Dumb scooter cartoon

What does this cartoon from Today’s Al Ghad tell us?

In 1976, our ‘proud grandfathers’ (proudly wearing their Hatta and Abaya, of course) used to own a Mercedes.

In 1996, a decade ago, our father’s generation had to ‘contend themselves’ with owning a mini. Hatta and Abaya gone, of course (loss of pride?)

And in 2006? The ‘poor jordanian citizen’ has to ride a scooter! And it’s raining on his head. (total loss of dignity!).

This is the kind of sick thinking that’s being perpetuated by some of our ‘opinion leaders’ who get to publish cartoons in mass circulation dailies. It’s the kind of visual communication that deflates a hundred articles about saving energy, curbing traffic jams and giving young people the freedom of mobility. It’s the enforcement of a Jordanian sickness that makes people think if they don’t have a ‘Marseedis, their life is not alright.

No wonder so many people have such a pessimistic outlook!

Dear Mr Cartoonist Genius: can you tell me the percentage of people who could afford a Mercedes in good old ‘76? Do you want to tell us that a smaller percentage of the population drives cars in 2006 compared to the glorious days of ‘76.

Is it such an insult to Jordanian pride to sit on a scooter? Are we somehow ‘better’ than all those executives in London who drive to their work in scooters? Don’t get me started about the other Europeans who ride a bike to work (including some high ranking politicians).

BMW C1 Scooter

A suit wearing office worker on a BMW C1 Scooter. Not for Jordanians?

BTW: I was the proud owner of a beat up 1974 Mini in my latter university years. I am now the owner of a very small (and very distinctive) Smart, which I can park anywhere and that saved me a lot of fuel money over the past three years.

This cartoon and the culture it perpetuates as an insult to our intelligence.

Down with the ‘Mercedes for Every Jordanian’ party.


My Smart: Saves money. Easy to Park. Drawback: total strangers keep asking me questions about it.

Riding a scooter

Testing a scooter: No I haven’t bought one (yet). But I tested a number of scooters last week as part of a project I’m working on.

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22 responses to “Big Mercedes GOOOOOD. Small Scooter BAAAD (!!!???)”

  1. rami Avatar

    is it legal to drive scooters in jordan??????????????

    I think the good old man is fancying the mercedes in the photo, he doesn’t have one!

  2. Humeid Avatar

    yes it’s now legal rami. The decision to legalize came from the top of the political establishment (despite the grumbling of the police).

  3. Raeef Avatar

    I have a friend who loves the European style and life, he’ll graduate this month as an engineer and when he told his mother that he’s going to buy a scooter she refused the idea and maybe couldn’t imagine her son riding on one of those, she told him you want to ride on it wearing your suit: D

  4. nar Avatar

    The smart is largely made by the Mercedes people :)

    I agree with you, that we have to change our way of thinking to cope with new challenges like fuel prices and affordable mobility. I think Jordan should invest in trains and subways. Every large city has those systems and they only become harder to build the more a city grows. If it is hard now it will be difficult in 20 years.

  5. Hamam Tahat Avatar
    Hamam Tahat

    if the cartoon meant that jordanians are going poor day by day then the artist was wrong as my opinion, why there wasnt a ( 7antooor ) by 2010 to take a place in the cartoon corner …. :D
    i think its not a poor attitude to ride a scooter or even ride a mini car … why we dont think like its an environmental attitude to ride these good things , what we should do is to think in many good ways and to put the – 3anjaheya – down or if we cant aside ….
    by the way, Ahmad did we have a segway scooters in jordan ? like the one in this link http://www.segway.com/aboutus/photos.html if we have then i can make sure that it not a poooooory attitude…
    salam and take care.

  6. Hamam Tahat Avatar
    Hamam Tahat

    one last thing to every jordanian who has a scooter we should put a sign at the back of the scooters says ” one less car ” maybe this thing could change some stubborner and oldy fashioned brains in our country… if and there is a big if here they understand what has this sign from a great meaning ….

  7. Curious Avatar

    But isn’t the Smart a combined venture between Mercedes and Swatch. So in essence, you are driving a Mercedes ;)

  8. Humeid Avatar

    Yes, the Smart is made by Mercedes (Swatch are out of it). Sadly the company is losing money and Daimler Chrysler are thinking of selling the company. I hears that the UAE and the Qataris are interested.

    Raeef: I added a photo of the BMW C1 above, with a suited guy driving it. Maybe your friend should show it to his mother.

    I totally agree with the public transportation argument. Serious investment needed there. But scooter couod be part of the solution too.

  9. Rooh Yaa Avatar
    Rooh Yaa

    On a related subject and no offense to anyone, but how come the only folks who keep berating poor jordanians and lecturing them on the “culture of shame” or Thaqafat el 3ayeb are always NOT from the poor class? can a well-to-do guy really understands what drives the poor not to work menial jobs in Jordan, even though many of those poor folks will do same jobs in US or somewhere else?

    Is it not because WE the jordanian middle/upper class look with great desdain, even as we lecture the poor to take up any work, we the well-off jordanians are infected with a sickness called looking down at those who do menial jobs? I don’t think Thagafat el 3ayeb is due to the fact poor people in Jordan are waiting for a classy jobs, they simply now how we view peopel with such jobs, EVEN as we lecture them on the culture of shame. And a job at Books is not menial job, so please.

