Friday, 5 October 2018

It’s the 90s issue

Your Wealth

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Life in the ‘90s

You know it. We know it. The New York Times knows it: The 90s were the best decade (we’re more than just a little bias). We here at Enterprise cannot stop living in the past. Our nostalgia, particularly for the 1980s, has been very pronounced. But in the interest of full disclosure, we’d like to admit that for the majority of us here, the 1990s is as far back as our sentient brains can remember. The 90s sat on the cusp of modern-age advancements but still maintained a large degree of olden-day simplicity, TV and music from the decade remain incomparable, and it just seems like a lot of our modern-day woes did not exist back then. And there’s empirical evidence to back the claim that the 90s were the best decade on record, especially for the US, Kurt Andersen writes for the Gray Lady. The American economy prospered during the decade, with unemployment dropping effectively to zero and median household incomes rising. Globally, the Soviet Union collapsed, South Africa dismantled apartheid, Israel and Palestine signed the Oslo Accords.

It was the little things: Those of us who were kids during the 90s may not remember the fall of the Soviet Union, but we definitely remember owning a Tamagotchi and wishing we owned a Talkboy after watching Home Alone 2, which Complex reminds us were among the decade’s most popular gadgets. And what was a 90s schoolgirl without her Lisa Frank binders and a ridiculously-flavored Lip Smackers lip balm?

And so, we’ve collectively decided, in a moment of millennial angst, to reach back into that decade of the Simpsons, tamaguchi, Titanic and the Backstreet boys. As you can see clearly from the stuff we’re about to list, it was indeed the best of times and the worst of times.

When the 1990s was going to be the end of times: Remember that Y2K bug? How all of technology was going to fry because computers just couldn’t count that high (or something of the sort). That is if computers themselves don’t just up and take over all together. We’re also a tad bit disappointed that we still cannot move to mars. Well folks, it’s almost two decades into the new millennium and so very few of highly anticipated predictions for the 2000s — including, you know, some of the UN’s millennium goals — have failed to materialize. Bustle Magazine breaks down some of the 12 ridiculous expectations we had in the ‘90s for the new millennium that never quite materialized. These include very (almost) believable things like Aol, Yahoo and MSN taking over the internet to the Apocalypse.

We’re the 90s the false hope of feminism? On the face of it, the 1990’s is when women really came to their own: delaying marriages, rising in the workforce, and significantly reducing the gender gap in education and employment. Across the world, there was a growing number of female leaders in politics, business, and entertainment were becoming rising superstars, and the conversatism that pervaded many traditional societies appeared to resisting a little less forcefully. But these statistics, which saw 1992 declared “the Year of Women,” simply changed the face of misogyny, writes Allison Yarrow for the Times. The fact that the cultural backlash against it has manifested as the #Metoo movement some two decades later is indicative of how deceptive the 1990’s was for women’s writes.

It’s where the culture wars started: The established mechanisms of fortifying the glass ceiling may have shifted, but a bigger backlash against feminism emerged in the 1990s in the US, argues Yarrow. “The more women assumed power, the more power was taken from them through a noxious popular culture that celebrated outright hostility toward women and commercialized their [REDACTED] and insecurity. Feminist movements were co-opted. Soon, women would author their own [REDACTED] objectification.” The emergence of the 24-hour news cycle and highly commercialized media landscape made matters worse, with scandals centered on women were continuously aired, with advertising and entertainment focussing heavily on appearance and morals.

But perhaps the most insidious form of cultural backlash came with feminism being used against women, she argues. Female empowerment became a byword for emasculation, prudishness, and trouble makers.

The last decade where it was okay to pig out: The world’s appetite for meat — one of the biggest contributor to our environmental decline — has been growing significantly bigger since the 1990’s, according to Business Insider, citing a research report conducted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML). Global meat supply levels sharply hiked in the period between 1992 and 2014 from 7% to 16.9%, while global supply for sugar and sweeteners doubled to 16.8% from 8.7%. Dairy supply rose to 7.3% from 4.4% during the same period. It is perhaps unsurprising that the Great Obesity Crisis came about in the developed world around that time.

