Aramco ExPats

Author Archive

Fellow Brats and Others, Sun Exposed Heavily

2 September 2015 | comments (3) | Brats | by

 Fellow Brats and Others, Sun Exposed Heavily | Melanoma

by Jon Walker

I have been gone from Arabia for over 57 years, excluding a one year military tour in 1976-77. A couple years ago, I had an occurrence of a melanoma skin cancer which was caught early and removed. Within a few months I was diagnosed with a lesser form of cancer called a basal cell carcinoma. I recently passed my fifth year of non-recurrence for the melanoma due to early detection and the removal from my arm. The basal cell occurred on the opposite arm and it also was removed and had not recurred until ten days ago. This time it came back on my same arm, however, up on the shoulder area. I just got off the phone with my doctor, and I am happy to say “they got it all” again. Of course, this is a lesser from of skin cancer, not usually connected to the dangers of melanoma.

I write this to let you know that those of us raised in Arabia have to be very careful of watching our skin eruptions and as a fair complected red head, I was especially vulnerable to the UV rays. I do not ever recall having access to SPF type prevention while there. It took many years for my skin eruptions to show themselves, but they did finally ‘surface’ so to speak. I am writing to warn all of you so exposed to see a Dermatologist if ANYTHING shows or surfaces. Get whatever it is looked at, treated, or excised/removed as soon as possible. DO NOT wait. I have been fortunate, but more through sheer dumb luck than aware of what could have happened.

Skin cancers are the most prevalent of the cancers and are on the rise statistically even in the U.S. Use SPF coverings when exposure to the sun rays is expected, be aware and most of all, remember treatment early equals an almost 90+% chance of successful treatment.

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Jon Walker DH 51

Sue Knight Books

2 September 2015 | comments (0) | Special Interest | by

Sue Knight Books | Till They Dropped

Colin and I lived and worked in Dhahran for nearly 25 years. He worked for Materials Supply and taught scuba diving and I worked at the Kennel Club, in various capacities for some years. We are now retired and living on the South Coast of England, with a lovely view of the English Channel. Colin is keeping very busy as a nature photographer and a member of Sussex Search and Rescue, a land based unit which searches for missing vulnerable people when called out by the police force. We are members of Butterfly Conservation and I am the Membership Secretary for Sussex branch. I am a Jehovah’s Witness, so I am busy with door to door preaching and teaching work.

“Till they Dropped” is my first venture into fiction. It is a story I wrote many years ago, and sent to Fantastic Books Publishing hoping they would put it in an anthology of short stories they were publishing. However, my publisher decided it was novella length and has published it separately. It originates from a dream I had many years ago – about a little girl lost in a maze of rooms; and a childhood game my sisters and I used to play – hence the toys. When I started it, I had no idea where the girl was, why she was lost, and who was tracking her down. But as I wrote it, all became clear.
It is out in Kindle form, and I already have some reviews on Amazon:

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Uk Amazon
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US Amazon

The publisher has advised it will be out in paperback also.

Sue Knight Books | Old Playgrounds

I have a novel finished and ready to go to the publisher. It is a dive thriller, based on our many trips to the Maldives with the Aramco Shoal which Colin organised for over 20 years. I have also had poetry published in anthologies, and edited a book of poems, including some of mine, which is available in Kindle and paperwork versions:

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The genesis of the story is that during our Saudi years, my sister Penny set up an email writers group for us three sisters. We worked hard at it, and they are both now published authors – writers of thrillers – see their websites below. And I am finally in print myself. So it was a very productive group.

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Tragedy at the Radium Compound

2 September 2015 | comments (3) | Special Interest | by

Tragedy at the Radium Compound

Death and injury recently struck the Aramco family in the form of a devastating fire at the Radium Compound in Al Khobar. We lack words sufficient to express the enormity of the loss to those families whose loved ones were taken and what it means to the rest of us.