    In every country the “elite” (not to be confused with intellectuals ) set the standarsd for what is respectable and what is not. The rest of the country follows. In the US or France, for example, people take pride in their rags to riches stories sometimes to the extent they fake some aspects of it. In Jordan, every well-off Jordanian is somehow a descendent of the prophet, the grand son of the mayor or tribal chieftien, or the result of Divine Intervention . Lets face it, culture trickles down and actions speak louder than words. In jordan, the elite have been the source of many bad exmples.

    I say we pass a law in Jordan so whenever a Jordanian lectures on Thagafat el 3ayeb, we take away his wealth and force him to clean bathrooms for 100jd. in 10 years, he will make 150jd and marry the girl of his dream. then we bring these jordanians to set an example of living up to their lecturs.

  10. Hal Avatar

    Where can one buy a SMART in Jordan? And how much would it cost, approximately?

  11. قويدر Avatar

    I personally LOVE Scooters, Smart is also fantastic. These things are really efficient and do save a lot of money, space and the environment.
    I agree with you about the cartoon being an insult to Jordanians, there is nothing wrong with alternate commuting methods. be it, bikes, scooters, busses, carpools .. these are all great alternate ways to commute and they do save a lot, and keep our earth clean!
    The city I live in is called “the bicycle capital of the northwest”
    My manager comes to work EVERY DAY, rain or shine on his bike. riding at least 10 miles (16KM) each direction
    In NY city, courier services are almost exclusively on motorcycles or bicycles. In such congested cities, a car becomes useless!

    Now, Where’s my 6L V8 Harley, I wanna save the planet and not use my 8L v12 SUV 🙂

  12. Jad madi Avatar
    Jad madi

    Walahi I was planning to buy one as it will make my life easier and cheaper but now I’m not sure if I can drive one, is it easy to drive and control it ? you know the only thing stopping me from buying one is it’s safety; streets in Jordan aren’t the best and the drivers are the worst.
    anyway I still feel like ‘Emmmm I want one!’

  13. rami abdelrahman Avatar
    rami abdelrahman

    well i have a better solution for all, bicycles! no petrol used, good excercise, no worries about traffic jams, and it gives you a chance to see the world as you go by.

    However, one has to get a real good mountainbike with alot of gears to put up with the hills of amman and the broken streets, and should stay very wary of crazy drivers.

  14. democratieh Avatar

    Two things to say! …. in a recent published university study two anomolies were discoverd: 1- Two neighbouring countries with Mcdonalds have a very low risk of ever going to war against each other & 2- countries with laws allowing for motorcylces and scooters to be on the road have a flourishing democratic and political system!! I wonder if the cartonist ever reads this blog!

  15. salam Avatar

    Driving a scooter as a female may be problematic. i can imagine people trying to run me over just for ‘zanakha’, but i will test one soon inshaAllah. Other than being killed for the fun of others, being on a scooter with all the car pollution is a problem, not only for your lungs (cos u have no car to slightly protect you) but also your clothes. You will come home smelly and dirty everyday :) You will absorb hidous amount of airborne crap…..but still….i’m gonna test it! Looking forward to no cars.. but scooters and public transport instead!

  16. haha@jad.scooter Avatar


    Please don’t drive a scooter, you will jeopardize citizens lifes and “taste” if you do! ;)


  17. Sabbagh Avatar

    You all should watch South Park episode 1002 / (Smug Alert) from season09, they have a good point about such subject.

    Enjoy ;)

  18. Muhammad Arrabi Avatar
    Muhammad Arrabi

    nice Smart.
    what milage do you get on it? (how much gallons-per-mile or dinars-per-kilo-meter)

  19. Amer Avatar

    With a scooter, 5 JDs of gas will get you to Aqaba and then some! I’m a manager at a top hotel in Amman and I am proud to say that I’m in the process of getting my scooter license.

    If less of us keep thinking the way our backward forefathers do, the better it will be for all of us. Don’t forget that our grandchildren will inherit the environment we leave behind.

    Scooters are an ideal mode of transportation, especially for Jordan. We have moderate weather for most months of the year. The more scooters that come onto the road, the more careful drivers will be.

    Scooters Rule

  20. diego osorio Avatar
    diego osorio

    hi, I am new in town, and I am working for an int. organisation. I really want to either buy a second hand or rent a scooter as my main means of transportation. Could you kindly recommend a place in Amman where I could go?

    many thanks

  21. zander cage Avatar
    zander cage

    diego osorio,

    can i ask you some question my friend,
    are you a jordanian citizen?

    Coz based on the law here, only jordanian is autorised to drive and own a scooter.

  22. Amal Avatar

    well i think soon people who own scooters wont be able to afford keeping it, believe it or not daily i see people digging in garbage to find food or something to wear. i threw a men jeans pants few weeks ago after few minutes a man came looked around pull it out and wore it. what more sad than this and we still stuck in the stupid ideas of fake prestige or ” النفخة الكذابة” so no one will think we are low class its really sad and its getting worse!! the rich getting wealthy and the poor getting under the ground