Remember when we wrote love letters to our crushes and made them mix tapes? From what we’re seeing these days, the 1990s may have been the last days of chivalry. It was the last decade of internet-free love and we miss how romantic it all was. The swipers of these days will likely never experience what it’s like to really miss someone and not be able to reach them when they’re away; the mystery, longing and passion that result from real distance has been made nearly impossible with every person only a click or swipe away.

One lesson in romance we’ve picked up in out maturing years is that while love has always been complicated, but technology has in no way made it easier. Maybe we were never meant to constantly be able to track down our significant others through social media. And maybe if we had more conversations in person rather than through our phones, there would be fewer misunderstandings and more room for genuine human interaction. This Huffington Post piece lists seven things we all miss about love in the ‘90s.

Your top 5

We interrupt this time warp to give the five most important business and economy stories out of Egypt in September (2018, that is):

  • Noble Energy, Delek, and Egypt’s East Gas sign agreements paving the way for gas exports to Egypt — a milestone moment in Egypt’s drive to be a regional energy hub.
  • Egypt called off its fourth treasury bond auction as yields climb amid the emerging markets selloff.
  • The EGX30 dropped 3.6% — its lowest level since January 2017 — following the arrest of Gamal and Alaa Mubarak on charges of stock market manipulation.
  • The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) publicly warned Uber and Careem against a merger, which sources said was ongoing and could potentially be worth USD 2.5 bn.
  • Advisers for the first two share sales of the state privatization program chosen: HSBC has won the mandate to lead the Alexandria Mineral Oils Co. (AMOC) sale, EFG Hermes to lead Eastern Company.

Music of the ‘90s

The golden age of hip-hop and pop music … and the sell-out of rock? Hip-hop wasn’t born in the 90s, but that’s when its seeds “positively mushroomed,” DW says. But the decade also nearly spelled disaster for the genre, Complex notes. Black radio stations were playing less and less hip-hop, which gave the genre little airtime unless artists succumbed to the pressure of “softening” their music until it no longer fit the real hip-hop bill. Cultural appropriation was rife, golden age artists were marginalized, and rap records were threatened with legal action for their explicit lyrics. We can’t talk about 1990s hip-hop without mentioning the likes of Tupac, the Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube. Tupac and Biggie’s East Coast/West Coast rivalry spanned the better part of the decade, and culminated in both rappers getting murdered one year apart. Their shootings nudged the genre towards less violent music, some scholars say.

Pop music also skyrocketed in the 90s with the emergence of boy- and girl-bands such as Backstreet Boys, NSync, Destiny’s Child, the Spice Girls, and TLC (we don’t want No Scrubs). Individual artists also dominated the spotlight: Britney Spears released her chart-topper …Baby One More Time (remember the Catholic school girl music video?) in 1998, everybody was Vogue-ing to Madonna’s voice in 1990, and Prince has far too many iconic songs from the decade for us to only name one.

Underground punk and rock music found their way into the mainstream in the 1990s, but the transition was more confusing than anything for these genres, Craig Schuftan writes for Radio National. The music, which had long been called “alternative” for being an alternative to popular genres, suddenly found itself a popular genre and somewhat unsure of its identity. It was both seen as a “gigantic sellout [and] celebrated as a revolution … It was an intellectual balancing act.”

We run down the special Egypt most memorable hits of the 90s: If you grew up in Omm El Donia in the ‘90s, the following list of songs will surely ring close to home:

Let’s start with the absolute obvious: the one and only Amr Diab. Like most Amr Diab lyrics, we’re left wondering what it all means 20 years later. He certainly isn’t helping us handle our aging with his Benjamin Button disease.

