21 December, 2011

Eu-Phoria Slideshow Slideshow

Eu-Phoria Slideshow Slideshow: TripAdvisor™ TripWow ★ Eu-Phoria Slideshow Slideshow ★ to Uttar Pradesh, Amsterdam and Eindhoven. Stunning free travel slideshows on TripAdvisor

17 December, 2011

23rd December -Ways to increase your earnings {Event in URDU}}

    The Event Page

15 December, 2011

Jesus, Mary & The Holiday Season - with Brother Gabriel Keresztes

Have you ever wondered why Mary is portrayed with a head and body covered similar to that of Muslim women?
Why is Jesus portrayed with a beard such as Muslim men? Why do Muslims pray as Jesus and Mary prayed? The answers to these questions and any of your questions: this Friday join us for an enlightening journey in the life of two of the most celebrated and most misunderstood figures in history.

Join us this Friday evening and make your Holiday a learning experience!

Date: December 16th 2011
Time: 6:00 PM onwards
Venue: AWQAF Auditorium, Mamzar
Directions: Take the Shaikh Zayed Road to Sharjah and stay on your right. At al Mullah Plaza signal, take a left towards Hamriya. Then take a right at the signal before Century Mall and keep going straight (till the end of the road), till you see a big building on your right – which says Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department. The talk will take place at the hall on the second floor inshaa Allah

14 December, 2011

Who's 2011 MENA Person Of The Year?

Who Should be MENA's 
(Middle East and North Africa)

Person of the Year 2011?

Who influenced the news most, for better or worse? 

18 November, 2011

TwingeDXB - A Twitter Fringe!

An urban festival? In Dubai?

Yes, an urban festival!


At Wild Peeta in front of the World Trade Centre exhibition halls, just by the metro station.

Wow! Sounds great! When's it happening? 

Starting the 10th December, a week of arts and stuff, with evening events dedicated to books, music, fashion, comedy, drama poetry and film. There's a whole load of happenings already confirmed and loads of room for people to pitch in and take part as performers/artistes and so on.

That's brilliant! Where can I find out more?

Erm, on the event webpage perhaps? It's linked here.

A web page! Cool! I'm off!

Where are you going?

TwingeDXB of course! Hurry up and you might catch up with me!

Because you all needed another Dubai Radio Ad scratching around inside your craniums like a coke-addled lobster, that's why. And because I'll be having the UAE launch of the papery, booky print edition of my book, Olives, there on the first night.

01 November, 2011

Emirates Bank or Phishing?

I received an email this morning - purportedly from the Emirates EBD Bank.

It all looked rather official, but alarm bells were going off as I read that there was an IBAN # generated specifically for my accounts.

I burst out laughing when I got to the instructions and read #3 where it asks me to enter my bank account # to open the attached pdf. Even if this IS an official EBD email, I'm not going to do anything as stupid as that!

Click on image to enlarge

Just a heads-up, people - please advise your family and friends to look out for emails such as this, and if any personal details are requested in order to complete the requirements, that's all the warning you need NOT to proceed.

If this IS an official Emirates EBD email, they're crazy to ask their clients to do this, but then we shouldn't be too surprised at bank antics in the UAE, based on past performances!

30 October, 2011

Cafe Culture


I got introduced to Cafe Culture a few months ago. I can't say I'm a regular there, but it struck me that something like this would do really well in a place like Dubai.

Essentially, a speaker is invited to speak to a gathering of members of the public in a cafe, about a subject that they are passionate about (usually their area of work). The speakers come from a variety of backgrounds - scientists, artists, politicians, teachers etc.; they usually speak for about 30 minutes after which they take questions from the coffee-sipping audience. If the issues being discussed are contentious, there is usually a lively discussion.

Not being in Dubai myself, I can't physically organize this, but if anyone is up for it, I'd be more than happy to suggest a few venues and speakers. It would also be great if someone could find out if we need permission to do this sort of thing and if so, how we can go about getting it.

If anyone is interested, do let me know by leaving a comment here/sending me an e-mail on the address on my profile.


20 October, 2011

Table 9 - great expectations for Dubai

I was at an event yesterday afternoon, and another of my food blogging Dubians asked a chef, who is Michelin starred in his own country, "Is Dubai ready for Michelin?"

He spoke diplomatically for about two minutes, praising many of the restaurants in Dubai, it's rapid growth, and then swiftly changed the subject onto what he loves so much about this city. No. Dubai is not ready for Michelin. I don't need him to answer that for me - I know it myself. But the question to ask is "Why?"

Michelin is more than just a restaurant guide. It's stamp on a city signifies a Neil Armstrong sized leap into the gastronomic world, plus a mark of excellence when it comes to tourism. Basically, there has to be something to see, something to eat, and somewhere to stay that is worth yelling to the people back home about, not just in the singular, but many, many things - enough to write a book about.

You may say that Dubai has plenty to write home about. So may I - in fact, I do - about three times a week on my blog. But the problem is, that nearly everything in Dubai is borrowed, and I'm not talking about the financial crisis. This is the city that has both everything and nothing. A city made up of the desires of a multi-cultured population and the whims of the powers that be. It is a new city, with a local citizenship that represents only a fifth of the total demographic, and an economy relying on tourism. In the grand scheme of things it has no history or unique culture. It has not had time to develop it's own personality. Don't get me wrong - it has personality, but sometimes it seems it's in the vein of Sybil.

But on Tuesday night, I glimpsed the start of Dubai's future. Two fantastic young chefs have just found themselves in a sliding doors moment. Gordon Ramsay has decided to close the flailing Verre, leaving Scott Price and Nick Alvis looking for work. Now, they are both excellent chefs, and would have absolutely no trouble picking up work in any number of the best European restaurants, but do you know what they have decided to do?

They are opening their own restaurant, in Dubai, remaining in the soon-to-be-vacated shell of Verre by Gordon Ramsay. I'm getting all tingly just writing about it. You see, I come from a city where the culture is very food oriented, and this signifies, for me, a step towards Dubai starting to grow up.

read more on the hedonista here...

17 October, 2011

BakefestDXB strikes again!

Copyright Devina Divecha
I decided to shamelessly use a photo of my Godiva Chocolate Cake to get your attention. Did it work?

Great - so now that you're reading this, BakefestDXB is here again! This time it's being held on Saturday November 26th from 1pm to 6pm, at Wild Peeta.

If you are a baker and are interested in taking part (it's free!) or you would like more info on what the heck I'm talking about, please head over here.

Yes, you can stop drooling now.

01 October, 2011

UAE 40th National Day Logo

The approved master logo for the 40th celebration UAE national day.

29 September, 2011

One Year In Wonderland: A True Tale of Expat Life in Dubai

Shameless pluggery, I know, but as they say in the North East of England, "Shy Bairns get nowt"...

Here is a link to the e-book I wrote about my time as an expat in Dubai between 2006 and 2007. It costs only 86p

One Year In Wonderland

It is also available on Amazon.com for 99c.


23 September, 2011

Bottled Water in the UAE

Hello! I've created a questionnaire regarding the environmental impact of bottled water for a university project. If you can, please take the time to read the following short summary of the impact of bottled water on the environment and click the provided link to answer the questionnaire.

Bottled water isn't simply water in a bottle. The process involved in its production and transportation consumes large amounts of fuel and water. It take 3 litres of water to create 1 litre of bottled water. Also 1 tonne of plastic bottles creates 3 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide. On average, each UAE resident throws out 350 to 450 bottles per year. This means that the UAE alone uses 1.2 million barrels of oil and produces at least 410,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year in the production of bottled water. In addition to this, each plastic bottle you throw out takes between 400 - 1000 years to decompose. This figure could be longer because plastic hasn't been around long enough for us to know how long it takes for it to decompose.

Please follow this link to answer the questionnaire.

Thank you!

22 September, 2011

GeekFest - Tonight

GeekFest's taking place tonight at at the New Improved Formula Shelter. Dubbed 'GeekaFest - One for the Girls', it includes all-girl geek talks and a showcase of woman-driven small businesses. BTW, the theme doesn't mean a women only event - those of the male persuasion are most welcome as, indeed, are those who remain uncertain...

Jacky's is offering cash for your junk, see below, so do bring old mobiles, MP3 players and the like to have them recycled to ISO standards and possibly even get yourself a Jacky's voucher in return!

Long post, sorry, but there's a lot happening. In no particular order then:
Please do bring any unwanted old books with you as @devinadivecha and @tdallonsy are collecting books for their fund raising drive for the Manzil special needs school in Sharjah. They’re targeting 10,000 books collected and they’re currently at 7,000 so you could really help with a box of those unwanted pot boilers!!!

The nice chaps at Stuff Magazine have arranged to have free copies for everyone at GeekaFest! Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy peach? Altogether now ahhhhh!

Once again powered by Bonkers Gamer Website Lochal Archade, GameFest will feature Team Fortress 2 and, for the gentler-spirited Geeka, Child of Eden. There's a really cool area upstairs at Shelter that's just perfect for the Gamers to do their thing, too!

New to GeekFest and made possible by the funky new layout, which includes a closed off meeting room upstairs, we're hosting a series of three workshops for the more serious minded geek - this time focused around starting up your own business - you can get inspiration from the women who make up the Geeka Showcase (see below) and then join in one of the three workshop events taking place. If you want to guarantee a seat at these (space is limited to an estimated 10-12 people), you should probably get in touch with one of the workshop leaders fast!

Public Relations for startups 
Mita Ray (Market Buzz Public Relations - @mita56)
Building public relations and communications into your startup plan is essential, but few startups feel they can afford professional communications. Mita has some solutions...

Human Resources - making those first hires
Ash Athawale (Senior Executive Consultant for IT, Reed Global)
From your first hire to world domination seems a long way, but how do you manage those first appointments and grow your team? Our team of HR specialists have some crucial answers to help you make probably some of the most crucial hiring decisions you'll ever face...
(Ash will be joined by Carolyn Bartz, Executive Consultant for HR at Reed Global. You can email Victoria.Wilcox(at)reedglobal (dot)com to ensure you're names on the door!)
So you think you want to start a company?
PK Gulati (Angel investor - @pkgulati)
Among other things the man behind The Indus Entrepeneurs in the UAE, angel investor and serial start-up fosterer PK Gulati looks at what you really, really need to know to make the decision to create a startup and then how to make it work. If think you've got an entrepeneurial bone in your body and want to do something about it, you'll need to be at this workshop.


We’re joined at GeekFest this week by two Technology Showcases, Pickapic and Jacky’s Electronics.

Pickapic is a Dubai-based startup with a smart service that lets you download their software and use it to create an album of your photography and then print it as a one-off, printing press quality, hardback book. You can take a look at their website linked here if you can’t wait for Thursday!

Jacky’s is using the opportunity to introduce people to its EcoExchange initiative. EcoExchange is a program that lets you take your old GeekJunk to Jacky’s, where they’ll offer you a price for it (where it’s worth anything!) and then either sell it on or dispose of it to ISO standards. There’s a good post on the program here on the Jacky’s Electronics blog. So you can bring any of your old gadgets (details of what they'll accept below) along to GeekFest at the New Shelter this Thursday and trade it in for Jacky's vouchers!

In possible order of appearance, starting at 8pm and kept to their 15 minute timeslots by the gentle ministrations of Monsignor Rupert Bumfrey, we have:
Amazing Women
Known to many as @amazingsusan, Susan Macaulay is a feminist, writer, speaker, coach, blogger, expatriate Canadian, citizen of the world, wannabe geek, humble traveler, sometimes rabble rouser, self-proclaimed amazing woman AND social mediapreneur.
From being a self-proclaimed ‘blog virgin’ in 2008, she now singlehandedly (virtually), runs AmazingWomenRock.com (55,000 unique visits/month), three Facebook pages (combined fanship: 26,000), and three twitter accounts (total following: 30,000). Find out how she did it, take a walk through the new amazingwomenrock.com and find out about @shequotes, her newest venture!
Film, culture and stuff
Nayla Al Khaja (@naylaalkhaja) possibly needs no introduction, but here we go anyway. Nayla Al Khaja is the first woman film producer in the United Arab Emirates. The CEO of D-SEVEN Motion Pictures and D-SEVEN FZ LLC, a marketing and design agency that offers full Media campaign and corporate branding services, Nayla has secured a reputation for creating films that explore topics that skate close to the comfort zones of Emirati culture – her latest award winning film, Malal (bored) looks at an Emirati woman whose honeymoon reveals the pressures of arranged marriages.
The state of autism in the UAE and fighting for change
A reporter working on Commercial Interior Design & Middle East Architect magazines, Devina Divecha (@devinadivecha) is a keen photographer, food blogger and sci-fi fan. She’s involved in driving a series of initiatives to help people with autism in the UAE – a personal project with her autistic brother, fund raising for special needs education and a project to help families with special needs children. And that’s precisely what she’ll be talking about!
Steppin' the Heels of an Emiratiya blogger
A journalism graduate, Aida Al Busaidy’s official career began in 2003. A well known figure, Aida (@AidaAlB) has worked in TV, newspapers and communications and currently is a columnist with The National, as well as blogging at aidaaalb.posterous.com. She’ll be looking at the challenges and successes of communications as an Emirati, as well as quite how your life is changed when you put it all online!

All well known online, these nine small businesses have one thing in common – the entrepreneurs behind them are all female. They’ll be available to talk about what they do, sell you stuff, give tips on starting your own small business and all sorts! More details with links and all that good stuff over at GeordieArmani’s Blog linked here – many thanks to her for co-ordinating this smashing collection of talented and interesting entrepreneurial types!
House of Colour Dubai 
Debbie and partner in colourful crime Janet Small will be available to answer all your questions related to colour and personal image.  We offer services for both the male and the females of the species so don't be shy, come along and have a chat.  We will also be showcasing our hand-made jewellery and a selection of fab hairslides and other bits and pieces.

Financial Planning in the UAE
Keren Bobker, the best Female Financial Advisor in the UAE, passionate about women's rights, writer of On Your Side Column in the National, regular contributor on the air with Dubai Today, Night Line, and various other written publications in the UAE.

Simply Irresistible
Mehnaz Anshah and her wonderful range of home made cakes, were they made with women in mind? Possibly but let's face it the men all love cake though some won't admit it, looking foward to seeing her range of delicious delicacies

Mahjabeen Umar, a Mommy by Day a designer by night, with her fabulous iron on transfers, a great way to transform a plain item of clothing.

Simply the best Spa deals in town!

Public events news views and competitions for women and families

Elan Interiors LLC 
Ratna Dutta will be showcasing her design studio and fit out business with the ability to create and implement entire concepts for Interiors. 

My Exwardrobe 
A fabulous new initiative for selling on your good quality 'pre loved' clothes

The English Tea Party 
Original vintage crockery available for hire for tea parties, established in the UK in 2006 and now available in the UAE.

We’ll also have a surprise announcement or two to make on the day!!!

As usual, The Limetree will be doing 'the business'!

GeekaFest takes place Thursday, the 22nd September, from around 7.30pm onwards. You can get more information on Facebook (linked here) or Twitter (@GeekFestDubai). There's a Facebook event page, too, linked here.

21 September, 2011

Al Ain Photographia Award

Capture Al Ain

This is what Al Ain wants from you. We want you to see the city's beauty through your eyes, to capture it and share it's amazing secrets with others. We want you to express the city’s authenticity and civilization, the calming abundance of its nature, the kindness of its people, the uniqueness of it's spirit.

Test your talent as a photographer, journey to the oasis city and Capture Al Ain

Website: http://www.alainphotographiaaward.ae/en/

20 September, 2011

What Does It Feel Like to Fly Over Planet Earth?

Is anybody here fascinated by what's out there? Well, now's your chance to experience it in this slightly 1 minute Youtube video.

Enjoy the trip.

A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite (55sec) and the stars of our galaxy.

For more images and videos please visit Infinity Imagined.

19 September, 2011


They're here! At last... as of today. Still can't believe it!

11 September, 2011

Rains and Storms of UAE 10/9/2011


Yesterday we had a heavy rain in alain and here is some pictures of the rain and storm we had

Enjoy the pictures


04 September, 2011

Alert! SMS alert

"SMS [this code] to [this number]", they say. What they don't often say is how much that SMS is going to cost.

One of my friends has recently discovered a potentially rather expensive yet legal scam in the UAE. Quoting him:

    "...take care with those 'Stop receiving SMS by texting (a 4 digit number)' messages - Etisalat will charge you up to 30dhs for the privilege! Most orchestrated by a 'ghost' company in DIC (Cellhub Ltd) whose number doesn't work and whose web presence is empty - the word 'collusion' comes to mind...

    "...and to find out who owns any of these mysterious 4 digit numbers you have to call another Etisalat number - charged at 3dhs a minute - they'll initially hang straight up (to bank 3dhs) and if you're daft (or annoyed) enough to call back, they'll keep you on for an average of 8 mins (yes, tried it!) and then tell you they can't help and you should call 101 (the guys who told you to call them originally!) - geez - and all this is legal!"
I've not been able to verify the above claims independently, but please beware.

All services offering SMS communications that cost the user a premium (radio stations, advertisers, etc) should be required to state every time precisely how much the message is going to cost.


03 September, 2011

Human bondage disguised as freedom of opportunity - The National

Human bondage disguised as freedom of opportunity - The National

Some Critical and indepth analysis by Maryam Ismail

02 September, 2011

UN Report on the Mavi Marmara Out Tomorrow

BuJ posted about this when it happened (and no post since then has gotten as many comments as that post), and now, more than a year later, the UN is releasing its official report on the incident. The whole report can be found here at the New York Times, and a summary story here from the same source.

Among the findings:

  • "Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is both legal and appropriate" and "in keeping with international law and that its forces have the right to stop Gaza-bound ships in international waters"

  • "The way Israeli forces boarded the vessels ... was excessive and unreasonable."

  • "When Israeli commandos boarded the main ship, they faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers” and were therefore required to use force for their own protection"

  • Recommends that "Israel make 'an appropriate statement of regret' and pay compensation"

(All quotes from NYT article, not UN report).

As I noted, there were a lot of very strong opinions about the legality of the interception and blockade at that time. Just curious if this info changes anyone's mind.

30 August, 2011

Double standards

To all those celebrating, here's you all a Happy Eid Al Fitr.

An interesting article appeared in today's Gulf News, which in turn prompted me to write this post after a hiatus.

29 days of stringent (Bravo! to all those I say that endured the daily 15 hours) fasting has just ended and the GCC Authorities have already published a number amounting to $5.8 Billion in terms of loss of revenue to their GDP. This loss was attributed to reduced working hours.


Religion and Money do bond after all.

I suppose that loss would have prompted the Government to declare a 2-day holiday for the UAE's Private Sector making everyone go back to work on Thursday while the Public Sector bigwigs get to party 9-days (2 weekends included) straight-up.

What about the loss of incoming revenue due to 5 days of no-work hours at the Public Sector? Has this been considered or its just that sector continues to reap all benefits at someone else' expense?

The GCC's two-faced policies have never surprised me. After all, that's what walking a thin rope and juggling is all about. One tilt sideways and the show's over.

And on that note, I wish one and all Happy Holidays.

28 August, 2011

Top of the Burj Khalifa - the very top

This is worth sharing as it's not an image, nor an opportunity, that most would get - or have the nerve to get.

Alisdair Miller climbed to the top of the Burj Khalifa lightning rod, and when he got there, he had the presence of mind to let go with one hand, pull out his camera, and photograph this:

As they say in Spain, the man has muy grandes cojones! 
Click on the image or the link at the bottom of the image as that will take you to a larger, much sharper image.

16 August, 2011

Clandestine Croissant, Anyone?

I'll be honest. This fairly trivial post is occasioned in part by the desire not to see ten weeks' blog silence extend to a full quarter. That would almost feel like a final lurch from moribund to just plain dead. Do we, as a community, really have so little to say?
Anyway, here's your starter for ten: what harm would it do to allow food outlets to remain open during Ramadan? Take for example Le Dôme cafe in BurJuman Centre. They are open for delivery or take-away service only. Where is the sense in that? Someone might just buy half a pound of mince and a packet of lentils from a corner shop to cook after sundown, but a grilled cheese croissant and a café latté?? It's hardly likely that's going into the fridge to be fresh for Iftar. If we're happy to acknowledge that many people in town are not fasting, why can we not also let them sit down in comfort to eat their lunch? The daylight is so bright that it's barely possible to see in through the windows, so the temptation argument doesn't apply. And as those who are fasting have no good reason to step inside, the thing would seem to be self-policing. I'm convinced :-)

29 May, 2011

The Dubai Jazz Combo Showcase

On Stage with The Dubai Jazz Combo

Like The Dubai Jazz Combo on Facebook.

22 May, 2011

25th May, "Peace of Mind in a Chaotic World" - by Wayne Yusuf Estes


The Event: Peace of Mind in a Chaotic world- Talk followed by Q & A
Speaker: Wayne Yusuf Estes [
Date and Time: 25th May, Wednesday at 7:30 pm
Registration: Pre- register FREE at
Venue: Conference Center Auditorium , Knowledge Village (Near Block 2A)
Location Map: Available at

Rulers of Dubai and Qatar - Swimsuit Edition

Circa 1980?

Old photo from here.

Something about the hat, the shirts, the chest hair suggests Festrunks from Saturday Night Live.

14 May, 2011

BakeFestDXB returns!

Craving for something sweet? Want to throw caution to the wind and tuck into some baked goodness?

Then you need to come down to #BakeFestDXB - the event for community bakers here in Dubai. We had a lot of fun when we did it last year, and we're going to hold it again at the new and improved Wild Peeta which can accommodate a LOT more people.

So if you're hankering for some homemade cakes, pies, cupcakes, and other melt-in-your-mouth wonders, then book your attendance via the Facebook or Twitter links below. We are all booked out for tables, but you are still more than welcome to come down and buy some of the wicked treats on sale :)

Need a recap of last year? Video here, photos here, here, here, here, and here.

RSVP through Facebook or Twitter!

03 May, 2011

Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF Episode 3

More groundbreaking television content....

Obviously after bagging on the consumption of alcohol in a previous episode, they logically visit a night club to go clubbing which obviously the first place you go to where alcohol is definitely not consumed under any circumstances.

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSmDXjbVR9k
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hw1pjgQVdos
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVLy-9GZXqE
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZTDKeSrqIk
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5uJveU_ndM

On the Capture of Osama Bin Laden...

The question is not whether or not Pakistani officials knew about the whereabouts of Bin Laden, but why were they harboring him. Obviously, he was being kept safe in an ISI safehouse. The US was being taken for a ride for all these years. Good on Pakistan and shame on the US for being so feckless up till now.

Sorry, I know not UAE news, but its a story with some relevance here nonetheless--we're part of the larger geopolitical sphere.

30 April, 2011

Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF EPISODE 2

Almost as sought after as Episode 3 (of a completely different series on a different continent involving a crowbar)... here comes episode 2 of Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF where Paris Hilton's only limit is... your answer in the comments

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFrmem0W91E
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NboHvK2Kww
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfMF4-VBQQ0

James Bond in Dubai in a game

Late last year Goldeneye 007 was released for the Wii, it interestingly features a segment of its story in Dubai.

Not much to see here, the game is completely devoid of kandouras or pretty much any cultural content (at all) that I can see, and lots of terrorists at the Annual Military Arms Fair in Dubai (at least according to this there's an Annual Military Arms Fair in Dubai... and its filled with terrorists)

Interesting to watch if you're interested in the not interesting. (some random walkthrough on YouTube of the level)

27 April, 2011

Almaz by Momo

And so, we tiptoed through Harvey Nichols, and the leprechauns behaved impeccably. I cannot say the same for Hambone, who kept on looking at the prices on the menswear, and exclaiming altogether too loudly, "Nine-Hundred Dirhams for a T-SHIRT? Are you KIDDING me?" Embarrasing. Even the children were unimpressed, and walked faster in an "I'm not with him..." kind of way. We had to ask where Momo was - it is tucked away, in the far right corner of the very top floor - just past the gold-plated hand towels and diamond-encrusted soap dishes. We arrive at Almaz, fittingly, the arabic word for 'diamond', but for me, it is always Momo - because the name reminds me of Greg Malouf's Melbourne restaurant - and my introduction to a love affair with Moroccan food.

On a Friday at 1pm, it's quiet - blissfully so. The cavernous interior is dimly lit with trios of large baubles encased in Saracenic star-patterned crochet. All chairs are plush - the children want to sit on the stage area, which is in the shape of a majlis, and has circular tin tabletops patterned in reflection of the lights. But they are for drinking only, says the waitress - the seats are too low. Instead we are led over the painted floor to a couch and armchairs, and Goldilocks proceeds to erect a cushion-castle while we order fruit mocktails and lemon and mint juice.

Read more on the hedonista here...

26 April, 2011

Geekfest Dubai returns!

And it's going to be the last Geekfest at The Shelter before it moves to the glitz and glam of Media City.

So come and have some fun with complete strangers, and attend talks, play games, and put faces to Twitter handles.

Details of course can be found over at Fake Plastic Souks - see you there!

25 April, 2011

Five Emiratis held for threatening UAE security

"Abu Dhabi: Five Emiratis have been arrested on charges of endangering the country's security and undermining the public order, it was announced on Monday.
UAE Attorney General Salem Saeed Kubaish said the Emiratis were arrested on the order of the public prosecution and were questioned in the presence of their lawyers.
He said that Ahmad Mansour Ali Abdullah Al Abd Al Shehi, Nasser Ahmad Khalfan Bin Gaith, Fahad Salem Mohammad Salem Dalk, Hassan Ali Al Khamis, all Emiratis, and Ahmad Abdul Khaleq Ahmad who does not carry identification papers, were held in custody for investigation on charges of committing crimes of instigation, breaking laws and perpetrating acts that pose a threat to the state security, undermining the public order, opposing the government system, and insulting the President, the Vice-President of the UAE and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi."

--more here: Gulf News: Five Emiratis held for threatening UAE security

21 April, 2011

Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF

Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF was filmed in Dubai last year but was never released because of legal problems.

You can now enjoy the show via the youtubes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LxHPArq25o (this is the link for part 2 of the first episode, the first part is stupid.)

Best show ever?


Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CFg5CWQlpg
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LxHPArq25o
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mMeo6Zo5dQ
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZk6d36xEVA
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG__YKgNJ34
Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpEWI1zSOXI
Part 7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VXJJ_wlO7M

I must announce to the world that this TV show is the first to not feature any Dubai stereotypes.

