30 September, 2007

SALIK is working, but in a Bad Way

Living in Al Barsha and around the Greens I am subject to a daily dose of "SALIK Dodgers". These people do everything they can to avoid paying SALIK. They even seem to add 30 minutes to their commute by causing massive bottle necks in neighborhoods.

I just don't understand. I balance the SALIK use. Three days a week I use it to go to work, and I save 15-20 minutes off my commute time. Two days a week I wake-up earlier and drive the side roads. I never use it to go home as I am not in a big rush usually.

So I spend ...are you ready.....12-16 AED a week. Or about 4 US Dollars.

These drivers that dodge SALIK are not driving small cheap cars. So why can't they use the SALIK? Why can't they afford it?

I was thinking. Most high performance cars run best at speed; not in a traffic congested mess. In fact, you are often presented with two different equations when calculating the value of a used car. A high mileage car that has earned its Ks on long high-speed roads is not devalued as much a car that is used in a congested daily commute.

It makes you wonder if the 20 AED a week most people are saving by not using SALIK one-way is worth the value they are losing on their cars. Plus let us not forget that they are losing time everyday too. It is almost like they have no value on their time or for their time.

When I use SALIK I get from the parking at home (then I sit and wait 5 mins or so to cut through the river of traffic) to the parking at my work in about 8 mins. Totally worth not sitting in a river of traffic stocked full of people too cheap to spend 5 US Dollars a week --while driving 50,000 Dollar Cars.

Abyad in Abu Dhabi

An AFP article in today's online Melbourne Age reports that Abu Dhabi is about to get a new taxi fleet - London cabs especially built and customised for "the often blazing hot climate of the Gulf".

Part of the upgrades includes a colour change from the traditional London taxi colour of black to a cooler white.

I wonder if the taxi drivers will also have to pass The Knowledge before they can get behind the wheel? ;-)

27 September, 2007

RTA to be in charge of final Creek Extension Phase 5

Longtime reader, first-time poster here...

The Gulf News tabloid Xpress is reporting here that the RTA will be in charge of the final phase of the Creek Extension project which will extend from it's current place of behind the Metropolitan Hotel under SZR, beside the Safa Park, under Wasl Road and Beach Road, and finally out to the Gulf beside Jumeirah Beach Park. This final phase of construction will start in December of this year to be completed in 3 years.

Up until now Dubai Properties has overseen the project but the leadership will change for this final phase, presumably because the final stretch will disrupt so much traffic on these three major roads.

This is of great interest to me because the projected path of the waterway winds right past my villa. But the project in general should be a concern for all Dubai/Sharjah residents because three new bridges will be built on these ever-so-critical thoroughfares.

Do you think it's a good thing that the RTA will be in charge of the final phase? How do you think this project will affect life in Dubai and your commute to and from work or leisure activities?

Warner Bros. To Open Theme Park & Cinemas In Abu Dhabi

Warner Bros. In Yas Island

What’s up doc? Quite a bit in Abu Dhabi after a developer yesterday signed a multi-billion-dirham deal to bring the creative energy of Warner Bros Entertainment to the emirate.

A joint venture was created between Aldar and the newly-established Abu Dhabi Media Company and the studio that brought us the Harry Potter and Scooby-Doo films and Bugs Bunny.

The massive entertainment project will include a theme park, a luxury hotel and multiplex cinemas on Yas Island, the formation of a joint fund to finance feature films and develop and produce video games, as well as the growth of new media in the emirate.

And that’s not all, folks… New Warner Bros branded cinemas will also be built in Abu Dhabi’s under-construction Central Market, Ruwais in the Western Region and Al Ain.

Read More ...

Rights of Motorists

I had almost given up blogging, except for a small incident which happened a few days ago & which motivated me to write this post. While patiently moving at a snail's pace during the afternoon rush hour, this realization dawned on me that maybe the "Road Warriors" see law abiding drivers as donkeys. Yes you read it right, donkeys. How?

Who are the road warriors? They are the rash drivers who show no respect for fellow road users. Especially more so during this Holy month of Ramadan since most of the offenders are Muslims. Imagine people driving on the hard shoulder and yellow lane & then trying to push their way into the proper lane before an exit or a traffic signal. And by the way, this rude behavior is not just limited to male species, even our females have also mashallah become experts in this. Is this what fasting teaches us?