Abdul Majid Abdullah: Not many Khaleeji songs ever make it out of their home of origin, but this one by AbdulMajeed Abdullah was pure gold. (Tip: Check the mean dance moves at 01:20 and thank us later.)

Mohamed Mohie: Last but not least, we obviously can’t have a ‘90s music list without this melodramatic hit by the saddest man our generation knew: Mohamed Mohie. If you didn’t at some point in middle school have this song playing on repeat on your walkman as you suffered the pain of unrequited love for the first time, did you really have a childhood here?

Out of all the strange lyrics of the ‘90s though, we believe this one takes the cake. The Egyptian version of “I’m a Little Teapot” includes some useful advice like how we should spend all our money on sugar! Yes, it literally says that. We advise you to watch this video, but really pay attention to the lyrics this time.

We took the liberty of translating this very “special” part, just to demonstrate that psychedelics were not just the purview of the 1960s and 70s:

Once upon a time, there was a red caftan,
worn by a beautiful woman called Marmar,
And there were persian cats and a Fayoumi rooster,
and you and I were sitting there watching.
It was great fun and all was good,
but suddenly there was an earthquake.
Turned out it was an elephant with a trunk, dancing in the jungle,
Inside the indian jungle, the elephant was singing a song.
It went: My trunk and I look like a teapot.
Teapot, teapot.

Television and the ‘90s

The Rise of the Sitcom: Ask any millenial what they remember of 90s American television, and one common theme would be the sitcom. The sheer number of them and how diverse they were in style and sensibility truly made 90s the decade where binge watching started. We run down some favorites below:

The Simpsons ruled over all: We can debate which of the myriad of shows that we grew up with was the best. One show there appears to have always stayed with our memories (regardless of generation) was the comedic genius of the Simpsons. It elevated the traditional sitcom from something campy and material to zone out to, to timeless and relevant satire. The Simpsons became a cultural phenomenon worldwide, with its dubbed versions proving to be hits in their local countries (everywhere except the Egypt version, of course). As the longest running television series in US history, those out for a little nostalgic Simpsons binge-watching wouldn’t know where to start. Start and end with the 90s (Seasons 1-10). For a wider net, Vulture has its list of the 100 best Simpsons episodes to stream.

The rest of the sitcoms. These run the gambit of the adult-oriented — such as the witty and sophisticated Fraser — to the coming of age classics of Boy Meets World and Saved by the Bell. But the eternal debate that divides millennials to this day is Friends vs Seinfeld. We here at Enterprise take this very seriously, and judge potential hires on their chosen camp (not really).

Some of our favorite 90s shows are getting a second life: Charmed. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sabrina the Teenage Witch. These are but three 90s shows that are getting a modern-day reboot, according to BBC. Many of the shows making their way back to the small screen are deviating, by varying margins, from their 90s originals: Charmed is apparently getting a “feminist storyline” (although three powerful, independent witch sisters banding together to fight evil is pretty feminist in any case), Sabrina will be a “dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft,” sci-fi show Roswell is going to be a lot more political. That’s all well and good, but when can we get six more seasons of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?

The 90’s are considered the pinnacle of quality television drama for many Egyptians. Screenwriters like Osama Anwar Okasha and Mahfouz Abdel Rahman scripted long multi-year series as a means of recreating and reinterpreting modern Egyptian history. We remember gathering with our families during Ramadan days, and even after, obsessing over shows like Hawanem Garden City (1997), Al Mal Wal Banoon (1993), Raafat El Hagan (1994), and Zizinya (1997) which even their opening credits have evolved into standalone works of art. Not to mention, the good old Wanees, played by Mohamed Sobhy, and his comprehensive positive parenting guide which we (happily then, sadly now) grew up to every single night.

Film in the ‘90s

The 90s binge-watch list: This was the decade of movie-rental outfit Blockbuster — or to those with short memories: the offline Netflix. Movies were expected to entertain beyond the theater and have immense repeat value. The result was some of the most significant trends in movie history.

The Disney Renaissance: The 1990’s is considered the decade of the Disney Renaissance, where movies such as the Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and Beast, and the Little Mermaid. We all the know the songs to this day.

The CGI craze: Those of us obsessed with superhero movies and 3D Imax, special effects-driven movies remember the history of cinema in one way: There was what came before Jurassic Park and what came after. Honorable mentions: Jumanji and the Pixar revolution (Toy Story).

The Jim Carrey movie: Whatever happened to that guy? His attempts to replicate his 90s success have made him a little desperate. Or did he just capture some innate goofiness of the time. Nonetheless, The Mask, Ace Ventura, Liar Liar and Dumb and Dumber remain a must for any 90s movie marathon.

Home Alone: This franchise transcended family comedy to be a genre of its own. It turned Macaulay Culkin into the epitome of what it meant to be a mega child superstar, who lost it all one decade later. The movie, and Culkin’s career truly embodied the last vestiges of innocence for Generation Y.

Campier action flicks: Arnold Schwarzenegger took a winning formula developed in the 1990s and turned it to a staple of 1990s movie viewing. Fan favorites: Predator 2, True Lies, and Total Recall.

The Rom-Com: We still wish this never happened, so we’ll act like it never did.

Titanic: We couldn’t just do a watch list without the one film that ruined many men’s adult lives for failure to meet the impossible expectations that came with Jack Dawson. To him, we say: She let go, Jack. She really did let go.

Redeem CIB BONUS Points instantly for an e-voucher and have a 90’s marathon this weekend: Inspired so far by the issue to want to buy a bunch of 90s movies this Friday night? Well if you are a CIB customer, you can rejoice. CIB recently launched the “e-voucher” service as part of its BONUS program. Instead of paper voucher, customers can now redeem CIB BONUS easily and receive their e-voucher instantly via SMS.The service is now available at every merchant and store participating in CIB’s BONUS program, the strongest network of its kind in the market.
How to redeem:

  • Login to Bonus.cibeg.com
  • Redeem your points and receive the e-voucher instantly via SMS
  • Shop with your points at your favorite stores in Egypt. Just show the e-voucher SMS to the cashier

For more details, visit bonus.cibeg.com

Tech in the ‘90s

The internet as we know it today took flight in 1990 when researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) developed the world wide web. The mastermind behind the project, Sir Tim Berners Lee, launched the first-ever modern-day website in 1990 and shared the source code he used with the world three years later. The website still works. Sir Timothy was frustrated that “there was different information on different computers.” and had to find a way to link files through homogeneous addresses, so he defined the URL, http, and html and laid the foundations of today’s internet, according to the Telegraph.

But the internet existed before the 90s: Before the Web, the internet did exist, but the word was more often than not used as shorthand for ‘internetworking’, a term to describe the process of linking different computer nodes over a wide area network. The world wide web essentially allowed anyone with a computer and telephone line access to those arbitrary nodes.

And just like many breakthroughs, it originated from military technology. In the height of the Cold War, information became the new atomic bomb, and connecting computers became a matter of national security, giving rise to communication techs such as packet switching and internet protocol suite, two key precursors of the web. Thanks to the the web, you can dive deeper into the internet’s history, courtesy of thousands of YouTubers (watch: runtime, 11:36).

The inventors of the 90s had plenty to work with. “Make it portable” and “make it small” defined the direction of tech evolution. Sony’s Walkman evolved into the portable MP3 player, CDs into DVDs, computer mouse balls wandered off, and PCs turned into palm-sized PDAs and over-sized laptops. Techrepublic has put together a list of the top 1990s innovations that shaped today.

Besides consumer tech, everything from healthcare and science to finance and business took a leap in the 90s. The human genome project kicked of in 1990 — and mapped the sequence of human DNA, NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope in the same year — revolutionizing astronomy, and the wolves of wall street took their packs online — forever changing the “world of stocks and shares.”

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