Rather, we choose to share the timeless thoughts of seventeenth century British poet John Donne from his “Meditation 17″ written almost 400 years ago:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

We are all a part of the Aramco family. Any loss of a family member from any country, of any age, is a loss to all of us, wherever they may have been or we may be.

Our hearts go out to the immediate families of those who lost their lives in Al-Khobar. Know that all of you are a part of an extended family, that you have Aramcon brothers and sisters around the world who grieve with you and wish God’s eternal blessings on the departed.

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Diplomatic Protocol

26 August 2015 | comments (0) | Special Interest | by

Diplomatic Protocol

With the upcoming visit to the U.S. of Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman looming on the horizon, it caused us to think about the powerful ties the Kingdom has enjoyed with the United States dating from the famous meeting between King Ibn Saud and President Franklin Roosevelt aboard the cruiser USS Quincy on Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake in 1945. In February of the following year, Saudi Arabia opened a Legation in Washington, DC headed by Sheikh Asad Al-Faqih with the official titles of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. In March 1949, the Saudi Legation was raised to an Embassy, with Sheikh Asad Al-Faqih assuming the official titles of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

Diplomatic Protocol

We have before us an interesting volume dealing with Washington, DC social manners during the years of the sheikh’s service as ambassador. It is titled “The Social List of Washington and Social Precedence In Washington” and dates from 1951. In it, publisher Carolyn Hagner Shaw lays out the official protocols to be followed in Washington society.

“The necessity of following protocol in Washington is of momentous importance,” she cautions readers. “The rules of precedence governing who ranks whom must be adhered to rigidly when entertaining officials.

“It is well to remember that personal friendships do not count. The rank of one’s guest must be the deciding factor at all times.

“The wife of an official always assumes the rank held by her husband.

“When there is doubt as to which of two people bears the higher rank, it is the part of wisdom never to invite them to dinner at the same time.

“Heads of Foreign Powers rank one another according to length of service, an Ambassador preceding a Minister in all cases.”

After explaining in detail protocols governing interaction with the President, Vice President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Shaw moves on to discussing the proper forms to follow when communicating with Ambassadors of Foreign Powers:

“In writing address an envelope (using three lines):

His Excellency
Full name
The Ambassador of Norway

“The salutation of a letter:

My dear Mr. Ambassador

“In speaking:

Mr. Ambassador

“In introducing:

The Ambassador of Norway
(do not use “His Excellency” in this case)

“In writing address an envelope to an Ambassador and his wife (using three lines):

His Excellency
The Ambassador of Norway
and Mrs. (surname only)

“It is to be remembered that when addressing the wife of an Ambassador, no title is given her.

“Upon his arrival in Washington, an Ambassador presents his credentials to The President, and his precedence begins with that day. Ambassadors of Foreign Powers rank one another according to length of service.

“An Ambassador of a Foreign Power precedes a Minister at all times, regardless of length of service.”

In a Table of Precedence, Shaw identifies the accepted order of precedence governing social affairs in Washington, beginning with the President at the top:

  • The President of The United States
  • The Vice President of The United States
  • The Chief Justice of The United States
  • Ambassadors of Foreign Powers
  • The Speaker
  • The Secretary of State
  • United States Representative to the United Nations
  • Ministers of Foreign Powers

Shaw goes on identify 27 more levels of precedence, ranging from Cabinet members in the order in which their departments were created, to members of the Senate and House, to governors of states, to five- and four-star generals, down to major generals and Rear Admirals.

Diplomatic Protocol

A Memorandum of Conversation drafted in February 1949 by Secretary of State Dean Acheson discussed the “Elevation of the Legation of Saudi Arabia to the Grade of Embassy.” In it Acheson wrote:

“His excellency Asad Al-Faqih, Ambassador Designate of Saudi Arabia, called upon me today at 3:45 p.m. to present a copy of his Letter of Credence and of his Remarks to be made to the President as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Sheikh Asad-Al-Faqih was presented by Mr. Woodward, Chief of Protocol.

