I read your letter to a new born son, Aubrey earlier this year and thought that it was a great guide for me with own 20 month boy, Ayman (which in Arabic means, to be on the right side, or the right path).

Last night, he sat down with me at 8pm (too late by far I thought, but we were both in a good mood) and watched a game between current number 1, Amr Shabana & Rami Ashour (both of Egypt) at the US Open from a couple of weeks ago. As you know squash is not the best TV sport, but I couldn’t believe how entranced Ayman was with the sound of the ball being hit hard on the glass walls. I tried to give him a brief explanation which he seemed to enjoy, but I could constantly hear this voice in my head saying, “these guys don’t look as good as the guys I watched playing when I was younger (ie. Jahangir & Jansher). I know you are a huge squash legend, so I will try and contribute my thoughts on this in another email.

Ok, now on to the reason I write today. Very briefly re: your comment below:

A Change of the Rear Guard. The Saudi Arabian market is the worst performer of the year, with the Tadawul down some 53% at 7837, but United Arab Emirates and Qatar are now down just 40 to 45%. The question that immediately springs to mind is, how did I avoid buying these markets that looked to be so oversold?

I think you are already grateful for avoiding the Saudi market, but I suspect that even if you had tried, you would not have been able to buy the Saudi market. I haven’t checked but I think the only people who could buy stocks in Saudi were residents of Saudi Arabia and even then only after jumping through several hoops. Previously, the only people who were allowed to invest were Saudi nationals!

I think it is called capitalism, Saudi style. Not very different to Chinese capitalism.

Also, I know you are probably aware of this, but most local critics of the Saudi regime complain about how they’ve given ceded autonomy to the American governments over the last 30 years. What I don’t think anybody realizes is that because they’ve pegged the Riyal to the USD they’ve also given up control of their monetary policy and their currency to the US.

Vic replies:

Please feel free to contribute your own bullet points on child rearing. One I wanted to write was never be afraid of rejection and always be ready to bargain. I am also waiting for Laurel to write one about music — 20 months seems very old to start playing an instrument. I have Aubrey playing handball daily now, and got him to hit with a racket at 1 day!


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