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Fun day for off-roaders
ffRoad-Zone, a leading 4x4 specialist in Dubai, is organising a free 4x4 driving event at its testing facility in Jebel Ali. “We are one of the many suppliers owed money by Blue Banana and sympathise with customers stuck with vouchers,” said Jonathan of OffRoad-Zone.com. OffRoad-Zone wants to turn this unfortunate situation into a more positive one by organising a fun day out where people can experience driving 4x4s through water, sand, hills, ramps, logs and rocks. All you need to do is show proof you have been affected directly or indirectly by the company. The event is scheduled for Saturday 25 July, 2009, at 3pm.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 1
Plenty to do during the summer
Daily doings for the temporary jobless
Leasing and purchase guides
A choice of summer camps
ipod tours of Islamic arts
Maid to last
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2 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
On the Cover
There are many things to do during the summer, when the heat of the hot summer is waning or waxing. UAE companies are coming up with ideas from 4 x 4 driving courses and beachside air conditioners to children’s summer camps and reduced prices in hotels, restaurants and at the travel agent.
Maid to last
While getting a trusted maid in Dubai can be a task, keeping one is more challenging. All characters and situations in this piece are painfully real, and any resemblance to anyone living, not dead, is obvious
Quality properties see increasing stability
But the rest of UAE’s property prices are sliding. Read charts of price maps for your guidance.
Lots for lay-offs to do
The buzzword these days is ‘recession’. The credit crunch has affected our personal lives more than the global market. however, there can be no time better than this, to invest in yourself.
A smashing summer
Various fun filled activities are on for kids throughout the UAE to make the lengthy summer months engaging.
ipod audio tours of Islamic art and artefacts
The first Wednesday of every month during an exhibition is when a gallery conducts its free tour from 1:00 – 1:30pm, but please make a reservation first, of the two-floor, airy premises.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 3
IN THE NEWS
The Dubai Fountain
he Dubai Mall’s Waterfront Promenade attracts thousands of visitors daily for the dazzling performances of The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest-performing fountain. Located on Burj Dubai Lake, the fountain shoots water jets as high as 500 feet (150 metres), equivalent to that of a 50-storey building. Starting from 6pm, there are 14 daily performances every half-hour until 8pm. Then, between 8pm and 11pm, music-water displays occur every 20 minutes. It currently performs six songs at varying intervals including ‘Sama Dubai,’ the tribute of Emaar Properties to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The other songs to which the fountain sways in perfect sync are ‘Dhoom Thana,’ a super-hit Hindi film song from the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Om Shanti Om;’ ‘Baba Yetu,’ an award-winning song in Swahili composed by Christopher Tin for the computer game ‘Civilization IV;’ the Arab world’s top-selling dance number
‘Shik Shak Shok’ by Hassan Abou El Seoud; and the signature piece of worldrenowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, ‘Con te partiro’ (Time to Say Goodbye). The Dubai Fountain is 900 feet (275 metres) long and has five circles of varying sizes and two central arcs. It has been designed by California-based WET, the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. Over 6,600 WET Superlights – the most advanced incandescent large fountain lights available today – and 25 colour projectors create a visual spectrum of over 1,000 abstract attractions.
World’s largest container vessel at Jebel Ali Port
Emma Maersk, the world’s largest container vessel, made her maiden call at Jebel Ali last month. It is the first time that a container vessel of this size transits the Arabian Gulf. The container vessel and her seven sister vessels can each carry more than 11,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent). They are designed to offer the most environmentally friendly transportation solution available. “We believe the call of Emma Maersk
The world’s largest container vessel made her maiden call at Jebel Ali Port
4 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
is a great opportunity to celebrate the success story of Dubai’s merchant community. UAE is an important market for Maersk Line on par with other large markets such as India, which has a far greater population. We have been in this country since 1959 working closely with shippers, the government and the port to develop Dubai into a re-export hub”, says Mr. Robert Uggla, Managing Director for Maersk UAE. “These days we all face considerable challenges due to the economic crisis. However, Maersk Line remains committed to our customers and partners in Dubai and UAE. We see the long-term potential of UAE and the region, with many industrial and petrochemical projects on stream, and we have no doubt that Jebel Ali will continue to play an important role in our global network for many years to come.”
Shanghai Monument in Zabeel Park
HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Shanghai monument unveiled at Zabeel Park
Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality and Mr. Feng Guoqin, Chairman, Shanghai Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference together unveiled the Shanghai Monument in Zabeel Park last month. The monument, set up as part of the sister city agreement signed between Dubai and Shanghai, represent replicas of different landmarks and high rises of the city of Shanghai such as the Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower, World Financial Centre, Shanghai Centre (this 638 metre tower is still under construction), Chinese Construction Bank, Chinese Pavilion of Expo 2010, Park Hotel, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Chinese Customs Building in Shanghai and the Yang Pu Bridge.
for private air operators to become one of the largest airports for business jets in the world, said Mohammed Al Bulooki, VP of airline marketing and aeronautical revenue at ADAC.
Construction begins on The Louvre Abu Dhabi
His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, recently welcomed French President Nicolas Sarkozy to a commemorative ceremony to mark the start of construction on the Louvre Abu Dhabi. In a presentation before dignitaries at Emirates Palace, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed and President Sarkozy accepted a time capsule for the museum from children of United Arab Emirates and France which will be placed in the Louvre Abu Dhabi, at a future date. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and President Sarkozy also inaugurated a new preview experience of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, being presented until 2nd July in Gallery One of Emirates Palace. Titled Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi, the preview features a brief film about the design for the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel; an illustrated talk; and a guided tour of selected artworks specially chosen to demonstrate the curatorial vision of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Scheduled for completion in 2012/13, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will showcase the
inter-relationships among artistic achievements from different cultures around the world, from the most immemorial to the very latest, across borders of technique and geography. With works loaned by the Louvre and other French museums, such as Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Musée Guimet and Musée du Quai Branly, and works of art from its own developing collection, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will establish a distinctive dialogue among fine arts, decorative arts, and archaeological artefacts that have been created and collected all over the world, in a presentation that is unique to this museum and its setting.
Montblanc pledges Dh5.5million to Unicef
Luxury goods manufacturer Montblanc, recognised worldwide for its classic timepieces, jewellery, leather goods and writing instruments has joined hands with Unicef in a drive to eradicate illiteracy. Montblanc has pledged a sum of at least Dh5.5 million towards education to ensure that children, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background or circumstances have access to quality education. Montbanc’s new social awareness campaign titled “Signature for Good” is designed to support Unicef in its efforts to ensure a quality education, as only education can enhance the quality of life of the many boys and girls around the world who suffer under the burden of illiteracy. Globally, only 60 per cent of children of
Private jet airport to get full certification
Abu Dhabi Airports Company has said Al Bateen private jet airport, the region’s first airport exclusively for business jets, is expected to receive full certification this summer from federal aviation authorities. The airport, which was a military airfield on Abu Dhabi Island, will be converted
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 5
HOME & GARDEN
Pay as you Go or Visitor Mobile Lines. The service allows customers to transfer a minimum of Dh2 and a maximum of Dh200 per transaction. To transfer credit customers simply need to dial *121 *055xxxxxxx*amount #, which will then instantly transfer the credit to the payee. There are no charges for activation or subscribing to this service. destination for retail development. We would not be making the largest investment in our four-decade existence in new stores if we felt otherwise.” The CEO also announced that all staff from the stores to be closed would be moved into new and existing stores. He added that the internal transfers would not be sufficient for the new store openings and that additional hiring of employees, including Emiratis, would be necessary to fulfil the needs of these new stores.
The Meisterstruck ‘Signature for Good’ edition with a sapphire stone and the UN’s famous olive wreath symbol adorning the cap of each Montblanc pen
secondary school age attend secondary school. The others are either still enrolled in primary schools or are out of school. In sub-Saharan Africa, children of secondary school age are more likely to be in primary schools than in secondary schools. Montblanc unveiled a new range of products, including a writing instrument - The Meisterstruck ‘Signature for Good’ edition with a sapphire stone and the UN’s famous olive wreath symbol, a universally recognised sign for peace, adorning the cap of each pen. From September 2009, “Signature for Good” edition will include a collection of jewellery and small leather goods finished to the highest degree of detailed perfection and featuring the colour blue as a reference to the charity initiative. All “Signature for Good” limited edition items have one thing in common: every purchase makes a valuable and lasting contribution towards helping illiterate children all over the world to read and write. Part of the proceeds from the entire collection will be donated to support Unicef ’s education programmes globally.
Al Fahim Holdings remain bullish on UAE
Al Fahim Holdings has a list of revisions to its portfolio of stores in UAE and Bahrain. The list announces the opening of 16 new stores totalling 305,273 square feet, one major renovation and the closure of seven under-performing stores totalling 39,167 square feet. In a statement to shareholders, Group CEO Mohammed A.R. Al Fahim said: “Despite the global downturn, we remain committed and well-placed to further our long-term strategy of selectively opening new stores, refurbishing strategic ones and pruning under performing stores. To this end, we are constantly monitoring changes in consumer sentiments, shopping habits, the opening of new retail spaces and changing market conditions to maintain a profitable portfolio of stores.” Commenting on the current global economic scenario and its impact on the UAE, he said: “We continue to be very confident in the economy of the UAE and the leadership behind it. As retailers, we understand that there is a business cycle that all countries experience. We also believe the UAE has strong and appealing fundamentals that will continue to make it a world-class
Sustainable development on the agenda
With more than a decade of experience in implementing and advising on environmental policies, former Costa Rican President and CEO of Concordia 21 in Spain, José María Figueres, believes the biggest challenges lie ahead. Sponsored by HSBC Bank Middle East, May saw Figueres give an exclusive presentation to members of the Capital Club, Dubai’s premier private business club. The title of his business evening forum presentation was Inconvenient Truths and Present Economic Challenges. Based on his business experience, and his years in public service where he worked closely together with US Vice President Gore, President Figueres spoke about the opportunity within the present financial crisis to reactivate the global economy in such a way as to also mitigate climate change. “The private sector has a tremendous opportunity to create new business models that support pro-active environmental policies. Governments must show leadership by enacting the regulatory frame-
Offering enhanced level of convenience to customers, du has launched its One2One service that enables all du Pay as You Go and Visitor Mobile Line customers to transfer credit to their loved ones using du
José María Figueres (centre)
6 l UAE Digest,July-August 2009
works that facilitate this transformation,” said Figueres. A dynamic speaker, Figueres rose to prominence when he became the youngest president of a Central American country in modern times. During his tenure as president, from 1994 to 1998, he created a comprehensive national Sustainable Development strategy, factoring in macroeconomic indicators, technology and human development. After his presidency, Figueres shifted his focus to the international arena with achievements such as helping create and lead the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (ICT) and becoming the first CEO of the World Economic Forum in 2003. Figueres is currently the CEO of Concordia 21 (C21), a social investment vehicle chaired by Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, which is dedicated to the support of organisations which promote development and democratic values around the world. He holds an Industrial Engineering degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
UAE offshore centres tempting foreign investors
The internationally agreed tax standard, as endorsed by G20 finance ministers at the recent summit and by the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in tax matters, requires exchange of information, on request, in all tax matters and enforces domestic tax law without regard to a domestic tax interest requirement or bank secrecy for tax purposes. This is a positive step to establishing legitimate practices on a global scale. In response to these practices, the OECD placed Costa Rica, Malaysia and the Philippines on its black list of noncooperative tax centres, after they failed to meet the new standards set out in the G20 summit’s crack down on tax evasion. Other offshore centres, are beginning to loose their image; many companies are using these offshore jurisdictions to avoid tax and hide money. While that is true for some countries,
others, particularly the UAE, are set to benefit from the new standards. UAE offshore authorities have high standards of policies and procedures and are very selective in granting an offshore company licence to investors. The country is well regarded in the international market, on top of it being a 100 per cent tax free economy. UAE offshore policies and procedures demand that along with the normal requirements of documenting residential proof and bank reference, the Jebel Ali Offshore Authorities also seek for a personal visit of the investor or, in the event of the inability of the investor to be physically present, the authorities are flexible enough to allow the submission of a legalized Power of Attorney from the investor, which should be duly attested by the UAE Consulate from the investor’s country. The RAK Offshore authority goes one step ahead in cooperating with investors by suggesting the document to be notarised by any legal authority from anywhere in the world. OECD’s top rating of the UAE, coupled with its financial policies, leads UAE offshore centres to hold a significantly stronger and more dignified image than other offshore centres worldwide. It is expected that the recent crackdown on tax heaven practices will free up otherwise frozen money which is being unutilised, to boost the economy and solve the problem of liquidity and cash flow, which has dried up since October 2008.
Family businesses are more perceptive of business opportunities
A comprehensive survey of Family Businesses in the UAE has revealed that CEOs and family members have a higher perception of business opportunities in their sector of operations than their counterparts in the United States (US). Entitled ‘Differing Perceptions and Challenges Facing UAE Family Businesses: Implications for Practice’, The study released by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Research Unit, was done with the support of the Walker Centre for Global Entrepreneurship at
Thunderbird School of Global Management. It is the first study of its kind to compare the views and perceptions of parent-CEOs and family members within UAE-based family businesses. The study also derives its importance from being the first to compare UAE-based family businesses with US-based family businesses using a standardised and tested research tool and through direct face-to-face interviews. H.E. Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, stated: “The Arabian Gulf is dominated by family businesses. Most of the family business in the UAE and the Gulf are still young and in transition phases. The family-run business faces many challenges such as globalisation, the growing number of family members in each generation, growth of the company, succession plans and business continuity. It is well known that nearly 95 per cent of family businesses do not survive the third generation of ownership primarily due to lack of planning in the succession.” “This comprehensive scientific study comes as part of the DIFC’s efforts to provide sound and fact-based business intelligence that would help regional family-owned businesses to cope with the pressures of change and successionplanning as well as assist the international business community to understand the needs and aspirations of UAE-based family businesses,” added the DIFC Governor. Dr. Zeinab Karake Shalhoub, Director of Research, DIFC Investments commented: “The study identifies a number of areas for improvements and provides six major recommendations to UAE CEOs and family members including writing a family constitution; developing clear standards and processes for both managerial and ownership succession and adopting a holistic strategic planning approach,” she said. “It also recommends the appointment of at least two independent outsiders to the board of directors, as well as the employment of key non-family managers to ensure the professionalisation of the business and the neutralisation of the decision-making process. In addition, assuring frequent family meetings and a more formal family council to educate and communicate with family members and family shareholders was also stressed to be a critical requirement for business continuity.”
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 7
Maid to last
By Ambily Vijaykumar
ashim is in heaven. Before you jump to conclusions, she has a job, a child, is happily married, and will soon see a new addition to her family. Stop before you infer again, because the newest member is a 50-year-old ‘one-stop-let’s talk’ who has reached her destination. A woman whom Rashim, in Dubai, and her parents back in India, have known for the past three years as a trustworthy maid in India; a woman who not only cooks well, but also doubles up as an above-average nanny, was sent for. These are precisely the qualifications needed to tend to Rashim’s three-year-old adorable terror-machine. What’s more, the child and the maid are familiar with each other and so Rashim does not have to bother about the orientation and familiarisation routines that can become pretty unsettling for all. For Rashim to keep her job in Dubai the lady, Leela, had to come. After much is spent on phone bills discussing the salary package and other facilities that will be extended to Leela during her stay in Dubai, the maid’s family finally agreed on an astronomical salary plus her stay, food, medical facilities and transportation. Surely, Rashim cannot afford the pay
While getting a trusted maid in Dubai can be a task, keeping one is more challenging
All characters and situations in this piece are painfully real, and any resemblance to anyone living, not dead, is obvious
package for her maid? But without her, Rashim would also find it difficult to keep her job, which in times of recession has become something of a cushion for her husband Swayam who was employed in the construction sector. You win some, lose some. After much running around different government departments seeking approvals and attestations and shelling out a hefty amount as deposits, arrangements were made for Leela to fly on her maiden flight, which, as luck would have it, was to another country. Rashim’s brother accompanied Leela from India, because the maid, being ‘illiterate,’ would have been lost in the maze of formalities and “would have been so intimidated, she would have fled,” reasoned Rashim. So Leela landed in Dubai with an escort, and Rashim, Swayam and their little one waited with bated breath at the airport to receive her, their saviour, during the recession. Leela’s orientation happened back in India at Rashim’s parent’s house. “You will mostly be confined to the house, because there is very little open space around the house to roam around in. You won’t find many people to talk to, because most of them work, and because of the heat, not many at home venture
out. There are roads and cars to keep you occupied in your spare time. Even if you don’t like it, it would be very helpful if you could stay there at least for a year. The visa will be valid for 12 months and then you can decide whether to continue or to leave,” explained Rashim’s father. Leela’s logic behind leaving her country to work was ‘monetary’. Her family wanted to build a house in India and the measly sum that is given to maids back there would not have helped them get there soon. So she was game to give working in a distant land a shot. The Dubai International Airport can be quite an eye-popping sight for those coming from India. The grandeur that greets visitors is associated with luxury hotels back in India. Leela was smitten, as she later told Rashim over a cup of tea at home. Rashim’s three-year-old son Angad was being showered with attention and he was enjoying every bit of it. The end of worries seemed in sight. No more brainragging about a menu for the morning, noon or night; no more worries about grocery and provisions, and no more worries about dropping the child to playschool or picking him up. Leela was there to handle things.
8 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
But the happiness and relief was shortlived. Within two weeks of her stay in Dubai, Leela was feeling home-sick. Every morning, Rashim and her husband began getting up to a wailing Leela. “You have imprisoned me. Look at my condition; my blouse does not fit me anymore. Just send me back,” Leela would say, making
Rashim feel terrible. Despite giving her so much, Leela was trying to make her feel guilty. “There is food in the house, fruits in the basket and you are free to use the kitchen whenever you want. There are snacks too and we haven’t stopped you from having them. Then how can you blame me for not feeding you. You also have the key to the house, if you feel lonely, you can lock the house and walk around, and it will surely make you feel better. Angad will be back by noon and there is enough work at home to keep you occupied,” Rashim reasoned. But reason could not win over emotions. Finally Rashim had to request her friend Meera to allow her maid to spend the mornings at her place so that she does not feel lonely. The arrangement seemed to be working out well. But there was however this lurking fear in Rashim and Swayam’s heart that Leela would not stick around. Everyone was putting up a brave
front. Leela’s evenings spent with a few other maid friends seemed like a ray of hope for Rashim. “Friends will keep her engaged. At least she won’t be occupied with disturbing thoughts,” Rashim reasoned with Swayam, who was beginning to notice Leela’s constant absence from home. “You know I cooked Dal Makhni for Meeraji,” said Leela one day. Rashim wanted to question her for going and working at someone’s place without her permission, but she held back. “If that keeps her occupied, and if Meera gets some help in the bargain, it is a good arrangement,” she explained to Swayam. Days ambled by and Rashim accepted Leela’s presence as a permanent fixture in her life, unaware that there were a lot of parallel tracks running in their lives. Leela became more demanding, almost assuming the role of the master of the house. Rashim and Swayam gave way, hoping that this would keep her happy and she would stop sulking. Instinct, however, is a powerful tool. And Rashim thought she was not getting the right vibes from Leela lately. Leela would give vague answers to her questions, or so it seemed to Rashim. To her shock, Rashim later learnt that Leela used to eat at Meera’s place and even bring food for her lunch from there. But Rashim took heart from the fact that Angad was becoming more active, talkative and more responsive. Household work was suffering as a result of Leela’s new found disinterest. She would constantly complain about things not being available at Rashim’s place. “None of the television channels of my choice are available at your place. I go to Meeraji’s place and watch the things I want to,” Leela would say sarcastically. Somehow, Rashim could never muster the courage to tell Leela that she is just a maid and cannot be so demanding, and neither can she talk to her employer in such
a sarcastic tone. After all, Leela owed her presence in Dubai to Rashim and her husband, and would also have to thank them if she finally ended up building her house. Withdrawing involvement in Leela’s life seemed like the best option for Rashim, because every time she showed concern, Leela would point fingers at Rashim for ‘forcing me to come here’. Rashim never understood how anyone who came for employment and a hefty salary could be ‘forced’ into leaving their family and country. She, however, took it as an interim arrangement because Rashim’s parents were willing to come and help within a year’s time. It was this one year that was critical. On several occasions, Rashim swallowed insults because she could not have trusted anyone else to take care of her son. She always reasoned to Swayam, “as long as she does not harm Angad, I don’t have a problem.” But there are always surprises in store, and they just spring up like unexpected diversions when you are speeding along towards your destination. “Get me this medicine,” Leela told Rashim. Rashim looked at the tablet cover and asked Leela where she got it from. “I had a bad toothache and so asked Meeraji to give me some painkiller. I have only had one tablet,” she replied. “But you had already asked me for an entire strip of painkillers the other day. Is that over?” Rashim asked. “I had eleven of them in three days and still it did not
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 9
Photo for illustrative purpose only
relieve me of the pain. I don’t think I did anything wrong by asking Meeraji for it,” Leela became defensive. This comment was too much for Rashim to take. “You are here in another country on our sponsorship. You are not supposed to take medicines from anyone else; only from us or a doctor. Even a small allergic reaction is enough to land you in hospital. You could also have put Meera in trouble. We are not talking about food here; it is medicine,” Rashim said firmly. She could read the changing colours on Leela’s face. The shades were that of accusation; then came the final assault. “If I were at my home, by now my kids would have taken me to 10 different doctors. I have not come here to die. You have not been feeding me and I am here in this jail with nobody to talk to. You made promises to my family which you have not fulfilled. Look at what you have done to me. You will not be forgiven for your
sins,” Leela yelled, standing in one corner of the room. Rashim was taken aback not only by surprise but by the allegations and the insult heaped upon her by a woman whom she had known and trusted for three years. She now decided to return the favour. “You did not come here because I forced you to. You are here because you see some benefit in working in a foreign country. I am not supposed to feed you, you are supposed to cook and eat on your own. I am supposed to feed my child and husband. You have been crossing your limits very often, but I have been taking it in my stride, because I need you to take care of my child. But if you think you can take advantage of my silence, then let me assure you, your leaving will not put an end to our world,” Rashim said firmly. What followed was a war of words and the climax was horrifying. Leela threatened to go to the police and file a
complaint against Rashim for harassing her. She even threatened to hang herself. Rashim could not believe what was happening. All the months spent in making arrangements to get Leela to Dubai now looked like a wasted effort. The world came crashing down in front of Rashim. She rushed to the phone, called up Swayam and told him with all the composure she could muster that there was an emergency and they will have to drop Leela back in India. The day after the incident, Swayam and Rashim lost no time in completing all the formalities needed to cancel Leela’s visa and get the necessary approvals. The three and a half month old arrangement fell apart. But Leela was at her spiteful best, accusing Rashim of harassing her mentally. Swayam gulped down all the allegations because he did not want any trouble with the authorities before the maid left. He wanted to get it over with soon. Rashim, who had later learnt that Leela could read and write Hindi, was unwilling to take any more allegations and fought back. Swayam held her back because if they ended up with a dispute, it could prolong and create more worry. Back at their house in Dubai, Angad was running around unaware of the developments that transpired during the day. Leela’s bag was packed and she was more than thrilled to leave. She received several calls on her mobile from ‘friends’ in Dubai and she received them with the enthusiasm of a child who had been ‘rewarded for a good deed’. Rashim looked on with disbelief because Leela had accused her of not teaching her how to use the mobile. ‘What a bunch of lies she told,” Rashim told Swayam. Both gave a reassuring look to each other. They wanted to believe things might have changed for the better and this episode was not made to last long.
10 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Quality properties see increasing stability
andmark Advisory, one of the leading real estate consultancy companies in the Middle East, has released its June 2009 sales and leasing price maps for the Dubai market. A transaction-based reference for prospective buyers and leasers alike, the Dubai Price Maps continues to evidence a 180-degree turnaround from the previously supply-driven property market to the more demanddriven market. They are available now for online download, and the company’s recent price map for Abu Dhabi is also available at http://www. landmark-advisory.com. For potential home buyers, the latest price surveys indicate that ‘distressed sale’ opportunities are largely finished, as sellers refuse to lower existing prices, and buyers in some cases are paying increased rates for sought-after residential developments with limited homes available. On an average, the company anticipates further decreases in Dubai rents for the third quarter of 2009, although signs of rent stabilisation exist and some landlords are still experiencing robust demand for higher-quality rented homes in premium locations such as Jumeirah Islands and Green Community. The sharpest decline is with apartments. The combination of the economic downturn and a large quantity of high-rise apartments that were completed in 2008 has resulted in an oversupply in this segment. One notable element of the latest survey is the continual refinement of price differentiation which was previously based on factors such as location, views and the quality of finishing. Now, environmental factors are influencing consumer decisionmaking; for example, units in close proximity to high voltage power lines are renting for lower rates than similar units located farther from power sources.
Sales Guide - June 2009 (Sales Rates in Dubai) Apartments (AED / FT)
Project CENTRAL DUBAI Palm Jumeirah Dubai International Financial centre Dubai Marina The Greens The Views Jumeirah Lake Towers Jumeirah Beach Residence Jumeirah Village Business Bay Old Town Rest of Downtown Burj Dubai TECOM EAST DUBAI International City Dubai Silicon Oasis WEST DUBAI Discovery Gardens Green Community SOUTH DUBAI Motor City Dubai Sports City Studio 850 - 1,000 750 - 1,400 900 - 1,100 1,000 - 1,600 700 - 900 1,000 - 1,300 700 - 900 850 - 900 900 - 1,100 1,100 - 3,000 800 - 1,000 590 - 800 550 - 750 450 - 660 700 - 750 680 - 800 600 - 700 1Bed 700-1,400 850 - 1,000 750 - 1,450 900 - 1,100 900 - 1,500 650 - 900 850 - 1,250 550 - 800 850 - 900 900 - 1,100 1,100 - 3,000 800 - 1,000 550 - 800 650 - 750 600 - 700 700 - 750 680 - 700 600 - 800 2Bed 750-1,500 800 - 1,000 700 - 1,400 900 - 1,000 900 - 1,450 650 - 900 850 - 1,300 550 - 750 850 1,100 900 - 1,000 1,050 - 3,000 900 - 1,100 550 - 750 650 - 750 750 - 900 590 - 700 600 - 800 3Bed 750 - 1,500 800 - 1,000 700 - 1,400 900 - 1,000 900 - 1,450 650 - 850 850 - 1,100 550 - 750 750 - 1,050 900 - 1,000 900 - 3,000 900 - 1,100 650 - 750 650 - 750 750 - 800 590 - 700 500 - 750 4Bed 750 - 1,200 800 - 1,300 700 - 1,300 800 - 1,100 590 - 700 -
Villas (AED / FT)
Project CENTRAL DUBAI Palm Jumeirah Jumeirah Islands The Springs The Meadows Emirates Hills The Lakes Jumeirah Village WEST DUBAI Green Community SOUTH DUBAI Motor City Victoria Heights Dubai Sports City Arabian Ranches 2Bed 750 - 800 3Bed 900 - 1,500 750 - 1,200 900 - 1,030 550 - 650 550 - 750 750 - 900 650 - 750 700 - 900 800 - 900 4Bed 900 - 1,600 950 - 1,050 750 - 1,200 770 - 1,270 850 - 1,030 550 - 650 450 - 700 650 - 800 650 - 750 700 - 900 800 - 1,000 5Bed 950 - 1,800 950 - 1,050 1,050 - 1,440 850 - 1,030 600 - 650 475 - 600 600 - 750 680 - 900 800 - 1,000 6Bed 950 - 1,800 1,600 - 3,600 600 - 650 450 - 600 550 - 700 680 - 900 900 - 1,200
Commercial (AED / FT)
CENTRAL DUBAI DIFC 1,800 - 2,400 Jumeirah Lake Towers 700 - 850 TECOM 1,100 - 1,800 EAST DUBAI International City Dubai Silicon Oasis 500 - 750 650 - 900 SOUTH DUBAI Motor City Dubai Sports City 690 - 850 700 - 800
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 11
Leasing Guide - June 2009 (Lease Rates in Dubai) Apartments (In AED / Annum)
Project CENTRAL DUBAI Palm Jumeirah Dubai Marina The Greens The Views Jum Lake Towers Jum Beach Resi Old Town Rest of Downtown Burj Dubai Trade Centre 1&2 Al Barsha EAST DUBAI Uptown Mirdiff Mirdiff International City Warqa’a Deira-Port Saeed Bur DubaiAl Mankhool Dubai Silicon Oasis Al Qusais Al Nahda Studio 50,000-70,000 40,000-55,000 55,000-65,000 40,000-60,000 50,000-65,000 60,000-90,000 1Bed 95,000-130,000 60,000-130,000 60,000-80,000 70,000-85,000 50,000-85,000 70,000-100,000 80,000-110,000 90,000-130,000 2Bed 120,000-150,000 75,000-150,000 80,000-110,000 90,000-120,000 65,000-130,000 100,000-130,000 120,000-160,000 110,000-140,000 3Bed 150,000-220,000 110,000-200,000 125,000-140,000 150,000-160,000 110,000-150,000 120,000-155,000 165,000-200,000 140,000-190,000 4Bed 190,000-250,000 120,000-270,000 180,000-210,000 180,000-230,000
RAKIA RERA to oversee strict implementation of escrow account law
60,000-100,000 80,000-150,000 100,000-225,000 160,000-225,000 45,000-55,000 50,000-90,000 75,000-115,000 60,000-70,000 32,000-45,000 35,000-40,000 40,000-55,000 45,000-60,000 80,000-90,000 65,000-75,000 40,000-55,000 45,000-55,000 60,000-75,000 60,000-85,000 100,000-110,000 85,000-100,000 60,000-80,000 65,000-80,000 70,000-110,000 85,000-120,000 90,000-120,000 110,000-150,000 140,000-170,000
35,000-45,000 45,000-70,000 70,000-100,000 30,000-50,000 45,000-70,000 60,000-85,000 30,000-45,000 50,000-65,000 60,000-95,000 75,000-80,000 60,000-65,000 50,000-65,000 50,000-65,000 50,000-55,000 90,000-110,000 100,000-105,000 65,000-90,000 70,000-85,000 60,000-75,000
70,000-120,000 75,000-120,000 140,000-180,000 130,000 170,000-200,000 -
WEST DUBAI Green Community 55,000-60,000 The Gardens Dubai Invests Park 27,000-30,000 Discovery Gardens 35,000-45,000 International Media 30,000-35,000 Production Free Zone
Villas (In AED / Annum)
Project 2Bed 3Bed 230,000-290,000 140,000-210,000 210,000-230,000 180,000-220,000 120,000-140,000 170,000-180,000 160,000-240,000 150,000-170,000 160,000-240,000 150,000-220,000 160,000-200,00 140,000-200,000 4Bed 280,000-360,000 250,000-300,000 140,000-210,000 210,000-250,000 230,000-250,000 140,000-170,000 200,000-280,000 200,000-310,000 170,000-190,000 180,000-320,000 170,000-320,000 180,000-240,000 160,000-240,000 5Bed 6Bed CENTRAL DUBAI Palm Jumeirah Jumeirah Islands The Springs 100,000-125,000 The Meadows Emirates Hills The Lakes Jumeirah Village 95,000-135,000 Al Barsha Jumeirah (<=5yrs) Jumeirah (>5yrs) Umm Suqeim(<5yrs) Umm Suqeim(>5yrs) Al Safa (<5yrs) Al Safa (>5yrs) EAST DUBAI Mirdiff Warqa’a 95,000-110,000 350,000-475,000 450,000-575,000 280,000-330,000 260,000-300,000 280,000-320,000 600,000-900,000 600,000-1,000,000 250,000-300,000 250,000-390,000 390,000-450,000 250,000-350,000 350,000-470,000 170,000-350,000 180,000-450,000 270,000-360,000 260,000-380,000 170,000-360,000 190,000-380,000 240,000-280,000 350,000-400,000 -
100,000-160,000 120,000-200,000 160,000-300,000 120,000-140,000 130,000-170,000 170,000-200,000 160,000-200,000 190,000-230,000 250,000-290,000 -
WEST DUBAI Green Community SOUTH DUBAI Victory Heights Arabian Ranches
110,000-120,000 130,000-160,000 140,000-200,000 130,000-140,000 130,000-180,000 160,000-240,000 200,000-300,000 -
Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), the government body responsible for the socio-economic growth of the emirate, has revealed that the recent establishment of RAKIA Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) by an Emiri Decree has created a new layer of protection for real estate investors in Ras Al Khaimah, as the Agency will oversee the implementation of the escrow account law for freehold projects under RAKIA. Several property developers have already registered their projects with RAKIA RERA. Developers may only register when the project’s concept design has been approved, which will allow them to open an escrow account and start selling properties. RAKIA RERA will oversee the proper conduct of construction by sending out a team of engineers to inspect projects and make sure that the emirate’s construction policy and the key points in the contract are strictly followed. Eng. Yahia Kambris, General Manager, RAKIA RERA, said: “The escrow account has been implemented to prevent mishandling of construction funds and ensure that investors’ money is spent according to the master plan of the project. The establishment of the new real estate watchdog is an important step in our efforts to safeguard and protect the interest of investors and reinforce the reputation of Ras Al Khaimah as an attractive and practical investment destination in the region.” Among the developers that have registered with RAKIA RERA are Select Group, the developer of Pacific; Manazil Real
12 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Artistic impression of Ajman Uptown
Estate, which is developing Marbella Bay; Pure Real Estate, developer of Blue Mirage; Stallion Properties, which is developing Santorini; and e-myproperty, developer of Bab Al Badr. Yes Properties, developer of The Quay, is now completing the registration process and will soon open an escrow account. Several banks, including Badr Al Islami-Mashreq, Bank of Baroda, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank, have also signed an agreement with RERA to offer escrow accounts.
Ajman to add 150,000 housing units within next 3 years
Approximately 150,000 housing units will be completed in Ajman within the next three years, according to estimates by leading industry sources. This includes high profile residential properties such as the luxurious villas within ‘Ajman Uptown’ and state-of-the-art apartments within ‘Rainbow Towers’.
As the company behind both projects, Sweet Homes Holdings (SHH), a leading UAE-based developer and multi-service provider to the real estate sector, has announced that it will be one among the few real estate players who will be able to deliver projects from its portfolio by 2010. In line with the regulations set by the Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Authority (ARRA), Sweet Homes Holdings has recently announced that it has signed an agreement with Dubai Islamic Bank for the escrow accounts of its ‘Ajman Uptown’ and ‘Rainbow Towers’ projects. This follows the developer’s registration with the ARRA, which made it one of the first master developers to adhere to the rules set by the newly-formed agency. Furthermore, SHH has taken on all aspects of development within ‘Ajman Uptown’, with its construction arm - Sweet Homes General Contracting (SHGC) undertaking the Dh2.2 billion main contract, as well as the project’s initial groundworks. “Although we are undoubtedly affected by the slump, we remain steadfast in our commitment to hit our delivery
targets for our projects, and we are taking all necessary measures to cultivate investor trust and confidence,” said Fahad Sattar Dero, CEO, Sweet Homes Holdings. “As a leading master developer of one of the biggest community development projects in Ajman, we have promptly completed most of the necessary steps to comply with ARRA’s regulations.” Sweet Homes Holdings further revealed that ‘Rainbow Towers’ is witnessing exceptional progress, and that they are on track to deliver the project by 2010. The most recent developments in the project’s construction is the awarding of the main contract to Sharjah-based Master Civil Construction Company (MCC) for three of the nine 31-storey residential buildings (B10, B14 and B15), which comprise the entire project. The developer also pointed towards its successful partnerships with construction firms, suppliers and subcontractors, including world-class architectural firm Eng. Adnan Saffarini Office as the primary consultant for the projects as vital contributors to the steady progress of the projects.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 13
By Kevin Abdulrahman
14 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
t is said that the cheapest commodity in this world is people’s opinion because everyone has a truckload to give away. The sad part that fuels this phenomenon is that it’s free, and, unfortunately, most of it is worth its weight in rubbish. Every Tom, Dick and Harriet has something to say. You can’t stop people from giving opinions, but you sure can choose how to deal with them.
Here’s the bottomline. You are in control. You choose whether to accept those opinions or not. You choose whether you let what Tom says affect you and you choose whether Dick’s criticisms makes you feel down and out. You choose whether what Harriet thinks of you affects how you do your business. Always consider this—if those people giving you their opinions don’t have what you want or aren’t where you want to be, then why should you accept their opinions? Just think about it. Why take their opinion if that’s all they are giving away? Someone might think that it’s a good idea for you to jump off a cliff, but would you do it? Someone else might think that it’s a good idea for your child to hang around street gangs, but would you agree to it? One person might think your spouse isn’t the right person for you, but would you swap? (Some of you might !) Another might not like the shirt you’re wearing, but would you let others choose your clothes for you? Isn’t it interesting that most poor people like to give their advice on how to make money and become rich? Isn’t it interesting that most people will tell you how to have a successful relationship when they’re going through their eleventh spouse? Isn’t it interesting how many will commentate on an athlete’s performance as they are watching the game on television from their couch? I have always asked myself—and, at times, challenged some friends who wanted to give me their opinions, to answer this question: I would say something like “I like to have a lavish time free life so I will need a fair amount of money to keep me happy. Being the spontaneous person that I am, I could be in New York one day and feel like sitting on the beautiful sands in the Gold Coast of Australia the next. I could be walking on the Great Wall of China midweek and then want to head to Pisa to admire the leaning tower for the weekend. I want to be able to give my family whatever they need, without a blink. That would cost a lot purely in monetary terms. You are suggesting very strongly that I do not do this project, so, would you be able to wire the funds that I require into my account every year?” To this, every friend would stutter and then always say, “No.” (Can’t seem to find one that will take the bait)
I would turn around and say, “So if you can’t give me what I want, would you be kind enough not to give me your opinions either? I am an all or nothing guy; how about you give me all or nothing.” I never hear their opinion from that point on. It’s a bit harsh, but it helped me stay focused. I want you to imagine shopping for groceries at your local supermarket. You want some fruit, vegetables, milk, orange juice, and some pasta for dinner. You enter armed with your list, knowing exactly what you need to buy. But is what you want all that there is on offer in the supermarket? Oh no. Supermarkets are great at strategically displaying thousands of products, all to tempt you to pick them up off the shelves. Let me ask you, how many times have you fallen for this marketing ploy? How many times have you ended up buying things that were not on your shopping list, things that you had no intention of buying? Those products did not just jump off the shelf and into your basket (although at times it feels like it). Those who are on a strict budget and those who are serious about going in and getting out are usually the best at avoiding this trap. They simply go in, buy what they come for, and leave—mission accomplished. Your life is like going through a supermarket. It’s filled with people’s opinions. It’s completely up to you what ends up in your basket, which will determine what you take through the checkout with you. Successful people have mastered the art of being able to keep opinions shelved with the owner. They only listen to the right people in the right field. Just because someone has an opinion doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Successful people are good at becoming unaffected by opinions, good or bad. They go with what they have set out to do. They go with their shopping list. Again, we don’t let others choose the clothes we wear. We don’t let others choose our spouse, the sport we play, or our friends. Therefore, never let someone else choose how you should live or what you should do with your life. You are not disrespecting anyone; you’re just choosing not to take in the opinions others are offering—it’s that simple. George Burns, an actor and comedian
once said, “Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.” We can’t help how many opinions are made available to us, especially in this day and age. When each person seems to want to offload a dozen opinions at a time, we have the choice to buy into their opinions or let them slip away at the same speed that they come toward us. Fear and personal limitations rule most people’s realities. People give you their opinions based on their own fears. They will talk you out of an idea or a venture you might be planning. They are unable to see what you see. They will not have your skill set, talent and knowledge. They will have their own set of limitations. Unfortunately, these people are often those who are the closest to you. They don’t really want to do you harm, but in most instances, they have absolutely no clue about what they are talking about. If they did, they would be doing something more active with their lives rather than giving their opinion. Kevin Abdulrahman is an international author of the book on Winning The Game Of Life. He is also a world class inspirational keynote speaker, a sought after mind nutrition expert and a mind coach to the elite in every field. Kevin provides customised trainings to his clients including individuals, teams, companies and athletes who want to catapult from where they are, to where they should and want to be. If you want to go from Good to Great, you can log on to www.MeetWithKevin. com
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 15
What’s in a brand?
Linda Benbow met twenty-something Charmaine D’Souza, the Founder and Design Director of her own branding and communication company
Have you always been ‘arty’? I have always loved doodling, clay modelling and painting. My mum helped me cultivate my talent by taking me for different classes over the weekend when I was a child. At exam time, even if a student finished the exam paper earlier than the alloted time, you had to sit in the examination hall till the bell rang. I was a fairly good student so once I’d finished answering my paper quickly, I’d sketch trendy outfits on the four margins of my question 16 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009 paper. I guess I always had a creative outlook of objects and my growing years have shaped it further. Having said that, branding isn’t just about the creative ... it is a balance of art and science, rationale and aesthetics, and it is this combination that attracted me to the discipline. At what age did you realise that you could earn money from your design work? During Grade 10, I heard about the option of doing design straight after Grade 10. That route sounded quite exciting because till then, I hadn’t made up my mind... there were just too many options but none that interested me. I eventually decided that design school is what it is, hence enrolled and got through the Foundation Studies at Srishti, School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. After a year at design school, I started freelancing, at the age of 16. Initially, these projects
were exciting because I liked meeting new people and earning extra money. In hindsight, I realise that those were the crucial years that prepared me for life after academia. It’s strange - people know the value of experiential real life learning and yet you hardly see it being focused upon in school. It’s all theory for students till they graduate and thrown into the career world mostly without any tools to equip them for the future. What did you do about it? Over time, the word spread through friends, family, clients and faculty - so more projects came my way; and I did projects over weekends and vacations. I did have my personal time and travel time, but I also enjoyed these projects and it was never ‘work’ for me. I had my network in place by the time I graduated, but I still wanted to work for a firm so I joined the best branding firm in India. While I enjoyed the experience, there was this energy to innovate and create initiatives by experimenting and thinking-outof-the-box constantly, the result of which was absolutely fructifying. I would deeply contemplate that if there is so much I can do for a firm on the firm’s payroll, I could certainly do a lot more on my own; and “voila” - the journey began. What type of designer are you (interior, exterior, buildings, products, etc)? I’m a branding and communication designer. Which basically means that I help clients create/revamp a brand, deploy it into the market effectively and continue to assist them manage their brand once it is in the public domain. Each client is different and therefore their needs are different. I collaborate with clients constantly to strategise and design the best and most effective way for them, given their constraints, to build a relationship with their clients/customers as well as their employees. Name some of your clients and the type of work you did for them in India. One of my first clients was the Alliance Française de Bangalore and French Embassy in India. From there, the word spread. A few of my other clients in Bangalore were Unilever, Decathlon, Pernod Ricard, Nrityagram (the only dance vil-
lage in the world), Trilegal (one of India’s best law firms), Ally Matthan (perfumery), Young Entrepreneur’s Organisation and World President’s Organisation. Why did you decide to come to Dubai? In a nutshell... the lifestyle. The dream. The promise. My consultancy in Bangalore was starting to grow but I could see a number of roadblocks on the way for a balanced life: lack of infrastructure, increasing noise, air and visual pollution levels, lifestyle deterioration. Dubai, on the other hand, was creating a platform for success and a wonderful cultural avenue as well as a better lifestyle, so I decided to make the move. Today, I know for sure it’s the right move. Name some of your clients and the type of work you did for them in Dubai. Once I moved to Dubai, I worked for a while with one of the leading branding firms here in the region. With them, I had the opportunity to work on some of the best brands in the region. I was part of a small team that worked on the rebranding of Burj Al Arab and other branding projects for University Hospital, Mizin, Southern Sun Hotels, to name a few. I set up my own practice here in Dubai Media City in November last year. I worked in collaboration with Sareem to design the visual language for Enshaa and assist the Swedish Trade Council with their communication. Presently,
I’m doing very interesting branding work for a cultural organisation and a financial advisory. What other kinds of design work do you do? While my focus is branding, my understanding and expertise are also in the area of online experiences, usability, persuasive architecture and social marketing. This helps me provide holistic advice to my clients. Bearing in mind the current economic climate, what would you advise potential clients? I recently read this “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Stay conscientious of your brand promise. This focus will not only make you stand out and get noticed, it will also help build valuable meaningful relationships, and in today’s markets, branding and visibility isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity. Find relevant and appropriate ways of getting to your audience - customers and employees alike... and once they are with you, service/take care of them as best as you can. Do you have a website? My firm’s website is “http://aecadesign. com/” \t “_blank” aecadesign.com My personal one is “http://charmainedsouza.com/” \t “_blank” charmainedsouza.com
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 17
PEARLS IN RAK
Return of the
The pearling crew at work, photo courtesy of Ali Omar
Ras Al Khaimah-based company is on a mission to revive UAE’s historic tradition of pearling
By Manju Ramanan
t was a special ingredient in the legendary Cleopatra’s beauty therapy. She is famed to have had a pearl a day, dissolved in vinegar, to preserve her beauty. Pearl dust has also been used as an antidote to prevent ageing and is an aphrodisiac. Niche garments targeting the privileged use pearl dust as an ingredient to signify luxury and panache. Quite like gold dust, pearl dust is an edible condiment that could be sprinkled off a vial into a bubbly or dessert to give it a shimmering lustre. So varied is its use that, over the years, the pearl has traversed from its vanity precincts to enter the lexicon as a metaphor for wisdom, purity, value etc. Here, in the UAE, however, pearls are inextricably linked to the region’s history of pearling – one of the major traditional vocations of the past. It is a common sight in nearly all museums of the UAE – a pearl diver’s costume, old photographs of the pearling crew on the job, various implements and equipment used by the diver including his diving outfit, his nose clips, his leather gloves, the rope used by the crew to lower him into the depths of the ocean, various pearl sieves that would separate the big pearls and the tiny ones, etc. In the 1930s, after Japan introduced cultured pearls into the market, the UAE pearl industry suffered a backlash and the vocation sank into oblivion – resurfacing occasionally at heritage villages, in narration about the region’s glorious heritage, in jewellery collections of the rich and famous, in reference books or in google searches about the country’s rich past. But now, thanks to the efforts of a few pearl enthusiasts, who want to revive the centuries old tradition, pearling, that once used to be the region’s main economy, is seeing a revamp from a country responsible for its downfall. Ras Al Khaimah based Abdulla Rashid Al Suwaidi and Imura Daiji, from Mie Prefecture, Japan, are busy reviving a tradition that binds both the countries together. For Rashid Al Suwaidi, CEO of the Emirates and Japan Pearl Cultivation and Trading Company (EJPCTC), the project is not merely to generate money but to revive an important industry that contributed greatly in shaping the cultural, social and economic heritage of this part of the world. Daiji, the COO and Partner of the company is based in Ras Al Khaimah looking after the pearl farm. In 2002, they started investigating the possibility of establishing a pearl oyster farming industry in Al Rams area, located to the north of RAK and conducted an on-the-spot inspection of the site when they discovered the existence of natural pearl shells. Further studies revealed the suitability of sea conditions, temperature and humidity levels in the area - an encouraging factor that gave a good start for the project which started in September 2005. The area’s untouched and clean environment helped to yield strong and healthy shell fish, unlike the case in Japan which is now witnessing a slump in the cultured pearls industry. The farm currently has several thousands of shellfish and plans are underway to reach a total capacity of one million oysters. There are plans to establish an academy to teach local people about the pearl industry besides the establishment of the second largest pearl museum in the world, the first being in Japan.
Retrieving precious pearls
Postal stamps of the UAE that commemorate pearl diving
Pearls being weighed. They were originally thought to be drops of moonlight or tear drops of the Gods
18 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Divorce among Emiratis is seeing a downslide
By Manju Ramanan
he reasons cited for divorce are similar throughout the world. The three main reasons couples tend to have increased marital conflict stems from basic issues like money, sex and communication. Additionally, there could be a history of distress and abuse in the family, relationships, transitional crisis, changing financial situations and ineffective communication. Not long ago, the UAE had the largest number of divorces in the region, but now, there has been a decrease in the trend. Devika Singh, psychologist and marriage therapist from the Divorce Support Group, Dubai (housed at the Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre at Zabeel) feels that marriage guidance plays a part in the decrease; so does the current financial situation. “Marriage counselling works wonders if both the partners are ready to come for sessions with the counsellor and are open to advice,” she states. An Emirati couple in their late 50s was referred to her by their family physician after they reported a largely satisfying relationship except over the last year. The couple was mostly unaware of the source of their marital distress, but an evaluation revealed their difficulties became more pronounced after their third child left for university and left behind an empty nest. Since life with the children was so busy, they didn’t focus on each other as much as they had in the past years. Getting to a better understanding of the common feelings associated with this new life cycle phase for their family, they re-focussed on their individual interests and psychological processes of dealing with this situation and they managed to redefine their mar-
riage in a positive way. Devika Singh answers a few questions on the decreasing trend of divorces among Emiratis. What do you think are the reasons in the slump in divorce rates among Emiratis? There are many reasons for the decreasing trend. There is an increased awareness of relationship issues that typically arise and the problems associated with them if not addressed. The global financial situation plays its part since these times make it difficult to divorce if you look at it from a financial perspective. The current situation is bringing some families closer together where they can identify a common goal and support each other through these undeniably difficult times. Have you seen an increase in Emiratis taking to marriage counselling? Why? From my experience, I have seen a 36 per cent increase in Emiratis who come in
‘I do’ want to stay married
for marriage counselling at my practice, out of which 29 per cent agree they need to be there for mutual contribution to the issue. This is in contrast with some cases where one partner thinks the relationship needs help and the other doesn’t. It goes without saying that this affects the level of commitment to the therapeutic process. Most of the Emirati couples I meet, want to enrol in the Relationship Enhancement Programme which is an interactive research-based relationship skills programme. Some couples come to the programme before they are married, after an engagement, to take part in our pre-marital counselling which has shown to lower the risk of marital distress and divorce. Do you see more awareness in terms of cases of domestic violence and women’s rights among the Emirati population? Yes, this is a real issue that is being talked about more openly now, especially in the media. I think this has helped a great deal. Is there more tolerance today among married couples? I wouldn’t say tolerance but there is more awareness today that guides behaviours and perceptions differently. The issues couples face is the same, mostly unchanged from a decade ago. It is how they are dealt with, that makes the difference.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 19
Ditching the lay-off blues
The buzzword these days is ‘recession’. The credit crunch has affected our personal lives more than the global market. However, there can be no time better than this to invest in yourself, realises Heena Aswani
ake up -10am, Breakfast12noon, on the couch with the TV- 1pm to 5pm, dog walk- 6pm, laptop- 9pm. Many of us right now, have this routine, not because we love it, but the day seems much longer if, we are out of bed early. What we are talking about is Redundancy. Perhaps many readers are familiar with ‘The Donkey’s Story’, but still read on. Once, a farmer’s donkey fell into a well. Since the farmer was unable to bring him out, plus he realised that the animal was old and not much use, he decided to give him a decent burial. He got a shovel and began to dump dirt in the well. Some neighbours helped him too. Initially, when the donkey realised what was happening to him, he wailed, then after a while he became silent. After a few more shovel loads, to everyone’s astonishment, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off. With every shovel of dirt thrown at him, he would shake it off and take a step up on it. The more dirt that was thrown on him, the higher he raised himself. The moral of the story is simple and is for you to decide and act upon. It is natural for people to lose their selfconfidence along with their jobs. Nevertheless, let us not be upset for too long; and make efforts to move on. While most of us have been victims of recession, one thing
we can still hang on to is hope. The market might take a 360-degree turn and soon you will be in a new workplace, wondering about the free time you had and all you did was laze around. For a while, close your eyes and go back to your childhood days when we were content playing, dreaming and being happy with no clue as to where the world was heading. Of course, at this stage of life, we cannot detach ourselves from the world, but what we have forgotten are our dreams- to be a horse-jockey, air hostess, model, singer and lots more. Due to either financial strain or parental advice, our dreams never came to actualisation. However, there can be no better time than this to just pause and reflect on your life. Do what you always wanted to do and be where you always wanted to be. Shake yourself out of your cosy bed because there is a lot to do besides bemoaning your retrenchment. A combination of any three activities mentioned below should keep you away from gloom; make your days more worthwhile and your CV more appealing.
Back to School
If you want to do a favour to your curriculum vitae, and are financially stable, then get yourself a Master’s degree. After all, post-graduation goes a long way and your work experience should be backed by academic qualification. Maybe, even
if only to prove your self-worth, turning towards studies is a decision you will be proud about. Rekindle your interest in studies and get used to assignments, which you will not regret with the vast availability of academic courses in Dubai. Are you worrying that you will be among students much younger in age than you? Relax, many people find their niche only in their thirties and beyond. Most universities here have students from various nationalities and varying ages. Besides there is no agebar on learning. Whichever field or industry you belong to; there is a probably a Masters programme available. British University in Dubai, located in Dubai Knowledge Village, offers Master of Science in Information Technology, Master of Science in Information Technology Management and Master of Education. American University in Dubai, provides MBA in specialisations like International Finance and Marketing, Health Care Management, and Management of Construction Enterprises. If you belong to the media industry, then Murdoch University should be your choice. It is located in Dubai Academic City and offers post-graduate courses in Media Production, Public Relations and Journalism. Heriott-Watt University, from United Kingdom, has a range of PG courses like E-commerce, Petroleum Engineering plus Real Estate Management
20 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
project reaching out to labourers. You can help by volunteering for their Friday collections or labour camp visits. If you love pets, then visit the centre for K9 Friends and Feline Friends, which are Dubaibased non-profit organisations that care for abandoned canine and feline populations in the UAE.
Follow your passion
Going with the flow is often easy to do and keeps us happy. On the other side, it is flowing against the current that is difficult and not fun. Each of us has a passion that might not be very well developed, yet is close to our heart. Be it singing, painting or photography, you can make it big in life by having zest and faith in yourself. Probably, you will not have a Maserati in your driveway but what really matters is that you will be doing something you like. Life will be more pleasurable if our work and passion coincide. For music lovers, The Music Institute, situated in Dubai Knowledge Village, provides classes for singing and all music instruments. If you are looking forward to polishing your skills in painting, photography, interior designing, auto CAD and photoshop, then The Lotus Institute, Knowledge Village, offers all of this as well as some other courses. If your ‘thing’ is production, then I suggest contacting SAE Institute, which has courses like film production, audio production, interactive animation and applied multimedia.
Networking & Socialising
people. Everyone attending these events, has the same idea of building new contacts, thus all are approachable. Communities like Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai Marina, Springs and JBR have social groups that get together on weekends for a game of cards or a round of drinks. You can enter these circles by joining their online forum and visiting their fun events.
Get up, dress up and dash out to one of those community parties you have been putting off for months. If business is low and work is slow, one thing you can catch up on is meeting people. A social circle can be much more than weekend dinners. So, associate with new people and build contacts. Do not worry, there are many more frogs in the same well as you. This is an easy time to either catch up with old friends or rub elbows with new ones. Contact Networking is a networking community open to all with no bar, and is a good stage to mingle with like-minded
My final tip towards time utilisation is travelling. The recession has come with its pros and cons, and one advantage is reduced airfares to various destinations. With the previous stretch of hours at work you would not have been able to give enough time to spouse and home. So, be glad for this break, pack your bags, escape the heat and get away! Be it Bahamas or Maldives, de-stress yourself by going for a holiday. Perhaps things will not be perfect once you are back, but you will be rejuvenated enough to take on whatever comes next.
Is life all about ‘I, Me, Myself’? Not always. As the saying goes “Happiness is like a perfume; It cannot be sprinkled on others without dropping a little on oneself.” I do not know the person who quoted this, but I definitely know he is right. In the most troubled times, try reaching out to someone else as a helping hand. Take my word, the smile on the other person’s face will make your day. Good work is not only about donation and charity; you can also volunteer. Make-A-Wish Foundation aims at fulfilling wishes of children with life threatening diseases. You can volunteer at fundraising events and community activities, as well as spend some time with the children. A smile from the dying child will bring more than just joy and peace in your life. Helping Hands UAE, is a charitable
• British University in Dubaiwww.buid.ac.ae • American University in Dubaiwww.aud.edu • Murdoch University Dubaiwww.murdochdubai.com • Heriot Watt University Dubaiwww.hw.ac.uk • The Music Institutewww.themusic-uae.com • The Lotus Institutewww.lotus.ae
• SAE Institutewww.sae-dubai.com • Make a Wish Foundationwww.makeawish.ae • Helping Hands Dubaiwww.helpinghandsuae.com • K9 Friendswww.k9friends.com • Feline Friendswww.felinefriendsdubai.com • Contact Networkingwww.cnetdubai.com
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 21
Selling in today’s hyper-competitive climate
By Hamed Al Tamami
our sales team is telling you that it’s extremely competitive out there today - and they’re right. Between the challenging economy and the layoffs you hear about daily, the world your reps are selling in has changed dramatically. Even with all these factors, there is still a good deal of business out there in every sector. The question is how to compete in this hyper-competitive climate. The following list can help your team get their fair share and more. Back to the Well. The old saying “take care of your customers or someone else will” is worth paying attention to. Make sure that your reps are in touch with your customers regularly, preferably face-to-face. Your reps are in essence reselling their value to each and every client. If issues are uncovered during these visits, all the better. You have time to fix them. Your goal is to make sure that each and every client you have is ‘safe’ from the competition. Date with your Database. Next step is to have each of your reps schedule a date with their database. Ask them to segment their prospect list into good old-fashioned A-B-C accounts. A- accounts are the high potential accounts that are a good fit with your firm, they meet your highest criteria. B- accounts have good potential but are not quite meeting all your criteria; they may be a bit geographically inconvenient, or not quite as big as you want, but still well worth the effort. C- accounts just make the scale; you’ll take them if they come to you, but they are not worth much proactive outbound effort from your sales team. Once the list is segmented, sit down with each rep and ask them to go through every A account and discuss the potential in the account. Be real, you can’t take hope to the bank. When done correctly, the three lists typically shift a bit and your final outcome
will be a solid account list. Sharpen Your Message. As your reps make the rounds with existing clients and embark on additional new business development, it’s critical that your message in the marketplace is consistent and clear. One company that I worked with realised after studying their complete database that they indeed had two new opportunities. One included a new product line that they’d had excellent results with over the past year, but had not put any effort into new business deals. They now need to go to the market with a clear answer to my favourite question: “Based on all my options, why should I do business with you?” The preparation for this company is to sharpen their value message and differentiate their approach to effectively gain market share. The second opportunity came from looking at their core business and finding a parallel user they had not previously invested time selling to. These are the gems you want to uncover. The Secret Weapon. Finally, after all the analysis and prep work, it’s time to take out your secret weapon - your sales reps. The more hyper competitive the
business climate, the more you and your competitors begin to look alike. To beat the competition, your sales team has to be better. It’s that simple. How your reps act, how smart they are, how strategic their questions are, how customer focused they are, these are the key elements that tip the scales ever so slightly in your favour. It’s time to give your reps every advantage you can. Cross train, share ideas, brainstorm, share resources and challenge them. Teach your people how to be the best there is. Take this very seriously because many of your reps have been selling in a different world for the past few years and they must understand how to adapt to the new requirements. This is the beginning. It’s back to basics and adding the polish to be the best. The winners in today’s hyper competitive business world are those that embrace the need to upgrade, enhance, and recommit to the excellence that got them where they are. (Hamed Al Tamami is the Managing Director of Future Match HRC, a member firm of PI WorldWide, a global consultancy which helps organisations align people with their business strategies. The clients, who used Predictive Index include: Emirates-NBD, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, AGMCBMW Dubai, Kanoo Maersk, Spinneys, Landmark Group, Rotana Hotels and many more.)
22 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
A smashing summer
Various fun-filled activities are on for kids throughout the UAE to make the lengthy summer months engaging
By Ambily Vijaykumar
ummers can be a trial of patience not only because of the heat, but also because of kids. With a long holiday break staring them in the face and zero outdoor activities possible in the scorching heat, parents who stay in the country because of work commitments are generally ragging their brains to keep their children gainfully occupied during the summer months. To address this growing concern of parents, various holiday activities have been organised across many schools, nurseries and institutions. Here’s an overview of what a few of them are doing this summer.
The Big House of Fun, Sharjah
The Al Qasba Development Authority has begun its summer treat in Sharjah with various activities and competitions lasting till July 25. The tent activities start at five in the evening and go on till eleven at night. The air-conditioned tent is divided into various sections namely the stage, the fun zone and shop sections that include a variety of shops selling toys, stationery and entertaining games. Part of the activities include educational workshops, teaching children as well as adults the importance of adopting an environmentally friendly approach to life with scientific facts about our earth. Various art and craft workshops are also being held.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 23
Summer in Abu Dhabi
Just a year old and this family festival held in the national capital, is already a massive hit. It is held at ADNEC and runs through the month of July until August 13. The activities begin at 12 noon every day and last till 12 midnight. The event comprises a total of 38 activities, ten more than last year, and each activity has been divided into individual themed islands each with a unique flavour and focus. The five themed islands comprise: Science & Technology; Adventure; Art, Culture & Heritage; Sports; and Entertainment, each with a host of engaging activities for family edutainment and fun. Three world-class entertainment productions – a magic show by a renowned magician, a branded ice show, and a top-name circus – are also the other star attractions.
Sharjah Ladies Club
The Sport Summer Camp is on at the Sharjah Ladies Club till August 12. The camp runs from Sunday to Wednesday between 9am and 12.30pm. Kids are split into different age groups and the programme includes a wide choice of activities and weekly trips. Fees are Dh100 for one day, Dh600 for 2 weeks, Dh900 for 4 weeks, Dh1,200 for 6 weeks, and Dh1,600 for 8 weeks (plus one week free). For more information, call 06-5067838 or 06-5067773
youth camps, awareness campaigns and joint programmes organised in collaboration with various government departments. Other subsidiary camps of this year’s Rashid Summer Camp are being organised in Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. One of the attractions of the camp is the sports activities that include horse riding, shooting and swimming skills. Other programmes include cultural, educational and recreational activities aimed at keeping students busy during their summer vacation. Apart from the fun, students are also being exposed to new skills and behavioural and physical development programmes in a fun environment.
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and swimming, to arts and crafts, drama, ICT and languages, in some centres. Children get the opportunity to choose the activities they wish to participate in and there are also a number of fun games, competitions and quizzes. Children will meet new friends, enjoy a professional camp, experience a different way of learning, and above all, come away with great memories. All lead teachers are highly experienced and qualified coaches or teachers. The camp is priced at Dh750 per child. Libra is running its camps at the following Taaleem schools in the UAE: Dubai British • School – Emirates Hills Greenfield Community School – Dubai Investments Park Al Mizhar Academy for Girls – Al Mizhar/Mirdiff Uptown High School – Muhaisnah/ Mirdiff Raha International School – Abu Dhabi
If you fear that your child might become a couch-potato this summer, then the E-Sports Summer camp should be your choice. E-Sports holiday camps across Dubai provide activities in a fun, qualified and safe environment. Children can participate in more than 30 different activities including climbing, music and information technology while having a lot of fun. Qualified teachers and instructors assure you that your kids are in safe hands. For more information, call 042824540 or visit www.esportsdubai.com
Libra Summer Camps
The Libra Group has come up with summer solutions for children who find it difficult to contain their restlessness with the rising heat and humidity and lack of open spaces. The camps are open for kids aged between five and 14. With a highly qualified team of teaching and coaching professionals, Libra claim they are taking summer camps to the next level. They provide all participants with age appropriate fun learning activities in a safe environment. The two-week programme comprises three to four activities per day ranging from team sports, gymnastics
Rashid Summer Camp
The camp is on at the Hobbies Club’s Rashid Scouts Camp on Al Aweer Road in Dubai till July 20. Established in 1996, the Hobbies Club is the region’s oldest educational and sporting club that aims to support national youth and encourage young men and women to explore their hobbies by getting involved in sporting, recreational and educational activities through a range of educational courses,
Dubai Holiday Camps
The Dubai Holiday Camps being sponsored by Kellogg’s runs from Sunday to Thursday till August 20 for children between three to 13 years of age. Activities include football, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, talent shows, arts and crafts, computers, and much more.
24 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
The programme being held at the Dubai International Academy, Emirates Hills runs from 8.15am to 1.45pm at a cost of Dh590 per week or from 8.15am to 5pm at a cost of Dh790 per week. Alternatively, Children’s City at Creek Park is offering a programme from 8.15 am to 1.45 pm at a cost of Dh450 per week. Ten per cent discount is available when booking siblings and daily booking options are also available. In addition, door-to-door transportation is available from all over Dubai; and breakfast and a healthy snack is provided. For more information call 04-3318704 or visit www. dubaiholidaycamps.com
is a new theme and new activities. Camp hours are from 9am to 1pm and days are flexible so that you can enrol your child for 3, 4 or 5 days per week. Fees are Dh200 and Dh195 (members) for a single day, Dh370 and Dh350 (members) two days per week, Dh700 and Dh680 (members) four days per week, and Dh1,020 and Dh995 (members) six days per week. My Gym is located on Jumeirah Beach Road. Call 04-3943962 or visit www.mygym for further details.
to Thursday during July. Classes have a maximum of 16 students. Handpicked and fully trained tutors work with the young students to encourage creativity and experimentation.
Eton institute is offering summer courses for kids from four to 15 years at Knowledge Village. Parents can enrol their children in a variety of summer activities from languages to computer courses. Classes are conducted between 3pm to 4pm every day from Sunday to Thursday, five days a week for three weeks. Language courses are offered in English, Arabic, Spanish, French and German, and children are placed in groups aged from 4 to 7 years and 8 to 11 years. Teenagers aged between 12 and 15 can take advantage of the combination of languages and computer courses in web design or flash animation. For further details, call toll free on 8003866 or visit www.eton.ac
Summer camps at Fun City promises to be one to remember. Located at various places across the region, the camps are offering various activities including arts and crafts, martial arts, interactive cooking, competitions, music and dance, children’s theatre, group games, science experiments and outdoor field trips. Programmes run for children aged 3 to 8 years till August 19 from Sunday to Wednesday from. Fees range from Dh125 for one day, to Dh350 for one week (four sessions) and Dh1,000 for one month (16 sessions). Siblings get a 50 per cent discount. Lunch and snacks are included and transportation is available, though charges do apply. For more information, visit www.funcity-fec.com.
Jumeirah International Nursery
Jumeirah International Nursery, Al Safa Branch, has created a summer camp programme for children from five years of age and below. This popular camp will run until August 27 and timings are from 8am to 12.30pm, including late stay classes. For further information, call 04-3945567 Al Safa branch, or 04-3499065 Al Wasl branch, or visit wwwjinschools.com.
Ductac’s Summer Camp
summercamp@DUCTAC allows young budding artists to escape the summer heat, get messy and enjoy a medley of activities from acrylic painting and pottery to drawing and card-making and lots of other fun projects. The emphasis is on edutainment – learning with lots of fun thrown in. There is also an emphasis on developing new skills and building confidence meeting new friends and learning new things. Children aged 6 – 14 years are split into three different age groups, and the courses run weekly from Sunday
My Gym summer camps
My Gym’s summer camps running till September 5 are geared for children aged 3 to 8 years, with children divided into age appropriate groups for all activities. These include a half day of gymnastics, arts, crafts, science, story time, cooking, music and much more. Every week, there
Highlights of the July programme include: Mix it Up with Maria Peat – acrylic painting; Potty about Clay with Sahar Nabinik – clay making; Art Escape with Cari Murdoch and Art Escape with Reema Asnani with special emphasis on fabric, bead making, collage and glass or mirror painting. To sign up for the summercamp@ Ductac or to find out more about over 100 different workshops on offer, either call Ductac on 9714 3414777 or go to the website: www.DUCTAC.org. Course fees include a Summer Camp T-Shirt. The cost of clay and glazing of pottery (where applicable) and all necessary tools and materials are provided.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 25
Just beat it!
Vanit Sethi suggests cool ways to beat the heat this summer
rink more water: Most people think their body gets enough water. The fact is people just don’t drink enough water to keep the balance their body needs to regulate its temperature and provide the means for nutrients to travel to all their organs. In the hot summer, the simple rule is you need more water than you think you need. You lose water through urination, respiration and perspiration. Symptoms of mild dehydration include chronic pains in joints and muscles, headaches and constipation. A strong odour to your urine, along with a yellow colour indicates lack of sufficient water. Take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half – that is the number of ounces of water per day you need to drink. If you exercise, take in another eight ounce glass of water for every 20 minutes of activity. It’s a good practice to keep a water bottle on your desk and sip from it at regular intervals - it keeps hunger pangs at bay and body weight under control. Have fresh fruit juices: Do you need more liquids in summer? Sure you do, but not all liquids! Some beverages like aerated drinks and alcohol actually induce dehydration. That’s why you end up feeling more thirsty a short while after drinking them. The best option is to have fresh fruit juices or a mix of vegetablefruit juices. It’s unfortunate that sodas are more readily available than fruit juice, as their nutritional content is negligible. And they contribute to the rise in obesity all over the world, as they have huge amounts of sugar, preservatives, colourants and flavourings to make the drink taste good –addictive and unhealthy at the same time. Drinking juice, on the other hand, allows you to get sufficient amounts of certain nutrients, which the body needs in large quantities. Also, they taste much better than colas and sodas. Admit it!
Go for veggies and salads: It’s a good idea to cut down on your meat intake in summer. Doctors suggest only one meal a day with meat, and even better to go meat-less on every alternate day. For protein intake pulses and lentils, grams, chickpeas, milk and eggs are suggested. Have plenty of greens and salads (properly washed and cleaned). Green leafy vegetables deserve to be made an indispensable part of your daily menu. They are the most affordable means of nutrition and ideal for those trying to keep their weight in check. They are extremely high in mineral and vitamin content and typically low in calories. Studies indicate fresh leafy vegetables have the potential to bring down the risk of certain diseases such as breast and lung cancer. They also supply iron and calcium and protect the eyes from disorders such as cataract and age-related degeneration. Try cold-water baths: In a place like Dubai, it seems virtually impossible to even dream of a cold-water bath at any time of the day or night. But it is possible. Fill a bucket full of water at least half an hour before you plan a bath. Let the water cool due to evaporation. After a while, dip an ice pack and let it settle in the water. A little over 10-15 minutes and
26 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
you can have a refreshing cool bath with a mug. Observe how energised you feel after this. The added advantage is you can save water, as you will consume only a limited quantity, but enough for your hygienic and rejuvenation needs. Wear light cottons: Get rid of your suit and tie at least in these months. An office of executives attired in formal wear needs double the amount of air conditioning to keep the employees cool. Even in highly formal Japan, office-goers have been advised by the government to discard their suits for light cotton shirts for the sake of the environment. In much hotter Dubai, it is even more imperative to do so. Light cottons reflect heat whereas
body clocks, especially in tropical and sub-tropical countries, are adjusted to the daylight patterns. Earlier daybreaks mean you get up earlier than usual while you don’t get to bed early enough, resulting in reduced sleep. So, get to bed earlier than usual, especially on working days. On weekends, it’s good to have an hour or two of siesta to feel refreshed in the evenings. On weekdays too, it is advisable to have a catnap or a powernap. Sleeping cools down the body as your muscles and nerves relax during periods of rest. That’s the reason our bodies demand a slowing down of activity in summer. Thus, avoid hectic physical activities and late night parties. Spread white bedsheets, which give a cool feeling. Drink enough water before going to bed – helps you sleep better. Don’t eat hot meals at night as they heat your body and bring out perspiration. Have a nice wash before bedtime. Listen to soothing music: Many research studies have detailed the effects of music on the mind and body. They suggest soft classical music calms the mind while rock or techno gets you hyperactive and tense. You need soft music in sum-
possible, it helps if there are small islands of greenery around houses, communities and commercial areas. Having potted plants in apartments and small gardens in villas helps circulate cool air through the greenery. Dubai has started the green building initiative, which will see better and more efficient use of energy and other available resources in buildings. On your office desk, create a green space – some flowers or a plant. Select cool wallpapers and screensavers that highlight greenery. Cooler shades of wall colours like light blue and green are believed to save airconditioning costs as it takes lesser time to cool such rooms.
darker shades absorb heat. Lighter and colourful shades brighten up the atmosphere and are more soothing to the eyes. Avoid very tight clothing as that leads to prickly heat in humid places like the UAE. Also, don’t forget those must-have accessories: a properly adjusted hat or cap, and sunglasses. A good night’s sleep: Summer is the time you feel extremely sleepy in the afternoons while at work, but can’t get enough sleep at nights. The reason is our
mer to help you stay cool and composed. The soft and delicate strains of the violin, piano and sitar have an incredibly soothing effect. After a hard day at work, it helps if you unwind with fruit cocktails plus symphonies from Beethoven or Mozart or Ravi Shankar under subdued lighting. Just try it out and notice the effect. Stay around greenery: Most cities in the world are plagued by the heat-island effect – the abundance of concrete structures raising summer temperatures in the urban areas. Plantation of more trees helps reduce this effect. In desert cities, where wholesale greening may not be
Allow some fresh breeze: Agreed we can’t do without our ACs in this part of the world for more than six months. In summer, it’s difficult to think of a minute without them. Hot winds blow throughout the day, but late in the evenings, on some days at least, there’s a cool breeze blowing. Allow it to enter for a few minutes – it does seem better than the stale AC air. Also, it kills certain viruses that travel through AC ducts. Have a stroll in the neighbourhood park early in the mornings or late in the evenings for that essential touch with nature. It will help you stay connected with your community. Family walks too can help in bonding with your loved ones. Parks with water bodies and fountains have a refreshing effect on tired eyes and nerves.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 27
By Ambily Vijaykumar
Escape to the hills: Summer time is vacation time. Many go home as schools are closed. For those undecided, it’s a good idea to escape to the hills rather than head for the beaches. UAE’s strategic location makes it a good point to head either east or west. The nearest hill resorts in the east could be in northern India in the majestic Himalayas. Towards the west, Lebanon may be the closest to head for the hills. If you want to get further away from work-related stress in cooler climes, try Switzerland or South Africa. There is simply no better rejuvenating experience than a holiday in the hills – the invigorating mountain air, the unpolluted environment, misty meadows and the profusion of greenery do something incredibly good for your soul. If you haven’t yet been to the hills, try it out this summer.
‘Aam ka panna’ is a time tested Indian juice that keeps you on the move in summertime
The heat is on. Temperatures are climbing and so is exhaustion. Gulping water by the gallons is the swiftest way to quench thirst, but what do you do about the energy loss? Here’s a home-made solution to not just beat the heat but also keep you energised through all the running around these summer months. Aam ka Panna, roughly translated as raw mango juice, is a classic Indian summer drink that is at once tasty and soothing. Here’s how you make it: The process begins by carefully choosing raw mangoes. The trick is in
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selecting the ones that will have the right amount of pulp required for the preparation. The number of mangoes depends upon the amount of juice you wish to make. Let us, for beginner’s sake, take five raw mangoes. • Now let’s get down to making it. Peal the mangoes, cut them into pieces and boil them till they become a pulp. Turn off the gas and mix sugar depending upon how sweet you want the drink to be. Once that is done, grind approximately 10 grams of mint leaves and mix it into the pulp. Now add about one teaspoon of cumin seeds that have been roasted and ground. Follow it up by adding black salt, according to taste. Finally filter this pulp after adding sufficient water to it. Pour less water if you want the juice to be thick in consistency, and more if you want it otherwise. Store it in the refrigerator and enjoy every time you feel the need to beat the heat.
Back in India, this is considered one of the best drinks to begin a bright summer day. It keeps the stomach cool and also aids digestion with the fluctuating summer temperature.
Beat the heat events at The Walk @ JBR
The Walk, a pioneering beachfront shopping avenue managed and developed by Dubai Retail, has lined up a calendar of familyoriented activities and events at the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) to mark Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS). The beachfront retail avenue, stretching over 1.7 kilometres, will host a multitude of entertaining events including water sports, football, volleyball fields, a floating island, inflatable slides, inflatable games and spa area. The area between the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels, opposite the main JBR parking lot at the heart of the beachside development will serve as the venue for the activities. In addition to the entertainment, The Walk will also offer onsite refreshments, restaurants, and a relaxation zone with beach recliners, sun beds, beach tents, umbrellas, and other amenities for beach lovers.
28 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
vana Mazic is a personal shopper and fashion stylist living in Dubai. She will go shopping with you, advising on the best styles and colours to suit you alone. Here are a few of her suggestions for readers to look stylish and combat the heat: • Swap your little black dress for a little white one! It’s very trendy this season; slip it on over a t-shirt and leggings or wear it alone for a stroll along the shore or opt for an elegant version for the evening.
Invest in a reversible bikini - two suits in one! Start off with a darker tone then change it after a couple of days to show off. Wear a headscarf - humidity is not
only bad for your hair, but it can ruin your hairstyle too. Put on a Hermes scarf, or any other scarf so long as it is silk, and tie your hair up. It’s a chic look that protects you from the heat as well as keeping your locks under control. • Wear colourful flats - if you want to be stylish but comfortable when walking in hot weather, invest in a pair of fabulous colourful flats and add them to cropped jeans or pants with a stripy tee. They can be also stylish alternative to beach sandals. • Safari style is back! For a twist on desert cool, mix muted hues with hippie accessories like cotton scarves, fringed bags with beige short jumpsuits or safari linen dresses. It’s ideal for the hot weather. • Long dresses are always chic for summer. Everyone is wearing them now; Angelina Jolie being the queen of it. They are romantic and flattering to most body types and very comfortable in the hot weather. Match them with gorgeously embellished sandals and silk scarves when you go indoors where it is cooler. • Asymmetric dresses are a must-have for this season. Wear a one shoulder Grecian style silk dress for a stylish summer evening out! • Have one piece of tribal jewellery in your collection - tribal influences are impacting fashion this year. Accessorise yourself with jewellery made with beads, wood, bones, but don’t overdo it. Infuse them in your wardrobe for a dramatic, trendy look. • Keep yourself cool with funky hair accessories instead of putting your hair into a boring ponytail. You can use dainty clips or bright coloured chunky crocodile clips depending on how expressive you feel. Flower accessories are also big this summer, and also assist with keeping your hair under control in the heat. Ivana Mazic can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angelina Jolie in white sunglasses
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 29
Dubai Fashion Fiesta
einforcing Dubai’s reputation as a global fashion capital and a destination for global talent, Dubai Fashion Fiesta 2009 (DFF2009) - the official event of Dubai Summer Surprises 2009 (DSS 2009) opened on a glamorous note in June at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC). The four day event unveiled collections of 34 fashion designers - established and emerging - representatives of the global fashion industry. DFF saw 40 international celebrities and models infusing their international charm to 3,000 high profile audiences. Offering contemporary and classical designs, the designers enthralled the
style aficionados with elegant, exclusive ensembles. DFF 2009 trade show is targeted at the discerning regional customer keen to get a first-hand touch and feel experience of exclusive SpringSummer collections from a gifted group of designers. Additionally, a dedicated pre-function lounge area exhibited designer collections, luxury products, accessories and a diverse range of fashion related products. The brand ambassadors and spokesperson for DFF 2009 were US based Sabrina Barnett, celebrity, model, singer and designer. Larisa Katz the well known designer from Holland represented the event in Europe. Adding Bollywood glamour, DFF was graced by
internationally acclaimed actress, Miss Universe and Top Model of the World, Sushmita Sen; and award-winning actress, Manisha Koirala. Supported by a full cast of top international models and celebrities from Paris, Milan, London, New York and India the event resonated with luxury and avant-garde fashion. DFF introduced a new segment, with the aim of gestating talent. The Emerging Designer Awards aimed to foster young talented designers, providing them a unique opportunity to showcase their creations to international fashion enthusiasts. Twenty four young designers from across the world participated in a talent contest and carved a niche for themselves as they put their best feet forward.
30 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Impeccable structure, unmatched flexibility and attention to detail are the hallmarks of Kiton’s luxurious elegance. Kiton’s sartorial accomplishments are reflected in the limited production of iconic products such as the six-button doublebreasted suit with a peaked lapel. Made of vicuña, one of the world’s rarest natural fibres, the suit is meticulously hand-sewn by a team of artisans who have undergone rigorous in-house training in the Neapolitan tailoring tradition. Neapolitan tailoring is characterised by a unique method
of shoulder construction, which does not rely much on the use of padding for structure but rather involves precise cutting and sewing so that the sleeve fits more naturally into the jacket body. This ensures that the wearer can enjoy greater freedom of movement and comfort around the shoulders, neck and back. The brand’s most sought-after suit model is called the ‘K-50’ in reference to the 50 hours of work that goes into its creation. Kiton’s ready-to-wear collections are available at selected Rodeo Drive boutiques across Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
LG Electronics reveals the new face of Scarlet LCD TV
Following a heated two month competition, LG, a technology innovator in the global flat panel display market, announced the winner of their ‘New Scarlet Face Hunt’ campaign at a glamorous red carpet finale held at the Atlantis Palm Jumeriah . Andreea Rizan received the honour of fronting LG’s year long New Scarlet LCD TV campaign, having been narrowed down from an original pool of over 250 women. As a gesture of gratitude to society LG promised to donate one dirham for every public vote received to the Dubai Autism Centre. In total over 18,400 votes were received, however instead of paying the amount generated through votes, LG extended its support to the centre, upping the total amount donated to Dh50,000. Renowned Indian artist Seema Kohli was also commissioned to complete an ‘Evolution of Modern Woman’ painting to commemorate the occasion, which was auctioned on the night for Dh40,000, generating additional proceeds for Dubai
Autism Centre. In keeping with LG’s philosophy of combining advanced technology with stylish and sophisticated designs, the New Scarlet LCD TV’s unique scarlet red colour and ultra slim shape makes it an innovative fashion brand in its own right. It is the first LCD TV to feature Bluetooth connectivity, allowing
you to easily enjoy the pictures taken from your mobile phone, in turn enabling greater compatibility with mobile phones, headsets, notebooks & PCs. This, combined with a 1080p full HD picture, 39.7mm slim design and up to 75 per cent energy saving, defines the New Scarlet as the crowning combination of style and technology.”
Andreea Rizan is LG’s new New Scarlet Face
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 31
A step-by-step guide to home colouring
act – most women do not colour their hair at home because they are worried they will get it wrong. The truth is that colouring your hair at home is one of the easiest beauty rituals to do – all it takes is a little know-how, the right tools and enthusiasm. To celebrate the launch of the revitalised Koleston Kit with a premium gloss treatment, Wella has put together some easy steps that any woman can follow to get her hair perfectly coloured at home Step 1 – Where to Start? If you know you want to colour your hair, it’s important to know which colour you want to choose. Depending on if you want to go for a radical change or just touch up your roots, your choice can be made easier by the shade palettes provided at the supermarkets. Step 2 – Opening the Box The box you purchase will contain a few different items and a first-time home colourer may be confused by the bottles, tubes and little plastic packet inside. With Koleston Kit, an applicator bottle is included with every pack, making it easier to apply the colour without spilling it on your clothes or on the floor. The instruction leaflet is also a useful tool to figure out what to do first. Step 3 – Mixing and Developing Make sure you are wearing an old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty. Cover the floor with newspapers and dark towels – this will prevent any stains from getting on the floor. A well-kept secret for preventing any colour stain on your forehead – apply a thick layer of Vaseline around your hairline. This will prevent any spillover colour from staining your skin.
Step 4 – The Application Put on the protective gloves provided in the box. With a brush, section your hair and use hair grips to hold them in place. Hold the bottle firmly in place at your starting point – the crown – and apply the colour in a line across your scalp. A colouring brush is the most effective way of spreading the colour evenly across the roots. Continue until you’ve covered all your roots. Once you are done, take the rest of the hair, section by section and apply the colour across the strands, using your hands if necessary. Wrap your hair around your scalp and when finished, apply any remaining mixture on top to ensure the colour is locked in. Keep a dark towel on your shoulders to prevent any colour from staining your t-shirt. Step 4 – The Wait The colour will take approximately 30
minutes to set – just enough time to get in an episode of your favourite TV show. Step 5 – The Grand Finale Rinse off your hair in the shower and don’t forget to apply the gloss treatment conditioner – newly developed, using state-of-the-art technology. The conditioner creates a water protection layer on every strand of your newly coloured locks and pumps up the shine factor. You are now ready to reveal your beautifully coloured hair to the world!
Beauty industry steady, despite economic gloom
The Middle East Cosmetic and Toiletries (C&T) market is one of the largest and most profitable in the world. Growing at a rate of 12 per cent annually, beauty sales are expected to increase by more than Dh11 billion by 2010. “We feel confident that the C & T industry will continue to experience growth in 2009. It is widely believed that people tend not to compromise with their image or grooming, and also require ‘feel good items’ during these unstable times“, said Andrea Werner, Senior Show Manager of Beautyworld Middle East which took place in June. “From a trade perspective, during a time of economic uncertainty, export companies try to seek new lucrative markets like the Middle East in order to reduce their dependence on one or two larger developed markets, such as Europe and the USA.”
32 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
A total treatment
VLCC combines beauty packages with scientific dieting and preventive healthcare, making it a complete ‘feel-good’ place
By Vanit Sethi
t’s Saturday morning and I’m heading off towards the Buhaira Corniche in Sharjah. I stop at the Crescent Towers and take the lift to the third floor. It’s the VLCC – India’s famous slimming and grooming centre, spearheaded by Vandana Luthra, with branches around the world. At the centre, my height, weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) is taken, during which time preparations are being made for a full-body massage. I’m ushered in the men’s grooming section. The treatment begins soon thereafter with deft hands applying aromatic oil and putting the right pressure on joints and muscles for complete relaxation. With the gentle hum of the AC and soft 80s music (Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder etc) playing from concealed speakers, it was easy to slip into a reverie. And why not? For one hour, I could simply choose to forget the whole world, and just let my nerves loosen up. The treatment on toes and fingers was therapeutic. My back and shoulders too respond to the easing of tension. After shifting positions from front to back, I’m also through with some face rubbing. And then, a gentle wet towel wipe follows. I begin to feel the opening up of all pores. Up and about now, thanking my masseur, I go to the consultation room for a discussion of my BMI (now, that’s a secret!). I’m told how the centre works and what are the packages available with them. I’m also shown around their gym facilities, salon and treatment rooms. The afternoon sun is blazing outside, but I’m at ease, and looking forward to a luxurious siesta, thanks to VLCC.
‘We’ll see you slim’
The AHT treatment targets excess fat in arms, hips and thighs
As part of its efforts to create awareness on healthy living, VLCC has launched the new Arms, Hips & Thighs (AHT) treatment. The AHT treatment, targeting both men and women, comes close on the heels of the successful Waist & Tummy Trim treatment, and focuses on cutting down on excess fat in problem areas such as arms, hips and thighs. The treatment, a scientific wellness package based on anthropometric measures, is done through ultrasonic induction of VLCC Shape Up – shaping gel for arms, hips and thighs. This is used in a combination of body toning and firming appliances and specialised activity patterns to give the desired results. Prior to the treatment, a complete analysis of the clients is done by doctors at the clinic. The analysis is undertaken based on gender, age and fat percentage in problem areas, after taking into account their individual needs, lifestyle and eating habits. Whenever one intends to lose weight, people are more concerned about losing it in problem areas rather than losing kilograms on the weighing scale. Excess fat in arms can lead to decreased flexibility and movement, while fat in hips lead to bad posture and pressure on the lower limbs. Extra fat in thighs can lead to osteoarthritis. The AHT specialised programme can be part of a weight-loss programme, or taken exclusively for figure correction. The slimming programme is customised for each individual needs. The minimum number of sessions depends on the body composition analysis (BCA), body mass index (BMI) and anthropometry findings. Each sitting lasts about 75-80 minutes. Each of the problem areas can be treated independently.
Centres in UAE
For details, call 800-VLCC (800-8522) or any of the centres below: • Mezanine Floor, Al Dana Centre, Al Maktoum Street, Diera, Dubai: 04-2347870 • Spinneys next to BurJuman Centre, Dubai: +04-3599552, 04-3599577 • Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai: 04-3218008 • VLCC Jumeirah Centre, Villa No. 10, Al Wasl Road, Dubai: 04-3429986 • Mirdiff, Uptown Mirdiff Mall, Dubai: 04-2884880 • 12 and 13, Al Qusais Building, Near Spinneys Qusais, Dubai: 04-2678611 • Khalidiya Junction, Abu Dhabi: 02-6814771 • Crescent Tower, Buhaira Corniche, Sharjah: 06-5566228
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 33
bu Dhabi based solar integrator Enviromena Power Systems (Enviromena) has completed the Masdar 10MW Solar Power Plant, the largest grid connected solar system in the Middle East and North Africa. The solar photovoltaic plant was inaugurated in May at Masdar City by His Highness Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). The 212,000 square metre (55 acre) solar system is comprised of 87,777 photovoltaic modules and will produce 17,500 MWh of clean energy each year, offsetting approximately 15,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually – the equivalent of 11,000 passengers flying from Abu Dhabi to London. The plant will produce energy to power the initial construction activities of Masdar City. The Dh185 million project is one of the most quickly constructed and cost-efficient photovoltaic installations in the world in terms of projected power output. Enviromena Vice President Sander Trestain, who managed the construction and start-up of the solar power system, commented “We were very pleased to implement highly innovative clean
Masdar Solar Plant
construction techniques, such as the use of concrete with recycled content, using a carbon management company to offset emissions from all site construction activities, reusing and recycling materials extensively across the site, and rigorously engineering the system to reduce the total amount of steel installed”. Masdar City, is the world’s first carbon neutral, zero waste city fully powered by renewable energy.
DM holds bio-diversity exhibition
Eng. Salem Mesmar, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality for Health, Safety and Environment Monitoring Sector recently organised an exhibition to mark the World Biodiversity Day. The event was held in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreational Facilities in the municipality of the Western Region - Liwa and the Natural History Museum, Sharjah, on the occasion of the 22nd National Environment Day 2009. Eng. Mesmar explained that the exhibition aimed to familiarise staff and visitors to the marine environment, traditional ways of fishing, role of old generation in the preservation of the marine environment, and increase public awareness on issues involved in the protection of coastal environment undertaken by the municipality, introducing and encouraging the public to participate in environmental events. “From this standpoint, the municipality, on the National Environment Day, calls to respect the national environmental issues and to think with a sense of responsibility in all actions undertaken by each of us, for the shared values of preserving the land, and that too with a firm resolve and strong confidence,” said Mesmar.
Al Qasba marks World Environment Day
Al Qasba Development Authority announced the successful conclusion of its World Environment Day celebrations in which over 100 participants, including students and representatives from government and private sector organisations were engaged in the various activities that were organised for the two-day event.
Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality visits the biodiversity exhibition at DM headquarters Al Qasba clean up
34 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Through marking the World Environment Day, AQDA aimed at raising public awareness about the importance of adopting an environmentally friendly approach to many aspects of life. The celebrations included several educational, entertaining and fundraising activities such as, an ‘Art Out Of Waste’ competition, in which participants transformed waste into artwork. The winners of this competition were Sara Amiri, who designed a dolls house, followed by Thereza Raquel and Jessy Husain, who designed a balloon dress and a photo album consecutively. The celebrations also included a fundraising auction, in which paintings for local artists such as Ms. Nuha Asad and Ms. Karima Al Shomi and dresses by famous designers such as Mr. Walid Atallah were bid for; the proceeds of this auction went to the UAE Red Crescent. Additionally, a cleanup campaign was organised to clean Al Khan Beach and Abu Shagarah Park in which Al Qasba personnel participated side by side with volunteers, members of the Sharjah Museums Department and the Althonians Fraternity and Sorority. ‘Bee’ah’ who donated 1,000 fabric bags and around 200 T-shirts to be used during the campaign, and Sharjah Museum department who gave out free entry tickets to all volunteers to go see the Sharjah Aquarium supported Al Qasba’s World Environment day. Also, Sharjah Municipality and Sharjah Police played vital roles in securing the organisation and safety of the whole event.
square metres. The congress, which has grown exponentially year on year, involves the world’s most prominent industry players, including end-users (utilities), manufacturers and suppliers, government officials, researchers, financiers and members of academia from over 80 countries. Salma Hareb, Chief Executive Officer - Economic Zones World, said: “As an organisation that leads the region in raising awareness and building infrastructure
Water sustainability through technology
TechnoPark, the Science and Technology Park under Economic Zones World, has announced it will host the biannual International Desalination Association (IDA) World Congress this November. The event will be held from 7 - 12 November at the Atlantis Resort - The Palm. Themed ‘Desalination for a Better World’, the conference is expected to gather over 1,800 industry professionals and leaders from the global desalination and water reuse industry. 70 companies from over 20 countries have confirmed their participation at the IDA Exhibition covering over 2,000
for sustainable initiatives, TechnoPark takes pride in bringing the IDA World Congress to Dubai for the first time. The conference will facilitate the exchange of global innovations and best practices in this highly important sector, and lay a foundation for Dubai to lead the region in research and awareness of sustainable water supplies.” “In the coming years, water sustainability will become as critical an issue as climate change. Only desalination and advanced water reuse offer hope of future supplies for a growing population on our planet. Since the UAE is the second-largest user of desalinated water in the world, provision of adequate water supply is one of the key challenges facing us, and the vision of His Highness in hosting the IDA World Congress highlights the urgency of the issues that need to be tackled in the region.” Patricia Burke, Secretary General of the International Desalination Association, said: “Water sustainability is a global
issue, and can only be addressed through exchange of information on an international level. The spirit of collaboration that Dubai has shown will significantly drive progress in achieving adequate water availability for future generations. We look forward to the exchange of ideas and collaboration on the critical issue of desalination and advanced water reuse. The industry is constantly evolving and innovating, and our mission is to ensure that desalination is implemented in the most responsible way, from the perspective of cost, energy and environmental considerations.” Salma Hareb concurred, saying: “The gains from a gathering of top minds in the field will be tremendous, particularly for regional specialists. One of our main interests in hosting the IDA World Congress is the amount of research that is shared, making the congress valuable from a knowledge standpoint. The foundation of our activity at TechnoPark is scientific innovation, which evolves continuously. An event like the IDA World Congress allows that evolution to be equalised across all markets. We believe that this sharing of information and findings is key to a sustainable future as the UAE moves into the 21st century with a strong knowledge economy based on international best practice.” Patricia Burke stated in conclusion: “It will be interesting for global specialists to attend the conference in a location that will rely on their future findings to address their most pressing concerns about sustainability.” Over 350 papers were received for consideration in the technical programme of the IDA World Congress 2009. There will be 23 sessions on topics such as: Alternative Ideas, Innovative Solutions and Nuclear Technologies for Desalination; Chemicals, Scaling and Cleaning and Mineral Recovery; Energy Recovery: A Dramatic Reduction in Energy Consumption for Desalination; and Environmental Sustainability. TechnoPark was established to lead innovation with a special focus in water and energy efficiency; and is managed by Economic Zones World, the global developer and operator of economic, technology, logistics and industrial parks and part of Dubai World.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 35
Scholarships, summer schools and scouts
heikh Saqr Programme for Government Excellence (SSPGE), has announced a 100 per cent scholarship for eligible UAE nationals pursuing medical and dental degree programmes at the Ras Al Khaimah Medical & Health Sciences University (RAKMHSU). It is also offering 50-100 per cent scholarships to deserving students of all nationalities pursuing pharmacy and nursing degrees. RAKMHSU has a three-tier feewaiver programme for the upcoming academic year which starts in September 2009. This fee-waiver is open to students of all nationalities undertaking medical and health science degree courses at the university. Students who have attained 95 per cent marks or above in aggregate of Biology, Physics and Chemistry in high school are eligible for 20 per cent feewaiver on their first semester tuition fee. Students who have attained 90 per cent or above marks in aggregate of Biology, Physics and Chemistry in high school are
eligible for 15 per cent fee-waiver on their first semester tuition fee. Students who have attained GPA of 3.75 and above in RAKMHSU end-semester examinations are eligible for 20 per cent fee-waiver. Business education is becoming increasingly vital to building commercial relationships across the Arab world, according to a new study. Melbourne Business School, in partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, conducted a research, and suggests that international qualifications such as Master of Business Administration are now accepted as a ‘badge of quality’ across the region. “The speed with which Middle East markets have opened up in the recent years has meant that potential business partners need specific ways of establishing your credibility and reliability,” says Aminur Rahman, a Melbourne MBA graduate who worked in Dubai, Egypt
and Libya. “A recognisable qualification from an international business school has become a highly effective way of achieving this. It certainly opened doors for me which I would otherwise have found closed.” Melbourne’s global development director, Anna Parkin says, “The MBA is no longer just the province of expats.” This year, we’ve had applications from nationals of countries right across the region, including nations as diverse as Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iran.” ALHOSN University, based in Abu Dhabi, has established the Society of Women in Engineering (SOWIE), which has been founded by active and highly skilled women engineers from the
36 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
university and other institutions. It has been established in line with the university’s commitment to enhance the role of women in all engineering and allied fields. Dr. Reem Sabouni, Assistant Professor, ALHOSN University, said, “There has been an excellent response to this groundbreaking initiative and we believe that with the dynamism and dedication of its founding members, the Society of Women in Engineering will play an important role in fully harnessing the potential of women to be leaders, innovators and role models of society.” ALHOSN recently launched four new graduate engineering programmes, namely, Master in Buildings Engineering, Master in Engineering Management, Graduate Certificate in Buildings Engineering, and Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management. The university currently offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate accredited programmes in three faculties, with a significant emphasis on engineering. All of ALHOSN’s programmes are accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the UAE.
Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) and The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) announced an offer to local students of a unique, hands-on work experience at one of the fastest growing, multi-platform, media organisations in the region. Abu Dhabi Media Company Chairman, Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, said, “Abu Dhabi is a booming centre of arts, culture and diversified media and the company is delighted to open its doors to what we hope will be some of the future leaders in media. This is one of our most exciting opportunities because it paves the way for a new generation of film-makers, broadcasters, journalists and media professionals in the region.”
ADMC has been implementing Emiratisation strategy through a range of initiatives including traineeship programmes, internships and collaborations with local educational institutions. Eton Institute has announced their super intensive summer courses in Arabic and English for students from beginners to advanced level. The super intensive summer courses have attracted over 2000 people across the region since they were introduced for the first time in Dubai over three years; following on its success there is now a special accommodation package to overseas learners who are visiting Dubai and picking up a language course and maybe computer skills too. All courses are conducted by highly qualified instructors who are native speakers and passionate about not just teaching the language but also the culture and tradition attached to it. Portfolio Night 7 was hosted by Memac Ogilvy in association with ihaveanidea in three of its strategic markets in Beirut, Dubai and Tunis for the first time in the Middle East region. In the UAE, dozens of students and young designers flocked to the Ritz Carlton to take part in the largest simultaneous advertising portfolio review ever held in the region. The event featured a uniquely designed portfolio review process in a ‘speed-dating’ setting, during which each student spent 45 minutes of quality time with at least three of the advertising industry’s top creative directors. “We had the chance to see some great work today and we hope that the young talents who were brave and open enough to show their work to the most senior references in the advertising industry will feel empowered to continue and pursue a career in advertising,” noted Ossama El Kaoukji, Chief Creative Officer, Memac Ogilvy. Horizon International Flight Academy, Al Ain offers Higher Diploma in Aviation Business Administration to UAE residents who hold a Commercial
Pilot Licence (CPL). The Higher Diploma is accredited by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Horizon is the only academy to receive licensure from the ministry to offer the diploma course alongside the pilot training programme. “This diploma programme is a much needed breakthrough for pilots in particular, as it is especially valuable to those individuals who later want to move from the cockpit to the ground” General Manager, Mohammed Humaidan Al Zaabi explained. “We have organised school trips to the academy, where students visit the different departments and get the feel of working in the aviation industry. This gives students a better perspective into this exciting industry, while educating them about the various career opportunities in the aviation industry that they might be encouraged to pursue,” Al Zaabi concluded. DP World, UAE Region has entered into an agreement with Dubai-based
Institute for Applied Technology (IAT) to provide on-the-job training in port operations to IAT students. DP World will offer internships to IAT students at Jebel Ali who will undergo technical and engineering training in port operations this summer. IAT, which has five campuses across the UAE, was established in 2005 by a royal decree. The institute offers Englishlanguage, career-based technical education at the secondary and tertiary levels. Department of Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) launched an
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 37
initiative to assist hearing-impaired individuals for their transactions at DNRD offices. DNRD will employ qualified sign language experts and train its customer service staff to acquire basic sign language skills, enabling them to communicate and help the deaf customers. General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director-General, DNRD, stated that the service will be provided initially at DNRD headquarters and Dubai International Airport. Intensive training will be provided to DNRD employees who are in direct contact with the public in order to provide service to the hearing-impaired community. In an effort to reiterate the positive attitude and to confirm the importance of the role of people with special needs in society, General Al Marri will attend the first training course. He said: “This initiative is our way to empower hearingimpaired individuals by offering them the same services and facilities at all our centres.” The American University in Dubai (AUD) in collaboration with AGMC, the exclusive importer of BMW Group cars in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, hosted Ms. Martina Starke, Head of BMW Individual Design from Munich, Germany. BMW Individual is the division that provides custom-made BMW vehicles with bespoke colour and trim combinations, created exclusively for each customer. AUD students from the Visual Communication and Interior Design departments, along with students in Engineering and Business, had the opportunity to meet Ms. Starke who spoke of her personal experience. The students were very curious about how designers and engineers at BMW interact and what different kinds of careers are available in the design division at BMW. Ms. Starke explained the company’s unique design philosophy of
integrating design ideas from BMW Group Designworks studios based in Los Angeles, Munich and Singapore. The ongoing exchange of ideas between all studios provides a unique set of perspectives on complex topics and help shape the process of the projects from scribble to production. From that background, it became clear to the students at AUD, that each person, their individual backgrounds and creative contributions are the key for designing a car, and team work is the most vital element for BMW’s success. Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST) signed an agreement with the Dubai Roads and Transportation Authority (RTA) to organise joint workshops, conferences and symposia, as well as specialised training sessions. Commenting on this event, Dr. Ahmed Ankit, Vice-President for External and Cultural Affairs, said, “Such ties
have allowed us to open doors - to our students for training, to our graduates for careers, and to our faculty members for offering their expertise and serving society.” Mr. Abdullah Al Madani, RTA Executive Director of Institutional Support Services, said, “The Dubai Roads and Transportation Authority has, since its inception, recruited a number of AUST alumni who have worked actively and contributed effectively to our success. This has assured us that we have made the right choice in recruiting Ajman University IT graduates. I hope this agreement strengthens the bonds between our two institutions.” The college will continue to communicate with companies and corporations to guarantee training and career opportunities for AUST students and graduates. The college will also liaise with the business community regarding the development of new majors and specialisations. Boys from 3rd Dubai Scouts of UAE Scouts group attended a fun camp hosted by the Fujairah International Marine Club (FIMC). The 31 boys of Dubai Scouts had the opportunity to tour the visiting British submarine ‘HMS Talent’. During the camp, the youngsters were taught the local tradition of bottom fishing by East Coast Fishing. Their visit to Fujairah culminated in a great fishing trip on board ‘M/S Flying Angel’ and included a tour of the area. David Sims, leader of the 3rd Dubai Scouts, said he was extremely impressed by the level of hospitality and the kindness received from all parties during the visit.
38 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
HOME & GARDEN
The new Zero 7 range from Ares Line has recently arrived in the UAE from Italian designer, Giovanni Baccolini
Upholstered in Bengal floral silk, the new Upholstered Silver Versailles is available in a variety of fabrics from simple linens to sumptuous silks. Clients can also supply their own fabric.
omfort is a word we all strive to achieve in different ways. Italian designer, Giovanni Baccolini, has brought his latest range of contemporary office seating to this country to help those who want to write and type in comfort without getting twinges of backache. The designer has combined the ergonomic needs of today’s working environment with modern comfort and style in the Zero 7 range from Ares Line – available in the UAE exclusively through OFIS. The Zero 7 range offers ideal lumbar support and a nylon mesh backrest to significantly reduce back pain and discomfort. They come in black, grey or white with supporting frames in chromeplated steel, and soft polyurethane for the backrest. And So To Bed has introduced the new upholstered version of its classic Silver Versailles bed, adding upholstery to the splendid hand-carved rococo folly of the original. With its soaring headboard, bow feet and swan-necked end posts, this magnificent bed is made from mahogany and hand finished in silver leaf. The central panel of the headboard is then padded and upholstered for perfect luxury and glamour. The And So To Bed brand brought to UAE by Al Shaya Group and has two showrooms located on Jumeirah Beach Road and in Bur Dubai, opposite BurJuman. IKEA has come up with some home hints and tips on flooring which are among the largest surfaces in a home, so the finishes you choose will have a big impact on how the rooms look and feel. • Hard flooring materials such as wood, tile, vinyl and laminate are durable and easy to clean. However they tend to be more slippery and sensitive to moisture.
A good method to keep home entertainment neat and organised is to store everything in one unit that holds equipment, music and movies. When choosing a media storage unit: • Measure what you want to store to ensure you have enough room for all of it • Always allow room for your collection to grow • Make sure the furniture you choose can carry the weight of the equipment and contents • Whenever you instal electronic or electrical equipment inside a cabinet, allow for ventilation and access to wiring
Soft flooring materials such as carpeting and natural fibre absorb sound and shock, and create a cosier atmosphere than hard flooring. However, soft flooring needs more cleaning and maintenance.
Light floors make a room seem deeper and wider, while DARK FLOORS make it seem smaller. However an advantage of a dark floor is that it tends to give a room more solid, stable feeling.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 39
Gym at Al Murooj Rotana
he heat of summer is well and truly here, and everyone is trying to help others by offering advice - and reduced prices. ‘Work hard and play hard’ is the motto in this region, but the body also appreciates ‘rest and recreation’ – the Gulf ’s other loved phrase. Some offers relate to weddings, dinner parties and socialising, which occur whether it is hot, or not. Many folks may have flown away to cooler climes, but those that remain still want to party … Al Bustan Centre & Residence - is helping you to indulge in a romantic getaway at its property with its special wedding packages. The property’s Al Nahda Banquet Hall features first class amenities for weddings and other events and can accommodate up to 250 persons. The wedding package encompasses all the client’s needs from transportation, hospitality and entertainment and also offers rich menus and wedding buffets to compliment any celebration providing the most satisfactory experience. The hotel designs every part
of the wedding package according to the theme, manages the entire event, plans the schedule of events, coordinates all food and beverage details from menu design, food tasting, linens, flower arrangements, décor and assists you with all aspects of your wedding experience. The five-star Al Murooj Rotana Dubai is fully prepared for the summer season with its special value-for-money offers. The Bodylines Leisure & Fitness Club has lined up cost effective membership deals to beat the heat and get into excellent shape. Enrol for one month membership and get one month free (Single-Dh750, CoupleDh950). Enrol for two months member-
ship and get two months free (SingleDh1,200, Couple-Dh1,850) The club features the next generation Bodylines fitness centre, temperature controlled free shape outdoor pool, gymnasium and massage room, and offers an extensive menu of facial and body treatments. Atlantis summer food offers: Friday roast lunch at Seafire is Dh125, Seafood Friday at Rostang starts at Dh265, Friday brunch at Saffron starts at Dh250, and you can now grab a bento lunch box from Nobu for Dh185. www.atlantisthepalm. com Take a trip on board one of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s charter
40 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Amara suite at Park Hyatt
boats, whether it be fishing on Sneak Away or cruising down the Creek on its sports boat Creek Breeze. Sneak Away is a fully equipped 32ft Hatteras deep-sea fishing yacht, which comfortably carries up to six passengers and the rates include tackle, bait, fuel and a friendly crew who knows how to give you a fishing trip (and tips) to remember. So why not travel into the Arabian Gulf waters and experience the adrenalin rush of big game sports fishing for yourself? Fishing Rates, valid until 30th September, 4 hours - Dh2,975, 6 hours - Dh3,400, 8 hours - Dh3,825. For further information Tel: 04 2054646. On Tuesday, 14th July, join Emirates Golf Club at the award-winning Le Classique restaurant as it celebrates the French National Day and enjoy a special 5-course set menu and a glass of French bubbly for Dh290 per person. When the sun sets, Cooz, Grand Hyatt Dubai, is a stylish and intimate venue for enjoying premium beverages and cigars. The mellow sounds of live piano music are available most evenings. Aficionados of the Cuban lifestyle should now head to Cooz Bar on Mondays to take pleasure in cigars and sugar cane beverages while listening to live music. Treat yourself to a very special offer and enjoy Montecristo Especiales No. 2 cigars and a glass of the great El Dorado 15-year-old drink – available every Monday evening for Dh80 per package, including espresso and water.
During the month of July, Park Hyatt Dubai will again be an official spa partner of Dubai Summer Surprises Spa Packages Promotion. A magnificent tribute to the ancient Moorish palaces, the white exterior and royal blue domes offer a welcoming entrance into Amara, a private and secluded spa where exotic rituals have been created to stimulate the senses, soothe and rejuvenate. The Amara concierge will customise your experience, using the ancient healing philosophies of Diamond, Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire. These precious jewels, each with its own physical and spiritual benefits, combined with the finest products, Arabian teas and authentic delicacies, ensure a quality and personalised experience. Try the outdoor rain shower in your private terraced garden plus a foot and hand rose petal bath before your chosen massage begins. Special prices are available until 31st August. The ibis, Etap Hotel, Hotel Formule 1 and hotelF1 chains announced a worldwide partnership with the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) to offer its cardholders a breakfast at 1€ or for free! This new and very attractive promotion will give millions of student’s unprecedented access to more than 900 hotels in more than 30 countries around the world. ibis, the economy brand of Accor, will offer a free breakfast to ISIC cardholders in 416 participating hotels in over 30 countries, while the three low-cost
brands will charge only 1€ for an all-youcan-eat buffet. 257 Etap Hotels in nine countries will participate in this scheme, as well as 63 Formule 1’s in six countries and 207 hotelF1’s in France. Visit www. isic.org Business guests who stay at InterContinental Hotels Dubai Festival City will appreciate its new service of an executive DIFC shuttle service between its hotels and Dubai International Financial Centre. In the comfort of the brand new and exclusive Toyota Sequoia, guests will be chauffeur-driven from InterContinental and Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City to DIFC and back to the hotels. They will leave their hotel at 8.30am and return at 5.30pm or 6.30pm You will be head over heels this summer at the JW Marriott Dubai and we haven’t forgotten the kids. Stay for three nights and pay for the price of two nights on all Executive Rooms and Suites from until 19th September. Children will have exclusive access to the JW Kids Club. They
Fun with the children at JW Marriott
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 41
HOME & GARDEN
art with his cooking performances by preparing beautifully designed dishes with special garnishes. Chef Wei will be performing live at The China Club every day throughout July during lunch and dinner. Specific figurines can also be ordered at The China Club upon request. Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the movie channel that brings classic films to life, brings classic romance to the region with TCM Movie Nights. This unique dine-in experience at the lush La Baie Restaurant, situated at the Ritz Carlton Dubai Hotel, takes place on the first Wednesday of each month throughout 2009. The premiere night showed Casablanca, a timeless classic from the 1940s, starring Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman. July will feature Somebody up there likes me, featuring Paul Newman. The Ritz-Carlton’s signature restaurant, La Baie, creates the perfect atmosphere for this classic evening, with its enchanting ambience complemented by exquisite meals that have been chosen and prepared by Chef Umit Kaygusuz and his culinary team to tickle the palate, tailored to suit the film being shown. The Palace - The Old Town, the elegant 5-star premium hotel located in The Old Town Island in Downtown Burj Dubai, is offering all its customers a 20 per cent discount until August 15. Among the participating venues are Asado, the Argentinean style grill restaurant; Ewaan, the hotel’s Oriental all-day dining restaurant; and the signature Thai restaurant, Thiptara, offering Royal Thai cuisine. The Lobby where afternoon tea is served 3pm to 6pm, FAI, and Ewaan Lounges and all of the hotel’s luxurious recreation facilities are also participating in the exceptional summer offer. After an initial visit to The Palace, visitors will be rewarded with a voucher offering them a 20 per cent discount in each of the hotel’s outlets and its recreation facilities valid for all return visits until August 15. Friday night is Cocktail Night at Vista, rooftop at Holiday Inn Media City. Its Friday Cocktail Menu has been designed to help you keep cool on hot summer nights with ‘3 for 2’ offers from 6pm till midnight. Vista is also offering EarlyBird Meal Deals all night to keep your taste buds tantalised. You can have two courses from the a la carte menu for Dh95 and three courses for Dh120.
The pool at The Palace, Old Town at night
will be presented with a Very Important Kids Club Pack and Kidzania Fun Zone access card where they will be thrilled with loads of fun and games. They can even get their faces or hands painted. The hotel is offering free meals to children below the age of 12 at The Market Place and Bamboo Lagoon. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek is celebrating its China Club restaurant’s sixth anniversary. The China Club features the largest selection of sea-
food of any Chinese restaurant in town, with over 20 different types of fish and a wide range of Dim Sum, vegetarian dishes and many more. For the anniversary occasion, and back by popular demand, the restaurant welcomes the famous Chinese Guest Chef & Artist Wei from Beijing for the second year in a row. Wei is known for the incredible talent of transforming Chinese rice and noodle dough into beautiful traditional Chinese figurines. He combines
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Delicious taste of India
Qureshis Kebab & Kurry in the Country Club Hotel, Bur Dubai, is a pleasant and tempting place to spend an evening
By Vanit Sethi
n a hot summer evening, when your tastebuds are jaded, it is nice to rekindle your appetite with spicy non-vegetarian dishes cooked in Lucknowi style inside a gracious setting with North Indian décor. On a weekend with family in tow, I was scouring the streets of Bur Dubai for the Country Club Hotel. After a good deal of walking around, we found it tucked behind the New Gold Souk. Since it was nearly 10pm, we rushed straight into the restaurant we had planned to spend the evening at – Qureshis Kebab & Kurry. Even before we had entered, we could hear the sound of ghazals wafting across the hotel’s corridors. The tempting aroma of succulent kebabs further pulled us in the right direction. Before we knew it, we were seated right in front of the singing duo - Farah Warsi and Ruckam Thapa (Rocky) – by the restaurant’s courteous staff. Along with the thick menu cards, we were handed over a number of coloured paper slips for song requests. While my wife took over the task of scanning the menu and ordering the dishes, I quickly jotted down my favourite numbers after jogging
my memory for some oldie-goldies. After quenching our thirst with refreshing fruit juices, we went for the starters – some chicken and mutton kebabs with generous helpings of salads and pappadums. The tantalisers set us off on a delicious gastronomic journey. We ordered Hyderabadi biryani and butter naans, along with some standard meat preparations. While wanting to do justice to the sumptuous offerings, there was only so much we could take in, because there had to be space for the desserts. Sharing a bowl of a ‘rasmalai’ kind of dish, we smacked our lips while listening to soft Jagjit Singh numbers, before topping it off with Sukhwinder’s Jai Ho from
Diners at Qureshis Kebab & Kurry restaurant
Slumdog Millionaire. A truly memorable, finger-licking, soulful evening!
The Mughal legacy
The Qureshi family from India is believed to have researched and recreated the delicious ‘Dum’ dishes from the Mughal culinary table. The cuisine may be considered the legacy of the Grand Master Chef Imtiaz Qureshi, who has added a touch of perfection to the recipes served at Qureshis Kebab & Kurry, as well as creating recipes that are now on the menus of Indian restaurants all over the world. The restaurant takes its name from the legendary Grand Master Chef. The Qureshis culinary magic is now also available at Chelsea Hotel. The restaurant plays with a blend of spices, creating unique flavours and combinations. The outlet in Bur Dubai’s Country Club Hotel – the only one in the region – opened on 22nd August, 2007. It serves its customers from 7pm to 12 midnight daily, and even longer on weekends. UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 43
Culinary choices aplenty
By Linda Benbow
Duck King is on the first floor at Beach Park Plaza
Lots of features and things to see at MORE, Dubai Mall
ith a host of eateries opening in Dubai now is the time to taste and savour the many offerings, in varying price ranges, of foreign cooking adapted to suit the multi national town that this is. Sushi for brunch, oriental duck for lunch and Argentinian barbeque for dinner are among the new delights to be found. Despite the current slow movement of business in the world, BinHendi Enterprises continues to bring to UAE the most authentic and distinguished tastes from all over the globe. The company has
Fun pastry nibbles for children
opened an Oriental cuisine restaurant called Duck King in its new mall - Beach Park Plaza. Walk past the open kitchen where chefs chop and cook, past the tanks of live lobsters and crabs, and step into a light and airy restaurant that is a pleasure to sit in. This one-of-a-kind Asian fusion restaurant serves a speciality of far-eastern delicacies along with live seafood where customers can personally select from six different aquariums as an option on the menu. It is the first restaurant to promote daily hand-made Dim Sums and have them authentically served as starters, main course and even desserts. The menu consists of a mix of far-eastern delicacies from Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia, offering different styled themes of food. Chef Peter Tan – executive chef for BinHendi, who has contributed in setting up the company’s concept restaurants such as Japengo, China Times,
and now Duck King, said: “The restaurant attracts not only Asian expatriates and tourists; it also caters to the local market and diverse nationalities”. Al Tayer Trends, the lifestyle retail company of the Al Tayer Group, has opened a new MORE Café at Dubai Mall on the lower ground level, overlooking the Lake Fountain. The store is open from 8am until 11pm daily. The 7,500 square feet café, which includes indoor and outdoor dining areas, is the first franchise store of the popular home-grown concept, and Al Tayer Trends is now the exclusive franchisee of all upcoming MORE Cafés in the GCC. The menu offers a variety of modern international dishes that are often presented in a way that makes them unique. Partnership agreements bring extra tasty ice creams, soft drinking water from New Zealand and other unique items to the table. The menu is extensive and caters to the taste of Dubai’s multi-cultural environment. All these cafés offer an e-menu option which enables customers to place their order online at www.MOREcafe. biz so that their meal is ready to be served when they arrive at the café. Hot tagine with couscous, flavoured rice dishes, home-made vegetable soups
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Momotaro’s chicken and asparagus
and big bowls of salads with tasty additions and flavourings are regular hits with customers, judging by the full tables of working professionals and ‘ladies who do lunch’. MORE is also a brand and its retail range and reach is continually expanding. Products include premium quality breads, chocolates, cakes, pastries, ice creams, fresh pasta and coffees. These products can be found on different airlines, within five-star hotels and retail outlets within the UAE and internationally. Chic and trendy Japanese restaurant Momotaro, at Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, now serves an all-you-can-eat a la carte style Friday brunch with free flowing sparkling beverages as well as red and white vinos, Asahi and soft drinks. Known as Momotaro Frunch, the Friday weekly brunch is available from 12 noon to 4pm for Dh225 per person and showcases a variety of Japanese specialties. On arrival, start with Edamame which are the warm soya beans served with a choice of either salt or chilli and garlic sauce. These will keep you going while you make your selection from the menu. Traditionally, Miso soup would be next, followed by Seafood Gyozas (pan-fried dumplings), and then try some of the crispy tempura. Next would be the Robata or grilled items. There is a selection of dishes which the uninitiated wouldn’t necessarily recognise as Japanese so just ask the knowledgeable and friendly staff to explain. Recommended are the char-grilled beef skewers which just melt in your mouth and the chicken wrapped asparagus spears served with a delicious Teriyaki mayonnaise. Now it’s time for the sushi and sashimi, so ask for a selection if you are not sure. Try the Arctic Roll which is rice paper wrapped salmon, crab and avocado with crunchy tempura bits. After this, if you are still hungry opt for the noodle dishes, but remember to leave room for dessert.
The dessert menu is a pleasant surprise with items such as Green tea crème brulee, Ginger Ice Cream Tempura, and Fruit Sushi made with sweet sushi rice and fresh fruits. It’s Argentinian night every Saturday evening at Palermo Restaurant, Dubai Polo & Equestrian Centre, at the second roundabout after the Dubai Autodrome – on the road leading to Al Maha. A sizzling South American experience awaits those who enjoy Asado meats slow cooked over an open grill served with
A proud promoter of home-grown musical talent, Caffè Nero hosted live performances by top local bands including Beat Antenna at the Dubai Mall launch recently
classic chimichurri dressing. A traditional floor level barbeque with hot coals is freshly constructed on the outside terrace each weekend, as instructed by Argentinian chef Francisco, to ensure that the authentic flavour of his country’s cooking is served to diners. There are so many dishes that are transported around the world that we sometimes forget where they actually come from. Picada may sound romantic and foreign but is actually the cold meat course, served between the hor’doeuvres and main course. A selection of cold cuts such as chorizo and chicken is accompanied by pickles and lettuce hearts. Grilled vegetables, Ceviche and yummy classic dessert pancakes with dulce de leche are also on the menu. Later you can tango under the stars, or in
the air conditioned restaurant, with your partner, or just watch other dancers/diners glide by. Dh150 per person. The premium Italian-style coffee house brand, Caffè Nero, has opened its doors in Dubai with the official launch of the first store in the Middle East, at a prime location next to the Ice Rink at The Dubai Mall. The brand has enjoyed a category leading position in its home market for many years, and looks forward to emulating that success here in the Middle East, by offering coffee connoisseurs the finest espresso-based, Italian quality coffee available in the market. The discerning coffee lover’s choice, Caffè Nero’s coffee is strong, rich and distinctive – the only coffee house to include two shots of espresso in every coffeebased drink - has earned the brand such accolades as “the best espresso this side of Milan” by UK’s Tatler magazine. The range of freshly blended, handcrafted iced drinks offers a refreshingly cool alternative to hot drinks. The menu includes a range of delicious Italian influenced food, using natural, fresh ingredients, ranging from freshly toasted paninis, speciality breads such as focaccia, to hot fresh soup, pasta dishes and salads. Mouth-watering sweet options include Tiramisu and other indulgent cakes, as well as a wonderful selection of muffins and pastries. The store is crafted with superior quality classic Italian finishings. The combination of warm mahogany wood, rich paint palettes, large ornate mirrors and soft leather armchairs and sofas creates the trademark welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. While catering to busy executives and families who require the convenience of a quick, refreshing drink or snack, Caffè Nero customers are encouraged to stay longer, engaging in conversation and taking advantage of the free WiFi service that’s available.
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Communicating with the horses is a special skill indeed
Anwer Sher and Eileen Verdieck (standing) teaching riding skills to students
Ways of the horse
Human beings have a lot to learn from the noble equine creatures. Two individuals – Anwer Sher and Eileen Verdieck – highlight this special bond
By Vanit Sethi
orses have always fascinated mankind since time immemorial. History books are full of warriors conquering alien lands, explorers discovering exotic places and adventurers performing incredible feats – all on horseback. What kind of special relationship do human beings share with these noble equine creatures? It is a bond forged through various vicissitudes, strengthened with the passage of time. And just like horses have been trained by humans for a variety of activi-
ties, we too have not been left untouched by their special skills. If you listen to a Dubai-based horseloving couple, Anwer Sher and Eileen Verdieck, not only do we have much to learn from horses, but, we can learn so much about human beings themselves through horses. “The reason is horses are very much like human beings, and their behaviour too is not very different either. So, to understand horses in order to get them to do something, we need to understand
human beings better.” That seems a tall order indeed, considering how complex human behaviour is! “Not really,” Eileen contends. “At a very basic, mundane level, human psychology goes in sync with that of the equines.” Just look up ‘horse’ in a dictionary and you will find many traits similar to humans. Three English phrases associated with horses illuminate the human link – ‘horse sense’ for ‘plain common sense’, ‘horsepower’ for the unit of measurement of electric motors and other machinery,
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and ‘horseplay’ for boisterous behaviour. If we refer to someone we know as very horselike, we often associate good and noble qualities like being generous, a royal demeanour, commanding position, loyal and faithful, not cunning, etc. But how many of us, especially in our isolated, self-centred urban existence, really bother to understand each other, let alone horses? Anwer and Eileen offer to correct this distortion through their
The horses get ready for training
corporate training programmes which focus a great deal on horse psychology and how understanding them makes it easier for you to understand humans. Admittedly, humans operate at various levels, and human behaviour gets increasingly complex as it is conditioned and coloured by social and cultural mores. Perhaps, that may be the reason why primitive man found himself better able to relate to horses. So, it is perhaps in order that we learn about basic human behaviour – shorn of the veneer of sophistication - from horses, however convoluted that may seem. For example, did you know there are four distinct type of horses – right-brained extroverts, right-brained introverts, left-brained extroverts, and left-brained introverts. So much like humans!
Dubai-based Equine Management Serv-
ices (EMS) conducts regular HoofbeatZ Horsemanship classes, as well as a six-week ‘Introduction to Horses’ course for children and adults at the dedicated HoofbeatZ Pavilion located at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club (DPEC) in Arabian Ranches. Held for groups or as individual tuitions, HoofbeatZ Horsemanship teaches the basics of equine communication and principles of equine training and handling, already made famous the world over by masters such as Pat Parelli and Monty Roberts. The courses teach participants how to communicate with and be understood by their equine partners; in other words, to ‘speak horse’ through the understanding of equine instincts. Adults and children aged 11-16 who have limited or no experience with horses can enrol for the six-week course, which covers Stable Management, Handling Skills, Equitation Introduction, and Life Skills through horses. “The HoofbeatZ concept and our programmes are the backbone of our company and philosophy,” says Eileen. “It is a comprehensive programme of generating interest in equine culture through educational, innovative, and affordable ways, thus fostering the age-old bond between man and horse.” All the classes are conducted in a purpose-built tent with air conditioning, audio, special effects lighting and dedicated spectator seating areas. HoofbeatZ is developing exciting and ambitious plans for this year, which includes conducting training programmes to impart communication skills to corporate employees through the medium of horses. As Anwer Sher aptly puts it: “Horses are the noblest creatures and the best friends of man. It’s easier to understand them than human beings.”
Having a ball on horseback
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Emirati horse riders at a horseshow in DPEC
A colourful horse show during the launch of Escape Ajman
An equal partnership
Horse Sense: The brainchild of Eileen Verdieck and Anwer Sher - Co-Founders of Equine Management Services (EMS) - HoofbeatZ is the first-of-its-kind system designed to simultaneously improve the quality and length of a horse’s life, increase the skills and knowledge base of equine care-givers, and expand the horse’s reach beyond that of usual horse enthusiasts to include the general public and children. EMS is an equine business solutions company that develops equine real estate communities, equine facilities and business models for the equestrian industry, designed to promote sustainability and profitability to the field. Born out of a deep love and understanding of horses, EMS conceptualises and introduces new business models and visions for the industry and its ancillary needs. Horsepower: Anwer Sher, the General Manager of Escape LLC, is responsible for overseeing the development and eventual operations of the 200-acre Escape Equestrian Community in Ajman. Sher, the former CEO of Union National Bank, was until recently also heading a multi-faceted, iconic development in Dubai. A man of all trades, Anwer is an internationally renowned management lecturer,
equestrian photographer, and author. He has previously been a panelist at Harvard University’s Middle East Centre symposium on the Middle East. He has been a keynote speaker at a host of regional and international business and motivational conferences and seminars, and is currently the President of Sher Consulting, a company that provides enterprise management to some leading business families in the region. Eileen is a partner in the prestigious Escape Community. Throughout an extensive 38-year career, Eileen has become a pioneer in the Arabian horse industry. As an international trainer, judge and consultant, she has won numerous prestigious international awards. Having sold millions of dollars worth of horses all around the world, Eileen is currently recognised as one of the leading authorities on the breeding and marketing of Arabian horses. Currently living in the UAE, Eileen has been instrumental in the re-introduction of the Arabian horse into the region and has placed more than 400 horses in the Gulf States since the mid-1980s. Anwer (a Pakistani) and Eileen (an American) met each other at a party in Dubai and their common love of horses
brought them together in business as well as matrimony. Horseplay: HoofbeatZ also holds entertainment programmes for families built around horseshows. On weekends, during autumn and winter and spring, (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) they hold a two-hour spectacle of fun, music and dance with riders on horses and entertainers dancing in glitzy costumes, along with the horses, to a selection of music and interplay of lights. A history of horses and horsemanship is narrated, while horses and dancers perform in the arena, with a special focus on Arabian horses. The shows are held at the DPEC and are priced moderately. It’s a learning experience plus a fun way to entertain your whole family at the weekend. Since the HoofbeatZ Pavilion opened in late 2008, a number of school groups have enjoyed experiential ‘Meet the Horse’ days, which feature a variety of educational and fun activities designed to introduce school children to horses and the joys of being involved with them.
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The water tower
uring July and August The Majlis Gallery will be showing a collection of landscape watercolours in the Windtower Gallery, with works from Trevor Waugh, John Harris and Spencer Tart. All the artists have travelled extensively within the Middle East and the collection documents their travels in the region. The exhibition will run until 31st August.
Trevor Waugh was born in London in 1952. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1970 to 1974, under Sir William Coldstream, Patrick George, Phillip Sutton, Frank Auerbach and David Hockney and graduated with BA in Fine Arts. He went on to study Illustration under Ernest Jones at Croydon College of Art and achieved a Postgraduate Distinction. He then worked as a freelance illustrator for nine years producing published works for Penguin, Heinemann, Cassell, Collins and the BBC. He returned to Fine Art in 1988 and moved to the Cotswolds. In 1995 he visited and exhibited in both the USA and Middle East, where he became a founding member of The New Orientalists, having one-man shows as well as group exhibitions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In 1997 he visited Oman and exhibited paintings in The Majlis Gallery. In 1998 a visit to Morocco produced a wealth of works and
a show ‘Morocco, Land of the Kasbahs’, supported by the Moroccan Embassy in London. In 1999, a tour of Egypt culminated in a show at his studio “Egypt and Beyond.” As well as travelling extensively through Europe on painting trips and exhibition adventures, such as “Florence, Venice and Rome,” ‘A Tale of Three Cities’, he also finds time to teach others and has written a number of books: Winning with Watercolour, You can Paint Animals in Watercolour, You can Paint Flowers in Watercolour and his latest title; The Emirates through the Eyes of an Artist. He has recently added two new titles for Harper Collins; ‘30 Minute Flowers in Watercolour’ and ‘30 Minute People in Watercolour’. He is a frequent contributor to The Artist magazine and his work can be found on International fine art cards and limited edition prints.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 49
Al-Risala Al-Sharif, copied by Abd Al-Rahim Al Ya’Cubi. Probably Tabriz, Iran, 10 Rabi II, 878 AH/4 September 1473 AD The scribe ‘Abd al-Rahim Khwarazmi was a royal scribe at the court of the Aqquyunlu Sultan Ya’qub, 883-896 (1478-90). His pen name was Anisi (after anis or companion of the Sultan), but he often signed Sultani or Ya’qubi. He also served under Sultan Rustam and signed ‘Abd al-Rahim Rustami. Sultan Ya’qub was the son of the most famous of the Aqquyunlu rulers, Uzun Hasan. In Tabriz, their capital, a distinguished tradition of literary and cultural patronage was established.
A Kufic Koran leaf , probably Quarawan, North Africa, 3rd century AH/9-10th century AD
Private collection of Islamic art and artefacts
coins; jewellery; carpets as well as art from the 13th century AH (19th century AD). • The collection’s upcoming exhibition, opening in September, will focus on contemporary Middle Eastern art. The Hafiz Foundation generously supports the Farjam Collection. • The Farjam Collection also offers a series of educational programmes aligned with each exhibition. These offer audiences of all ages the opportunity to learn about the works on display and the context in which these were produced. • Complimentary educational materials in English and Arabic are offered to all visitors. • All exhibitions and programmes are free and open to the public. • The gallery is open: Sunday to Thursday, 10am to 8pm; Saturday 12pm to 8pm.
he Farjam Collection, the first art venue of its kind in Dubai, recently opened in Gate Village, Building 4, DIFC to present a series of rotating exhibitions drawn from Farhad Farjam’s extensive art collection. Take Zabeel Street, i.e. the road which leads from Dubai Mall to Dubai World Trade Centre, to easily park beneath Building 8 (first hour is free) or Valet Park for Dh20 per hour. The opening exhibition: ‘Highlights of Islamic Art from the Farjam Collection’, spans almost the entire history of Islam, bringing together items produced throughout the vast region between Andalusia and Mughal India. It includes Qurans; manuscripts; illustrated books on science, mathematics and poetry; paintings and miniatures; finely-decorated metalwork; lacquer; glasswork; tiles; glazed and trellis pottery; woodwork; textiles;
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Reverse glass painting. Painted in gouache heightened with gold. Three-quarter length portrait of a young girl wearing elaborately jewelled costume and holding a posy of flowers. Qajar Iran, first half 13th century AH/19th century AD
First Wednesdays: ipod audio tours
The first Wednesday of every month during an exhibition is when the gallery conducts its free tour from 1:00 – 1:30pm, but please make a reservation first, of the two floor, two room, airy premises. Visitors are escorted round the interesting and rare items displayed in glass cases, on the walls, podiums, etc armed with their ipods available in four languages (Arabic, Farsi, English, and French). The current audio tour offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about key works from the exhibition on view until July 25. A luncheon is served following the guided tour, courtesy of Florian. First Wednesdays are endorsed by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and supported by DIFC Lifestyle Group and Florian.
An impressive gem set crown made for a Nepalese royal family. India, 13th century AH/19th century AD. This superb turban crown, with pearls and precious stones, is a fine example of its type. Although this piece was made for the Nepalese royal family, it was probably made in India, where skilled jewellers were more easily available. Indian Muslim rulers traditionally wore turban crowns as a symbol of their combined secular and religious leadership; a saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) states that the turban represents ‘the border between faith and unbelief.’
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At the flicks
he heat of summer can be made more bearable and enjoyable by going to the local cinema where Gulf Films presents a month, July, of quality actors and actresses in a number of quality films. Go on, make your day! In the action-thriller Public Enemies, filmmaker Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Academy Award® winner Marion Cotillard in the story of legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger (Depp)—the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J. Edgar Hoover’s fledgling FBI and its top agent, Melvin Purvis (Bale), and a folk hero to much of the downtrodden public. No one could stop Dillinger and his gang. No jail could hold him. His charm and audacious jailbreaks endeared him to almost everyone—from his girlfriend Billie Frechette (Cotillard) to an American public who had no sympathy for the banks that had plunged the country into the Depression. But while the adventures of Dillinger’s gang—later including the sociopathic Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and Alvin Karpis (Giovanni Ribisi)—thrilled many, Hoover (Billy Crudup) hit on the idea of exploiting the outlaw’s capture as a way to elevate his Bureau of Investigation into the national police force that became the FBI. He made Dillinger America’s first Public Enemy Number One and sent in Purvis, the dashing ‘Clark Gable of the FBI’. Maybe this isn’t the right time to talk about plane crashes but this thriller, Passengers, is a bit different from the normal ones. After a horrific plane crash, a young therapist, Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway), is assigned by her mentor (Andre Braugher) to counsel the flight’s five remaining passengers. Claire’s difficulties in taking on such an assignment are made all the more complex when she’s confronted by Eric (Patrick Wilson), a passenger who refuses her help and instead uses the crash as an excuse to break the rules and openly court her. As Claire struggles to maintain a professional distance from Eric, her other patients struggle with recollections
the promotion of a lifetime is suddenly of the accident which are at odds with within his reach, Evan finds himself the airline’s official explanation. After torn between his parental responsibilitheir memories of a possible mid-air ties and staving off his company rival, explosion surface, the passengers begin the annoyingly pseudo-mystical Johnny mysteriously disappearing, and Claire suspects the airline is behind it. Determined to Public Enemies-Johnny Depp uncover the truth, Claire is drawn deeper into a conspiracy—and deeper into a relationship with Eric—that will soon collide in an explosive twist of fate. What if your daughter’s imagination was the secret to your success is the theme in Imagine That. In Nickelodeon Movies’ family comedy, Evan and his seven-yearold daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi) find it impossible to connect. He is too distracted by his career demands to understand the value of quality father-daughter time and she has all but given up on her Daddy. When
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Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church). Evan has always been a man in complete control, but when he really starts to lose it, Olivia steps in with her own bit of advice – winning stock tips courtesy of the princesses and queen who she visits through her security blanket – her “Goo-Gaa.” With Olivia and her imaginary friends leading the way, Evan is suddenly plunged into a world of dragons and other magical
creatures – most of whom prove to be much less dangerous than some of his co-workers. He finds himself singing and dancing in public, eating ketchup-andmustard-covered pancakes, and laughing with Olivia well into the night – and prospering in his career at the same time. Evan’s growing need to climb even higher on the corporate ladder leads him to do some insanely childish things. It also
makes him lose track of what is most valuable in his life. In the end, he learns that true success cannot be found in a stock portfolio. The film has been rated PG for some mild language and brief questionable behaviour. In Land of the Lost Will Ferrell (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) stars as has-been scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, a man with no weapImagine that ons, few skills and questionable smarts who must survive an alternate universe full of marauding dinosaurs and fantastic creatures from beyond our world. Marshall has been sucked through a space-time vortex to a place of spectacular sights and superscaled comedy. Coming along with him for the adventure are crack-smart research assistant Holly (Anna Friel, television’s Pushing Daisies, Timeline) and a redneck souvenirist (Danny McBride, Tropic Thunder, PineLand of the lost apple Express) named Will. Chased by T. rex and stalked by painfully slow reptiles known as Sleestak, Marshall, Will and Holly must rely on their only ally—a primate called Chaka (Jorma Taccone, television’s Saturday Night Live)—to navigate out of the hybrid dimension. Escape from this routine expedition gone awry and they’re heroes. Get stuck, and they’ll be permanent refugees in the Land of the Lost.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 53
How to drive
a luxury car for less
hen money is tight but taste is not, is it still possible to play posh if the purse strings are pulled? Many would say absolutely not, but with the recent launch of the region’s first supercar club - Scuderia 250 - the answer is a definite “Yes”. Given the current cash crisis, you would be forgiven for thinking that the enjoyment of a luxury supercar and the status, style and first-class lifestyle that accompany these flash autos is out of reach. Splashing out on an exotic, superrevved and stylish, top-of-the-range car presents a general taboo to those trying to tighten their belts. But the Middle East’s first supercar club has taken access to luxury to a whole new, and much more affordable, level. Through its exclusive membership, which is tailored in structure to suit car lovers and style seekers alike, the club has accessed of some of the world’s latest luxury vehicles from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley and Aston Martin to Rolls Royce, Porsche, Maserati, Mercedes … with two added bonuses. The cost is minimal in comparison and the selection is as wide as your imagination allows. The power and pleasure of driving a luxury vehicle is unrivalled. But the usual cost of owning just one purring engine
with its sleek silhouette would chalk up millions in purchasing costs, insurance, maintenance and storage. And chances are you’ll be stuck with the same car for years. “That’s where Scuderia 250 steps in,” said Iain Watson, the club’s General Manager. “An exclusive membership allows members the opportunity to experience a number of different, top-ofthe-range cars. And the club will absorb all of the endless details and headaches of owning an exotic car. Things such as insurance, maintenance and depreciation. That leaves members free to concentrate on sheer driving pleasure and the starstudded style that comes standard with these super luxury vehicles. Their only real dilemma is deciding which car they
drive next! ” In addition to access to a stable of horsepower at a fraction of the cost, the club offers not only supercar delivery and collection, but also premier access to luxury events within the region. So doing the maths, it’s clear that living life in luxury has never been this easy. Tight budget plus craving for luxury equals access to many exotic cars at less cost. Not half bad if you’re on half a budget. Following its global debut at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year, the new BMW Z4 – a modern interpretation of the classic roadster design – has arrived in the Middle East. The second generation BMW Z4 offers all the driving pleasure of a BMW
54 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Roadster with a seating position moved close to the rear axle, rear-wheel drive and an automatically retractable hardtop. With a mere 20 seconds separating the thrill of open-air driving with the roof down and the comfort of a sporting coupé with the hard top closed, this car offers the ultimate in diversity and sheer driving pleasure in this premium motoring segment. Commenting on the latest BMW model to arrive in the region, Phil Horton, Managing Director, BMW Group Middle East said: “The new BMW Z4 Roadster has already made a strong impression having won a prestigious Red Dot award, the largest and most renowned design competition in the world, and we expect it to deliver great things here.” Head and elbow room as well as the degree of comfort in entering the car have been significantly enhanced, while the low seating position near the rear axle guarantees a driving experience typical of a roadster. High-quality materials, firstclass finish and driver-oriented design of both the instrument panel and the centre console guarantee an emotional driving experience in a particularly refined ambience. The BMW Z4 sDrive35i, the most sporting and dynamic variant comes with the world’s first straight-six power unit to feature Twin Turbo technology, High Precision Injection with direct injection of fuel. The top model is also available with sports automatic featuring seven gears and double-clutch transmission providing fast and smooth gear change that reduces fuel consumption and emissions and ensures faster accelerations. The sport roadster’s top speed is 250 km/h (155 mph). Comprehensive use of BMW EfficientDynamics technologies ensure an unparalleled balance of driving pleasure and fuel economy. EfficientDynamics is BMW Group’s robust strategy encompassing technology innovations to offer outstanding performance and a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Head and thorax airbags are integrated at the front and sides, and in the seat backrests, while seat belts come equipped with new belt tightening technology, and reinforced A-pillars and roll bars behind the headrests ensure uncompromising
standards of safety. Thrifty Rent a Car has announced enticing summer promotions adapted to the current economic climate. The special promotions are valid in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates until the 15th of September, and targets individual hirers from holiday makers to business travellers. “Thrifty has enjoyed 20 years of the UAE’s growth and profitability, and now, in challenging times, it is our chance to give something back to our customers who are especially value-conscious at this time. Our aim is to provide the best possible deals, offering convenient extras to enable them to economically manage their travel,” said Sam Eltibi, Executive Director, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, MENA and Asia Pacific. The special promotions with Thrifty include both pick-up and drop-off anywhere within Dubai, Sharjah & Northern Emirates, with no additional charge. The promotion also includes a month free for every three-month rental. Weekend visitors to the UAE can enjoy a flexible return-on-Sunday policy by 10am, thus enjoying a half a day extra on their rental car. A convenient mid-week promotion, where if the vehicle is hired between 10am and 12noon on a Sunday and returned on Wednesday before 9.30pm, will give extra benefits to the hirer. “During the last quarter, Thrifty had taken measures to lower the cost structure to enable us to accommodate these promotions,” said Rahul Singh, General Manager for Thrifty Rent a Car UAE. “We see a trend of customers choosing small to mid-size cars during these economically challenging times and have lined up the latest models available.” As a recognised leader in the small electric vehicle space, Segway Inc. has announced the availability of the new
Segway Patroller models. Designed with the direct input of existing customers, the enhancements will help patrolling officers and public safety personnel keep communities safe around the world. The Patroller models are identifiable by their highly reflective surfaces and an integrated lighting system. Additional product enhancements include a newly designed LeanSteer™ frame, a front bag specifically designed to carry officers’ cargo, and an upper shield for affixing the organisation’s insignia. The Segway Patroller comes in either an i2 or x2 version. The i2 is optimised for demanding patrol applications that require the rider to transition from indoor to outdoor settings while getting the most out of battery range on a single charge, which is up to 40 kilometre. The x2 features rugged tyres suited for off-road patrol environments such as beaches, parks, trails or any rough surface. Built-in lift handles on the x2 and included cargo frames on the i2 make for a sturdy lift position and attach point for optional additional side cargo. “We are pleased with the new offering from Segway Inc,” said Steven BrownCestero, CEO of Segway of the Middle East. “The demand for Segways continues to grow amongst the regional Police and Security Forces and this new offering will allow us to address the needs of our clients. While we already have deployments at various police and security departments in the region, the interest in the Patroller has been high and we anticipate having a few police officers aboard the Patroller units in the near future,” he said. With an increasing requirement for organisations to do more with less, Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) offer municipalities, airports, military bases, private security firms, and emergency response teams ability to reconnect officers with the
UAE Digest,July-August 2009 l 55
communities they serve, improve response time, and save on fuel and fleet maintnance costs. Existing customers include police departments such as Washington, D.C.; Chicago and Shandong Province (China). Notable airport customers include LAX, ORD, DFW, Casablanca, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai Airports. Private security requirements are equally demanding with the added responsibility of maximising security resources under tight budget constraints. Customers such as Simon Malls, Securitasa and The Emaar Malls Group utilise Segway PTs shift-after-shift as a preventative measure against crime and to provide expedited emergency response to the customers they serve. Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre manufacturer and the golden standard in Japanese tyre technology, continues to live its promise to “serve society with superior quality” through its new B250 tyre series. This, the company’s most technically advanced basic performance tyre, is a combination of quality materials, cuttingedge engineering and over-performance specification. The birth of a new B250 begins with the careful procurement and selection of highest quality materials from Bridgestone-owned and approved sources only. Most materials used in the tyre construction are produced adhering to strict standards, at specialised plants. Further, the engineers monitor every step of the tyre manufacturing process.
The B250 tyres are engineered for safe and smooth driving, which makes it the tyre of choice of top international car makers including Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot and other brands. This new series is also ideally designed for family safety and comfort with optimal handling, wet grip, low noise and durability. However, what’s even more fascinating about these tyres is that they are eco-friendly. The B250 tyres provide optimised rolling resistance, which results in fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. These green tyres are a result of the manufacturer’s commitment to ecological concerns that cover the entire lifecycle of a tyre, from materials and manufacturing to optimised usage, disposal and recycling. Bosch Automotive has confirmed that it is significantly increasing its R&D investments into electro-mobility technologies to cater to the future market of the electric vehicle, which is envisioned to eventually replace today’s regular combustion engine car. Of the 91 million new passenger cars and light trucks worldwide in 2015, Bosch expects that more than three per cent will be hybrid and electric vehicles. Bosch Automotive and Samsung are set to invest between $300 and 400 million in this domain over the next four years. The company will be forming new partnerships to focus on technologies that can help it secure a leading position
Bosch computer-generated electric car
in the hybrid vehicles market. In combination with electric motors, gasoline hybrids emit 25 per cent less CO2 than conventional gasoline engines and diesel hybrids 20 per cent less than their conventional counterparts. The market maturity of these electric vehicles will increase as engineers succeed in improving the energy and power density of battery technology; and as drivers become more willing to accept ranges of between 100 and 200 kilometres between recharging stops. The car maker has already entered into a joint venture with Samsung which will lead to the production of lithium-ion batteries starting 2011. These batteries will become essential components for forwardlooking automotive technologies, such as hybrid and electric cars. Bosch Group currently maintains 282,000 employees in around 150 countries, up from its 2008 workforce of 271,000. The Bosch Group currently provides occupational training to more than 6,000 youths and has no plans of cutting back on these activities. Vital life saving automotive accessories were exhibited at Automechanika Middle East last month, which is particularly relevant in a country like the UAE where there are 28 car crashes a day, one fatality every eight hours (1,071 deaths in 2008) and 10 injuries every seven hours (12,150 injuries in 2008). The appalling number of people killed on the UAE roads and the daily misfortunes, as accident victims
56 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
pick up the pieces of their crushed lives, has been a pressing concern for the official authorities as well as ordinary families. One such tragic incident involved a parent accidentally killing his child, after failing to see the victim in the car’s blind spot when reversing the car. Intertruck Benelux, a leading importer and distributor of truck and trailer parts, introduced almost all of its OE brands including its own developed products such as Lexguard - an active warning system for the driver, a patented ultrasonic detection system which warns the driver about persons and objects coming too close to the vehicle. Lexguard is a perfect solution for blind spot situations, which saves lives and reduces damage costs. Due to its innovative character, Lexguard has won several European awards. Dubai Police have identified that truck drivers are in the top 10 categories who receive the maximum amount of Black Points on their driving licence. The viola-
tions were mainly speeding, lane violation, driving trucks during prohibited timings and jumping red lights. Another product exhibited was Dobli - the blind spot mirror for trucks which improves the field of view of the driver and makes the blind spot visible. Dobli is a simple and proven solution. In the European Union, over 200,000 units are in use to improve road safety. Road safety, and in particular, the use of seatbelts is to be the main theme presented by the Emirates Driving Institute, when it attends Barbican Turbo - the Middle East’s custom, tuning and motorsports festival organised by United Business Media from the 8th - 10th of October at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi. Road safety is a particular concern in the United Arab Emirates where figures released by the Abu Dhabi Health Authority and the Ministry of Interior indicate 424 people were killed on the roads in Abu Dhabi in 2008. To combat this issue the Emirates Driving Institute aims to achieve excellence in the field of driver training and road safety and believes a reduction in road traffic accidents can only be achieved by improving the current skills level and knowledge of the driving population; something which they plan to do while at Barbican Turbo. “Our focus is on the use of seatbelts; as they are the single most effective piece of safety equipment in a vehicle. All too
often though, they are neglected resulting in needless loss of life or injury,” highlights Peter Richardson, General Manager Technical and Operations, Emirates Driving Institute. During Barbican Turbo, the Emirates Driving Institute will have on display their seatbelt convincer, specialist roll-car, headrest restraints, child restraints and tyre display as well as staff to demonstrate these and answer questions from the public. Barbican Turbo will also run alongside Adrenaline Sports Live, presented by Rani for the second year in a row. This is the country’s annual meeting for the adventure/adrenaline sports communities, related companies and tourism bodies who want to promote adventure travel in their home country.
Pajero’s value recognised
The top banks continue to recognise the value of Mitsubishi Pajero as the leading SUV in the UAE. Recently, the key players in the finance sector tied up with Al Habtoor Motors to support a special Mitsubishi Pajero promotion. Both Emirates NBD and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) have agreed, in this tighter economic time, to fund customers who want to buy a new Mitsubishi Pajero and have salaries starting from Dh5,000. The banks will offer them the facilities of no down payment and very low interest rates up to 4.99 per cent for a five-year period. Mr Vikram Krishna, Head of Retail Loans Emirates NBD – who recently visited Al Habtoor Motors’ Mitsubishi Showroom in Deira said, “Our focus is to continuously offer products and services that deliver outstanding value to our customers. The Mitsubishi Pajero makes an excellent choice for our customers and is amongst the most popular vehicles in its category. The added advantage is the easy resale and excellent residual values that customers can enjoy across the Emirates.” This amazing never before financial deal coupled with two years free insurance and free servicing offers excellent value. Al Habtoor Motors has seen the local market sales go from strength to strength over the recent months due to the great value, customer care and desirability of the Mitsubishi range. The special Pajero promotion will be running during DSS to 14th of August.
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 57
With pupils on a school trip to Switzerland
Gtting aboard the train to Jung frau
On a school trip to paradise
For a tired and weary Dubai resident, Switzerland is truly ‘out of this world’
By Sangeeta Sethi
f I had a chance to relive my life and make all the changes to better it from my present one, there is one thing I certainly would not change - my trip to Switzerland. Landing in Zurich with 26 girls in tow as part of a school trip, I expected that the trip would be fairly traumatic. However, the serenity and the charm of rolling green meadows and the refreshingly pure chilled air wrapped all of us in its magic. Speeding towards Interlaken on a two-lane road that hardly had any traffic was therapeutic after being used to Dubai’s six-lane traffic-filled
The train from Jungfrau, which reaches the top through tunnels, cuts into the mountain and stops at viewing stations where tourists gape at hills drowned in thick sheets of snow
58 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Switzerland’s scenery is truly breathtaking
nightmare. The three-hour journey was pleasantly broken by a picnic interlude on the way. Interlaken, as the name suggests, is a small tranquil town nestling amidst two huge lakes. The town is smallish and one can stroll through its streets gawking at the lovely displays of mouth-watering chocolates in special chocolate shops; watch shops displaying all the famous Swiss brands; touristy curio shops displaying Swiss cowbells etc. An absolute ‘must’ while in Switzerland is eating cakes and ice-creams that taste out of this world better than anything I have ever tasted. It must be the milk of all those indolent cows grazing in the verdant greens. Interlaken has several eating places dotting the town. They serve cuisines from all over the world. We relished the Indian food available there. A two-hour drive from Interlaken took us to Grund station, from where we took the famous cogwheel train to Jungfrau - literally the top of Europe. The train, which reaches the top through tunnels, cuts into the mountain and stops at viewing stations where tourists gape at hills drowned in thick sheets of snow. To someone like me who had come from hot, dusty Dubai, this sight was a tonic for my eyes – nay, my soul!
However, the train reaches Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at an amazing 3,454 metres a tad too quickly, and I, who have lived all my life on the sea coast, found that adjusting to the high altitude was not so easy. A brief spell of dizziness soon passed; and I was able to stand on the plateau in the eternal snow,
Rivulets, streams and lakes dot the landscape
Lucerne is a historic old town which enjoys invigorating mountain views, lake cruises and a picturesque old quarter
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 59
The exterior of a famous Swiss bank
but only for a short while in –18oC temperature, before rushing back to the warm comfort inside. An imaginatively built ice-museum captivated us. The unforgettable trip to the high-Alpine wonderland of eternal ice and snow is the true ‘highlight’ of a visit to Switzerland. The various restaurants offer a selection of European and Asian cuisine. Whether an individual guest or in a group, all visitors are equally well catered for on the Jungfraujoch. After a good lunch at the ‘Top of Europe’ Glacier Restaurant, serving Indian food, we took the train back. Lucerne and Zurich are beautiful towns nestling along lovely lakes. Zurich, a charming, well-preserved old town, lies on both banks of the River Limmat. Strolling down the Bahnhof Strasse, (claimed to be the most expensive street in Europe) and watching people window-shopping in the stores was something I really enjoyed doing. The Bahnhof Strasse cuts through the centre of old Zurich, and runs from the Zurichsee, (Lake Zurich), to the main train station at Bahnhof Plaza. Sights, sounds, stores galore, but people watching is the thing I found most fascinating. Sitting on a bench on Bahnhof Strasse, you get an eyeful of everything from the nouveau riche, to the interestingly dressed (matching hair and tennis shoes). It can fill an entire afternoon very easily. To me, it seemed almost as if I was sitting on the set of a Hollywood flick as I watched a most eye-catching array of incredibly well-dressed people walk past; or get into and out of trams.
Zest for life
An array of tempting sweets
The lovely lake in Lucerne
Sitting and enjoying coffee or a drink on the numerous road/lakeside cafes is something most residents of Zurich really enjoy. Moving around the city, I noticed that at lunch time - or after work - the lakeside cafes quickly filled up with people relaxing for a drink before they headed home. Lucerne is a lovely, historic old town which enjoys invigorating mountain views, lake cruises and a picturesque old quarter. River banks on both sides are clustered with medieval squares, frescoed houses, ancient guildhalls, churches and chapels; and filled with a liveliness that belies the city’s age. Aside from using Lucerne as a base from which to explore the region, it would be easy to spend at least a couple of days taking in some of its quality museums – a Picasso gallery, the impressive Verkehrshaus (Transport Museum) – in between walking on the medieval battlements and exploring cobbled alleys and hidden garden courtyards. One of the most amazing things was being able to drink water off any tap in Switzerland. The rule for tourists to drink only bottled water to remain safe and healthy does not apply here as it does in the rest of the world. My rough and frazzled hair also fell soft and easy after a couple of washes. Really and truly, Switzerland is ‘heaven on earth’. One visit just does not suffice. I will definitely want to go back again and again.
60 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
Luxury in the skies
Swiss International Airlines, the national carrier of Switzerland named the ‘Best Airline of Europe’ for its short and long-haul flights by the prestigious Skytrax 2009, is in full gear with its ongoing investments in products and services and chose the Middle East to be the second market to receive the all-new A330-300 aircraft fitted with the latest innovations in seats and inflight entertainment this June. Marcel Biedermann, Managing Director, Head of Intercontinental Markets of Swiss International Airlines said at the ATM: “Swiss has total investments of well over $878 million for the nine new Airbus A330-300s and we expect to raise the airline’s earning capacity by replacing nine smaller aircraft of the present Airbus A330-200 fleet.” The first of the new A330-300 took off from Zurich to New York in April and the second aircraft took off from Dubai to Zurich on June 19. The new aircraft will reduce Swiss’s CO2 emissions by around 13 per cent. Swiss is the first airline to offer the revolutionary air comfort system to passengers enabling individual settings of whether to have a firmness of a futon or softness of a waterbed. The air cushion enables seat weight reduction, leading to lower fuel consumption for the A330-300. Swiss’s suite above the clouds is the new First Class seat which can be reclined into a two-metre-long totally lie-flat bed at the touch of a button. It is equipped with a down-filled duvet and incorporates the innovative pneumatic air cushion.
The new Swiss Business Seat offers optimum travel comfort with a state-of-the-art air cushion for adjustable comfort in all positions. Passengers will have more personal space and enjoy sleeping with the 2-metre (79”) fully horizontal lie-flat seat, which is also equipped with a massage function. Inflight entertainment has been improved to carry larger screens in 16:9 format and plugs for USB and iPod. Swiss Economy Class is not far behind as it also features totally new and top-quality seats with easy-to-use inflight entertainment system. Swiss operates non-stop daily flights from Dubai to Zurich, and offers a comprehensive network of 90 destinations in 42 countries. - Vanit Sethi
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 61
Kingfisher’s maiden flight to Dubai
By Sankar Narayan
The first King fisher Airline flight arriving in Dubai
ingfisher Airlines announced their first flight operation in the Middle East with the inauguration of a flight from Dubai to Bangalore on 25th June 2009. Their earlier plans to launch the Dubai flight got delayed by a few months at a time when the airline industry was affected by the global economic meltdown with many airlines still tumbling on flight operation. Formed under the famous Indian brand of UB Group, Kingfisher is one of the flagship brands and the airline has established its name in the industry, both within India and in the international market. “What is unique to Kingfisher Airlines is that it has one of the largest networks in India connecting over 50 destinations from Bangalore. Therefore going on to other destinations becomes easy within the one airport,” said Siva Ramachandran, Vice President – Global Sales, Kingfisher Airlines. The airline officials said daily flights to Bangalore from Dubai and back are conveniently scheduled. Flights takes off from Dubai Airport Terminal 1at 10:10pm and reach Bangalore at 3.45am the following day. Return flights from Bangalore leave 6.15pm to reach Dubai at 8.55pm. Travelling on a four-hours flight between Dubai and Bangalore, passengers can enjoy the award winning Kingfisher Club which is an all economy premium service. The airline operates A320 aircraft with 174 seats providing ample comfort to passengers so that they can relax while enjoying a variety of cuisines and beverages. There is also a world-class onboard entertainment system provided for every
passenger, with a choice of latest blockbusters movies in English and Hindi as well as a radio service. Another unique advantage for the passengers is the free baggage allowance of 40 kilos per person. Area Sales Manager Vinay Nambiar said that excellent connectivity is provided to passengers arriving at Bangalore airport to many Indian cities and even to north-eastern Indian cities like Guwahati. Welcoming the airlines entry to Dubai Airport, Richard Talian, Vice President, Strategy, Dubai Airports said, “While Dubai is the business and leisure capital of the region, Bangalore is the heart of India’s IT sector. And whereas Dubai Airport is considered one of the world’s leading aviation hubs, Kingfisher Airlines is one of India’s fastest growing international carriers”. Marking their first international flight operation in 2008 by operating daily flights from Bangalore to London, the airline has added another two international destinations by starting flights to Colombo and Dhaka in 2009. It has plans to add other international destinations in the Far East, more Asian countries, and other Gulf Countries.
with the announcement of a trio of routes to the region. It will begin its Indian adventure with flights to the north eastern city of Lucknow on July 13. This will be closely followed by Coimbatore in the south of the country on July 14. The trio of destinations will be completed on July 23 when flights to the north-western city of Chandigarh begin. Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai said: “There is a huge Indian expatriate population living in the UAE and an even larger number of people keen to travel to the region for both business and pleasure. flydubai is committed to making travel between Lucknow, Coimbatore, Chandigarh and the UAE a little less complex, a little less stressful and a little less expensive and we are confident this will help to stimulate more people to travel more often to these destinations.” FZ449 will depart Dubai for Lucknow on July 13 and will operate four times per week. Prices will start from Dh425, including all taxes and one piece of hand baggage weighing up to 10kg. The thrice-weekly Coimbatore service, FZ413, will take off from Dubai on July 14. Prices to Coimbatore also start from Dh425. FZ431 will become the first international flight to touch down at Chandigarh airport on July 23. Prices to Chandigarh start from Dh350. Ticket prices include all taxes and one piece of hand baggage, weighing up to 10kg, per passenger. Passengers have the option to purchase checked-in baggage in advance at Dh40 for the first piece and Dh100 for the second, weighing up to 32kgs, subject to availability. A nominal payment of Dh5 allows customers to select their seat and Dh50 secures the extra legroom positions. Food and drink can be purchased on board.
flydubai announces Indian routes
flydubai, Dubai’s first low cost airline, is all set for take off to the Indian sub-continent
62 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009
on option for the Classic Family Vacation and any other value package offered by Hyatt. The Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has launched its promotional campaign for the annual Sharjah Summer Promotions 2009, themed Sharjah Summer Breaks. The campaign includes a diverse selection of holiday package options for tourists to choose from, with Sharjah’s hotels and hotel apartments offering very attractive rates until 31 August 2009. Enjoy the annual Sharjah summer promotion, where a host of shopping and promotional activities and events will be taking place throughout the emirate until 25 July 2009. Over the summer months, Seawings passengers can benefit from a buy-one-getone-free flight experience to the East and North Coast Emirates of Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah when booking directly with the company. The summer promotion will run until the end of September 2009. The flight starts with an exhilarating take off from the private marina of Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa for a 45 minute journey to Ras Al Khaimah or Fujairah. En route passengers get to see the picturesque beauty of the coastal skyline of three of the most significant coastal cities of the UAE, Dubai, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah These special packages are priced between Dh995 - Dh1195 per flight and include views of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks including Palm Jumeirah, The World Islands, Burj Al Arab, and the historic Dubai Creek before continuing over the Hajar Mountains, Dibba Coast and historic Fujairah followed by a smooth seaplane landing on the East or North coast of the UAE. Information on flight bookings to Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah are available on the website www.seawings.ae
Deals from the UAE
ummer is a season for getaway vacations as residents of the UAE seek to travel more for short breaks as a welcome relief from work and weather. Airlines and the hospitality industry understand this and are coming up with offers to entice. Now is the time to enjoy their offerings. Air Arabia Holidays has unveiled a range of low-cost holiday packages from Sharjah to various exotic destinations in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. These attractive packages start as low as Dh1,910 and are valid for travel until August 31st, 2009. Customers can search www.holidays. airarabia.com by holiday theme or by chosen country and will be provided with a range of convenient ready-made holiday solutions. Alternatively, customers are able to create their own individual holiday by picking flights, hotels, booking rental cars and transfers and choosing among a range of exciting excursions. Some of the special offers available from Air Arabia Holidays include: • Magical Kenya – Nairobi, Masai Mara, Nakuru and Naivasha, five days Dh3,740 • Tranquil Nepal – Kathmandu, three - Dh1,910 • Mythological Greece– Athens, three days - Dh2,250 • Delightful Turkey - Istanbul, four days- Dh2,200 • Enchanting Egypt – Alexandria and Cairo, five days- Dh2,540 • Mystical India – Goa, four days Dh2,100
Historic Jordan - Amman, three daysDh2,250 • Lebanon - Beirut, four days- Dh2,220 The family vacations remembered most fondly are filled with fun, discovery and togetherness. In that spirit, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts announces the revival of the Classic Family Vacation, a new global package for families seeking to get more - more savings, more fun and more memories - from their getaway this year. The Classic Family Vacation will be available to reserve with offer code FAMVAC for travel through September 7, 2009. More than 175 Hyatt destinations around the world are participating, offering authentic experiences paired with value in accommodation, dining, spa and kids activities. In addition to guestroom accommodation, the Classic Family Vacation includes: • Full daily breakfast for all registered guests, including adults and children • 15 per cent savings on restaurant dining • 15 per cent savings on Hyatt Pure spa services (where available) • Complimentary half day of Camp Hyatt for one child (where available) • A welcome snack amenity for the kids • Exclusive access to a 20 per cent shopping discount on NationalGeographic.com A second room for the kids at 50 per cent off the Hyatt Daily Rate is an add-
UAE Digest, July-August 2009 l 63
How will the Metro fare?
By Con Clude
t’s only two months away from 09.09.09 – the day Dubai Metro begins operations. After a great deal of speculation about the fares, it came as a relief that the minimum fare will be less than Dh2, and the maximum not more than Dh6. Also, parking will be free at all stations. With feeder services, convenient pedestrian walkways across arterial roads, and short waiting times, the Metro should soon ride on a popularity wave. If it’s so easy for people to use it, will they still be driving cars? For people in Dubai, it makes sense to use the cheaper, more comfortable and eco-friendly option. But at this stage, a few hurdles remain. One, it will not cover the entire city in September. By March next, when the Green Line begins, we could see some changes in road use patterns. There’s also a Blue Line not being talked about now, while one hears the Purple Line has been abandoned. Two, if the feeder services cost more than double that of the Metro in some areas, like Palm Jumeirah, does it make sense to splurge on one to save on the other? The Palm Jumeirah monorail costs Dh15 one way; and we haven’t heard about Al Sufouh Tram after it was announced with much fanfare last year. Three, where do commuters from Sharjah go? Since a majority of those using public transport live in Sharjah, how will the Metro benefit them? Will they come to Dubai to use the service when they can get direct buses from Sharjah? Last, a large number of office-goers use private bus services. These services are very convenient as they pick up and drop passengers right at their doorsteps. No
public service can better that. So, the Metro may have to travel some distance before it can become really popular. All said and done, it’s important to encourage the use of public transport in a place where people love flaunting their automobiles.
rackets proliferating in the name of ‘education’ and ‘future vision’.
Good, bad and ugly!
With the Ministry of Education announcing that all schools will reopen only after the Ramadan month, pupils get an extra 20 days off. No doubt the summer is a difficult season for fasting, but such a long break would make children get out of step with academics, while schools will be hard-pressed to finish their syllabi on time. Already, many schools fall in KHDA’s ‘unsatisfactory’ rating, with no improvements noticed during the second round of inspections. On the other hand, some influential private schools led by a major global education provider – have banded together to challenge KHDA’s authority, making an appeal to ‘higher authorities’ in Dubai, citing the nobility of their vision. Blah, blah! Unfortunately, they were only fooling themselves with illusions of grandeur. While teachers – mostly from the subcontinent – are poorly paid and overworked in their schools, the group gave lofty statements to the press about their vision for a knowledge-savvy Dubai and how KHDA was coming in the way. It was left to parents to unveil their mask of nobility. This parents association called them ‘education mercenaries’, which triggered the closing of ranks among the big cats. It’s sickening to see money-making
The last fortnight in June has been quite crazy for the UAE in terms of newsworthiness. First, we had the shocking story of two children dying of food poisoning. While the death of the cute children is still a mystery and an irreparable loss for their devastated parents, a lot remains to be answered for by the eatery and hospital authorities. May the children’s souls rest in peace. Another tragedy happened on the world stage – the death of pop icon Michael Jackson. While his old albums like Thriller sold like hot cakes, his own life was a complete thriller, with hitherto unrevealed facts coming to light. For balance, a comical farce was being played out in Dubai by glamorous socialite Paris Hilton. One wonders how some teenagers can get carried away by the superficial gloss of a bimbette who has the audacity to remark that she’s a role model for young girls. How vain can one get! Jackson and Hilton were covered extensively by Dubai’s English media. For a few days, it seemed like this was LA. Was it the lack of news in summer that kept the press glued to Western celebrities? However, the greatest news has been the decision to set up the IRENA headquarters in Abu Dhabi – the first major UN body in the non-Western world. But Arabic newspapers underplayed the event for reasons unknown. Is it because the abundance of bad news in the region makes good news seem like no news?
64 l UAE Digest, July-August 2009