Sunday, March 27, 2011

Emirates Palace launches a lavish Million Dollar Package



Emirates Palace launches a lavish Million Dollar Package

The stunning grandeur of one of the most expensive hotels ever built demands ultra-luxury offerings for its guests, including unrivalled facilities and incredible tailor made designer packages. The Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, exceeds all expectations with its latest...a fantastic once in a lifetime all-out package with a hefty value of 1,000,000 US Dollars !


This package incarnates pure opulence and includes the following for 2 guests:
* First class return trip from any international destination serviced by Etihad Airlines to Abu Dhabi
* Seven night stay in a 680 sqm Palace Suite at Emirates Palace on an all-inclusive basis.



* Chauffeur driven Maybach at your disposal daily during your stay in Abu Dhabi
* Daily spa treatment in the Anantara Spa
* Day trip in private jet to Iran to create your own Persian carpet from the most exclusive and well-renowned hand-maker
* Day trip in private jet to the Dead Sea Jordan to experience the famous sea and an afternoon Anantara spa treatment in the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar



* Day trip to Bahrain in private jet for a pearl deep sea experience. Your pearl will then be hand designed with jewelry settings
* Royal Golf experience at Abu Dhabi Golf Club
* Make your own perfume with experts from YAS Perfume
* Deep sea fishing trip

* Gifts including champagne sunset and desert island tour.
* Gifts including the rarest pearls in the world from Robert Wang and a selection from Holland & Holland Sporting Guns
So there's the answer to that million dollar question...


The Russians Are Coming!

Russians have been butt of jokes in Hollywood movies as well as media. I have been hearing a lot of stories about hot money from Russia coming into this part of the world.

The famous Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea football club had made his presence known with shrewd investments and startegies.

Recently, a colleague who returned to his adopted home in Prague last summer told me his experience meeting with a Russian mafia group in a bar there. He was sitting at one of the mafia's chairs and was about to be kicked out when suddenly the mafia realised that he was an Arab based in Dubai.

"Arabs and Russians are friends.....not Americans and Dubai is good, no?" And they hit it off nicely even the mafia boss enticed the trembling Arab with loads of Chech ladies and expensive vodkas!

The Russians are coming
By Aleh Tsyvinski and Sergei Guriev, Special to Gulf News


Russia's government is sitting on a giant pile of cash that it plans to invest in foreign assets. The glimpse of its economic muscle was revealed last week when the Prime Minister of Iceland announced that Russia may come with about $5 billion to save its troubled economy. Who could have thought that, given the chaotic Russia of the 1990s, only ten years later it would be in the position to bail out a developed country? Even more surprising is the fact that the helping hand for Iceland comes at a time when the domestic stock market is in a freefall and trading on the Moscow stock exchange is routinely halted.

The Kremlin thinks that now is the time to buy assets cheaply, using the current financial crisis to emerge as a powerful global economic player. As Prime Minister Vladimir Putin remarked at a recent meeting with the CEO of state-owned bank VTB, "Perhaps we should buy something [abroad]? Something that is up for grabs?" According to Arkady Dvorkovich, an economic aide to President Dmitry Medvedev, the government will support - both diplomatically and financially - the expansion of Russian companies abroad.

Bandar Baru-Kulim - Ada apa-apakah? Kejutan lain?

Adalah mengejutkan untuk BN menarik balik petisyen pilihan raya yang kemukakan April lalu. Dikatakan yang BN mempunyai kes yang kuat untuk memenangi petisyen ini bagi pilihanraya kecil baru diadakan.

Tentunya tidak kecil perbelanjaan selain strategi yang diatur untuk kembali mendapatkan kerusi parlimen yang hilang.

“Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable - the art of the next best” - kata Otto von Bismarck.
Dia juga berkata, “When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.”

Dalam perkembangan peralihan kuasa dalam UMNO dan meriah pertandingan untuk merebut pelbagai kerusi kuasa dalam parti perkauman terbesar negara itu, apakah akan ada sesuatu yang tidak terfikir oleh kita, para 'ahli politik' sampingan yang hanya tahu kulit sahaja.

Apakah BN takut untuk berdepan sekali lagi dengan gelombang rakyat?

Atau apakah UMNO dibawah Najib akan mempunyai seorang lagi MP tambahan?

Kata adidas dengan sombong, Impossible is nothing!

Kata orang putih yang ramai hilang kerja disebabkan kesan kejatuhan sistem kewangan Amerika, sit and enjoy the next grand movie of the year!


Palm Jumeirah - Catatan Profesional (Tiga)

"Bagaimana dengan rekabentuk prasana telekomunikasi?"

Saeed bertanya dengan suara yang tinggi. Menambahkan debaran.

Saya terangkan apa yang telah dilakukan dalam seminggu. Saeed tidak berminat untuk mendengar 'alasan' saya. Itu tidak penting baginya yang ada banyak isu lebih besar.

"Bila boleh siap?"

Saya cuba menangguhkan jadual sedikit. Saeed melenting.

"Kamu sebagai konsultan dibayar untuk buat siapkan secepat mungkin. Kata ada pengalaman di DIC? Kita tidak boleh tertangguh lagi kerana tender prasana sudah keluar, kecuali untuk telekomunikasi!"

Saeed tidak berminat untuk mendengar penjelasan lanjut dari saya. Saya juga tidak mahu bercakap apa-apa kerana tidak pasti karektor Saeed, bimbang keluar carut dari mulutnya.

Aduan dan Bantuan.

Sebaik mesyuarat, saya mengadu kepada Dr. Osama mengenai tindak-tanduk Saeed dan perlunya pasukan projek ditambah untuk mengurangkan beban kerja yang bertambah tiba-tiba kerana keperluan segera Palm Jumeirah.

Dari perbincangan sampingan dengan konsultan Lebanon yang angkuh tersebut, sempat juga saya dibelasah dengan 'ceramah' mengenai tender kejuteraan awam. Mamat yang sudah botak itu memberitahu apa yang diperlukan dari saya untuk dimasukkan dalam dokumen tender. Terkial-kial juga dengan 'kerja-kerja' kejuruteraan awam.

Contoh tender yang diberikan memberikan saya panduan berguna. Saya sendiri sebenarnya tidak faham pun 'drawings'. Apalagi untuk membuat 'drawings' tender. Memang masalah besar. Selama ini projek IT adalah berlainan.

Dr. Osama tidak berlengah menemui orang nombor tiga Dubai World.

Pihak Dubai World bersetuju untuk kami mengambil dua staf dari kalangan pengurus yang ada dibawah kami sepenuh masa. Segera kami memilih seorang warga emirati dari pusat IT dan seorang warga India dari Khidmat Korporat (Telekomunikasi) serta seorang setiausaha Arab sebagai ko-ordinator.

Kemudiannya, kami berjaya mendapatkan tiga orang profesional dari sebuah syarikat konsultan telekomunikasi Jerman yang pernah bekerja dengan Siemens sewaktu projek DIC. Mereka adalah kontraktor kami di DIC dan menjadi rakan baik walau bahasa Inggeris mereka masih tunggang langgang.

Juga untuk projek Dubai World, kami berjaya mendapatkan khidmat dua orang penganalisa kewangan (kanan) dari Ernts & Young dan Dubai World membayar segala yuran perkhidmatan.

Dengan bertambahnya anggota projek Dubai World ini mengurangkan beban saya dan boleh menumpukan perhatian sepenuhnya kepada tugas Palm Jumeirah yang semakin mencemaskan.
Saya juga meminta operator CAD untuk membuat drawings. Pihak Palm Jumeirah tidak cukup tangan manakala pihak konsultan angkuh tersebut, setelah ditekan oleh Dr. Osama, berkata saya boleh menggunakan khidmat salah seorang staf CAD mereka sekadar dua tiga jam sehari.

Saya meminta sebuah meja di pejabat konsultan dan memanggil jurutera Cisco ber'pindah' sama. Lagi masalah apabila bos Cisco berkata yang mereka tidak mahu terlibat untuk menyediakan tender prasana, hanya merekabentuk sistem dan rangkaian telekomunikasi berdasarkan produk mereka. Urusan yang berkaitan kerja-kerja kejuruteraan awam bukan urusan Cisco.

Dengan berdasarkan rekabentuk Cisco yang belum siap sepenuhnya, saya mula membuat 'drawings' tender. Pihak konsultan Lebanon berkata yang penting keluarkan dulu tender, apa-apa yang kurang boleh ditambah kemudian sebagai addendum.

Konsultan ini bengkak kerana mereka hilang yuran khidmat hampir setengah juta setelah bahagian kerja rekabentuk IT & Telekomunikasi diserahkan kepada saya.

Saya memberitahu Dr. Osama, "I have to do whatever necessary to deliver on time! This is a great challenge and nothing can break us!"

Saya segera mengupah seorang jurutera awam dari Palestin yang hebat dengan CAD untuk menyiapkan tender drawings. Jurutera ini terlibat projek di Lapangan Terbang dan hanya boleh melakukan kerja sampingan ini selepas jam 5.

Tiada pilihan, saya terpaksa bekerja di pejabat jurutera itu selama tiga malam serta hujung minggu dan membayar jumlah yang agak besar dari poket sendiri. Drawings yang dihasilkan diserahkan kepada konsultan Lebanon untuk dijadikan dokumen tender.

Apabila saya beritahu Dr. Osama yang saya membayar segala 'drawings' dari poket sendiri, dia begitu marah.

"This is Palm's project, let them pay, not you!"

Tetapi saya tiada masa untuk berfikir lagi selain mesti menyiapkan drawings secepat mungkin. Wajah bengis Saeed menghantui minda. Duit tidak penting lagi, yang penting ialah imej dan persepsi.

BOQ

"Mana senarai BOQ?"

Tanya konsultan Lebanon. Marah-marah. Dia tidak berhenti hisap rokok. Satu pejabat berbau asap rokok. Memang suasana yang tidak sehat.
Apa kejadah pulak BOQ?
Saya terlupa dalam tergesa-gesa untuk menyiapkan drawings.

Kemudian operator CAD berasal dari India datang. Drawings yang saya sediakan dengan bayaran upah yang agak tinggi, tidak boleh dipakai!
Terduduk sekejap. Sudah lah tidak cukup tidur. Petangnya ada pula mesyuarat dengan Saeed.

Masalah! Masalah! Mahu kena jerkah dengan Saeed.

Pejabat konsultant itu terletak di tingkat 11 bangunan Crowne Plaza yang pernah menjadi pejabat awal DIC sebelum berpindah ke kampus DIC. Dari tingkap, saya merenung jauh ke arah Emirates Towers, ibupejabat Palm Jumeirah di seberang Sheikh Zayed Road.


Tiba-tiba datang ilham. Saya berbisik kepada operator CAD itu.

"You solve this and I pay you accordingly!"
"I can only this at home Sir, after work!"
"OK, I dont care, finish it by tomorrow morning and do as per standards!"
"How much do you want to pay me, Sir?"
"How much is your rate?"
Dia memberitahu sekian sekian mengikut jam. Tiada masa untuk tawar menawar.
"OK, the most important thing, finish these drawings together with BOQ by tomorrow morning and let your boss approve all these bloody drawings!"