17 April, 2011

TEDxAbuDhabiU - Dare to...

I thought some of you might be interested in this. This is the press release announcing TEDxAbuDhabiU.

"Abu Dhabi university is proud to announce that the first ever TEDxAbuDhabiU will be hosted on its campus in Abu Dhabi on 23 April 2011 from 10am to 3pm.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. TEDx, one of its spin-off initiatives, offers individuals or groups a way to organize local, independent TED-like events around the world. In this spirit, a group of dedicated people from all over the UAE have been working tirelessly behind the scenes for more than four months to bring TEDxAbuDhabiU home to the UAE.

The TEDxAbuDhabiU theme for 2011 is “Dare to…”, and you are invited to come and listen to people who have taken the dare to create their lives in the way that they want to live and to explore ways in which they could dare to dream. Over the course of five exciting, entertaining, and inspiring hours, you will have the opportunity to not only hear about people doing extraordinary things, but to also be with them as they dare to explore the emotions and motivations that propelled them through the joys and challenges of creating their lives. And ultimately the question is, what will you dare to do in your life?

Speakers at TEDxAbuDhabiU 2011 include regional and international personalities, thinkers and artists such as Aida Al Busaidy, Ahmed Arshi , Alia Yunis, Dan Stuart, Ghassan Al Katheri, Jacqueline Ghose, Jonathan Ali Khan, Laurel Moore, Magnus Nystedt, Omar Samra, Sarah Mavrinac, Taryam Al Subaihi, Ali Al Shamsi, and Sumayyah Al Suwaidi."

16 April, 2011

The Source

When I first came to Dubai for a little look-see with my husband, a weekend break to decide if we could ever live here, we were taken around by a French Relocation Expert. This was in 2007, when Dubai was heaving in every imaginable direction - up, out, down, in. The hopes and dreams were even higher than the skyscrapers they were designing, and every man and his dog wanted their piece of the Dubai pie. The population was greater than it is now, and everyone was living in half the number of dwellings. Laborers were working 14 hours a day in 47ºC heat, then being shipped home to the labour camps in cattle trucks. House maids were being paid 500AED a month to work 16 hours, 7 days a week. Beautiful women were flying in from all over the globe to try and land themselves a Sheikh, prostituting themselves, knowing that just a small hand-out could set them up for life. Corruption was rife - the options to recieve an invitation to buy land were being sold for millions, because Cityscape product was sold out in a matter of minutes. Everyone was flipping and tripping, morals slipping, taking their turn on the harem-scarem magic carpet ride.

Nadira had told us we must "swallow our snake" to live in Dubai. I think it must be a French saying that does not translate well, but I will always remember it. She said that this was a land of golden opportunity for the ones who were already blessed with opportunity, but it was a den of iniquity for those who were not. We would love it here, but only if we walked around with our eyes closed. (She was shortly thereafter sacked, probably to blissfully return to the land of the banned burqa and 7-hour work days)

She was right. People like me would die in this environment if we did not have the luxuries we receive to prop us up. We are simply not meant to live in the desert. And so, if we decide to stay here, we must wear the guilt. First, we must accept that our environmental impact is unforgivable, but unavoidable. Halas - it is done. Second, we merge our values with the local ones - we take a maid, we stop double-taking when we see workers in the sun in mid-summer from our air-conditioned SUVs. Things will improve Insha'Allah, and it becomes something that has nothing to do with us.

I've already touched on this in my 'Despicable Me' post. Don't think for a moment that because I am a Jumeira Jane, I am walking around oblivious to the greater problems of this world, just because I blog about free range eggs and organic farmers markets. It's far from the truth. I think about my greater transgressions daily, but the more I think, the more helpless I feel, the worse I feel for doing nothing. Then my own life interrupts me. I have to pick up the kids, do the shopping, help with homework, give a swimming lesson, cook the dinner, put the kids to bed, call my mum. By the time I think about the world again, it is time for a glass of wine, and that helps me forget all about it. Snake swallowed.

A place where I can make decisions on my impact, whether it be global or local, is what food I provide my family with. And so when I was given the opportunity to visit the Abu Dhabi Organic Farm (the retail outlet is named Al Mazaraa), I excitedly packed Lion into the car for the journey. I had read this article recently, as well as having a comment from an anti-local reader on my Farmers Market post, and I wanted to see what the deal was, ask the questions, do the math, and make my own decisions. Not only that, I wanted my son to see the impact and method of farming in the desert.

read more on The Hedonista here...

15 April, 2011

Ahmed Mansour, Fahad Al Shehhi & Dr Nasser bin Ghaith Arrest Analysis

Here's some interesting stuff...

"Context on arrest of Dr Nasser bin Ghaith in the UAE:

1. Since writing on Saturday http://www.twitlonger.com/show/9ogqrh with regard to the arrest of Ahmed Mansoor, the UAE’s internal dynamic has shifted.
2. The first arrest of @Ahmed_Mansoor was met with mixed responses by the UAE community, much of it based on speculation as to why he was arrested.
3. There were three types of criticism against Mansoor. A common accusation circulating, that Mansoor frequently directly criticised the ruling families is one that is enough, in the legal system, to merit an arrest.
4. Reuters has just reported that the arrest was related to a possession of alcohol, again an illegal act for a citizen. However, that Mansoor was both expecting the police well in advance and had called them formally after security outside his apartment showed up, leaves unanswered questions as to that charge.
5. Another type of criticism levelled against Mansoor was attributable to questions of loyalty, of Iranian origins i.e. loyal to Iran, or that he belonged to the Ikhwan. These accusations swiftly became redundant on the basis of subsequent arrests."
--more here: Twitter: @habibahmed

(link via Emirates Economist)

"The arrests over the last week of three pro-democracy activists in the United Arab Emirates should come as no surprise. Having sent troops to participate in the Saudi-led crackdown in Bahrain and having supported Egypt's Hosni Mubarak until his final days in office, the UAE regime has already signaled its strong preference for the status quo and its fear of greater Arab freedoms.

Previously a collection of federated, tribe-based, traditional monarchies, led by the well-liked Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan until his death in 2004, the UAE has since been morphing into a sophisticated police state led by Zayed's two principal sons from their Abu Dhabi power base -- the UAE's oil-rich, wealthiest emirate. Unlike their father, who had to consult with other tribal elders and powerful merchants across the entire country, the new rulers now govern with zero accountability over an increasingly urbanized and Abu Dhabi-dependent population, the movements and communications of which are now carefully monitored and censored."
--more here: Foreign Policy: The Making of a Police State

(link via dr_davidson on twitter)

"With a tribal leader legacy, and credited with founding the UAE federation and harnessing its oil wealth for economic development, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan was generally well liked by his people. He had no real need to implement meaningful political reform during his lengthy reign. Instead the plan seemed to be to hold back this particular card so that his succeeding sons would be able to offer reform as their particular ‘gift’ to the people. However, since Zayed’s death in 2004 no such reform has taken place. Zayed’s principal sons – notably the ruler of Abu Dhabi and his crown prince/half brother – have instead played around with the UAE’s largely ineffectual Federal National Council. In 2006 elections were held for half of its 40 seats, but only a few thousand UAE nationals were eligible to vote, and even these were carefully screened. In early 2011, announcements were made that fresh elections would be held, but again the number of contested seats would be limited, only small numbers able to vote.