Fasting is supposed to teach us patience, care & respect for others. But it seems that for most of us, the real spirit of Ramadan only means attacking the food the moment Muazzin says athan. Few months ago, I wrote about the Rights of Neighbors. I will quote few excerpts from that post here:
The preacher said that neighborhood is not limited just to houses. For a trader, the traders around him are his neighbors. For a worker, his co workers are his neighbors. For a student, his class mates are his neighbors. For a traveller, the people sitting around him in a bus, train or a plane are his neighbors. For a village, the villages around it are its neighbors. For a city or province, the cities and provinces around it are its neighbors. For a country, the countries around it are its neighbors.
Also I had mentioned these two ahadith:
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (R.A.) the Prophet (PBUH) said,

"By Allah, he is not a true believer, By Allah, he is not a true believer, By Allah, he is not a true believer (three times). He was asked 'Who?" Upon which he replied, "The one whose neighbors do not feel secure from his mischief and evil"

Narrated Jabir (R.A.), the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said

"The neighbor with three rights is the neighbor who is a Muslim and a Relative (he has a claim as a neighbor, as a fellow Muslim and as a relative). The neighbor with two rights is the neighbor who is a Muslim (as such he has a claim as a neighbor as well as a fellow Muslim) and the the one with only one right is a non-Muslim neighbor (he has claim as a fellow human being)".
Drive safely & respect the rights of your neighbors (fellow motorists in this case). May Allah guide all of us to His right path :-)

GULF NEWS values Emaar at Dh1.70?

I've found that one of the most difficult things to do here in the UAE is to not be a business person yet still find solid user friendly information on the business sector. Because I know that if I could do so, I (and I'm assuming other expatriates) would be more likely to make an investment or two in the local economy.

For instance, if I wanted to find information on say, The Ford Motor Company, I could go to the NEW YORK TIMES markets section, enter the symbol F and I would get THIS breakdown of the company which allows me to easily track the stock's performance.
So imagine my confusion when I read what I can only assume is some sort of typographical or grammatical error in this morning's GULF NEWS online:
The losses in Dubai were mostly due to the decline in Emaar Properties, which accounts for about 25 per cent of the index's weight. Investors booked profits after the recent gains in the company's share value. The developer fell by 1.38 per cent to Dh1.70, dragging the index down to 4,222.48.
EMAAR hasn't fallen from dh10.80 to dh1.70 in a mere 3 days, has it? Because that would be all over the news and not just in the UAE. I mean, I know GN has a traditionally weak editorial staff and equally terrible writers -- so is it possible that what they meant to write was that the individual stock price dropped by dh1.70 per share? Or was it a typographical error and EMAAR actually closed at dh10.70? Either way it's just another example of GN's poor writing, plain and simple.

I think the big problem is that most of us don't know where to go to get a quote on the UAE stock markets, one that breaks down an individual stock's performance over a long term period. The business section in most reputable newspapers in the rest of the world have a searchable index, yet I can't seem to find one on the GN or KT websites. Anybody have suggestions for those of us who might be considering an investment in the local stock market? Is there an online investment model for small individual investors along the lines of like E*Trade or TD Ameritrade? Or is it like the bad old days in Europe and North America when you had to hire a stock broker to guide you through the process and the broker actually executed your trades for you?

Just curious.

Emirati Piano Music

Have you ever heard of an Emirati pianist? Well, if not then here's your chance!
Follow me here to listen to my 13th Album :)

26 September, 2007

RTA's Ramadan Reset

Last year during Ramadan, RTA's Mattar Al Tayer announced a 3 year plan to complete Dubai's major roading infrastructure projects.

At this year's Ramadan Majlis organised by the Dubai Press Club, he's reset the timeline - again to 3 years.

Will this be RTA's ongoing Ramadan gift to Dubai - a 3 year promise for better roading?

Some of the legislation that will be reviewed:
Applying restrictions on car ownership and registration
Resetting the criteria of certain job holders for applying for driving licence (All over the UAE)
Switching some of the congested areas to exclusive pedestrian zones
Designating special lanes for cyclists and buses
Introducing Mobility Management Policy, including initiatives such as: Mass transport mode for employees; encouraging car pooling; adopting variable working hours (in Dubai)

Read the whole article here.