Bayangkan untuk projek mega yang bernilai bilion dirham ini, saya sumbangkan sedikit wang dalam bentuk upah membuat drawings!
(Bersambung)

Job seekers lured to UAE - Temporary or Long Term?

As the world economy is sliding into recession, there is still news like this one, makes you ponder on the reality. Is this real? Or just another ploy to potray the not-so-good reality?

I have been here since 2000 and watching the progress before my own eyes. It has been up in almost everything especially cost of living. Soaring in prices is not only a problem here but all over the world, but then again, life goes on and time waits for nobody, no question that we have bear with the storms ahead. Otherwise just whine every day for something that we cannot act upon!

Job seekers lured to UAE
Roland Hughes


ABU DHABI // Worried professionals anxiously seeking refuge from the global credit crisis are inundating recruiters and companies with job applications.
One recruitment company reported a 10-fold jump in applications in the past two months.
Bankers, estate agents and financial staff from the United States and Britain are leading the charge as shocks to the world economy force companies to consider cutting jobs.

They are drawn to the UAE and its economic and employment boom, which so far has escaped the worst effects of the credit crunch.Richard Ross, London manager of recruitment consulting firm UAE Staffing, said: “As soon as the credit crunch started we got a lot more applications from the real estate, finance and construction sectors.”Perhaps underscoring the nervousness in job markets abroad, some applicants have taken to making personal pleas too, Mr Ross said.

“People do not just send their résumés, but also write about the problems they are facing. You have guys who have worked in the property business for 12 years who have not been able to sell anything for three or four months.”Mr Ross said the number of applications from the US, especially, had increased several fold since August.
“We used to get five résumés a day from the US. Now we can get 50. But this is only the tip of the iceberg; I’m sure it will get even busier. The UAE right now is one of the top 10 spots in the world for jobs.”

Nizar Lalani, UAE manager for recruiters Antal International, said applications from North America and Western Europe had doubled since June.“There is a lot of downsizing and people are scared of being laid off because they have seen it happen to their colleagues.“A week back, I met a guy who received an offer from Lehman Brothers and he was about to join them when it all collapsed. He had not resigned from his job, luckily, but he could see his company was going the same way so he decided to explore the market here.

“Dubai has marketed itself very well. It is providing growth and opportunities, quality of life and a secure environment.”Mr Lalani said there were enough jobs to cope with the rising demand because the rate of growth was so high in the UAE.According to Google Insights, which tracks rising trends by analysing the number of Google searches, queries for “jobs” and “Dubai” as well as “jobs” and “Abu Dhabi” have never before been as popular as in the past month.

People from Australia, the US, Britain, Canada, India and Pakistan in particular have been seeking jobs in Abu Dhabi.
Searches for jobs in Dubai peaked on Sept 29, two weeks after the Lehman Brothers bank collapsed. Abu Dhabi peaked the next day.Natalie Harris, 34, a former asset manager from London who recently returned to Britain from Thailand, is visiting the UAE on a three-week job hunt.“Hiring is taking longer in the UK and people are a lot more selective about who they hire,” she said. “It has really changed from a year ago".

“Everything sounds so much more positive in the UAE, and people are more optimistic. A lot of people are going over to the UAE and most people know at least one person who is there, so you hear good feedback.”
William Buck, the Middle East director of the recruiting firm Macdonald and Company, said applications from North Americans and Europeans looking to work in the UAE property sector had tripled in the past six months.
Partly as a result of the boom, his company had hired more staff.
“Over the last two months in particular, we have been inundated,” he said.
“If you are a property professional who has been involved in developing projects right from the beginning, there is a job for you. But the first batch of CVs we started getting this summer were all from people with experience in property investment, who were the first people to be hit by the credit crunch. There are just not that many jobs of that kind in this part of the world.”
Mr Buck said there was a risk of applicants seeking to move to the UAE as an escape only, without being committed to several years of work.
“You used to get a certain type of person coming to work here. But how can you guarantee they are committed to staying here now?“
Is it a stopgap for them or a long-term commitment? Who knows? But we are certain to get more people coming here for the short term.”
rhughes@thenational.ae

Palm Jumeirah - Catatan Profesional (Dua)


CEO Palm Jumeirah.

Tugas untuk projek Dubai World tetap diteruskan dengan siri mesyuarat untuk bertemu CEO pelbagai syarikat. Saya menjadi tukang atur mesyuarat dan menghubungi para CEO tersebut secara terus dari 'Corporate Office' dengan salinan emel kepada pengerusi, COO dan Secretary General.

Tentunya juga para sekretari CEO tersebut yang membantu untuk membuat pengesahan masa, tempat dan agenda. Selalunya CEO akan memanggil CIO, CTO atau pengurus IT bersama.

Beberapa pertemuan awal menampakkan kurang senang ramai CIO, CTO dan pengurus IT kerana ada pihak yang sedang meng'audit' kerja-kerja mereka. Cerita ini untuk lain kali.

Pertemuan pertama dengan CEO Palm Jumeirah waktu itu, Saeed dengan dua agenda. Pertamanya mengenai sistem yang ada dan tiada serta wawasan beliau.

Keduanya, mengenai tugas saya sebagai ketua projek merekabentuk sistem dan rangkaian prasana IT & Telekomunikasi Palm Jumeirah.

Tugas kedua ini memang menggemparkan untuk saya sendiri. Saeed bertanya mengenai pengalaman yang ada dan Dr. Osama menjadi jurucakap saya yang baik sebagai 'tukang recommend'. Dr. Osama bercakap dalam bahasa Arab.

Saeed nampak garang sekali dan tegas dengan soalan-soalan teknikal mengenai kerja-kerja awam. Saya dan Dr. Osama dari latarbelakang IT, dia mempunyai PhD dari sebuah universiti ternama USA, manakala saya sekadar ijazah sains komputer dari New Zealand.

Saya agak resah dan gementar melihat karektor Saeed. Mungkin dia dalam tekanan kerana projek Palm Jumeirah dipantau oleh Sheikh Mohamed. Mungkin juga kerana dia memang sedemikian.

Lantas saya mempunyai satu lagi pejabat 'sementara' di ibu pejabat Palm Jumeirah, selain yang sedia ada di ibupejabat Dubai World, di ibupejabat 'Cisco' timur tengah (DIC) dan satu lagi di pejabat Yusuf Islam, di mana saya bertindak sebagai pengurus.

Pejabat yang banyak ini memudahkan saya untuk berada di mana-mana secara virtual, termasuk rumah sendiri!

Para Konsultan.

Tugas pertama saya di Palm Jumeirah ialah untuk mengkaji apa cadangan yang telah dilakukan oleh konsultan. Beberapa fail besar diberikan oleh Saeed. Tugas selanjutnya menyediakan tender untuk prasana IT & Telekom yang tercicir dan sudah terlambat untuk fasa 1.

Segera saya memanggil para konsultan, para kulit putih yang nampak terperanjat kerana seorang Mamat dari Malaysia tiba-tiba diberi tugas besar. Begitupun, mereka memberi kerjasama dan kebetulan, syarikat konsultan perekabentuk masterplan tersebut dalam peralihan sebaik diberhentikan kontrak.

Masalah hanya dari konsultan perekabentuk prasana awam dari Lebanon yang begitu angkuh dan memperkecilkan kemampuan saya.

Sebenarnya, saya sendiri tidak mempunyai pengalaman dalam kejuteraan awam kecuali belajar di peringkat SPM dahulu. Termenung seketika untuk mencari ilham.

Saya meminta dari ketua projek prasana semua dokumen tender yang berkaitan, terutama untuk elektrikal. Mahu belajar terutama terma teknikal kejuruteraan awam. Memang saya 'buta' dalam perkara ini kerana berbeda dengan dunia IT.

Bantuan Cisco

Sebelum prasana disediakan, saya terpaksa merekabentuk sistem dan rangkaian IT & Telekomunikasi untuk seluruh pulau Palm Jumeirah.

Setelah bekerjasama dengan Cisco untuk DIC, saya meneruskan kerjasama untuk Palm Jumeirah. Dua minggu diperlukan untuk membuat rekabentuk yang 'bertaraf dunia' sebelum tender dikeluarkan.

Dengan tenaga lima jurutera Cisco sepenuh masa, saya dan Dr. Osama berkurung di pejabat Cisco yang kebetulan berhampiran pejabat Yusuf Islam. Tugas kami berdua lebih banyak kepada memberi idea dan membetulkan rekabentuk mengikut apa yang kami faham mengenai keperluan Palm Jumeirah berdasarkan data pembangunan dan pemasaran.

Perkara terperinci mengenai teknikal menjadi kerja-kerja jurutera yang hebat-hebat. Ada dari US, Afrika Selatan, India dan UK.

'Trial and error' menjadi model kami.

Cisco mahu menjual produk manakala saya dan Dr. Osama lebih berminat kepada penyelesaian terbuka. Ada sedikit krisis. Tetapi prioriti kami berdua ialah untuk menyiapkan rekabentuk dan tender, lantas krisis tidak menjadi masalah.

CEO Palm Jumeirah Melenting

Proses rekabentuk mengalami sedikit gangguan. Tiba-tiba ada data terkini dari konsultan arkitek yang menyebabkan data sebelum ini menjadi luput. Kami terpaksa mengemaskini dan memerlukan masa. Kerja-kerja sebelum ini mungkin terpaksa dibakulsampahkan.

Saya dan Dr. Osama dipanggil oleh Saeed, CEO Palm Jumeirah untuk mesyuarat mingguan kejuruteraan dan memberi lapuran status terkini.

Sewaktu masuk ke bilik mesyuarat, nampak muka Saeed semakin berang dengan beberapa konsultan yang 'tidak buat kerja betul' dan terlambat dari jadual. Suaranya meninggi. Mesyuarat boleh berlangsung selama satu hari!

Saya belum biasa dengan mesyuarat 'panas' dan cuba melihat suasana secara positif. Di DIC dahulu, saya lebih banyak membuat kerja-kerja belakang tabir untuk CEO dan Dr. Osama, kalau mesyuarat mereka berdua sahaja yang hadir. Kalau hadir pun sebagai pencatat nota untuk tindakan selanjutnya.

Bilik memang dingin, tetapi terasa panas serta kecut juga perut dalam menanti giliran saya setelah Dr. Osama keluar untuk urusan lain.

Saeed pun memandang ke arah saya.......merenung.
(Bersambung..)

Singapore becomes the first Asian victim of recession

The latest news on economy front:-
Singapore has become the first Asian economy to fall into recession, analysts said yesterday, after the government revised downward its full-year growth estimate and eased monetary policy for the first time in years.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry lowered the city-state’s full-year growth forecast to around 3 percent, citing a slowdown in the global economy and key domestic sectors.
The move came as the ministry released preliminary data showing that real GDP declined by 6.3 percent in the third quarter after contracting 5.7 percent in the previous quarter, the ministry said.
While it did not describe the economy as being in recession, a technical recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction in economic output.

