Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bosses from Hell Part 02

Red Devil
Originally uploaded by thynkyr.
Get this picture in your mind..the Burj Dubai Project..the next tallest building in the world..feeble looking and panting old folks (in their late 50s)walking up and down the temporary steps...under the scourging sun..working as supervisors!
How on earth they got in..is beyond me. Anyway, i knew 3 such supervisors for the project...employed by a company..yes u are rite again...from a little island in the sun.The illiterate boss is a chinese. He was able to con them out of their semi retirement by promising good life in Dubai. They are paid peanuts..3000 dhm per month inclusive of accomodation and transportation. Only workmen's compensation and no other insurance coverage at all..working 6 and the half days week. All 3 have high blood pressure, heart disease and diabete..on medication. I met Mr. Koh once on the 2nd floor..he was literally panting like a dog..he complained of dizzy spell..still shouting at his indian workers in a hoarse voice..he speaks no english."I dont think i can last another day"...I told him half in jest "Ya..u are rite..otherwise u will be returning home in a black box" He only lasted a week..packed up and went home to be with his grandchildren. On site, safety is serious biz...on a wall at the canteen..there's a poster that said "work safely..your family is waiting for u at home"
Another granddaddy complained of chest pain while he was working on the 3rd flr..the supervisor was later admitted to the Iranian Hospital..for suspected heart attack..3 days 2 nites at the cost of 7500 dhm...no insurance coverage. I warned him..next time he would not be that lucky. Upon discharge he was up on the 3rd flr again..fearing his boss will ask him to pack up. However, the cunning boss praised him for his good working attitude...a good example for all?
I think it is terrible..exploitation of the highest order..cheap labour at the expense of one's life. The medical check-up only involves blood test and x-ray..quite impossible to know the real condition, especially of these older workers. Really hope the authorities will tighten their grip on such matter and eventually punish the errant bosses who care nothing about lives only their big fat pocket!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bosses from Hell Part 01

Strength in numbers
Originally uploaded by doc18.
If you think David Brent of the hit BBC's series "the Office" is mean..wait till you read the following accounts of bosses from hell..they make the obnoxious Mr. Brent looks like a lamb.

Tibby is from the province of Bulacan, Philippines...she has a degree in Electrical Engineering..married with a 3 yr old daughter. It was a difficult decision..the husband has being jobless for a while...many bills to pay.
When she first arrived in Dubai..she was a bubbly lady....in her late 30s...with high anticipation. The boss is from an asian country..if u must know..a typical chinese towkay from a small island in the sun...
Instead of engineering works..she was asked to do admin support...a total disaster from the start! She is not a systematic person...hates paperworks..no sense of filing..BUT she is really a nice lady. They are paying her a mere basic of 1500 Dhm excluding transportation and accomodation. As days passed..the boss and his wife began to pick on her..for every single small mistake. Initially, she was staying with them...she was given a comfortable room. Later, she was asked to occupied the maid's tiny quarter instead.Every night, she has to help in the cooking as well..off day was marketing with the dumb and ugly wife who never failed to put in a word or two to the boss about her 'bad' conduct.
On most off days, she was the poor caged bird..the boring couple preferred to stay at home staring at the telly..thus without the transport, Tibby was stuck.. she cried herself to sleep every night...two months ago, she plucked up her courage and shifted out..they were outraged but could not do anything. Though Tibby is still with the company..she is so much happier now living with her filipino friends.
Generally, based on my observations..asian bosses, especially of the chinese stock, are the worst..compared to their western counterparts...they are petty, insecure, domineering and extremely unreasonable and vindictive. One important point to note..if you ever choose to work with them..stay away from their wives..believe me..u rather work with Joan Collins! Tibby shared a little joke with me lately: the wife was caught by the Manager of the Biz Centre for stealing papers from the photocopying room....lol
Watch for the next posting..more ugly bosses!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Biz: 11 things to do in Dubai

Towers in the Sky
Originally uploaded by OceanEyesDubai.
Forget the number 10..so passe. An additional 01 for thinking out of the box. If you ever thought of coming to Dubai(or any state in UAE) to make your dream comes true..by setting up shop here...do yourself a big favour by drilling the followings into your head. Doing biz here is a totally different ball game.
1. Do your homework thoroughly..due diligence is very vital. You cannot rely on others to do the groundworks. Make a short trip here..to have a feel of the biz climax.
2. Remember two words for the rest of your life: Habibi and Alibaba.
Habibi..loosely for my love...everyone uses it here....it is especially useful when u want to calm down a storm or get out of a sticky situation.(eg."Habibi..don't be angry..habibi..blah blah" For ladies, utter it with your most sexy voice..as if you just woke up. For guys..loud and exaggerated)
Alibaba..use it on those who talk BIG and never deliver..(eg."You stupid alibaba...Talk Only No Action!")However, I think this word is only popularly used on indians..who have the tendency to talk above what they can deliver.
3. Be humble...don't bring your bloody high and mighty attitude to bulldoze your partners to accept your ideas or for the matter..just anyone.It won't work!It's good for a change to act dumb.
4. Get a good partner, a good sponsor and a good PRO. This formidable trinity..either lift u up or drag u down to hell.Easier said than done..a good sense of biz acumen and people reading will help tremendously. Don't jump into bed with anyone that just comes along.
5. Never let your guard slips...there are many seasoned snakeoil peddlars around.
6. Understand the culture..adapt..DON"T judge.
7. Be prepared for many hiccups along the way..remember Dubai is evolving and seriously if you are from New York or London etc..don't expect things to run with clockwork efficiency.
8. For those urban dwellers..take up meditation to stay calm in all situations...able to laugh things off not only will make your stay pleasant..it also prolongs your life as well!
9. Relax with the locals over coffee or smoke shisha with them...adopt a relaxed attitude..they like u better that way. Thereafter, getting things done is a breeze.
10. Don't stick to your own kind..venture out and mingle around.
11. If you need more detailed information..feel free to drop me a line.Build your network..

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Gestapo from Lebanon Part 03

Originally uploaded by bassemb.
Several months ago..during the long hot summer..there was a mini chicken pox epidemic in the company..about 20 workers at the domitory were infected.Luckily, it stopped at the magic number...Musa the Great took upon himself the task to be the mother hen cum warden to educate the poor boys from India..the importance of hygiene.Very noble indeed..however i smelled a rat..hidden agenda.
We arrived at the dormitory early in the morning..located at the Al Quoz Industrial Park. During the journey, Musa was having a big fight with the chaffeur..the issue at large? He was unhappy that Madin, the driver was putting on perfume???????? and he threatened to report him to the local sponsor later.
The 30 odd night shift workers were in dreamland...He woke them up..shouting like prison warden. They have to stand by beds while he inspected every corners of the rooms.. as he approached the guys..he sized them up and down..and while he was giving them tips on how to keep clean..his fingers were on their faces, bared bodies...and he SMILED.
This routine is on...every alternate day...strange habit!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Gestapo from Lebanon Part 02

2004-11-06_Beirut 102a
Originally uploaded by jrothermich.
"Musa, what is this?"
He burst into his usual guffaw.
In Dubai, there are many lebanese restaurants..Automatic Restaurant with many outlets is pretty well known. Why it is called AUTOMATIC? I really don't know..sushi on conveyor belt..that i can fully understand...
Anyway, my initiation to lebanese food started off with this big metal plate of greens...almost like they had rooted out the entire backyard garden!..not your normal salad...they came in their original forms..carrots, cucumbers, huge cabbage....etc
"Musa, are they feeding cows?"
"No, they want you to enjoy the visual..if they chop them into tiny bits..u will not know what u are eating!"
"Visit Lebanon wih me this Christmas..beautiful..Dubai is concrete jungle..we have Tripolis, Beirut..."
"On two conditions..u pay for the air ticket and guarantee my safety in Beirut"
"Sure..i will visit your tomb every year after your visit to Beirut...hahahahahahahahah!"

"What are u doing at the dormitory? Im keen to know..let's go tomorrow morning."
"No problem...hahahahah"

