27 September, 2018

"How can we negotiate with a state that wants to kill us?"

While the US is having its current drama about events that may or may not have happened at a high school party 30+ years ago, an actual important drama is brewing and being ignored.

“We’re accumulating risk in the Middle East by not getting at Iran’s proliferation,” [Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative for Iran] said. “There is something brazen about this missile behaviour, they’re not even hiding it. This sort of escalation is deeply concerning..."

"The Iranians have to decide are they a nation state or a revolution,” [The Saudi foreign minister] said, underlining that Iran had diverted virtually all its additional revenues from the removal of sanctions into its regional agenda, including support for the Houthi rebellion.

“If a missile is launched at Saudi Arabia and UAE what will be reaction be and how will we be defended?” said UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba.

Maybe we could ask if the government can spend a few minutes considering this when they get done with their he-said, she-said partisan argument?

UAE ambassador asks how allies will defend country from Iran's missiles

26 September, 2018

Compare and Contrast

I thought that it is interesting how The National and Gulf News are covering President Trump's speech to the UN as compared to what I saw my friends in the US had posted about it. So I looked at some of the major US new sources pages. The American media is downplaying the importance of the speech as compared to the media here, and the Americans are playing up the laughter of some of the delegates.

Draw what conclusions you want from these:

28 September, 2016

ABC Radio Interview With Radha Stirling, Detained In Dubai.

06 February, 2015

TRA 2015

TRA in 2009 (on the topic of Skype):
"I don't see the TRA being anti-consumer," he said. "We opened up the market. We are trying to protect consumers. The TRA is a government agency. We have wider issues to worry about. Consumers only have their own concern to worry about." (source: http://gulfnews.com/business/telecoms/tra-denies-anti-consumer-charge-1.266598)
TRA in 2015 (on the topic of actual consumer protection):
"The TRA had said last year that as of May 18, only 55,555 mobile numbers had been successfully transferred out of 190,185 requests submitted in the first five months of the mobile number portability service’s availability. 
The regulator also said that the 134,222 rejected applications included some that had been resubmitted more than once by the holder of the number. 
In yesterday’s statement, the TRA said that a joint team would be formed comprising the TRA and the operators “to find appropriate solutions to customer complaints”.  (source: http://www.thenational.ae/business/telecoms/uae-telecoms-regulator-steps-up-oversight-into-customer-complaints)
Given that it is 2015 and du and Etisalat still do not have any real interconnection between their broadband networks (i.e. 0 competition) and given that roughly two thirds of all mobile portability (i.e. Etisalat>du or du>Etisalat) are failing (i.e. roughly one third competition), has the TRA really done a good job of worrying about the "wider issues" thus far?

26 January, 2015

New list of cancelled Dubai real estate projects... and refunds

The Dubai Courts has listed 166 real estate projects in its newly-issued project cancellation list. The Cancelled Real Estate Projects Committee is currently hearing 17 projects all of which were launched by Reliance Estate Development. Two projects by Khyool Investment – Abjar Tower and Faras 2 – have been liquidated and money has been distributed among investors. Read more ....

via Emirates 24/7

Not completely surprised at the so called new list of cancelled projects. I'm a lot more curious about the supposed refunds. I remember hundreds (if not thousands) of projects that were scrapped in Ajman half a decade ago and lots of people lost money. A few of them were people I knew. The same  could have been said for Dubai but it wasn't a complete washout like Ajman. I've personally never invested in freehold property here so have zero experience but do these refunds work now or is it just bad debts still?

30 December, 2014

Time to move onwards with this community?

Hi all.

Seeing how stagnant this blog has become (from what it once was) is a letdown after the amount of activity that occurred here previously.
Several attempts have been made at rejuvenating the website and increasing posting/traffic but nothing seems to have worked.

I have a proposal that I'd appreciate feedback on.

Moving the site to a subreddit.

  • Automated bot scans blogroll RSS feeds from a curated list and automatically posts them on the subreddit allowing users to vet quality posts from the crap
  • Problematic users need not be censored when they can just be down voted into oblivion
  • Users can manually post links or create text posts
  • Users wishing to comment can sign up for a throwaway account requiring no email address
Does anyone have any thoughts on doing this or moving to another alternative space?

