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Interview with King Reza (6. January 2006)

What is your real name?
My Real name is Gholamreza and my family name is Kassaei. The 'Gh' is pronounced as is 'r' in the French word Merci so you can call me: /ghola:mre'za: kasa:'i:/. Strange name, isn't it?

How do you feel about changing your user ID to "BIG BAD REZA"?
LOL! Well, I'm not big. That's for sure. I'm 172 cms tall and weigh 63 kilograms. But, bad ...... well, may be. So 'bad Reza' may be an option but I still prefer reza more! Doesn't reveal my 'inner qualities' after all :-)

How old are you?
I was born on 29th of January 1986 or 8th of Bahman 1364 if you have any idea of our solar years! So I'm a little younger than 21.

Are you married?
Married?? Nope, not yet. Am still looking for the special one, and to tell you the truth, may have found her .....

Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Yes. I have a younger sister. She's 17 years old and goes to high school.

Is reza a common Iranian name?
Yes, quite common I would say. Imam Reza, peace be upon him, is the 8th Imam of Muslims and his holy shrine is located in Mashhad, Iran. His name is very commonly used to name boys here in Iran. My name, Gholamreza, means 'the servant of Reza' but people usually call me Reza. The strange thing is that my father, Allah rest his soul, very much liked and believed in Imam Reza and as I said, he's the eighth Imam of Muslims and I, was born on the EIGHTH of Bahman (an Iranian month) and when I was being given birth to, I almost died. My father asked Imam Reza to give me back to him and he would name me Gholamreza and so it happend and so my father did!

Where are your favorite places in Iran?
Shiraz, my own city, and Mashhad and Kish island and Sari and of course Tehran, the capital of Iran. If you're asking for more specific places, well ...... check out Persepolise (spelling?), Shaapoor cave, Naghshe Rostam, Hafeziyeh and Sadiyeh on the internet. You may get interesting results!

What do you like about living in Iran? What do you dislike about it?
A tough question. I like it when I am respected as an Iranian in my own country. A year ago I wanted to travel to the U.S to study but in the U.S Embassy in Dubai, well, I was not treated as I would have been in my own country. Better not go into details. I love my city. It's beautiful and I like the people, well, most of them. Iranians are kind. I like it that our government is controled strongly by Islamic laws. In Iran religion speaks best and most. No law can be made that is of any conflict with Islamic rules and I love that. I like it that women and girls are using Islamic way of clothing and cover their hair and body from men. May be strange to all of you but it's how it is here and I like it. I think it's how it should be everywhere but for sure there are those who disagree! What I dislike, huh? Well, I'd really want the new technology used in the West here. All those nice roads that don't get covered with water as soon as it starts to rain. And I'd want all people to be deciplined and punctual. We Iranians do lack those. We need to get more 'culturized' or maybe is it 'civilized?' We need to respect the rules and laws more and try to improve the country as much and fast as possible. Still a long way for us to pave! But we're doing pretty fine.

How do you feel about women being equal to men in society?
We have to define 'equality' first. If a man kills someone, he should be killed and it's very much true about a woman criminal. If a man gets $100 for working an hour, a woman must get the same amount of money for doing the same job with the same quality and in the same amount of time. If a man can study, a woman must be allowed to, too. If a man can vote, a woman should be able to vote too. But, if a man is allowed to leave his hair uncovered, it doesn't mean that a woman should be allowed to do that too. Since a man's hair is of no sexual attraction to a woman, but a woman's hair sexually attracts men. That's what Islam says and I totally believe in it. So men and women are basically equal unless Islam says they're not in certain aspects including the way they can get dressed.

Reza, do you feel safe living in Iran? I mean, being threatened all the time by USA, knowing that at any moment you can be invaded, like Iraq was.
Bush threatens us but that's nothing serious. Americans are in no proper situation to start a war against Iran. We're not as easy to fight with as were Iraqis or Afganis and Americans know this perfectly. Had they not been sure of this, they would have invaded Iran tens of times in the past, after the Islamic revolution in Iran. Any war against Iran will cost Americans the human casualties and financial costs in Iraq multiplied by hundreds so unless they are fools they wil not attack us. The most America can do at the moment is to boycott Iran and that's what she's been doing for the past 25 or so years! So nothing will we miss. Well, in a word I can tell you that I sleep quite relaxed everynight without any apprehension or fear of an attack. That's satisfactory I think!

Have you suffered for your religious beliefs because of events of the past few years?
Suffered? I don't think so. As far as I can remember I was always not welcome in a chat room belonging to Americans and it's still the same way! I don't know whether it's because I'm Iranian or a Muslim and in fact don't even care to know. Muslims, just because there are some suicide bombers who blow up Israelies and other places and people in reaction to what is being done against them in Iraq or Palestine, are getting unwelcome in all over the world. I personally appreciate every single suicide bomber who blows up an Israeli soldier because on T.V, I have seen what these cruel people do to Palestinians. About attacking other people in other places, well, I have no idea. Unless it has its own strong reasons, I'm not for it. The world lead by the United States of America and Israel wants to get rid of Muslims because they are not lambs who stay calm before whatever cruelty done to them. But unfortunately for the world, it's not easy to get rid of more than a billion Muslims! If only we had Nuclear power ..........

To live forever without knowing or to live and die but with knowing.....?
I'd rather live and die but know it. Since I can plan for it. If I don't know I'm immortal, I just won't plan to enjoy it as much as I should. What about you yourself Chessmaster?

Could you please tell us one of the main differences you find between people in Iran and people from other countries (like in Europe, USA or Asia)?
The very first difference that attracts a foreigner's eyes, is how women get dressed. Then it may be that most men here let their beard grow. Men are fanatic here. I'm not sure if it's a good word or not though! I mean they very much care about their wives, and other women that are of their families. So in Iran if you kiss a man's wife, he'll most probably slap you on the face (!) but in France, well, it may be quite natural.

Is it common for people in Iran to learn and speak English?
It's quite common for all families to send their children to English classes and make them learn it but not very many ever succeed unless they are interested. But yes, many people can speak a few sentences in English if needd. But you'll find it difficult if you ever come to Iran since cab drivers or salespeople or other 'normal' people will most probably not be able to communicate with you. You'll have to look for one able to speak English and luckily, you'll find one! hopefully when the younger generation substitutes the old one, you'll be able to travel to Iran at ease and without a need to hire translators.

How long have you been studying and teaching English?
It's about eight years now that I've been studying English and it's a year and a half that I teach it in an English institute. I still have a lot to learn. English is a very interesting yet complex language.

What's the best way of saying the following in Iranian? Hi Hello Greetings Howdy I know you've already told me that "Salam" covers "Hello", but are there informal greetings that give variety, in the way that "Hi" and "Greetings" do? Good luck That was an interesting game Thanks Thank you for the match Would you like to play another? Phew! That was lucky Dice Gods I need a 6, give me a 6! Race ya! (or Let's race!) The race is on... What other phrases could you suggest - ones that you would tend to use in a game?
Well, firstly I'd like to mention that the language spoken in Iran is named Farsi or Persian, not Iranian. Many of these phrases have no equivalant in Farsi since they are culturally bound. But let's see what I can do: Hi, Hello, Greetings and Howdy are all a single word in Farsi. Yes, it's 'Salam (=/Sa'la:m/).' Salam is neither formal nor informal. You say 'salam' to the president, your boss, your wife and your children. The formality can be shown through other expressions such as 'Hal e Sharif Chetoreh? (= /ha:le shari:f chetore/)' meaning 'How are you?' But very very formal. I wonder if you have any sentence to substitute it in English! Good Luck = Movaffagh Bashi(d) /movaf'fagh ba:'shi(d)/ The 'gh' is just like the one in my name! Read it as 'r' is pronounced in Merci in French. And the 'd' in parantheses is optional to use. If you want the expression to be formal, use it and if not, just avoid typing it. That was an interesting game = Baziye Khubi bood /ba:'zije 'khubi 'bud/ 'Kh' is pronounced as is 'r' in the word entrez in French. Thanks = Moteshakkeram /moteshakk'eram/ or Mamnoon /mam'nun/ Thanks for the match = Baray e bazi mamnoon /bar'a:je ba:'zi mam'nun/ Would you like to play another? = Mikhay ye bar e dige ham bazi konim? /'mikhaj je 'bare di'ge 'ham ba:'zi ko'nim/ Phew! = You can use the same sound in Farsi too or say : Be kheir gozasht! /be 'khejr go'zasht/ That was lucky! = Shans Avordi! /'shans avor'di/ Dice Gods! = Well, I really don't know what it means even in English! I need a 6, give me a 6 = I can translate it into Farsi but you can never here an Iranian say that. It's what you use culturally when you need a 6! -------> Shish mikham, shish behem bede /'shish mi'kham 'shish be'hem 'bede/ Race ya! = An Iranian, unless s/he's already heard it in English will never understand what you mean, so better not try it! The race is on = Iranians will find it funny to hear it when playing, but seems to be quite normal to you! ***************************************** Other phrases? Well, maybe 'Khoda hafez /kho'da: ha:'fez/' meaning 'Good-bye' would be good too!

reza, how did you get to brainking from a country in which not many are on the internet (i suppose?), and what do people around you think about it :)
Ahh, you're for sure wrong about that part! In Iran very many people have access to the internet. The quality of connections is not as well and high as it should be and is in the West or other countries. But almost all the people I know have their own computers at home and do have access to the internet. How I got here? The one who introduced BrainKing to me is unfortunately no longer of this world. His ID on BrainKing is or rather was, jestone. A parallized man who typed and played with a stick in his mouth. Yet quite energetic and kind. In a word, he was Magnificent. He passed away a couple of years ago. Allah rest his soul. People around me are my mother and sister (my father passed away three years ago) and they like it that I'm so very much satisfied with the site and have gotten quite addicted to it. After all addiction to a site is better than addiction to drugs, you know!

Why do you think you were selected for this interview?
This, I do not know! I never thought people would be interested in getting to know an Iranian boy more. But seems they have been!

How did you find about BrainKing? What made you stick around?
Is it any different from what I was asked a few questions before? Well, I stick around because I really love the place. I love the games offered here, and what's more, I really feel like loving all the people I know on here. Thanks to Fencer for this excellent site. I really cannot end a day not having played a few moves on the site and not having posted at least a sentence on a discussion board! I wish I had a better and cheaper connection so that I could take more benefit out of the site.

What is your favorite thing about Brainking?
People and the games. I love the people here, really. It's the only place I know of that brings people from all over the world with different cultures and languages together and provides them with enjoyment and satisfaction. Oh and the games of course. I love to play games here.

what is your favourite game here & why?
My favorites are Dark Chess and Cylinder Chess. I saw Dark Chess here for the first time and the very first game made me stick to it. I love the 'doubtfulness' that exists in the game. And Cylinder Chess, well, no need to say that it too was introduced to me here for the first time. It's a magnificent variant of Chess too. Brings to the players a wide range of new strategies and 'tickles' the brain more than regular chess.

If this was your site what would be the first thing you'd change? (if any)
Well, I don't think I'd change anything. Fencer has designed it extraordinarily! But I'd add the feature to the site that everyone could use different fonts, colors and sizes when typing!

Reza, I've never seen you show an interest in moderating any boards, yet you'd be excellent at it (in my opinion). Is it something you'd like to do if you had more internet time?
I guess it's because I really don't have the time and knowledge to read all posts on a certain board and decide whether or not they are suitable. Maybe if I had a better connection and more time, I'd give it a try once, but for now, I really cannot.

Have you met someone here that you know personally?
Well, let me put it this way. A few of those I know in person are also members of the site. But I knew them before they registered. Ali is one of them.

Who would you most like to meet in real life from BK?
Everyone really. Fencer, the great designer of the site. Redsales, a very great friend of mine. Diogenes, Indiagonaljones, Walter Montego, Mely, BBW, Chattytea, Bobes, Grenve, Pauloaguia, Baddessi, PlayBunny, Summertop, Nobleheart, Grim Reaper, Stormerne, Czuck, Whatdidyousay and of course Harley and her great, cute daughter, Chelsea. And all others with whom I've played. It's hard to name them all, you know!

Who have been some of the big influences on your life so far? No restrictions on who you choose: it might be people who you've known for some time, eg parents; or people who you've only met for a short period, eg teachers; or those met just briefly or even once, or people or characters in books, etc.
Besides my parents, there's an English teacher who indeed changed the way I looked at English. Before him, I hated English but he made me fall in love with it. Without him, I'd probably be studying math or physics now, but now I'm studying what I really love and he was the one who introduced my love to me.

