08 December, 2008

Façade ?

Newsweek - "Dubai's glitzy façade shows some cracks." ::
The fireworks display was so enormous it could only truly be appreciated from the heavens (literally—it was visible from space). The occasion was the opening of the $1.5 billion Atlantis resort complex on an enormous artificial archipelago shaped like a palm tree. The point of the party, its promoters explained, was to show the world that Dubai is a land of fantasies come true, an over-the-top destination for good times. But among many of the guests, the mood was funereal. As the fireworks exploded, the global economy was imploding. Many of Dubai's overleveraged fortunes were crumbling, and no one was sure where to turn. The old buoys seemed to have been swept away.

"It's a tragedy in the making," said a senior executive with one of the city's biggest real-estate-development companies as he peered into his champagne. "A lot of people are going to get hurt. A lot of dreams are going to be shattered," he said, referring not only to the erstwhile rich and the speculators. Imported workers are already being exported, jobless, back to their homes. Skyscrapers are standing unfinished, baking in the sun. "Have you seen all those ships lined up on the horizon?" he said, gesturing toward the open gulf. "They're stuck out there full of steel and concrete nobody wants anymore."
Truth or fiction?

Read it all.


DUBAI JAZZ said...

There's a grave mistake in the article, or you can call it lack of research, but a mistake nonetheless.

"last week the federal constitution was pointedly amended to bar the prime minister (Dubai's Sheik Mohammed), his deputies and federal ministers from "any professional or commercial job" and to prohibit them from any business transactions with the federal or local governments."

Barred from any professional or commercial job?

For those who could read Arabic, the next excerpt from Al Sharq Al Awsat website shows that the new amendment to the constitution HAS GIVEN THE PRIME MINISTER MORE AUTHORITIES!

كما نص التعديل الذي اقره المجلس الاعلى للاتحاد للمادة 62 من الدستور على انه لا يجوز لرئيس مجلس الوزراء او نوابه او لأي وزير اتحادي اثناء توليه منصبه ان يزاول اي عمل مهني او تجاري او مالي او ان يدخل في معاملة تجارية مع حكومة الاتحاد او حكومات الإمارات او ان يجمع الى منصبه اكثر من منصب رسمى واحد في حكومة احدى الإمارات.
ومنع رئيس الوزراء ووزراء الحكومة من ممارسة الأعمال التجارية أثناء أدائهم لأعمالهم، ليس مادة جديدة في الدستور الإماراتي، وإنما هي من المواد الأساسية في الدستور الحالي، وما تم هو فقط حذف فقرة في المادة ذاتها تتحدث عن «أو أن يجمع بين منصبه والعضوية في مجلس إدارة شركة تجارية أو مالية». وبالتالي يفتح التعديل الدستوري الباب أمام الجمع بين الوزارة والعضوية بمجالس إدارات الشركات. ويمتلك كثير من الوزراء في الإمارات بعضا من اكبر الشركات واكثرها ربحية في البلاد ويشغلون مقاعد في مجالس ادارة العديد من الشركات في نفس وقت شغلهم مناصبهم الرسمية.

Let me explain, the item barring the prime minister from professional or commercial job was ALREADY in the UAE's constitution. What happened is that the amendment had omitted a part barring the prime minister from holding a board membership in commercial companies. i.e. giving him more power. Or more maneuverability.

" How this can be enforced is an open question—to a large extent, Dubai is Mohammed Al Maktoum—but the message was clear enough: Abu Dhabi is now in charge."

Notice how the writer of the article had dramatized the conclusion drawn from this amendment.

If only journalist who report false and misleading info about Dubai would end up laid off too!

Hey you can always ascribe that to global recession!

Wellwisher said...

The article over dramatizes Dubais problems. The real estate market will boom again as hundreds of thousands of new workers will come from countries where they have been laid off. Also Dubais fundamentals are strong.

I feel that Dubai's wellwishers should refrrain from posting negative things and articles as they will harm Dubai's image.

Personally I am telling people outside Dubai that the situation is fine and all of us should do the same, as that will hopefully lead to a return of the real estate boom

Anonymous said...

@ DJ

"If only journalist who report false and misleading info about Dubai would end up laid off too!"

Yes but that should have been sometime ago.


rosh said...

Atlantis opening was grand - people noticed, didn't they? $30million (?) - well, isn't SPENDING of this sort what's needed to keep an economy moving and jobs alive? Seriously, I don't get the fuss/negativity with Atlantis?

Kyle said...

