A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

from gold to platinum

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on September 25, 2008

I am still still still furious about the Obsession DVD, and deeply grateful to the many of you who have written and commented so thoughtfully about the issue, from all sides. And I do have an “update” post to send out tomorrow morning – but today I just couldn’t resist posting about this very light, very Lebanese advertisement:

What is a platinum number? you might be wondering to yourself.

I’ll be honest: its a new term for me, too. But I can figure out what it means.

In Lebanon and around the region, “golden numbers” are phone numbers whose digits are particularly “pretty”. They might be easy to dial, like the “212” of the New York area code. Or they might be memorable, like (03) 033 033. Or they might just be meaningful to the user – like the story of one Lebanese guy in Dubai, who asked for a number that spells out his name. (“Diamond” would be 342-6663.)

Unsurprisingly, the mobile phone companies and re-sellers often try to sell “golden numbers” for a higher price. (They do this with license plates, too, as I noted earlier this year in this post on license plate auctions in the United Arab Emirates.)

And now, apparently, there is a new category of pretty numbers: the platinum ones. They must be beyond pretty, and into the realm of truly beautiful, super-model mobile phone numbers.

I’m poking fun a bit, but I’m also quite impressed with what Gebran Bassil has been doing with the Telecommunications Ministry since he took it over. I wasn’t expecting to be impressed with him – for the most part, I was expecting him to be a total twit, and was actually looking forward to a double-dose of twitiness from him and, of course, Talal Arslan.

And I do think that his presence at Aoun’s right-hand weakens the FPM’s anti-nepotism position. (For those of you less engrossed with Lebanese politics than me, Bassil is Michel Aoun’s son-in-law, and his rise in the party has caused tensions with long-term FPM supporters.) But he has really taken charge of the Telecommunications Ministry, and has been pushing through much-needed changes, from the controversial (reducing phone rates) to the mundane (adding much-needed pay phones).

Of course, I wouldn’t pay the money to enter the auction, let alone the price of each “platinum number”. But then again, I’m American – and I just can’t appreciate beauty the way that Lebanese can :D.


2 Responses to “from gold to platinum”

  1. […] from gold to platinum […]

  2. […] morning I opened my inbox and found a very welcome email from Qifa Nabki, who had been following my posts on the auction of “platinum” mobile phone numbers that the Ministry of Telecommunications was advertising in the local papers. The auction – which […]

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