Would you go out with a m3allem batonn ?

Two weeks ago, we had to hire a plumber to fix our sink. He came and fixed it in 30 minutes and we payed him around 100 swiss francs (almost $100). One week later, we were out at a bar and i saw that same plumber with a woman, enjoying the music and having a drink... We talked for about 5 minutes. He introduced his fiancée and said that they are going to get married next month. They had just come back from a family dinner. This girl happened to be my colleague's friend. She recently got a doctorate in anthropology.

I got home that same night, and I was still thinking of this couple. 
Can you imagine the same couple in Lebanon? Haha! "Ya benté, t3ebna 3layké, dafa3na damm albna, ta tetjawazei sangarei?"
"My child, we suffered to raise you, we invested all our money in your education so you get the best, and you want to marry a plumber?"
How many of us have friends who are electricians (not engineers), bakers (not bankers), tailors (not stylists), carpenters (not interior designers ) ?

When I introduced my husband to my family the first time, he was still a student, and they asked me what he does. So I said: "bel jem3a", "at university" and everyone thought he was a teacher. So we played along to avoid people asking us all sorts of questions.

What's wrong with us? Why do we all want to become lawyers, doctors, and architects? What's wrong with being shoemakers, electricians, concierges or m3allem batonn "mason"

I also have friends whose fathers are mechanics and they are ashamed of saying it. They just say: "El papi 3ando garage. Houwé ma byechteghel abadan. 3ando kam shagheel sourei w massrei ta7et ido".  " My dad has a garage. He doesn't do anything. He just gives orders to a couple of Syrian and Egyptian employees". 

What is to be ashamed of? This same garage payed for your clothes, your phone bills and your university tuition. 

Last time i had a conversation with a Lebanese friend living here in Switzerland. She was saying that if her daughter would want to be a hairdresser, and her son a gardner, she would be ashamed to tell her family in Lebanon.  

Come on, what's wrong with us? 

Let's encourage the new generation to choose trades as careers. Let's encourage them by showing them that without a baker we won't have bread, without a farmer we won't have milk and cheese, and without a butcher we won't have meat... Isn't food the most important thing to us? How would be brag about a 6-course meal on a Sunday lunch? Ha?

Think about it? What's your opinion? 


  1. It's a nice topic to handle in Lebanon, because all Lebanese think about are MAZAHIR!
    Maybe it's because of an insecurity feeling that we have... but i'm not sure of it's origin since Lebanese are smart, clever, always know to find their way....

  2. 100% yer right!
    Its because Lebanese people, more than others, are very much blinded by "labels".. and that's all they care about.. titles.

  3. sadly true,
    most Lebanese are like that
    you still have to search for the minorities that will never judge a person on the position/job he holds, frankly who cares what you do....
    Fik tkoun zebbel, l mouhemm mesh nafsitak tkun zbele ^^
    nice post :D

  4. I once had a conversation with a father who stopped allowing his son into the kitchen the moment he realized he had interest in cooking: "Ma beddi 3awdo 3al tabeekh hay mesh shaghlto (shaghlet meen lakein? but this takes us into another debate..), shu baddo y2ulu 3anno el neis bel mesta2bal iza t3alla2 bhal shaghle? TABBAKH ??!!! mesh a7la w aham biseer lama y3aytulu doctor aw mu7ame?" -.-

    This piece would simply be the perfect reply, please make an arabic version of it especially that it applies to all arab countries and not just Lebanon !

  5. Thank you all for the comments, unfortunately all you said is true, a lot of people always say : El cheghel mech 3eib ? But do they really mean it ???

    We'll try to translate it to Arabic soon. Thank you again a lot !

  6. Between "it's" and "its" (in the first 2 comments), sar lezim nerja3 net3allam englizeh.

  7. Sorry but the last comment is irrelevant, if you have something to say about the post , please do, if not an apostrophe is not really what matters to us here.

  8. In reply to the fascinating comment:
    "Between "it's" and "its" (in the first 2 comments), sar lezim nerja3 net3allam englizeh."

    Between you and me my anonymous friend, we Lebanese are going to stay where we are unless we start focusing on the content and correcting or at least try to correct things, sentences, or ideas in a nice way.

    Rou7(é) ya la2im(é)! :)

  9. There is nthg wrong with marrying or being with someone who has a technical job or is not a lawyer or a doctor.it has to do with you being comfortable with that someone be it a girl or a guy. If there s harmony and u r on the same wave let it be. But they say: touut ce qui ce ressemble s'assemble. I don't mind saying that personally I would do it if I was living on my own abroad. That's me being realistic! Or true to myself :)

  10. Rana, it’s a nice experience to talk about in this article especially that Lebanon is very sensitive when it comes to confession, race, family name, etc…so what to say about social class.

    I don’t like to say that but most Lebanese are educated but to some extend not intellectual, we only look at collecting all the alphabet letters on our CV (MSC,LAU, USJ, AUB, PHD, HEC, MBA, etc..) and if you ask a graduated person what was the last thing he/she read, the answer is “Euhh…Mondanite”. Unlike in Europe where you can spot a bus driver who might not have finished his high school degree, sitting and reading a book during his break.
    At this time, I guess it’s too early to compare European and Lebanese perceptions of things.

  11. Yeah you are right Ralph, it's too early to compare as we have nothing in common, but maybe if we talk about it, it will raise awareness...yeah silly me wanting to raise awareness through a blog :)
    and I cannot stand people who say We lebanese , We are like Europeans, we party till dawn !! i love this argument, as if being European is only partying until 5 a.m everyday and wearing mini skirts...anyway thank you for taking the time to read and comment :)

    Rasch : Thank you for the comment, it's true tout ce qui se ressemble s'assemble, but also les extrêmes s'attirent :) , of course you need to share interests and activities with the person you're gonna be with , and you have to feel comfortable and all of that...

    the point of this post, is not comparing Lebanese to Europeans, or any other civilization, or to talk about couples... i took the example of the plumber and the fiancé to get to the main point : Let's encourage trades, manual jobs and technical ones...

    Thank you all again for commenting and reading.


  12. nice topic,
    I always thought that I should have been a carpenter, I like working in wood and creating designs...but here I am with degrees in my hand and more troubles in my head :)

    I am new to your blog, interesting topics! I would like to invite you to check my blog: www.innoleh.com and my facebook page: innoleh

    cheers! and I hope to see you in the GetTogether001

  13. You are right, this is a major issue. Perhaps if young people had to pay for their own mobile phone bills and clothes they would have some respect for those who actually work for a living instead of having a uni education paid for, then 'graduating' to a job in daddy's company. I think parents want their kids to have things 'better' than other people, which (surprise) results in the kids thinking they are 'better' than others.
    On a side point plumbers are now making more than professors in some European countries - perhaps if that happens in Lebanon they will climb a little higher on the ladder!

  14. I agree, you have to check www.m3allem.com, this could be a start, and good luck in future posts :)

  15. m3allem.com is a great initiative. Vive les m3allem !!!

  16. http://www.m3allem.com/ its there already, didnt know about it.

    nice web Toom ;) , keep on the good work

  17. Well, in Switzerland, a plumber earn much more than a PhD !!! so there's the economical issue to take into account as well.

  18. Very nice topic, it reflects the true lebanese story!

    and i have to reply to Chantal (the first comment): 'but i'm not sure of it's origin since Lebanese are smart, clever, always know to find their way'.

    There's a picture posted on the wall of toomextra on fb that shows how lebanese ppl see themselves and others see them, well I don't think they're as smart and clever as you or they think they are, and that's the major problem of all.



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