The Gestapo from Lebanon Part 01

Originally uploaded by upthedubs1.
He laughed whenever I called him that..as if it was a compliment.I smiled wryly...
Musa is the PRO (Public Relations Officer)...a privileged position in Dubai...most of them rule with an iron fist. He is like the court eunuch..always smiling with a dagger behind..that's Musa. Each day, he arrives in the office at 10am..if he likes you..it's darling here and there..otherwise u belong to the kennel!His main tasks are visa application and medical check-up arrangements for staff and workers..lately, he has added another feather to his cap..self appointed dormitory (for site workers) warden...back to that a bit later. He leaves the office at 3pm while the rest including the impotent(yes..correct word) boss work their butts out! That's Musa for u..and the local sponsor,his good friend (mine too) endorsed it!
Musa is in his late 50s..he looks like Danny DeVito the short and bald actor..only less talented.He is a jewish from Lebanon..his young daughter was killed in a riot..and his only son is also working in Dubai..thank God..his 1.8 frame and movie star look is from the mother's side.
Surprisingly, Musa gel well with me..No..Im not the other half of the evil twins! He's like a grand uncle to me..
Spies abound in the office..so whenever Musa needs to share some inside infor with me..we will adjourn to the roof top via a door liked glass window which nobody knows about. "Lisen carefully..I have somezing bery important to tell u.." remember the bimboish french resistance fighter from the hit british series 'allo 'allo? that's her opening line! Musa actually uttered those words..well..almost...LOL.

Shhhhhhh....he's coming...will continue again soon...ciao!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Im dreaming of a white christmas

Originally uploaded by black feline.
Ya Im a nut..i know it's a bit early..but surely there's no crime to spread the yuletide spirit now...wonder what it is going to be liked in Dubai?
Peace to mankind..better living environment and remunerations especially for those who toil under the sun..10 in a small room..working 6 and the half days per week.getting 650Dhm per month..and not always on a regular basis is plain exploitation. May all these rotten bosses be buried alive by sandstorm!
In a recent article(7 Nov 2005) published by the Arab American Institute, Mr. James Zogby, the President made the following comments:
"France and the rest of Europe are learning now that 'guest workers', in their third generation and still denied justice, are not only a shame that eats at the moral fibre of a society, they are also a time bomb waiting to explode..In this region, as well, in many places, workers, be they Palestinians or other Arabs or south Asians, are trapped in horrible conditions, denied justice and their basic humanity"
In conclusion, the article also made the following observation:

More than 10 million foreign workers and three million of their family members live in the energy-rich Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) which groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Over the past few months, thousands of low-paid Asian workers staged protests, some violent, in Kuwait, Qatar and Dubai in UAE, for maltreatment and not receiving salary on time.
Foreigners in GCC states are bound by the "sponsor" system, a regulation that restricts the workers' movements and puts them at the mercy of their employers, cited as the main cause for their plight.
It is adopted by all Gulf states and has been blasted by human rights bodies as akin to slavery.

Dubai has a great vision mapped out for her future..and along the way.. I hope she will also strives to be a shining beacon of fairness for all...specifically a stronger system in place to address the issues of "guest workers"

"Switch off the f##king light!"
"Shut up!Im sending an early Christmas eCard to Santa Claus...i want my iPod"

Friday, November 11, 2005

Dancing in the Sands

Sword Fight
Originally uploaded by Swami Nikon.
Im having a severe headache..with all the riots and bombings. Better do some dancing to chill out..
I never like belly dancing (watching)..saw a life performance in Turkey some years back..in a very small club.packed to the rim..mainly patronised by drooling old men and heavy mascara aunties..the tortured face of the aged dancer was pathetic..not helped by the thick make-up..and the enormous lumpy waist.On the other hand..salsa is alway a pleasure to watch and do..
In Dubai..i was traumatised once while watching the TV..not anymore though. In fact, I find it quite fascinating nowadays. It's the Miramar dance..This dance comes from Saudi Arabia. It is sometimes called a hair dance because the hair is worn long and loose and is swung from side to side and tossed in circles and figure 8's. The emphasis in movement is in the delicate footwork and in the upper body. If u ever see alive performance, which i have not but will love to..dont stand too close..
The other dance..mostly by the guys..commonly known as the bedouin or stick dance..is quite an acquired taste i must admit.A group of guys..in a row.. in white traditional robes carrying slender cane sticks..doing some basic limping steps..and moving their heads in unison.My first reaction was ??????? However, the melodious music and dance will slowly..and surely get into u.
Well, what are u waiting for? Guys, put on your dancing shoes and gals..put on your boots..and groove like Jessica Simpson..

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Death for Nothing

Originally uploaded by black feline.
That's the slogan put up by friends of the two youths killed...that more or less triggered the riots in Paris.

The following essay is a good reminder for all, not just the youths.
By Melvin, Age 12, Statewide Winner
Individual Written Expression, 10-14 Year-old Category (USA)

"Violence is often started by unresolved conflict. People are getting teased, bullied, picked on and called names. People react to these acts differently. Some people are able to walk away and ignore it, but some become very angry, often committing a violent act. What can we do to help stop the teasing, taunting, the bullying and the acts of violence with today's youth?

One mature way to stop violence before it starts is by showing mutual respect. Some people act like mutual respect is hard to abide by, but it's simple. If you want to receive respect you have to give respect.

I can promote mutual respect by first having self-respect. I would start by being kind, pleasant, and having hospitality. I would also be respectful of people's religion, race, and looks. Respect is a strong word that my teachers, family, friends, and coaches talk about, but what does it mean to me? That is all that counts. I can't just give a small amount of respect and expect a larger amount in return.

Respect is a strong word, so make it a habit and not just another word. If everyone just showed mutual respect, I believe that the teasing, taunting, bullying and acts of violence would decrease."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Les Miserables

Originally uploaded by nielej.
On his return from exile, Victor Hugo proclamed "Yes, I love Paris as it is today. I wouldn't have liked to see the Boulogne as in the time when it was full of cabs, barouches and landaus. The city appeals to me now when it is a morass, a ruin... It is beautiful, it is magnificent!" Yes even today..not just Paris..France is indeed magnificent! However, the past 10 days of riots in most poor suburbs put a big question mark to her self prided social model...Violence in any form is condemned! Putting more polices is only going to contain the problem no doubt..eventually. By addressing the root of the issue will have a long last positive effect on the country as a whole.It is a known fact, the inhabitants (poor arabs/africans etc) at the suburbs are marginalised for a long time coming.All it needs is the innocent deaths of two youngsters to triggered off the explosion.The authorities are blaming the drug traffickers and muslim militants..Yes the Law has to stand firm ..in the same token..i think..respect and equal opportunities must be given to all..regardless of your colour, status and religion.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Stu Lloyd...when are u coming to Dubai?

Originally uploaded by CarParkSuperstar.
Out of 10 expats (caucasians specifically)I met (No...not on the road...some are friends).. at least 8 will bitched about this and that in Dubai..f##king weather, boring place, rude people, traffic jam, escalating rental, stupid policies, 1st class facilities..third world mentality...lousy remuneration..etc...blah blah blah
If only they know..things are very different on the other side of the globe..Asia..their poor cousins,
unlike years ago, are getting local package for a two year contract..no big car, no big house, no more sarong party girls left and right, no big fat pay check..etc BUT they are adjusting very well! Stu Lloyd should make a trip here..soon..and teach us all how to take life with a barrel of salt! Life is too short to rant and bitch all the time..anyway, how many of us is going to stay here for life? We are in transit.
By the way..Stu Lloyd is the author of the very wicked, hilarious books "Hardship Posting" - True tales of expat misadventure in Asia.(http://www.hardshipposting.com/hp/index.html)Check it out!

Mercato Mall

Merkato Mall
Originally uploaded by black feline.
If u are really on a budget OR game enuff to try the public transport..start from the Bur Dubai Bus Interchange..Bus 8 or 8A..will get u to Jumeirah..Mercato Mall within 15 mins..for only 2 Dhm. Otherwise..taxi will be about 15 Dhm. One last bit..if u are tired of living.u could try the car pool..same bus terminal..4 to 5 strangers if u dont mind..same location..for only 5 Dhm.(Be warned: cases of robbery and assault..happened. Ladies..not advisable)
Mercato (italian for market) Mall is my favorite haunt over the weekend.
"This Renaissance style shopping centre certainly adds a bit of colour to the Beach Road, and is a worthwhile stop for those who love shopping. It contains over 90 up market outlets, as well as a Spinneys, a Home Centre and Virgin Mega store. Other smaller outlets sell a range of items including accessories, lingerie, designer clothing and shoes. There is even a whole shop dedicated t Barbie. There are also a number of Arabian gift outlets and a large Early Learning Centre. Several entertainment options are crammed in too, such as multi-screen cineplex and a children’s play area, as well as several food outlets (Paul Café is worth visiting for a rest from shopping and a delectable treat from their patisserie).Mercato is an inspired creation from the famous Italian architect, Daniele Morelli, a well-known Italian architect, who researched extensively to give shape to the vision of Mr Abdul Rahim Zarooni, the seasoned entrepreneur with an eye for artistic excellence.