To Asia Most Incompetent Wannabe Ministers

Excerpts from a guy next door

Dear Labour Chief and Finance Minister, Instead of saying this is bad or that is bad. Yes, we can weather the storm or no, tough road ahead. Can you be more concrete in policy as to how we are going to weather the storm. Or how we can take this tough road together? Since your report is light on detail, I'll have to assume no thought has been put into what needs to be done. Typical.

Since you are not able to come up with any good ideas, I've taken the liberty to think of some. You can take the credit for these ideas to help the people who live in Singapore . I don't need the credit just say its your idea and implement it. The PAP has a majority in the parliment so I'm sure it won't be difficult the pass the whole bill through in parliment.
Steps to help Singapore weather the economic storm. Must implement all these steps to so that the economy will recover quickly.
1) Reduce GST to 3%.
2) All Ministers take a 90% pay cut.
3) MPs take a 10% pay cut.
4) Turn off all ERP except for those that regulate traffic in the CBD.
5) Bus fares reduce by 25% accross the board.
6) MRT fares reduce by 25% accross the board.
7) Electricity rates reduce by 40%.
8) Water rates reduce by 20%.
9) Land line phones, mobile phones and internet rates reduce by 15%.
10) Reduce cash rates in Singapore by 0.25%.
11) Reduce petrol excise by 50%.
12) Reduce the number of COE by 70% which will increase the COE prices but that's to regulate vehicular population.
13) Reduce HDB conservercy charges by 50%.
14) Reduce car parking charges by 20%.
15) Personal income tax reduce by a further 30% of its current rate.
16) Company taxes reduce by a further 20% of its current rate.
17) Regulate the Financial Services industry to prevent predatory lending and selling of low quality financial products.
18) Garuntee all deposits of customers in Singapore banks.
19) Introduce laws to make it a criminal offence for negligent appointment holders, board members and directors of Singapore banks that fail.
20) If found guilty, stentences for the negligent criminal offence will range from 5 years jail and fine to capital punishment. It also includes sizing family assets as proceeds of a crime.
21) Ministers, appointment holders and MPs who flee the country in times of need will be charged with treason against Singapore .
22) If found guilty, current treason sentences will be used.
23) To facilitate this establish extradition aggrements and laws with all nations in the World.

As with all policies, we must think of how we can fund these cuts and policies.
1) Temasek Holdings and GIC must divest 20% of its invested assets to fund these cuts.
2) Budget surpluses now kept as country's reserve from previous years must now be used to fund these cuts instead of investment.
3) Current existing taxes. Money that we saved from the good years are for use in rainy days.

Now the rains are here and its not just a slight drizzle. Its a storm. Its now time to dig into the reserves for the people who live in Singapore . Why earn so much money when you don't know when to use it when the time to use it is needed. What are you waiting for?

Like an old foolish miser who keeps his money hidden and on a tight lid. Scrimps and saves all his life. Finally dies without having even have one good meal or even warm clothing. And his stash of money is never found. Don't be idiotic. Don't lose the plot of saving money. Money is to be use wisely. Not hoarded away in some unknown place. Neither is it to be squandered away when people living in Singapore is now under tremendeous stress. Don't be like this old foolish miser. Policy makers who need clarificaton on why these need to be done can consult their economics text books or consult their highly paid advicers. Or if they choose to they can reply in this thread or PM me to ask why. I'll be happy to explain why and how it can be done. I take the time to think of concrete policy, now its your turn to read it and implement it. If you say its not so easy to implement it, then it proves you're not good enough for the job. In that case give me the job and I'll do it for you. I won't even charge as much as you earn. If you say not concrete enough. Then what have you produced? Show it to the people in Singapore . What? Nothing? Typical.

Palm Jumeirah - Catatan Profesional (Satu)


Pada hari Jumaat lalu (10 okt) sempat membawa keluarga bersiar ke Palm Jumeirah, projek pertama bertaraf mega dan global (bukan glokal) Dubai. Destinasi ialah Atlantis. Ada terasa kebanggaan dan kepuasan melihat sebuah pulau yang dibina dengan bilion USD akhirnya menjadi kenyataan.

Begitu cepat masa berlalu.
Masih teringat setiap kali dalam perjalanan ke pejabat di Dubai Internet City dalam tahun 2001 sebaik pengumuman mengenai projek Palm Jumeirah di buat, saya membayangkan untuk menjadi sebahagian dari projek 'gila' ini.
Memang setiap pagi melalui Al Sufouh road dan menatap pasir yang sedang disembur untuk menjadikan pulau buatan ini, rasa keinginan menjadi semakin meluap. Doa pun dipanjangkan.
Setahun kemudian, satu pagi dalam bulan Oktober 2002, saya bersama bos projek 'IT and Telecom system and network integration' untuk Dubai World, Dr. Osama Ali menaiki kereta pacuan empat roda ke bahagian 'trunk' Palm Jumeirah yang sudah separuh siap.
Mimpi pun menjadi kenyataan. Saya bertugas secara rasmi dan meninjau Palm Jumeirah untuk mengetahui saiz sebenar projek. Tidak dapat digambarkan perasaan.
"It is amazing and unbelievable on sheer size of the Palm!" saya memberitahu Dr. Osama yang sama kagum. Bermulalah kerjasama kali kedua dengan Dr. Osama.
Mungkin saya adalah rakyat Malaysia yang pertama menjejak Palm Jumeirah, sayangnya tiada kamera yang dibawa. Kami berdua ketika itu ditugaskan untuk merekabentuk keseluruhan sistem dan rangkaian prasana IT & Telekomunikasi untuk Palm Jumeirah berdasarkan teknologi IP!
Bos hebat - Dr. Osama Ali
Dr. Osama Ali adalah bos pertama saya di Dubai Internet City (DIC). Sebaik DIC dirasmikan oleh Sheikh Mohamed Al Maktoum pada Oktober 2000, beliau habis kontrak perkhidmatannya sebagai CIO dan enggan meneruskan kontrak atas beberapa perkara peribadi.
Dr. Osama Ali pulang ke Amerika dan beliau adalah bos yang paling banyak membantu saya dalam menyesuaikan diri. Sewaktu menyertai DIC, saya bersama Dr. Ali dan anak emirati, Farid (sekarang top gun di syarikat telco kedua UAE, du). Dr Osama bukan sahaja bijak, malah amat mesra dan cukup kuat bekerja.
Kami berempat (seorang lagi Ali dari Canada), adalah 'pioneer' jabatan IT & Telecom di DIC dan berjaya membina rangkaian kampus DIC berdasarkan teknologi IP, yang juga dianggap pertama di dunia.

Kerja keras selama 8 bulan sebelum perasmian DIC menghasilkan sesuatu yang diluar dugaan. Bukan tiada masalah sepanjang projek dan saya belajar banyak perkara, bukan sahaja dalam teknikal, tetapi juga persahabatan serta politik untuk survival antara pelbagai bangsa dan agama.
Kebetulan, bekas CEO DIC berhijrah ke Dubai World sebagai orang nombor dua. Kami masih berhubung dan dia meminta saya untuk menjadi pembantu Dr. Osama Ali dalam projek sulung beliau untuk mengintegrasikan kesemua rangkaian dan sistem IT & Telekom dalam sebuah konglomerat dunia yang mempunyai banyak pejabat di luar UAE.
Tiada temuduga kecuali bertemu dengan pihak Sumber Manusia dan orang nombor tiga Dubai World untuk menandatangani kontrak yang tiada had masa. Selagi belum selesai kerja, kontrak akan disambung.
Ketika itu ada dalam 30 buah anak syarikat, seperti DP World, JAFZA, Dubai Customs dan yang terkini waktu itu, o la la....Palm Jumeirah.
Saya dan Dr. Osama cukup teruja dengan projek yang diberikan (bukan sahaja kerana bayaran), tetapi memberikan kami peluang untuk bertemu dengan pengerusi dan semua pengarah Dubai World, kemudian kesemua CEO dan pengurus IT anak-anak syarikat Dubai World.
Kami mewancara mereka mengenai sistem yang ada dan wawasan mereka. Saya menjadi pencatat minit dan menulis lapuran. Memperbaiki bahasa Inggeris kerana dua bos besar memang cukup hebat bahasa Inggeris mereka. Bukan mudah untuk menulis lapuran kepada lembaga pengarah syarikat.
Kemudian, rezeki datang menggolek. Oleh kerana Palm Jumeirah tiada staf yang mempunyai pengalaman dalam merekabentuk dan membina rangkaian sistem IT & Telekomunikasi yang canggih berdasarkan teknologi IP, saya diarahkan, sebagai sebahagian dari tugas untuk menjadi konsultan untuk Dubai World dan kemudian ketua projek mewakili Palm Jumeirah!
Alhamdulillah, doa saya termakbul tanpa memohon kerja tersebut. Setelah meninggalkan TV3, rezeki saya semakin bertambah dan sesungguhnya Allah juga tempat berlindung.
Bermulalah sejarah baru yang penuh memori manis dan pahit, profesional dan peribadi!
(Bersambung....)


Tahi-Tahi Bintang Jatuh di Melaka

dengar tahi-tahi bintang tahunan
kembali jatuh terhempas
berselerakan bagai tahi lembu
memenuhi tanah melaka bersejarah
sebagai meraikan keputeraan 'sultan'

'sultan' jadian melaka bukan sembarangan
anak pahang berjiwa hindustan
sakan mengutip tahi-tahi bintang
mengganti hutan balak yang hilang
untuk poket yang terus berlubang

bendahara ali bukan calang-calang
sama berkongsi komisen tahi-tahi bintang
50% untuk aku, 50% untuk 'sultan'
demi ketuanan warisan parameswara
menjual maruah untuk untung sekangkang

meriah sambutan tahi-tahi bintang
semakin berlambak dan bersepah
kuch kuch hota hai, demi big mama
disembah satu untuk raja bollywood
yang menjadi ikon hiburan picisan

siapalah mereka cucu-cicit hang tuah
untuk tidak merasa amat bertuah
dengan gemerlapan datuk-datuk tahi bintang
bersama si kitul mengulang sejarah melayu
yang busuk kentutnya merentas cakrawala!

Fudzail
Atlantis Dubai
10 okt 2008

Melaka anugerah Datuk kepada Shah Rukh Khan
10/10/2008 5:17pm
MELAKA 10 Okt. - Pelakon terkenal Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan merupakan antara penerima Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) sempena hari jadi Yang Dipertua Negeri Melaka, Tun Mohd. Khalil Yaakob ke-70, esok.
Dengan penganugerahan darjah DMSM itu, Shah Rukh Khan akan bergelar Datuk

758 terima pingat Melaka
MELAKA 10 Okt. - Panglima Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, Laksamana Datuk Abdul Aziz Jaafar mengetuai senarai 758 penerima darjah, tauliah, bintang dan pingat kebesaran negeri Melaka sempena Hari Jadi Yang Dipertua Negeri Melaka Tun Mohd. Khalil Yaakob ke-70 esok.

Abdul Aziz bersama Presiden Kolej Teknologi Islam Antarabangsa Melaka Prof. Emeritus Datuk Dr. Md. Yusop Hashim dan Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri Melaka Datuk Omar Kaseh, dianugerahkan Darjah Cemerlang Seri Melaka (DCSM) membawa gelaran Datuk Wira.

"Seramai 77 penerima dianugerahkan Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) yang membawa gelaran Datuk," kata Setiausaha Politik Ketua Menteri Melaka, Saadon Basirun kepada pemberita di Seri Negeri, Ayer Keroh di sini, hari ini.

Beliau berkata seramai 323 penerima akan menerima anugerah masing-masing pada majlis istiadat penganugerahan di Dewan Seri Negeri esok manakala baki 435 penerima akan menerima pada Ahad.

How Gani Patail TAMPERED with Evidence

In Malaysiakini today - Ex-cop: How AG interfered in 'black eye' case


Beh Lih Yi Oct 10, 08 1:14pm
A retired senior police officer who probed the infamous ‘black eye’ incident involving Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 has made startling claims on how attorney-general (AG) Abdul Gani Patail allegedly tampered with evidence in the case.
In a set of court documents revealed this week, Mat Zain Ibrahim implied that the actions of Abdul Gani, then a senior deputy public prosecutor, delayed the investigation process and concealed facts from then AG, the late Mohtar Abdullah.

Some excerpts:-

Gani’s role explained
Abdul Gani’s alleged interference came into the picture when Mat Zain alleged in his court document that:
- A questionable medical report was prepared by one Dr Abdul Rahman Yusof, allegedly on Abdul Gani’s order.
Mat Zain stated that he found out there was an attempt to “insert irrelevant and suspicious statements” into the investigation report, especially in relation to “Abdul Rahman’s report which was done on the instructions of Abdul Gani” (right). Mat Zain said he was confident that Abdul Rahman has never examined Anwar physically.
- Mat Zain claimed he had obtained information that Abdul Gani was on the 30th floor of the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman when Anwar was assaulted and he believed Abdul Gani knew of the incident either at the time or soon after.
- On Oct 30, 1998, Mat Zain personally handed over his second investigation paper and report to Abdul Gani, and briefed him on the details. Among the conclusions were that the Anwar’s injury was consistent with assault and not self-inflicted; and that Abdul Rahim was the person who caused the injury.
- Although two investigation reports had been given to Abdul Gani on Oct 26 and 30 respectively, Mohtar was quoted in the media on Nov 7 as saying that his chambers had not received any such report.
- It was only on Nov 20 that Mohtar reportedly said he had received the report. Mat Zain said he believed Mohtar’s statement was made after he (Mat Zain) had “pressured” Abdul Gani a day earlier to confirm the status of his two reports.
- On Nov 25, Musa informed Mat Zain that Mohtar wanted to meet him (Mat Zain) at Bukit Aman and to visit the lock-up where Anwar was held. Musa and Abdul Gani were present during the visit.
- Mat Zain later found out that Abdul Rahman’s second medical report had mentioned there was a visit to the lock-up (where Anwar was held) and a “reconstruction of the incidence”, where Mat Zain was named as the person who had accompanied Abdul Rahman to the lock-up. Mat Zain denied this had ever taken place.
- On Jan 6, 1999, Mohtar (left) had reportedly said Mat Zain’s investigations were incomplete and that the latter had yet to identify the perpetrator (despite the findings given to Abdul Gani on Oct 30, 1998).
- Mat Zain said he “believed Abdul Gani concealed important facts from Mohtar’s knowledge” and had personally appointed Abdul Rahman as the medical officer to prepare the report in October 1998. His conclusion was based on the fact that Mohtar had only appointed Abdul Rahman two months later.
- Mat Zain said Abdul Rahman later testified before the royal commission on the ‘black eye’ incident in March 1999 and gave conflicting statements with regard to his own findings. The proceedings came to an end when Abdul Rahim admitted that he had caused the injury to Anwar.

At the end of his court document, Mat Zain vehemently denied Anwar’s accusation that he had plotted any fabrication of evidence with Abdul Gani and Musa.

“The truth is I had acted to the best of my abilities to prevent any party from influencing me to do anything unlawful while investigating Anwar’s injury,” Mat Zain said.
Musa filed a defamation suit against Anwar on July 21 while Abdul Gani has threatened to do the same.

Lelong Lelong Murah Murah

wahai dunia
dengar dengar ini
pesta politik wang bermula
lelong lelong murah murah
semuanya sudah terpakai
dan tidak boleh pakai

pilihlah aku
anak melayu baru
bawa juta-juta dalam guni
mahu beli pasir australia
nasib baik tidak masuh penjara
sebab I no speaking inglis

pilihlah aku
anak jawa baru
masih kaya walau belum sempat
melelong pasir satu johor
buka projek ali baba hanya baca
niat ngenson.. motokaji semar ngiseng*

pilihlah aku
anak melaka baru
tokeh jual datuk ratus ribu
kandang babi satu negeri
sudah tua masih belia 4B
ada komisen semua boleh jadi

pilih jangan tak pilih
dalam sampul ada RM
kalau menang semuanya OK
dapat kontrak dapat datuk
selagi perjuangan perut belum selesai
lelong lelong murah murah ketuanan
menang sorak, bangsa terus tergadai!

Fudzail
Dubai, UAE

* Mantera P.Ramlee dalam Ali Baba Bujang Lapok bermaksud dalam bahasa jawa - niat nak masuk toilet, jgn lupa baca doa

Libya and Muammar Qaddafi are in back in fashion

After years of enforced isolation, Libya is back in the international fold and Gulf investors are among the first wave of arrivals to be welcomed by Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.
But is the former pariah state really ready to do business with the West?


As the first US secretary of state to visit Libya in 55 years, Condoleezza Rice might have expected at least a handshake upon her arrival.
Yet when Colonel Muammar Qaddafi ‘welcomed' her to his compound in Tripoli last month, Rice was left hanging by the Libyan leader, who ignored her proffered hand, dismissively gesturing her to a nearby sofa as he turned instead to the flashbulbs of the world's media.
Continue HERE

Muhaimin beraksi untuk pasukan Senior Sheffield

Anak bongsu, Muhaimin, 9 tahun, darjah 5, 'debut' untuk pasukan bola sepak senior Sheffield Private School (Primary), Dubai pada hari Ahad lalu.
Dari kiri - Saud, SM, Mohamed, Ahmed, Abdul, Phillipe,
Mr. MacWilliam (cikgu), Younis, Ismail, Muhaimin, Craig


Hanya Muhaimin dan Saud dari Darjah 5, yang lain dari darjah 6.


Warm-up sebelum perlawanan pertama musim 2008-09
di Royal Dubai School, Mizhar, Dubai


Muhaimin paling kecil, memakai jersi nombor 10 sebagai striker



Pasukan lawan dari Rashid Boys School, sebuah sekolah swasta Arab.
Pemain-pemain dari kalangan anak-anak Emirati

Muhaimin cukup teruja dan bangga dapat mewakili
pasukan senior sekolah setelah tahun lalu
menjadi kapten pasukan junior (darjah 4)


Bersalaman dengan pemain Rashid Boys School

sebaik tamat perlawanan yang berakhir dengan seri 1-1


Big MAMA ke Putrajaya

lihat itu Big MAMA
tersenyum puas
menghitung hari-hari
menapak anak-anak tangga
ke istana putrajaya
bersama pelan renovasi
mengira-ngira bajet perbendaharaan negara
kerana semua perabut, langsir,
mesti diganti baru dari Itali
tilam baru dari New York
permaidani baru dari Iran
baju-baju baru dari Paris
jam-jam rolex baru dari Hong Kong
kasut-kasut label pereka dari London
untuk syok-syok bulan madu
sebagai pasangan perdana
berkuasa sebagai raja di hati

nanti dulu Big MAMA
kalau tidak sempat mengucap
baca sahaja ayat-ayat cinta
jangan lupa mandi wajib tujuh kali
dengan air bunga tujuh tempayan
juga segala jampi serapah tujuh bomoh
tujuh tangkal siam dan indon
tujuh hari tujuh malam
kerana esok ke lima bulan yang datang
jalan ke putrajaya tidak sehala
mungkin ribut di tengahari
banjir ke sepelusuk tanahair
dengan airmata darah
walau papan-papan tanda
meraikan kedatangan kaki sumpah
yang tidak kenal altantuya

pun begitu Big MAMA
jangan sekali berundur
lawan tetap lawan
sumo atau gusti atau tinju
biar berat badan bertambah kilogram
mekap bertambah selaput
selagi tidak kereput
kerana dulu, kini dan selamanya
kau adalah ratu sang sumpah-sumpah
dan bakal menjadi ikon kebangsatan
jejak terakhir satu perjuangan
sebuah ketuanan!

Fudzail
Dubai, UAE

Your Values as Your Guide

The paper screams today as another day, another fall in GCC stock markets. And when is the haemorrhaging of global stock markets going to end?

MARKETS AROUND GCC IN FREEFALL AS INVESTORS SEE BILLIONS WIPED OFF SHARE VALUES.

Well, what are your values?

Latest Rolls-Royce model unveiled in Abu Dhabi valued Dh2.6m

Let your values be your guide

Your values are about your worth. They are things that you hold dear, your guiding principles and beliefs; principles that you are committed to and live your life by, and you feel unhappy and dissatisfied when they are compromised.
Your values may remain the same throughout your life and some may change with maturity, experience or circumstances. At work, it is essential to understand your values, because they are the basis of your motivation.
Your career is a journey and there are three vital elements involved in that journey - interests, abilities, and values.

Your interests tell you what direction to pursue; your abilities indicate how long it will take to reach your ultimate goal, and your values dictate whether or not the journey is worth taking in the first place.
If, consciously or unconsciously, your values are telling you that a particular direction is not the right one, you're unlikely to make a success of that journey!
Values, unlike ethics, do not have to be seen by society as "right" or "just" or "responsible" and so on ... they are simply what is right for you. So, one of your important values might be "a short journey to work", which has no moral implications whatever.
The easiest way is to understand what is important to you. Adopt a structured approach. Make a list. Create a scorecard. List your must haves, high wants, wants, don't minds and don't want.
Now, check your values against what you are facing currently. Think about your list of wants and don't want against your present job. Are your most important requirements being met?

If not, is there anything you can do to change the situation? Who might be able to help you - your boss, line manager, mentor, HR department? Perhaps you could apply for a different role within the organisation and work flexi-time to make it easier to fit round family commitments; perhaps you could move nearer to work to cut down on commuting, or spend more time socialising with colleagues to build up friendships.
All of these are potential options, depending on your values. Many of these values are fairly practical, and even small adjustments in your working conditions could make the difference between them being met or not.

Important
It's also important to recognise when you can't change things. Sometimes, however hard you try to alter things, you have to face the fact that the differences between your own values and those of your employer are irreconcilable. No matter what the clash is based on, a lack of congruence with the corporate culture will destroy your attitude at work.
Whatever happens, do not ignore your inner voice. Many of us are brought up to be good, responsible citizens. We will feel guilty if we cause disruption, and we tend to blame ourselves if we're not happy; "I shouldn't make a fuss" or "I'm being silly" and so on.
However, if you feel restless at work, and want to make the right decision, it is really important to put yourself and your own priorities first. After all, if you don't make sure that your values are being satisfied, you will not produce anything inspiring in terms of your performance and that is not in your employer's best interest either!

By Sanjiv Anand or and Rajesh Iyer of Cedar Management Consulting International.


Nakheel Is Holding back the tide

Chris O'Donnell left Sydney in the Spring of 2006 to become CEO of Nakheel, the government-owned developer of some of Dubai's most ostentatious projects. Two and a half years later, he faces his toughest challenge yet in protecting the company's $30bn development pipeline from cooling global real estate demand.

He is the man in charge of the world's biggest real estate developments. As CEO of Dubai government-controlled Nakheel, he oversees the construction of vast islands built from sand dredged from the seabed - projects of unprecedented scale that have kept most of the world's big dredging fleets busy for the last seven years.

The Palm, World and the planned Universe islands are transforming the relatively straight and featureless coast of the emirate into huge and intricately interconnecting fronds and breakwaters designed to add 500 km of coastline while holding back the tides of the Arabian Gulf.

Continue HERE

Nakheel timeline

October 2008

Nakheel announces plans to build the world's tallest tower, at over a dizzying one kilometre high

Jan 2008

Nakheel unveils concept plans for ‘The Universe', its latest planned offshore island project modelled on the solar system. It also reveals its intention to redevelop Dubai's Port Rashid docks district.

June 2007

Nakheel pays $100m to Cunard Line to buy the QE2. From 2009, the famous vessel will be berthed at the Palm Jumeirah. The 40 year-old QE2 was the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history.

Dec 2006

Nakheel lists the world's largest Islamic bond on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX). The $3.52bn sale comes with rights to invest in any future share sale by Nakheel.

June 2006

Chris O'Donnell joins as CEO from Australia's Investa Property Group where he has worked since December 2000 - helping the company become the largest listed owner of property.

Oct 2005

Donald Trump unveils plans to develop the $400m Palm Trump International Hotel and Tower. The tower is to be the first development in an exclusive joint venture between the developer and property tycoon and includes exclusive rights for 19 countries in the Middle East region.

Dec 2004

Nakheel develops Dragon Mart in Dubai, the largest trading hub of products from China outside the Chinese mainland. The 1.2km building quickly becomes a cathedral of bargain-hunters.

June 2002

When the England football squad arrived in Dubai in the run up to the 2002 World Cup, some of the players, including David Beckham and Michael Owen left with their very own villas on Nakheel's debut Palm-Jumeirah. How much did they pay? The price was never disclosed, but whatever it was (or wasn't) it achieved its purpose in generating the hype needed to ensure the project was completely sold off-plan.

April 2001

Nakheel awards contracts to build the first Palm island in Dubai using reclaimed sand dredged from the seabed off the coast of the emirate. The project makes headlines around the world.

Nervousness in Dubai property market amid global economic crisis

Cityscape still captures headlines in the local media with more announcements on billions worth of property projects across the region. Dubai is still leading the pack with more spectacular projects.
The foreign media plays different tune.


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On the surface, this glittering Arabian boom town seems immune to the financial crisis plaguing the global economy.
The skyline still bristles with cranes - an estimated 20 percent of the world's total - and the papers are full of ads promoting spectacular new building projects. Just two weeks ago, tourists from around the world flocked to the opening of Atlantis, a gargantuan, pink, $1.5 billion resort hotel built on an artificial, palm-tree-shaped island.
There was no shortage of people willing to pay as much as $25,000 a night for a room, to gaze at the sharks and rays in a vast glass-lined aquarium in the lobby, and to dine at marquee restaurants like Nobu and Brasserie Rostang.
But as recession looms in the West, cracks are appearing in the oil-fueled boom that has made Dubai, with its futuristic skyscrapers on the turquoise waters of the Gulf, a global byword for unfettered growth.

Atlantis, a $1.5 billion resort hotel that opened two weeks ago on an artificial island in Dubai. Other local building projects are now in doubt as world credit jitters take a toll. (Jumanah El-Heloueh/Reuters)

Banks are reining in lending, casting a pall over corporate finance and building plans. Oil prices have been dropping. Stock markets across the region have been falling since June. After insisting for days that the oil-rich Gulf region was fully "insulated" from financial troubles abroad, the central bank of the United Arab Emirates made about $13.6 billion available two weeks ago to ease credit problems, in an echo of bailout measures in the United States.

Already, some bankers are saying it is not enough.
Some of Dubai's more extravagant building projects - the ever bigger malls, islands and indoor ski slopes - are likely to be dropped if they do not already have financing lined up, bankers say.
The credit crisis could also reduce demand from buyers, who will have a harder time getting mortgages.
The shrinkage will be more severe if the financial crisis worsens in the West. Real estate prices and rents, which have remained steady until now, are widely expected to start dropping soon.
At the same time, investor confidence has been harmed by a long string of high-level corporate scandals, jeopardizing Dubai's long-term ambition of becoming a regional financial capital.
"Plenty of people are worried," said Gilbert Bazi, 25, a real estate broker from Lebanon who moved here a year ago. "They are waiting to see if what happened in the United States will happen here."
When he first arrived, Bazi said, making money was almost absurdly easy. "Iranians, Russians, Europeans - everybody was buying," he said. "I didn't have to call people; they were calling me."
Now, Bazi stalks the lobbies of hotels, trying to find clients.

"The market is sleeping," he said.
In fairness, Dubai still looks rosy when set against the financial turmoil elsewhere. Although it lacks the oil wealth of its fellow emirate Abu Dhabi, Dubai has huge budget and current-account surpluses, and the government of the Emirates federation is able and willing - like its Gulf neighbors - to inject an almost unlimited amount of money into the system to ease credit problems.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar have reaped so much profit from oil and natural gas in recent years that they are more worried about how to spend it than about managing any downturn. But the Gulf governments face real economic challenges, albeit ones that are profoundly different from those in the West.
Until recently, credit in Dubai was growing by 49 percent a year, according to the central bank of the Emirates - a rate almost double that of bank deposits' growth. That unnerved some bankers here, who felt it could lead to a collapse.
"In the U.S., the challenge is about keeping the banks going," said Marios Maratheftis, chief economist for Standard Chartered Bank. "Here, the economy has been overheated, a correction is needed, and it's about making sure the slowdown happens in a smooth, orderly manner."
If that sounds like an easy problem to have, consider the manic vicissitudes of Dubai's real estate market. Speculators often got bank loans to put down 10 percent on a property that had not yet been built, only to flip it for a huge profit to another buyer, who would do the same thing, and on and on.
That was easy to do when housing prices here were surging so fast that some properties multiplied tenfold in value in just a few years.
But the Dubai authorities began getting nervous about this and imposed new regulations this summer to limit speculation.
Many analysts say the slowdown in Dubai's economy, assuming it does not worsen to a slump, will make the city's growth more sustainable and healthy by reducing its dependence on loans and speculation.

Similarly, the authorities hope that recent arrests in corporate scandals will root out the culture of corruption that plagues so many Arab countries. Some of those arrested have been Emiratis with connections to the ruling family, in a gesture clearly intended to send the message that no one is exempt.
As Dubai's frenzied growth slows, whether there is a hard or soft landing will depend in great part on the banks, the link between the region's declining stock markets and its still-thriving real estate sector.
"Banks will have to start lending to end-users," said Robert McKinnon, a real estate analyst and head of equity research at Al Mal Capital here, referring to people who actually plan on occupying properties as opposed to trading them for profit. "There are some questions about how the banks will handle that transition."
At worst, if the global economy worsened and some Dubai banks failed, there would be a firm crutch to lean on. In the early 1980s, after several Dubai banks stumbled, the government rescued them and relaunched them as Emirates Bank International. In the early 1990s, two more banks were rescued.
At that time, of course, Dubai was far smaller. The repercussions of such a government bailout today would be far more damaging to Dubai's image as the epicenter of Gulf development.
The government cushion appears to be part of the reason most local people do not seem anxious right now.
"We don't worry about it," said Hassan al-Hassani, 26, a civil engineer and an Emirati citizen, who was drinking coffee Wednesday night with relatives and friends at a faux-Bedouin-style tent, set up among Dubai's hypermodern skyscrapers in honor of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "Maybe it's good for things to calm down."
A few meters away, guests admired a miniature model of a new residential and commercial Dubai development called the City of Arabia, which includes what will be - if it is really built - the biggest mall in the world.
"Sometimes we wonder, will people really come to live in these places?" Hassani asked. But he quickly brushed off the thought with a smile, reminding his listener that native Emiratis - unlike the foreigners who make up a majority of Dubai's 1.3 million residents - have a different perspective.
"Remember, 30 years ago almost nobody had phones here," he said. "There was maybe one tall building. My family only had one car."

YB Lim Guan Eng in Dubai

Penang is keen to draw lessons from UAE
by Regina William

GEORGE TOWN: Penang is keen to draw lessons from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) experience to help transform it into an international city and location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists and a habitat of choice for those who desire sustainable living.

“Instead of making this as a final goal, making quality as a way of life can help to promote a culture of excellence. Perhaps this is why so many talented Malaysians and Penangites from all races are working or doing business in United Arab Emirates. From 200 only 10 years ago, the number of Malaysians has increased 30 times to 6,000,” said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in a statement yesterday.
Lim is on a visit to the UAE with InvestPenang executive committee chairman Datuk Lee Kah Choon and InvestPenang director and Jelutong member of parliament Jeff Ooi.
He added that the breakneck economic growth in Abu Dhabi and Dubai was remarkable.
Lim would be visiting the Dubai Cityscape 2008, a four-day international real estate exhibition and reputedly the largest in the world. There are two huge projects, namely the 350 billion dirham (RM330.6 billion) Jumeirah Gardens, to be built over 12 years by Meraas Development in Dubai, and the construction of a 140 billion dirham structure by Dubai developers Nakheel. The 1,000-metre tall building will surpass the emirate’s 807-metre Burj Dubai. The total cost of these projects is close to US$1 trillion (RM3.48 trillion).
Lim said that stressing on quality economic growth did not mean core values would be ignored.
“The local population are well taken care off with their huge oil revenues and are also devout Muslims.
“Tourists and foreigners from all over the world, especially Caucasians outnumber the locals four to one because of an open and liberal lifestyle.”


More HERE and HERE

Arab stock markets crashed by more than $158 billion (Dh580bn)

Not sure whether you follow the stock markets worldwide.

Life is down for some investors. Billions have been wiped out in the region (while trillions Dirham of property development projects are being announced in the Cityscape). I am still trying to figure it out in terms of how many zeroes required to make more money out of dreams.

I have not heard any suicide news yet but hopefully would be no more heart breaking news on the trading floors as Asian stocks were mixed today. A big interest rate cut in Australia helped spur recoveries in several regional markets, sparking hopes that other central banks will lower rates to help loosen the global credit crunch.

According to Emirates Business, Arab stock markets crashed by more than $158 billion (Dh580bn) in September, their largest collective monthly loss since they began share dealing some decades ago, according to dealers and official figures.

GCC bourses emerged as the main victim of the decline as they collapsed by $153bn, nearly 96 per cent of the total capital loss, showed the figures by the Arab Stocks Data Base at the Arab Monetary Fund in Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia plummeted by nearly $82bn to account for over half the decline. From around $1.2 trillion at the end of August, the market capitalisation of the Arab bourses dipped to one of their lowest levels in nearly a year to reach $1.1trn on September 30, a loss of around $158.14bn and a daily average fall of about $5.2bn.

In October, GCC stock markets have posted a combined decline of more than $85 billion (Dh312bn) in the first two trading days this month. This is over and above the combined decline of $127.25bn that the GCC markets witnessed in the month of September

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab market, posted a decline of 9.8 per cent yesterday, with its benchmark Tadawul All-Share Index (Tasi) shedding more than 731.90 points to close at 6,726.60, its worst close since October 11, 2004, or almost 48 months.

The Saudi stock market was capitalised at $386.73bn on September 28, its last trading day before Eid break. Its market cap stood at $349.5bn at close yesterday, a loss of $37.23bn (-9.6 per cent) in a single day.

Dubai Financial Market (DFM) lost a massive 7.61 per cent yesterday, exacerbating the previous day's fall of 6.86 per cent.

The DFM alone has seen more than $10bn wiped off in market value in the two trading days since markets opened on Sunday after the Eid break.

While the DFM closed with a market cap of $82.03bn on September 29, before the Eid break, that figure stood at $71.96bn yesterday, signalling a decline of 12.27 per cent in just two days. The index closed yesterday at 3,551.79, its worst close since April 2, 2005, or more than 42 months. The index is down more than 40 per cent year-to-date.

Dh350 billion Jumeira Gardens project


Meraas Development, a new real estate developer, has burst on to Dubai's property stage with the announcement of its first-ever project worth a staggering Dh350 billion and involving one of the world's tallest buildings - with varied microclimates and a mini-Manhattan.

Jumeirah Gardens will be a fully integrated, mixed-use development project located in the old Satwa area west of Shaikh Zayed Road and flanked by Al Diyafa Street and Safa Park.
The project aims to cater to a population of 50,000 to 60,000 residents.

The announcement comes amid a global market crash that has shattered investor confidence worldwide, but goes on to show that Dubai is determined to continue with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.


Meraas Development, a new real estate developer, has burst on to Dubai's property stage with the announcement of its first-ever project worth a staggering Dh350 billion and involving one of the world's tallest buildings - with varied microclimates and a mini-Manhattan.

Jumeirah Gardens will be a fully integrated, mixed-use development project located in the old Satwa area west of Shaikh Zayed Road and flanked by Al Diyafa Street and Safa Park.
The project aims to cater to a population of 50,000 to 60,000 residents.

The announcement comes amid a global market crash that has shattered investor confidence worldwide, but goes on to show that Dubai is determined to continue with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.


Bertemu dengan Lim Guan Eng di Dubai


Antara MB/KM baru dari PR yang paling menonjol ialah Lim Guan Eng (LGE), KM Pulau Pinang. Barangkali juga satu-satunya KM dari DAP ini juga memberikan imej baru kepada corak pemerintahan peringkat negeri.

Bukan sahaja kerana LGE masih muda, tetapi rekod beliau boleh dianggap cemerlang dalam memperjuangkan hak asasi manusia dalam kes rogol yang membabitkan seorang gadis Melayu bawah umur dengan seorang ahli politik UMNO. LGE juga pernah ditahan dibawah ISA sewaktu Tun Mahathir berkuasa.

Pertemuan dengan LGE dan ahli rombongan kerajaan PP di vila Sdra Ariffin di Arabian Ranches membawa peluang buat ramai penyokong tegar PR bersemuka dengan LGE dam YB Jeff Ooi. Kalau tidak kerana hari bekerja, tentunya lebih ramai yang akan hadir.

Dengan membawa slogan CAT (competency, accountability and transparency), LGE mahu membawa PP ke satu peringkat yang lebih baik dari apa yang telah dilakukan oleh kerajaan BN sebelumnya. Saya percaya yang usaha ini tidak mudah tetapi tidak mustahil. Mendengar misi dan visi beliau, tentunya jalan masih berliku.

Sesi yang dibuat secara santai dan interaktif memberi peluang bukan sahaja berkenalan, malah bertanya mengenai situasi politik semasa. Terutama mengenai peralihan kuasa dalam UMNO dari perspektif DAP. LGE memang mempunyai karisma dan sentuhan sebagai pemidato yang baik.

Saya sempat mencelah beberapa kali, salah satu membetulkan perkataan 'clean' yang digunakan apabila membandingkan Pak Lah dengan Najib. Bagi saya perkataan yang betul ialah 'less corrupt' sebab kesemua pemimpin UMNO tidak 'clean'.

Apa yang paling menarik buat saya ialah prioriti untuk menghapuskan kemiskinan tegar di PP, yang menurut LGE, 90% adalah terdiri dari orang Melayu.

Setelah 51 tahun di bawah UMNO, termasuk Perdana Menteri sekarang dan mantan Timbalan PM sendiri berasal dari Pulau Pinang, kemiskinan tegar masih menjadi sebahagian dari warisan 'cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang' yang ternyata kronik.

Secara peribadi, saya melihat LGE sebagai seorang pemimpin yang boleh dipercayai. Sesuatu yang janggal setelah bertahun minda dipengaruhi oleh dakyah UMNO/BN terhadap musuh-musuh politik. Begitu berhasilnya jarum-jarum propaganda yang menanam suntikan prasangka dan persepsi perkauman yang terlalu buruk dan hodoh.

Berbanding dengan ramai pemimpin UMNO yang korup walau mengakui sebagai orang Islam, LGE masih belum tercemar.

Untuk Malaysia yang lebih baik dan cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang, semestinya ruang lingkup minda mesti dianjak untuk melihat sesuatu melalui ruang yang lebih bebas, terbuka dan adil. Dengan itu, perubahan bukan sesuatu untuk datang bergolek, kita mesti berani untuk menilai dan mengambil langkah yang positif.

Lebih 50% pengundi di semenanjung telah bersuara untuk perubahan, tentunya kita mengharapkan pemimpin seperti LGE, juga Khalid, Nizar, Azizan, selain TG Nik Aziz akan menjadi pemangkin dan contoh. Kita sudah muak, jelak dan menyampah dengan barisan pemimpin UMNO yang walau apapun wajah baru, masih sahaja sama acuan dan warna perjuangan perut mereka.

Kalau tiada peralihan kuasa dari BN ke PR melalui lompatan dalam waktu terdekat, tentunya pilihanraya akan datang rakyat menjadi hakim untuk perubahan yang lebih besar di peringkat nasional. PR boleh menunaikan janji dan tanggungjawab yang diharapkan rakyat.

Kesimpulannya, pertemuan dengan LGE memberikan kami maklumat berguna mengenai kepimpinan PR/DAP di PP dan LGE sebagai individu secara peribadi.

World's largest real estate investment event opens in Dubai


I was trying to reach Cityscape show after zuhur prayer but few kms on Sheikh Zayed Road, there was already massive traffic jam.


I de-toured through Al-Khail expressway to enter through the back side but still huge traffic jam leading to the venue and I had to slog through a closed slip road to return to Al Khail. No luck today as the crowd would be worse after hours!




Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, on Monday opened the biggest Cityscape at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Cityscape Dubai is the world's largest business-to-business real estate investment and development event.


Now in its seventh year and bigger than ever, Cityscape Dubai has been extended over four days until Thursday, October 9.The exhibition and its associated conferences are expected to break all previous records with more than 60,000 participants from over 150 countries.


Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, 42, is the latest celebrity to enter the UAE's real estate market with a property development off Ras Al Khaimah.
Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard will be an Dh8-billion project on Dana Island off Ras Al Khaimah coast which, he said, "will extend his home to others".


Listen to what Sarah Palin is saying – and then be afraid

I am following up the USA presidential race with anticipation of the first black to be in the WHITE house. Race is still a major issue in USA politics and is still predominantly white-centric, therefore, perhaps as we speak, it will still a long way to have a black in the WHITE house.

The recent vice presidential debate was nothing much to gauge except Sarah Palin is one of the dumbest candidates, not because of she is a woman. Hillary Clinton is much better in terms of charisma, experience and intellectual capacity, hence a Presidential candidate material.

Then again, this is USA and the election would spring a surprise and Sarah could be the first female VP of the USA and even the first female president of the USA, if in the event of the death of McCain while in the WHITE house.....
Read this article from The National (Abu Dhabi's english newspaper):

Media commentators were breathless in anticipation of the Vice Presidential debate between the Democrat Joe Biden and the Republican Sarah Palin. Given Mrs Palin’s repeated gaffes in television interviews, there was an expectation that she might self-destruct in this nationally televised event.
This did not occur. Instead, Mrs Palin followed a disciplined debate strategy. She did not answer most of the questions asked (at one point she announced: “I’m not going to answer the questions the way the moderator or my opponent would like me to”) but delivered a series of prepared mini-speeches.
Palin was friendly and folksy, if somewhat disturbingly flirtatious (with winks etc). She sprinkled her answers with colloquialisms (“doggone”, “you betcha”). But because her speeches had been prepared in advance, she didn’t stumble into gibberish, as she had in her earlier interviews, and appeared to be competent enough to please her supporters. I had expected as much.
I had noted before the debate that in watching and evaluating Sarah Palin’s debate performance, it would be important not to focus exclusively on what she doesn’t know about critical foreign policy issues. More useful, I believed, would be filtering out what she does know. She began this process with a largely blank slate on foreign policy.
One could dismiss her claims of having learnt about international affairs by living, as she does, between two foreign countries. The geography is undeniable; but living across the Bering Strait from the frozen wastes of Russia’s Siberia, or across a land border from Canada’s Yukon, provides more a sense of isolation than it does foreign policy experience.
Similarly, Mrs Palin’s sole foreign trip, last year, to US military installations in Germany and Kuwait (and a quarter of a mile into Iraq) to visit members of Alaska’s National Guard may have helped the Governor to better understand the needs of her constituents deployed abroad, but would not have left her better informed about Kuwait or Iraq. And it is questionable how much useful information she culled from her speed-dating exercise with world leaders in Manhattan (other than the sorry fact that some of them could be fawning or embarrassingly sexist).


In selecting Mrs Palin, McCain’s operatives understood her obvious assets: solid “Christian” conservative credentials, unlimited ambition, effective stage presence and, yes, that she is a woman. But recognising her equally obvious weaknesses (primarily a lack of policy, especially foreign policy, credentials), the McCain team sequestered their number two in an effort to give her a crash course in world affairs. Led by the arch neo-conservative and lobbyist Randy Scheunemann (who was an ever-present chaperone during Mrs Palin’s New York adventure), the team drilled their “quick study” in the ways of the world.


In the interviews that marked brief breaks in her sequestration, the fruits of their labour have been on display; much could be learnt from her answers. Some were nearly unintelligible, to be sure, but sifting through the jumbled syntax and incoherent babble revealed her “talking points”. These answers deserve scrutiny, as do the prepared lines she delivered during the debate, because they provide a guide to the world view of her handlers, which they hope to advance through her.
Having no independently developed experience-based foreign affairs knowledge of her own through which to sift this “received knowledge”, Mrs Palin’s recitation of her lessons revealed a raw and unfiltered neo-conservative view of the world. It is, at times, banal and oversimplified; but it is also, in many ways, perfectly clear.It is absolutist and Manichean. There is good (“us”) and evil (“them”). “We” stand for democracy and the “spirit of freedom that is found in every human heart”.
Since the clash between good and evil is both desirable and inevitable, “our” role is to bring “our values” to a waiting world and defeat evil. And, in this conflict, “our” victory is preordained. Compromise with evil is unthinkable and so traditional forms of diplomacy are to be rejected as a sign of weakness and surrender. In this world view, diplomacy means working with those who agree with us, not finding ways to bridge differences with those with whom we disagree.


Simple? Yes, but also dangerous. This was the world-view embraced by the current administration, especially during its first term. (It is the consequences of this disastrous course that the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has worked diligently, if unsuccessfully, to correct.) And, despite its many failures, it appears that this hard-line neocon course is embraced by Governor Palin’s running mate and his advisers.
Now, Mrs Palin is no mere pawn. In many ways her Christian fundamentalism has prepared her for her role – since neo-conservatism is but a secularised version of her faith’s absolutism. But while the theology provides a fit, it is the language and its application to complex world affairs that is new. And so, while the basic framework (good vs evil, etc) makes sense in Mrs Palin’s mind, she is not yet comfortable with the new phrases that have been written on the previously near-blank slate. This is why I say that it is important to listen to what she does say, not how badly she says it. And don’t make fun: be afraid.

Dr James J Zogby is president of the Arab American Institute.

Bring Your Professional Expertise to the Middle East

1 km high- Islamic Designed Tower in Dubai!


My employer, Nakheel is building the tallest tower in the world soon. The announcement is not unexpected since the rumour has been circling around since Emaar, our competitor started to construct Burj Dubai, the current tallest tower in the world at 688 meter.
I saw the original model of the tower in 2003 while taking Yusuf Islam to meet up with our chairman in his office and it was supposed to be at the Palm Jumeirah, later Waterfront and now somewhere at Ibn Batutta Mall area.

Nakheel on Sunday announced plans to build the world's tallest tower, at over a dizzying one kilometre high, joining the ranks of companies in the region furiously trying to achieve the same feat.

Nakheel Harbour and Tower will be a 270 hectare development, stretching between phase two of Ibn Battuta shopping mall and the 75-kilometre Arabian Canal.
The one-kilometre-high tower will be the centre-piece of the area.
The tower will have more than 200 floors and will take an estimated 500,000 cubic metres of concrete to construct. Reinforcing bars used in the tower's construction could stretch from Dubai to New York, if laid end-to-end.
The building is so tall that it will experience five different microclimatic conditions from top to bottom.


"From our perspective, we're building a tower over one-kilometre high. It's the tallest by current comparisons," Chris O'Donnell, chief executive of Nakheel, told international media at a briefing yesterday.
This new development adds to the list of Nakheel's "earth-shattering projects", which are adding a combined total of 1,000 kilometres of coastline to Dubai, O'Donnell said.
The development would house the world's first inner city harbour.

Four-in-one structure
The tower will be made up of four towers within one single structure.
The tower will be surrounded by approximately 40 other towers ranging in height from 20 floors to 90 floors.
Other developers are vying to build similar towers.
Saudi Arabia had ambitious plans to build a mile high tower, four times the size of the Empire State Building in New York, with a development value of £5 billion.
However, it has had to scale back its plans due to difficulties in transporting materials to such a height.
Local developer Meraas is also rumoured to be planning an even more head-spinning 2.4 kilometre high tower as the centerpiece of their flagship Jumeirah Garden City project. However, this has neither been confirmed nor denied by Meraas officials.
Nakheel Harbour and Tower will have around 19,000 residential units to accommodate an estimated population of 55,000 people. A further 45,000 people are expected to work in the area.
The development will have 250,000 square metres of hotel and hospitality space and 950,000 square metres of retail space.
There will also be eight hectares of canal, 800 metres of continuous indoor walkways, over 10 kilometres of promenade and a bridge.
O'Donnell also said the development will have around 3,400 hotel rooms, including one "super-luxury" 100-room hotel at the top of the tower.
The development will be split into four sections, including Harbour Bridges, Canals, Harbour Gardens and Harbour Promenade.

Islamic design
The development is based on Islamic design and inspiration has been drawn from the gardens of Alhambra in Spain, the harbour of Alexandria in Egypt, the promenade of Tangier in Morocco and the bridges of Esfahan in Iran.
The project value is not being disclosed to "keep the media interested", O'Donnell said.
He added that the development will take 10 years or more to complete, although certain phases will come online earlier.

O'Donnell said the time was right in Dubai for such a project as the impact of recent global financial misery here has been relatively small.
"The world is experiencing a negative market movement. But this is just part of a normal economic cycle," O'Donnell said.


Beraya dengan Lim Guan Eng di Dubai! Malaysiakini

Klik SINI untuk gambar terkini


Arabian Ranches, Dubai
6 October 2008
7.30 pm


What’s Propelling Piracy as the Pirates are Muslims?

The MT Bunga Melati Dua, the second Malaysian tanker hijacked by Somalian pirates, was freed as sources said US$2mil (RM6.9mil) in ransom was paid for each of the tankers.



After 12 days of a lot of shouting and gun-pointing — but no physical harm — the master of MT Bunga Melati Lima had a feeling that the pirates were not killers, but were only after money.
The 80 crew members of MT Bunga Melati Dua and MT Bunga Melati Lima arrived in Subang on a chartered flight.

According to the Star, MT Bunga Melati Dua seafarer Baharudin Mohamad said being a Muslim was a decisive factor in the crew being released unharmed.
“The pirates are Muslims. They told us in halting English that they would not harm a fellow brethren,” said Baharudin, who also had the barrel of a rifle pointed at him four times during the 41-day ordeal.

The point here, the pirates are MUSLIMS from poor countries.

Khaleej Times has a strong view on the current situation of the piracy activities in the Horn of Africa which related to the US agression and intervention in the region. Some Arab countries like UAE are already investing in new developments as well as infrastructure but the real problem is still the US interference which is affecting political stability.

Engage the indigenous people in developing the region by utilising their rich resources, not only for exploiting and looting as well as alienating them as pariahs. Those western countries are only interested in certain conflict areas for some political reasons and gains.

Vessels on high seas, off the Horn of Africa, are in the eye of storm. Several mercantile and military ships have been targeted by pirates off the Gulf of Aden in search of bounty loaded on them.
Pirates there have hijacked around 30 ships this year and the ransom demands have skyrocketed.
When pirates hijacked a freighter off the coast of Somalia last week, they hit the jackpot. The Ukrainian ship was laden with weaponry, ammunition and 33 Russian tanks.

The heavily armed pirates are now holding the ship’s 20 crew members hostage and are demanding $US20 million in ransom. Countless ships registered in the UAE and several Gulf countries too have fallen victim to these pirates in the past.

The pirates supposedly act as middlemen and agencies as they sell their booty, especially arms and ammunitions seized on high seas, in the open market of Africa and Asia. That brings them under the culpable shadow of being hand in glove with unscrupulous elements such as the Al Qaeda and their likes.

Piracy is hardly a new phenomenon for the seas off the Horn of Africa or other high seas. Throughout history, there have been people willing to rob others transporting goods on the water. The era 1650 to 1720 was known as the ‘Golden age of Piracy’ as Europeans launched their gunboat diplomacy worldwide in pursuit of new shores and markets for their neo-colonial expansion.

The 3000-kilometre wide coast of Somalia has become a hotbed of such activities since the US forces stepped in Mogadishu to prevent the pro-Islamic political forces from seizing power. The US interference in the region with the help of its proxies like Ethiopia has pushed it towards anarchy and lawlessness.

And now the other big player, Russia, is also beginning to make up for the lost time by asserting itself in the region. And economic instability and extreme poverty in Somalia and the region are adding fuel to this fire. Today, there are no jobs, no security and no basic necessities of life for the people of Somalia.

As the London-based Chatham House says in its latest report, a young man who may have no other realistic opportunities to make a lot of money in their home villages from farming or fishing can make up to 10, 20, 30, 100,000 pounds from each instance of piracy. No wonder Somalians are increasingly taking to piracy.

The region has already paid a heavy price for the US war on terror and attempts to marginallise the indigenous political forces. The US and EU proposal to use military force to protect one of the world’s ancient and key trade routes. Major players such as the US, EU and Russia should engage Africa as a trading partner, rather than exploit its wealth and geography.

Kuda Hitam boleh jadi Kambing Hitam dan Biawak Hitam

Kehangatan dalam perebutan kerusi Timbalan Presiden UMNO membayangkan kemungkinan besarnya, Pak Lah akan mengundurkan diri dan pastinya Najib menjadi Presiden juga Perdana Menteri baru.

UMNO memerlukan suntikan kepimpinan baru, bukan sekadar dari mereka yang sekarang berada di kerusi naib presiden mahupun majlis tertinggi. Selain dari segi imej dan corak, UMNO memerlukan pemimpin generasi terkini yang bukan sahaja segar tetapi berwibawa, berbakat besar. Malangnya dengan sktruktur dan budaya yang ada, mereka yang ramai di luar UMNO tidak mungkin berminat malah kalau berminat pun, tidak mungkin terpilih dan awal-awal lagi akan dicantas oleh mereka yang tergugat.

Apalagi kalau calun hebat tetapi tidak mempunyai lubang poket yang cukup sebagai dana 'politik wang' untuk menang dan naik ke tangga atas kepimpinan.

Sudah ada menawarkan diri untuk bertanding. Ada yang dikatakan sebagai 'kuda hitam' yang boleh mengubah senario politik UMNO dan negara.

Kita tidak dapat mengelak untuk mengukur peribadi para pemimpin yang mahu menjadi orang kedua dalam UMNO walaupun kebanyakan seperti saya, bukan ahli UMNO dan tidak menyenangi hampir majoriti kepimpinan UMNO yang ada.

Rekod perkhidmatan, kelayakan akademik dan keperibadian sebagai Muslim juga menjadi ukuran dalam memilih pemimpin untuk menerajui negara. Tetapi dengan latarbelakang agama juga tidak semestinya calun tersebut akan menjadi pemimpin yang tidak rasuah dan menyeleweng, serta zalim kepada rakyat.

Ada pemimpin yang dahulunya Imam atau ustaz atau hafidz, tetapi apabila berkuasa mahupun ada sedikit kuasa turut sama terbabit dengan aktiviti yang diharamkan dalam islam, semata-mata kerana 'if you cannot beat them, join them' dan matlamat menghalalkan cara!

Dalam senarai mantan Timbalan Presiden UMNO yang gagal menjadi presiden pun, kita dapat melihat ketokohan yang digembar-gemburkan oleh media massa kepunyaan UMNO tidak lebih sekadar opportunis.

Malah yang menjadi Presiden dan Perdana Menteri pun tidak semuanya hebat dan berwibawa, terutama Pak Lah.

Dulu, kini dan selamanya, untuk naik dalam UMNO pun terpaksa memberi sogokan kepada perwakilan yang bakal mengundi. Kalau bertaraf menteri tentunya lebih banyak ruang dan opsyen untuk memberi rasuah.

Ada ketua menteri yang sakan menganugerahkan pingat kebesaran negeri, terutama 'datuk' sebagai membalas budi walaupun tiada jasa individu tersebut untuk negerinya, melainkan sebagai tukang kempen dalam pemilihan naib presiden UMNO.

Kesimpulannya ketika ini, selagi berada dalam UMNO yang tidak boleh atau mahu berubah dan terus akur mengikut tradisi politik wang, kesemua calun yang dikatakan kuda hitam boleh menjadi kambing hitam sebagai mangsa percaturan untuk kem tertentu.

Manakala berdasarkan perjuangan UMNO ketika ini yang semakin mengutamakan survival pemimpin dan golongan elit, sesiapa yang menang pun boleh menjadi seekor biawak hidup hitam buat agama, bangsa dan negara.

Kesimpulannya, orang Melayu dan Islam sukar untuk melihat UMNO kembali ke jalan asal dan memerlukan payung baru yang belum rosak hati dan cacat anggotanya.

Michael Schumachers Wannabees in Dubai!

If you have been Dubai, you would notice the sheer number of buses on the roads especially during rush hour. These buses carry labourers to the site from their labour camps around Dubai or Sharjah.

Driving every day to work is always like trying to race with not only the sport cars, saloons, 4WDs, vans, pickups but speeding buses, sometimes encroach on the fast lane.

The luxury car drivers can be excused for being snobbish but small car and bus drivers who love to flash another vehicle infront of them sometimes irritating as well as dangerous for other road users.

Major roads will block trucks and lorries during rush hours but the buses are nuisance most of the time, but then again, every one has duty to reach work on time.

Traffic jam and Salik are no longer a valid excuse for being late....hence, we have the critical number of deaths on the Dubai roads, well, better be safe than sorry or better reach the office safely than your own burial in rush along with the innocent victims!


Bus drivers flirt with death
By Sunita Menon, Staff Reporter
Published: October 05, 2008, 00:02
Dubai: A monstrous looking bus packed with blue collar workers tailing-gating a tiny sedan is not rare on Dubai's roads.
Infamous for having no respect at all for traffic discipline, these bus drivers apply bullying tactics by aggressively flashing their headlights at small cars and four-wheel-drives who refuse to get out of their way. And if any of these buses is forced to manoeuvre into an adjacent lane by the defiant driver of a smaller vehicle, be ready to witness the bus driver rolling down his window and shouting obscenities.
Scenes like these bring back memories of the ghastly road accident that took place three years ago on Shaikh Zayed Road on December 14, when a speeding bus rammed into a van and then overturned, killing nine workers and leaving more than 50 injured.


Unfortunately, no lessons have been learned and today bus drivers continue to be devils on the roads.
Keeping an eye on the speedometer and driving within the stipulated speed limit does not come easy for these would-be Michael Schumachers who throw caution to the wind.
Gulf News caught up with some bus drivers for whom their new-found notoriety is something that they are proud of.

After initial apprehension the drivers gave their side of the story only on condition of anonymity. Some of them blamed the lack of road planning, some complained about the traffic congestion, others raised objections to the speed limits and some challenged the attitude of fellow motorists.

They had no hesitation in admitting that they flaunt traffic rules, "but only out of desperation".
"What do you think I should be doing when I am in a hurry? If we drive below the speed limit the workers get irritated and ask us to drive fast," said one Pakistani bus driver who prides himself on being in complete control, even if he exceeds the speed limit of 100 km/h.

Asked whether he had ever raced on Dubai's roads the driver said: "Yes. Races are not planned. I engage in a race when a sewage tanker or pick-up van tries to overtake my vehicle on the road. Accidents happen when a driver does not have control of the speed."

He said he drives in the fast lane almost every day.
An Indian worker said that the drivers, if caught speeding, are quick to pass the blame to the workers.

"The drivers blame us for encouraging them to speed," he said. "On the contrary we keep requesting them to drive in the third lane. It is scary to see two buses packed with workers driving neck-and-neck, each trying to take the lead."

These bus drivers, who start their day as early as 2am, transport workers in batches to various construction sites.

"Traffic congestion starts after 6am and from then on it is impossible to reach anywhere on time," said another Indian bus driver.

"It is against the rules to talk on the telephone but we cannot ignore the calls made to us by our site supervisor or accommodation boss.

"If the workers are delayed in reaching their work site by even ten minutes, we get calls from the supervisors making enquiries.

"There is no choice, we are forced to take the call or else we are issued warnings. On the other hand police slap us with fines or black points when they catch us talking on the mobile phone when driving," he said.


Are you on Facebook? And is it ruining your life?


I hardly check my Facebook and just keep hanging there for a virtual presence without much purpose. Anyway, thanks for those who have linked and requested as my 'friends', appreciate the gesture and will stay friends.

For those unfamiliar with this Internet phenomenon, Facebook is a website that allows users to set up a free personal web space where they can provide a little sketch of their life. They put together a profile page outlining their favourite TV shows, books and quotes with little blurbs about themselves explaining where they work or go to school, pictures, blogs and personalized message boards known as 'walls.'


Facebook and other social networks like My Space have truly redefined how we communicate and what constitutes community. On the one hand, it's fascinating to be a part of something so global and so immediate. The minute something occurs, there's a Facebook page on it. On the other hand, cyberspace is a fake reality and sometimes creates false connections. There's a reason we didn't stay in touch with all our old high school friends…

When Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 while attending Harvard University as a sophomore, it was designed as a way for college students to connect with each other. Users created a personal page and were able to accept or send out electronic 'friend' requests for people to be included in their networks. People who were 'friends' were able to keep tabs on people in their network, send messages and even connect with friends of friends. It was like an exclusive club, since it was open only to those with certain email addresses.

But as Facebook's popularity soared, its founders sought to expand its audience. In 2005, it allowed high school students to sign on. But it was the 2006 decision to open it up to the general public that drew howls from its original audience and now facebook is the largest social networking with more than 100 million facebookers and has made Zuckerberg a young billionaire.

At the end of the day, Facebook is not a social activity, although it may be construed as such. Facebook means sitting at home alone in front of my laptop, reading about and staring at all the people I know, always separated by real time and virtual distance.

But in the face of that pervasive isolation and loneliness, I'm always just a click away from seeing my "friends"--the people who thought enough about me to confirm the fact that I knew them. They're all sitting there--a gallery of smiling faces arranged alphabetically that always make me feel better, even though that really shouldn't be the case.

Some have had enough of Facebook....


Why Vijay Singh is not king in the USA

Such have been Vijay Singh's amazing achievements,
especially after turning 40, he certainly deserves more respect.



I have personally been witness to one of Vijay's biggest faux pas – in Malaysia where he was playing the national open some years back. Having spent his formative years there, a local journalist asked him if he had any plans to give something back to Malaysian golf, like setting up an academy.

There was nothing controversial about Vijay Singh winning the FedEx Cup this year, and the whopping bonus cheque of $10 million (Dh36.7m) that comes along with it, but trust the American media to invent something ludicrous even in a performance which deserves nothing but plaudits.

This time, they chose to pan the big Fijian for not talking to the media after his final round at the BMW Championship, the third of the four playoff events of the FedEx Cup.After winning the first two playoff tournaments, Vijay did not have the best of finish at BMW, and with a couple of players in with a chance to deny him a cakewalk that he finally had at the Tour Championship, he was packing his bags and ready to leave the venue.

Nothing wrong in that, you would say. Only the winners of tournaments on the PGA Tour are required to give mandatory press conferences on Sundays. But that's not the way American media, or quite a few among them, thinks.

So, Vijay Singh was branded everything from being "classless", to "insufferable", to "shameless".

If he is all that, it is only because he is a non-American, who is beating most American golfers most of the time.

And Vijay is not an isolated case of the American media's total apathy to foreign stars on their soil. Take Roger Federer for instance. For more than five years of whipping everyone who is anyone in tennis, and after winning five US Open titles in as many years, all he has to show is one lousy cover of Sports Illustrated, regarded by many as the final word in sports magazines. That cover actually came after this year's Wimbledon, hides half his face, and it is more a tribute to his epic final against Rafael Nadal, rather than to the man himself.

Or, take South African Rory Sabatini. He became the "Bad Boy" for the American media after he decided not to wait for American Ben Crane, one of the slowest players ever to play the Royal & Ancient game, and walked off to the next tee! Considering that most Tour players, and the media, have often pointed out to pace of play being one of the biggest problems on the PGA Tour, Rory should have been made a hero that day.

But then, Rory did something far worse. He actually had the temerity to say in public that Tiger Woods was beatable. This was much before he walked off from Tiger's Target World Challenge in 2007 without finishing and without even informing his host – an act that deserved criticism.

But for saying that Woods is beatable, he was ripped apart by the American media. To be honest, I am yet to come across a professional golfer, who does not believe he can beat Woods in a tournament, or a tennis player who doesn't think he can take on Nadal on clay, or a bowler who has admitted he can never get through Sachin Tendulkar's defences. If you don't believe you can beat your rivals and win, why bother to play?

Coming back to Vijay, his biggest problems are that he is extremely strong-willed, not very diplomatic, brutally frank, and he wears his heart on his sleeve.

He desperately needs someone who can give him a thorough course in public relations – much in the same way as his personal trainer Jeffrey Fronk has ensured regular workouts to infuse the physique of a 25-year-old in the body of a 45-year-old.

I have personally been witness to one of Vijay's biggest faux pas – in Malaysia where he was playing the national open some years back. Having spent his formative years there, a local journalist asked him if he had any plans to give something back to Malaysian golf, like setting up an academy.

Anybody else in Vijay's place would have said something in the line of: "Yes. That's a distinct possibility in future". Not Vijay. He said: "Not really. I have not thought about it. I am only concentrating on my golf at the moment.

"Thankfully, the tournament was not in America, and he was not facing American journalists.

Is Vijay insufferable? I have met numerous Asian golfers who just can't stop praising him for how he makes them feel comfortable when they head out to tournaments in the US. He seeks them out for practice rounds, and imparts the knowledge of the courses he has gained with years of hard work.

And I am sure the various charities he supports, like the St Jude Hospital for Children, have a similar opinion.Is Vijay a bad role model? Someone who grew up poor – and that too in a country like Fiji, where the average rich man's annual income is perhaps less than the average poor man in America – and went on to become what he is today, can hardly be called a bad role model.

And the only magic formula that helped him to the top is his legendary work ethics, which includes more than 10 hours of hard work at the gym and driving range on his off days. And Vijay is definitely not a bad golfer.

He is the only player to have won the Order of Merit on the PGA Tour ahead of Tiger Woods – not once, but twice, and even a third time this year, even though Woods hardly played a full season – since 1998. He has now won 22 titles after turning 40, and has three majors to show against his name.

The American media got their Superman in the form of Woods. Now they needed a villain like Lex Luthor. Vijay Singh happened to be the softest target for them.

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