILL ALLOW THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT TO RELIEVE 31 PERCENT OF ITS DEBT AND INVEST NEARLY $1.3 BILLION IN PUBLIC SPENDING

Timeline of Gold Standard 1500

1880 - 1914

World War I

1925 - 1931

1931

1933

1944 - 1971

1971

Gold was recognized as a standard medium of exchange for international trade

Classical Gold Standard

Breaking down of the Gold Standard

Gold Exchange Standard

Breaking down of Gold Exchange Standard (UK dropped it)

Roosvelt allowed gold to be privately owned

Bretton Woods System

USA abandoned the Gold Standard (Under President Nixon)

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CULTURE CLASH

ALICIA KEYS KEEPS MOVING FOR BLACKBERRY LIVE 2013

GIRL IS

THIS

ONFIYAH! ALICIA KEYS KEEPS MOVING FOR BLACKBERRY LIVE 2013 BY FIDA CHAABAN

T

he 2013 edition of BlackBerry Live in Orlando, Florida was quite the party- Alicia Keys, BlackBerry’s Global Creative Director, hosted a “Women in Technology” seminar open to members of the press, BlackBerry Elite fans, and global developers. In a private sit down prior to her “Women in Technology” seminar, Alicia was enthusiastic and animated: “This is my first BlackBerry Live, and I’m so glad to be here. There’s such a positive thing that’s going on with BlackBerry and such a forward thinking movement that I am just personally loving!” What does Keys think of her work with BlackBerry as a brand? “We’re aligning on so many different levels, and creatively there is so much innovation to be had, there’s so many new things to discover, there’s so many new things to create! I’m definitely committed to being a part of this, and bringing forth new things to the brand. Our collaboration has been very natural and it’s been very exciting too because BlackBerry has been open to doing so many new, fresh, different things!” One of the different things is Keys’ pet project: BlackBerry Scholars Program. On this, Keys says, “I love the fact that we are such a strong women-centric presence, I’m really, really [sic] in love with that. That’s probably the second thing that really got us off to an incredible start and so to be able to announce the BlackBerry Scholarship today was powerful. It really sets the tone to what BlackBerry wants to do going forward, and what I’m proud to be a part of helping them do.” Meant to “inspire more women to enter and develop careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM),” the altruistic program was unveiled by Keys

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herself and aims to provide “full, fouryear tuition scholarships to outstanding women who are seeking degrees at accredited colleges and universities in the areas of STEM with a particular interest or aptitude in the area of mobile computing.” An enthusiastic Keys stated that, “Women are underrepresented in fields of science and technology, and we feel strongly that it’s time to drive a change.” The charismatic performance artist was heavily invested in the program’s development:

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CULTURE CLASH

“It’s important to connect the dots for young women in high school and college, and show them that careers in science and technology are within their reach. And when women do land these jobs, it’s vital they receive the mentoring and support they need to advance in their careers. I’m proud BlackBerry is demonstrating leadership in women’s education, both in school and in the workplace, and giving back to its most loyal users in such a profound way.” The candidates will be chosen from a pool of nominations, the deadline being this month, June 26th at 5pm EDT. “As a dreamer, who’s a person who has many ideas and concepts, and just with loads of things that I can bring to fruition, it’s a perfect partnership.” She is emphatic about her personal obsession with tech, but stresses that her collaboration with the mobile giant is many-tiered: “It’s not just about our devices are our lives- if you ever lost yours, you’d be like, ‘No!’ but,

ALICIA KEYS KEEPS MOVING FOR BLACKBERRY LIVE 2013

you know how we can impact culturally and we can impact emotionally to people, and how things created here on [these] devices that can help us move forward.” The same evening, Keys produced the Keep Moving Experience exclusively for BlackBerry that included a private, live performance at Universal Studios with herself as the headlining act, followed the Alabama Shakes, Miguel, Maria Gadú, and Cedric Gervais. The Keep Moving Experience was broadcasted live via webcast globally. Keep Moving Alicia, we’re following you wherever you want to go. The annual event, staged at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Florida took place from May 14 to 16, 2013

“WOMEN ARE UNDER REPRESENTED IN FIELDS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, AND WE FEEL STRONGLY THAT IT’S TIME TO DRIVE A CHANGE”

BOTH FEET ON THE GROUND WITH ALICIA KEYS AlicaKeys

@AlicaKeys

AliciaKeysVEVO

GET BREVITY WITH BLACKBERRY BlackBerry

@Me_BlackBerry

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CULTURE CLASH

AKON’S

TRIPLE

ENTENTE THE HIP HOP MAGNATE IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY FIDA CHAABAN

C

an I be your Hype-Girl?” That’s literally the first thing I ask when I interview Akon. Yes, laugh. I mean the RAGMAG staff certainly did. I even started a hashtag on Twitter that said #AkonAndFidaLiveInConcert. While I had some viral action going on, the more popular hashtag turned out to be #AkonLiveInLeb. “I can’t sing, but I’ve got swag,” I say hoping to convince the R n’ B sensation, and believe me I exude a lot of enthusiasm. “Just during ‘Right Na Na Na’ and I promise I’ll own it!” Akon laughs and gives me a little bit of hope as he explains, “Man, I’d let you come on stage, but I already have the best Hype-Man. My DJ, Benny-Demus may not take too kindly to you coming onto his turf!” Turf nothing- I’m a kill shit, I say to myself in my best gangsta inflection. I’ve still got about two weeks left to scheme and cajole my way into my new career as Akon’s Hype-Girl and I’m not giving up, all I have to do is make sure DJ Benny-Demus mysteriously disappears for a song or two. I have a sliver of hope that by the time you’re reading this interview I’ll get confirmation from Akon’s peeps that I will be his Hype-Girl, at least for one catchy song on June 22, 2013

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CULTURE CLASH

AKON’S TRIPLE ENTENTE | HIP HOP’S MAGNATE

HE’S A BIT OF A TOUGH COOKIE, AND HE’S A LOT MORE CAREFUL THAN YOU’D THINK So rather than sing, “Konviccttt, musiicccccc” at Akon for a demo, I get down to business and really start to interview the star. He’s a bit of a tough cookie, and he’s a lot more careful than you’d think. He opts out of answering a few questions, like whether he’d side with Tupac or with Biggie Smalls, and declines to comment on the Eastside-Westside thing. Other questions he navigates like a PR pro. Sometimes he’s shockingly honest and sometimes he throws me for a loop. About his music, he is simply grateful that he’s become one of the world’s most recognizable musicians. What did it feel like to get nominated for a Grammy alongside some of the most established artists in the biz? “My first Grammy nomination was for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for ‘Smack That’- it felt incredible,” he says. The hit song was one of five Grammy nominations, one of which was for “I Want to Fuck You” with Snoop Dogg and also in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category. In 2007, Akon had officially made the A-list, having won “Artist of the Year” at the Billboard Music Awards. His list of accolades is too long to mention here, but in addition to skyrocketing sales for every record release and every single release, Akon moonlights with the who’s who of performing artists. One of the most significant tracks in Akon’s catalogue is his collaboration with the late, great Michael Jackson on the song “Hold My Hand”, the collab was recorded in 2008 and charted top 20 in a multitude of countries. A bevy of reports state that Akon and Michael were more than colleagues, they were also close friends. Akon confirms

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this saying that, “Mike is the King of Pop, and I think that it’s a dream come true for any major artist/songwriter/producer to be able to work with the best in the business. When I first flew up to Vegas and met him it was almost like we’d known each other for years! Literally! ‘Cause musically we were on the same exact page! The chemistry was just incredible! And, as a person, he was the most cool, humble dude I’ve ever met!” This is what Akon is like when he really meshes someone, 100 percent in league with them. Akon is the same way with other artists that he’s tight with, no matter who I bring up, Akon reinforces the contribution Snoop Dogg, rapper and sometime soccerdad, has made to his career. When I suggest that performing with arguably the two biggest rappers in the world, Eminem and Lil Wayne, is a huge feat, he reverts back to Snoop saying, “I’ve been very fortunate to work with so many talented Hip Hop artists. Eminem and Lil Wayne are definitely on top of their game, but I’ve also had some great collaborations with Snoop

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“[EMINEM] IS ONE OF THE TOP RAPPERS ALIVE TODAY [...] HE CAN TAKE ANY TOPIC AND MAKE A SONG OUT OF IT” and Young Jeezy.” Dude, what about Eminem? I tell Akon that another of his tier one performing buddies, 50 Cent, said that “The best rapper is a white guy,” in a widely publicized quote. Akon is pc here, but still affirms Fiddy’s statement: “I’d definitely agree that he is one of the top rappers alive today. Eminem is a lyricist and an incredible producer. He can take any topic and make a song out of it. I haven’t seen an artist do that and outsell everybody. There are times when I’m in the studio with someone and the chemistry just clicks. That happened with Em and the response to the song was unreal,” he says. Can we expect another collab with “Em” soon? “I would definitely be open to working with him in the future if the opportunity came around again.” He stays mum on the subject of his newest work, declining to comment, nor does he address the fact that’s he’s gone multi-platinum many times over. We’ll just have to wait and see what he’s got up his sleeve. Instead Akon talks about Lebanon and his upcoming concert at the Forum de Beyrouth saying that, his “fans can expect a high energy performance. We make sure the crowd gets up out of their seats and dancing the entire time. We’ve got a

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“WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THE STATES, I DIDN’T SPEAK ENGLISH AND THE CULTURE WAS DIFFERENT. [...] I GOT INTO A LOT OF FIGHTS GROWING UP, BUT GOING THROUGH THOSE EXPERIENCES [WAS] WHAT LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR THE MAN I AM TODAY” lot of surprises in store for the long-time fans and some new songs that you’ll be hearin’ off my upcoming album,” and that’s as much as Akon will tell me, even when I press for more information. At this point, I take his cue and move on to the personal side of the R ‘n B artist’s life. He is generally positive when he talks about his kids, saying that the “relationships with my children are very important to me. They are who inspire me to keep doing what I am doing.” And his own childhood, reportedly he had quite a difficult time? “When I first came to the States, I didn’t speak English and the culture was different. The way kids dressed was completely different so I would get teased a lot. I got into a lot of fights growing up, but going through those experiences [was] what laid the foundation for the man I am today.” The man he is today is

also super reserved about discussing his love life: “That’s something private for me. Let’s just say I’m not lonely,” Akon says with a bit of mischievous bite. Some of the things he won’t respond to are the detail-oriented questions. TheSmokingGun.com has previously poked more than a few holes in Akon’s official story about his criminal history, his age and even his legal name. A quick Google search will tell you that he’s got over five variations of his full name, and he doesn’t even acknowledge the question when asked. On the subject of his age, Akon says that date of birth isn’t important, “Age is just a number. I just don’t feel like it’s relevant,” or perhaps because both his legal name and his DOB can be used to access his court records regarding past charges and even his immigration history from Senegal to the United States

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


AKON’S TRIPLE ENTENTE | HIP HOP’S MAGNATE

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: EMINEM, “SMACK THAT” FEATURING EMINEM, IN MY GHETTO (2007), TROUBLE (2004), THE CONCRETE MIXTAPE KONVICTED (2006), FREEDOM (2008) ALBUM COVERS

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CULTURE CLASH

AKON’S TRIPLE ENTENTE | HIP HOP’S MAGNATE

BELOW: STILL IMAGES FROM THE “LOCKED UP” VIDEO ON YOUTUBE

“BEING LOCKED UP IS WHAT HELPED PUT ME ON THE PATH TO WHERE I AM TODAY ” “WHEN I WAS FIRST TRYING TO GET MY MUSIC HEARD ON THE RADIO AND WE WEREN’T GETTING MUCH TRACTION, THE SONG [‘LOCKED UP’] WAS ACTUALLY BECOMING POPULAR IN THE PRISON COMMUNITIES” “I spent my early childhood in Senegal and then came to the States when I was seven,” and that’s the clearest statement he’ll make about his childhood. Otherwise, he mostly discusses the musical influences of his youth: “My father is a Jazz percussionist and growing up there was always music around us. I would listen to everyone from Stevie Wonder to Steely Dan to Bob Marley. When I came back to the States that’s when I was introduced to Hip Hop. At first I didn’t like it, but after I listened to the lyrics I started to understand what they were rapping about.” It’s a good thing he did, as it shaped the whole direction of his wildly successful career. And the criminal past? No one is sure, since depending on which source you cite, you’ve got everything from drugs to car theft rings to trafficking. An article in the “New York Times” called Akon the “prison obsessed” R ‘n B performer, and his Konvict music tagline is one of the strongest identifiers of Akon’s branding, reinforced by the slamming jail cell, his trademark sound. On some level, Akon can be called the modern day Man in Black -Johnny Cash circa his “Folsom Prison” days. It was wholly unheard of for a popular performer to sing from a sympathetic prisoner perspective

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and Johnny was the jailbird voice- Akon follows a close second with prisoners all over the world playing “Locked Up”, his hit single featuring rapper Styles. “That’s an interesting comparison, but Johnny Cash is on a whole other level,” he says modestly. “For me, being locked up is what helped put me on the path to where I am today. I knew I never wanted to be back in that place. As far as the single ‘Locked Up’, when I was first trying to get my music heard on the radio and we weren’t getting much traction, the song was actually becoming popular in the prison communities,” he continued unapologetically. “It became like an anthem for the inmates and when we did the penitentiary tour it was unreal.

There was this underground movement that just made the song a hit.” By underground he means people behind bars. Or people who’ve been behind bars. Or people who know people who were behind bars. And that’s where it started, in case you didn’t know. I’m not a “Konvict” and I haven’t been locked up, but then again, I’m not sure that Akon quite fits the bill either. It doesn’t matter- what does matter is that Akon is going to go live in Lebanon. Prepare yourselves, because I’m already practising my Hype-Girl routine: “Put yoo hands up in da air, put ya hands up in da air!” Cue the cell door. It’s the sound of metal on metal and it’s going to be up close and personal, Hip Hop style

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FML [F**K MY LIFE]

DANTE’S

INFERNO BY FIDA FIERY CHAABAN

BEST FML EXPERIENCE FEBRUARY 2011 ISSUE 9

PHOTOGRAPHY CHRISTIAN HARB

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hris you need to call this guy. He’s going to teach me to blow fire for FML the Up in Flames issue,” I said. Or is it breathe fire? “Blow fire? You must be joking,” he stared at me incredulously trying to determine how serious I was. “No,” I said calmly, “Really, I’m going to blow fire. I already told Gina.” Chris shrugged and mumbled, “It’s your funeral.” He dials Wissam, the Fire Breather, and arranges the whole thing in under five minutes. We agree to meet in Hamra for the training session and it starts to sink in. Of all the frik’n FML idiotic ideas, I think, swearing inwardly with words not fit to print. But what else can you do with fire? Either blow it or eat it, and the former sounded way less risky than the latter. Well, both sound scary and dangerous as all hell, but what can I do?

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I’ve spent the last eight issues assigning the RAGMAG staff to sometimes risky and sometimes ridiculous stunts, how can I give myself something easy? So I have no choice but to lead by example. Here goes nothing. (Dear Good Gina, if I come away maimed for life will you please take care of me? Love, Fida. PS. Let’s forget about the time you and Bad Gina paraglided off a cliff with that guy who couldn’t remember your name.) I reflect momentarily on the fact that I began with an FML water stunt and I’m now doing an FML fire stunt, does this mean something? (Odette, jump in at any time with the “chaotic patterns of the universe” stuff.) Mentally I begin considering the nine circles of hell, am I guilty of something? Heresy? Hmm, no. Gluttony? No. Violence? No. Treachery? No. I remember that the second circle is reserved for Lust. Damn it, it’s this issue, isn’t it? I am being punished for the lusty

HOLD UP, I WASN’T AWARE THAT I HAD TO PUT SOME TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE CONCOCTION IN MY MOUTH FOR THIS TO WORK! Up in Flames issue of RAGMAG. Dante’s Inferno dictates that in the second circle of hell I’m to be blown back and forth by pummeling winds, well, just as long as that doesn’t happen when I’m trying to blow fire. So Fire Breather Wissam Al Hassan and his friend Mohammed show up carrying two large bottles of water and tissues. The guys are funny and cool and I decide this is all a clever ruse to distract me from the fact that I am about to self immolate. I begin messaging Gina on BlackBerry, and my Twitter goes off with Youmna tweeting my doom. All of the RAGMAG staff are eagerly awaiting the results. FML really! Wissam starts demonstrating the correct blowing technique. Looks easy enough. Yoga breathing techniques don’t fail me now! Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth, got it. This goes on for a while and I’m shaking but proud that I am successful at the breathing part. Wissam then hands me a bottle of water and tells me to take a sip explaining that before I try with the flammable substance that he refers to as “zeit”, translating loosely to oil, I have to practice with water. Umm what? Hold up, I wasn’t aware that I had to put some toxic and flammable concoction in my mouth for this to work! What about the yogi breath!

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Apparently, you spit fire, not breathe fire. You take a drink of whatever venom it is then spit it out in a fine mist and that is what makes the flames. What the hell have I signed up for? If the ridiculous image of my learning to spit (I look so vulgar) isn’t apparent to our readers, trust me I am a horrible mess. I realize quickly that I don’t know how to spit and the water is dribbling down my chin, onto my clothes, and generally going everywhere. Then to further add to my embarrassment, a crowd is assembling. They’re watching as I try to spit a mist of water at Wissam’s hand! The man is so gracious, he doesn’t even flinch as my spitty-water covers him. On the contrary, he encourages me and says, “Spit further! Hit my hand!” I am mortified and really ashamed that I am spitting water at this handsome and talented guy, who incidentally is a professional dancer and is about to appear in

YOU TAKE A SIP OF WHATEVER VENOM IT IS THEN SPIT IT OUT IN A FINE MIST AND THAT IS WHAT MAKES THE FLAMES. WHAT THE HELL HAVE I SIGNED UP FOR? a play. “Inhale deeply, here! Now spray the water and try to hit this wall,” he says. I do this over and over, making a mess of myself, him and amusing the onlookers. If you think this sounds easy, you should all grab water and try to create a mist of spit from your mouth. These are the steps I have to learn: 1. Take a sip of water, hold it in behind my bottom teeth and make sure I don’t swallow a drop. 2. Inhale through the nose, not allowing the water to escape or move from its position.

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3. Make a rapid exhale and a split second after, release a small amount of the water as a mist. 4. Do another quick inhale through the nose (I mean I have half a second). 5. Make another rapid exhale and release another mist of water. 6. Run for my life before fire gets involved. Okay not the last part, but really it is so complicated. I am trying my utmost best for RAGMAG because I love the mag, the staff and of course our readers. I am also a stubborn asshole, as many people

will tell you. So I try and try and try. Poor guy, Wissam is cool and calm and I’m a shaky, bad student. After 30 minutes of the five-step method, Wissam, Mohammed and Chris, the photographer who is capturing this hellish debacle, cheer for me as I create a fine spit mist of water. I am sure, in the history of Lebanon, that no one has ever cheered so loud for spitting before! They’re sick of my girlish squeals and shyness at spitting, and they’re also proud that I can do it. Wissam pronounces me ready to try the zeit and fire.

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THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


FML [F**K MY LIFE]

Okay whoa, I’m not ready and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. I back away slowly as he brings out a bottle of clear fluid, “Fida, this is the zeit. You take a sip and make sure not to swallow. What you did with the water, you do with this.” FMFL. If the spitting and breathing and assembled crowd isn’t enough to make me dizzy and nauseous, this sure is! I smell the bottle warily. No scent? “It’s not gas, it’s a special flammable chemical. Don’t swallow,” he repeats.

