28 December, 2007

Interesting stuff on Dubai

Internet Middle East Forum/News site Bitter Lemons has just published three articles in a special about Dubai. Links below (although separate article links may not work!)

http://www.bitterlemons-international.org/

The Dubai phenomenon
Talent, critical mass drive Dubai forward Afshin Molavi
Talk of a Dubai "model" enters shaky ground. Saudi Arabia cannot import thousands of bankers when so many Saudis need jobs.

Model unmatched in a volatile region Riad Kahwaji
It would be logical to assume that harming Dubai would not be in anybody's interest, including the bad guys.

The hidden costs of Dubai's post-oil diversification strategies Christopher Davidson
Dubai's recent reforms upset the cultural and religious resources of the "ruling bargain".

Benazir Bhutto 1953 - 2007


Benazir Bhutto was murdered today. Whether you liked her or hated her I wanted to publish a few words to remember her and to detest the cowardly act of murder.

No human has the right to decide when another human is to die.

May she be remembered for her good deeds.

Inna lillah wa inna ilayhi raji3oon

27 December, 2007

Are you 'Superior'?

As you may or may not know, Etisalat has come out with a 4mbps internet package. It is priced at the non-bargain price of 449 AED / month and is titled as the 'Superior User' package.

All previous packages are still priced the same.

(I read about it first on tbreak.com but their site is down so no link)

23 December, 2007

Extreme Inspiration - Adrian Hayes




I think a lot of you guys will be aware of this, however I really wanted to bring it to the fore again.

Right now, today, there is a team of people walking / skiing unaided to the South Pole. That's a huge task - less than 100 people have done this ever. One of the members of the team is Adrian Hayes. He's also walked to the North Pole and climbed Everest.

If they make it to the South Pole, sometime in the next 7 to 8 days (we hope) - he will be one of only 15 people ever to have managed to do the 3 (North, South and Everest) Poles.

Adrian lives in Dubai.

They are going through a tough time out there - you can send messages of support through their website.

I don't know Adrian, HalfManHalfBeer mentioned him at some point, but I've become obsessed with hoping they make it to the Pole. As he's a Dubai resident - hopefuly this community can help cheer them on....

Adrian Hayes

22 December, 2007

Some pics

Thought of adding some of my photography to this blog. I haven't put an update in a long day.
Eid Mubarak to every1, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Burj Dubai District, Dubai



Koh Samui, Thailand.


Comments always appreciated...
http://blog.basilkhleif.com

21 December, 2007

50 Cent, Watch Yourself at the Airport

This post might come off as prejudicial, but I'm just hoping we don't have to read about another Western celebrity of dubious repute being accosted at the Dubai airport. I don't have a bleeding heart for these brat celebrities, but these zero tolerance drug policies are just way off the mark. There are much more serious things which really impact the lives of innocent people here, that ought to be prosecuted much more seriously than they are--like labor abuse issues, sex abuse crimes, road rage, etc. It's just plain stupid that they round up people at the airport for having microscopic traces of chemical substances either on or in their person. Those who promote such arrests may think they are upholding the highest standards of decency but they are just being hypocrites and going after easy targets. What about tackling the real crime and issues that take place on the home turf?

So, please be careful 50 Cent!

20 December, 2007

Eid Greetings to UAE Community

Eid greetings, prayers and best wishes to all UAE bloggers, readers and moderators of UAE Community.

Here's looking forward to another year full of excitement and achievement for all...



(Source: Advertising Marketing and Creativity in the UAE)

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , ,

Life In The Emirates

Just cross-posting about this wonderful classic song about the UAE by The Establishment, so as many people as possible get to enjoy it. The YouTube video is a quick slideshow I created to go with it:

19 December, 2007

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak to all readers!

Here's a funny video which may be the UAE's first example of viral media (except for that video where the wafi didn't get robbed)...

17 December, 2007

enshallah...

...enters the American lexicon via the U.S. military.

When I hear someone in Dubai say enshallah to a request, the response often is no enshallah.

And when someone says "after tomorrow" what do they mean?

15 December, 2007

WSJ: Dubai's Debt Cloud

Friday the Wall Street Journal ran an article about market concerns over the level of sovereign in Dubai. An ungated copy of the article is here. Among other things the article points out that big investors want more transparency such as access to Dubai government's books.

The UAE student blog Broadcasters of Tomorrow astutely observes: "In the end, if Dubai gets into financial trouble it would take its neighbours with it. Or perhaps they're counting on a regional bailout."

Similarly, for the Emirates Economist (shameless plug) the money quote from the WSJ article is this one: "The assumption is that Sheikh Mohammed or his government will come to the rescue in a pinch. And if Dubai gets overextended, analysts expect the emirate's much-richer cousins in Abu Dhabi will lend a hand."

With that attitude you've got the same element that fueled the savings and loan real estate scandals in the US in the 1980s - removal of downside risk.

So what do you think? Would Abu Dhabi do a bailout? Are Dubai's investors counting on it? And if so, what can Abu Dhabi do about it now?

UPDATE - Marginal Revolution links here and writes "sell short."

Farrukh Ahmed's Blog

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

13 December, 2007

D1 flood



"The construction site of Dubai’s luxury residential tower D1 flooded this week after a sea wall collapsed.

The construction is located in Dubai’s Creek cultural and artistic district, built directly at the waterfront.

An eyewitness said: “Looking at the crane it seems as though the site is about 30 feet under water”.

It is believed that nobody was hurt.

A similar incident took place in February this year when the site of the Infinity Tower in Dubai’s Marina was inundated. A burst wall was also cause of the incident then. Consequently, the project had to be put on hold.

The D1 Tower, designed by Holford & Associates, is a twin tower to the world’s tallest residential tower, Q1, in Australia."

More HERE

12 December, 2007

Environmental issues

I had the most interesting call the other day at work.
Hello
Yes?
I am calling from XXX (can't even remember the name) magazine and we are publishing a special publication on environmental issues and were wondering whether you would be interested in receiving this publication?
Sure
Are there any Brits in your organisation?
No.
Any Australians, South Africans?
Nope - its a small organisation. Just me and a minion.
Would you like to receive the publication?
Of course.
Really? (he sounded so surprised - that I almost laughed out loud and felt the need to explain myself - don't know why)

What did he think- only Brits, Ozzies and South Africans understand environmental issues? Sounds like he had a very sheltered upbringing or was badly informed or... I dare not even speculate.

In his defense, once I had explained my association with environmental issues especially on a personal level, he was a bit embarrassed. But I bet I don't get that copy of the new publication. My name is wrong and so is my nationality, apparently!

Two men jailed for kidnap and rape of 15-year-old French boy

"Dubai: Two Emiratis were on Wednesday sentenced to 15 years in jail for kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old French boy.

The Dubai Court of First Instance handed down the verdict and referred the victim’s compensation claim of Dh15 million to a civil court.

The Public Prosecution had charged three UAE Nationals ­- a 35-year-old Aids patient, his 18-year-old unemployed compatriot and a 17-year-old teenager (prosecuted at Juvenile Court) - with deceiving and kidnapping the 15-year-old boy and his 16-year-old compatriot, who was kept inside the car.

The three were charged with forcefully undressing the 15-year-old boy, threatening him with a knife, before raping him.


More on Gulf News

RAF trio try to climb into Sheik's stretch after Justin concert

The Sun
The RAF Tornado crew went on a bender before attending a Justin Timberlake concert on a break from war game exercises.

But as they left the gig they “mistakenly” tried to get into a stretch limo belonging to the brother of the United Arab Emirates President, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Cops in the capital Abu Dhabi accused them of car theft and drink-driving and banged them up in jail for three days. They were released on Sunday.

Furious colleagues, who live in tents in Afghanistan and Iraq rather than staying in five-star hotels, said last night the trio should be left to “fester in jail”.

One pilot said: “Nice to know they have got the time to waste p***ing it up the wall whilst the rest of us are living in the desert.”

The trio have been ordered to remain in Abu Dhabi until facing trial next week.

The scandal has caused a diplomatic incident between Britain and the UAE.

Tollgates & traffic

As reported in the press, Salik revenues are estimated at Dhs. 600 mil p.a., meaning that the 2 existing Dubai tollgates are passed through at least ca. 411,000 times daily in total.

So many cars using Salik, and my guess is at least 1/4 of the above amount are "Salik-dodgers" - what other explanation is there for the excessive jams at the free exits at peak times?

I wonder what toll charges will be implemented at the 8 additional gates planned for 2010; how effective the Metro will be, and if traffic will indeed be "clearer" in due course.

I still cannot understand why there is a bottleneck at peaktimes at the tollgates despite the introduction of Salik, and why traffic is chocka-block from 5-6.30pm on Shaikh Zayed Road heading towards Dubai.

It's really not too late to implement other "solutions" while the city is still relatively "young". All in all, I believe things will work out for the better.

11 December, 2007

Honesty Isn't the Best Policy

According to WAM...

"WAM WAM Dubai, Dec. 11th, 2007 (WAM) - Minister of Social Affairs Maryam Al Roumi has constituted a committee assigned with investigating local media reports claiming that a member of UAE Human Rights Association (HRA) wrote negative reports about the country and disseminated them to foreign organisation. The Committee is headed by the Ministry's Under Secretary Abdullah Rashid Al Suweidi.

The Minister asked the Committee to submit a detailed report of its findings no later than December 16th.

"The Social Affairs Ministry is keen on helping Non-Government Organisations in achieving their objectives of serving the community. At the same time, it is keen on preserving the social security enjoyed in the UAE, thanks to our wise leadership which seeks to provide justice to citizens and residents alike," Al Roumi said.

[...]

She added that the UAE leadership would not hesitate to take stringent measures against anyone attempting to tarnish the country's image.

"The law forbids NGOs from carrying out any activities other than those defined in their by-laws," said Al Roumi.

The Ministry summoned HRA Chairman Abdul Ghafar Hussein for discussion. His answers will be investigated by the committee.

Earlier, the Ministry informed the HRA Chairman that the Association's General Assembly was the only authority to decide on the resignation of its board members. It asked the board to call for an extraordinary meeting of the general assembly to decide on the resignation and to elect a new board within one month from the date of notification."


More HERE

10 December, 2007

Commuting Issues

With the escalation of traffic at this time of the year, I am wondering what a properly conducted survey about average commuting time for Dubai residents would reveal.

Here's a survey I've found online for commuting times in the US (job category/minutes):
An article from a different resource reveals:
Marylanders spent an average 30.8 minutes getting to work, the survey found.
Only New Yorkers took more time in 2005, with a mean commute of 31.2 minutes.

If a survey based on job category is ever conducted in Dubai, it'd show a horrendous disparity. The poor construction laborer spends hours everyday traveling from his camp in Muhaisna to a construction site in the Marina (for instance). While a general manager may only need 10 minutes to get to his workplace.
My own commuting time hovers around 35 mintues. That is 25-30 minutes in the morning, and 40-45 minutes in the way back.
What about you guys?

09 December, 2007

...so you wanna meet Gloria Estefan?

If you would like to meet Gloria Estefan and her famous husband Emilio Estefan, come down to the Virgin Megastore at the Mall of the Emirates on December 12th at 5.30 pm.
We have organized an instore appearance of the two stars which is followed by an autograph session.

During the event you will also be able to obtain an exclusive release of her latest album "90 millas" (90 miles) which includes a DVD with excerpts of the documentary which is premiered at the Dubai Film Festival on December 13th.

Our company has organized the first ever visit of the Queen of Latin Pop to Dubai.

08 December, 2007

Protection against those rear bumper goons on the 311?

investorspot reports:
Toyota, no innovation wallflower, has come up with a safety feature that's sure to reduce whiplash injuries and maybe even save a few lives. It's called the Rear Pre-Crash Safety System. A radar system, installed in the rear bumper, comes into play within a millimeter of the car behind when it's within two seconds of rear-ending you. It sets off your warning lights, tightens your seatbelts, and activates the pictured headrest, moving it forward to prevent your head from snapping back after collision. Toyota received an R&D safety award for this device, which is installed in the 2008 Lexus LS. Let's spread the wealth of safety.
Man, I'm not sure I want this technology in my car. It would be engaging all the time. And, yes, I do go at least 120 KPH on the 311.

Weakened Dollar Slows Dubai Tower's Race to the Skies

The Washington Post
U.S. policymakers and consumers have committed one of the few unforgivable sins in this desert boom town: They've slowed the building down.

"We don't want the United States to fail, but we don't want to go under with them," said Yasar Narrar, a strategy adviser to the executive office of the ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktum. Dubai is one of seven states in the United Arab Emirates.

Last month, the Emirates became one of the first Arab countries in the Persian Gulf to declare the dollar's fall a crisis. Local currencies' peg to the dollar was hindering growth and squandering the opportunities presented by $99-a-barrel oil, said Sultan Nasser al-Suweidi, the governor of the Emirates' central bank.
...
As recently as last month, some construction workers on the Burj Dubai and other projects made the equivalent of as little as $109 a month. Back home in India, where the dollar has fallen 14 percent against the rupee in the past 18 months, remittances that workers here sent to their families steadily lost value.

"I work here, and I can't save anything. I'll ruin my family," said Ram Chandra, 33, a mason from the north Indian state of Rajasthan.
...
"Every time I telephone my family, they say, 'Cancel your visa and come home,' " Chandra said. All the workers in the room said they planned to do so.
...
"It's far more attractive for them . . . to be living in their home country and making the same wages and living far more cheaply," said Tom Barry, general manager for Arabtec, one of the lead construction contractors for the Burj Dubai.
Emphasis added. Hmmm. Is the pressure for revaluation that the Central Bank is feeling political pressure from Dubai?

The article doesn't mention that Dubai Inc. holds large dollar-denominated investments in the US.

05 December, 2007

Polo tournament - Ghantoot

Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club will kick off its polo season with the‘’Emirates Open Polo Championship. ". 6 polo professionals from Argentina will compete. The matches will start at 4:00 p.m on 6th, 8th and 10th of December except the final match will start at 6:00 p.m. on 12th December 2007. General Public is welcome to come and watch the polo matches as there are no charges! For anyone who doesn't know Ghantoot, it's a private property by Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and located on Shk Zayed Road approx. 15 mins drive after Jebel Ali Freezone.
Enjoy it!

Moreon Grooverider

The Times of London picks up the story
Although Grooverider is known primarily as a DJ and presenter, he is also a recording artist under his artist name and the “Codename John” moniker. He also runs one of the most prestigious drum-and-bass imprints: Prototype Recordings. Local legal experts said that the high profile of Grooverider made the issue an important test case for local authorities.

Ram Nath, the music promoter who organised the show, said that he warned Mr Bingham of the strict laws of the country before his departure from London. “I sent a fax to him explaining all of our laws, including what he could and could not bring into the country. Unfortunately, he was booked by police before he got out of the airport,” Mr Nath said.

More than a thousand fans were left disappointed after paying £25 for a ticket to the show, according to Mr Nath. He plans to sue Mr Bingham’s London management company for losses. The BBC has declined to comment on the case.

04 December, 2007

Accident -Qusais just 10 min ago






I hope the person survived. The police were quick to come and assist.

Why are there so many trucks on the road?

A 42% price differential for diesel could be one explanation.
"The price difference is so big that it is cheaper for us to send our vehicles to Abu Dhabi for diesel," said a manager of a Dubai transport company. Diesel prices have been going up in Dubai for several months.
Please. It's time to rationalize policy by eliminating the artificial differential. Otherwise already congested roads are made worse.

The Adnoc stations in Dubai and Sharjah also continue to have long queues because Adnoc's price is lower. Those queues spill out onto the street adding to congestion.

Quiz Time

I'm thinking of running a competition; how long will DJ Grooverider spend in jail?

Will he do a 'Dallas Austin' and be out within hours or will they throw the book at him?

Answers on a postcard please.

03 December, 2007

Is it 60, 80 or 100?

Haven't been on SZR for a while but on the way back from Grand Hyatt - just as you come out of the tunnel, I saw a speed limit sign for 60. 20 meters (maybe slightly more), another sign said 80 and a little further down the road was one of these new-fangled signs with 100 and 60 in blue. I hasten to add that both the 60 and 80 limit signs were both the temporary yellow signs.

If anyone can mind read the RTA, please let me know what this means?

Gulfnews: Shaikh Mohammad and Princess Haya blessed with a baby girl

According to Gulf News...

"Dubai: Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his wife Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain have been blessed with a baby girl.

The new baby was born on Sunday morning.

Her birth coincides with the auspicious National Day anniversary."

02 December, 2007

Disrespecting the National Flag

Did anyone notice the torn/shredded version of the UAE National Flag stuck to the trees all over Dubai(not sure if its in the other emirates or not) in celebration for the National Day. I wasn't able to click a picture but might do so today. Isn't it disrespectful to do that to the Flag and a violation. Correct me if I'm wrong......

30 November, 2007

First UAE Made Car Starts From (Dhs 36,000)



A 150-horsepower, double cabin pick-up, produced in the UAE, has been introduced in the market by Gulf Automobile Industry Corp priced between Dh36,000 and Dh60,000, its chairman said on Wednesday.

"We have sourced the parts from Japan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, South Africa, China and Thailand. The 2,400cc engine of the pick-up is from Mitsubishi," Engineer Nasser Hamad Al Hajeri told Gulf News in an interview.

"The vehicle is made to international standards and meets all the specifications of GCC countries."

Al Hajeri said the vehicle has about 40 per cent local component, sourced from GCC and Arab countries and is being manufactured in a factory in Abu Dhabi.

Fun way to end world hunger

I was sent this link and think it is a clever, but addictive, way to end world hunger

End world hunger

If you are a word and game addict, do not log on, you may never get off!

29 November, 2007

Why only 40 lashes!

I probably shouldn't bring this up, but I'll try to be non-inflammatory. By this I mean the Sudan trial of a British teacher accused of allowing a Teddy-bear to be named Mohammed. The fact that any follower of Islam would dare to make a case out of something like this just adds one more big black mark on this religion. I think it unconscionable that anyone would defend the action of those who have brought such a matter to court.

More air-conditioned bus stops, new luxury bus terminals

Commenters in recent posts noted some of the problems with road tolls and with a rail system. Both require an entensive bus system to provide alternatives to the automobile in the case of tolls, and, in the case of rail, to get you to and from home/work and the rail station.

Today's Gulf News happens to hit on this theme as well:
The ambitious air-conditioned bus shelter project has started taking shape in Dubai, but commuters say they are too small to accommodate the increasing numbers of commuters.

Each bus station is 2.5 metres wide and six metres long and has a capacity for 14 people. Eight people can sit while six can stand inside the shelter.
...
Dubai is the first city in the world to offer the luxury of air-conditioned bus shelters for passengers. The aim is to lure people into using public transport, and ease the pressure on its crowded roads.

There's more:
A total of 971 air-conditioned bus shelters will be built in the city. The new bus shelters will have an array of amenities for commuters.
...
The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) plans to have nine air-conditioned luxury bus terminals to replace the existing bus stations in Dubai, Gulf News has learnt.

The multi-storey terminals will have comfortable seating, restaurants, cafeterias and shopping areas. A parking area will also be provided. The new terminals will cater to the increasing demand for bus services.

28 November, 2007

Long lines at Adnoc stations

Has anyone else noticed lines at Adnoc that stretch into the street while the competitor just down the road doesn't have a queue? I've noticed it several times lately. My conjecture is that it's because Adnoc still accepts credit cards.

Whatever the reason, it's adding to traffic congestion.

It's not wise to keep savings in US Dollars right now

"A senior official at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), said that the UAE dirham is undervalued. Nazim Fawaz Al Qudsi, Head of the NBAD's Investment Section, predicted in an interview with the Emirates News Agency that the UAE Central Bank will announce revaluation of the UAE dirham against the US dollar, to which it is pegged......."

Speculation over huge Salik expansion

ArabianBusiness.com:
A UAE Arabic newspaper reported earlier this week that the RTA is "conducting a study to put toll gates on other new roads in Dubai".

The article also states that toll gates could be placed on Maktoum Bridge, Shindagha Tunnel, Business Bay Bridge and the Floating Bridge.

It is not the first time reports of an expansion of the Salik scheme have surfaced.

In August Saudi daily Arab News reported that the RTA had started work on new toll gates at eight locations in Dubai, including Shindagha Tunnel, Maktoum Bridge, Floating Bridge, Emirates Road, Al-Khail Road, Nad Al-Hamar Road and Business Bay Bridge.

Related, I've heard that Sheik Mo took a look the blueprints for rail system stations, and rejected them. He wants them to be 5 star stations. Perhaps he's serious about the rail system being attractive to all walks of life. That might be what it takes to make it a success. Another example of thinking big being thinking right?

New Dubai Documentary

A new Dubai Documentary has just aired in the US; "Dubai: Miracle or mirage" is produced by CBC and is available on a few p2p networks

KT headlines

Does anyone know of any other newspapers that abbreviate "psychological assessment" to "psycho test"?

"Court permits psycho test of rape accused
By a staff reporter

28 November 2007

DUBAI — A juvenile court in Dubai yesterday permitted an Emirati minor accused, along with two other nationals of raping a 15-year-old French boy, to take a psychological test."

Read more here

26 November, 2007

DIFC third anniversary celebration with Il Divo

I've made a short video with my mobile from last Friday's party at DIFC featuring "Il Divo". You can see it on my blog.

23 November, 2007

Comment Spam

Is anyone else having a problem with spam comments from Property in Dubai? Maybe it's just me, but I think it is incredibly rude of them to add comments that always include a link to their website. If they want prominent links that will enhance their search engine rankings, the least they can do is pay for them!

Pay Hike

"All federal government employees, including civilians and security personnel of the interior ministry, will get 70 percent salary hike with effect from January 2008 salary. The salary increase was ordered today by the vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in line with the directives of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan......"

Responce:
"UAE's private sector has the ability to cope with the trend-setting 70 per cent salary hike declared by the Federal Government for its 60,000 employees, according to Dr Mohammed Khalfan bin Kharbash, Minister of State for Financial and Industrial Affairs............."

Action:
"Contractors in Dubai have raised wages of labourers by up to 20% following strikes this month over salaries inked to the declining dollar, the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) reported on Friday...."

UAE COMMUNITY BLOG "Jumps the Shark"


Click on the picture to discover how it all went down.

22 November, 2007

DP World raises $4.96 Billion in IPO, 15x oversubscribed

Read the full story here.
Dubai Financial Market saw 30% growth in the last one year, and ADSM 41%.
With the stock markets across the world on the decline, how regulated and controlled are the UAE markets?
Are these growth rates sustainable or we headed towards a black day in UAE, similar to that of Saudi in February last year (2006), when the index went up to 19,000 points, only to wipe out SR 80 Billion?
Petrodollars, excessive liquidity in the market & not enough investment opportunities make for unrealistic growth figures, along with over-valuation of businesses. Or maybe i'm missing something here?!

21 November, 2007

Time Out Dubai


Hey everybody:


There is a really funny story in today's Time Out Dubai, check it out and see the underbelly of life in there here parts. The title is Flying Rickshaw. p.84

Fog glorious fog

So did anyone else enjoy navigating through the fog today at 5:30am? Honestly it was like driving through a cloud on most of SZR.

What I love the most about Dubai is the truly fascinating weather we have here. A year in Dubai is basically broken down into 338 days of sunshine, 10 days of cloudy/overcast skies, 5 days of rain, and 12 days of fog. So naturally today had to be a fog day...

Read complete post here.

19 November, 2007

Back to blogging and other stuff

It has been a long time since I have posted anything here, in fact, it has been a long time since I've blogged on my own site. For the longest time I really had nothing interesting to say, all I wanted to do is read, read and then read some more.

But after this hiatus, I'm glad to say that amiri.info is back online with hopefully a better structure and much better content. So who ever is handling the blogroll on the side of this page, please let me back in.

For those of you that are super-geeks, and I think I have said this here before, check out RubyOnRails. If there is anything that is going to revolutionize web development then it is frameworks like RoR; it is simply amazing.


I know that our overlords on this blog don't view shameless plugs favorably, but I wanted to share with you my little experiment in social networking, hub.ae. Give it a try and upload photos, videos and start some groups and let me know how it handles the pressure.

BTW, where did everyone go? I see some familiar names on the posts but where did the original members go?

18 November, 2007

United Arab Emirates Music

Anyone out there interested in UAE singers?

Nahian Al Katheeri (above) is the latest UAE singer to release an album, entitled "Nahian...2007"

My other favourite UAE singers are Aitha El Menhaly (below)


...Harbee Al Amry, Hamed Al Amry, Hussain Al Jasmi, Meehad Hamad, and the list goes on...

Personally, I cannot decide on a favourite: UAE Musicians strike such a special chord that differentiating becomes a challenge.

Most current local music is available at Virgin Music stores across the UAE.

17 November, 2007

Abu Apple Dubai?

Thanks to Maytha over at KABOBFest for alerting me to this gem.

Fox Business News' Apple-AMD flub

Click on the above link to listen and weep, people - for ignorance has a long way to go before it's wiped out.

Of course, someone had to use the old "petrodollar" quip as they dug a deeper hole in which to bury themselves!

Here's the Press Release from AMD.

The company investing into AMD, to a tune of US$622 million, is Mubadala Development from Abu Dhabi who list the Ferrari F1 team and Lockheed Martin among other interests.

UAE shuts down Pakistan's most popular TV channels

Pakistan’s premier Urdu news channels were shut down at 1 a.m. Pakistan time (12 midnight Dubai time) after Pakistani miltary dictator Pervez Musharraf put tremendous pressure on UAE to silence media outlets which had refused to bow down..!

Both GEO TV and ARY TV were stationed in Dubai Media City...

There is a big question mark on DMC's creditability!

16 November, 2007

Understanding

I've noticed that there's been a lot of debate and hatred recently between the members here on the UAE community blog. As localexpat mentioned; there has been a lot of friction between (mainly, in my point of view) expats and locals.

I think a huge problem that characterizes the UAE is the fact that there is so little dialog between locals and non-locals who live in the Emirates. There is so much misunderstanding, hatred and racism. From what I've seen here, many people don't understand the other person's point of view.

Freedom of speech and expression caused a massive debate on the blog as you can from this post. I for one (although I'm a minority among my own people) believe that freedom of speech and even democracy are essential and important institutions for any country. It is a basic human right to be able to say, think and believe in what you want. However, these ideas are going to take a long time to be implemented in the UAE or even any country in the region.

Because of recent events such as the war in Iraq, many Arabs have a negative view of things like democracy. These ideas are tied to 'evil' America. So, whenever anyone speaks of it, it is met with hostility, anger and perhaps fear. The problem is, freedom of speech is not dangerous. Things are well and fine as they are, but what if a ruler at some point in time starts abusing his power? Yes, Bush was elected through democratic means (if that's what you believe). But he isn't going to be in power any longer. Democracy allows for this. Americans can voice their choice of who is to rule by voting and protesting. There is a problem where enough people aren't voting, but apart from that the system is there. There exists a way to escape. How effective it is is debatable, but my point is that there is a way. That's a problem with autocratic or non-democratic rule, you have no say. You have to accept whatever the one in charge says.

When people are happy and content, they do not see a need for change. My family live comfortably and many people in the UAE do, so not many people see a need for political change. Once you feel how little rights you have, that's when you're going to cry for change.

Many people just don't understand the importance of having a voice. I spoke to Sharla Musabih and interviewed her for an essay and I learned about so much that happens behind closed doors that I would have never imagined to happen in my own country. There is a major problem of domestic abuse that gets almost no coverage. Until I met a few women from the shelter and spoke to Sharla, I had no idea what was going on. To make a long story short, it turns out to be a lot. This problem could actively be fought and put under control if the press was free and could discuss these serious issues. By talking about it in the news and press and approaching the authorities, the government will be pressured to issue new legislation and protect women and others from abuse. It is difficult at the moment for a woman to get help when she has been abused by a husband. According to the US State Department Report on the UAE, "male guardians within the family have a positive legal right, in the Penal Code, to discipline women and children family members at their discretion, including use of physical violence."

Don't you think that needs to change?

What I'm trying to say is that freedom of speech is not a bad thing at all, but a very important right that every person should have.

But another major issue is that many expats don't understand the mentality of people in the country. We (that is Gulf Arabs, Middle Easterners, most people of the region) are used to despotism and monarchy. We don't know what it is to have a choice of government. The whole region, I argue, is still not ready for democracy. If Pakistan were to have completely free elections now, echoing the sentiments of a Democratic presidential candidate and a close Pakistani friend of mine; the radical Islamist party would probably get 85% of the votes. Iraq and many other countries are not prepared to follow this system. The population has to be educated first so that the application of the system can be effective.

Apparently elections went on in Oman and very few people even blogged about it. Much less voted. Free elections, freedom of speech, etc don't mean much to many people in the region. This is a major point that many many people (Americans to say the least) do not understand.

Also, there has been so much harsh criticism of the UAE. People going so far as to accuse others of being 'Jihadist' or the country being totalitarian. Seriously, there are places that are so much worse. The UAE is very young and has to go through many changes before it reaches an ideal state. America, the ideal democratic naion, suffered McCarthyism and the Red Scare in the '40s and '50s which led to many innocent people accused of being Communist and thrown into jail. Minorities such as African Americans and women only got their rights recently although the country was established for a good few centuries.

Whatever time, whatever place.. change is gradual. The UAE we live in now is definitely not the UAE we lived in 10 years ago. Although quieter and more peaceful in those days, there are so many more opportunities now. The UAE has really stepped up and stands out among the whole region. Just give it some time. Things are not going to keep going the way are at the moment.

What I really hope is that this gap that exists between locals and expats will be bridged. There is too big a divide at the moment, and both sides need to understand more about each other. We are after all, living in the same country! It's great that we can have debates like this on the blog and I hope it continues and improves.

(Sorry for the long post though..)

15 November, 2007

Idiotic behaviour!

It seems that every time someone writes about a topic that is even remotely related to the UAE's ethnicity, culture and politics it has to end up in a bickering tit-for-tat war between the :-

"Western infidels" VS "Islamic jihadis"
Local VS expatriates
Arabs VS Europeans
The 'morals' of the East VS the 'decadence' of the West
Bigotry VS idiocy

US VS THEM!

Have a look the comments in my previous post below and you will see what I mean. We seem to have lost the ability to debate and instead we resort to arguing and bitch fighting.

13 November, 2007

Bloggers take note!

I think the experience of our fellow blogger bklyn_in_dubai is something we all have to be wary of:-

"Syed Ali was in Dubai interviewing expatriate workers for a book. The day before he was due to leave, six strangers arrived at his flat and took him to the police compound. A 13-hour interrogation lay ahead "

Its not that every blogger is likely to be interrogated and deported by the authorities. Just that the safety shield of anonymity that the internet provides you might not necessarily be as bulletproof you thought it might be.


11 November, 2007

Anonymous commenting disabled

As of yesterday I have deactivated anonymous commenting; I realise many people using the anonymous feature leave valid contributions and I am sorry to have disabled it, but recently there have been far too many people leaving comments under 100 characters which make no valid contribution and simply annoy the crap out of me (and hopefully/not everyone else here too)

I hope it is agreed that comments like these (as just a few examples) are better off being left out of discussions for a few weeks...

"& my dog's name is brenda!"
"i'm debbie menon!"

Dubai Media Blah

Ajman - Croc shock

Lighthearted report about a crocodile spotted in Ajman

or

Seven die as partially completed bridge collapses


Report on the death of 6 workman in Dubai Marina

As Editor, what story would you put on your front page?

7 Days plumped for the croc.

Enough said.

Underground Dubai

10 November, 2007

Christianity in the Gulf

The UAE has recently exchanged ambassadors with Vatican City.

An estimated 35% of the population of the UAE is Christian.

Read it here.

09 November, 2007

Happy Diwali

Wishing all bloggers of the UAE community a Happy Diwali.

A note below for all those not familiar with what Diwali is:

Diwali is a major Indian and Nepalese festive holiday. Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Light," where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being.

The aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith.

To read more: Diwali (wikipedia.org)

UAE Compensation Trends 2007

The UAE saw a slight rise in its annual rate of salary increase to 10.7%, up from 10.3% last year, reflecting continued and in some cases increasing staff shortages.

Full Article includes:

  • Inflation
  • NOC Requirements
  • Public Sector Pay Rise
  • Labour Law
  • Amnesty

For additional information on all the GCC countries Gulf Compensation Trends by GulfTalent.com.

dubai rape case

CNN has a front page link to a video report on the rape case of a 15 year-old French boy; it includes an interview with the mother.

Seven people killed in construction accident at Dubai Marina

News courtesy of Gulf News

"Dubai: Seven people have been killed in a construction accident in Dubai Marina.

20 people have been injured in the accident, which happened at 6.20pm on Thursday evening.

It is believed the accident happened when scaffolding on a bridge under construction on the Al Suffouh Road collapsed.

Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board of the Roads and Transport Authority told Dubai TV the accident was caused by human error when steel rods were wrongly loaded.

Jamal Al Merri, deputy commandant of Dubai Police told Gulf News: "The accident happened at 6.20pm. The pillar collapsed killing seven people instantly and injuring 24, according to preliminary information.

"There are no workers under the rubble. All other workers have been accounted for."

08 November, 2007

Time for War?

I dedicate this poem to the honourable democratic leadership of United States of America who are planning yet another war in the Middle East.

The leaders are hated,
Aloof and remote:
Time for a vote?
Time for a war!

The people are hungry
Begging for bread,
Feed them? Instead
Give them a war!

The markets are failing,
Enraging the mob.
Give them a job,
Send them to war!

The sick wait untended
Like never before.
Hire more doctors? No,
Go off to war!

The bogeyman’s waiting,
Coming for you!
You have to start hating,
Go and make war!

War has now started:
Thousands are dying:
The leaders keep lying.
This war is you!

The bombs have stopped falling,
The shelling has ceased.
A treaty is called,
Time now for peace!

Rumours are flying,
Men keep on dying:
The leaders are crying,
Let’s start a war!

A Poem by Rose Moss

07 November, 2007

Dubai Metro faces delays

Found in last week's Middle East Economic Digest, dated 19-25 October 2007. The on-line version is available on a subscription-only basis, so I've typed it in here as an article of general interest.

Contractors ask for more time to complete urban rail network

The $4,600 million project to build the red and green lines on the Dubai Metro scheme could be facing delays of up to one year after contractors on the scheme indicated to the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) that they need more time to complete work on the project.

According to several senior sources on the scheme, the JT Metro joint venture executing the civil engineering and construction works is seeking an extension to complete the project. “The amount of time being discussed is changing, but it is several hundred days,” says a consultant working on the project.

Significant changes in the design of the system are understood to be the reason for discussion. The client, the RTA, has revised the design of the project since the contract was awarded to the Dubai Urban Rail Link (Durl) consortium in 2005, and the contractors are now seeking more time to accommodate these changes.

“Almost everything has changed except the tunnel diameters and the viaducts,” says a source on the project. “It is very different to the specifications provided in the tender documents.”

However, it is unclear whether an extension will be granted by the RTA. The project is one of the most critical in Dubai as it is required to alleviate the chronic congestion currently experienced on the emirate’s roads.

“The RTA is adamant that the red line will open on 9 September 2009,” says the source. “So the consortium may be compensated to get it finished on time.”

The RTA denies that there has been a request for more time to complete the project. “The RTA is not aware of any such request,” says a spokeswoman.

02 November, 2007

3rd Death Anniversary - Shaikh Zayed in our hearts




Millions of eyes cried
When on this day you went away

Your legend will last for eternity
O, Father of the UAE

Shaikh Zayed in our hearts
Forever and always

May your soul rest in heavenly peace.

Special coverage: Zayed Remembered (Gulf News)
Shaikh Zayed: A special tribute (uaeinteract.com)

Prince of sadism

Is there any truth to this news article? Does anyone know about this?

A quarter-hour later, Orsi alleged, the man suddenly came up behind him, jostled his glasses, sat in his lap and tried to kiss and fondle him. When Orsi protested, he maintained the man became violently angry, threw him to the floor, punched and stomped him, smashed his glasses underfoot, then removed his belt and whipped him with the metal buckle.

(365Gay.com)

Apparently the fellow who assaulted "Orsi" is Sheikh Khalifa's brother. I didn't even know about this 'til an American friend of mine sent me the link. Secret Dubai.. did YOU know about this? I'm curious.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

01 November, 2007

note to self # 2

Sorry people, this was not meant to be blogged here. My sincere apologies.

What can you say?

An unsettling story from the front page of today's NEW YORK TIMES:
"Just after sunset, Alex says he was rushing to meet his father for dinner when he bumped into an acquaintance, a 17-year-old native-born student at the American school, who said he and his cousin could drop Alex off at home.

There were, in fact, three Emirati men in the car, including a pair of former convicts aged 35 and 18, according to Alex. He says they drove him past his house and into a dark patch of desert, between a row of new villas and a power plant, took away his cell phone, threatened him with a knife and a club, and told him they would kill his family if he ever reported them."
The article goes on:
"Alex and his parents say they chose to go public with his case in the hope that it would pressure the authorities to prosecute the men.

United Arab Emirates law does not recognize rape of males, only a crime called “forced homosexuality.” The two adult men charged with sexually assaulting Alex have pleaded not guilty although sperm from all three were found in Alex. The two adults appeared in court on Wednesday and were appointed a lawyer. They face trial before a three-judge panel on Nov. 7. The third, a minor, will be tried in juvenile court. Legal experts here say that men convicted of sexually assaulting other men usually serve sentences ranging from a few months to two years.

Dubai is a bustling financial and tourist center, one of seven statelets that form the United Arab Emirates. At least 90 percent of the residents of Dubai are not Emirati citizens and many say that Alex’s Kafkaesque legal journey brings into sharp relief questions about unequal treatment of foreigners here that have long been quietly raised among the expatriate majority. The case is getting coverage in the local press.

It also highlights the taboos surrounding H.I.V. and homosexuality that Dubai residents say have allowed rampant harassment of gays and have encouraged the health system to treat H.I.V. virtually in secret. (Under Emirates law, foreigners with H.I.V., or those convicted of homosexual activity, are deported.)

Prosecutors here reject such accusations. “The legal and judicial system in the United Arab Emirates makes no distinction between nationals and non-nationals,” said Khalifa Rashid Bin Demas, head of the Dubai Attorney General’s technical office, in an interview. “All residents are treated equally.”

Dubai’s economic miracle — decades of double-digit growth spurred by investors, foreign companies, and workers drawn to the tax-free Emirates — depends on millions of foreigners, working jobs from construction to senior financial executives. Even many of the criminal court lawyers are foreigners.

Alex’s case has raised diplomatic tensions between the Emirates and France, which has lodged official complaints about the apparent cover-up of one assailant’s H.I.V.-status and other irregularities. The tension, along with growing publicity for the case, seem to have spurred the authorities into action."
"Although rape victims here generally keep quiet, some who have been raped in Dubai have shared testimonials in recent days on boycottdubai.com, a Web site started by Alex’s mother, Véronique Robert."

30 October, 2007

To switch or not to switch?

Whoah! Hold your horses, mine is a post of constructive criticism looking for answers/solutions compared to those sprung up just below.

I've just about had it with this major telecoms company. It seems no coincidence that every time I've enrolled for a service, there has been some issue or other to resolve, and thus, it wouldn't be an inaccurate guess that the majority are facing a growing dissatisfaction with this telecoms co.

When Du came into operation as the sole competitor, I saw no need to switch: and rightly so, given the nature of complaints that followed in the first month (hence the "apology" by Du by way of "free credit" to new customers).

Now, I am seriously comtemplating a switch to Du based on repeat occurences of the following:

1)Very poor customer service - Emails of mine to the customer service department and to the helpdesk have gone unanswered, with no follow-up
2)It is not possible to resolve issues by telephone - one must visit a branch in person

The straw that broke the camel's back: there is now a new rule in which you can only buy a replacement SIM card in the emirate you bought it in. That means if you were making a day trip to another emirate and thought "Hey, why don't I pop in here and buy my SIM card" - well, you have to go back there to apply for your replacement. You cannot just visit any branch like before (the good old days).

Firstly, I don't see the logic in sending bulk SMSs to customers promoting your services and when this service is amended, the same means (SMS) cannot be used to notify them. Secondly, I was told the reason for this change was an amendment to the "system". A telecommunications company should have the technological means to issue replacement SIM cards from any branch throughout the UAE - after all, it is a national company, and technology is meant to make our lives easier, and aid companies specialising in technology to make "systems" more advanced, not take a step backward.

Make a complaint, and your emails go unanswered. Ask to speak to a manager in this telecoms company? The manager has no telephone number. They simply do not care.

I would like to know if anyone of you has made a switch to Du; what your experience has been so far, and if it was worth the change.

Star Article

Sadly another star article from the last few days got less attention from bloggers than the Washingtonpost's extravaganza:

Dubai Strike Threatens Building Boom
Associated Press

Complimented by Rupee gives expats sleepless nights & UAE threatens deportation after violent protest it could compete with The Arabian Heights.


Personal opinion: the salaries of the construction workers should be doubled as a first step.

29 October, 2007

So Long And Thanks For All The Fils

... but when did it happen that this blog community reached apathy saturation point?

There was a time there was righteous debate, brazen hatred, open racism, political engagement, media savvy conjecture and now it seems to be sliding into the slop of indifference.

Maybe that's just my take...

In the last couple of days there has been riots - which was not only an example of unbelievable greed - 600dhs a month pay FFS... plus media protection of the company - NAME AND SHAME PEOPLE, please let them be "listed" - and finally an example in exactly how Dubai Dream Inc TM does not understand how to manage a crisis or communicate their message of "Dubai Cares"...

And then the caring and sharing nature of a prank which was a tragic joke gone wrong... you try to kill yourself, but we'll deport your ass anyway...

These are just 2 of many things that are recently getting me really, extremely frustrated with the Dubai Dream Experience TM

don't even get me started on the f-ing dolphins...

Your's angryly,

Bluey.

PS I reserve the right to leave if I don't like it.

India needs to Ask for Help: Planet of the Apes ???

Forget being sensitive. India cannot manage itself. Sure the economy is up but so is poverty, HIV, and environmental damage. If these were the only problems making the news, then maybe I could look passed them. But the fact is, if you cannot manage the wild life in a major urban area, then you probably cannot manage anything.

I saw this story and follow-ups in the news papers in Dubai and then online: http://www.rationalreview.com/content/37290 .
India: Monkeys attack, kill Delhi politician .

Seriously? They say in Delhi that they have no solution and are at the end of their ability to deal with the problem. I read a larger article in Gulf News last week which had actual local leaders admitting that they cannot manage monkeys. They blame religious beliefs for their failure. However, I simply cannot believe that is the only reason, but it is very convenient.

I think India needs to hire someone to start managing their cities. Maybe Singapore? Singapore seems pretty well run. The Japanese might be good at it, but from my experiences there the police are very lazy. They are good at finding evidence but not actually preventing anything.

Countries outsource services all the time, why not city management? I mean city managers in many cities are not elected officials, yet they have power. So that way India can keep its( fairly corrupt??) political system and still be able to improve its cities.

Being serious for one minute: who is helping Delhi and is it really a bad idea to outsource management when MONKEYS have CONQUERED your CITY!

D. Blogger

28 October, 2007

HHIE Survey #2

Following on from the last season, I say to all second generation HHIE Survey participants: let the reworded text messages ring no alarm bells.

"Income and expenditure" levels are always of an evolutionary nature, as you can see with the longer-substituted words within your SMS.

Any concerns regarding the terminology of your text message should be directed to your nearest free-of-cost dictionary, preferably in full view of your accountant.

The idea is that your "income and expenditure" should satisfy the "annual analysis".

27 October, 2007

Dubai's architecture

The Washington Post has a long essay on Dubai's architecture, and the contrast with Abu Dhabi. I won't attempt to summarize. Read the whole thing here.

26 October, 2007

When are these coming to Dubai?



Spotted in Ajman, these countdown boards give a good idea of how much time is left before the next signal changes. If installed in Dubai, it would definitely make a difference in reducing the number of signal jumpers. It is easier to understand than the blinking light system on certain Dubai roads before the signal changes.

It is about time RTA got some of these timers on Dubai signals. This system is nothing new and is in use by many cities around the world. Way to go Ajman, for taking the lead in installing a device which helps motorists rather than a 'fine' camera.

25 October, 2007

Why Justin WHY! ;-) lol

A bit on the trivial side... have any of you wondered what made the organisors of Justin Timberlake's concert select Abu Dhabi over Dubai as a venue to host one of the biggest selling artist of the year?

hmmm.. something smells fishy....

Orphaned Cars--Why?

Have you ever noticed all the cars sitting around covered in dust? I notice them all the time. When I see one on one of my common routes I make note of how long it sits.

I have witnessed a car not moving for over two years in Bur Dubai and Al Barsha. As an American I am use to having community laws that would impound such a vehicle. So I started trying to find out why these vehicles are just left.

I had a few hypothesis to start with:
1. The owner was a holiday resident and did not have proper parking.
2. The owner was in jail.
3. The owner owed a loan and skipped town.

But in these cases more researched uncovered more facts. First if the person were a holiday visitor, it would seem that they would pay someone to wash it once a week. I found in my building that the holiday visitors have their cars done once a month at least. Now if they did not have parking then scenario 1 is plausible. BUT most people who can afford to live in Dubai 1/2 the year or a few months a year, should be able to acquire parking.

Numbers 2 and 3 are actually situations where the state will repossess or impound the car. I found that out when I went to the auto auction last year.

So what else could be contributing to these orphaned cars? The answer: a bad registration scheme.

My friend bought a car from someone who was leaving Dubai. They gave my friend the registration card, a copy of their passport and visa, and a letter stating that a transaction had been made.

My friend did not take the time to research the law, as the seller confirmed that they had called the registration office and were following the correct procedure.

The seller leaves the country and cancels their visa.

My friend goes to register the car. She finds out that it is impossible without the owner. She explains the owner is out of the country, and is not coming back. And that the owner no longer has a visa. The registration office says that if the seller has canceled their visa, then they cannot even return to Dubai and transfer the car over.

Basically, without the seller present or a certified bill of sale from a used car dealership, the transaction can not be made legally. Ironically enough, if there are any tickets, the seller still gets fined. The fines accrue even after they cancel their visa.

I was standing next to my friend during this encounter and she looked at me and said, "I am just going to leave this car in the desert and rent something."

I thought that was a bad move. I took another angle. I asked, "Who in Dubai can take care of this situation? " The registrar said, "There is a man in the head office in Deira if you find him he can make an exception." One guy. THE HEAD of DUBAI registrars with access to the immigration records.

My friend still wanted to dump the car because she refused to drive in Deira. She said Deira is too hard to drive in and she would end up wrecking her car before she could register it.

The point of this story is that Dubai seems to be to often managed through rumors and conjecture. Get the information for yourself and in-person. Ask a few people the same question(s). If not you might find yourself in Deira trying to find some government building, dodging the ubiquitous Nissan Sunny, and fighting to eventually cross a crowded bridge in rush hour traffic.

D.Blogger

Tell me...

Who do you go to when you want to bare your soul, speak of your weaknesses and show the most vulnerable part of you; without fear of criticism or remorse, without judgment or hurt?

you can respond by commenting on the same on my blog

Thank you

24 October, 2007

The world's largest poster revealed by Sorouh Real Estate in Dubai, UAE

Sorouh Real Estate unveiled the biggest poster in the world on Monday in Dubai.

The poster covers an area of 20,000 sq metres and is as big as three football pitches put together.

It's part of the 'Sorouh Faces' campaign conceptualised by Sorouh's advertising agency, TBWA\RAAD Abu Dhabi. The campaign aims to collect and place 1 million faces on the record-breaking site, donating $1 to UAE Red Crescent for every face received - to a total of US$ 1,000,000 for charity.

Anyone can place their face free on the world-record breaking site by uploading it on the dedicated website of the campaign.

A breathtaking picture of the GIGANTIC poster and details on how one can put one's face on it are Farrukh Naeem's Advertising in the UAE blog

23 October, 2007

There's a New Blog in Town!




A GLOBALISED GUIDE TO THE BEST IN FOOD: COOKING IT, EATING IT AND ENJOYING IT!

The Fat Expat is a new Blog dedicated to broadcasting the lunatic babbling of not one but two blogging types to the world. Yes, Alexander and HalfManHalfBeer are collaborating on a new Blog designed to indulge our shared unhealthy and obsessive interest in all things food-related.. We’ll be blogging about food, restaurants, recipes, ingredients. Anything that you can pop into the old bouche, in fact. We’ll be arguing with each other (including a planned series of ‘head to head’ recipe wars) and possibly with some of the restaurants and hotels we’ve been reviewing, too! And we’ll be bringing you a passion for food that we hope you enjoy reading and interacting with. With a little luck this project will grow with time and become smarter and more sophisticated.

The Fat Expat will contain regularly posted recipes, articles about food, restaurant reviews and more. More? Yes! More!

We’re aiming to have a great deal of fun with the format, including special promotions, cook-offs, recipe competitions and, I hope, an increasingly off-the-wall selection of content. There are already over 100 recipes posted up there in the archive, more than yer average cook-book, and we’re hoping to add loads more, together with bringing more contributors to the Blog.

So if you like Arabic food, pies, barbecues, eating out around the world, reading cranky restaurant reviews or prefer to dabble in a delicious assortment of Asian splendours then drop on by to the The Fat Expat!

Opinion

It seams the Government will strengthen the policies applying to Labour hiring:
My questions are:
What will happen to the Recruitment Agencies?
Will the MOL charge us fees for recruiting servants or professionals trough the labour offices?
Many thanks in advance

19 October, 2007

Dubai and the golden days

We are still in an era where small-talk governs a bygone Dubai: the time when Dubai was Dubai; when the old days were golden days.

What, may I ask, is less golden today than it was 2 decades ago? A society that enjoys economic prosperity is bound to enjoy social and cultural changes with time: and if time diversifies Dubai, the shift is for the better.

Relative to the growth of Dubai, we still enjoy the freedoms and fun of yesteryear, if not on a grander scale. All this nostalgia is just such: nostalgia, and a fear of letting go of the past, when today is much better.

Without the past, we have no future. And without the future, we have no tomorrow.

Dead dolphins found near Dubai-bound dolphins

AFP:
A company in the Solomon Islands exported 28 live dolphins to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, four years after the government halted the trade when such a shipment caused international outrage.

The dolphins were taken amid tight security to Honiara from their holding pens on an outlying island and then escorted by police to two cargo planes for the 30-hour journey to Dubai.
...
Lawrence Makili, a director of the San Francisco-based Earth Island Institute, said photos published this week showing dolphin carcasses on the side of a road leading to the pens were a sign the animals were under stress.
The Canadian Press:
The dolphins' new habitat on Dubai's palm tree-shaped island complex will be called the Dolphin Bay. It is still under construction and scheduled to be completed sometime next year.
7 Days (Zaywa)
Twenty-eight bottlenose dolphins destined for the Atlantis, The Palm on Palm Jumeirah arrived safely in Dubai yesterday. Kerzner Istithmar, which is developing a "dolphin programme" for Atlantis, said in a statement it had received the dolphins from a facility in the Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre where the mammals had lived for the past few months.

"We are proud to welcome all 28 of our Dolphin Bay family who arrived safely in the hands of an incredibly experienced and dedicated team," said Frank Murru, Chief Marine Officer for Kerzner International. "The dolphins are now eating, swimming and acclimatising in their seven million gallon habitat."

Murru added that a staff of more than 85 marine mammal specialists, veterinarians and professionals will be monitor the dolphins 24 hours a day to ensure their comfort, care and feeding and any unforeseen medical needs.
Islands Business:
A spokesperson from Kerzner International - the owners of Atlantis, said the resort will open in a year and will include a large marine mammal rescue centre and a conservation education centre.

“Atlantis, The Palm and Kerzner Istithmar are planning to include a world class dolphin interactive programme at Atlantis, The Palm ... we cannot disclose information about where we acquire our dolphins or details of the transport at this time as a matter of security,” said the spokesperson.

Dolphin Bay is planned to be a state-of-the-art, eleven-acre coastal facility with seven million gallons of salt water - one of the largest man-made coastal facilities in the world, it was stated.

18 October, 2007

Leopard Frightens Sharjah Residents

I haven't read anything about this in the English newspapers, so I guess it could be worth sharing.

Al Khaleej reports:

On Tuesday the 16th of October, the Sharjah Police successfully captured a leopard that had terrified residents in Sharjah near the Tasjeel Auto City.

Brigadier Saleh Al Mutawwa, Director General of Sharjah Police said that "the leopard was seen strolling the area when terrified passersby spotted the leopard and immediately reported it to us. An emergency unit was sent to carefully control the situation. The "trained unit" was able to temporarily paralyze the leopard and transfer him to the Environment and Natural Protectorate Committee".

Al Mutawwa noted that the price of a leopard can reach AED 85,000 and owners of these wild animals tend to smuggle these animals to keep them inside their homes.

School Bullies...

Today's Gulf News reports, "Bullies force traumatised pupil away from school."
A 12th grade pupil of an Abu Dhabi school said he has stopped attending classes after continuous mental and physical torture by a group of bullies.

His father said the boy has been traumatised for the past eight months after joining Sunrise English Private School in 11th grade and needed psychiatric treatment. "He was afraid to disclose the harassment he faced in the school." The boy has not attended school since September 3.

Sam said: "I did not disclose the torture because my class teacher warned that I will also be suspended if an incident was reported to the principal. She said so when I complained in the beginning of May against five boys who dragged me from the classroom holding my neck and slammed my head against the wall."

His father said he complained to the principal and later in writing mentioning the names of nine bullies as the principal told him to but no action was taken.


Doctor's certificate demanded

Principal C. Impanathan told Gulf News that it was difficult to take action against nine pupils on a complaint. "I came to know the complaints two weeks ago only when the parent approached me." About the alleged warning by the class teacher to take action against both complainant and accused, the principal said that the teacher explained to him that she did not use the word "suspension" but warned strong action against creating problems in school. He said he would consider taking further action, including suspension or dismissal of nine accused pupils, if the parent produces a certificate from the doctor mentioning the names of the accused.
This is a serious matter; bullying in school, physical abuse - are all crimes that should never be tolerated. Strict action has to be taken against the bullies. If teachers and principals who have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for children to learn - failed in their duties - they should be punished and banned from working in schools.

He said he would consider taking further action, including suspension or dismissal of nine accused pupils, if the parent produces a certificate from the doctor mentioning the names of the accused.

How on earth can any doctor give a certificate mentioning the names of the accused? Would the bruises bear the names of the accused? This is not news reporting by Gulf News, this is something else.

Whether the principal said something so stupid and outrageous to Gulf News can only be verified from the 'audio recording' - if they have any.