25 September, 2007

UAE Publications Law

Do you think many amendments were added since 1980?

Telephonic blues

A well-worn theme, for which I apologise. But I have become a little obsessed after a recent fracas with the long time monopoly provider. After 10 attempts to pay my bills (as usual) on line and two ignored emails, I finally found the courage and the time to call their erroneously named "help desk". It appears that the reason why I have been getting automated payment receipt numbers and then "payment not authorised" messages is because a decision was recently made by fiat to no longer accept non UAE credit or debit cards for payment of bills. Apparently it was considered appropriate to only inform customers of this when they ring up and complain, not to put it in the automated email that is sent with the payment "confirmations". I asked the genuinely pleasant person on the other end of the line what I should do to pay my bill, which is now about 2 weeks overdue. I was invited to visit a local payment center. My protest that I do not have the time or the inclination to schlepp all the way down there was met with the helpful suggestion that I send someone on my behalf. Great, I do not have a car, but no doubt I can send a servant to pay on my behalf with the credit card that they no longer accept. You can go to one of the many cash payment places, she helpfuly suggested. Sure, I usually carry AED1000 in readies....Just how backward and un-user friendly can the very generous patrons of the local telecom monopoly be? (Note their "voluntary" payment to the latest state charitable mobilisation)

21 September, 2007

No toys for you this Eid!

Security at the Dubai Airport are expected to keep a close watch over imported sausages from now on as staff at a German butcher's shop were shocked to discover a customer had hidden two sex toys in their sausages for transport to Dubai, police said Wednesday.

However, a very sharp spokesman for police in the southwestern city of Mannheim suggests:

"He could have used a loaf of bread. It's not against the law here. But obviously I can't speculate on what customs in Dubai will have to say about it."

20 September, 2007

A Bit of...

...shameless advertising. On a serious note, I think this can be a cool competition, not to mention that the portal, shooftv.com, as a whole is going to be big:

Shoof TV celebrates the holy month of Ramadan with a brand-new competition powered by Dubai International Holy Quran Award. This exciting competition gives participants the chance to send original Islamic clips in three categories: Athan & Doa, Quran and Anasheed.

Winners will be selected by a panel of judges and by public SMS voting. The best clip in each category will win AED 30,000, while the runner-up from each category will walk away with AED 15,000. Voters from the public SMS voting also stand a chance to win cash prizes of AED 1,000 each.

Shoofers can upload their clips before 6th October 2007

For more information call 04-5010252 or 050-1511888

Check it out!


Was jut curious about this article here:
In a bid to ensure people are paid on time, the Labour Ministry has said it will roll out an electronic wage payment system.

Labour Minister Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi yesterday attended a presentation on the Electronic Wage Payment System, which aims to address complaints by workers that their salaries have been paid late.

What exactly does this mean? Is this a good or bad thing?

I suppose when you look at it, it's a good thing as its quicker, no checks to clear and its easy to montior. But are there hidden things that we could be missing? And who will it apply to?

18 September, 2007

meet the business women

Here's another excellent report and documentary film about the flourishing horizontal trade in Dubai.

It reminds of the documentary of an Armenian investigator who documented on women trafficking in Dubai.

17 September, 2007

Facing eviction

More than 70 orphans in Sierra Leone, currently in the care of Dubai-based charity All As One, could be made homeless by Christmas because of rocketing rent prices in the region.

The non-profit organisation, which runs an orphanage, school and medical facility for the region's abandoned and most vulnerable children, is desperately trying to raise dhs100,000 to relocate its facility after being told by their landlord they must be out by December 15.

As the charity's 11 volunteers battle against water problems and the risk of infectious water-borne diseases caused by recent flooding across the continent, Dubai-based volunteer Kelly Barker told 7DAYS the team now face a race against time to secure money for a new location before their contract ends.

She said: “Following the end of the 11 year civil war, landlords have begun raising rent costs like crazy across Sierra Leone and as a result our lease has been terminated. Our landlord is upping our rent from $11,000 to $20,000 and says he's already found a new tenant.

“We've been told we have to be out by December 15 and are now frantically trying to raise the money needed to relocate. But it's not easy. We have to show we have the money up front before a realtor will even consider us. We'd like to eventually have a centre built but financially that's not possible right now.”

Kelly hopes Dubai-based companies interested in developing corporate social responsibility programmes will come forward to sponsor All As One and help the children out. She also appealed, on behalf of the organisation, for 7DAY readers' help in raising funds and buying nappies for the scores of babies they currently have under their care.

Explaining the need for the 'Diaper Drive', Kelly said: “Because of the flooding the water in the area has become contaminated so we have no clean water supply.

“People, including our staff, are having to travel miles and miles to bring clean water to the children. We have a lot of babies, including twins who recently came to us after their mother died during childbirth, and they all need clean diapers. We cannot wash them as we would usually do because the water is contaminated so we need disposable diapers - but they're too expensive in Sierra Leone.”

Anyone wishing to donate money can do so online, by visiting www.aaodubai.org. Nappy drops can be made to Showbiz Pizza, on the second floor of Town Center shopping mall on Jumeirah Beach Road.

By Leah Oatway

Sheikh Mohammed ranked 'coolest' celebrity

"Young males in the GCC have ranked Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as ‘coolest celebrity’, placing Dubai’s ruler above global stars including Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp.
Sheikh Mohammed was ranked first among males and fourth overall in a survey commissioned by Communicate magazine. The survey asked 500 young people aged between 15 and 24 in the Gulf region to name their ‘coolest’ and ‘least cool’ celebrities.
The overall ‘coolest’ ranking placed three American actors at the top: Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and George Clooney. Respondents were not prompted for answers. ..............". Article continues.

I vote for him being the coolest local seleb(?) too & would like to add some cool pictures from a private source & few more.
Only one question: is it appropriate for a Member of the Royal Family to be mentioned in the same list with the American actors??

16 September, 2007

Speak pidgin?

The language, not the bird. :)

Hey UAE bloggers, I've got a question. Or two. Or three. This is for everyone.

My friend has just moved to the Emirates, enthused about the possibility of using the skills acquired from her Arabic Language Degree. Her use of classical Arabic has made me appreciate how little Arabic I know; about half of the worlds I think of as Arabic are not Arabic at all. Not even close!

After reflecting on the pidgin Arabic that I use, I am curious - what language(s) do you speak here and to whom? Do you switch languages as a sign of respect? How do you communicate? Who else uses pidgin Indo-Anglo-Arabic and how do you use it?

15 September, 2007

Hayah Film Competition

Together with Abu Dhabi Women's College, the EmiratesMac Apple User Group is organizing the Hayah Film Competition, a section within the Middle East International Film Festival. It's all about short movies in an iPod compatible format and judging will be done on iPods. The competition is open to anyone in the Middle East and films are accepted in three categories: Student, Professional, and Amateur. Films can be no more than 5 minutes long and has to be submitted in an iPod compatible format. There will be a cash prize in each category and the shortlisted filmmakers will be invited to the final award ceremony at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

Read the press release.

No more smoking in Dubai malls

In Emirates Today we can read: "Dubai’s shopping centres are advising smokers to step outside today as the ban on lighting up in malls takes effect. Smoking will not be tolerated in any areas of the mall including food courts and coffee shops following a Dubai Municipality order."

As a non-smoker that sounds very nice, but do you really think it will be enforced?

The article says, "... special Dubai Municipality inspectors have been deployed in most malls to ensure the rules are followed. Anyone caught lighting up will be ordered to leave. If they fail to comply, police will be called."

14 September, 2007

Help Us Pray - Workers in Dubai

More than 1,000 workers living in the area use the mosque for their daily prayers and were looking forward to the start of Ramadan. However, the sewage, stagnant for over a month, has now reached the gate of the nearby mosque forcing workers to stay indoors during the holy month.

“We can't step out due to the stench and fear of catching some disease. All we want to do is to pray during the holy month of Ramadan. We want a clean and healthy environment,” said Imtiaz Khan, a labourer.

The stinking water comes from the overflowing drainage of various camps in the area that collects on the nearby road. Vehicles passing along the road splash the fetid water on to people heading to the mosque forcing them to head home and clean themselves.

“We have to be clean for the prayers and vehicles keep splashing sewage water on us. It's not right that we have to cross this drainage to reach the mosque,” said Ismail Qadir.

The labourers said yesterday that they now fear the water may be the cause for fever and diseases among some of them.

“Dozens of our workers have been taken to the hospital for fever, cold and other diseases. We fear this may be due to the stagnant drainage. Even smelling this makes you feel dizzy sometimes,” said another frustrated worker.

Dubai Municipality officials told 7DAYS yesterday that they were aware of the problem and have fined the companies with camps in the area for the negligence.“We have imposed fines on companies for not clearing their tanks and collecting the sewage. It is the responsibility of the companies to ensure that the tanks are clear and there is no spill,” said a senior official from the waste services section of Dubai Municipality.

Workers, however, claim that despite the fines no one has cleaned up the area yet.

By Praveen Menon


Sharjah taxis and Salik

The Khaleej Times reports that Sharjah taxi drivers charge passengers double for the Salik toll. Since Sharjah taxis cannot pick up riders in Dubai, I don't see the problem. It's part of the cost that comes with asking a driver to take you to Dubai and return empty.

The bigger issue is that Dubai and Sharjah do not have a trade agreement allowing taxis in one to pick up riders in another. The negative public consequences in pollution, congestion, and protected markets (therefore higher fares) are substantial. It is in the public interest to remove these barriers to trade.

13 September, 2007

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Kareem to everyone on the Community Blog, from EmiratesMac.com.

Somali taxi drivers, Pakistani doctors and I.T. guys

No, it's not a story out of Dubai.

There's also a global labor market .... in St. Louis:
At Sameem's, an Afghan restaurant on south Grand Boulevard, owner Fahime Mohammad said he was adding a nightly iftar special this Ramadan because his clientele had become increasingly Muslim.

"When we first opened up, it was mostly local Americans who came in," he said. "Now it's at least 50 percent Muslim immigrants — Somali taxi drivers, Pakistani doctors and I.T. guys."

Kazmi, a Pakistani who has been in business in Ballwin for a decade, has also added price specials for Ramadan, and is stocking a large supply of Medjool dates. It is traditional for Muslims to break their fast each day by first eating a date because, it is said, the Prophet Muhammad broke his own fast with dates.

About a mile away at Salam Mediterranean Marketplace, head chef Omar Shalabi manned the beef and chicken shewarma spits as one of Salam's owners, Rabieh Ead, helped several customers. The store opened in January, so this will be its first Ramadan, and the Palestinian men said they were expecting a rush for the holiday.
Read it here. The story is titled "Ramadan is all about fasting — and food."

The first legal action against a website owner in the UAE

Just because we blog, we should not think ourselves to be safer than other website users. Link here.

The court modified the charges pressed against the two Emiratis, the supervisor of the website and the writer, to public defaming crime from publishing news about people over the internet.

A few weeks later, another official complained against the same website.

Misdemeanour Court sentenced the supervisor to a year in prison. The website will pay Dh50,000 in fine and Dh20,000 in compensation to the official. The website was closed down.

This is extremely worrying to me as an Emirati, that our freedoms in this country, such as a freedom of speech, and tolerance for a different opinion is being eroded. And that it is being replaced by agressive and intolerant values such as these.

I advise those who have mentioned any officials in their blog to conduct an immediate edit of their posts and save whatever posts they intend to delete.

12 September, 2007

Christian Behavior During Ramadan

A Non-Muslim Guide for Respecting Islam during the Holy Month

"The holiest month in the Islamic calendar is the month of Ramadan. Your conduct, as a Non-Muslim and Christian, will dictate how you fare.
Religious tolerance takes on a different meaning for those living outside a country where their religion is in the majority. At certain times, members of a minority religion expose themselves to situations that cause conflicts. At no time is this more insidious than during the holiest month in the Islamic year; the lunar month of Ramadan. Here are a few guidelines for Christians to follow that will reduce the chance of confrontation..........continue."

What would you add?

10 September, 2007

Back to Salik

The school holidays have come to an end; the summertime is over.

People are back in town, and the season has just started.

That means cars are back on the roads, and the routine has re-started, only that Salik is fully on the agenda.

What differences have you noted?