The interior of the mall replicates the concept of several squares, the focal point of any Mediterranean town and the traditional location of the mercato , or market. Centuries ago, peasants would bring their goods to the mercato to trade. Inevitably, shops became permanent features, all facing inwards to attract maximum custom. Eventually, the mercato developed a sense of community and family, becoming a place where people met for coffee and talked for hours. And at sunset, the square would turn into a venue for events, festivals and concerts."
(courtesy of http://www.dubaitouristguide.com/uae-Mercato_Mall.html)

Dont miss Paul Cafe...excellent food and perfect place for beautiful people gazing.Please dont dress down..u will be a sore eye..smart casual will be picture perfect.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Basmati Rice

Basmati rice
Originally uploaded by big mike - montana.
Im not a rice person but according to Da'damo diet, it is excellent for B blood type people. The Basmati rice is highly sought after in Dubai...in fact one of the world's most desired varieties of rice. I had my first taste in Dubai...long grains and natural scent..claimed by many..i had a blocked nose that day..i think.
Recent report that scientists in India are mapping the DNA of basmati rice for fear of a foreign takeover. It is afterall India most treasured natural products.Patent not just the brand but the produce itself...the wonder of science! Anyway, i will still stick to one tablespoon of rice regiment daily.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Peace to Ethiopia

The 1st ethiopian i encountered..was happily driving his taxi in Dubai...hope to save enuff and return home to Ethiopia.I was foolish to ask him about the legendary biblical ark of covenant..he laughed off his head and said "yes"..it could be somewhere in a very old church.I know they are good runners..world class marathon runners.And do u know the Ethiopian Calendar also known as the Julian Calendar (http://ethiopianreview.homestead.com/EthiopianCalendar.html)is good for your ego if u want to stay young? To be exact, if you are over there now..you are 7 years younger! (It's 1998 ethiopian dating)
At least 33 more people died for the past 2 days of protests by the Opposition against the May 2005 election. Accrding to EU's assessment, the election failed to meet international standards.(http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/At_least_thirty-three_more_dead_in_Ethopia_election_clashes)
Question is: Where is President Bush and his willing coalition? they never hesitated in the case of Iraq..to set the people free in the name of Democracy..so to speak.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Betal Nut Beauties

Fanged Snow White
Originally uploaded by ilmungo.
Recently, there was a 2 cents worth debate in a blog about the problem of spitting in Dubai...very unsightly.. claimed majority. Generally,the main culprits are the indian and pakistani workers...My conclusion thus far..i think.. has to do with betal nuts chewing. In fact, in certain part of Indonesia, Indochina, Myammar...etc, it is not uncommon to see both the men and women chewing the nuts..resulting in bloody red stained teeth..and not forgetting the cloud nine intoxicating high feeling.In Dubai, they can get it cheap and convenient..at any provision shop. After chewing...they will spit out the ghastly and stinking reddish chunk of saliva.
In Taiwan, it is an extremely lucrative trade for the locals...served by a belly of betal nut beauties in their most skimpish outfits..(http://www.bostoncoop.net/~tpryor/wiki/index.php?title=Betel_nut_beauty)
Therefore, to minimise this social habit in Dubai...i suggest education..and more education..build more bins...OR maybe the product can carries a disclaimer stating it is harmful to health...sigh..a quick fix..a heavy penalty if u are caught spitting..period. However, it is perfectly alright to spit on the faces of some idiots..but make sure u have a pair of strong legs..to flee fast!


Originally uploaded by R80o.
for those who are bored to death in Dubai...and suffer from heatstroke..stay indoor and stop whinging...keep yourself amused. If you looking like a dalmatian with your 101 spots (chicken pox)..your loyal friends will desert u for a while. What to do?
Well, you can start a blog and bitch about your boss, colleagues and how horrible Dubai is...OR pick up a few games that u can play by yourself...forget about Monopoly..especially if u are not good at it and hate losing..will definitely makes u more miserable. A strong dose of medicine in the form of Sudoku will ends all for u..I mean.. either u get hopelessly addicted to it or your brain damage is so severed after a game or two..the doctor pronounced u need permanent rest for the rest of your life!Don't be deceived by the tagline:" Fill in the grid so that every row,
every column, and every 3x3 box
contains the digits 1 through 9. "
No..it's not as easy as ABC. Check it out at your own risk: