The man who leased the streets of Cairo!
Stealthily, small diggings have been going on in Central Cairo, during Ramadan in November 2002. After Ramadan, we would see these yellow and black metal apparatus protruding from the streets alongside the pavements, in an evenly spaced arrangement. The square metal, about two to three feet in height, and two to three square inches, could be pushed back into the ground, after what at first sight seemed like the substitutes for chairs or chains, and just about anything to keep particular spots for particular persons’ parking areas: big tippers, probably - or VIP government ‘employees’. In only a few weeks’ time afterwards, re-digging occurred again, but this time adjacent to the street ‘rods’. It seemed that every time the government would spend millions on pavement tiles and paint, it would be dug up again, either for plumbing, lampposts, lamppost wiring, telephone booths, or more new tiles. But, this seemed to be different. It struck me finally that they were installing parking meters! I decided to investigate, after it had become almost “old news”, and met the quiet inventor.
“My name is Sayed Ibrahim Abdel-Salam, but I am known professionally only as Sayed Ibrahim. I was born on 14 October 1956, in El-Gamalaya district in Cairo, in Kasr El-Shoak “haie” – you know, it’s the famous district which was written about by Naguib Mahfouz, and his novel went by the same name,” he said smiling. “I went to regular schools in Gamalaya, then my family moved to El-Kal’aa (Citadel area). After graduating high school and achieving my Thanaway Aama (high school certificate) in 1975, I entered the Faculty of Telecommunications, University of Engineering, and achieved my B.Sc. in 1980. I was employed in a private airlines company one month after graduation, which closed for political reasons. So, my next job was in a government bureau, working in computers, programming and statistics data entry. In 1981, I decided to work for a private sector and was employed at the Sony Company branch here, as a maintenance engineer for the brand products. Then, in 1982, the headquarters in Japan made an international competition for all their branches in which it was required to select ‘the fastest person” to repair a certain product, and each country would send to Japan one or two representative engineers. I was selected from Egypt, and sent to the headquarters in Japan. Thank God the Japanese awarded me Third Prize in the world.” Yes, Egyptians are really great, when given the chance to prove themselves. Despite the fatal and rare disease that I am disclosing for the first time, he preferred to talk about his work and ignore the subject of his health:
“I was intensively trained at the Sony headquarter factories in Japan, the Gulf areas, and in Singapore. In 1989, when their branch was shut down in Egypt, they considered having an Egyptian Power of Attorney and leaving it in the most appropriate hands to continue here, and decided that I was most suitable person to take over. From 1989, I became the sole Agent for Sony, and then later on, the sole Agent for Sanyo, and other international brands. From there on, I expanded to include electronic products and anti-theft equipment for cars and homes, for fire, and other safety and security items, as well as security monitors, cameras, alarms, micro-processors, emergency entrance and exit doors, electronic clock attendance and departure machines for employees.”
CLIMBING THE LADDER:
THE PARKING METERS:
REPLACING THE ‘SAYESS’:
STARTING THE PARKNG:
“But, what if it rains?” I said, trying not to sound pessimistic. “Maybe the government should have concentrated first on how to install a sewage system, in order to protect these parking meters, for one thing. When it rains in Cairo, the streets become flooded with mire and mess in twenty minutes. This is also dangerous considering all the electric wiring and cables underneath and above ground level. Don’t you think so?” I asked. “It might be a problem, but for the moment, everything is on a test and trial basis,” he agreed.
PROBLEMS IN REGISTERING HIS INVENTION:
PARKING METER CARDS: