I am sure you all know the expression "I will break your head." This was often used in the past when two people had a quarrel or a squabble. It was sometimes used by elders to threaten the young if they didn't behave properly.
In today's world, however, with its constant changes, new expressions have appeared. Last Monday, near the post office, there was an altercation between two people apparently about who would park first. Heated arguments went on and then one of the men screamed at the other with venom in his eyes: "If you don't move, I'll bite your ears off."
I froze. This was the first time I had ever heard such a threat. And then it dawned on me of course. Mike Tyson was the source of it. His biting the ear of his boxing opponent, Evander Holyfield, apparently made an impact all over the world.
The impact is, as we might surmise, not for the good. Already imitators are at work.
In Britain, a Labor Councilor, Ken Brookman aged 54, bit the ear of a fellow train passenger who objected to nasty remarks being made about his wife. Brookman has been suspended from the party.
Also, taking a cue from Mike Tyson, was a policeman from the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Head Constable Manoj Yadav bit subordinate Redha Shyam's ears in anger in a dispute over batons. The bitten part has not been found.
In Bolivia, two criminals held a policeman hostage and asked for free passage. Denying their demands, they said, would result in their chewing both the policeman's ears off.
These incidents illustrate the new dangers people are going to face because of Mike Tyson. It means that we must be very careful in crowded places. A certain gentleman whom I know is very argumentative and hot-headed. When he was told of these incidents, he decided to curtail his temper. He has also decided not to use crowded elevators in case he accidentally pushes or shoves any one.
It is strange how Mike Tyson's actions in the ring have affected so many around the world. As for me, I have started wearing ear muffs.
In the Gulf markets, fake or substandard toys can be found in plenty. There will always be unscrupulous manufacturers who produce substandard toys which are dangerous for children to play with. Cheap plastic and toxic paint make these fakes a double threat, but buyers are misled by the packaging which looks identical to that of the genuine brand.
It is welcome news to hear that in order to prevent the serious accidents that these fake toys can cause several supermarkets in Jeddah have removed substandard toys from their shelves. If they continue to do so even after the media spotlight moves on, then the supermarkets will be doing the public a real service.
There is no end to the risk posed by dangerous toys which come into the market from time to time. Toy guns which looked like the real thing and fired pellets gave us a big scare not so long ago. Then there was a "pen knife" which snapped open to reveal a 7 cm steel blade!
Licensed toy suppliers are concerned about this state of affairs and are waiting for new regulations from the Council of Chamber of Commerce to become effective. We have the capability to control standards and ensure that they are adhered to by all manufacturers and retailers operating in the region.
We, as parents, should always be wary at all times and not allow ourselves to be tempted by low-priced, poor quality unsafe toys. When toy stores such as Hamleys produce a large range of the genuine article (more than 35,000 toys are available through Hamleys), not being able to buy a particular toy is not an excuse for any responsible parent to risk their child's welfare for the sake of saving a few riyals.
Newspapers especially in the Gulf are producing surveys and reports as if they were absolute scientific truth.
Recently there has been a spate of alarming reports against the use of tobacco. A writer who I later discovered had a husband working for an advertising company that had a dairy farm as a client made a "study" allegedly linking Cola drinks to all sorts of ailments.
A recent report by Cambridge University's Department of Community Medicine stated that in 20 years time, one in 2 people in Britain will have suffered from cancer.
These gloomy predictions make us laymen even more confused.
First it was diet which researchers claimed caused ten times more cancer than anything else. Then tobacco became the culprit.
Even the sun came in for more than its share of accusations.
Now a new theory is evolving. Watching TV is supposed to cause an increase in cancer in the next 20 years. Sitting in front of cathode tubes flicking a remote control a hundred times a day is obviously a serious threat to human health. In addition, mental health, says the report, will be affected by watching all that nauseating Hollywood trash.
However, the writer of the report complained that nobody dares mention TV as most obvious cause of increased cancer.
The television lobby is too powerful and too rich.
And they are certainly in a position to keep any connection between cancer and television off the air!!
As for me and my friends, there is nothing like a nice sheesha and fragrant Jurak as we discuss these so called "reports" made by special interest groups serving their own ends.