Tuesday, January 31, 2006

At What Price?

When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad - including one in which he is shown wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse - it expected a strong reaction in this country of 5.4 million people.

But the paper was unprepared for the global furor inspired by the cartoons, which provoked demonstrations in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, death threats against the artists, condemnation from 11 Muslim countries and a rebuke from the United Nations...(Herald Tribune Europe, 01 January 2006)

"It's appalling!..before it was anti-semitic prejudice..now it's anti-islamic prejudice!" said Bill Clinton, the former President of USA.
"It's prostitution of journalism!" Strong words from the leader of more than 200,000 strong Muslims community in Denmark.
Almost 4 months ago, a group of artists did a series of caricatures of the Prophet..and got it published in the local national papers...all in the name of Freedom of Expression.(check out "Freedom of Racism" "http://sabbah.biz/mt/tag/Middle+East")
A snap poll was conducted and majority of Danes supported their Prime Minister's stand not to make a public apology inspite of worldwide's outcry of indignation ..especially from nations of Middle East.
Freedom of expression..gives one the license to slander, to ridicule..etc and fret not..the law is on your side! What baloney!
To me, the whole episode is cheap, deliberate provocation!
I think if you want to play with fire..be prepared to pay the heavy price of backlash...for a start, boycott of danish dairy products already in action..and worst..their action endangers the lives of their fellow brothers/sisters in the country and working overseas! If you need to draw...please use your brain too!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I have a date with Spring part 02

Today is the eve of Lunar New Year...lots of last minute shopping for many working folks...it's madness! Housewives are having the hell(this particular word must not be uttered, at least for the next 3 days if you want good luck for the whole year!)of their lives! So much cooking to do.However, things have also changed for the better...more and more young families are opting for catering by restaurants...less headache and less washing.
In our family, over the years, we have decided to keep it simple.The reunion dinner will be steamboat with yusheng(a kind of salad with slices ofraw fish mixed and tossed with chopsticks by all at the table..and shouting "prosperity! prosperity! prosperity!..lol..quite fun.By then, all the greens will be scattered all over the table) stewed meats (chicken, duck, abalone, mushroom, pork..etc) platter and sushi platter to be catered for.
When we were much much younger...my siblings and I loved the eve...the reunion dinner and most importantly the big event at midnight!We were living in a 16th storeys apartment..only 3 blocks facing one another..sat on a little hill. When the clock hit twelve midnight...households..hundreds of them...lighted their 20 metres long, at least, firecrackers(see picture)! The deafening noise, the smell, the smoke....it's almost like a war zone! But we loved it!next day, the entire ground was bloody red..so surreal.It was a yearly ritual until it was banned for safety reason and also most of us have grown up. But, I still miss it...somehow, without it, the festive spirit is just not right...sigh.

China and Dubai do share one thing in common...very ambitious! They love MEGA MALLS!
I have visited Shanghai several times, the buildings are simply awesome...huge and spectacular!
The Dragonmart (chinatown of Dubai..see picture) is most unsusual. The entire mall is shaped like a dragon (aerial view)....i think the size is about 20 to 30 football fields? Worth a visit...soaked in the festive spirit perhaps.
On a final note...for those of you borned under the sign of the Dog...this is not a particular good year..u have offended the guards at the heavenly gates..so u are prevented from entering.Watch out for your health...keep a low profile..do not engage in any arguments with colleagues..be mindful of spending.(disclaimer: according to chinese horoscope)
Happy New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai (may you have wealth and prosper)!

Friday, January 20, 2006

I have a date with Spring! Part 01

The Spring Festival, commonly known as the Chinese Lunar New Year is only about 9 days away (29 January). To the Chinese people, it is as important as Christmas to people in the West. All over the world, they(China alone..inhabitants is 1.3 billion)are looking forward to ushering in the Year of the Dog. The celebration, unofficially, lasts 15 days. In our younger days, my siblings and I loved this festival..good foods, new clothings, the deafening sound of fire-crackers and most importantly..the little red packet with money in it called ang-pow...only for children and the unmarried.
In Dubai, the chinese population (mainly from China) is on the rise..I don't know the exact figure..but I think they, like the indians and filipinos, have established a solid presence here. The creation of the Dragon Mart (the dragon shaped trading hub..will write in the next post) is a testimony of their formidable status in Dubai.
Inevitably,chinese restaurants abound as well..good, bad and ugly in terms of foods and services. I have learnt a trick..it works all the times..when u visit a chinese restaurant...first thing to do..throw away the menu!..instead ask the chef to cook something off the menu...believe me..u will love it!
Over in Deira, there's a little chinese eatery called The Little Red Room..on the second floor of a budget hotel..selling chinese northern fare. Excellent food..for only 6 Dhm..u get rice with 3 dishes. I try to frequent the place once a week...closest thing to home.
In my company, we have a British guy working as Biz Development Manager...middle aged and a bit potty. Unfortunately, the chinese boss and his wife dislike him..they schemed to get rid of him but to no avail because he was recruited by the french partner. I like Richard (the british guy)..i think he's good in his work...we love to booze at the Sherlock Holmes Pub once in while..and cracked sick jokes about the villianous boss and his evil wife. Richard is one lucky bloke..he arranged with his direct boss..the frenchman..to work at home...at the same time he can be with his wife and only son. Amazingly, he loves everything oriental..including LingLing. In fact, he used the company's status to get her a work permit here. It's really puzzling..she's just a plain jane. I know for a fact, no offence, quite a number of young, beautiful and foxy girls from China got their visas thru the same manner. However, their job is basically to keep up their appearances..and wait for their master to summon them..at least once a week...to entertain his clients from Japan/Korea.etc in some posh parties. It's like a scene from the latest movie from hollywood: Memoirs of a Geisha!..

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Big Bus

Last year, a couple of friends asked me an impertinent question, I thought. "What can u do in Dubai? It's all desert!" First, I don't work for the tourism dept of Dubai and second, if u have pre-conceived idea what a place will be like..it's really a futile exercise for me to convince u otherwise.Anyway, out of courtesy, i suggested a short trip of 4 days (free and easy) to check it out for themselves before leaving for their main trip to Spain.
Knowing for a fact they are spoilt to the core and have weak legs..and I was extremely busy during that period..I managed to con them to try the BIG BUS tour..all of Dubai within a day on a double decker bus with an open top. In fact, I did it twice...value for money..fun fun fun! It's basically a hop-on, hop-off trip...point to point. Example, if u like a particular spot..Bastikiya...hop off then..come back later to hop on again. It covers both the city and beach...u get to see most of the scenic places in Dubai..within a day.All that and more..for only 140 Dhms! They loved it!
Some pointers to remember:
Put on comfortable/casual attire... good walking sandals/shoes, a hat, sunglasses.
For ladies, carry a tote bag if possible for: sunblock, mineral water, digital camera with extra batteries, a fan (if u are japanese...hahahaha), a small towel, fruits to munch. For guys, a neat slingbag will be nice too...with the same items.
For guys, if u must wear bermuda shorts or 3 quarter pants...please do not wear full length socks (esp black!) with your whatever shoes...it's so hillbilly! get a pair of ankle socks instead.
hmmmmmmm....i might hop on the bus again...soon!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Le Grand Voyage

There is not a single (maybe someone will prove me wrong) arthouse cinema/theatre in Dubai/UAE. ALL cinemas are showing mainly Hollywood fare. It will be nice, other than making money, to screen good movies, especially from Europe, Iran, Asia..etc Last year, someone was kind enuff to loan me this road movie "Le Grand Voyage". A Gem....in a nutshell, the movie is about:
A young French-born young rebellious man, whose conservative Moroccan father forces him to act as chauffeur on a madness 5,000km road trip to Mecca.Along the way, they meet several interesting characters..really it's about the relationship..if there's any between them....clash of ideology...of young and old...of religious and non religious...it's about give and take..about respect..about one's fervent faith...