Only in the last few days, I see that Jumeirah Beach Road is busy at peak-hours, starting from Mercato onwards (heading towards Al Diyafah St). The "last free exits" are still as busy as ever, post-Salik.

Are the "alternative routes" getting more popular?

09 September, 2007

An Emirati Versifies His Way to Glory

Abu Dhabi: After 10 weeks of enthusiasm and live competition, Abdul Kareem Matouk, a UAE national poet, bagged the title of 'Prince of Poets' on Friday evening at Al Raha Theatre in Abu Dhabi.

Seawings is Flying !!!!!

Have a look at the New Seaplane, flying up and down the Jumeirah Coast Line....

See it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATb3_Pd0Mlo



Is there anyone out there who has an interest in visual art and has an opinion on Art in Dubai?? I haven’t been here that long but have found a few of the galleries. If anyone has a recommendation or a particular favourite or even some aspect they don’t like or want improved I’d be really interested to hear. In fact any comments at all about Art in Dubai in general would be much appreciated!!

Thanks a lot
Nature Strikes Back.

07 September, 2007

Dubai community mourns tenor Pavarotti's death

"A minute's silence was held at The Music Institute in Dubai as part of residents' expression of shock and sadness at the death of Luciano Pavarotti, one of the greatest tenors of this generation early yesterday morning.
The 71-year-old died at his home in Modena (Italy) of complications following his battle against pancreatic cancer, two-and-a-half years after he visited Dubai as part of his farewell tour.
Pavarotti sang at the Madinat Arena event "Luciano Pavarotti: Ciao Dubai" on April 7, 2005 to the delight of fans." Article continues.

06 September, 2007

Registering Your Pets

I'm not sure how accurate this information is, but recently someone mentioned to me that you had to get your pets registered with the muncipality otherwise they would be picked up and put down if they didn't have tags on them. Does anyone have anymore information about this? And has anyone gotten their pets registered yet? [If you have, what was the procedure?]

My Cat has the tendency to run around in our garden and in our area. So I was getting worried.

05 September, 2007


-----Original Message-----
From: help@emirates.net.ae [mailto:help@emirates.net.ae]
Sent: 05 September 2007 XX:XX
Subject: Information about case 30XXXXX, 'Please unblock Facebook'

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting us, we are extremely sorry for the fact that the site you have requested ( www.facebook.com ) can not be unblocked.

Reason : Dating Website.

Once again we thank you for contacting us with your query and looking forward to serving you in the future. For any further clarification please contact Etisalat Customer Care Center.

Best regards,

Etisalat Customer Care Center
Tel: 101 (toll-free)

Serving you 24 hours, 7 days a week

------ End of Forwarded Message

Strangely enough, facebook is currently working this evening.

Singer Raja'a Bel Maleeh

Raja'a Bel Maleeh, a Moroccan singer with a huge UAE fan base, died last Sunday.

Raja'a, holding a UAE citizenship, was known for her popular "Khaleeji" (Gulf) hits, especially those written by the late President, H.H. Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

She was buried last Sunday after a long battle with cancer. She leaves behind a young son by the name of Omar.

She was only 45 when she died.

Courtesy Gulf News/pic Al Bayan (source)

04 September, 2007

For anti "Hijab"ies

A Part of Facebook is blocked

First of all, don't panic. :)

I emptied my browser's cache yesterday, and logged into facebook today to see that it looked like s#$t. Being a web developer, I tested the page to see what was wrong and it turned out that my browser wasn't loading the style sheets and javascript files, and other assets for facebook. But I could read everything fine, and I could post, etc.

The Reason ? http://static.ak.facebook.com is blocked. Accidentally, perhaps, I don't know. This blocked url usually serves the style sheets and script files that lays out facebook's content on your browser.

But if your browser has those files cached on your pc, then facebook should work fine for you ... for the time being. So, don't empty your browser cache ;)

Facebook Down?

Has the facebook website been down for the past few days or is it just me?
I seem to be able to access the website but most of the content does not load, thus making it inoperable.

Just wanted to see if this is etisalat dirty hands at work or just my IT illiteracy ;-)

The Migrant Professor

Back on August 20th the New York Times ran this article [ungated version here at IHT] on migrant professors in the UAE. An excerpt:
Then there is Peter Mitias, the migrant professor.

An economist with a Louisiana doctorate and a Mississippi drawl, he shocked his friends when he left a tenured job in Virginia for the American University of Sharjah, a school conjured from nothing by a sheik in the suburbs of Dubai. But when he lists the benefits of working abroad, Mr. Mitias crows.

He has free housing and utilities. (''Sweet!'') He has international experience on his résumé. (''Huge!'') He has cheap household help, good schools for his children and a BMW and a Mercedes he was able to buy by paying no income tax. Not to mention plenty of American fast food.

''Papa John's delivers to my house,'' he said. ''It's all here!''

This is migrant work, Ph.D.-style -- a lesson about labor, a comment on class, a window onto globalization and a phenomenon on the rise.
Mr. Mitias, a football-loving, squirrel-hunting, anything-but-alienated graduate of Louisiana State, has found himself the accidental internationalist, thrilling to possibilities he had not previously glimpsed.

He describes life abroad as a successive discovery of freedoms: freedom from taxes, freedom from mortgages, freedom from crime, freedom from the sex and violence his daughters would see on American television. He and his wife have taken them to places as different as London and Vietnam, and to Thailand three times. ''The world's at your fingertips,'' he said.
Mr. Mitias's favorite metaphor is a spinning globe. ''I could go to Europe. I could go to Asia. I could go to South America,'' he said.
Economists would say it's a truism. You may gripe about this or that about the place, but the reason you are here is that the UAE is best for you at this time. Otherwise you'd chosen somewhere else to be. Enjoy.

20 reasons against Dubai

This American lady, Kelly Barker, supposedly a UAE resident, has put together a list of 20 reasons why not to move to Dubai.
...oh yeah, she's got some good points!

01 September, 2007

DFM, DIFX, Borse Dubai - Who's Who ?!?

DFM is known to everyone and so is DIFX. But recently the media started talking about Borse Dubai. Some searches on the net pointed out Borse Dubai to be DIFX, until I found the website for Borse Dubai itself. According to the website of Borse Dubai is:

"Borse Dubai is the holding company for Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX). Borse Dubai was created 6 August, 2007 to consolidate the Government of Dubai’s two stock exchanges as well as current investments in other exchanges, expanding Dubai’s position as a global capital market hub."

The site goes on to explain Dubai Financial Market as:

"The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) was established in March 2000 as a public institution having its own independent corporate body. It has recently turned itself into a public shareholding company and lists its shares on its own platform; a first in the region. Its goal is to create a fair, efficient, liquid and transparent marketplace that provides choices through the best utilization of available resources in order to serve all stakeholders. DFM is operating as a secondary market for trading of securities issued by public joint-stock companies, bonds issued by the Federal Government or any of the Local Governments and public institutions in the country, units of investment funds and any other financial instruments, local or foreign, which are accepted by the Market."

Dubai International Financial Exchange is introduced as:

" Launched in September 2005, the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) is the region’s first international exchange. A liquid and transparent electronic market with equities, Sukuk, conventional bonds and structured products, with standards comparable to those of leading international exchanges in New York, London and Hong Kong, the DIFX enables regional and international investors and issuers to share in the rapidly growing wealth of its region."

The most Interesting thing I noticed was the tag line on Borse Dubai's website

"Bridging Global Financial Markets- Connecting Liquidity" very interesting ain't it.

Free Food Offer.....

Well last night as I walked to a restaurant to get dinner for my family I was offered food [lunch more like] by an Arab man. He seemed to be in his 30's, was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser[2005 model I think] with an Abu Dhabi number plate and had a female passenger with him. I was so surprised by this that I blurted out a hasty 'no' and walked off. This happened in the inner roads behind Renaissance hotel in Deira.

Later on I gave it a thought and could not conclude why this certain Arab behaved in such a manner. Maybe he thought I was a poor labourer without enough food to eat [I'm quite skinny] or maybe he saw hunger in my eyes when I glared at him while he took a U-turn while almost hitting the pavement I was walking on or he just wanted a good laugh. What ever the reason might be, it was weird. Maybe Dubai has indeed changed more than I thought.

Has something like this ever happened to anyone else??? or have I been the only fortunate one who has got such an offering. Hmmm...maybe I do look malnutritioned, time to hit that gym I've been planning for years... ;)