I DIDN’T LIGHT MYSELF, OR ANYONE ELSE ON FIRE. DANTE, THAT SECOND CIRCLE OF HELL IS GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT A LITTLE LONGER, CAUSE I MADE IT OUT ALIVE

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DANTE’S INFERNO

He demonstrates and blows a gorgeous fire stream! The man is amazing. Not only does he blow the fire, he twists and twirls the baton and maintains the form of a dancer while doing so. “FMFL,” I say as I watch him breathe fire and hold his position flawlessly. “Yalla Fida, dawrik,” one of them says. I don’t remember who, because I am afraid that this is my last moment on earth, and wonder if I have atoned for all my sins. I have no choice, Wissam pulls me forward and hands me the poison bottle. So I opt to put some in the bottle cap (at least I can control the amount this way), and firmly steel myself: enough nonsense Fida, just do it! Okay Nike has brainwashed me, and I dwell on that for a while as it seems better than letting my mind explore that I’m about to drink a chemical and spit fire. The guys laugh as I fill my little bottle cap. I will never look at these water bottles the same way again. Hate you all, I scream

inwardly as I take my first sip of poison. It has a slimy texture and some dribbles down my chin. Wissam holds the fire baton aloft and I am supposed to do my five steps. Wissam pulls me close to the damned thing and orders, “Yalla, Fida! Go!” And I do! I don’t know how I did it, but I did! I make beautiful fire! And then I promptly run! No joke, I bolted away from him. The guys are proud of me and the crowd is all really amazed. Hell, I’m amazed. Okay, I think we’re done now. But Wissam, ever the patient and determined coach, tells me that was just my first try, “Yalla marrah tanye,” he says. What! But I did it, I whine. “La2, yalla,” he says as he hands me the bottle. So I get ready, take another swig of poison and do it several more times until I am master of the most dangerous element. And I didn’t light myself, or anyone else on fire. Dante, that second circle of hell is going to have to wait a little longer, cause I made it out alive

Learn to Get Dragon Breath Wissam Al Hassan 03464432 aboualwess@hotmail.com www.ragmag.co Wissam Al Hassan| R A G M A G | 47


CULTURE CLASH

MAGNETIC APPEAL OPPOSITE PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM: MORPHO TOWER (2006) PROTRUDE, FLOW (2001)

BELOW: PROTRUDE, FLOW (2001) BOTTOM OF PAGE: ARTIST SACHIKO KODAMA

SACHIKO KODAMA SETS THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION BY MAHA MAJZOUB

BEST ARTIST FEATURE

JANUARY 2012 ISSUE 20

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our initial reaction is to look at it, and gaze and gaze at it for what will seem like hours on end. It appears to be a fluidic sculpture that just won’t stop moving or pulsating. Next, you attempt to put two and two together. Your chances of grasping what exactly you’re staring squarely at are pretty slim. At this point, you’re hard pressed to ask, “What in God’s name is going on?”– you and whoever else sees for the first time a ferrofluid installation by Japanese physicist-turned-artist Sachiko Kodama. And the sight doesn’t get any less fascinating the second, third, or kazillionth time around.

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Kodama is the prima donna of ferrofluid sculptures, which she first introduced in raw format to bemused and confused audiences in Eastern Asia a little over a decade ago. She has been exploring since then both the art and science of ferrofluid, as it sways with the shape of magnetic waves. Her terminatoresque, blackish, spiky, liquid structures, which dance restlessly before your incredulous eyes, are not as complicated in composition or mechanism as you might think. At play here is simply ferrofluid and electromagnets. The two make love choreographically and move synthetically to music, as controlled by the artist.

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


MAGNETIC APPEAL | SACHIKO KODAMA SETS THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION

“IN MY WORK, THE SPIKES UNDER THE MAGNETIC FIELD PRODUCE ORGANIC FORMS. SENSORY TECHNOLOGY AND COMPUTERS ARE USED TO TRANSFORM THE SHAPE OF THE FLUID ACCORDING TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION” It wasn’t Kodama who invented ferrofluid, a slippery substance that comes into being by dissolving nanoscale ferromagnetic particles in a solvent, the likes of water or oil. Credit for that must go to NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which in the late 1960s created the material, which now swims in electronic devices, AV equipment, and other industrial applications. However, it was Kodama who devised a real object that transforms freely and flexibly when other elements are introduced, thus embarking on a new class of fluid art forms that can adopt shapes interactively. But she’s not exactly keeping mum about the process. Her favorite part of the work is to document her toils in video compositions she makes with Yasushi Miyajima of the Sony Computer Science Laboratories usually to a backdrop of chilling music by Tetsuhide

Hidaka. She has also penned numerous articles about the artistic innovation as well as its progression over the years. In the catalogue of the 2009 edition of Device Art, a triennial international exhibition on the art of devices and robotics, Kodama says her ferrofluid sculptures aim “to create dynamic art forms and figures whose shape, surface structure, and colour change dynamically, reflecting the echoes of environmental music, light, and human communication.” “Ferrofluids,” she goes on, “form spikes along magnetic field lines when the magnetic surface force exceeds the stabilizing effects of the fluid weight and surface tension. In my work, the spikes under the magnetic field produce organic forms. Sensory technology and computers are used to transform the shape of the fluid according to environmental information.”

LIQUID ARCHITECTURE Kodama constantly turns to the environment and life in all its forms for inspiration. “The breathing rhythm in living things is an excellent metaphor for a texture that dynamically changes according to time. The continuously changing weather conditions of the Earth are also important motifs,” the 41-year-old artist states. Having grown up in the southernmost part of Japan, which is brimming over with tropical organisms and edged by the sea, Kodama is happy to bring part of her childhood to her artistic experimentation and share it with the world. “My Little Sea”, the title of her exposition in Seoul in November, says a lot about her relationship with water and fluidity. “As a female artist, I feel that liquid is a metaphor for the woman. The material is soft, flexible, passive, beautiful, and strong,” she says

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“APPLYING TECHNOLOGY TO ART TO MAKE ONE ‘PERFECT’ PIECE IS DIFFICULT. I HAVE TO WORK WITH MECHANICAL AND LOGICAL TECHNOLOGY, YET MY WORK NEEDS TO BE FINISHED IN A VERY DELICATE, ESTHETIC WAY” Kodama brings the ocean, tornadoes, and lightning to bounce gorgeously and grotesquely in “Morpho Towers: Two Standing Spirals”, a two-ferrofluidsculpture installation which she revealed to the public in 2006. The spiral towers stand on a large plate holding ferrofluid. When the music starts, the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened. Spikes of ferrofluid are formed at the bottom of the plate and move up, trembling and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral. “The Japanese concept of mitate, relating to mimicking natural phenomena, is a useful method in trying to understand the occurrence of natural shapes,” reads a detailed description on her website.

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The technique in “Morpho Towers” involves the use of an extended sculpted iron core and one electromagnet. Her first project, “Protrude, Flow”, on which she collaborated with long time art partner Minako Takeno five years earlier, enlisted the help of six electromagnets. The cluster of electromagnets could have affected people’s viewing of the moving liquid – although that didn’t make the installation any less spellbinding. But shortly afterwards, Kodama would switch indefinitely to a single electromagnet backed by an extended iron core that can be molded into the shapes of choice, making it possible for the ferrofluid to cover the sculpted surface of the 3D iron shape. After “Morpho

Towers”, Kodama and Takeno upped their game with an ingenious approach that equally engaged both young and adult viewers. “Pulsate – Ear on the Wall” is set in a white room, where a table, chair, and a little ear hang on the walls. The lighting of the room wraps down from the ceiling and onto the vertical wall. The off-centered placements of the furniture evoke another surreal space, defying the laws of physics. So when people speak to the ear, the ferrofluid in the dish is provoked and spiked up. ABOVE: PULSAR (2008) BELOW: PULSATE - EAR ON THE WALL (2007)

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


MAGNETIC APPEAL | SACHIKO KODAMA SETS THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION

BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL Since then, Kodama’s practice has gone from strength to strength, continuing to join forces with local artists and approaching most ventures as ongoing projects. This formula applies to “Pulsar”, Kodama’s personal favorite artwork to date, which she has yet to complete. It is a small iron sculpture in the form of a headless human body that stands in a slowly undulating pool of black liquid. A brass tube is positioned above the neck from which ferrofluid pours down. A magnetic force protrudes the ferrofluid into a flower-like shape with many spikes. The spikes make up the petals of this flower. When the magnetic force is gradually weakened, the petals fall down according to the contour of the metallic body. The decelerating speed of the ferrofluid and magnetic force are controlled to create a dynamic textural change that mimics the grainy surface of moss or goose bumps on human skin.

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“Pulsar” only survived for a week in 2008 where it was shown at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, its life cut short by a technical difficulty that Kodama hopes to overcome. “I have to finish this work before I die,” she stresses, arguing, “Applying technology to art to make one ‘perfect’ piece is difficult. I have to work with mechanical and logical technology, yet my work needs to be finished in a very delicate, esthetic way.” Working with magnets comes with its share of challenges, Kodama adds. “The shape of the electromagnet and the strength of its magnetic field offer some technical limits, which casts some limits on my designs.” When she is not trying to overcome such obstacles, Kodama is either beguiling audiences with her sculptures in solo or group shows in Eastern Asia and in recent years the U.S. and Spain, or lecturing at the University of Electro-Communication in Tokyo in her capacity as associate professor. She holds a PhD in Art from the University of Tsukuba.

ABOVE: EQUILIBRIUM POINT (2004) LEFT + UPPER RIGHT: MORPHO TOWER (2006)

Though art and literature were enticing fields for Kodama from an early age, she found herself profoundly interested in science as well, first setting her eye on a career in physics before making the shift to fine arts in 1993. Her work always brings the best of both worlds to the table, which is probably why it magnetically appeals to art aficionados and science buffs alike. “Art could be more dynamic and rich than it is today,” says Kodama, whom we have a feeling will continue to set new rules for attraction, unabated by any laws, physics or otherwise

WWW.SACHIKOKODAMA.COM WWW.GALLERY-SAKAMAKI.NET

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CULTURE CLASH

BEST AUTHOR INTERVIEW JUNE 2010 ISSUE 1

LIFE, LOVE,

LUST+ LEWDNESS

RAWI HAGE ISN’T SHYING AWAY FROM THE UGLY TRUTH BY AMAL CHAABAN

AMAL CHAABAN INTERVIEWS BESTSELLING AUTHOR RAWI HAGE EXCLUSIVELY FOR RAGMAG The concept of “De Niro’s” game is one In the book, Bassam is seemingly driv- It is a story about the whole country not of passion and betrayal. Can you expand en by the need to escape Lebanon and just a particular geography though there on the experiences that led you to write it George by the need to prove something to are a lot of references on that particular that way? all of Lebanon. Can you expand on why you community or just the Christian commuI think in a way it was inevitable. It’s a juxtaposed the two needs and do you find nity but that is just where it takes place. war story among other things and I didn’t them exactly alike? I think our generation were not left with

want to write a compromising war story, a novel. I portrayed war at its worst and I didn’t think I would do justice to portray war in the romantic sense. It’s not; having said that, my dilemma is how to portray community in war without stigmatizing it, something so ugly. Of course Lebanon is much more than a war story. In spite of all this harsh portrayal, I think that in the book there is a lot of hope. People might disagree with me but I do think that somehow on a certain level, it is a hopeful story as well.

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I think in a way, the youth was polarized. It’s a story of a generation and I think we weren’t left much choice. Either to leave or to stay and become part of that machine; because the tragedy is, all the resources were concentrated with the few people -mostly the people in powerregardless of what sect or what religion I think. People who read the book, all the Lebanese identify with it though it takes place in certain geography but people who lived in West Beirut or any other part, they exactly know that experience.

too many choices. Either you leave and seek another life or you are immersed in what was available really. It’s a story of survival as well. “De Niro’s Game” is considered pseudofiction by some. Do you agree?

I think it is like all works of fiction. It uses a mixture of the real and the imaginary but it’s based on a lot of things I witnessed. I just fictionalized them. The last part… I didn’t live in Paris, I passed through Paris. My mother didn’t die.

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


LIFE, LOVE, LUST + LEWDNESS | DE NIRO’S GAME

Bassam’s experiences at times seem hallucinatory. Can you tell me why you would move into almost a hallucinatory phase with Bassam?

It’s an exploration of madness and war and what we lived. There is an element of madness; the absurd became so absurd to a certain extent that it overlaps with madness. It’s also generation things. This whole atmosphere of almost comical madness that we all realize that we are living in it. I put it shamelessly in the book. I have no regret putting these passages. As a matter of fact, these are what I most like, these passages because in a way we all during this period, we all tried to escape whether physically or mentally. It’s a book about escape: escape from the individual, escape from the worst.

“IT’S A BOOK ABOUT ESCAPE. ESCAPE FROM THE INDIVIDUAL, ESCAPE FROM THE WORST”

Even before the Militias, George really felt the need to consistently prove something. He consistently needed to prove he was better, stronger, meaner, slicker. Do you think that that is a carryover from him being born and then his father leaving?

RAWI HAGE PHOTO COPYRIGHT OF JOHN W, MACDONALD

Yes, in a way, I think they are both victims. I had some exposure to French culture and I think this romantic [theory] of Russo that men are born good and society ultimately changes them is right. There was a gradual lead to the ugliness and that almost pathological existence that they were both driven to. Yes, I think George felt excluded by society. If you look at the Lebanese Civil War, it started with a certain ideology on both parts. It was started actually by intellectuals. There was this sense of high morality but it degenerated and we were historically left out. The poor people took power and maybe rightly so. It’s not just a religious war, it is a class war too.

Your short stories and “De Niro’s Game” deal with the alienation perceived or otherwise of refugees and immigrants. Bassam when he goes to France he meets with thugs that say, “We don’t want your kind here”. In “The Jinni’s Women”, the man who gets killed in the end uses, “Your kind”. It seems to be a consistent theme, is that from personal experience or do you feel that immigrants are perceived as “Your kind”?

I think it is a universal characteristic of immigrant writing. It is inescapable. Eventually one time in your life, you would feel as though you are the other, you are always reminded. It is that experience that whoever left might eventually might face. It’s not just out of racism, it is out of ignorance.

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Canadian-Lebanese award winning author Rawi Hage was born in Beirut and left during the Lebanese Civil War. Mr. Hage is also a visual artist and has written several short stories. His novel “De Niro’s Game”, was a finalist for numerous prestigious national and international awards, and won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His second novel, “Cockroach”, won the Quebec Writers’ Federation Award and was shortlisted for numerous prestigious awards including the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award, the Writers’ Trust Award, and the Prix Des Libraires Du Québec.

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CULTURE CLASH

When you left Beirut for New York, did you experience a culture shock?

Yes, I think New York in a way -I am still traumatized by the New York experience- was much more difficult than living in the war. In the war there was still that family support and when we lived through the war, there was still community life. It was safe in a very paradoxical way. Everybody knew each other. In New York, the culture shock and being cut off from everything family, access to society was devastating. Your story “The Signora” deals with passion and betrayal. Do you think these two go hand in hand as it is a consistent theme in your work?

Yes, I guess there is a series of failed relationships in my works.

LIFE, LOVE, LUST + LEWDNESS | DE NIRO’S GAME

“WE SHOULD BLAME OURSELVES FOR WHAT HAPPENED” In the story of “The Little Boy and His Friend the Young Fighter”, there is a scene where the fighter dies, the boy simply picks up the gun, starts firing, picks up the shells and walks away. For me, as a person reading that, that symbolizes the immunity that we have all grown to violence and death. I would venture to say that that little boy is a symbol of everything in the civil war where after a while, violence is kind of normal. Would you agree with that?

I think I pushed it a little bit to the limit here. I was just showing to an extent that we have to preoccupy ourselves with other things except the war and I

think that little kid is so obsessed; all that was left of him was that collection of bullets; the ultimate refuge and in a way it’s a way of coping with a big tragedy. It is exaggerated but it’s a psychological short story. How do you see the current picture of Lebanese society?

I think Lebanon had a potential to become this great experience, this great place. It’s an internal malfunction and constant external interference. We are a victim of a regional war but at the same time, we should blame ourselves for what happened. If we were strong enough we wouldn’t have these outside things to dictate our lives and our politics. Having said that, I think also there is a lot to be admired by society. I think compared to all the places around us, we still have some kind of tolerance as crazy as that sounds. It’s a great place. It has contributed to the whole region if not the whole world a lot in terms of culture. It may be a pseudo-democracy but it is still some kind of democracy, the press is still the most free press in the region. The frankness of debate is startling and amazing and if you compare it to the political correctness of Canada and the West, it is amazing what can be said. In a way, we do fight with each other but we also talk and we talk frankly. It is a great thing SYPNOSIS FROM HARPER COLLINS Childhood best friends Bassam and George have grown to be men in war-ravaged Beirut. Now they must choose between the only two futures available to them: to stay in the devastated city and consolidate power through crime or to go into exile abroad, alienated from the only existence they have ever known. Told in a distinctive, captivating voice that fuses vivid cinematic imagery, a page-turning plot, and exquisite, dark poetry, “De Niro’s Game” is an explosive portrait of life in a war zone and a powerful meditation on what comes after. It has recently been made into a feature film.

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RAGGED THREE FACTS KNOTTY BUSINESS The Triquetra (tri-KWET-ra) or Irish Trinity Knot symbolizes the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit for Christians, but its original meaning goes a little beyond that. It has been associated with the German symbol of Odin, the Valknut, but the Celtic origins of this symbol are blurry: it could have meant anything from earth, air and water, to birth, death and rebirth. In neo-Paganism, it represents the Morrigan, in neo-Wicca, it represents the mind, body and soul or even the Triple Goddess. The circle surrounding the three interlocking triangles is widely believed to symbolize eternity.

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM It is said that marriage is a health booster, but this stops applying to you when you’re on your third walk down the aisle. A 2010 US study showed that people who flit from spouse to spouse might have a cavalier attitude about their own health and this could lead to an early grave. In addition to that, the heartbreak and stress that accompanies one divorce is enough to make someone ill, three divorces might be the death of you!

COUNT TO THREE

Usually, in literature and movies, three characters are necessary to form a balance between their personalities, quirks and strengths: Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Amigos, Three Musketeers, the Three Stooges, Three’s Company, the Three Caballeros… the Golden Trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione), the Three Ghosts of Christmas (Past, Present, Future). Also, most Pokémon have three phases of evolution and you start every game with a choice between three starter Pokémon.

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LET US PRAY Comparative religions are divided into: Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Baha’i Faith), Indian (or Dharmic) religions, and East Asian (or Taoic) religions. The three Jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) and the Sangha (the community of enlightened beings). The Hindu Triad consists of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Norse Mythology’s World Tree, Yggdrasil, had three roots, under each of which lies a Well, and Ragnarök will start with three cockerels crowing – one for the gods, one for the living and one for the dead.

HOLY MOLY In Abrahamic religions, the number three is highly symbolic: the earth rose from the water on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, there are three branches of the Holy Trinity… The number three is one of the most symbolic Christian numbers and is repeated often in the Bible (three kings, three people raised from the dead by Jesus, who was crucified on the third hour for three hours). There are three levels of faith in Islam, which are Islam (to adhere to the pillars of Islam), Iman (to believe in Allah, his book, his messengers…) and Ihsan (to improve oneself for the love of Allah) as well as three holy cities (Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem). In Judaism, three is the number of Shabbat meals, of prayers recited during the day, of Jewish festivals, of the patriarchs of the Jewish people…

SCIENCE SENSE If you want to crunch some numbers, three is the first prime number and, according to Phytagoreans, is the first male number. Anatomically speaking, the ear has three semicircular canals and the middle ear has three ossicles. As for the Final Frontier, there are three galaxy morphological classifications (Elliptical, Spiral and Lenticular), and Earth is the third planet in the Solar System. We’ve got chemistry, and atoms consist of three parts, protons, neutrons and electrons. Let’s get physical in our universe, which is perceived to have three spatial dimensions.

No, we’re not expressing our love for anyone (except you, readers). We’re counting down celebrity marriages that lasted LESS than three years. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were married for a long 72 days, Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley stuck it out for four months, and she stayed married to the King of Pop for less than two years. Another repeat offender is Pamela Anderson, who was Mrs. Rick Salomon for ten weeks and Mrs. Kid Rock for six months. Drew Barrymore loves walking down the aisle and managed to stay married to Jeremy Thomas for 19 days and to Tom Green for just over a year. And who can forget Britney Spears’ model marriage of 56 hours to Jason Allen Alexander? Now that’s romantic <3.

JUNE 2013

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THE FINAL FRONTIER

BENDING

THE RULES OR SEEING THE LIGHT? BY J.E.N.

P

hysicists at the end of the 19th Century had their world turned upside down. Questions surrounding the speed of light were weighing heavy on their heads. There was a lot of disagreement in the ranks despite many seemingly viable theories. None of these eminent physicists were succeeding in painting the full picture. How can we evade Newton’s third law of motion and the impossibility of traveling faster than the speed of light? Looking at the relationship between space and time proved to shed light on this conundrum. And the space-time continuum proved to be the most solid theory.

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BEST SCIENCE FEATURE AUGUST 2011 ISSUE 15

THE TIME-SPACE CONTINUUM IS BOTH DRAWKCAB

+ FORWARD

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) contributed significantly to the space-time continuum. He started rethinking space and time at tender young sixteen (1895- 6) when he pondered what it would be like to travel along with a light ray. By 1905 he had moved ahead with a simple but revolutionary assumption that the laws of physics (and the speed of light) must be the same for anyone moving at constant speed, regardless of their state of relative motion. For this to be true, space and time have to be “converted” into each other. Space and time are relative (after all they depend on the motion of the observer who measures them) and light is more fundamental than either. This is the basis of Einstein’s theory of special relativity. In 1906 Hermann Minkowski, developed a new method for thinking about space and time that focused on its geometric qualities. As his famous words clearly explain, “The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental

physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth, space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.” According to this novel view, space and time (as physical constructs) must be merged into a new mathematical/ physical entity called ‘space-time’. Why? Because the equations of relativity reveal that both the space and time coordinates of any event must get mixed together by the mathematics to accurately portray what we see. Space consists of three dimensions and time is one dimensional. And so it logically follows that space-time is a four dimensional object. Not only that, but space-time is believed to be a ‘continuum’. This means that, to our knowledge, there are no missing points in space or instants in time. It also means that both can be subdivided without any foreseeable limit in size or duration.

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BENDING THE RULES OR SEEING THE LIGHT?

To make a long and rather complicated story short, today physicists see our world in the context of this four dimensional space-time continuum. Spacetime exists rather than evolves. So when we inspect an object we look at spacetime’s spaghetti-like line, which extends from the past into the future and note the spatial location of the particle at every instant in time. This “world-line” is a complete object that can be sliced to see where the particle is located in space at a specific time. Once you establish the complete world-line of the particle from the forces acting upon it, you have ‘solved’ for its complete history. This world-line is a timeless object whose shape does not change with time. After originally having a good laugh at the thought of the fourth dimension, Einstein quickly changed his tune and embraced this theory and even used it to develop his theory of general relativity.

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But let’s move onto the fun now. Contrary to what science fiction would have us believe, we can’t exceed the speed of light though physicists have successfully been accelerating electrons to within a millimeter/sec of the speed of light for years. And yet in science fiction warp speed exists. So imagine you’re on the Starship Enterprise, chillaxing with the crewmembers while cruising at impulse speed (a nice leisurely pace). Then suddenly you get a message that the Borg are near. Since you realize that resistance is futile, you know you have to get away as quickly as possible. And you have to get about 20 light years (117 trillion kilometers) away. Piece of cake. Let the warp drive kick in and enjoy warp speed (traveling faster than the speed of light). And it’s not just Star Trek that has a fascination with moving faster than light. It has captured real scientist’s imagination for

ages. H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine”, Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” and many other sci-fi series explore the possibilities of time travel, teleportation and, of course, warp speed. The prospect of manipulating space and/or time never ceases to prompt scientists (and science fiction writers) to go on a voyage of exploration even if it means getting lost in space

“SPACE BY ITSELF, AND TIME BY ITSELF, ARE DOOMED TO FADE AWAY INTO MERE SHADOWS, AND ONLY A KIND OF UNION OF THE TWO WILL PRESERVE AN INDEPENDENT REALITY.” - Hermann Minkowski

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THE FINAL FRONTIER

DANCING THE ROBOT BY J.E.N.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PARANOID (OR TO HEAR CHICKEN VOICES) TO LOVE ANDROIDS AND OTHER TYPES OF ROBOTS

P

lease could you stop the noise, I’m trying to get some rest from all the unborn chicken voices in my head/ What’s that...? (I may be paranoid, but not an android)” Paranoid Android, from the album “OK Computer” by Radiohead (1997)

The good news is that you don’t have to be paranoid (or hear chicken voices) to love androids and other types of robots. In fact we all have a soft spot for automated creations and things in motion. And it’s all because of a special part of our brain. When we watch someone dancing, a part of the brain that unravels the actions others make (and that you can also do) is active. This is called the “mirror system” and it was always thought to merely help

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us register movements so we can mimic them. But new research shows that this part of our brain does much more than that. It can actually react and relate to actions beyond those we can copy ourselves. Emily Cross (Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands), the co-author of a study presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s annual meeting in 2011 believes that the wide aptitude the brain has can possibly show how we can understand the actions of others and robots without much effort or time. In our daily lives, we regularly encounter actions we can’t mimic without extensive training, such as those of a professional dancer or gymnast. Or even the nonhuman actions of robots in films and TV series. And yet we respond to these ac-

BEST TECH FEATURE MARCH 2012 ISSUE 22

tions anyway. Cross wanted to get to the bottom of this and so she and her colleagues cooked up an experiment. They scanned the brains of 22 participants while they watched a video of a man dancing in a flowing natural way or in a very mechanized robotic manner. They expected that parts of the brain associated with the mirror system would show increased activation in the scan when participants were watching the natural dance. The results were “quite surprising” though according to Cross. Contrary to what was anticipated, the scans revealed really strong activation when participants watched the robot dance. Keen to learn more, the team then tested to see if the identity of the dancer had an impact on the results.

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DANCING THE ROBOT

THE MIRROR SYSTEM AIDS US IN COMPREHENDING THE ACTIONS OF THINGS THAT AREN’T HUMAN LIKE US The team created a video of a dancing Lego man (lovingly named Gresh) and scanned 23 new participants while they watched it. The results again surprised the researchers and went against all preconceived notions of how the mirror system reacts. Regardless of who was dancing (human or robot), the response was stronger to the robotic dance moves. The finding that our mirror system can be activated by an odd robot form doing a dance with unnatural moves is very significant. Cross states: “This is a very seductive hypothesis—that we use our own motor systems to understand the actions of others.” The findings imply that the mirror system isn’t just a “copycat” center. Rather, it aids us in comprehending the actions of things that aren’t human like us. Some deem these findings to be less surprising but not unimportant. Neuroscientist Lisa Aziz-Zadeh

of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles said they “do make a lot of sense.” In fact Aziz-Zadeh believes that the results clearly showing that these parts of the brain react more to less familiar behaviors and actors “may indicate that the mirror system is not just modulated by expertise, but also perhaps by attention, novelty, and other factors.” Learning more about how

the mirror system operates will definitely shed light on how “we process individuals who differ from ourselves” (Aziz- Zadeh). It could unravel the mystery behind how we react when faced with many “dissimilar” things such as character, appearances, ethnicity and more. But for the meantime, we now know more about why we react to robots and love their quirky ways

LOVE MACHINE ROBOTS IN POP CULTURE • WALL-E did more than collect waste in Disney’s 2008 hit. He collected lots of love and scored high on cuteness.

• Who needs Godzilla when you can have MechaGodillaz! Yes, Godzilla in glorious robot form (1974 film). • Der Maschinian-Mensch (aka False Maria) from Fritz Lang’s 1927 tour de force, Metropolis is still a fabulous icon of robotic splendor. • Optimus Prime, the Autobot leader from “Transformers”. Robot? Truck? Cool either way and always ready to roll.

• Happy to be “alive” Johnny-5 from “Short Circuit” (1986) stole many hearts while trying to be a hero. • Motoko Kusanagi is a cyborg who can kick ass while musing over existentialist concerns (“Ghost in the Shell” manga and anime). • Marvin the Paranoid Android is depressed and bored but then again you can’t really blame him since his brain is the size of a planet (“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series). • The Daleks from “Dr. Who” (famous British TV series) have wanted to “Exterminate!” everyone since 1963.

JUNE 2013

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Absolut Vodka’s global Brand Ambassadors Hosted a Spectacular Journey on Lebanese Waters. Absolut Vodka has always challenged standards and this time was no exception. Sailing across the Lebanese shores to inaugurate the summer season, the luxurious “Yacht 42” hosted a select few through a journey into the world of Absolut Vodka. Global brand ambassadors, Johan Ekelund & Rebecca Almqvist entertained the palates of over 100 guests: talented bartenders, media representatives and bloggers through an unparalleled experience.

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CULTURE CLASH OPPOSITE PAGE: STILL IMAGES FROM THE “LEIKI, LEIKI” VIDEO CLIP ON YOUTUBE

BEST HAYDA LEBNEN

HAYDA LEBNEN’s MUSIC TO OUR AUGUST 2010 ISSUE 3

BY SARAH HOURANY

EARS “

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N

a7na ma 3anna banat tetwazzaf bi sh-hadetha!” Very funny, I said to myself. This would make a good hit. And it did. While laying in bed at night, I hear at least 10 cars passing with it on full blast on any given evening. In the living room, the song is replayed with the girls happily singing, plastered with foolish smiles. In the nightclubs, people go crazy when the tune starts. You cannot deny the huge, brainwashing effect this song has especially that it is a really good song, musically speaking. Even I, being a girl working “bi sh-hadetha” can’t resist it! But this song is not the first of its kind. “2ouli bi7ebni”, also by Mohammed Iskandar, and “Leiki, Leiki” by Marwan Chami have been played nonstop on the radio the past few months. Yeah, what a culturally enriching year we’ve had! Face the situation, where women in the year 2010 are still portrayed as dependent and weak human beings whose ultimate role is to please their husbands. What do we do? Should we condemn the writer? Should we boycott the singer? Should we ban the song? Well, start by admitting the message, as strongly as it is opposed by many, is actually a point of view that still exists in our society. This backward mentality should change immediately whether by awareness campaigns, rational feminist movements or simply by criticizing the inserted messages in these songs.

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HAYDA LEBNEN’S MUSIC TO OUR EARS

EIGHT IDEAS

IN LEBANESE POP SONGS OUR BA, MASTERS OR PHD ARE NOT A WASTE. You can still use it to teach your kids the alphabet, to compile your grocery list or even to prepare your household finances. EVEN IF YOU ARE ALLOWED TO WORK, YOU WILL NOT HAVE TIME TO DO SO AS YOU WILL BE TOO BUSY CUDDLING YOUR HUSBAND AND FEEDING HIM. In other words, you have absolutely no clue about time management and your world revolves around him. THE WORK ENVIRONMENT IS ALWAYS MADE UP OF HOT FEMALE SECRETARIES AND HARASSING MALE BOSSES. According to this scenario, you can never be a great employee or a CEO and your boss will definitely hit on you. You boss will also always be a man. IF YOU SUFFER FROM ANY SORT OF WORK HARASSMENT, VIOLENCE WILL SOLVE IT FOR SURE. Your husband will come to the office, beat the people soundly, and shoot them in the head. Problem solved!

“LEIKI, LEIKI”, “2OULI BI7EBNI” AND MORE ARE JUST SOME OF THE ROMANTIC WORDS YOUR PARTNER CAN SING TO YOU. Love, in this context, is achieved by coercion. Love him back, because you don’t have any another choice! YOU ARE A WEAK HUMAN BEING. You don’t know how to protect yourself. Guess what? You are lucky. He will be next to you 24/7 protecting you from all the bad people out there and spoiling you with the gifts you earn by staying isolated from society. He is not suffering from an inferiority complex. He is not insanely jealous. It is just that you are too beautiful! Next time you hear the song, dance hard but pay attention to the inserted messages. I would love to hear the Arabic version of “Independent” by Destiny’s Child or J. Lo’s,“My Love Don’t Cost a Thing”, but what can I do? Ma hayda Lebnen ya 3ayneh!

DAMN YOUR SALARY. With his $500 a month, he can afford the wedding, buy a house, and educate your future children. You do not need to work! HIS CREDIT CARD WILL MAGICALLY REPLACE ALL OF YOUR AMBITIONS. His money will provide you with high levels of self-satisfaction. Forget about your potential and your ability to succeed, “bikaffé ennik ra2iset jomhoriyet albo!” YOU SHOULD NOT INTERACT WITH THE MALE SPECIES! You should not be answering your cell phone without his permission; you should not chat with your cousin, neighbors and friends or else a massacre will take place. Beating and shooting people, these are the qualities of the man of your dreams.

DAMN YOUR SALARY. WITH HIS $500 A MONTH, HE CAN AFFORD THE WEDDING, BUY A HOUSE, AND EDUCATE YOUR FUTURE CHILDREN. YOU DO NOT NEED TO WORK! JUNE 2013

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4

YOU’VE GIVEN WAY TO MASS DELUSION

YOU WISH FOR SUPERPOWERS DISNEY IS NOW PART OF YOUR REPERTOIRE

E H T

YOUR MUSIC CHOICES HAVE CHANGED DRASTICALLY

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E I D P I W R NE OU UR G Y O Y N T RNI A TH TU S IS N GNHIP OW I S S D 10 ION IDE P T S TO ELA UP R IFE L

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YOUR COMPREHENSION OF TIME AND SPACE HAS BEEN DRASTICALLY ALTERED

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YOU SEARCH FOR “DEEPER” PATTERNS

YOU’VE GOTTEN ALL A.A. SUDDENLY

BEST

RELATIONSHIP

FEATURE

!

JUNE 2013

YOU HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO DO THINGS THAT YOU MASTERED IN GRADE ONE

AUGUST 2011 ISSUE 15

YOU CEASE TO BE SEEN AS A LONE ENTITY

YOU HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE

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MON AMOUR, MON AMI

E TH

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E I P ID W R NE U R YO U YO ING AT RN H T TU S IS N GNHIP OW I S S D 10 N E P ATIO SID TO EL UP R IFE L

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1

2

YOUR MUSIC CHOICES HAVE CHANGED DRASTICALLY

DISNEY IS NOW PART OF YOUR REPERTOIRE

Sarah McLachlan does the sultry, “Your love is better than ice cream…” and you suddenly agree, even though you don’t like ice cream and found the song altogether pointless the first time you heard it. You’ve downloaded the Mp3 now and have it on repeat. You catch yourself humming this and other stomachturning tunes throughout the day and you’re even bustin’ out 80s ballads. You play “Name That Tune” together over BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) all day, and one of the hit songs is an R.E.O. Speedwagon gem circa 1986. It gets worse, see number 2.

You already know that Disney’s feature length animated “Aladdin” is really Self and Other (if you don’t then you need to read “Orientalism” by Dr. Edward Said) and depicting the Middle East as 1001 nights complete with magic carpets and barbaric practices is wrong, but suddenly you find yourself spontaneously breaking into a duet of “A Whole New World” with your significant over the phone. What’s worse is that you both really enjoy this sing-a-long! You like it so much that you decide to make a CD together, covering 10 mushy love tracks that no educated adult in their right mind should even consider. The CD is such a great idea that the two of you spend hours, literally, deciding which songs to include and make amendments often. For the cover, you put the first picture of the two of you together with a children’s style heart etched in. Skip to numbers 7 + 8.

4 YOU WISH FOR SUPERPOWERS

When your significant other is sick or in pain, you feel a desperate need to whisk over and save the day. It starts off harmlessly enough, “I wish there was something I could do,” then morphs to, “I wish I was there,” which seems plausible enough. You and your significant other live in different cities, so the wishes slowly become less realistic and soon, altogether fantastical. “I wish I could just fly there right now and pick you up and take all the pain away.” Or “I wish I had a magic wand and I could cast a spell to make you better!” (Good ol’ Harry Potter, again) and even “I wish you were Superman and this was Kryptonite and I could just throw the Kryptonite into space!” Which then leads to another sing-a-long. Yep, you guessed it, “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down. Revert back to number 2. GREEN KRYPTONITE COURTESY OF DC COMICS DATABASE

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3

YOU’VE GIVEN WAY TO MASS DELUSION By mass, we mean you and your significant other. You participate in one another’s fantasy life, co-imagining all sorts of scenarios. When your significant other says in all seriousness, “Imagine there’s an earthquake, and you can only save three people!” in response you quickly rattle off the names of three people you would save. Your significant other is on the list of course. You can play this game for hours because you seem to love to encourage nonsensical chatter in one another. When your significant other pretends she is part of the wizarding world (she’s a Harry Potter fan-girl), you think that’s normal and agree to have a Harry Potter DVD marathon. You are a straight male in your thirties. ‘Nuff said. Skip to number 4.

5

6

7

YOU’VE GOTTEN ALL A.A. SUDDENLY

YOU SEARCH FOR “DEEPER” PATTERNS

YOU HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO DO THINGS THAT YOU MASTERED IN GRADE ONE

You know that the Alcoholics Anonymous rulebook has a lot to do with admittance and acceptance. You accept that you are powerless in the face of this great connection with one another, so just decide to admit it. You stop playing cat and mouse games and really gush at one another privately, and worse, gush at your friends about how great your other half is. “I miss you,” you say 100 times a day, to which your significant other responds, “Well I miss you more,” and then you say, “I miss you so much that I can’t sleep,” or eat or print in block letters like a five yearold. This sounds revolting but when you’re in the thick of it, it just seems meant! You figure, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. God or some kind of grand pattern seems to have brought the two of you together, and it is just that celestial! See number 6.

“We must be meant to be together,” turns into speculations on how you would have met had you not met through your connecting friend. You comb back through your histories trying to determine what brought you to the same place at the same time, even if it was a McDonald’s DriveThru. Then you examine the “energy” between the two of you, what it first felt like when you locked eyes, and how this was a long time coming because, “You are the person I’ve been waiting for my whole life.” Barf. You both like the Golden Ratio, understand each other’s weirdo fixations on Pi, and debate if there is a mathematical algorithm to define your relationship. You draw flow charts, Venn diagrams and decide who gets to be on the X axis and the Y axis. After all this, you decide it is just fate and there’s nothing to be done about it. These scientific schmooze sessions soon deteriorate. See number 7.

Forget that there was a time in your life that you could puzzle through engineering equations. That’s over and done with. You can’t even add anymore using Cardinal numbers or formulate basic sentences that your eight year-old niece could easily string together. You now are reduced to speaking in symbols and emoticons. You send each other equations on BBM that look like this: Heart + Finger Pointing = Smiley Face. The one he sent you last night? Broken Heart + Hugging + Idea Bubble + Beer Glass = Clock. This string of pictures means, “I’ll soothe your broken heart with wining, dining and affection in 24 short hours, I promise!” How you figured that out in anyone’s guess, but the fact that you did only reaffirms your fate reasoning in number 6. When you share these emoticon equations with your friends, you get only one back: Green Sick Face. Go to number 8.

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MON AMOUR, MON AMI

E TH

F L

E I P ID W R NE OU R Y U YO ING AT RN H T TU S IS N GNHIP OW I S S D 10 N E P ATIO SID TO EL UP R IFE L

S

8

9

YOU HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE

YOU CEASE TO BE SEEN AS A LONE ENTITY

Rather than speaking during your three hour phone marathons, you begun to make noises. And when you do actually use words, they don’t exceed two syllables. This isn’t onomatopoeia like bam, bing, or whoosh, it’s whines, shrieks, and gurgles. You coo at one another like a pair of turtle doves and when your friends are around they’re so sick of the lovebird routine that they encourage you to, “Go ahead, talk in my room. I don’t mind really!” He calls to say hi between meetings and you respond with “Awwwwwwwwwwww!”. You call to say you aren’t feeling well and his immediate, “Ohhhh” is sometimes followed by, “Baby!” This falls under the two-syllable rule, you no longer use words that exceed two syllables if you use words at all. The exception to this rule is baby talk. This is never okay- and we really mean never, but sometimes when she gets going, you think it’s cute. Yes, hang your head in shame because the baby-talk stuff really is bizarre. Revert back to number 7.

You want to spend every waking moment together. And you do whenever possible. You’re pretty much crazyglued to one another and cease to be considered separate entities. People begin to issue you invites as one person and your hips don’t lie: that is to say you start to look like weird femalemale Siamese twins, joined at the hip in public and in private. When you do tear yourselves away from one another to operate as functioning adults, say for umm work, you start with the emoticon equations again and the A.A. stuff. You also want to spend every non-waking moment together: under this falls sleeping, meditating, sedation and yes, even being comatose. This article has made us comatose. Keep the PDAs to a minimum please and flip back to numbers 5, 7 + 8.

10 YOUR COMPREHENSION OF TIME AND SPACE HAS BEEN DRASTICALLY ALTERED

You just spent four hours on the phone together and then you wonder where your day has gone. “It felt like five minutes”, you both agree after you hang up the call and start texting one another that you while you talked about nothing, “It was still amazing”. You idle away the whole hour you aren’t together, feeling as though it has been a week. When you are in different cities you begin to run countdowns like NASA in your status messages on Facebook, WhatsApp and BBM to the huge irritation of your contact list: T-minus two days, then it evolves to hours. When you’re finally together, your visual spatial sense seems to take a nosedive because you just can’t get close enough! If you are both in the same room but not touching, your move into each other’s orbits quicker than a blink. It’s gravitational pull that can’t be helped. Distance is exaggerated and you feel that your partner sitting on the other couch is way too far away, like light years away! Revert back to numbers 6 + 7

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MIND, BODY+SOUL

HELP ME

NOUR+RABIH

TO ASK A QUESTION send your problems to helpmenour@ragmaglive.com TO JOIN THE READER RESPONSE PANEL send your name, age, and email address to helpmenour@ragmaglive.com subject line: Interactive Panel We will contact you if you are chosen to participate.

BY NOUR OBAJI + RABIH FEGHALI

I am living abroad and I feel it is time to move back home to Lebanon, however I’m Lebanese, 30, and single. The idea of living with my parents again is haunting me and the society I grew up in doesn’t accept a woman living alone? “Society shmociety... if we’re going to stick to the rules set by society in everything we want to do, we won’t progress, ever. To hell with society, in my opinion. You’re a strong, independent woman! I say get your own place and don’t listen to what people say. Oh, and welcome back to Lebanon.” Natalie, 26 “Who says the idea of moving back ‘home’ to Lebanon instantly means having to live with your parents again? Any society will always find something to frown upon... the best people out there were the ones that paved the way, not followed the next loser. Live alone. Be happy. It’s your life.” Eiman, 27

WE’VE RECEIVED TONS OF QUESTIONS REVOLVING AROUND CULTURE AND THE LIMITATIONS WE FACE AS LEBANESE WOMEN NOUR’S VOTE This issue (as in every issue), we’ve received tons of questions revolving around culture and the limitations we face as Lebanese women. It is definitely difficult to move back in with your parents after being on your own. It is about personal space, and being free in that space. You didn’t mention restrictions like curfews, so I will assume you are talking from a privacy and feeling-free standpoint. What I mean by feeling free is free to walk around naked if you so choose. It is true that women living alone are frowned upon, but it is becoming very common these days and for your own sake you may just want to take the chance. Try talking to your parents first. If you decide to tread the much beaten path and move back in with them, you can always do the trial period rigmarole and decide after three months if you can hack it.

RABIH’S VOTE To the 30 year-old, you’re probably living it up where you are right now and moving back sounds like you would be moving to an old folk’s home in some village. Stay where you are.

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NOW OPEN IN LEBANON AT ABC DBAYEH - L3 TEL 00961 4 418602

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My best friend texts my boyfriend and she thinks that’s normal. Should I say something or will that ruin our friendship? Am I overreacting? “Whether your friend thinks it’s normal or not, if you are uncomfortable with the idea then your friend should understand that and respect that he’s your man and it’s your relationship. If your man is giving her attention then maybe it’s not just your friend’s fault. Speak to your boyfriend first, if he doesn’t start the conversation or reply to your friend then your friend will get the hint and stop messaging.” Sarah, 27 “From personal experience, I can tell you that it could very well be nothing -I was really good friends with my best friend’s ex, but that was the extent of our relationship. However, it could be something: I’ve seen a friend fall for his girl’s best friend because they just clicked better.” Amina, 32 “There’s forward and joke texts, and then there’s ‘What are you doing tonight?’ texts. I’d ditch them both without mentioning a thing. When they’re lonely, tired of each other, and looking for company you’ll be the one laughing.” Ghada, 30

NOUR’S VOTE This to me doesn’t take a lot of thought. There is chit-chatty stuff like, “Hey, what’s up?” and there is, “Let’s get together.” If it is the former, you are clear and good. If it is the latter then you either need to speak to one or both, if it’s worth the energy that is or walk away from him. Friends are there forever, guys come and go. All the women thought this question was a valid one, but Rabih doesn’t. Judging by his response, he thinks we are dense for not noticing the obvious.

RABIH’S VOTE No habibti, she is helping him plan you a surprise! What do you think? Obviously she likes him, WTF? Why does this feel like a teeny bop magazine?! How bad is it to give up on your career if it doesn’t pay you much and look for a job that pays you more? “Changing your job simply because you want to make more money is not a good idea. ‘Money won’t buy happiness’ might sound cliché but it’s actually true. Your current job might not be paying much but don’t mix that up with your career. Try getting a part-time job beside your current job to make extra cash.” Sonna, 29 “You can’t waste more time hoping that your current job will pay you more. Before you know it, it will be five years down the road and you’re still in the same place. So go out there and keep looking until you find the right paying job. It must be a hard decision to leave a career which you have built, but life isn’t easy nowadays, and you need the cash so just do it!” Josie, 34

NOUR’S VOTE You don’t sound as though you want to leave your career, but you do sound frustrated with waiting for better compensation. While money paves the way to comfort it is not a good driving force behind anything. Giving up something that challenges you and makes you happy, although facing financial strain is difficult and may detract from the enjoyment of your career, is still a lose-lose situation. You may make more, but you won’t necessarily derive the same satisfaction. A simplistic way of looking at this how much are you willing to give up and at what price? Our panel was pretty divided on this with some encouraging you to go for the gold, and others wanting you to stay with your career. Nour is sticking with career.

RABIH’S VOTE It doesn’t matter what career you take, what job you’re in, or even how much it pays. They say that as long as you’re doing something you love, you will not work a single day in your life. So I suggest that you look at it from a different angle, dig deep within yourself and find out what it is that makes you happy instead.

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MIND, BODY+SOUL

One of my male coworkers is engaged but he keeps hitting on me, SMSing me all the time and asking me out. He says he’s not joking and that he doesn’t care if he’s engaged. I tried telling him no, but he hasn’t stopped. Help! “He sounds like an immature little brat. He knows what he’s doing is wrong but still continues to do it. I wouldn’t even bother with him anymore. Keep it business with him. I wouldn’t even bother asking how his day is going. Don’t reply to his calls or messages. If he continues to harass you, report him to your boss.” Patty, 25

Is it only Arab culture that makes you feel that by the age of 30 you should be married? Can’t a woman live single for the rest of her life without being judged and without society pitying her?

“He seems like one of those guys that even though they are engaged or not will continue to date other woman (or attempt to date other women) behind his partner’s back. So in this case, whether you have a slight attraction towards him or not, I think it’s best to completely cut him. If you need to speak to him for work matters be professional about it, don’t lead him on in any way.” Daniella, 28

“No, it isn’t the Arab culture, I choose to stay single and I live outside of Lebanon and believe me, it’s the same everywhere. All the time... I see it the sly looks and the pitying ones. If being single is truly your choice, you have to learn to completely ignore people and rise above what people may say to you.” Amelia, 36 “At least they’re not asking us to be married by 20 and mothers-offive by 24, right? I don’t believe that there is a specific age to get married, but I sure get a lot of gasps when I say I don’t want to get married before I’m 32. My mom did it, and I turned out fine... Don’t let society dictate your life and live it the way you want!” Vicky, 24 “You just need to tell them that you’re happy being single and enjoying your life and that there is nothing wrong with your choice. When you’re ready to find someone, you will do so, but not because they want you to. They’ll get the hint.” Miriam, 32

NOUR’S VOTE You can live single and happy, but you’ll probably be judged. That’s the truth of it. But do you really care? Let’s scale this down a few notches. If you were the first of your friends to wear ballerina slippers, chances are you would have the fashion victim looks to contend with. Some of them might like the ballerina experiment and support you. Either way you clearly don’t care since you are wearing them anyway. Ignore the pity party and even the well-intentioned hook up offers (See? We do know what you’re going through). Pick up and move to another country and enjoy the liberty that being single gives you. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. But other people do, especially since when they want to pick up and leave, they have other people to take into account, and you my free friend, do not.

RABIH’S VOTE 30 is the new 20- live it up girl! The only issue is that the odds start waying against you in terms of finding a suitable mate, the older you get. So in my opinion, if you do meet someone “worthy”, try to nurture the relationship into something meaningful.

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NOUR’S VOTE Why has no one said the words sexual harassment yet? All the responses from our interactive panel focused on how to deal with the fact that an “engaged” guy is hitting on you. What about focusing on the fact that he is your colleague? And the fact that you should not have to feel uncomfortable at your place of work, especially in this context. Discuss this with him, and explain that the next SMS will be forwarded to your Human Resources department or his immediate superior. Personally, I would go with Human Resources and carbon copy your superior and his.

RABIH’S VOTE Stop entertaining his advances- cold turkey... Don’t even respond to his messages. He’ll stop once you ignore him for a while. And no, don’t threaten to tell his fiancé! It’ll only make things worse

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MIND, BODY+SOUL

APPLYING

OHM

BEST

MOTIVATIONAL

FEATURE

SEPTEMBER 2011 ISSUE 16

MANTRAS FOR A HEALTHY MIND BY MATTHEW HUSSEY

A

healthy mind, like a healthy body, needs to be fed well if you want to keep it in good shape. It’s important that we don’t simply become passive receptacles, allowing our moods to be dictated by what TV, friends, family, or any other sources that have an influence on our self-worth. It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s moods, which is why it’s important to have some healthy mantras to keep you boosted when you most need it. I want to share some of my favorites, so that no matter how much life throws you around, your internal mind remains an unshakeable rock of zen-like power.

“WE DETERMINE OUR WORTH”

Worrying might give you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. When we find ourselves caught in a trap of anxiety, this mantra always reminds us that it boils down to two choices: We worry or we work on it. And it reminds us how important it is to always push for the latter.

I stole this one from the film “Jerry Maguire”. There is a touching scene where Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character feels at his lowest because he’s not being valued as a football player. When he feels like he’s going to have to lie down and accept it, his wife reminds him, “Honey, we determine our worth. No one else.” I always have a soft spot for this moment because it shows true resilience in the face of adversity. One of the hardest challenges we face in life is resisting against those who tell us what we can or can’t do, or who tell us what we don’t deserve. Results don’t determine what you’re worth, but how you perceive your worth does determine your results.

APPLYING OHM

APPLYING OHM

Use this when you are stressing about a future that hasn’t happened yet.

Use this when you are rejected for a job interview or turned down by a date.

“WORRYING ISN’T WORKING”

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY ODETTE KAHWAGI FOR RAGMAG’S OHM ISSUE, SEPTEMBER 2011

“TODAY’S ACTION, TOMORROW’S RESULTS”

This mantra always reminds me that no matter how mammoth that task seems, it’s just a case of breaking it down into day-by-day blocks of work. Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” might be over 1,000 pages, but it had to be written in daily chunks, sentence by sentence. Most of us are driven into procrastination because we focus too heavily on the finished project, but we can make anything manageable if we get into the habit of chipping away daily. Your dreams aren’t made by one heroic action, just think of all the little actions you can take today that will bring you a step closer to the life you envision. Then do the same thing tomorrow.

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APPLYING OHM

Use this when you are procrastinating from ever starting that big project/novel/business.

“STEP UP!”

The modern world can be a stressful place to be. If you fill your mind with catastrophic world events on the news, problems of family and friends, economic troubles, regrets about things you could have done differently, it becomes all too easy to take on responsibility for things that are completely out of your control. Give yourself a break, learn to simplify and focus on what you can do to fix things, and then let the rest go. What’s more, if you keep looking at the past, you risk letting the future pass you by.

Sometimes, we just need to remind ourselves to put ourselves forward. None of us want to be a background character in our own life. Being too shy to speak up, or never taking risks can result in us missing all the best opportunities to have fun, be happy and grow as a human being. Telling yourself to step up reminds us that sometimes, in spite of everything we have to suck it up, forget our resistance and break through the wall of fear holding us back from taking the big risks we know we should. This one is all about pure emotion, when you just need an adrenaline shot of crazy courage to break through your mental barriers. Every time you say it, speak it loud and clear in your mind, start walking tall and let it give you all the positive force you need. Then go!

APPLYING OHM

APPLYING OHM

Use this when you are overwhelmed by the world’s problems, and need to prioritize.

Use this when you are asking for a date, giving that big speech, doing anything that terrifies you

“I CAN ONLY CHANGE WHAT’S IN FRONT OF ME”

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MIND, BODY+SOUL

SKINNY

BITCHES BY MARIA-ELENA KASSAB

SHE KNOWS THAT, COME TOMORROW MORNING, IT HAS TO START ALL OVER AGAIN. SHE KNOWS THAT SHE’LL LOOK AT HERSELF IN THE MIRROR A FEW DAYS FROM NOW AND HATE WHAT SHE’S DOING TO HERSELF, AND SHE’LL GO BACK TO DIETING. JUST BECAUSE SHE KNOWS, DOESN’T MEAN SHE CAN STOP

I

magine this scene: a crowded, hip restaurant; a group of close and not-so-close friends sitting together at a table. They’re all laughing, talking and generally having a good time reading the menus and trying to figure out what they want to order. The girls are cool, the guys are awesome. A waiter comes up to the table and asks everyone what they would like to drink. Diet sodas all around– save for a few beers. The girls are talking about purses and the new bra collection at La Senza. The guys discuss the latest soccer game and take turns poking fun at the supporters of the losing team, all in good fun. The waiter then comes back and asks everyone what they want to eat. And it starts. “I don’t think I’m gonna have anything,” one slender girl pouts. Her friends ask her why, and she quietly says she’s on a diet with a well-rehearsed grimace. Instantly, everyone starts asking her why she’s on a diet when she’s so hot and no, she doesn’t need to starve herself– quite the opposite and “You’re not the one that needs to go on a diet, honey, I am.” The last sentence is spoken by yet another thin female friend who’s glaring at the menu and considering asking for a lettuce leaf to munch on. “But you’re so skinny!” her

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BEST PERSONAL ESSAY JULY 2010 ISSUE 2

undernourished bestie gasps while unconsciously wrapping her arms around her middle to hide what she calls “belly-bulge”. All the while, one person remains silent. Her hair falls on her face, hiding her eyes that are slightly narrowed in a smirk. Depending on who is looking, she can be either a “bigger, plus-sized” girl, or a “curvy and voluptuous” girl. Fat.

WHEN SHE GOES HOME, TWO BAGS OF CHIPS WILL BE WAITING ALONG WITH A PINT OF STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM AND A HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA SHAKE THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


SKINNY BITCHES

THIS PAGE: DR. HEISENBERG’S MAGIC MIRROR OF UNCERTAINTY SERIES, 1998 BY DUANE MICHALS

She sighs internally, silently grumbling about skinny girls that think they need to go on diets and then tell her she’s perfect the way she is. She thinks about the clothes they can pull off and the stuff she wants to wear and can’t, and they tell her it’s just not her style and she can wear stuff they’ll never be able to. She remembers all the times she went to the beach and felt out of place with her chunky legs, hips, tummy and loose arms while surrounded by lean legs, taut stomachs, and slender hips. Every time she starts liking her body as it is, every time she starts to accept the fact that she’s in great shape –round is a shape, shut up– she catches a glimpse of her so-called “chubby” friends looking stunning in a miniskirt or a barelythere two-piece, and it’s bye-bye selfconfidence, hello self-loathing. And she orders a salad with light dressing, just like all the other girls –except for the really sporty one with the SpeedyGonzalez-meets-Usain-Bolt metabolism; that metabolic miracle orders a huge ass cheeseburger with curly fries and a (non-diet) coke float.

she burned in her Tae Bo classes will all be negated when she gets home. She knows that, come tomorrow morning, it has to start all over again. She knows that she’ll look at herself in the mirror a few days from now and hate what she’s doing to herself, and she’ll go back to dieting. Just because she knows, doesn’t mean she can stop. Binge for two days, starve for one day, three Tae Bo classes, and two hours on the treadmill. Four days later, the whole group is back at the same place, at the same time. The menus haven’t changed much in the span of a week, and neither has the group. The guys are still talking

about soccer. The ladies however have moved on from bras to boy-shorts. “It is totally replacing the thong, believe me. Besides, it makes even my elephant ass look hot,” says skinny friend number six. I attempt to divert the conversation from pachyderm-like rears and ask the boy splitting a chicken wrap with me. “I don’t want to eat anything tonight! I’ve gained two kilos already! I’m gonna be in a bikini soon, so there is no way I’m eating anything from now until October!” my skinny friend whines. Here we go again. “I’ll have a salad, light dressing on the side, please.” This is my life on the Big List

EVERY TIME SHE STARTS TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT SHE’S IN GREAT SHAPE –ROUND IS A SHAPE, SHUT UP– SHE CATCHES A GLIMPSE OF HER SO-CALLED “CHUBBY” FRIENDS LOOKING STUNNING IN A MINISKIRT OR A BARELYTHERE TWO-PIECE, AND IT’S BYE-BYE SELF-CONFIDENCE, HELLO SELF-LOATHING But she knows that, when she goes home, two bags of chips will be waiting along with a pint of strawberry cheesecake ice cream and a homemade peanut butter and banana shake. And she knows that she’s going to feel guilty while eating it and after eating it, and that she’s going to mess her diet up. She knows that all her hard work the previous day, all the stuff she didn’t eat, all the calories she avoided, all the ones

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MIRROR, MIRROR

THE

SOUND

OFMUSIC THE HABTOOR ELIXIR SPA COMMITS TO YOUR WELL BEING BY FIDA CHAABAN

BEST SPA REVIEW MAY 2011 ISSUE 12

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I

have a fever,” I say to the reception desk at the Grand Habtoor Elixir Spa. I’m sick again! Every single time I go to review a spa I am getting the flu. Is it me or my timing or what? It’s no wonder they’re looking at me quizzically, I’m not entirely sure I’ve introduced myself, nor am I sure if I’ve even said hello. The esthetician smiles at me sympathetically, “Well, maybe we can make you feel better.” There’s something about this girl... hmm there’s something about this whole place. I am taken on a walking tour of the Habtoor and gradually, reality starts to slip away. It is hard to determine the cause since I’m trying to keep up with her brisk pace. I’m following the sound of her tinkling voice but not really hearing her words. I do clue in long enough to hear her describe the treatment I’m about to receive that will “take all [my] aches and pains away.” I feel as though I’m about to hear her break into “A Few of My Favorite Things” a la “The Sound of Music” (am I imagining those

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THE SOUND OF MUSIC | HABTOOR ELIXIR SPA

floating music notes?), as I trot down the hallway behind her. She’s taking me, uh where is she taking me? I don’t know, but I do pass room after opulent room, and those rooms have everything from stand-up tanning beds to huge Jacuzzilike bathtubs. “What’s that,” I wonder aloud in a mumble. “That’s our couple’s room, you see? People have treatments together,” she says escorting me inside. There are rose petals strewn everywhere and flickering candles and I am sure this is where I am supposed to stay. Roses? Hey it’s “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” whoa, did she just say that? I listen closer but she is now describing all the different treatments couples get on holidays and before their weddings. It seems the Habtoor offers just as many services for men as they do for women. The massage beds seem to be inviting me over, but I don’t have a partner. “I want to lay down now,” I say petulantly. I glance in the mirror and see a pout begin to form. “Alright,” she says, her tone that of someone soothing a child, “We’re going to your room now.”

She seems to have changed her appearance, Fraulein Maria is that you? Jason, our photographer, is staring hard at me, he hasn’t seen the I’m-So-Sick- I-CouldBawl mood on me yet. He’s out of character, I think. Shouldn’t he be wearing embroidered breeches or something more Alp-ish? He definitely isn’t Captain Von Trapp material, I decide eyeing him suspiciously as he photographs my new room. I look down at my outfit, I’m certainly not one of the “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes”, but then again who knew I was going to be transported here, to this place? I

want to take my clothes off as my head is pounding and my skin has gotten hypersensitive, another fever side effect. Is she guiding me by the hand? How did I get here? I’m lost in what is easily the biggest spa in Lebanon. We come to a whole other floor in the Von Trapp mansion (I mean the Habtoor spa) and I see what looks to be a cave! There’s a snow room (the only one in Lebanon, I think) and a heated whirlpool here, and guests often layer their treatments and idle away time enjoying the cool mist and the hot waves before or after their appointments, alone or in groups.

SHE SEEMS TO HAVE CHANGED HER APPEARANCE, FRAULEIN MARIA IS THAT YOU? PHOTOGRAPHY JASON ZAMORA

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MIRROR, MIRROR

THE SOUND OF MUSIC | HABTOOR ELIXIR SPA

MORE CANDLES, MORE ROSES EVERYWHERE, AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THERE ARE HOT ROCKS AND FRAULEIN MARIA IS DRAWING THEM UP AND DOWN THE LENGTH OF MY LEGS The snow room draws me back and I peak inside, “Snowflakes that melt on my nose and eyelashes,” there it goes again! Who is singing that! My fever is raging now, I am sure of it and my eyes well up with tears. Cry baby that I am when I get sick, my friends and family can vouch for the fact that I will spontaneously burst into tears when I get the flu. Not once, more like every ten minutes. I undress, but I can’t tell you where or how. All I know is that Fraulein Maria has given me a comfortable white robe and now I’m laying down cuddled in blankies, err make that blankets. More candles, more roses everywhere, and all of a sudden there are hot rocks and Fraulein Maria is drawing them up and down the length of my legs. It feels like the blood is rushing upwards. More hot

rocks along my torso and even around my collarbone and neck area. There is a warm fluid being applied and Fraulein Maria seems to be drawing away my achiness with her hot rocks that she palms expertly. I begin to hum, “When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad...” Fraulein Maria should start singing, but she isn’t picking up her cue so I press her, providing the lyrics. She continues to massage and even my scalp

is being worked now but she doesn’t go ahead with the next verse. The massage goes on for what seems like forever, and I begin to drift off to sleep. When I wake I am invigorated and although my fever remained, my morale is boosted, as I drink tea made in “bright copper kettles”. Next time I don’t feel so hot, I’ll visit the Habtoor and all I have to do “is simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel... so bad!”

Disclaimer: RAGMAG cannot be held responsible for the author singing off-key in your head while you read this spa review

“WHEN THE DOG BITES, WHEN THE BEE STINGS, WHEN I’M FEELING SAD...”

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BE A DOE, A DEER, A FEMALE DEER The Elixir Spa Habtoor Grand Hotel Convention Center & Spa Sin El Fil, Beirut 01500666 grandbeirut@habtoorhotels.com www.ragmag.co | R A G M A G | 85 www.grandbeirut.habtoorhotels.com


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NEW + NOW

FOUR SQUARE Four Seasons Hotel Beirut marks the start of the summer season with the opening of “The Roof”, Lebanon’s highest rooftop lounge at 119 meters (390 feet) above sea level. “The Roof” is located on the 26th floor and is situated near the pool. Guests enjoy watching the sunset and later relaxing under a canopy of stars with a breathtaking wraparound view of Beirut’s downtown skyline, mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. The modish urban tapas lounge offers the perfect perch from which to enjoy sundowners and balmy summer evenings to the tune of the season’s hottest club tunes. “The Roof” comes into its own this year with an upgraded set up featuring elevated perches to make the most of the views, and sunset-facing seats. A floating oasis, the open-air lounge is designed to create a chilled out vibe, with trendy soft seating and live spun DJ music from 7:30 pm to 2:00 am Tuesday through Sunday. Complementing the spectacular setting is a menu of tapas and Asian-inspired bites, ranging from crisp salads to siu mai dumplings and satays. The beverage list offers an impressive selection of classic and reinvented cocktails, and smoothies made from the freshest ingredients.

SUPERIOR INTERIOR Bentley is delighted to announce a partnership with Club House Italia for the development of its new Bentley Home Collection. This exclusive collection of furniture and homeware will combine the finest quality craftsmanship with exquisite modern design and the luxury finishes which underlie Bentley’s renowned global brand. The

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state-of-the-art collection will combine traditional elements in contemporary contexts to enhance today’s residential, commercial and executive office interiors. Stefan Buescher, Director of Product and Marketing, Bentley Motors, said: “For more than 90 years Bentley has produced the world’s finest hand-crafted car interiors – now we

are making our approach to luxury available to people’s homes and offices.” Club House Italia -which furnishes the finest homes, boardrooms, apartments, hotels, yachts and private jets- will reflect Bentley’s elegant, prestigious and recognizable style in the creation of a range of furniture that combines the highest attention to detail with the finest aesthetic sensibility. The essence of Club House Italia is expressing the style of desire, giving a shape to luxury through a contemporary art made up of talent, sensitivity and expertise. Combined with Bentley’s legendary style and exquisite craftsmanship, the partnership will offer rare examples of elegance and fine finishes, using the world’s most beautiful materials to bring out unique elements of character and craftsmanship. The new Bentley Home collection will combine the traditional elan of the British driver’s spirit with a new modern English twist, an approach so superbly articulated in the Bentley suite at the St Regis hotel, New York. There, the combination of traditional and modern reaches a new dimension in the use of leather, precious wood veneers, steel, wool, silk and glass throughout the suite, and the distinctive quality of each object mirrors that of a Bentley model’s performance and luxury core elements. The full collection launch will take place at the Maison et Object International show in Paris, January 2014.

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STYLE MILE DRESSED BY

ONE LUCKY READER WON A FULL OUTFIT COURTESY OF THE JACK & JONES PREMIUM COLLECTION! STYLED EXCLUSIVELY BY RABIH SALLOUM, RAGMAG READER ADIB SAYEGH WAS GIVEN THE FULL SHEBANG AT THE HAMRA LOCATION. NOW DON’T YOU LOOK READY TO ROLL!

GET ON THE HIT LIST @JackandJonesME

Jack & Jones

JackandJonesME

PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL STYLING by RABIH SALLOUM of SLUTTERHOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY by DEEMA J. SAIDI of PLUSH BEIRUT

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@Slutterhouse @PlushBeirut

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MIRROR, MIRROR

CALLING

ALL REAL MEN THE GROOMING ESSENTIALS BY BEAUTY FOR MEN Guys, looking for a refresher? Look no further than the Beauty for Men Spa & Care Center (BFM) by Maguy Nassar. Even the skeptics out there are bound to experience a change in perspective on men’s grooming and personal care once they take BFM for a spin. Founder Nassar says she was aiming to cater to the male client who is focused on health and wellbeing, and who also needed a place to unwind and kick back. As BFM was created conceptually with the male comfort zone in mind, Nassar focused on developing the ideal environment for a Mediterranean grooming routine. A Mediterranean male skin is characterized by larger sebaceous glands, bigger pores, and a thicker overall texture. The continuous toll taken by shaving and even element exposure eventually tires out the skin- hence the aesthetics specialists at BFM. Be sure to call in and ask the experts at BFM about their Father’s Day specials!

A multitude of men’s body care treatments are made available at BFM: services such as fat treatment, muscle firming, lymphatic drainage, waxing, massage and foot care are all popular and have a repeat clientele. Permanent hair removal services for men are also available. Face and skin treatments include eye, and wrinkle reduction via hyaluronic acid, a non-invasive treatment that ensures quick results

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FACE THE FACTS Beauty for Men Spa & Care Center Pasteur Street, Zoghbi Center 45, Third floor Gemayzeh, Beirut 01560102 | 01407717 www.ragmag.co | R A G M A G | 91 www.beautyformen.net BeautyForMen @BeautyForMen


MIRROR, MIRROR

SUMMER

SCENT-SATION FANTASTIC FRAGRANCE LOOK NO FURTHER! THE TOP FRAGRANCES FOR HIM + HER SUMMER 2013 ARE HERE. WE’VE CHOSEN TWO NEW EDITIONS WITH A FRESH VIBE TO KEEP YOU COOL WHEN IT’S GETTING HOT.

DOLLAH DOLLAH BILL FOR HIM

1 MILLION INTENSE BY PACO RABANNE It’s all about contrasting notes with 1 Million Intense, the 2013 edition of Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million. The top notes are spicy –sweet cardamom, hot black pepper, and citric– blood mandarin, wrapped in warmer scents of nutmeg and cumin. The middle notes of zest of cinnamon and neroli give way to woody base notes of creamy sandalwood, and spicy pepperwood. Now that’s hot!

SWEET TOOTH FOR HER CANDY L’EAU BY PRADA

We like the 2013 edition of Prada’s Candy, Candy L’Eau, with its new notes of citruses and blooms. Opening with fresh Italian citruses, Candy L’Eau then blends into middles notes of sweet pea. The base notes of benzoic, white musk and caramel make it a gourmet fragrance to wear all summer long.

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MIRROR, MIRROR

BIRD OF PARADISE DIOR REINVENTS THE LEGEND Diorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vibrant Summer 2013 collection is inspired by the legendary and colourful bird of paradise. The range presents a bevy of shimmering tropical colours- gold, azure blue, peacock green and hibiscus pink lighten up the skin and the eyes, while lips are tinted pink, coral and peach.

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MIRROR, MIRROR

GET THE DIOR LOOK This collection has inspired Violette, Dior Makeup Designer, to create two makeup styles: Wild Feather and Glowy Exotic. Voted Best Evening Makeup Summer 2013 by the RAGMAG team, we’re giving you a few tips on how to recreate the Wild Feather look!

WILD FEATHER FACE + CHEEKS Go for a bare and tanned look with a sun-kissed effect. Use Diorskin Nude Tan Paradise Duo EYES Create a summer smoky eye makeup with blue and exotic greens. Use Product 5 Couleurs palettes 374 Blue Lagoon or 434 Peacock LIPS Keep it simple on the lips so you have a balanced makeup. Use Jelly Lip Pen in a nude brown 516 Copacabana NAILS Go for extravagance on tips and toes! Use Dior Vernis Bird of Paradise Samba 001 duo

INDUSTRY INSIDER There’s a reason that the Bird of Paradise nail laquers come in pairs. Dior wants you to wear it like a mixed-colour bikini-set! Wear one shade of the duo on your hands and the other on your feet. Try out our fave combo- the surprising Bahia 002 Duo of Hibiscus Pink and Petroleum Blue.

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BIRD OF PARADISE | DIOR REINVENTS THE LEGEND

STAR

PRODUCT DIORSKIN NUDE TAN PARADISE DUO

Get the collector’s edition Diorskin Nude Tan Paradise Duo! It’s a powder that combines bronzer on one side to even out and brighten the complexion, and blush on the other side to sculpt cheekbones and add a pop of colour. Available in two matching-shade palettes, 001 Pink Glow and 002 Coral Glow, this is a go-to product for both daytime and evening makeup.

RAGMAG’S PRO TIP

For a quick radiance effect on the go, mix the two sides using the Summer Brush and apply on the prominent areas of your face: cheekbones, forehead, chin. With its rounded shape, the Summer Brush provides easy and precise application for a well-blended finish.

J’ADORE DIOR J’ADORE VOILE DE PARFUM The House of Dior reinvents its iconic fragrance, J’adore. The new edition by Dior Perfume Creator François Demachy, J’adore Voile de Parfum, is not quite the same, nor completely different, based on the floral bouquet of J’adore and keeping the top iris note as the centerpiece of the fragrance. Follows a sensual middle note of Rosa Damascena while in the background, white musk gives the fragrance sweetness and density. What else hasn’t changed? The mythical J’adore amphora bottle with the Masai golden rings necklace. Oui, j’adore!

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MIRROR, MIRROR

BOLD THE BEAUTIFUL

THE

+

LINDA CANTELLO REVEALS ARMANI’S APPROACH TO THE PERFECT FACE

How do you develop the face concept when you are working with a key artistic director? I have been working with a variety of key photographers such as Mario Sorrenti, Paolo Roversi, Mario Testino and David Sims… I love the idea that we’re creating and developing a concept together, enhancing a face to immortalize one’s beauty. In your lengthy career, which faces have you worked on that you believe have been the most striking on camera? Kate Moss and Stella Tennant: they are so different but both have incredible personal style that is very well reflected by the camera. Which conceptual development have you personally been the happiest with in your portfolio? What collaboration do you feel is your most relevant? All the successful designers I have worked with are all charismatic to some extent, but Mr. Armani is the most charismatic of them all, I am quite shy around him, his attention to detail is incredible, and I am really impressed by that, he sees everything! I would say he most definitely has an amazingly holistic vision. Working with him is always about learning, sometimes he asks me to do something that I don’t really understand, and then the penny drops and it’s incredible how

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he sees what makes something mundane like makeup into something magical. He takes my brush and adds a shadow or a line, or breaks a line, and everything transforms. Truly King Giorgio. How do you feel about the Giorgio Armani brand? You’ve said that “Giorgio Armani products are like his clothing. You notice the woman, not what she’s wearing.” Do you believe that all cosmetics should echo this? Yes, of course. Being natural and selfconfident is very important. Now we can have foundations that make the skin look natural. Maestro fusion makeup is an invisible revolution, totally emblematic of this makeup: unique, a real must have, and comfortable to wear. It’s a very delicate line between enhancing the appearance and changing it altogether, can you give some tips to our readers on how to delicately correct sharp angles using Giorgio Armani products? Giorgio Armani products are made to be easy to use and to radically enhance the appearance in the same time. In a few seconds, I get a flawless, perfect skin using Maestro fusion makeup. If I want to emphasize the eyes, I use the Eyes To Kill Intense eye shadow, along with the Eyes to Kill mascara. Finally, I put a matte and luminous lipstick, like

Lip Maestro for a strong mouth for night or a lighter look with the Rouge d’Armani Sheers for day. Which Giorgio Armani product is your personal must-have and why? Maestro fusion makeup. It is very new in its formula, since it is a suspension, not an emulsion: a brand new patented technology that has never been seen before. It’s a complexion perfector that is so easy to apply and so comfortable. All the women will want to use it once they’ve tried it!

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“WORKING WITH MANY TALENTED ARTISTS BROUGHT ME A LOT OF KNOWLEDGE, CULTURE, AND TAUGHT ME HOW TO [LEAVE] MY EGO AT THE DOOR”

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Your Fine Arts education has surely lent a lot of inspiration and influence to your oncamera work. Which artist do you believe influences your artistry most? Egon Schiele and Francisco Goya are the painters I admire most. Working with many talented artists brought me a lot of knowledge, culture, and taught me how to [leave] my ego at the door.

“HE TAKES MY BRUSH AND ADDS A SHADOW OR A LINE, OR BREAKS A LINE, AND EVERYTHING TRANSFORMS. TRULY KING GIORGIO”

THE BOLD + THE BEAUTIFUL | LINDA CANTELLO

For the perfect Giorgio Armani look, what rules of thumb should readers follow? For a beautiful glowing skin with zero foundation, you can begin with the application of Crema Nera on the entire face and then you apply Fluid Master Primer, which is an invisible, transparent skin canvas that smoothes and unifies the complexion. I then suggest that you add a little High Precision Retouch in the right skin colour, in light strokes to forehead, under eyes and around the nose and using your fingers or a brush blend out from the centre of the face. Apply powder sparingly to the centre of the face and around the nose. This will cover any slight imperfections and create a clear, natural glowing skin. Intensify the eyes with Eyes to Kill Intense Mascara and finish with a touch of Lip Maestro or Rouge Ecstasy on the lips. Can you explain what Giorgio Armani products you think best embody the “Armani Glow” philosophy? Flawless, professional makeup begins with a luminous, natural looking complexion. By blending Luminous Silk and Fluid Sheer, any woman can find her perfect skin tone while adding radiance and correcting any imperfections. I like to start by applying Luminous Silk evenly across the face. Then, using the dedicated Blender Brush I can use Fluid Sheer to add definition- layering the weightless products for a customized result. For a more natural look, use Maestro fusion

makeup to perfect the skin in an invisible way, then use the right shade of Fluid Sheer; dab onto cheekbones, around brows, on chin [and so on], to bring a happy glow. And then if you need more coverage use Designer Lift or Luminous Silk and add a little Fluid Sheer in desired shade, straight into base. Then use a sheer cream blush such as Cheek Fabric, blend from the cheekbones outwards, in a soft circular motion so you are left with a well-blended wash of colour rather than an obvious blush

“Giorgio Armani products are like his clothing. You notice the woman, not what she’s wearing.” Linda Cantello Linda Cantello has collaborated with every major photographer in the industry, from Irving Penn and Richard Avedon to Steven Klein and David Sims. After graduating London’s Harrow Art School with a degree in Fine Art, Cantello moved to Rome and reinvented herself as a makeup artist. Having found her way into fashion, Cantello quickly established herself in London, Paris, Milan and New York. She has helped create some of the most iconic fashion and beauty advertising of our time, with Nick Knight, Javier Vallhonrat, and Paolo Roversi in Paris, David Sims in London and Richard Avedon and Steven Klein in New York.

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BACKSTAGE PASS

RAMI AL ALI

SPRING SUMMER 2013 COLLECTION CHARMS US SENSELESS Rami Al Ali’s newest collection for SS13 must be following the third time’s a charm rule: the designer’s third trip to Paris was to showcase his latest work (a nod to “The Great Gatsby”). Al Ali’s SS13 shades suggest two distinct moods; tones of grey, beige and champagne hit the vintage note, while his shocking fluorescents get contemporary. Fabrics such as sheer muslin, flowing lamé and crepe marocain are a few of this collection’s stars, while flapperfringe and depression-era angles are used liberally throughout the designs in an array of long and short gown variations. Art deco? Yes please.

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gianfranco ferr ss 2013

COPYCAT MIX N’ MATCH REAL RUNWAY

RAGMAG SHOWS YOU HOW TO REPLICATE THAT RUNWAY TREND! SEE OUR TAKES ON HOW TO MAKE THE READY TO WEAR, ACTUALLY WEARABLE

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LIGHT mango cocktail dress

valentino sunglasses

V FOR VENDETTA

CRISS CROSS

tiffany & co. bracelet

mugler ss 2013

cushnie et ochs ss 2013

cartier agrafe bracelet white gold, onyx, diamond-paved clasp

katel riou © cartier 2009

ARROW OF TIME piaget watch

LITTLE WHITE LIE

massimo dutti pleated two-tone

versace bag

TIE THE KNOT

rich & royal dress available at gs

etro tie

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE lanvin belt

lanvin men’s heeled lace-ups

TOE THE LINE

salvatore ferragamo open toe chunk stiletto with cut-outs

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panthère de cartier pendant yellow gold, tsavorite garnet eyes, onyx nose

METAL

vincent wulveryck © cartier

tiffany & co. flower ring with a cushion-shaped pink sapphire and pavé diamonds and pink sapphires in platinum photo credit carlton davis

viktor & rolf ss 2013

LAST SUMMER IN THE HAMPTONS

marc jacobs fw 2013-2014

baume & mercier hampton watch

GOLD DIGGER

vionnet metallic silk-blend camisole burberry prorsum metallic coated cotton shirt lanvin bridal collection bag with embellishments and metal work

burberry prorsum pencil skirt

r13 metallic coated skinny jeans

SNEAK PEEK

MAKE THE ROUNDS

dsquared2 metallic silver high top patent leather sneakers

maison martin margiela chainmail scarf

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roberto cavalli ss 2013

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NEW + NOW

MADE FOR YOU At the forefront of fashion in Lebanon, the American brand BCBG MAXAZRIA opened its third branch in ABC Dbayeh to offer a lifestyle collection reconciling sophisticated and chic styles to customers. This prominent fashion trademark is set to attract a large segment of modern women, allowing them to step out thanks to elegant designs incorporated into every garment. The official opening of BCBG MAXAZRIA took place on May 10, 2013.

LIFE’S A BEACH! Calzedonia’s Summer 2013 collection has a selection of one-piece swimsuits with masterful cuts and redesigned silhouettes with a peek-a-boo touch. The new range includes floral prints (under the theme Romantic Flower), and Paisley Style, a cashmere design in the colours of azure and turquoise in tribute to the sea and the summer sun. A popular option from the collection, called Stripes Mania, is one of CALZEDONIA’s most characteristic themes, not to mention the starker play of black-white contrasts. The Out of Water range includes sundresses, shorts, pants, half-jean half-cotton hippy skirts with paisley prints, pleated skirts for a dress code conceived just as much for beach life as for leisure time downtown. The nuances of beachwear themes make for cool and trendy combinations. The Men’s Beachwear range is inspired by the world’s trendiest beaches with its slips, fitted boxers and surfer-style shorts. The palette of colours is embellished with fluorescent details, also applied to the more traditional proposals to craft a sportier type of allure. The selection is ample and always up-to-date: solid colors, prints, stripes and shadings for more or less classic colours ranging from blue to red to green, but without neglecting the micro patterns typical of the male universe.

PANDORA’S BOX Luxury Selections, the official distributor of PANDORA Jewellery in Lebanon, announces the opening of the first PANDORA concept store in Beirut at ABC Mall Achrafieh. PANDORA, a Denmark-based company, is a leading Jewellery brand renowned worldwide for its unique, customized charm bracelets within a very wide selection of exquisite hand-finished sterling silver and 14K gold charms enabling customers to memorialize special and unforgettable moments of their lives. To introduce the brand’s unique universe of high-quality, accessible jewellery, the venue was magically transformed into a cherry blossom garden making this special moments of one’s life, while revealing the latest creation of the Spring/Summer PANDORA collection. Mrs. Karine Alam, Luxury Selections Business Director says, “We are very excited to introduce and extend the wonderful world of PANDORA to the Lebanese market and build on the brand’s high level of international recognition”. The PANDORA shop is located in the heart of the renowned ABC Mall Achrafieh revealing through its wide facade the unique and exquisite PANDORA concept store with all its furniture custom-made in Denmark. PANDORA is recognized by customers all over the world for its beautiful, individual jewelry capturing life’s unforgettable moments and emotions with a high level of aesthetics and excellent craftsmanship. With its unique concept of fashionable yet accessible jewellery of the highest quality, PANDORA is today one of the world’s three largest jewellery brands at retail value within the genuine silver and gold jewellery market.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

IT’S YOUR MAGAZINE

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@ragmagmagazine

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THE GENTLEMEN OF

TED BAKER WEAR IT WITH ÉLAN

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The SS13 Ted Baker collection for men is probably one of the most impactful we’ve seen this year. Ted Baker of London actually originated in Glasgow in 1987, and since then, has dressed some of the sharpest chaps around. If you see a buddy of yours looking particularly dapper this summer, chances are he’s visited the new Beirut City Center Ted Baker boutique and gotten himself a few exceptional pieces. He might even be following the advice of Ted Baker: “Confidence is both a state of mind and a straightened Windsor knot”. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves- hats off to you.

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Get British Mischief of Your Own www.tedbaker-london.com Beirut City Center L2-68 www.ragmag.co | R A G M A G | 111 Hazmieh 01283862


EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

the GRAVITATIONAL

PULL DSQUARED2

BEST FASHION EXCLUSIVE JUNE 2011 ISSUE 13

OF

GLOBAL FASHION FIXTURES DEAN + DAN CATEN EXCLUSIVELY FOR RAGMAG BY FIDA CHAABAN

DESIGN DUO DEAN AND DAN CATEN, KNOWN THE WORLD OVER AS DSQUARED2, PULL YOU INTO THEIR ORBIT WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. ORIGINALLY FROM CANADA, CURRENTLY BASED IN LONDON BUT TRAVELING CONSTANTLY, THE TWIN DESIGNERS HAVE MANAGED TO DO WHAT SO MANY OTHERS HAVE NOT: CHANNEL THEIR INFECTIOUS ENERGY AND LIFE FORCE INTO THEIR CLOTHING. IT HELPS THAT THERE ARE TWO OF THEM. TWO INSANELY CREATIVE, INSANELY UPBEAT AND INSANELY ARTICULATE BROTHERS THAT MAKE UP THE BREAKOUT BRAND, AS THOUGH ONE OF THEM WOULDN’T BE ENOUGH. BOTH THE FASHION AND MUSIC WORLDS HAVE GROWN TO WATCH FOR DESQUARED2’S CREATIONS AND AD CAMPAIGNS, THE NEWEST SHOT BY MERT ALAS AND MARCUS PIGGOTT. THEIR TALENT, CHARM AND SHEER INNOVATION, A MISH-MASH OF MANY DIFFERENT INFLUENCES, TRANSLATES INTO CLOTHING THAT IS BOTH COVETED AND WEARABLE. FOR THEIR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH RAGMAG, DSQUARED2 HAVE ALSO RELEASED PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN AND UNPUBLISHED IMAGES OF THEIR FALL-WINTER 2011 COLLECTION

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“WE SPEAK

AS US.

“WE’RE ALWAYS TOGETHER. WE’RE REALLY JUST TIED TO ONE ANOTHER!”

D

an Caten introduces himself quickly and I can practically feel him smile through the receiver as I ask about Dean, his other half. “We’re always together. We’re really just tied to one another! We’re constantly talking to each other… We see things together,” the twin says when I ask how much time the two actually spend in one another’s company. “We have our own bedrooms in London,” he says when I ask if the two share a home. They share everything apparently; even their love lives are intermeshed. “We like to date at the same time, it makes everything easier,” Dan says in response to my questions about the super-close brotherly connection and if that causes relationship complications. “To date one of us, you kind of have to like both of us. You’re dating two people basically. We have two steady guys and we have our family get-togethers. They’re great guys, they understand our lives. Dean met his, a French-Moroccan man, on vacation in Mexico and I met mine in Miami, he was a Russian working in a restaurant trying to learn English.” Speaking from personal experience, I remark that it’s difficult to know who to trust, how does one just make that leap of faith? “You have to know who’s in front of you. You never date in the industry! The models hit on you because they want the job, you have to think about that,” he says frankly. I mull that over and ask Dan whether or not the possibility exists that they are simply just attractive guys with a lot to offer? “Whatever,” he says laughing, showing both the sparkling personality and the fun bite the brothers emote on camera. I suggest that no matter where they go people are bound to recognize the handsome pair and that exponentially increases their chances of being hit on at which point Dan laughing remarks that, “You get more chances that way!” I can’t resist asking even though I know it’s redundant and brace for a cringe on the other end of the line: what about the whole twin thing? I am surprised by the thoughtful and serious response as Dan admits that the 47 year-old twins “kind of

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have the same brain.” The youngest two of nine children, of an Italian father and English mother, “definitely have some twinner connections. We’ll try to call each other at the same time, lots of stuff, so many things… We once both had bike accidents on opposite ends of the city at the same time!” I mentally crawl back into my psychology years and remember the numerous stories of identical twins, literal genetic clones of one another, and the startling similarities between them, even when raised apart. These two are the stuff textbooks are made of, down to the frequent use of “we”. Surely this is something people find simultaneously adorable and maybe a little unsettling. I am both thrilled and somehow thrown for a loop when Dan says, “We speak as us.” Dean is slightly older at six minutes, but “crazier, and more fun. I have fun too, don’t get me wrong. We’re a little bit different. I’m a little shorter, a little rounder because I like food,” Dan jokes. “I’m the more balanced one. I wake up first and then wake Dean up.” Born on December 19, the twins “complement each other. I always drive. Dean can’t, he never got a license.” It is worth noting that this is one of the only times in the entire conversation that the word “I” is used, even when describing upbringing and life-altering decisions, like their joint career path.

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“WE LOVE THAT

WORLD OF COLLABORATION” How did they get started? “We left design school because we ran out of money. We knew we got what we wanted out of school! We learned so much during our first job, it was hands on,” speaking of their first foray into the workforce after design school. Eventually they “took what we could get out of Canada and took it to a bigger stage.” The bigger stage that followed was none other than Madonna’s: the brothers dressed her 2002 Drowned World Tour. “She definitely knows what she wants,” when I comment on how daunting a task that must have been. “We learned a lot from her; we worked hard trying to get everything perfect and get everything done.” Their heady relationship with the biggest names in music continued when they dressed the little girl with a big voice, Christina Aguilera, for her 2003 Stripped Tour. The roster of performers dressed by the pair is a list of who’s who in music, everyone from pop princess Britney Spears to the always hypnotic Lenny Kravitz, have all gone the DSQUARED2 route. Perhaps most appropriate was their warm homecoming, especially since they designed the costumes for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. “That’s a whole other thing, these tours and the Olympics. It’s not really fashion, it’s more costume. Doing the Olympics, getting involved in these

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huge productions, even Britney [Spears] too… We love that world of collaboration.” The twins are currently doing the “Life Ball. It’s going to be a Hell’s Angels meets military meets birds and flight. It’s coming out really cool,” says Dan. The Life Ball, held in Vienna, Austria since 1993, is organized yearly to support AIDS and HIV sufferers. Global citizens, the twins name Rio de Janeiro, Mykonos, Toronto, Tokyo and “of course Beirut” as their favorite cities. “We like Beirut; we had a party at a beach hotel! The people were great,” referring to their fragrance promo visit last summer. “We go out, it’s not insane. We went to gay pride [Toronto Pride Parade 2010], and it was really fun! We were celebrity bartenders the night before! We’ve been back [to Canada] eight times this year. We have a home, a lot of relatives there. Canadians are great, they make you feel very nice and sweet, even if they don’t have a clue about fashion,” they say referring to the support they receive from people both in and out of the know. Their newest collection, Fall-Winter 2011, is their “version of ‘Cold Mountain’,” the 2003 blockbuster film directed by Anthony Minghella. “We watched ‘Cold Mountain’ and we loved how Nicole Kidman looked. The pioneer look, early settlers contrasting with biker leather… It’s about cold, layering and accessories to get the look. Very wintry, very dark, very Mormon even. It was a place of reference, the blacksmith, the mini-little buttons and we played with it. It gave us a place to start, adopt it and mould it to what we wanted and make new,” they explain.

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OPPOSITE PAGE: THE FIRST EDITION OF THE GQ PORTUGAL “MEN OF THE YEAR AWARD” WAS ON MAY 20TH, 2013 IN LISBON, PORTUGAL. THE EVENING PAID TRIBUTE TO THE BEST INTERNATIONAL TALENTS. DEAN AND DAN CATEN, DESIGNERS OF DSQUARED2, WERE AWARDED “FASHION ICON OF THE YEAR”. “WE ARE HONOURED TO RECEIVE AN IMPORTANT RECOGNITION SUCH AS THE GQ AWARD. IT IS VERY GRATIFYING THAT OUR WORK IS APPRECIATED AND RECOGNIZED IN THIS AMAZING COUNTRY THAT WE LOVE”, SAID THE TWIN DESIGNERS. IN 2007, DEAN AND DAN CATEN WERE ALSO PRESENTED WITH THE GQ SPAIN “MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD” FOR THE CATEGORY “BEST DESIGNER”. THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: DEAN + DAN CATEN WITH LINDA EVANGELISTA, THE TWINS WITH JANET JACKSON, MADONNA DRESSED BY DSQUARED2 IN HER “DON’T TELL ME” MUSIC VIDEO, THE TWINS WITH DITA VON TEESE + PARIS HILTON, FIRST EDITION OF THE GQ PORTUGAL “MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD”.

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EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

THE GRAVITATIONAL PULL OF DSQUARED2

BELOW: DSQUARED2 FW 2011 RUNWAY OPPOSITE PAGE: DEAN + DAN CATEN BACKSTAGE

“[WE] TOOK WHAT WE COULD GET OUT OF CANADA AND TOOK IT TO A BIGGER STAGE.” The influence is seen down to “eyewear, you know with the granny glasses, that old charm.” But this is just a sampling of their influences since their brand is characterized by “contrasts and details. Details in general are a big part of the brand. The lining inside a sleeve, the stitching… We like our clothes to be clothes, not costume-y and not make people look like they’re trying too hard. I think what we like to do with our denim is make it as authentic as possible. Certain details make it look rich and important,” they explain. Who are the 5’6 twins wearing lately? “We don’t even know about new designers, we don’t have time to look at stuff anymore! You know, we have a fit problem, if we do go shopping, we shop in Tokyo and find what we like.” Do they like everything the same? “Some things are a little different. I’m wearing a platinum Rolex with diamonds, rubies and sapphires but my brother is wearing it in gold! We love watches. I have a Rolex Yacht-Master II with a blue ceramic dial. It’s very pretty,” Dan gushes. I turn the subject to the evolution of the DSQUARED2 brand and growth with the brothers. “We matured, our clothes are maturing. We have different needs, we have to adapt! We like to play dress up and put on a suit once in a while, the Oscars, the Grammys, the red carpet stuff. I think our audience is changing as well.”

JUNE 2013

“We’re really our own customers,” as they explain that they wear their own pieces. “We would look to Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, growing up. Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler for shows, extravagant shows! We were always big fans,” they exclaim. On the topic of Dior, I ask about superstar designer John Galliano’s much-debated recent ousting from the iconic house and the twins echo much of the popular sentiment on the subject simply calling it “not a cautious remark to make for someone in his industry.” While opinionated, the twins clearly steer clear of drama, calmly explaining that they’re “easy and simple. We live day by day, enjoy stuff. We love our job and doing what we do.”

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THREE YEARS

OF RAGMAG FASHION THEME DEVELOPMENT CONCEPTUAL PHOTOGRAPHY STORYLINE EXPANSION

For our Third Anniversary issue, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve decided to put together an exhibit of what we feel are some of our most impactful moments on camera. For 35 issues, our Creative Lead Odette Kahwagi has continued to demonstrate conceptual development with an art sensibility toward fashion photography. This edition, we share with you our personal selection of three years behind the lens. @Odette_h

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AUGUST 2010 | EDITION 3

MUSIC ISSUE

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NOVEMBER 2012 | EDITION 30

DIMENSIONS ISSUE

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DECEMBER 2011 | EDITION 19

GOLDEN GATES ISSUE

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JANUARY 2011 | EDITION 8

OLD VS NEW ISSUE

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APRIL 2013 | EDITION 34

TRANSITION ISSUE

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AUGUST 2011 | EDITION 15

UPSIDE DOWN ISSUE

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UPSIDE DOWN ISSUE

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APRIL 2011 | EDITION 11

STATIC ISSUE

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MAY 2013 | EDITION 35

EQUILIBRIUM ISSUE

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OCTOBER 2011 | EDITION 17

MOTORIZED ISSUE

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SEPTEMBER 2011 | EDITION 16

OHM ISSUE

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JULY 2010 | EDITION 2

WATER ISSUE

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JULY 2010 | EDITION 2

WATER ISSUE

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FEBRUARY 2012 | EDITION 32

AFFINITY ISSUE

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MARCH 2012 | EDITION 22

ORCHESTRA ISSUE

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AUGUST 2012 | EDITION 27

NEW WORLD ORDER ISSUE

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NOVEMBER 2010 | EDITION 6

3D ISSUE

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DECEMBER 2010 | EDITION 7

SILVER BELLS ISSUE

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DECEMBER - JANUARY 2012/13 | EDITION 31

LODESTAR ISSUE

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NOVEMBER 2010 | EDITION 6

3D ISSUE

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JUNE 2012 | EDITION 25

ENERGY ISSUE

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OCTOBER 2011 | EDITION 17

MOTORIZED ISSUE

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MOTORIZED ISSUE

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AUGUST 2010 | EDITION 3

MUSIC ISSUE

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MUSIC ISSUE

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MARCH 2011 | EDITION 10

ROYAL ISSUE

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MARCH 2011 | EDITION 10

ROYAL ISSUE

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AUGUST 2010 | EDITION 3

MUSIC ISSUE

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SEPTEMBER 2010 | EDITION 4

UNWRAPPED ISSUE

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EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

RAGMAG RAGING RUNWAY TOP CATWALK CHOICES FOR WOMEN

REEM ACRA SS 2013

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RAGMAG RAGING RUNWAY TOP CATWALK CHOICES FOR MEN

DSQUARED2 SS 2013

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EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

RAGMAG RAGING RUNWAY TOP CATWALK CHOICES FOR MEN

GIORGIO ARMANI SS 2013

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RAGMAG RAGING RUNWAY TOP CATWALK CHOICES FOR WOMEN

EMPORIO ARMANI SS 2013

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#BETHEMODEL STAR SEARCH WITH STRADIVARIUS + RAGMAG AFTER A MONTH LONG WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA BASED COMPETITION, TWO WINNERS WERE EACH REWARDED WITH A $300 SHOPPING SPREE AT STRADIVARIUS AND A BEACHFRONT PHOTO SHOOT AT C FLOW RESORT! HERE ARE SOME OF OUR WINNERS’ CHOICES FROM THE SS13 STRADIVARIUS COLLECTION, MODELLED BY THE WINNERS THEMSELVES! CONGRATS TO JESSICA KHALIFEH AND MURIEL AMADOUNY. PHOTOGRAPHY EXCLUSIVELY BY DEEMA J. SAIDI OF PLUSH BEIRUT

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Beirut Souks 01960159 | Kaslik 09225823 Le Mall Dbayeh 04526118 | Le Mall Sin El Fil 01491120 www.ragmag.co | R A G M A G | 161 Verdun 01806551


NEW + NOW

CHERRY ON TOP Cherry on the Rooftop officially opened its terrace for the summer season during an event that gathered Lebanon’s socialites and the press at the sixth floor of Le Gray, Beirut. Aimed at attracting a young and stylish crowd, Cherry on the Rooftop takes inspiration from the fabulous fruity painting that hangs at its entrance. It is a lounge bar with plenty of comfortable red and white couches, superb innovative cocktails, sharing platters and light bites and a wonderful entertainment program. The terrace offers spectacular views and the infinity purple glass pool adds an amazing wow factor! Open nightly from 8:30pm until late, Cherry on the Rooftop offers an entertainment program that caters to a large audience of music lovers and nightlife aficionados. Schedule as follows: Monday Bubbly Heels Ladies walking in with high heels will be greeted with a bubbly welcome drink; on the menu are Prosecco and Champagne Cocktails! Tuesday Night of the Legends Madonna, Elvis, Sinatra, Aznavour, Piaff, Jackson, and a lot more. Wednesday French Tribute all genres of French music. Thursday R&B Night. Friday and Saturday Weekend Hits. Sunday Chill Out Cool lounge music.

WATER WORKS Waterfront City held a press conference on May 14, 2013 at Rosé Gemmayzeh to celebrate the success of the first phase of the project and to launch the second phase of residential units. In the presence of the Waterfront City team, sales agents and the press, Waterfront City was proud to announce the top three achievers celebrating their sales efforts and success: Mr. Bassam Tabcharany (Coldwell Banker); Mr. Patrick Geammal (Ascot); and Mr. Roy Saker (Ray White). The collaboration between the Waterfront City sales team and sales agents has proven to be a fruitful one, with positive sales numbers to date. The project sold 70 percent of the first phase, with net sales estimated at over 320 million dollars. Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Samer Bissat, Senior Project Director, stated: “The success we have achieved since we launched the first phase of the project is impressive and a large part of this success was made possible by our strong partnership with our sales agents. It is a proud moment for us to witness Waterfront City taking shape in terms of construction progress and shaping of the community.” In light of the success and strong customer demand, Waterfront City has decided to set forth with the second phase of the project and is pleased to launch The Boulevard Residence and The Piazza Residence. Prior to launching the second phase, market studies were conducted and customer demand was identified in terms of size and price per square meter. Based on the results of the study, Waterfront City decided to launch smaller, more affordable units that range in size from 70 square meters to 200 square meters, starting at 250,000 USD. The Boulevard Residence and the Piazza Residence offer 1 to 3 bedroom apartments and 1 to 4 bedrooms apartments, respectively, with ample parking spaces. The Boulevard Residence have a central location

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opposite to the Promenade Residence and enjoy practical interiors and access to large landscaped private communal gardens. As for the Piazza Residence, they enjoy views of green surroundings and access to the Promenade and city amenities. With the clients being at the core of Waterfront City, they have further catered to their needs offering a specialized payment facility with Banque LibanoFrançais that assists in the financing of the apartment before the completion date. With the specialized formula, Banque Libano-Francaise allows interested buyers to pay 25 percent of the total price to the bank before hand-over, with the remainder of the payments carried out in installments in a comfortable timeframe.

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OUT + ABOUT

MIXOLOGY LEBANON’S FINEST IN

BARTENDING COMPETE DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS COMPETITION IN BEIRUT

O

nce again we’ve witnessed the savoir-faire of Lebanon’s best bartenders! On April 17, 2013, the second burst of the Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS Competition took place at Caprice, this time under the theme of Retro Chic. This round saw 15 contestants compete by updating the classic cocktail menu. The bartenders were judged by Joey Ghazal, owner of Zaitunay Bay’s St. Elmo’s Seaside Brasserie, Erik Lorincz, 2010 winner of the Diageo WORLD CLASS international bartending competition and Salvatore Calabrese, “The Maestro”, who’s been in the industry for over 40 years and is the winner of 16 awards during his career. “Beirut WORLD CLASS actually makes it difficult for other emerging markets. The talent that we saw today was above the expectations,” said Erik Lorincz “and the bartenders were

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really inspired by what they were doing.” Lorincz explained that the judging process doesn’t focus solely on the cocktail presented, “it’s the full package that matters in the competition. It’s about how you present yourself, how you work behind the bar, and how you combine the ingredients, how you work with them, and your inspiration in creating that cocktail. If we were only judging the cocktail, they’d all be winners today.”

Two bartenders stood out with their take on the classic cocktail: Elio Oueiss of MAD, who used ingredients “that you don’t find in a supermarket. I wanted something old and I wanted to add a Lebanese touch to the cocktail so I made my own cherry juice with dry and fresh cherries and I garnished with an ingredient found in the mountain and used in ‘Matteh’”. According to Elio, being judged by the panel is an added bonus: “Salvatore is one of the toughest

THE SECOND BURST OF THE DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS COMPETITION TOOK PLACE AT CAPRICE, THIS TIME UNDER THE THEME OF RETRO CHIC. THIS ROUND SAW 15 CONTESTANTS COMPETE BY UPDATING THE CLASSIC COCKTAIL MENU THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


MIXOLOGY | DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS COMPETITION

“I WANTED SOMETHING OLD AND I WANTED TO ADD A LEBANESE TOUCH TO THE COCKTAIL SO I MADE MY OWN CHERRY JUICE WITH DRY AND FRESH CHERRIES AND I GARNISHED WITH AN INGREDIENT FOUND IN THE MOUNTAIN AND USED IN ‘MATTEH’”

judges in the world and having won with him judging my creation is something else. But in the bar industry, there is no end. I won this competition, I will enter other competitions tomorrow maybe, and in 10 years I’ll still be competing. There will always be someone better than you.” As for Sebou Tato, the second winner of the Retro Chic burst, he sees

the event as a way for him to continue his mixology education: “I would love to go to the WORLD CLASS Final, which doesn’t mean that I would win it. But it would teach me a lot, it’s a great experience, to learn from each place that I go to.” Sebou presented a revisited Margarita, mainly by “substituting the lime juice with pink grapefruit juice.

I wanted to keep the cocktail identity intact and just add my own touch,” he says. Sebou surely scored a few points by telling the story behind this classic cocktail while mixing it in front of the judges: Carlos Herrera created this drink for actor Marjorie King who was allergic to all alcohols except tequila, but didn’t like the taste of it. He mixed tequila, triple sec, lime juice and a pinch of sugar, and the Margarita (the closest Spanish equivalent to Marjorie) was born. That’s certainly a clincher! We’ll see you at the next burst Diageo. Enjoy responsibly | www.drinkiq.com

BE THE MIXOLOGIST TRY YOUR HAND AT SETTING THE BAR WITH THE WINNING COCKTAILS RETRO CHIC OLD-FASHIONED Approximately 28.6% alcohol per (cocktail) unit

Recipe developed by Elio Oueiss of MAD exclusively for DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS COMPETITION

Ingredients • 50 ml Ron Zacapa™ 23 Rum • 20 ml homemade cherry juice • 1 brown sugar • 1 bar spoon of Angostura

FOR MARJORIE Approximately 16.9% alcohol per (cocktail) unit

Recipe developed by Sebou Tato of Iris Lounge exclusively for DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS COMPETITION

Ingredients • 50 ml Don Julio Blanco Tequila • 30 ml pink grapefruit juice • 15 ml lemon juice • 35 ml pink grapefruit marmalade • 1/4 bar spoon pure agave syrup • 15 ml triple sec • 1 dash of grapefruit bitter • Flamed pink grapefruit peel to garnish

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TAKE ME WITH YOU

FREE

AS A BIRD IN THE GCC GULF AIR’S FALCON GOLD LOUNGE

PLANNING ON VISITING BAHRAIN FOR THE WEEKEND? PASSING THROUGH EN ROUTE TO SOMEWHERE ELSE? THEN YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO SEE GULF AIR’S FULLY RENOVATED FALCON GOLD LOUNGE AT THE BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT! IT’S A BLEND OF CONTEMPORARY DESIGN WITH ARABIAN INFLUENCES, CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT THAT COMBINES TRANQUILLITY WITH EXTENSIVE MODERN-DAY BUSINESS AND FOOD AND BEVERAGE FACILITIES.

COMFORT + CLASS If you’re in for the long haul, premium passengers have access to seven private sleeping rooms, a cigar lounge (yes, that’s how they roll), and shower rooms with your towels and all of your toiletries and amenities catered to! The private sleeping rooms boast comfortable beds with dimming light and the DND option to rest in complete privacy. If you want to chill a bit before you rest, the rooms are equipped with hi-def TVs with wireless headphones- tech lovers will appreciate the quality of the entertainment experience. Design-wise, the architectural design of the new 1720 sq.ft lounge is all about space and freedom of movement: it features well laidout business, dining, lounging facilities and TV areas in addition to offering panoramic views of the runway through a high glass wall.

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POWER HOUR Get connected and stay connected while you wait: passengers have access to free Wi-Fi throughout the lounge, power outlets at every seat and a business center that includes PCs, fax machines and printers in case you aren’t readily equipped with your laptop or smartphone. If you’re travelling with family, the lounge offers a spacious family room with pro SkyNannies and a gaming room equipped with faves of young and old: Xbox and PlayStation consoles! If you want to observe your faith, there are also separate male and female prayer rooms and secure lockers for those who want to use these facilities hassle-free. Hungry? The modern, self-service buffet area offers a wide variety of snacks and meals, including an Italian coffee corner offering the world famous LavAzza brand coffee varieties.

ADVANTAGEOUS AIRTIME The lounge upgrade is in-line with the airline’s service and product enhancement strategy both in the air and on the ground including the company’s aircraft (either new or refurbished). Their current fleet is only four years and seven months, one of the youngest in the Middle East!

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


BAH PHOTO CREDIT: DR AJAY KUMAR SINGH | DOH PHOTO CREDIT: MAKUSHIN ALEXEY | DXB PHOTO CREDIT: IRINA SCHMIDT

FREE AS A BIRD IN THE GCC | GULF AIR’S FALCON GOLD LOUNGE

BAH

DXB

DOH

MCT

WIN THIS GET AIRBORNE, BABY! GF Map.pdf

1

5/12/13

10:12 AM

ONE VERY LUCKY RAGMAG READER IS GOING TO BE AWARDED A ROUND TRIP FOR TWO (TAXES INCLUDED) TO ANY OF GULF AIR’S DESTINATIONS! WE’VE INCLUDED A ROUTE MAP HERE OF THE FLIGHTS THAT APPLY. YOU AND ONE GUEST OF YOUR CHOICE CAN PICK YOUR DESTINATION WITHIN A PERIOD OF 6 MONTHS AND RAGMAG IS GOING TO HELP YOU GET THERE. HOW Get your Google on! Send your answers to both of the following questions via email letterstotheeditor@ragmaglive.com and we’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page on July 15, 2013. 1) What year was Gulf Air founded? a. 1950 b. 1960 c. 1970 2) Gulf Air is the National Carrier of this country a. Kingdom of Bahrain b. State of Qatar c. United Arab Emirates RULES + RESTRICTIONS Contestants must be 19 years of age or older to qualify and must be a resident of Lebanon or the GCC with valid identification. The winning contestants are responsible for their own visa arrangements as needed.

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TAKE ME WITH YOU

LOWER RIGHT: THE KISS OF DEATH SCULPTURE OPPOSITE PAGE: STREET ARTIST IN LAS RAMBLAS

HUSH HUSH

BEST TRAVEL FEATURE AUGUST 2010 ISSUE ISSUE 3 2

BARCELONA BY ALICE HLIDKOVA

I

t is not yet 11am, and already the clatter of sangria glasses and chirping of caged birds in the airy cafes below have reached their peak. I head for my terrace, and take in the view of Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s most commercial avenue. The tourists scurry along their usual paths; their destinations always predictable. They will visit the Gaudi Museum. They will stroll along Barceloneta’s seawall. They will marvel at the gargoyles of the gothic cathedral. If they are lucky, they might even catch an impromptu street tango performance. What they will not find, what their guidebooks don’t contain, are the more isolated and peculiar sites scattered throughout the city. Many are unknown even to locals, for they’re tucked inside alleyways and hidden inside basement cafes and museums. Living in Barcelona for almost six months, I had the time to explore these curious places on my own. It was by accident that I met with “The Kiss of Death”, which I found in the corner of an old graveyard, not far from Juame metro station. The statue is of a winged skeleton holding and kissing a man who has fallen to his knees. Photos and drawings of the sculpture are forbidden, but artists often risk being thrown out by security for their keepsakes.

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TAKE ME WITH YOU

HUSH HUSH BARCELONA

LEFT: MUSEUM OF FUNERAL CARRIAGES BOTTOM LEFT: GOTHIC QUARTER

THE CHAMBER WAS MUSTY AND POORLY LIT. TWO ORNATE CARRIAGES DATING BACK FROM THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY SAT BEHIND A TEAM OF LIFELESS HORSES I was thrown out as well, but not before the guard offered an alternative. I was pointed in the direction of the Museum of Funeral Carriages. The street where the museum stands was hard to find. After making several rights and lefts through crooked streets, I was beginning to question the guard’s intent. Before long I was reading the words “Municipal Funeral Services,” which were etched in stone on a simple, nondescript building. I stepped inside and was soon escorted down a long flight of stairs to the basement. The chamber was musty and poorly lit. Two ornate carriages dating back from the eighteenth century sat behind a team of lifeless horses. The mannequins astride them were outfitted in period dress, each casting an eerie glare. As I studied the exhibit, the silence of the cool room was broken by the click of a camera shutter, and snapped me out of my disturbed meditation. Unsettled by the macabre presentation, I made my way upstairs, eager for the comfort of warm sunlight. Another place of interest includes the store of an aged tarot card reader, whose shop houses the Museum De Frederic Mares, dedicated to the late Spanish sculptor. The museum contains the nation’s finest collection of rustic keys, as well as many other ancient religious relics and strange objects. I found a life-size 16th century crucifix nailed to the wall above a display of antique cigar labels. His prized possession, strangely enough, was a rare collection of Victorian erotic cigarette cards.

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: MUSEUM DE FREDERIC MARES. COLLECTION OF RUSTIC KEYS (MUSEUM DE FREDERIC MARES), QUEEN ESTHER SCULPTURE, DALI THEATER MUSEUM

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TAKE ME WITH YOU

HUSH HUSH BARCELONA

LEFT: LA FESTA DE GRACIA, YEARLY STREET FESTIVAL OPPOSITE PAGE: HOTEL MAJESTIC, GRAFFITI ART BY PEZ

TO EXPERIENCE THE LESSERKNOWN EVENTS AND PECULIAR SITES BARCELONA HAS TO OFFER TAKES TIME AND PERSISTENCE. YOUR SUCCESS, TO A LARGE EXTENT, DEPENDS ON YOUR INTERACTION WITH LOCALS, AS YOUR GUIDEBOOK WILL ONLY GET YOU SO FAR The unique art scenes of individual neighborhoods are on display if only you know where to look. Tourists may keep from areas they deem unsafe based on the defacement of public property. Little do they know however that such graffiti is the effort of well-known artists, such as Pez and OMG, whose social commentary is sprayed on the walls and gates of the El Raval district. Look for their signature marks: smiling fish and sharp-toothed birds. The avenue crossing from Raval to Gracia is a demarcation of two distinctly different cultures. This area is situated at a distance from the cosmopolitan grandeur of Las Ramblas, and acts as the epicenter of cultural and religious events. Though the rituals of their fiestas are quite strange, they are indeed very interesting. Unlike most parades, you will not be a passive observer. As hooves on cobblestones clatter along the street, square shouldered women, weighed down by their elaborate costumes, shout into the crowd. You need not understand their commands, but you had better listen; they want your undivided attention. A young marching band concludes the parade. At the end of their performance, each player drinks alcohol from a long cylindrical vase in the shape of a tuba. Candy is shared, which has the children dashing about before the sweets are crushed beneath the horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feet.

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To experience the lesser-known events and peculiar sites Barcelona has to offer takes time and persistence. Your success, to a large extent, depends on your interaction with locals, as your guidebook will only get you so far. Whether it be the shop owner, the guard, or the man on the next barstool, get busy asking questions. They can all introduce you to a city which moves even in the stillness of an eerie room; a city which speaks in the hushed and abandoned corners of a graveyard

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EAT, DRINK+BE MERRY

REACHING

FOR THE STARS

BEST RESTO REVIEW

DECEMBER 2011 ISSUE 19

GOLDEN FARE ON A SILVER PLATTER BY YOUMNA CHAGOURY

I

remembered friends and family members telling me about this great restaurant in the Jounieh old souks and its three-time starred Michelin French chef, Jérôme Serres. I decided to give it a try because of the stars and also because I knew some of the dishes had gold leaf (in keeping with this issues theme). I drive in the narrow Jounieh streets, looking for a big, bright sign, when I notice a tiny one in the U-Bay center. I ask myself why a nice gastronomic restaurant wouldn’t give its entrance a more elaborate signage? I’m welcomed and taken to my table on the restaurant’s big terrace. It is divided in two parts: the inside, with its modern setting, an amazing huge chandelier and decorated walls. The white part of the room projects elegance and a feeling of cleanliness. The terrace is covered by a wood ceiling, and big bay-windows look out on to the beautiful Jounieh bay. Chef Jérôme Serres had prepared a sampling menu so I could taste a bit of everything Table Fine has to offer. From the tapas with an unforgettable marinated mussel, a fresh and smoked salmon filled potato and a beef tartar,

JUNE 2013

to the foie gras, lobster guacamole and mushroom cream with Black Angus raviolis entrées, I am already conquered. I feel like I don’t even need to taste the dishes that follow: truffle oil pasta and a grilled grouper fillet. I did however taste them and I finished my plate, despite being already full. The highest praise goes to the beautifully presented dessert: a chocolate shell adorned with gold leaf. It melts after the server pours hot chocolate sauce on it, unveiling pieces of pears and vanilla ice cream. The restaurant presents itself as Mediterranean and I could actually find that in most of the dishes. For example, fresh rosemary came with some of the dishes, providing a different taste every time. The grilled fish was accompanied by grilled vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers and a basil and tomato sauce with olive oil. As for the beef tapas, a few capers on it gave a whole new definition to tartar. I highly recommend Table Fine, dining there was a one of a kind experience. The restaurant got it right: they don’t need a big, shiny sign. Their dishes are enough to pack the restaurant even on a Wednesday night.

THE + Service The waiters were friendly and looked really well-trained from the moment I entered the restaurant to the moment I left. Food quality It’s fresh and so well measured that you can actually taste every single ingredient used in each dish. Plus, it looks just as good as it tastes. Foie gras Chef Jérôme Serres prepares and presents it in a way that you cannot resist. With a thin layer of pear and red wine jelly and gold leaf, a hot and fluffy brioche and perfectly cooked asparagus with a peanut sauce, it is the apotheoses of gastronomy. Wine list Table Fine offers a variety of Lebanese and French wines, from the very affordable to the very rare.

THE – Lobster guacamole This was my “least preferred” dish. The cucumber soup and the citrus fruits sauce accompanying it gave it an unpleasant, sour taste. Furniture The chairs are made of white wicker and even if that fits the Mediterranean theme, it gives it a cheap look, not complimenting the level of the restaurant. Table Fine Table Fine UBay, Jounieh Souks UBay, Jounieh |Souks 09919555 70919555 09919 555 | 70919 555 www.ragmag.co | info@ubayclubresto.com info@ubayclubresto.com

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| 175


BEST RECIPE SELECTION JANUARY 2012 ISSUE ISSUE 20 2

Brunch

BESTS BY LARA ARISS

Each edition of RAGMAG Lara Ariss will present a meal in several courses that you can try at home. Lara trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London, England. For this issue of RAGMAG, Lara has compiled a selection of dishes for your Sunday brunch. For her menu selection, check her out on the web http://www.bylara.me @laraariss

bylara

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laraariss

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


EAT, DRINK+BE MERRY

SCRAMBLED EGGS

+SAUSAGES

PREPARATION TIME 10 MINUTES COOKING TIME 20 MINUTES SERVES 6 LEVEL EASY

INGREDIENTS • 375 grams sausages, sliced thickly • 12 eggs • 270 ml cream • 3 tablespoons fresh chives, coarsely chopped • 15 grams butter • Salt and ground black pepper to taste TO SERVE • 6 slices toast • 6 avocados

METHOD

This recipe is creamy and decadent, delicious for Sunday brunch. To achieve scrambled egg perfection cook your eggs over a low heat, stirring gently and constantly, because the slower the egg mixture is cooking the creamer the outcome. • In a heated oiled medium frying pan, cook the sausages in batches, until browned on both sides; cover to keep warm. • In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs and then whisk in cream and half of the chives, season with salt and pepper. • Over low heat, melt butter in a medium frying pan over a low heat, pour in the egg mixture. Stir gently and constantly, until egg mixture just begins to set. • Divide the scrambled eggs onto six plates, sprinkle with remaining chives, and sausages on toast and sliced avocado on the side.

GREEK

SALAD PREPARATION TIME 25 MINUTES SERVES 6 LEVEL EASY

INGREDIENTS • 375 grams tomatoes cut into wedges • 260 grams cucumbers, halved lengthways and sliced • 200 grams red peppers, diced into 2 cm pieces • 200 grams green pepper, diced into 2 cm pieces • 170 grams red onion, sliced thinly • 40 grams seeded black olives • 200 grams feta cheese • 2 teaspoons oregano • 60 ml olive oil • 2 tablespoons vinegar

METHOD

A nice fresh salad that goes well with both the scrambled eggs and the grilled chicken. Place all the ingredients in a bowl, sprinkle the olive oil and vinegar on top and toss gently to combine.

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EAT, DRINK+BE MERRY

GRILLED CHICKEN

WITH CORIANDER + CHILI PREPARATION TIME 10 MINUTES COOKING TIME 30 MINUTES SERVES 6 LEVEL EASY

INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN 8 chicken thigh cutlets

METHOD

For a milder chili flavor reduce the number of chilies. Similarly if you want a hotter coriander and chili paste just increase the quantity of chilies. • To make the coriander and chili paste, blend all the ingredients in a blender until the mixture forms a smooth paste. • Pierce the chicken thighs all over with a sharp knife. • Combine the chicken with the paste in a large bowl and rub the paste into the cuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight. • Cook the chicken, covered, in an oiled, heated pan for 5 minutes. • Uncover and continue to cook, turning occasionally for about 30 minutes until cooked.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CORIANDER + CHILI PASTE • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds • 4 fresh red chilies, coarsely chopped • 1 teaspoon ground cumin • 2 cloves • 2 cardamom pods • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • ¼ teaspoons turmeric • 20 grams fresh lemon grass • 300 grams onions, coarsely chopped • 4 garlic cloves • 80 ml lime juice • 2 tablespoons peanut oil • Salt and ground pepper to taste

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CRANBERRY MUFFINS WITH ORANGE GLAZE PREPARATION TIME 20 MINUTES COOKING TIME 20 MINUTES MAKES 24 LEVEL EASY

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SYRUP • 55 grams caster sugar • 35 grams dried cranberries • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest • 125 grams fresh orange juice INGREDIENTS FOR THE SPONGE • 125 grams softened butter • 2 eggs • 225 grams self-rising flour • 80 ml milk • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest • 110 grams caster sugar

JUNE 2013

METHOD

A sweet light dessert for afternoon tea or with your coffee in the morning.

• Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. • Grease a 12-hole muffin tin. • For the syrup: Stir sugar, cranberries, zest and juice in a small saucepan over low heat – do not boil, until sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolves higher the heat and bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for about 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, reserve the cranberries and syrup aside. • For the sponge: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, zest and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs – one at a time, continue beating after each addition. • Stir in cranberries, flour and milk. • Divide the mixture among the tin holes. • Bake for 15 minutes. • Turn the cake over a cooling rack and brush the hot tops with the reserved syrup.

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STAY DEVOTED.

Your Day, Your Way! Have the wedding of your dreams & remember it for all the wonderful moments! Holiday Inn Beirut-Dunes To book call 00961 1 771100 or visit www.hidunes.com Terms and conditions apply. © 2013 IHG. All rights reserved. Most hotels are independently owned and 180 | RSTAY AGMAG | www.ragmag.co operated. YOU ® is a registered trademark of Six Continents Hotels, Inc.

STAY YOU.®

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


BRAINFOOD

ROUND #1

ROUND #2

History

ROUND #3

Science

1. Which famous explorer sailed in ships named “Nina”, “Pinta” and “Santa Maria”?

2. The STASI were the secret

1. In weaponry, what do the

2. What can be in line, V or flat?

2. What gift is supposedly

letters GM mean?

come down?

diamond is rated the hardest, what is rated as the softest?

exiled to the Seychelles in 1956. From which country was he exiled?

6. Which famous Emperor died

be saved in JPEG format. JPEG means Joint Photographic what?

6. What was the name of the first

types of integrated circuits. C stands for Complimentary and S stands for Semi-conductor. What does MO stand for?

7. What mathematical calculating aid did John Napier invent in 1614?

4. In music what does the term

4. In the film “Scream” which actress

“Pianissimo” mean?

type of weapon that is typically used by submarines?

across the English Channel?

9. In which country was

American to go into space twice?

MythBusters?

6. In the TV program “Animal Cops

Houston” what does E.A.M.T. stand for?

7. In the phoenetic alphabet

7. In the James Bond film “Goldfinger”

what is the letter “Q”?

what nationality was Odd Job?

8. French recipe book called

“Larousse Gastronomique” has nine different recipes for cooking what type of meat? first name?

extracted from kimberlite?

10. What was the name of the first

5. Name the two presenters of

Retsina wine come from?

9. What was Coco Chanel’s real

9. What precious commodity is

Nostradamus born?

played the part of the first girl to be killed at the beginning of the film?

5. From which country does

8. Robert Whitehead invented what

8. Who was the first man to fly

that says it shows its pictures at up to 20,000 frames per second?

a fathom?

7. CMOS is the name of certain

on the island of St. Helena in 1821?

10. Roman numerals. What is the

10. In the brewing of alcohol what

best film, best actor, best actress and best director?

3. What is the name of the TV program

6. How many feet are there in

comercial passenger jet airliner?

2. Which 1991 film won the Oscars for

3. You see on an email the letters BCC. What do they mean?

5. On your computer, pictures can

5. Archbishop Makarios was

personality advertises “Clear” shampoo on TV?

given to those who pilgrim to Mecca, on behalf of the King Of Saudi?

4. On the Mohs scale of hardness,

4. In what year did the Berlin wall

1. Which well known female sports

letters SLR mean?

the easiest to recycle? Paper, aluminium or glass?

3. What was the real name of the

WWII leader who was known as “The Desert Fox”?

Tv + Films

1. In food labelling, what do the

3. What material is supposedly

police of which country?

ROUND #4

Trivia

result of MMM-MD in roman numbers?

do the letters O. G. mean?

8. Which bank does actor Sean Connery advertise on TV with the phrase “It’s time for green banking”?

9. Which female personality, who has

her own show, was also a judge on American Idol?

10. Who was the male star of the film “The Sixth Sense”?

EASY

9

2

1 5 3 8 2 4 6 9 6 1 2 4 7 8 2 4 5 2 1 8 9 5 4 8

8 3

4 9 6 1

8

9 1 9

4

6 9 8

7 2

4 6 1 8

9

7 8 1 3 6 8

9 7 9 6

8 5

8 6 2

7 3 8 9 6 3 4 9

4 9 3

9 6 7 2 1 4

ROUND#1 ROUND#2 ROUND#3 ROUND#4

1. Christopher Columbus 2. East Germany (GDR) 3. Erwin Rommel 4. 1989 (9th Nov) 5. Cyprus 6. Napoleon Bonaparte 7. Logarithms 8. Louis Bleriot 9. France 10. Gus Grissom 1. Genetically Modified 2. Engine cylinders 3. Aluminium 4. Talcum powder 5. Experts Group 6. De Havilland Comet 7. Metal Oxide 8. Torpedo 9. Diamond 10. Original Gravity 1. Self Loading Rifle 2. Small bottle of virgin olive oil 3. Blind Carbon Copy 4. Very softly 5. Greece 6. Six 7. Quebec 8. Camel 9. Gabrielle 10. MD (3000-1500=1500) 1. Maria Sharapova 2. “The Silence of the Lambs” 3. Time Warp 4. Drew Barrymore 5. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage 6. Emergency Animal Medical Technician 7. Korean 8. Credit Agricole 9. Ellen DeGeneres 10. Bruce Willis

3 1 8 3 1 9 9 6 2 2 5 8 6 4 4 7 7 5

5 6 9 7 4 2 6 4 8 5 7 1 3 1 9 2 8

2 5 7 8 6 4 4 9 1 7 3 9 2 8 1 5 6

JUNE 2013

6 9 1 4 3 8 1 5 8 9 6 2 5 7 2 4 7

7 2 5 6 8 7 2 5 6 4 4 9 1 1 9 8 3

9 8 4 1 2 5 3 2 7 3 1 7 8 9 5 6 6 4

1 4 3 2 5 1 7 8 9 6 6 5 4 7 2 3 8 9

4 7 2 5 7 6 1 3 3 9 8 2 5 8 6 4 9 1

8 3 6 9 9 8 5 7 4 1 2 4 7 6 3 5 1 2

2 4 7 8 6 3 9 1 5

1 9 3 2 4 5 6 8 7

5 8 6 1 9 7 2 3 4

8 3 2 9 5 6 4 7 1

6 7 9 4 3 1 8 5 2

4 5 1 7 8 2 3 9 6

3 2 5 6 1 9 7 4 8

7 1 8 3 2 4 5 6 9

9 6 4 5 7 8 1 2 3

9 2 3 5 4 8 1 6 7

5 4 6 1 7 9 3 8 2

7 1 8 6 3 2 5 4 9

8 5 7 2 1 6 4 9 3

2 3 1 4 9 7 8 5 6

4 6 9 8 5 3 2 7 1

3 8 5 7 6 1 9 2 4

1 7 4 9 2 5 6 3 8

6 9 2 3 8 4 7 1 5

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DOWN 3. A kind of chocolate log for

eating. 5. Does he have a red nose? 7. French wish for January? 10. Santa’s favourite colour? 11. A late night Christian service? 12. French Father Christmas? 13. Jesus’ birth place. 16. Really tasty type of pork. 18. Jesus was born in this. 21. How many ghosts did Scrooge see? 23. How many pull Santa’s transport? 24. Santa’s transport. 29. We like to decorate this type of tree. 31. They pull Santa’s transport? 32. Jesus can perform these. 33. Send these to our friends and family. 35. Letters at the top of the cross. 36. Was he Mary’s husband? 38. What does the little star do? 39. Not a comfortable cot! 40. Does Santa have a big one? 43. Scrooge’s partner. See 63 Down. 44. Shiny paper used for decoration. 51. Is this a time for fighting? See 22 Across 52. French gifts? 54. This Pacific Ocean Island is first to see the New Year. 55. A late night Christian service? See 11 Down. 56. He was one of the Three Wise Men. 58. A bird for Christmas dinner? 59. It takes how many to Tango? 60. A tasty sauce served with a Christmas pudding. 63. Scrooge’s partner. See 43 Down. 65. This was Mary’s transport. 68. Nice to see this at Xmas.

on Xmas cards. 14. French Father Christmas? See 12 Down 15. Jesus was said to be from here? 17. A gift given on the 12th day.

LEAD 1rst

SILVER 4th

GOLD

2nd

41. The writer of “A Christmas Carol”. 42. One of Santa’s transport pullers

name sounds like a female fox. 43. Somewhere to kiss under? 47. Nice on the top of the tree. 48. The snowman’s name? 53. It’s the season to be this. 61. Was it in a pear tree?

HYDROGEN 3rd

XENON

STUART STUART

20. One of the three gifts. 22. Is this a time for fighting? See 51 Down. 25. Santa’s home? 26. Something cold hanging down? 28. Was he the dancing one? 30. The next big party after Xmas? 34. This bird has a red breast. 39. Another name for the Three Wise Men.

DAY DAY DAY DAY

MOONRAKER - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY - THE SOUND OF MUSIC - THE FIFTH ELEMENT - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS - DANCES WITH WOLVES - STUART LITTLE - THE HILLS HAVE EYES - THE LONGEST DAY JUNE 2013

62. The next big party after

Xmas? See 30 Across. 66. He is said to be the first Father Christmas. 67. Do they jingle? 70. A special type of play for Christmas. 71. Santa’s little helpers?

ACROSS 4. EBENEZER - 6. CRACKERS - 9. GREETINGS - 14. NOEL - 15. NAZARETH - 17. DRUMMERS - 20. MYRRH - 22. DAY - 25. POLE 26. ICICLES - 28. PRANCER - 30. YEAR - 34. ROBIN - 39. MAGI - 41. DICKENS - 42. VIXEN - 43. MISTLETOE - 47. FAIRY - 48. FROSTY - 50. BONNE - 53. JOLLY - 61. PARTRIDGE - 62. NEW - 66. NICHOLAS - 67. BELLS - 70. NATIVITY - 71. DWARFS

4. Scrooge’s first name. 6. We pull them!! 9. These words are sometimes seen

DOWN - 3. YULE - 5. RUDOLPH - 7. ANNEE - 10. RED 11. MASS - 12. PAPA - 13. BETHLEHEM - 16. HAM - 18. STABLE - 21. FOUR - 23. NINE - 24. SLEIGH - 29. CHRISTMAS - 31. REINDEER - 32. MIRACLES - 33. CARDS - 35. INRI - 36. JOSEPH - 38. TWINKLE - 39. MANGER - 40. BELLY - 43. MARLEY - 44. TINSEL - 51. BOXING - 52. CADEAUX - 54. KIRITIMATI - 55. MIDNIGHT - 56. GASPAR - 58. TURKEY - 59. TWO - 60. BRANDY - 63. JACOB - 65. DONKEY - 68. SNOW

ACROSS

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RAGMAG

ASTRO

Zodiac FROM JONATHAN CAINER

June.2013

IF YOU LISTEN CAREFULLY, YOU CAN ALMOST HEAR THE DRUM ROLL! JUPITER, TOWARDS THE END OF JUNE, MOVES FROM GEMINI TO CANCER. THAT MARKS A BIG TURNING POINT, NOT JUST FOR PEOPLE BORN UNDER THESE SIGNS OR EVEN FOR PISCEANS AND SAGITTARIANS (THE TWO SIGNS RULED BY JUPITER) BUT FOR US ALL. JUPITER ONLY CHANGES SIGN ONCE A YEAR OR SO. THE COLLECTIVE MOOD SHIFTS, ALMOST INSTANTLY. MY MEDIEVAL PREDECESSORS BELIEVED THAT JUPITER WAS ‘EXALTED’ IN CANCER AND THAT ALL THE TRADITIONAL CANCERIAN VALUES (COMPASSION, EMPATHY AND SENSITIVITY) WOULD BEGIN TO BECOME MORE PREVALENT IN SOCIETY AS A WHOLE.

HEIDI KLUM NEIL PATRICK HARRIS

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

GEMINI May 22 - June 22

LEO

You have done well recently even though you have had to face some challenging issues and stressful situations. You are not entirely out of trouble - but you are definitely heading towards safer territory with each sensible step that you now take. Remember, in June, to celebrate and trust whatever inspires you the most. Count your blessings and celebrate your successes. Although a problem has drained a lot of your energy, you will soon find life helps you get it all back - and a little more besides.

June 23 - July 23 You don’t need to feel vulnerable. You can afford to relax and let June bring muchneeded comfort. Indeed, you can’t afford not to let go of a key concern. The more you hang on to it, the harder it will be to take a practical, constructive step. There is really nothing to fear. Give life a chance to surprise you. You will soon be able to alter many plans. Which changes should you be most enthusiastic about implementing? The first to go can be the ones you care least about. What’s essential is just that you decide what’s essential!

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

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THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

HEIDI KLUM IN VERSACE | NEIL HARRIS PHOTO CREDIT: S_BUKLEY

CANCER

June 23 - July 23 You are no longer sure how sure you are... about something you once felt totally sure of! You are seriously contemplating a commitment, reassessing your level of motivation and dedication to a goal that it was previously a high priority to attain. It’s not that you are losing interest, just that your level of interest is altering. It was fed, in the past, by a limited idea of what might be possible for you. Now you’re seeing broader horizons. That’s giving you the courage to change much, for the better, in June.


VIRGO

LIBRA

SCORPIO

October 24 - November 22 It doesn’t matter how much air you put into a balloon, if there’s a hole at the other end, it will all come right back out again. Even if the balloon is in perfect condition, it won’t hold its content forever. And if you put in too much, it will explode. Then there’s the whole business of knot-tying. What an art. What a complicated balancing act. Yet we take it for granted once we know what we are dealing with. You are on a learning curve in June, but you are nearly at the bit in the process where everything starts to come naturally.

August 24 - September 23 Cartoon characters are often depicted with the power to move at many times the speed of normal people. They can see a maniac planning to take over the world, then race off and foil their plans and be home for tea. Psychologically you now seem to have a similar ability. You can see what’s wrong and how to fix it. What you can’t see yet, though, is how to persuade someone else to take the appropriate action - and circumstances don’t permit you to do it yourself. Don’t grow impatient in June. Just give that person a chance!

September 24 - October 23 In June, somehow, you have to accept what you cannot change and change what you cannot accept. This advice is easy to give and hard to take but it sums up the approach you require. How are you supposed to know what you can and can’t change? Try to alter your situation. If it works, be glad. If not, resolve to live with as much of it as you can. Then take the remaining portion and look for some way to adjust that. The only option may not be your favourite but if it is the only way, it must be taken and trusted.

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

SAGITTARIUS

CAPRICORN

AQUARIUS

November 23 - December 21 Since the dawn of time, people have dreamed about the ability to fly. We have developed mythologies about creatures that are half-human, half-bird. We humans have never, though, taken to the air. Well, not before 1783 that is. The first manned hot-air balloon went up then - and thousands of years of certainty were overturned in the process. And with that, we turn to the only question that need really concern you in June: What’s impossible? The only honest answer is nothing. Can you fly now? Yes! And not just in your heart! FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

PISCES

December 22 - January 20 You’ve got a sharp implement. An opportunity to work wonders or wreak havoc. I hope you know what I mean by this. If not, please re-read. Few things in this world are as dangerous as the people who have great power at their disposal yet who will not use it because they do not believe they have it. Or worse, those who go ahead and use it without understanding quite what an impact it can have. You don’t need to employ great energy to get what you need in June. Just take careful aim. That will do the trick.

January 21 - February 19 You don’t really need to go looking for clues. You just need to think about what you can already see. A picture is slowly starting to form. It will become much clearer if you stop squinting. You want things to be a particular way. So deep is your desire for a dream to come true that you are willing to overlook a hundred signs, signals and suggestions to the contrary. Put aside your prejudice. Be truly willing to recognise reality, even if it conflicts with your preferred vision. You can’t lose out in June - unless you lie to yourself.

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

ARIES

TAURUS

February 20 - March 20 It is now as if you are looking at a daunting obstacle, only to realise that it is not so daunting after all. Perhaps you have been bracing yourself for a collision with something solid. Now, as you get nearer to it, you realise two things: that you cannot stop in time... and that this doesn’t matter. The brick wall is, in fact, just a painting of a brick wall on a large but thin sheet of paper that has been stretched across the road. You can burst right through it in June. And you can improve your whole future from here on in!

March 21 - April 20 It’s strange how easily we get used to aspects of our environment. If we live in the city, we stop noticing traffic noise. If we live by the sea, we hardly detect the smell of the spray. Only after time away do we recognise what we have been dealing with. It’s the same with people whose behaviour amazes others yet who we know so well that it all just becomes no more (or less) than what we expect. You are now becoming aware of something you’ve long been overlooking. June brings your chance to instigate lasting change.

April 21 - May 21 One step at a time. That’s how you are going to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Will you complete the journey this month? Of course not. This is a long expedition and you have really only just embarked upon it. But you will definitely soon have reason to feel as if you have started an important process. Be encouraged by all that looks hopeful and avoid feeling daunted by all that seems disappointing. In the fullness of time, you won’t even remember the issue that is now worrying you.

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

FOR YOUR DAILY FORECAST AND MORE FROM JONATHAN, VISIT WWW.CAINER.COM

JUNE 2013

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NEW + NOW

STILL OF THE NIGHT The Rolls-Royce Wraith, the most powerful and dynamic Rolls-Royce in history, made its eagerly-anticipated regional debut in Dubai at AGMC, the authorized dealer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates. With an elegant fastback design and the ability to accelerate from 0-100 km/hr in just 4.6 seconds, the 624 bhp-model from the world’s pinnacle super-luxury marque presents a unique character defined by power, style and drama, and a hint of noir, while maintaining the hallmark Rolls-Royce attributes of luxury, refinement and hand-craftsmanship. “Today we launch the ultimate gentlemen’s gran turismo, a car that embodies the spirit of Charles Stewart Rolls.” commented Geoffrey Briscoe, Regional Director, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “The most powerful Rolls-Royce in history, Wraith promises the sense of adventure and speed that drove our founding forefather. But of course, Wraith’s starting point is luxury, refinement and quality, traits that remain as important to Rolls-Royce

customers today as they were more than a century ago.” Wraith’s sweeping fastback design gives the car its unique character. Bold lines, tension in the panels and a raked rear screen evoke the image of a world class athlete poised in the starting blocks. Performance delivers on the promise of Wraith’s styling. Power delivery is effortless,

but dramatic, thanks to a V12 engine married to 8-speed automatic ZF transmission. 624 bhp / 465kW is available to the driver while the 0-60 mph sprint is achieved in 4.4 seconds, compared with 563 bhp / 420kW and 0-60 in 4.7 seconds for Ghost. First deliveries of Wraith will be made to customers in the final quarter of 2013.

Q-T PIE BlackBerry® introduces the BlackBerry® Q5, a new youthful and fun BlackBerry® 10 smartphone for selected markets. The BlackBerry Q5 smartphone features a QWERTY keyboard with discrete keys in a youthful design. Every feature, every part of the BlackBerry Q5 has been built to provide a fast, effortless experience that flows and moves with you to help you explore, create, and share while on the go. “BlackBerry is excited to bring a new BlackBerry QWERTY smartphone, the BlackBerry Q5, to our customers in selected markets around world,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. “The BlackBerry Q5 gives you the best of everything with its cutting-edge BlackBerry 10 functionality and a physical QWERTY keyboard. It is for youthful fans that are passionate, confident and bold, and it makes it easy

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for them to have fun, create, share and stay connected.” As part of the BlackBerry 10 experience, the BlackBerry Q5 smartphone offers a powerful and unique mobile computing experience that continuously adapts to your needs. Features and apps work seamlessly together, allowing your every move to flow into the next. Highlights of the BlackBerry Q5 smartphone include a classic BlackBerry Keyboard, a 3.1” touchscreen, BlackBerry® Time Shift mode, BlackBerry® Story Maker, share your screen, BlackBerry Hub and access to more than 100,000 apps on the BlackBerry® World™ storefront. The new BlackBerry Q5 smartphone will be available in selected markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and other markets with expected availability beginning in July. www.Blackberry.com/blackberry10

THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE


JUNE 2013

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THIRD ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

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RAGMAG The Third Anniversary Issue | June 2013 | Issue #36  

www.ragmag.co | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @RAGMAGLebanon | FACEBOOK ragmag | PINTEREST Ragmag | In this issue: Akon, RAGMAG, Blackberry, Alicia K...

RAGMAG The Third Anniversary Issue | June 2013 | Issue #36  

www.ragmag.co | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @RAGMAGLebanon | FACEBOOK ragmag | PINTEREST Ragmag | In this issue: Akon, RAGMAG, Blackberry, Alicia K...

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