It's quite parallel to the situation many foreigners faced when they are working in a foreign land..particularly the Middle East. Reluctantly it's about adjustment..about respect..about give and take..etc Hopefully..at the end of the journey..we come out a better person. If you can..try to get hold of this DVD!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chill-Out Lounge

source of pic: exif data of photobucket
No..Santa Claus failed to deliver my iPod last Christmas and I'm waiting for the price to tumble further before I part way with my $$$$$$$. However, thanks to fellow blogger, San Nakji http://sannakji.blogspot.com/...I have my own chill-out lounge online! (Please try out on the right hand side of this blog)
You can sign-up for FREE at http://www.garageband.com/
This site is really cool...a brilliant idea...a place for all those aspiring musicians who want their compositions to be heard and reviewed....hopefully some if not all will have their break soon. Apparently Bo Bice (the runner-up of last American Idol) started his career here. The best part...u got to be a reviewer ala Simon Cowell style..lol. I did a review on a particular band..I didn't like the piece at all..I gave them the lowest score and nominated their piece for the stupidiest song category...THEY sent me several messages calling me names..lol. It's really fun! And u can have your own MP3 as well! So many genres to choose...world music,reggae, latin, jazz, acoustic, rap, pop..etc Check it out!!!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Tribute

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has died in Australia at the age of 62, presided over the transformation of the small Middle East kingdom into a thriving modern state.

The United Arab Emirates today lost a historic leader who devoted his life to establishing the UAE and enhancing its structure and the welfare of its people.

source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4579552.stm

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Richest Man In Babylon

Babylon, the legendary city, is indeed, the most famous ancient city in the whole World. It was the capital of ten Mesopotamian dynasties starting with the dynasty of King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC); the 6th king of the 1st dynasty; reaching prominence as the capital city of the great kingdom of Babylonia. The last dynasty at which Babylon achieved its zenith, is well known particularly of its 2nd king, Nebuchadnezzar II (605-563 BC), to whom most of Babylon's existing buildings belongs.
It's the beginning of a new year...reflecting on the past year 2005..like me, you probably wish u could have save more. In Dubai, it's not difficult to make big bucks but at the same time, you could also be spending more..Im a culprit in this area.
Someone gave me this book a year ago and I only started reading it last week. I must tell u..this little book, 144 pages all in, is a gem. Just to share with you the followings:
Seven Cures for a Lean Purse

The 1st Cure
Start thy purse to fattening
-for every ten coins I put in, to spend but nine

The 2nd Cure
Control thy expenditures
-Budget they expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine tenths of thy earnings

The 3rd Cure
Make thy gold multiply
-to put each coin to laboring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to thee income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into thy purse

The 4th Cure
Guard thy treasures from loss
-investing only where thy principal is safe..

The 5th Cure
Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
-Own thy own home

The 6th Cure
Insure a future income
-Provide in advance for thy needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family

The 7th Cure
Increase thy ability to earn
-to cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to so act as to respect thyself
(source: The Richest Man in Babylon)

A great classic written in the 1920s by George Clason...still relevant today. Im learning..

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Blogedemy Awards 2005 Part 02

(Source of photo: Mandalynn of Flickr)
I do read blogs like Im reading a book...and it is my pleasure to share with you some of them which i enjoy tremendously. Hope u like them...u might have your own list...share with us?
6. http://www.apairofhsus.blogspot.com/
This young couple is on a journey round the world...at the same time discovering themselves. Inspiring...in life..there's always a trade-off.
7. http://www.timbuktuchronicles.blogspot.com/
This blog is about the pursue of better livelihood in Africa..full of many interesting, enterprising ideas..never a dull moment.
8. http://www.africanarchitecture.blogspot.com/
This blog gives u the feel like u are reading pages from the magazine WALLPAPERS..very rich and interesting..especially designs with eco theme in mind...I believe Dubai/UAE should take a leaf from this author..sometimes SMALL IS ALSO BEAUTIFUL!
9. http://www.anitabora.com/blog/
The extraordinary adventures of an indian gal and her not so ordinary cat..I love this blog..very indie and funny.
10. http://www.majali.blogspot.com/
Someone introduced this blog to me...about an editor from Jordan..beautiful photos!