What's the best thing that has ever happened to you and why?
My acceptence in university to study English. It was the most amazing news I had ever received. It really changed my life and future and I'm glad it did.

Tell us 3 things(even improbable) you would wish to happen in your life.........?
I wish to get married to a lovely girl whom I love and who loves me, find a magic lamp with a genei in it who can give me whatever I wish for, and to sleep a night and be told the next day that all the sins I have comitted have been forgiven by God.

How do you want to see yourself and your life in 5 and 10 years time?
I want to see myself having graduated from university and having studied for my Ph.D in English literature in the U.S or Canada or England or Australia. Having gotten married and probably having a couple of lovely kids, and rich enough to live a good living. I want to be a university professor.

Have you ever been on holiday, If so where, and which was your favourite?
I've never been on one of those holidays you have in mind! But have travelled to Mashhad, a city in Iran, more than ten times. Have been to Kish island too. And have once been abroad to Dubai, which unfortunately wasn't so good an experience.

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
I'd love to visit Canary islands or Hawaii. Have heard and read and seen a lot about them.

What are your ten top strengths? No false modesty allowed and you can exceed ten, lol.
Well, the very first one I can mention is that I can control my feelings very well. So I'll probably never get angry in situations that make others angry. The second one is that I am able to 'hide' my feelings! So even if I am angry, I hopefully am able to hide it from others and no one will see any change in me and even in my appearence, such as going red, etc. I can play chess almost well and solve logic problems that my friends sometimes cannot! believe it or not, I have an exceptional talent in playing tough and brain-killing computer games! I can draw and paint well enough to be considered an artist! My handwriting both in Farsi and English is quite good! I think I can calm others down and help them relax in hard situations. Can't think of any more right now, sorry!

What would you say is a feature that describes you well?
Hehe, well, .... I'm smart, fun and mysterious! You can almost never tell whether I'm happy, mad or sad unless I personally decide to show it to you!

Do you play any musical instruments? If so which ones do you play?
No. Unfortunately I don't. I've always wished to learn how to play the guitar and the violine but have never had the time to try. I'll do my best to learn in the future.

Do you own any pets? Can you tell us what they are and their names?
Yes. I have a cat. It used to be a kitten when I found it but now it's gotten quite big. It's not normal here to choose names for animals and my cat has no name. It never comes inside the house. Pets here are usually different from what you all have in mind. An animal with a nice collar that is taken to the vet every week, etc. No, not here. We just feed them and play with them, I touch my cat and like it a lot but have never taken it to a vet. I used to have more cats and kittens but they escaped one after another! Fortunately, it's started to get a little acceptable for people to keep animals at home and take them to vets as you do. But it will take quite a long time till it becomes a custom.

What is your favourite food/meal?
Ever tried Chelo Kabab? Perfectly cooked rice with a kebab made of best quality meat and with onions, barbequed tomatoes and saffren. Iranians are famous for the style of cooking they have. Iranian foods are mostly hard to cook but very delicious to eat! Try some if you ever pass by an Iranian restaurant in your country.

What are your favorite sports or hobbies?
When I was a child, I had asthema so I couldn't play any sports and now I just don't feel like trying any although I no longer suffer from asthema. The only 'sport' I nowadays play is chess and it's on BrainKing! I rarely play ping pong too but am no professional at it.

have you ever built a snowman? if you tall was it? if you havent,how would you dress him?
No never. It doesn't snow in my city very often and when it does, it's not so heavy a snow fall that people can build snowmans (is it snowmans or snowmen?) with! Well, I wouldn't dress him at all! Or maybe would I? Well, if I really would want to dress him, I'd use a red scarf around his neck and a green hat like in cartoons on his head and two pieces of wood as his hands and a few pieces of stone or coal as his 'imaginary' shirt's buttons!

What question were you secretly hoping that nobody would ask?
I really really wasn't hoping for any type of questions not to be asked. I really wanted to know what kinds of questions people have in mind to ask me!

What question(s) did you hope would be asked, and what would your answer(s) have been?
This either, I don't know! I was really astouned with the number of questions sent to me and do appreciate all the senders and readers! I also hope that my answers will satisfy the readers to a great extent and mention here that even if you have more to ask and/or my answers have not been satisfactory enough for you, you can send me messages and ask for more!

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