Seen as the final straw by many educated UAE nationals, especially given the dramatic pro-democracy revolutions sweeping the rest of the Arab world and the UAE government’s rather distasteful involvement in suppressing the Bahraini protests, two petitions were duly signed in March. Both called for universal suffrage and a fully elected national council. Some individuals went further and made public calls for a gradual shift to constitutional monarchy."
--more here: Current Intelligence: Democracy Crackdown in the UAE

(link via dr_davidson on twitter

14 April, 2011

Inmate "beaten to death" at Bur Dubai police station

A British tourist was beaten to death by officers in a Dubai police station after being arrested for swearing, it was claimed yesterday.

Lee Bradley Brown, 39, was on holiday at a £1,000-a-night hotel in the Arab state when he was thrown into a filthy cell.

Police sources say he was ‘badly beaten up’ by a group of police officers, leaving him unconscious on the floor.

Inmates told how they watched officers bundle him into a body-bag and drag him out of the building.

During Mr Brown’s six days in Bur Dubai police station, guards refused to give him enough food and water and did not let him see a lawyer, it is alleged.

His sister learned about the attack when she received a phone call from an inmate on Sunday, claiming her brother had been beaten.

The prisoner found her phone number on a photocopy of her brother’s passport which had been left behind in the cell.

She contacted the British Embassy in Dubai, and on Monday an official was sent to visit Mr Brown at the police station.

But the official was turned away by an officer who claimed Mr Brown did not want to see him and had ‘declined consular assistance’.

His sister, who did not want to be named, received another phone call from the inmate saying he had seen her brother’s body being taken out in a body-bag.

A source told the Daily Mail last night: ‘He suffered a really bad beating which must have caused some terrible internal injuries.

‘The poor bloke stood no chance at all. At one stage he was thrown against the concrete wall of a cell and landed badly.

‘Then the guards tried to hush it up and pretend nothing had happened.’
-- more here: Daily Mail: Briton 'beaten to death' in a Dubai police cell after being arrested for swearing

Link found via detainedindubai on twitter

10 April, 2011

Ahmed Mansour posts translated

There are some interesting posts on the blog http://alemarat.wordpress.com regarding the case of the recently detained "political activist" Ahmed Mansour. All translated via Google Translate (Please keep in mind these are automated, computer translations from Arabic and as such the meaning of them may be different to their original texts.)

References to "Discussion Forum UAE" are most likely to the long-time banned UAE political website/forum www.uaehewar.net

"Reasons for the detention of a reliable source (not arrested because of the petition as some claim, but for having to establish a forum under the person of the President and members of the Supreme Council of the federal and prejudice to the sovereignty and the unity of the Union and its tribulations and calling for a coup and cooperation with foreign countries) and would apply to the investigation of all Webmaster Forum. Praise be to God."
--more here: alemarat.wordpress.com: Exclusively from a trusted source charges against Ahmed Mansour

"In encroachment traveled and frank on the State of United Arab Emirates and the United Arab unity emerging from the new forum Ahmed Mansour (Discussion Forum UAE) to call to unite to overthrow the government in the state and change their institutions and that heads the state's experience and competence, not the tribe, and in infringement of a clear and explicit for the unity of the state, its head of state.
They changed the official emblem of the State and the prejudice and the launch of its slogan reflects the killing and bloodshed and nicknamed him "the new federal"

He also Ahmed Mnsouromenendah distorting the history of the UAE - the claim that parents and grandparents had acknowledged the Senate "against their" because in that period who did not pay allegiance was brought iron hot and ebullition his eyes or he was tortured or assassinated, and the rulers were taking the royalty of fishing the sea fishing out of date."
--more here alemarat.wordpress.com: Ahmed Mansour: must unite to overthrow the government in the state and Tgiermwssadtha to head the state's experience does not draw upon the tribe and the U.S. firms to give us tips on how to manage the affairs of the country after the coup.

"Surprised by the drummers of the dissension a storm of anger Arab Emirates on their pages in Facebook, making them the prohibition of any Emirates who defends the Head of State from participating in their pages in a move to deprive of freedom of opinion and expression for Emiratis.

Was reached in less than 24 hours the number of Emiratis voting that Ahmad Mansour traitor and should be tried with all supervisors Discussion Forum 381 United Arab Emirates, which is to increase.

Note that the UAE and Emirati had gathered for a revolt against the foolish under the slogan, "but Khalifa, we all Khalifa" in response to what was published by Ahmed Mansour, its Forum of exposure insult to the person of the President and members of the Supreme Council and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Senate.

It was agreed that calls to sedition Emiratis in the Discussion Forum of insults and attacks on the owners of Highness and demand come together to overthrow the regime and the use of Balomrikan to manage the affairs of the country - is a invitation invite sedition and treason Do not call the reform of the UAE and the street unabated deal with these calls.

It also condemned Alamaratieon invitations owners sedition such as Ahmad Mansour, Dr. Mohamed Al Mansouri, Hamid Alkamiti claimants intervention the European Union in Shan Gulf and their appeal to them to intervene, he said Emiratis that this appeal to non-guardian invitation are foolish, so why not call upon the head of state and why direct foreign intervention and what is the nature of matchmaking, including and the European Union.

He also rejected what Alamaratieon reference statement and those who in good to refuse what they are saying that infringe on human rights in Bahrain and Oman. He said that the young rebels led by the Gulf Cooperation Council met and agreed on the unity of the Gulf and the Oman and Bahrain support it are these indefinite article in order to proclaim otherwise.

Ba note of those who worked on the recent publication of photographs of the events of Oman, in a non-objective and biased the outlaws in Amman and published confidential letters to the security authorities of Oman in their pages in an attempt to mobilize public opinion on the Sultanate beloved in the orientation direction contrary to the leaders of the Gulf.

As they were Almjychen of the dispute between the UAE and Oman in the position reflects the ill-maker and exit of the wisdom and tried to stir up sectarian strife between the two peoples.

He appealed to the UAE government that the Emiratis pursuing approach caliph Omar Ibn Khattab may Allah be pleased with him in the magnitude of sedition and not by the introduction of Osman Blinh may Allah be pleased with him and his dialogue with them, where they raised the slogan "What harm life on the magnitude of civil strife, but the harm Osman dialogue with them)

They also appealed to Gulf leaders to unite in the face of European colonialism, the U.S. and expose their plans and the Declaration of confessions in all media and to take political steps against those involved to stop it when alone Might Gulf uncompromising

God save the Gulf States"
--more here: alemarat.wordpress.com: In less than 24 hours: 381 vote that the United Arab Emirates Ahmed Mansour, a traitor and should be tried

3rd pro-democracy activist detained by UAE authorities

"Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- Three activists have been detained in the United Arab Emirates in the past three days, according to a fellow Emirati activist.


The third, Nasser bin Ghaith, an Emirati writer who also maintains a website, was detained Sunday, al-Mansoori said.
Officials in the UAE have not responded to persistent queries regarding the detention of Mansoor. CNN has recently queried officials about the other detentions.
Mansoor was part of a group of 133 nationals who petitioned the president on March 9 for direct elections. The group included academics, former government officials, journalists and activists."
--more here: CNN.com: 3 UAE activists detained since Friday

From the Dubai School of Government website...
"Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith is an Emirati financial analyst specializing in economic trading blocs. Since 2006, he has served as the legal advisor for the UAE Armed Forces/Directorate of General Purchasing, responsible for negotiating contracts with major global defense firms such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and Northrop Grumman. He is currently a professor at the UAE Armed Forces Staff College, as well as a lecturer of International Economic Law at La Sorbonne, Abu Dhabi."
-- more here: Dubai School of Government: Nasser bin Ghaith on the Economics of Transparency

Thanks to John Chilton for the heads up


Some more information concerning the case of Ahmed Mansour (the first to be detained) via Kkalmarri on twitter (Google translated from Arabic)

"Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim: Details of the case of Ahmed Mansour found at the Office of the Attorney General in the emirate of Dubai FreeAhmedM # # uae # UAEeslaah
about an hour ago via Twittelator
The back of the right Yamtablin Dahi Khalfan Tamim: Ahmed Mansour was arrested at the request of the prosecution against the backdrop of the UAE criminal case FreeAhmedM # # uae
about a hour ago via Twittelator"


"DUBAI / / Blogger Ahmed Mansour has been arrested in connection with a criminal case, police confirmed today.

Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai Police chief, said the arrest was made in the emirate based on a request from the UAE attorney general.

"We were asked by the Federal Public prosecution to arrest him in connection with a criminal case and the case has been referred to him," he said.

However, Lt Gen Tamim did not disclose the nature of the charge, saying the details of the case are with the UAE attorney general."
-- more here: The National: Dubai blogger and activist Ahmed Mansour arrested

UAE detains second pro-democracy activist

"DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Authorities in the United Arab Emirates detained a second pro-democracy advocate just two days after they took a leading reformist blogger into custody, a prominent lawyer and political activist said Sunday.
Fahad Salem al-Shehhy was detained late Saturday in Ajman, an emirate north of Dubai, after participating in an online forum calling for democratic reforms in the UAE, said Mohammed al-Mansouri, an activist.
The United Arab Emirates is an alliance of seven sheikdoms run by ruling families where political activity is severely restricted.
The forum had been run by Ahmed Mansour, a blogger and human rights activist, who himself was arrested on Friday in Dubai after he signed a petition in favor of an elected parliament.
Police and government officials have not responded to calls for comment."
--more here: Yahoo! News: UAE detains second pro-democracy activist

08 April, 2011

Activist Detained in the UAE

Ahmed Mansoor, a man who signed the petition to the UAE government asking for universal suffrage has reportedly been detained...

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Authorities in the United Arab Emirates detained a blogger and rights activist who had said he’s gotten death threats for calling for political freedoms and an elected parliament in the Gulf nation.

Ahmed Mansour was detained Friday at his home in Dubai, his wife and a colleague told The Associated Press. Mansour’s wife, Nadia, said 10 policemen — some wearing civilian clothes — searched their house for three hours before taking her husband into custody and seizing two laptops and several documents.

“They were calm and polite, but they did not allow me to speak to my husband while they were in the house,” she said. A female officer was guarding her while others searched the house and questioned her husband. They refused to tell her where they were taking him, she said.
--more here: Washington Post: UAE detains Dubai democracy activist, blogger who called for elected parliament in Gulf nation

According to the Financial Times, Ahmed's Employer, Thuraya/Etisalat tried to double his salary and send him off to Pakistan...
"Last week, Mr Mansoor received death threats on social media sites. He was asked by his state-backed employer this week to leave the UAE and take up a position in Pakistan.

State-owned Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) requested that Mr Mansoor, who works for the satellite telecoms company Thuraya, should move to Etisalat’s Pakistan office as soon as possible.

“Thuraya have asked me to move to Pakistan on a salary worth twice as much as my current package. But I have rejected this request, as I am an employee of Thuraya, and there is no need for me to go there,” he said before his arrest.

“It’s definitely aimed to remove me from the country, and if I don’t accept I will fear I will be fired.”"
-- more here: FT.com: UAE activist detained after death threats

From Ahmed's Blog:
"The security guard of my building came to my apartment at 3:50 am few minutes ago. I could tell immediately that there is something wrong. i reluctantly opened and asked him what? he said there are three policemen waiting for you in the main entrance, i told him are you sure they are policemen? he said yes. they told me to tell to go and see them down, i told him what they need? he said they say something related to the car. i told him then send them up to my apartment. closed the door and called Dubai police immediately, and i told him the story that i was told by the guard, and i told them that i have been receiving death threats and that i can not go down like this. they told me you are right and we will send some one to check, stay home. after minutes somebody from Dubai police called me from his mobile and asked me guide him to the place, i did, he told me i will call you back.
he called me back after minutes telling that they are suspecting your car and would like to take it. i told him if they want to take the car they can do that in the morning, not 2:50 am. or they are the State Security making their old trick i further said. he said now will you come down or not? i told him if they want the car they can take it, he said what about your belongings, i said there is nothing valuable there, they can take it.
this method is well known method of the State Security because they do not have an arrest warrant, they make such tricks to bring you down and take you. i'm ready to go, but they should either do it the right way or by force.
I refused to go down from my apartment and started writing this email. not sure if they took the car or not, i will not soon know. the scenario is that if they take it, they can put whatever they like inside and make a case against me. i'm declaring here that my car is clean of unlawful material, it has a swiss style knife that put there today after receiving 6 death threats and some papers of no great importance.

Ahmed Mansoor"
--more here: جاؤوا لاعتقالي اليوم الساعة 3:50 صباحاً They came to take me in at 3:30 am today :مواطن إماراتي مغلوب على أمره

(links found via dr_davidson on twitter)

U.S. warns UAE for being just a bit too full of itself

The Chicago Dope has posted a pretty funny satire piece on its site;

"The United States issued a warning to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday for what it called “provocative self-confidence”.