15 October, 2014

UAE Football

Today's The National has a story about the lack of support that the UAE national team is getting from its fans: It must be asked: ‘Why are Emirati fans not showing up for games in their own country?’
“There is no support from our own fans, so how will the players be motivated,” Mahdi Ali asked on Tuesday, after a 4-0 loss to Uzbekistan in Abu Dhabi. “The other day, the Australians had more support for them than us in the stadium. I wish not to play any games at home but outside the country. It is really disappointing.”
My family and I attended the UAE v Australia friendly last weekend. There was a lot of support for the Aussies, though I'm not sure that there wasn't more support for the Emirates. But the stadium was very empty, especially for a weekend match against a team that just competed in the World Cup a couple of months ago.

One of the lines in the story really resonated with our experience: "One of the most important opportunities UAE football could embrace is tapping into the giant expat community and market, people who sometimes feel unwelcome at national team matches".

We went to the match with the intention of supporting the UAE. But when we got there, the security at the game made go sit with the Australian fans. We weren't made to feel unwelcome, exactly, but it wasn't the most welcoming environment either. And it was easier, by far, to get information about the time and place and cost (free!) for the match from the Australian FA website than from the English side of the UAE FA site (I will say that it is quite possible that the Arabic site might have had all details).

And for the Uzbekistan match, the English UAE FA site said that the match was in Dubai at 3:00 pm and not Abu Dhabi at 6:30, where it really took place.

It is the same with the club teams here. We went to one Al Ain FC match and had a great time. But trying to find out information in English about when, where, and how much is nearly impossible.

Have any other expats tried to support either the national team or a club team? What was your experience?

Darb - Transportation Portal

I'm not sure exactly how new the DOT's Darb website and app are, but this is an outstanding and useful tool. I wish that this had been available last year when I was still having to take buses and taxis everywhere.

Take the trip planner. Say that I want to go from Mezyad Mall to Zayed Sports City. I just drop icons at the mall and the bowling alley and voila:

You can also book a taxi by either dropping a pin on the map or typing an address:

There is a mobile app for Android and iOS that is just as handy.

Right now it is available in English and Arabic.

Kudos all around for this.

13 October, 2014


In an effort to renew interest in this site I have re enabled anonymous comments.

All anonymous comments as well as those that are non-member Google accounts will be submitted to a moderation queue in an effort to weed out the high number of spam comments.

If you have access to the moderation queue please be vigilant in what you allow to be published and avoid letting spam comments through.

As soon as I have free time I will:
1. Try to come up with a better system for users to register for posting access.
2. Go through the blogrolls and update them removing inactive blogs as well as SEO/advertising driven blogs (merely having ads would not in anyway affect your ability to get listed however operating a blog which seems to put commercial interest and paid posting above actual content will be disallowed)
3. Figure out a way to begin including or indexing other sources of content such as YouTube channels, Flickr (wow only a decade and it's now unblocked) and Instagram etc.

If you have any suggestions please feel free to comment.

09 October, 2014

Is Anybody Still Out There?

This is a graphical representation of exactly how much publishing activity has died off here.

It is pretty grim. I'm as much to blame as anyone, since I pretty much quit posting when I left and haven't added anything since I've been back.

On the bright side, by posting this I have doubled this year's output.

03 January, 2014

17th & 18th JAN- The New Muslim Summit in Dubai

A two-day conference- the First of its kind in the U.A.E. 

Featuring multiple languages, multiple themes and multiple delivery formats, new muslim summit is a landmark for Da’wah and Tarbiyah in the U.A.E., encouraging Muslims to “connect . engage . get inspired”.

30 November, 2013

American arrested for parody video in the UAE

MINNEAPOLIS — An American man who works in the United Arab Emirates has been held in a maximum-security prison for months after posting a parody video about youth culture in Dubai, a rights group and family attorney said Wednesday.
Shezanne Cassim, 29, of Woodbury, Minn., was arrested in April and charged with violating a 2012 cybercrimes law that boosts penalties for allegedly challenging authorities, attorney Susan Burns said. He was moved to a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi in June.
 Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/shezanne-cassim-prison-united-arab-emirates-parody-video-100455.html

Video can be seen here:

20 November, 2013

Expat Woman's Festive Fare Fair

Here we go. A festive bump for a lonely looking blog...

The Festive Family thingy has been postponed to Jan 25th 'cos of rain forecast for Dubai tomorrow. So it'll just become a family thingy...

28 October, 2013

New Blog

After being away for five years, I've moved back to the UAE (in Abu Dhabi, this time) and started up a new blog. If anyone is interested: http://www.returntocamelland.com/

29 March, 2013

World of Jinn, Magic and Ruqya explained

World of Jinn, Magic and Ruqya explained
Date: 29th & 30th March 2013
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Venue: Kalemah Islamic Center, Al Qusais, Dubai [click here for location map]
Registration Fee: FREE (Entry for 15 years old and above only)