7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018


According to Albert Einstein insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Nobody can prove or not, whether Einstein did or didn't actually say these now immortal words, but nevertheless, who gets the prize for originality is far less important that the gist of my humble offering to the GDN letters page.

I have written on this topic before. Previously, it was before I realised I was, according to the above-mentioned quote 'Insane'.

In my previous letter I described a safety sign I made and stuck to the rear of my car, which proclaimed in bold black letters on the customary yellow diamond shaped background. (In English.) 'I LOVE MY KIDS SO MUCH, I MAKE THEM WEAR SEATBELTS'.

After six months of carrying the sign and championing the simple message to all of my students (Well, more than a 1,000) who in their captivity, were unavoidably obliged to listen. I was forced to admit, that Albert or whoever else lays claim to the quote was probably right.

The only person who even mentioned the sign on my car was an American man who waved me down on the road to compliment me on the sign and ask where I bought it. He appeared massively crestfallen when I told him I had made it myself. Visibly deflated, he got back into his car and drove off into the suicidal chaos of everyday Bahrain traffic.

As a health and safety manager I could not just let the matter drop there, I needed to understand why my sign had made no discernible difference? I lay out here my reasoning/understanding, you can agree, disagree or think otherwise.

So we find for example Khalid and Fatima (it could just as easily be Aadarsh and Nishithini ) in the front of a car full to overflowing with children bouncing around as if on a trampoline ... Khalid and Fatima's car is parked uncomfortably close to the rear of mine in one of any of our customary traffic queues.

Because English is not the first language of either Khalid or Fatima (or indeed Aadarsh and Nishithini ) both may be able to understand the unavoidable sign, but both have plausible deniability and both can just as easily ignore the sign and collectively mouth under their breath. Insha'Allah.

My first letter did prompt some 'Mothers Union' to contact me through GDN, and mention to me that a well-known babywear outlet was considering a sponsorship deal to produce and distribute signs of a similar design... In the 12/18 months since I removed the sign as a waste of space, I have seen no other sign with a similar message... A simple case of plausibly deniability versus Insha'Allah one might suggest?

Phase two of my personal campaign was to have the original sign translated into Arabic. Now in the back of my car there are two signs both conveying the same message, in Arabic and English. The simple message is as before 'I LOVE MY KIDS SO MUCH, I MAKE THEM WEAR SEATBELTS'.

Phase two of my campaign is now four months old, and the news is not good, not only have the signs made not a ''ha'p'orth of difference'', but now I have irrefutable proof that I am ''insane''.

As a footnote, I should add that actually, my wife and I must be doubly insane because we have no children, but if we were ever to be so blessed, I'm sure we would visibly love out kids much more than some parents we see driving around Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The two signs will stay in my car where they are, in the somewhat insane hope that some parents might take parental responsibility, rather than just relying on somebody else to look after their children. Expat Dave

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