According to the U.S. State Department, the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, left unscathed by recent turmoil in the Middle East, “is looking a little too comfortable given the state of the world.” The UAE has been recently designated by the U.S. State Department as a “pompously rogue nation”, refusing to succumb to instability like the rest of the region and is accused of inciting feelings of inferiority among its neighbors.

Both the United States and the United Nations have each condemned the UAE’s excessive use of political calm along with its defiant flaunting of economic strength and high per capita income.

On Wednesday, Emirati Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum further increased regional tensions by announcing a $1.5 billion investment in electricity and water infrastructure projects in the underdeveloped areas of the northern emirates. This prompted the administration to again respond with strong condemnation.

“This type of provocation is not productive and only leads to heightened levels of envy and resentment in the Persian Gulf region,” Carney said.

According to the White House, the United States is considering seeking a UN resolution designed to point out the many faults and lingering insecurities that the UAE likely has, but won’t admit to, internationally.
-- more here: The Chicago Dope: U.S. warns UAE for being just a bit too full of itself

Make sure to check out the comments section where more than a few people from the UAE have failed to understand that the piece is satire.

Here are some choice comments:

"LOOL.. US never fails to LOL me.. but this time its beyond red line..

i don’t know about the newspaper that spread this out.. but i believe that an apology is required to UAE for all this shit.."

"I searched the white house website and googled the hell out of Clinton and Jay Carney and did not find the statements published above! except in this website.

I doubt that Clinton and the white house will issue such stupid statements. The last statement on the white house website was thanking the UAE for its help in Libya.

Well.. if it is true.. then it is apparent that US is the one who envies the UAE. Or they want something from the UAE and they want to apply pressure on it using such statements.

It is bizarre and the double standards from US are true. If the UAE is starving its people the US will condemn it…. If the UAE is spending money on infrastructure and people are wealthy US will also condemn!!!!! "

"What seems to be the problem here? Is it that the UAE is still able to invest in infrastructure? (btw, not that we need to justify it, it was a MUST to invest in electricity and water infrastructure projects in the northern emirates, it wasn’t a luxurious plan.

Or is it that other countries in the region are having major problems? or that life in UAE is calm and both locals and expats working here are happy?


Btw, I won’t send the link to any of my friends, i don’t believe in FREE advertising :p

"Fuck off usa"

"I find it beyond ridiculous that you , U.S , stick your butts into other countries’ business !! You have a WHOLE NATION who is CORRUPTED in ALL sorts of way that need your ” Consideration”. You desperate interference only make us realize how fortunate of a country/citizens we are !

P.S , a piece of advice , get your facts right !!!"

"The only country that is full itself is america,, so what if we spend 1.5 billion on infrastructure projects???
The UAE is a small country but it gives to charity every year more than the US ever will..
Who died and made america the leader of the world??
They seem to stick theire nose in everything"

There is a thread on a certain UAE forum that seems to point at the website as factual too as well as a post on banatzayed.com with even more absurd comments

05 April, 2011

A Week by the Lake

I had lunch al fresco today, and for the first time this year, the air was marginally on the wrong side of comfortable. It may be one of the last outdoor lunches I get before its too hot.

Yes, that's right, summer is on the way. Most would think that Dubai residents would regard the approaching summer with almighty dread - the Armageddon skies, melting roads, boiling temperaments - it's not for the faint-hearted, especially for those without the blessing of air-conditioning, for whom the summer can often mean illness and/or death. The body is simply not built to live 24/7 at 48º C. But for the fortunate few, Summer in Dubai actually means Summer out of Dubai. We look forward to it, because it means an extended holiday on the continent dahlings.

For an Australian, it is actually more expensive to go home than it is to fly to Western Europe and rent a house for a few weeks, and for the last few years, that's exactly what we've done. I've just booked this year's jaunt and I'm thoroughly in the mood, so prepare yourself for a series of French and Italian travel posts "a la Sarah"

Let's see if you can guess where I'm talking about - read more here...

27 March, 2011

Earth, what?

I think it all started with Al Gore, the savior of the environment.

Did Al Gore forget to turn his lights out during Earth Hour?

Did you guys know that yesterday evening 8:30 to 9:30 PM marked that 'hip' thing called 'Earth Hour'? It has been, I believe, a total of 3 Earth Hour years for our family for every year that we have been here. And boy oh boy, the hype keeps on increasing about shutting-off-shutting-down for an hour supposedly to conserve our depleting resources.

Say what?

I say whoever coined this term needs a kick up their -- ya' all know what I mean here -- for it is THE most absurd of all theories for preserving/conserving our natural resources. Shutting down for an hour every year just for the sake of shutting down to prove oneself hip and attuned to world affairs is also not the right way to do it. And the way the people here publicized this whole gig while having horse races and rich parties on borrowed credit. Ah well, I guess that's hip.

How about whichever entity that coined this term makes a greater effort in educating everybody if they seriously considered the 'depletion of our resources' theory credible to mankind's existence on this planet. But, looking at this whole thing 'out of the box', I would say those same individuals have a vested interest in an alternative form of energy, the final price of which to ordinary citizens is still being worked out, as we speak, debate, and watch from the sidelines.

Judging by the way this whole scenario is unfolding, I would say we all better be prepared for a 2, 3, or 4-fold increase in our utility bills in the near future.

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed." — Mahatma Gandhi

P.S.: One of the reasons I admire Sheikh Zayed was for making Al-Ain greener than the rest. I doubt if his children would ever catch-up, match-up, whatever.

26 March, 2011

Sheilas in shelas and impressions on oppression

Australian Sheila in dress-ups
In Australia, "Sheila" is a term for a woman. It's fairly archaic now - generally only used by rusty old bogans (tasteless morons) from the outback (countryside), and rarely comes without the obligatory sexist smack on the bottom and a demand for a "frosty one from the icebox" (beer from the fridge). In the Middle East, a sheila is a head covering, pronounced with an "ay" vowel sound rather than "ee", and also spelled shaila, shela and shayla. You will see plenty of "Sheelas" in Australia, but "shaylas" are few and far between.

In countries like Australia, France and the USA, any dress that covers more than what they deem “normal” is seen by some as a form of cruelty or domination. The first thing most Australians would think upon seeing a woman in traditional Arabic dress is "she's from a different world", followed by "that poor thing, her husband/father makes her dress like that" and "she must have a terrible life." And it's little surprise. Australia's Muslim minority only takes up about 1.5% of the total population, and many have assimilated to the point where conservative dress has been abandoned. The only time we see any traditional arabic dress is on TV, when we see Iraqi women wailing with grief over their son's bloodied bodies, or rows of Taliban-governed Afghan women in blue burqas with only a gauze for vision. Of course we associate it with misery and oppression.

Read more here