"The people with Nakheel spend $20 million on fireworks and don't have money to pay their own people," says a Lebanese businessman with extensive interests in Dubai. "It's a disaster."

Who says it's a disaster? These fireworks that could be seen from outer space were exactly what they were supposed to be. They were targetting aliens as future residents of this gaudy monstrosity constructed on shaky waters.

Therefore, I consider the 'it's a disaster' comment redundant. Moreover, it also threatens the (alien) concept as a roadmap and may cause serious confusion with them, as they could be planning a visit in the near future.

khalid said...

Its a total disaster. Unless you live in Dubai, work here and breath our polluted air then you cant understand whats happening. The state has been working itself to this point of disaster and blaming the world economy for our downfall is just arrogant and stupid. Ask your self's how many times you heard people talk about the bubble bursting, how many times you heard people talk about how the costs of living are spiraling out of control and how many times the states tries to come up with new laws that are usually retracted or amended after they are announced. all this just fuels the inevitable fire that was heading our way.
Dubai never needed all this to put it on the map. Dubai had it all and was growing at an above average rate before the idea of freehold and free zones. Greed is what got us here, Ideas such as 2.5 million residents living around the Arabian canal, building a city twice the size of hong kong, building the tallest towers and biggest malls. question, why? what will all those people who buy into these projects do when they relocate here? do we have enough jobs for them? can we create enough jobs for them? do we have the proper infrastructure to service their requirements and needs?
the qestion now is, WHAT NOW? Do we have a plan? or do we just wait for another project to be announced that will jump start our economy?

Anonymous said...

"From error to error one discovers the entire truth." - Sig Freud

i*maginate said...

rosh - agreed. Who cares how much was spent on what...as a consumer, I will always associate the grandest fireworks I've ever seen with the Atlantis, and so will many others: good publicity. All in the name of branding, baby :)

Anonymous said...

It's a really good, insightful and balanced article and tries to cover all the bases (positive, negative, rumours, action being taken, the lack of transparency).

From people I speak to in the real estate industry, this seems to be an accurate picture. Many companies have made redunancies already but not announced them.

I'm interested to know what Dubai's 'strong fundamentals' are. Most people saw this coming from miles and miles away.

Dubai Jazz...to be fair to the writer. This is the translation that was sent to all the English media.

Article 62: The Prime Minister, his deputies and federal minister shall not, during their terms, practice any profession or commercial or financial job nor shall they enter a business transaction with the federal government or local governments or occupy more than one post in any local government.

So it is a fairly easy conclusion to draw from that statement.

Anonymous said...

On an unrelated note, couldnt resist mentioning how an elderly Bedouin reminisces of the good old days in KT. Good to see he looks back to times when honor killings were common


"Even love has changed, he believes. “There is hardly any true love these days. People fake love with many partners at a time while in the past, mingling was strictly prohibited and a woman spotted with a man would lose her life.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

you guys ever thought how it was concluded that the atlantis fireworks were seen from space? They didn't fly to space to take pictures and confirm, did they?

Well, I have a guess…

Since palm jumairah is seen from space >>> set up millions of fireworks simultaneously all over the palm >>> fireworks are seen from space!

Anonymous said...

A realistic piece which dispels many myths about Dubai

Some important points:

As far as labour rights are concerned, I say, if these labourers were so happy in their home countries, then why did they even think of paying large amounts of fees to their agents and arrive here!!!

1) I believe it will remain a buyers market for another 6 months and then things should stabilize and continue their rise once again towards making Dubai the most expensive place in the world!

2)As I sometimes mention, Dubai needs only about 1,000 NEW rich people every year from somewhere on this planet for it to continue its growth.

Anonymous said...

I don't get this Chilton guy.. he doesn't like to reply to comments on his blog, but he still wants people to read his posts.

Interact a little man.. we like your stuff, so give and take!

The Challenger said...

@ Anon 12.29, 9 Dec.

Typical of human nature eh, to focus on the one thing that sounds negative amongst all the positives the Bedouin recalls from the past, like trust, a word of honour being binding, healthy eating, proximity to nature.

Not to mention the distorted interpretation of his words. I doubt he condones honour killings. His point seems to be that it's a shame how nowadays women fake love with many/ sell their bodies to the highest buyers. And he compares it to a time back in history where this was not the norm.

Anonymous said...

So much as been said about the great visionary Sheik Mohammed. Well if he is such a great visionary how come he can see what's going on right in front of him? Does he not even read the papers?

We'll see where he is when things get worse, maybe he can sell one of his yachts or palaces to help his own people.

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