“I inquired concerning the health of the Royal Family and was informed that H.R.H. Prince Faisal, Foreign Minister, had undergone an operation for sinus in Paris, and that His Majesty King Ibn Saud was obliged occasionally to use the wheel chair which President Roosevelt had given him a few years ago. The Ambassador assured me that His Majesty’s condition was not serious.

“I inquired also concerning Sheikh Ali Ali Reza, and found that he too had been operated upon recently for stomach ulcers.

“Otherwise our conversation was limited to an exchange of courtesies.

D. A.”

The years of Sheikh Asad Al-Faqih’s service as Ambassador to the United States marked a crucial period in the development of the strong ties of friendship that continue to bind together these two great countries.

King Salman Visits Washington DC

26 August 2015 | comments (0) | Special Interest | by

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Visits Washington DC

Aramco ExPats has learned that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, head of the House of Saud, will visit Washington, DC in early September for meetings with President Barack Obama. This will be King Salman’s first visit to the United States since 2012 and first since he assumed the crown in January of this year following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah. King Salman is the son of Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al-Saud —known in the Arab world as Abdulaziz, best known elsewhere in the world as Ibn Saud—the founder and first monarch of the modern Saudi State.

Born on the last day of December 1935, King Salman received his education at the Prince’s School in Riyadh, where he majored in religion and modern science. After serving as Deputy Governor of Riyadh, he assumed the governorship in April 1955, retaining that post through December of 1960 and assuming it again in 1963 when he was named Minister of Defense.

Throughout his life, King Salman has won great respect for his work on various humanitarian and service committees providing relief to victims of natural and man-made disasters. Many countries have honored him with medals, decorations and awards for his service to people from around the world.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Visits Washington DC

Included among King Salman’s awards are an honorary doctorate from the Islamic University of Madinah and the Kant Medal, awarded to him in 1910 by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

The Academy had this to say in 2010 about then-Prince Salman when it granted him the first-ever Kant Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the promotion of science in an international context:

HRH Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud was born in Riyadh, studying among other things the Quran and the Sharia under the great Islamic scholars and sheikhs. He is one of the highest-ranking and most influential members of the Saudi Arabian royal family. He is Governor of the Riyadh Region, which under his leadership and with his sustained support has developed into the impressive political, economic, administrative and, especially, scientific-cultural center of the country, with numerous universities, museums and monuments. For decades, Prince Salman has engaged in humanitarian, social, medical and scientific issues worldwide. He is the founder of many foundations and has been honored with the highest awards. His activities have an international reputation, which extends far beyond the Arab world.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Visits Washington DC

Prince Salman is the initiator of the eponymous “Prince Salman Science Oasis” in Riyadh, whose purpose is to develop an interactive science center and to raise and promote public interest and awareness of science. The “Prince Salman Science Oasis” acts as a socially integrated scientific platform, thus making a pioneering contribution to the teaching of science and to the strengthening of the public dialogue.

He is also president of the “Riyadh Philanthropic Society for Science.” By offering the prestigious “Prince Salman Prize for Research Excellence,” which is awarded by the Saudi Society for Libraries and Information, an impressive attempt has been made to make visible and reward academic excellence. Prince Salman encourages other universities in Saudi Arabia to do the same.

In addition to his outstanding commitment to education and science, Prince Salman has provided lasting services in the medico-social sector. The United Nations has awarded him for his fight against poverty in the world as well as for his humanitarian commitment in the Philippines. In 2009 he was awarded the “Special Olympics in Middle East and North Africa International Award” in great appreciation for his service to people with disabilities in Saudi Arabia and to the strengthening of research in this field. With the award of the Kant Medal, which has been awarded now for the first time, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences recognizes Prince Salman’s outstanding contribution to the promotion of education and science.

We welcome King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to the United States.

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